Finding Lucy Reviews

School Library Journal

Cover: Finding Lucy Author: Eugenie Fernandes Publisher: Pajama Press

“Beautiful, bright, and fanciful illustrations using acrylics on canvas gift readers with delightful details….The prose is mainly conversational, lengthy at times, and includes entertaining adjectives such as atrocious and flabbergasting. Moreover, the careful choice of words invites children to think about the correlation between art, color, and feelings. VERDICT There are many facets to this book that will give viewers something new to discover with each reread. A real find.”
—Mindy Hiatt, Salt Lake County Library Services

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Kirkus Reviews

“Everybody’s a critic. Lucy, an elementary-age white girl who appears to live alone with her cat, is an artist, painting happily in her garden until a reporter from the local paper comes by….Fernandes’ illustrations borrow both palette and a sense of vegetative lushness from Gauguin; Lucy’s creations are almost wholly abstract. She is also the only human in the story—all the carping critics are anthropomorphic animals, lending a sense of fun and softening the unkindness of their remarks. The text shares the illustrations’ whimsy, delighting in words as much as Lucy delights in her art. A valuable lesson in pursuing your own artistic star.”

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Resource Links

“Rating: E…The text is carefully presented with humour, and nonsensical delight as each animal gives his or her more ridiculous suggestions. Fernandes’ illustrations are engaging, full of deep, vivid colour, humour and rendered in acrylic paint on canvas.

The heroine learns a valuable lesson to be true to herself, to promote her self-expression and her art and to have confidence in herself.”
—Isobel Lang

Read the full review in the December 2019 Final Issue of Resource Links

CM Magazine

“Fernandes also does not shy away from using big words and challenges her readers to expand their vocabularies; for child readers who love language, this story is a treat.

In addition to writing the text, Fernandes also painted Finding Lucy’s illustrations, using acrylic paint on canvas which gives the illustrations vibrancy and texture. Lucy and her series of animal visitors are dynamic and interactive; in one illustration, Lucy is shown sharing a cup of tea with the elephant reporter. The illustrations are an explosion of bright colours, light, and joy. Fernandes uses a playful mix of semi-abstract solid shapes to form the background and cartoon-like animation to depict Lucy and the animals. The illustrations are every bit as energetic and cheerful as the text.

Finding Lucy is recommended for young artists finding their own artistic voices and lovers of bright and vibrant illustrations.

Sabrina Wong is a librarian at Capilano University in North Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Canadian Children’s Book News

“In this playful new picture book from the powerhouse talent of Eugenie Fernandes, Lucy happily paints the colour of laughter in her garden with her faithful cat as a companion — until a rabbit reporter criticizes her art….

Finding Lucy is a character-rich story of confidence and self-expression paired with colourful and vibrant illustrations. With poetic turns of phrase, lively language and a cartoon style, both the text and art evoke light-hearted fun, even when the critics do their worst to Lucy. The story also upends fairy-tale tropes in delightful ways…The strategic use of sophisticated yet engaging language, such as ‘scrumptious’ and ‘fan-tab-u-lous,’ will prompt young readers to play with the sound of the words and provide discussion about the meanings.

A whimsical, heartfelt story about what happens when we try to satisfy other instead of our own creative muse.”
—Karen Krossing is a Toronto author and MFA student

Read the full review in the Winter 2019 issue of Canadian Children’s Book News

Youth Services Book Review

To whom would you recommend this book? A great read aloud for the art teacher to discuss independence and self-expression.”
Julie Durmis, JC Solmonese Elementary School, Norton, MA

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Eugenie Fernandes has given us a story in words and pictures that supports that idea that creativity is an expression of self and needs to be embraced rather than questioned, especially when every armchair critic feels the need to voice their personal preferences and expects the artist to accommodate those. From colour to feeling, shape and voice, creativity comes from within and Lucy knew and knows this. Sadly she is distracted by those with loud and overbearing opinions and buckles under their varied and judgemental assertions.

I hope Eugenie Fernandes, whose art work has won her a variety of awards and accolades, has always felt supported in her artistic endeavours whether she chooses to use acrylic paint on canvas as she does here in Finding Lucy or other media. If Finding Lucy demonstrates anything it’s that those who observe art derive their perceptions from their perspective and attitudes and Lucy can’t possibly give every viewer what they need to see the art’s beauty. I’m glad that she finally trusts herself, and her very wise cat, that what she brings to her art is everything it needs to be to bring her joy.”

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“Using acrylic paint on canvas, Ms. Fernandes creates bold spreads that are both textured and detailed. She brings a joy to images that will encourage young children to try their hand at creating something of their own.”

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“Lucy learns a very valuable life lesson. She discovers that the most important thing is to be true to yourself and not try to always please others. Her faithful loving cat encourages her to return to her own style of creating and when she takes his advice her happiness returns.

The illustrations are whimsical and full of colour with lots of detail. Young readers will ascertain that it’s important to follow your own heart and your own uniqueness because those two things will bring happiness to your soul. I highly recommend this book.”

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Pickle Me This

“Writing this post doesn’t feel at all like a chore though, because it’s about Eugenie Fernandes’ Finding Lucy, a picture book I’m kind of obsessed with (and I think it’s also Fernades’ first picture book in quite some time). It mingles an old fashioned storybook sensibility (there are talking animals, and the cat is called ‘the cat’) with a dazzling and delightful abstraction, and the most delicious vocabulary. In fact, this is a book that relishes language just as much as it does colour and art, with words like ‘discombobulated,’ ‘ferocious’ and ‘atrocious.’ ‘It’s utterly befuddling and baffling and piffling and dribbling and scribbling!’ —so say the critics about Lucy’s attempt at a painting….

It’s a story about the necessity of sticking to one’s vision and not having your art be muddled from every elephant or crocodile who happens to wander by. But it’s also a story that’s so much more more than what it’s actually about, a book that’s rich and expansive, celebrating the exuberance of the creative spirit.”

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Canadian Bookworm

“This book is full of colour and movement and there are so many small things to see when you look at it, just like a good painting….This book is a reminder to readers that we are all individual and should express ourselves in the way that feels right to us, no matter what others say.”

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