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Children's Nonfiction Environmental Conservation & Protection

The Slippers' Keeper

illustrated by Ian Wallace

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Apr 2015
Environmental Conservation & Protection, Flowers & Plants, General
Recommended Age
5 to 8
Recommended Grade
k to 3
Recommended Reading age
5 to 8
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2015
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Born in 1914, Joe Purdon was one of North America’s early conservationists. After stumbling as a child upon a cluster of Showy Lady’s Slippers in bloom, Joe dedicated his life to protecting these rare orchids. In this picture book, award-winning author and illustrator Ian Wallace depicts how Joe Purdon became a steward of a fragile piece of land in Eastern Ontario. Thanks to his passion, diligence and generosity, the Purdon Conservation Area (now part of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Area) was established in 1982. It is home to one of the largest colonies of Showy Lady’s Slippers in North America.

About the author

Ian Wallace has had a distinguished career as an author and illustrator of picture books, publishing many classics such as Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance, Boy of the Deeps and The Huron Carol. His visual interpretation of Canadian Railroad Trilogy by Gordon Lightfoot received three starred reviews and was named a USBBY Outstanding International Book and a Resource Links’ Year’s Best. He has won the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award. He has also been nominated for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Ian lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife, Deb.

Ian Wallace's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Ian Wallace is one of the grand masters on the Canadian picture book scene. . . . The text includes much detail about the Lady’s Slipper, itself, and about Purdon’s efforts to nurture its survival.

CM Magazine

This exquisitely illustrated picture book . . . introduces young readers to the concept of conservation and emphasizes that one person can make a difference.

School Library Journal

An exquisitely illustrated true story . . . The Slippers' Keeper honors this amazing legacy.

Children's Bookwatch

While kids today are sometimes exhorted to 'act locally' to help the environment, here’s an example of a boy who made his mark as naturalist by doing just that.


Other titles by Ian Wallace