Susanna Moodie: Roughing It in the Bush

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From the late Carol Shields and from Patrick Crowe from Xenophile Media, a new graphic novel illuminating Canadian pioneer history and the life of one of Canada's earliest female writers.

Carol Shields was fascinated by the life and writing of Susanna Moodie. Moodie was a Romantic writer from a celebrated literary family whose life changed forever when she and her husband left England for the backwoods of Canada in 1832. The Moodies, utterly unprepared for their new life, soon found themselves starving in the hostile wilderness of Upper Canada. Susanna began publishing her writing to feed and clothe her growing family. The result was the novel Roughing It in the Bush—an aggravated and acerbic testament to settler life that was praised in England but turned Moodie into a controversial figure in Canada. Two centuries later, Moodie is honored by many as an early feminist and literary pioneer.

Shields' long fascination with Moodie led her to collaborate on a screenplay with Patrick Crowe, which has now found its way to the world as a graphic novel. A talented adaptation by Willow Dawson and emotionally complex illustrations by Selena Goulding bring the words of the controversial and fascinating Susanna Moodie to life through the insightful personality of Carol Shields. Includes a rousing introduction by Margaret Atwood.

Praise & Recognition

The experience told again by acclaimed writer Carol Shields as a graphic novel to access a new audience. City Parent
...certainly one of the best graphic novels I have read. It will serve as a wonderful introduction to Susanna Moodie. CM: Canadian Review of Materials
... Susanna Moodie: Roughing It in the Bush is a brilliant story of fortitude and resolution that exposes the scars and charms of a life lived and a country born. CanLit for Little Canadians
It's a marvellously strange experience to see this time and setting in a graphic novel and in Susanna Moodie's own words... kids 10 and up would be fascinated by this glimpse of the beginnings of Canada. CBC's The Next Chapter
A fascinating glimpse into ground-level Canadian history as well as the life story of a courageous and principled woman, Susanna Moodie: Roughing It in the Bush is highly recommended for teen and adult readers, as well as public library graphic novel collections. Midwest Book Review
Goulding’s all-colour artwork is particularly striking, making this amazing story all the more real. From black flies and cougars to fire and flood, Susannah battled all the hazards of her environment and even found time to write about it. Winnipeg Free Press
Goulding’s expressive artwork is a perfect complement for the brief, clear text that communicates the facts of Moodie’s life in Upper Canada. With a beautifully-crafted introduction by another Canadian icon, Margaret Atwood, Susanna Moodie: Roughing It in the Bush is sure to inspire readers to discover Susanna Moodie’s own writing and to learn more about a fascinating historical figure. National Reading Campaign
This graphic novel provides a compelling account of life as a pioneer woman in 19th-century Canada, showing the tragedies and the joys, as well as the incredible culture shock, experienced by those who were used to a different way of life. The artwork is detailed and expressive, with color palettes changing to accurately represent the mood of each scene. School Library Journal
Patrick Crowe and the late Carol Shields both had long connections with Moodie ... In this graphic novel, the pair have smoothed the rough edges from Moodie’s story, without losing any of its impact. This is no whitewashing of history; in the graphic novel, a despairing Moodie is often shown regretting her decisions, and the harsh frontier life is shown with all its hardships. ... Selena Goulding’s art is clean and efficient, perfect for telling the tale visually without distracting from it. With an introduction by Margaret Atwood, author of the poem sequence The Journals of Susanna Moodie, this graphic novel illuminates the figure of Susanna Moodie by shining a wider, brighter light on her story without losing the essence of what made Moodie’s original accounts so compelling. Foreword Reviews
The images are lavish, and on many pages, they tell the story on their own, with no dialogue needed to fill in any blanks. subTerrain Magazine
Stories don’t get more Canadian than this, and it’s a story that’s familiar to so many. But this is a new way of telling it — a graphic novel version of English settler Susanna Moore’s guide to life in what’s now Peterborough, Ont. ... as Margaret Atwood explains in this volume’s introduction, its real value is in its accessibility. ... It can be challenging to tune into the prose style of the 1830s, and a graphic novel is more user-friendly. This one works well, with a fresh, clear style that keeps it good and readable. The Toronto Star
This graphic novel features the most devastating and poignant moments from Moodie's writings to portray the life of one of Canada's first best-selling authors. A most compelling read with wonderful illustrations this bring's pioneering life to drastic reality. It's All Comic to Me: Blog
As Atwood points out in her introduction, this novel, and graphic novel adaptations in general, are a great way for younger or less proficient readers to be introduced to the original works and bridge gaps in understanding... Susanna Moodie: Roughing it in the Bush would be a excellent addition to high school social studies classrooms. Resource Links
Almost two centuries after it appeared in its original form, Roughing It in the Bush provides a timely and haunting reminder that Canada still depends on adapting to, and sharing, a challenging environment. Herizons
This graphic novel adaptation of her memoir is a perfect conduit for introducing Moodie’s book to readers in Grade 8 and above.... Budding writers will no doubt find inspiration in this tale of a pioneer woman and author. With the publication of this graphic novel, a new generation can be introduced to this classic tale of one woman’s determination and courage. Professionally Speaking

Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens - Starred Selection - Fall 2016 2016 - Commended


Publication Date: April 12, 2016

Reading Age: 13 - 19

Reading Level: Z

Genre: Teen, Children's Fiction

Product Format: Paperback

Pages: 152

ISBN: 978-1-77260-003-2

About the Author

Carol Shields

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Patrick Crowe

About the Author

Patrick Crowe

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About the Illustrator

Selena Goulding

Selena Goulding is a Canadian illustrator and comic book artist.
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