It all began when the men went off to war. Alma was one of the few males left in town. He was the teacher in the tiny school, wore an old straw hat and carried his tin case of pencils around, sketching everything. He was also the town’s rat catcher, and with the men gone, he had much to do. He wouldn’t accept payment for his services. Instead, he requested that the women pose for him as he sketched. It was a lovely arrangement, for the women truly enjoyed being drawn, and Alma truly enjoyed drawing. Set in a tiny New Zealand town, this is a gentle, sweet book, full of quirky characters with interesting back stories. Jumping around from the 1940s to the present and in between, it’s about people and relationships. But mostly it’s about painting and painters, about seeing and being seen. I enjoyed it very much. It is suitable for older teens.
eGalley review Publication date 3.15.16