Collette’s Lost Pet by I. Arsenault
Arsenault, Isabelle. Collette’s Lost Pet. Tundra Books, 2017.
In this attractive, graphic novel-style picture book, Canadian author and illustrator Isabelle Arsenault tells the story of Collette—the new girl at Mile End. Unsure of how to meet other children in her new neighbourhood, Collette invents a story about a lost bird. As more children are recruited to help search for Collette’s lost bird, the fib grows, too.
Although children and adults of all ages will enjoy this book’s delightful illustrations, the text is best suited to more mature readers within and above the publisher-recommended age range of 4 to 8 years. Since many younger children are taught to always speak truthfully, this book is more suitable for older readers who can reflect critically on a white lie that is not punished, but instead elicits empathy and kindness. Additionally, much of the story is told through Arsenault’s illustrations, which invite readers to find meaning beyond the words on the page. However, this nuanced relationship between text and illustrations is balanced by familiar picture book conventions, such as the repetition of phrases.
Collette’s Lost Pet explores the relatable themes of being new and trying to fit in, and the protagonist’s fanciful invention of an increasingly larger-than-life parakeet makes this book’s text as engaging as its illustrations. This story demonstrates the importance of welcoming newcomers and is sure to be an appreciated addition to school, public, and home library collections.Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Samantha Nugent
Sam works as a librarian at the Hinton Municipal Library.
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