CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 1 . . . . September 8, 2017
Colette is the new kid on the block. Clad in a captivating yellow jacket and framed by Isabelle Arsenault's recognizable and gorgeous illustrations, she holds the reader's attention. Colette's imagination is as vivid as her jacket. She uses it to help transition to a new neighborhood and in her thwarted desire for a pet by gradually enlisting the other children of the neighborhood to help her find her 'missing' parakeet.
The events will be very familiar to most children. A small lie (that is really just a desire) turns into something out of the children's control. Luckily for Colette, the other children are willing to play along, even though it becomes clear that the parakeet isn't lost; it doesn't exist.
Despite the familiar events of the story, it lacks some of the magic of Arsenault's previous work (which set the bar very high.) Some of the early dialogue seems forced and flat, missing the energy that graphic novels usually allow through the play of words and images. It feels slightly contrived. The book regains its footing in the last half when the story starts to become so over the top that the magic of a child's imagination takes over.
The artwork is typical of Arsenault's style: soft muted colours, lots of neutrals and perfectly placed splashes of vibrancy. The text is clear and simple, and the dialogue will be easy for younger readers to follow.
Colette's Lost Pet would work best for readers ages 7 and up. No upper limit is recommended as it could be used with older students as a model for writing about stories from their childhoods or a time that they lied and it got out of control. Art teachers might want to use this book with older students, as well.
Colette's Lost Pet is recommended for regular library collections and classrooms.
Sophia Hunter is a teacher-librarian at Crofton House School in Vancouver, BC.