________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 32. . . .April 24, 2015


Princess Pistachio and the Pest.

Marie-Louise Gay. Translated by Jacob Homel.
Toronto, ON: Pajama Press, 2015.
48 pp., hardcover, $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-927485-73-6.

Subject Headings:
Sisters-Juvenile fiction.
Humorous stories.

Kindergarten grade-3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Myra Junyk.

**** /4

Reviewed from F&Gs.



Her voice is too soft. Her maple syrup tone. Pistachio looks up at her mother with suspicion. But her mother is smiling at her. A smile that would melt a snowman in winter.

“My princess,” she says again, “could you take your sister to the park this morning? I’ve got work to finish. Please?”

Pistachio’s heart falls to her belly button.

“No way!” she says. “It is the first day of summer vacation – and I am supposed to meet up with Madeline and Chichi – we’re going to explore the cavern down at the cemetery – and then – "

“Pistachio,” her mother says, “I need your help.”

There is no more maple syrup in that voice.


It is not fair! Pistachio has to babysit her annoying baby sister Penny on the very first day of summer vacation. She already has plans to explore a cavern with her friends. However, she must now take Penny to the park because her mother has to work.

internal art     Pistachio Shoelace has a tremendous imagination and a craving for “adventures and freedom”. Unfortunately, her summer vacation plans begin badly. She has a nightmare about her teacher, and then she wakes up to find up that she must babysit Penny.

     The siblings’ adventure in the park begins badly as well. Penny wears her rabbit-ear hat and her Superman cape and manages to bring a wagon full of supplies including, “animals, plastic buckets, shovels, rakes”. Pistachio is embarrassed to meet her friends, Madeline and Chichi, on her way to the park since she will not be joining them on an adventure today.

     However, despite her initial reluctance to babysit sister Penny, Pistachio finds that she does have an exciting day at the park after all. The two sisters are accused of theft. Penny disappears, and Pistachio must save her from the “Oldtooth” Witch. They find a hidden treasure and almost get arrested! What new adventures will they have tomorrow?

     Young readers making the transition to chapter books will once again be thrilled to read about the adventures of intrepid Pistachio and her lovable little sister Penny. The text is easy to read, but challenging enough to engage young readers who will definitely be able to relate to the action in the story. Gay’s narration is full of dynamic descriptions: “Pistachio stands there, like a statue, her mouth open and her cheeks burning red.” (p. 23)

     The illustrations provide a great deal of interesting information for readers as well. Readers are able to see Pistachio’s frustration and anger, Penny’s enthusiasm and joy, and their mother’s love for her children. Who could not identify with an annoying little sister who is messy, demanding and endearing at the same time? How many times did readers have to babysit siblings when they wanted to be playing outside with their friends?

     Princess Pistachio and the Pest is the second book in Marie-Louise Gay’s “Pistachio” series which began with Princess Pistachio. Gay is the author/illustrator of over sixty books for children and has created many memorable characters. In 2013, she was awarded the Claude Aubry Award from IBBY Canada for distinguished service in children’s literature.

     This book can definitely be used as a read-aloud for early emergent readers while fluent readers can read it themselves. Young readers and their teachers or caregivers will enjoy discussing many interesting topics while reading Princess Pistachio and the Pest, including family relationships, personal responsibilities, friendships, legal issues and stereotypes.

Highly Recommended.

Myra Junyk, who lives in Toronto, ON, is a literacy advocate and author.

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

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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