Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: The Adventures of Miss Petitfour

Publish January 29, 2016

The stories in The Adventures of Miss Petitfour are much like the little cakes that share her name: delicious and perfectly self-contained. Poet and novelist Anne Michaels, aided by artist Emma Block, introduces us to a world where all the best parts (cake, cats, confetti) are intensified with a touch of magic. Using a tablecloth for a sail, Miss Petitfour takes her cats on outings by flying them through the air on windy days, and every adventure always ends with a scrumptious tea party. Whether she’s pursuing a Penny Black stamp across the countryside in a high wind, landing in a ball of coat hangers and bird cages at a jumble sale, or escaping from a confetti tornado, Miss Petitfour navigates her way through all obstacles with grace and wit. Michaels’ love of language and word play is very clear. Just as the cats are whipped up into the air behind Miss Petitfour and her tablecloth sail, the reader is swept into a wild ride of words as Michaels dances with them, shakes them up, and crafts them into exquisite sentences: “She neatly shortened sail and drifted down, landing tidily on her toes, followed by dozens of dainty little paws as the waterfall of cats poured and purred into the street.” Block’s drawings are just as  captivating: plump booksellers, giant layer cakes and sixteen very individual cats skip through the pages. This is a book to get lost in with a child, savouring every delectable word together.

The Adventures of Miss Petitfour

Anne Michaels
Illustration EN: Emma Block
Tundra Books, Penguin Random House of Canada
ISBN 13: 978-1-77049-500-5