How Summer Came to Canada. Retold by William Toye. Pictures by Elizabeth Cleaver. Henry Z. Walk, 1969.
It is not easy to pick a single title by Elizabeth Mrazik Cleaver. With 13 LC Catalog records for 9 distinct titles, she was not exactly prolific but her work is foundational to the histories of folklore and book illustration in Canada. A two time winner of the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, she also gave name to her own award that is managed by IBBY Canada. A list of the winners of the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award can be found here.
I like How Summer Came to Canada for the texture and variety of its illustrations and because William Toye provides a spare and engaging version of this particular Mi'kmaq Glooscap legend. As one of Cleaver's first two books, it announces the breadth of her talent from the get-go. The illustrations below do not do the book justice. I recommend you sit down with all of her titles the next time you are at the library, and, in the meantime, if you'd like to see some of her illustrations from the influential early Canadian children's poetry anthology, The Wind has Wings (1969), there is a good blog post by Gary Andrew Clark here.