________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV . . . . August 31, 2007


Please, Louise!

Frieda Wishinsky. Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood/House of Anansi Press, 2007.
32 pp., cloth, $17.95.
ISBN 978-0-88899-796-8.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Alison Mews.

*** /4

Reviewed from f&g’s.


"PLEASE, Louise," pleaded Jake. "I really want to read alone.

"But I have no one to play with," cried Louise. "You'll see. I'll be quiet. You won't even know I'm here."

But Jake knew she was there.

Jake closed his eyes.

I wish you were a dog, he thought.


Louise is an irritating little sister whose constant presence drives her older brother crazy. In desperation, he runs outside with his book, but Louise, of course, promptly follows him out. Closing his eyes, he wishes she were a dog and, upon reopening them, finds no sign of Louise. While searching for her, he discovers instead a friendly little dog who eagerly attaches itself to Jake. Believing it is Louise, he repents and wishes her back but then is surprised to see that she is, in fact, playing nearby. In a classic turnabout, Louise tells Jake to go away so she can play with her new friend. Then she, too, relents and, on the last page, they bid a fond farewell.

internal art

     Marie-Louise Gay's dynamic illustrations recreate the comfortable clutter of a child-centered family home. Louise, despite her need to stick close to Jake, is pictured as a free spirit with an active imagination. For instance, when the shadow of an elephant surrounds her as she stomps outside Jake's bedroom door, we know Louise imagines herself creating an elephantine racket. Gay depicts the little dog with the same colour fur as Louise's unruly mop of hair, thus making Jake's mistaken belief more credible. Gay's creative embellishments infuse this true-to-life story
with originality and whimsical humour.

     Because Gay's watercolours are so recognizable, this book will remind children of her “Stella and Sam” books, but this story takes a very different slant on sibling relationships. Whereas Stella is protective and maternal toward her little brother, Jake is barely tolerant of his little sister. Their interchanges are more realistic than imaginative as Jake describes ways he will escape from her, and Louise responds in kind. What is similar with Gay's “Stella and Sam” stories is the bond between the two, evidenced when Jake discovers Louise missing and when Louise seeks reassurance of Jake's goodwill after forcefully asserting her independence from him. Please, Louise! is an effective pairing of two of Canada's award-winning children's book creators.


Alison Mews is the librarian of the Curriculum Materials Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's, NL.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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