Gnomes of Boundary Bog, The

30 August 2023

The Gnomes of Boundary Bog
by Audrey Gartner
Illustrated by Sheila Kasick
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Michelle Shaw
$24.95 ISBN 9781778690181

It was the gorgeous cover that captivated me first, but the gnomes quickly drew me into their magical world.

The Gnomes of Boundary Bog is a wonderful collection of stories by first time Saskatchewan author Audrey Gartner. Almost every chapter of the book is told from the perspective of a different gnome which gives the book an almost kaleidoscopic feel as you gradually get a fuller picture of the Quire, which is what the community is called.

I love books that are set in actual physical places that children can explore. Boundary Bog where the Quire is, is a real place in Prince Albert National Park, in Saskatchewan. You can even walk the Boundary Bog Trail (although it’s closed to the public, at present, due to a revitalisation project). Children can tangibly discover for themselves the details of the world in which the story is set and that makes such a difference to their experience.

Gartner has done a wonderful job of world building. She uses concrete details to create a world that the reader can clearly visualize. For instance, the gnomes are described as gopher-sized and the home of one of the gnomes is two owl-wingspans underground “but it was not dark. Millions of bioluminescent algae (tiny plants that produce light) on the walls began to shine and shimmer…”

Read the book aloud, if you can. In fact, Gartner encourages the reader to do this and, she adds, “use funny voices when you do!” The words come alive when they are spoken. Grandmother’s supper, for instance, has “spilled, splattered, and splotched onto the ground”. And with Gartner’s word play you can almost hear the sound of tree trunks rubbing together in the wood.

There are 20 black and white illustrations scattered throughout the book. Some are full page and others are smaller sketches interspersed with the text. I think the illustrator, Sheila Kasick, has done an excellent job of capturing Gartner’s vision. Her illustrations literally add brush stokes that enhance the story.

For a sample chapter of the book, visit the author’s website at


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