________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 5. . . .October 2, 2015


Loula and Mister the Monster.

Anne Villeneuve.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2015.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-77138-326-4.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.

Review by Nikita Griffioen.

**** /4



I'm going to turn you into the most perfect little dog no mama can resist.


Loula and Mister the Monster is the newest book from Governor General Literary Award-winning author-illustrator Anne Villeneuve. This book is a lovely addition to her previous works, such as Loula is Leaving for Africa, keeping up with her witty prose and beautiful illustrations.

     Loula and Mister the Monster relates the tale of a young girl's struggle to tame her dog before her mother gets rid of such a “monster”. Loula puts her dog, Mister, though Loula's School of Good Manners, hoping to reform him into a dog that does not knock over vases and create constant messes. Loula separates her lessons into different useful categories, like “Keep calm and breathe deeply” (p. 11) and “Stay out of puddles,” (p. 13) which are paired with practical ideas such as “Learn the art of table manners” (p. 10). Loula's adventures in attempting to get her dog to behave in a proper manner are depicted strikingly in Villeneuve's illustrations. The dog can be seen wreaking havoc on page after page, adding humour to Loula's valiant efforts. The text and art work together to create an enchanting story.

     Villeneuve's illustrations, with their fine black lines and splashes of bright watercolour, are a tad reminiscent of Quentin Blake. The characters are expressive both in their words and in the pictures that go alongside. The artistic renderings are worth lingering over; the attention to detail makes for something new to be noticed each time. There is movement, and mess, and humour to be found in the pairing of witty dialogue and smart illustration.

     Anne Villeneuve's Loula and Mister the Monster is a book all ages can enjoy. Young readers will find delight in the escapades of Loula and Mister while older readers can enjoy the attention to detail in the illustrations and the witty dialogue. This book is a must-read for anyone who has ever struggled with an unruly pet.

Highly Recommended.

Nikita Griffioen, who is currently completing her degree at British Columbia’s University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, will go on to teach high school and hopes to write and illustrate books of her own.

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

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