Although freelance author and illustrator Nicolas Debon now makes his home in France, he began his career in children's books while living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Some of his first illustrations were for Virginia Walton Pilegard's "Warlord" series, which includes such tales as The Warlord's Puzzle, The Warlord's Beads, and The Warlord's Fish. In these books, Pilegard relates legends about the inventors of various ancient Chinese innovations, including the compass and the abacus. Debon's illustrations for The Warlord's Fish, explaining the invention of the compass, were particularly praised by reviewers. They "convincingly visualize the historical setting and display a fine sense of color and composition," commented Carolyn Phelan in Booklist, while School Library Journal contributor Laurie Edwards deemed the pictures "stunning" and commented favorably on their "subtle shading and engaging design."
Debon is also the author of two self-illustrated works, A Brave Soldier and Four Pictures by Emily Carr, both picture books dealing with Canadian history. The former, described as
a "well told, powerfully illustrated, and timely" anti-war tale by School
Library Journal contributor Louise L. Sherman, is about a Canadian soldier named Frank who enlists to fight in France during World War I. He and his friend arrive at the front in high spirits, but they quickly become disillusioned. Before long, Frank's friend is killed, and in the same attack, Frank is wounded so badly that he is sent home. "While Debon does not gloss over the brutal conditions experienced in World War I," Victoria Pennell wrote in Resource Links, "he does not dwell on the horror or glorify the fighting" either.
A finalist for the Governor G
eneral's Literary Award, Four Pictures by Emily Carr offers a unique biography of the pioneering Canadian painter.
Showing talent as a child, Carr eventu
ally abandoned her art while still young, not returning to the canvas until the age of fiftysix, when some of her early work
s finally received much deserved critical attention. Debon drew on Carr's detailed journals in writing the book, and often the words which he places in Carr's mouth are drawn directly from her own writings.