August 17, 2017


Written and illustrated by Scot Ritchie
Groundwood Books
32 pp.
Ages 4-7
August 2017

The cover of Federica may suggest a little girl herding sheep and, though she's not, I think it would be far easier than herding her family to keep the house tidy.  Because everyone is so busy–there's mum and dad and baby in addition to Federica–"her house was a buggy, buzzy mess." Yech!
From Federica by Scot Ritchie
No wonder Federica enjoys the peace and solitude of the park, a space with an assortment of free-roaming goats, sheep, raccoons and more. Watching the animals, she gets her big idea.

For the first part of her plan, she brings the sheep and goats home.  She's a very good girl, though, and asks her dad's permission for her "friends" to come in.  He's too busy to notice and answers with an "Uh-huh." Similarly, she brings in some spiders and dragonflies, a toad and an owl, and some raccoons, always asking her inattentive parents first.
From Federica by Scot Ritchie
The second part of her plan is getting her family out of the house for a picnic at the park.  This is easy-peasy.  As soon as the door closes behind them, Federica's new friends get to work.  They eat bugs and mice and scraps off the floor and plates and even wash the dishes and the kitchen counters.  Mum and Dad may be shocked by the animals in the house but "The flies were gone, the carpet was clean.  The grass was cut, and the kitchen spotless."  But could the family keep up the cleaning once Federica's friends returned to their homes?

In most households, it's the parents and guardians hounding children to keep their rooms and other areas tidy, but Scot Ritchie turns that tale around by Federica being the impetus for getting and keeping the house clean.  I suspect that there are numerous households like Federica's where the parents are so focused on their own activities that they fail to notice what their children who, getting what they want, may not get what they need. In Federica's case, she craves cleanliness.  And though she finds an unconventional way to get that what she needs, she does instill that need for tidiness in her family that will keep them all healthy and happy in the future.

Scot Ritchie's take on getting a family to come together to clean at the behest of one of the children is charming.  Federica is never heavy-handed or angry, though that would be perfectly warranted.  The text is cherry and the illustrations are the same, light and airy and never burdensome as cleaning can be.  Cleaning has never been so animated and entertaining.
From Federica by Scot Ritchie

August 16, 2017

Animals Do, Too!: How They Behave Just Like You

Written by Etta Kaner
Illustrated by Marilyn Faucher
Kids Can Press
32 pp.
Ages 4-7
May 2017

Though Animals Do, Too! is non-fiction book with a mandate to teach young children about animal behaviour, the book takes a light-hearted approach which leans towards picture book rather than teaching text.  In a series of questions, young readers are asked about fun activities in which they like to engage: dancing, playing tag, playing leapfrog, blowing bubbles, growing food, getting piggyback rides, and being babysat.  For each activity, there is a detailed double-spread asking the question and demonstrating kids partaking.  Then, a double-spread illustration answers the question with an example from the animal kingdom and a single paragraph of text provides the details.  It becomes evident that, if kids like doing those things, Animals Do, Too!
From Animals Do, Too! 
by Etta Kaner 
illus. by Marilyn Faucher
The animals depicted cover the range from mammals to insects, birds and amphibians. Etta Kaner shares the honey-bee dance, gazelles chasing each other to build strength and speed, cattle egrets jumping over each other to grab insects, gray tree frogs who make bubble nests, leaf-cutter ants who grow fungi, marmosets who carry their young piggyback-style and flamingos who babysit.  And though Animals Do, Too! is a concept book and not a story book, Marilyn Faucher's artwork is elaborate and vivid, going beyond children just dancing or playing tag.  For each, her illustration tells a story about the humans, like a party in full swing, with yummy cake and cookies, or the animals in their habitats as part of social communities.  Her art is dynamic and her colours are deep, creating rich scenes, both familiar and not.
From Animals Do, Too! 
by Etta Kaner 
illus. by Marilyn Faucher
Animals Do, Too! is a great introductory animal behaviour book for very young children.  It goes beyond identifying animals and provides a taste for learning about animals without the boring details that their older children might appreciate.  The repetitive queries and responses will help in the reading of the book and make for an entertaining read, though a competent reader like mom or dad or big sister or brother will need to ensure the details are fully clarified.
From Animals Do, Too! 
by Etta Kaner 
illus. by Marilyn Faucher

August 15, 2017

Counting Wolves

Written by Michael F. Stewart
217 pp.
Ages 12+
August 2017

"For the last three years I've been hunted by the wolf–wait."  I hold a hand up.  "I  know it sounds crazy–but I've been holding it back with my count.  It works like a magic spell, and it keeps others safe too, everyone.  I've felt the wolf.  I've seen it." (pg. 140)
We all have wolves at our doors.  Some just howl louder or claw more violently.  They may be the wolves of past events come to haunt us, or bad thoughts that want to become actions, or the ones that portend disaster.  But how do you survive the wolves when they're always, always waiting to get you?

Fifteen-year-old Milly Malone is convinced that she has found the magic spell to banish the wolf to the Dark Wood and survive: she counts.  She counts to 100 each time she passes through doorways or eats a single bite or speaks.  Perpetuating the predator theme, Milly will only cross a door's threshold by hopping.  Needless to say, she's often late for class, eats very little in the time allotted, and people get frustrated waiting for her to express herself verbally.  Her boyfriend Billy is her rock, defending her to those who might ridicule her, but even he can't help her when she hears the smacking of jaws, sees the welts of claw marks on her back and collapses, "Lost in the blackest of fairy tales." (pg. 6)

After a visit to Emerg with her step-mother Adriana who believes Milly's issue is an eating disorder–Milly's mother passed away three years earlier and her father is away on business–Milly is admitted to the Pediatric Psychiatry ward where she meets an assortment of characters.  There's Peter, a large boy who is convinced he's a fairy (a leg cast is indicative of a recent flying attempt off the building); the manic Vanet who "is like some stoned fairy godmother who's as liable to kill you as help you"; pg. 81); Red, a girl who dresses in red and is plagued by nightmares; Eleanor a.k.a. Pig, the aggressive homeless girl who likes to burn stuff; Wesley whom she calls Rottengoth whose parents hate him; and Sleeping Beauty, a girl who is on IV constantly and rarely awakens. And then there's Wolfgang, the scary dude with the dead eyes in an acute care room.  Through meals, group therapy, recreational activities and interviews with Doctor Balder all the young people reveal their own wolves, sparring in words and actions and ultimately forming a community of support to keep the wolves away.

Counting Wolves is an intense read about young people dealing with mental illness and how those around them, medical professionals and family, deal with them.  The stories in which these young people embed themselves are tragic, not unlike the fairy tales that Milly reads or was told as a child.  Like many of the original Grimm fairy tales, whose stories are not always obvious at first read, they are frightening.  There may be lessons within but they are devastating to body and soul, with fear often the prevalent emotion. Michael F. Stewart, whose earlier Assured Destruction series (Assured Destruction, Script Kiddie, and Assured Destruction with Zombies) revealed clever plotting and great characterizations, is able to get into Milly's head and give her a voice that is legitimate though perplexing.  Granted, he's the one who has created that head with its confusing thoughts and beliefs but Michel F. Stewart melds her mental illness with grim fairy tales so flawlessly that it's a wonder all issues can't be viewed better in terms of fables. Even as she works through her anxiety, independently–including with the use of a 1960s workbook–and with her established and new support systems, she is challenging the wolf. There is a surprise revelation when Milly recognizes that her wolf is not whom she believes it to be but that's a secret the readers will need to discover for themselves.

Counting Wolves illuminates the treachery of mental illness, including the distorted thinking that can override all and twist stories even more.  Keeping the wolves at bay under these circumstances can be even more challenging.  Still Michael F. Stewart provides some indication, maybe even hope, that help and protection is available, even where least expected.

August 14, 2017

I Love My Purse

Written by Belle DeMont
Illustrated by Sonja Wimmer
Annick Press
36 pp.
Ages 5-8
September 2017

Children will be picking out their first-day-of-school clothes soon.  They'll be looking for clothes and accessories that make them feel good and look good but they'll also be thinking about how others will see them.  Charlie, the boy in I Love My Purse, is familiar with this process.  When he looks up at his sky-high (he stands on 4 chairs and 5 pillows and 4 books to reach the top) closet which is a colourful menagerie of clothes, footwear and more, he sees "nothing he liked.  Nothing except the bright red purse that his grandma had let him have." Until now, he'd only worn it viewing himself in the mirror.
From I Love My Purse 
by Belle DeMont 
illus. by Sonja Wimmer
When his hipster dad sees him, he questions why his son is wearing a purse.  Honestly, Charlie tells him, "'Cause I want to." Of course his dad's initial response is to tell him that boys do not carry purses and that one can't always wear what they love, like him and his Hawaiian shirts, inappropriate for his suit and tie workplace.  At school, his classmate Charlotte questions him similarly, declaring that, although she loves face paint, she can't come to school wearing it.  Charlie replicates his response: "'Cause I want to" and "Because I love my purse."  He is polite enough, however, to offer that maybe he'd go along with their suggestions of a backpack the next day.

This continues when a group of older boys led by Sam approaches Charlie in the school cafeteria.  Sam's response is about wishing he could eat actual food rather than the slop served up at school but he can't very well march into the kitchen and start cooking. The crossing guard's feedback is perhaps the warmest.
"Well, I love it!" said the crossing guard.  "Have I ever told you about my favorite sparkly shoes?"
From I Love My Purse 
by Belle DeMont 
illus. by Sonja Wimmer
The next day, everyone who'd questioned him the day before has relaxed their stance, showing a hint of their own preferences, though still somewhat shy.  It's not until the third day that his father is wearing his Hawaiian shirt, Charlotte has her face painted like a tiger, and Sam's cooking risotto.  And the crossing guard?  He's wearing his sparkly shoes that send Charlie on another foray into proclaiming his individuality.

From I Love My Purse 
by Belle DeMont 
illus. by Sonja Wimmer
Nova Scotian writer Belle DeMont and German illustrator Sonja Wimmer (whose art you might recognize from Mahtab Narsimhan's Looking for Lord Ganesh, 2016) give a jazzy feel to the text and illustrations.  Perhaps it's the fluidity of the art and the prose, or maybe it's Charlie's "cool cat" attitude.  From the swinging purse to the pliable characters (both in body and disposition), Belle DeMont and Sonja Wimmer have given us a wonderful story about self-expression.

Charlie may love that bright red purse but I love Charlie for his refreshing and honest appreciation for  that tote that others question, ridicule and even condemn him for carrying.  For Charlie, carrying that purse is nothing abnormal, it's just something he does.  It's sweet, it's honest and it's Charlie.  And it should be all of us.  The message of I Love My Purse is about fulfilling a need for self-expression in dress or action and it's paramount.  Forget the stereotyping that tells us a boy carrying a purse is inappropriate. Haven't we gone beyond that narrow-minded thinking?  Charlie has.  Let's all embrace our inner Charlie and bear our purses proudly, regardless of gender.

August 11, 2017

The Puffin Problem

Written and illustrated by Lori Doody
Running the Goat Books & Broadsides
44 pp.
Ages 3-8
July 2017

Puffins! They're everywhere!  They're on the roofs and on the street.  They're on doorsteps and at store fronts. They're at the museum and art gallery and at the playgrounds.  They may be cute, but they have become The Puffin Problem.

Though there has never been a puffin problem to date, Lori Doody creates a scenario in St. John's whereby the city is overrun with puffins.  It is a quaint problem, though with puffins sidling up to people wherever and whenever, not everyone thinks they're all that cute.  Apparently all the puffins are affecting the people of St. John's as well as their pets and other birds.
From The Puffin Problem by Lori Doody
Birders, of course, love the opportunity to take in the plethora of puffins (actually a collection of puffins is called an improbability, a parliament or a circus) but most people feel otherwise.  The idea of shipping them off to Iceland doesn't fare very well.  However, a child's proposal of luring the puffins with food–with all manner of fish coming from Mudder's Fish Cakes, Ise The By, Me Ole Trout Fish Shop, Fish Out of Water Street, Anyfin Goes and Taiyō Sushi–finally gets the birds out to sea, at least for this year.
From The Puffin Problem by Lori Doody
Only in Newfoundland could this story be had.  And Lori Doody ensures that the reader recognizes the streets and landscapes of St. John's, from their colourful buildings, rocky cliffs and St. John's Harbour to The Rooms and the whimsical store names (like The Picture Plant and The Chocolate Lab).  As in her recently released Capelin Weather, also from Running the Goat Books & Broadsides, the art is fundamental to the story, providing a folksy flavour.  The colours are bold and the lines and shapes are rugged, reflective of the culture of Newfoundland.  The flattened perspective is typical of folk art and Lori Doody produces that feature with strength and distinct design.  The puffin problem may be identified as that by the residents of Lori Doody's story but for readers it's a charming tale of what can happen when cuteness overtakes everyday life.
From The Puffin Problem by Lori Doody

August 10, 2017


Written and illustrated by Carey Sookocheff
Henry Holt and Company
32 pp.
Ages 4-8
June 2017

Wet is about being wet, about getting wet, about the manner of getting wet and about the gratification or annoyance of being wet.  Wet may be all about wetness but it certainly isn't all wet as topics go.

From Wet by Carey Sookocheff
Through a series of single- and double-spread illustrations, author and illustrator Carey Sookocheff has a boy recollecting how he becomes wet at a pool and elsewhere: quickly or slowly, with friends or by himself, deliberately and accidentally. He also talks of cats, fish, and dogs, floors, painted park benches and more.  He makes note of washing hands and splashed shirts, puddles and spills, and tears, baths and laundry.  But he ends his day in the dryness of a safe, warm bed with only kisses to moisten his face.
From Wet by Carey Sookocheff
Carey Sookocheff, who has illustrated her own Solutions for Cold Feet and Other Little Problems (Tundra, 2016) as well as Maureen Fergus' Buddy and Earl series of picture books, creates a child-like ambiance to her illustrations that serves the text wonderfully. There's a simplicity in spirit, recounting how wetness happens and what it looks like.

Wet is a fun little book that doesn't have to be taken as lesson-building material but it could be used so effectively for preschool and kindergarteners learning about emotions and even states of matter or the water cycle.  Because Wet is so familiar in its circumstances relating to swimming, baths, rain, pets and bedtime, children will have no problem relating to this boy's activities as they change and affect his state of dryness.  Whether soaking wet or lightly dampened, it's not so bad being wet.  And Wet, the book, is neither a wet blanket nor a damp squib, and summer is definitely a time to relish being wet.
From Wet by Carey Sookocheff

August 09, 2017

Crystal Storm: Falling Kingdoms, Book 5

Written by Morgan Rhodes
379 pp.
Ages 12+

At the conclusion of Book 4, Frozen Tides, the four Kindred, stone orbs possessing elemental magic, had been retrieved and possessed by four different entities.   Now Princess Cleiona has the earth Kindred, King Gaius possesses the air Kindred and Empress Amara has the aquamarine that is the water Kindred, while Kyan the fire god has already been released from the amber orb that is the fire Kindred. And everyone wants to possess all four so that they may unlock the power of the full Kindred.  But things are not that straightforward, as there are still power struggles for control, alliances made for breaking and allegiances in flux.

Now married to the Empress Amara, who killed off her whole family to reign the Kraeshian Empire, King Gaius has survived a fall that should have killed him but didn’t because of a potion for strength he’d been given years earlier by his mother.  He is determined apparently to right some wrongs and that includes defeating Amara, reclaiming the kingdom of Mytica and getting the Kindred, all by joining forces with his son Prince Magnus and his wife, Princess Cleiona, and seeking his sorceress daughter Lucia.  Though reluctant to join forces with him, Magnus and Cleiona have their own reasons to do so, including getting help to break a curse that would kill Cleo should she become pregnant.  With the help of  King Gaius’ mother, Selia, the King and entourage head to Paelsia.

Meanwhile, Lucia is looking to redeem herself after the role she played in aiding Kyan whose wrath led to the destruction of a Paelsian community.  She enters the Sanctuary of the immortals to learn that it is up to her to find and imprison Kyan and locate the other Kindred to return them to save the Sanctuary.  How she will do this with all of Paelsia seeing her as a dark witch who unleashed evil on their land and with her pregnancy progressing exponentially?

Yet another contingent is made up of the Paelsian rebel Jonas; Cleo’s childhood friend Nic; Felix Gaebras, the former assassin of King Gaius and recent victim of Amara; Taran Ranus, twin brother of the Paelsian killed by Magnus; and the newly-resurrected brother of Amara and love interest of Nic, Prince Ashur Cortas.

Everyone is heading to Paelsia, looking for Lucia and the Kindred.  That is, if they don’t all kill each other first.  But death seems to be an elusive state for many in Crystal Storm.  There are those who were killed or almost so who are seemingly resurrected by potion or magic.  Then there are others whose deaths were announced too hastily.  Staying alive is a lot harder when everyone is harbouring secrets and resentment and seeking retribution or justice or even power, determined not to let anything or anyone stand in their way.

Some may have thought this series was going to be a trilogy but thankfully it is not.  Falling Kingdoms continues to flourish under Morgan Rhodes' mastery of time and place and story, bringing characters to and from death and fighting for control in this fifth book in the series.  And if I’ve learned anything, it’s that every character is dynamic and ever-changing.  For me, Magnus has become a character for whom I will continue to cheer (and when you read the ending, you’ll understand why).  He has always been driven, initially by ego, having killed Cleo’s love interest in Falling Kingdoms (Book 1), but now by love and a desire to make things right.  Cleo, on the other hand, has become fickle, choosing whom to trust and whom to distrust seeming at whim.  She’s very quick to chastize some, especially Magnus, and forgive others, like Nic, but never recognize her role in the antagonisms she helps perpetuate between men like Magnus, Jonas and Nic.  I almost wished to be done with Cleo except for what she means to Magnus.  Of course, Morgan Rhodes could change everything in Book 6 (Immortal Reign, due out February 2018) and she probably will.

Thankfully the story is still being told. Long live Auranos and Limeros and Paelsia and the Kraeshian Empire and all the realms of the Falling Kingdoms.

Rebel Spring (2013)
Frozen Tides (2015)
Crystal Storm (2016)
Immortal Reign (for release 2018)

August 08, 2017

The Winnowing: Book launch (Toronto, ON)

Join author

Vikki VanSickle

author of

Words that Start with B (Scholastic Canada, 2010)
Love is a Four-Letter Word (Scholastic Canada, 2011)
Days That End in Y (Scholastic Canada, 2013)
Summer Days, Starry Nights (Scholastic Canada, 2013)
If I Had a Gryphon (Tundra, 2016)

for the launch of her newest book

The Winnowing
Written by Vikki VanSickle
Scholastic Canada
312 pp.
Ages 12+
September 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

6:30 - 10 p.m.


Supermarket Restaurant and Bar
268 Augusta Avenue
Toronto, Ontario 
M5T 2L9


There will be:
• a reading
• book sales by Bakka-Phoenix Books
•  book signing
• a trivia game (on 1980s pop culture, science fiction and kids' books) with prizes
and hosted by author Evan Munday


Here's a bit about the book:
Marivic Stone lives in a small world, and that’s fine with her. Home is with her beloved grandfather in a small town that just happens to be famous for a medical discovery that saved humankind — though not without significant repercussions. Marivic loves her best friend, Saren, and the two of them promise to stick together, through thick and thin, and especially through the uncertain winnowing procedure, a now inevitable — but dangerous — part of adolescence. 
But when tragedy separates the two friends, Marivic is thrust into a world of conspiracy, rebellion and revolution. For the first time in her life, Marivic is forced to think and act big. If she is going to right a decade of wrongs, she will need to trust her own frightening new abilities, even when it means turning her back on everything, and everyone, she’s known and loved. A gripping exploration of growing up, love and loss, The Winnowing is a page-turning adventure that will have readers rooting for their new hero, Marivic Stone, as they unravel the horror and intrigue of a world at once familiar but with a chilling strangeness lurking beneath the everyday.
From on July 17, 2017.

Come and see Vikki VanSickle at this year's Eden Mills Writers' Festival on Sunday, September 10, 2017 and look for a review soon of The Winnowing.

August 07, 2017

Eden Mills Writers' Festival 2017

If you're starting to see ads for back-to-school and despise being reminded of this early but unavoidable proclamation of fall, focus on a great September event that gets children, young adults and adults clamouring for books and CanLit.


Come join us 

September 10, 2017  

12 - 6 pm


Eden Mills, ON
(east of Guelph)

for the 29th annual Eden Mills Writers' Festival
an outdoor literary event on the banks of the Eramosa River.

Amongst the numerous authors, illustrators, poets and musicians attending 
are these fine youngCanLit writers and artists:

Erin Bow

James Bow

Vicki Grant

E. Graziani

Deb Loughead

Lisa Moore

Colleen Nelson

Danielle Younge-Ullman

Emma Donoghue

Lauri Holomis 

Rob Laidlaw 

Shane Peacock 

David Robertson 

Kathy Stinson 

Vikki VanSickle 

Also appearing at the children's venue will be:

Tyler Fergus, magician

Joanna Fraser, musical performer

Come for the words!


Full details about the Eden Mills Writers' Festival, including adult authors, tickets, getting here, etc. are posted on the website at

August 04, 2017

Capelin Weather

Written and illustrated by Lori Doody
Running the Goat Books & Broadsides
32 pp.
Ages 3-7
July 2017

When the small fish known as capelin are rolling, it's a sight to behold and one with which many Newfoundlanders and some others on the Gaspé and in Nova Scotia are familiar.  Normally the capelin arrive to spawn on the beaches sometime between June and July, at the onset of summer, and grey, cold, wet weather is referred to as capelin weather.  But for Kate, the end to Capelin Weather can't come soon enough!
From Capelin Weather by Lori Doody
Like many children, summer holidays means the freedom to be outside playing in the sun and warmth.  For Kate, it means picnics and swimming and soccer and bonfires on the beach.  But not this year.  This year it is cold and overcast and rainy.  All the things she wants to do can't be done.  Her bingo-playing grandmother explains that when this "capelin weather" passes i.e., when the capelin arrive and people have collected their fill, a hot and sunny summer will be left behind.  Kate tries to make the connection between the small fish and the weather, imagining them falling from the sky like rain.  That is until the capelin do roll in.  Then the people come out to catch some, as does Kate, heralding the true beginning to summer.
From Capelin Weather by Lori Doody
Lori Doody's story is quintessential Newfoundland with its rocky beaches, summer past times, icebergs, lupines, lighthouses and more.  From the paintings on the wall of Kate's room and where her grandmother plays bingo–pictures of the Queen and a Newfoundlander dog– to the landscapes of shores and sea, Capelin Weather is a folk artist's rendering of the province affectionately known as the Rock.  The story is not an unusual one–a child wishing for warmer weather to have some outdoor summer fun–but it is unique in the context of that summer weather being signalled by the arrival of some fish and a fishing expedition like no other.  Of course children who've participated in this summer ritual and live in Newfoundland will love this story. But I'm sure other young ones will enjoy it as well, fascinated by the practice, the scenery and the weather lore within.  From her story to her boldly-coloured art, Lori Doody gets the flavour just right (though I do wonder what capelin taste like!)

August 03, 2017

Princess Pistachio and Maurice the Magnificent

Written and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Pajama Press
52 pp.
Ages 5-8
August 2017

Dog is Princess Pistachio’s pooch and Marie-Louise Gay uses her words and pictures to make sure young readers know exactly who he is.  (I can already hear little ones shouting out, "He's just like my dog!")
From Princess Pistachio and Maurice the Magnificent 
by Marie-Louise Gay
Because Dog's days are filled with sleeping, napping and eating, Pistachio thinks he needs some adventure and excitement to prevent him from dying of boredom.  Dog thinks otherwise.
Dog grunts as he heaves himself up onto his tiny legs.  He waddles to the door.  He looks outside.  He signs, shakes his head, and waddles back to his cushion. (pg.9)
When she hides Dog in her backpack for a trip to school, Pistachio takes him out for Show and Tell but all Dog has to show is his ability to fall asleep promptly on the teacher’s desk.  The kids laugh.

When the Doggone Theater sends out a casting call for a “talented, intelligent, beautiful dog to play a starring role” (pg. 19), Pistachio is sure it’s the perfect job for Dog.  Annoyingly, her best friend Madeline scoffs at the idea.  But, amidst the amazing dog performers, Dog is selected, the perfect pick for the leading role of Sleeping Beauty.  Now with a stage name–Maurice the Magnificent–Dog has the un-boring life of a star.  But with that fame, Pistachio learns, comes a price when Maurice is dognapped.  Fortunately Pistachio finds a way to get Dog back safely and resolve a friendship that was almost lost to jealousy.
From Princess Pistachio and Maurice the Magnificent 
by Marie-Louise Gay
I'd join others in applauding Maurice the Magnificent's performance but I think we should extend those accolades to Marie-Louise Gay who can do no wrong in her storytelling or illustrating.  Her Stella and Sam books have garnered her many an award and nomination but her Princess Pistachio series (this is Book 3) takes us from the world of imaginative play into the realm of young school children trying to figure out how to get along with others.

Pistachio loves her Dog and just wants him to have a good life, and she's willing to help make that happen.  She's like a mother to him, arranging for play and opportunities and doing anything to get him back when taken.  But she's also smart enough to know when she's beat and it's evident what Dog enjoys doing most of all. And doesn't Marie-Louise Gay make him adorable!  With his patch around the eye, short tail and legs splayed out behind him when he flops down, Dog is every dog that is loved.
From Princess Pistachio and Maurice the Magnificent 
by Marie-Louise Gay
Princess Pistachio and Maurice the Magnificent is a worthy addition to this absolutely marvelously magnificent series that is ever entertaining and endearing!

Princess Pistachio (Pajama Press, 2014)
Princess Pistachio and the Pest (Pajama Press, 2015)
Princess Pistachio and Maurice the Magnificent (Pajama Press, 2017)