Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Little Lit: The Adventures of Miss Petitfour by Anne Michaels

Buckle up for my quick review of The Adventures of Miss Petitfour by Anne Michaels with illustrations by Emma Block.
Miss Petitfour lives with her many cats. loves to prepare treats, and travels by tablecloth. She's a quirky character, but well-loved by the people around town who are used to her unusual ways. Each chapter follows a new adventure that Miss Petitfour and her cats stumble into with everyone coming safely and happily home at the end of the chapter.

Available for sale November 10, 2015

What I liked:
  • The idea of the book - I always find it interesting when someone writes a children's book with an adult as the main character. Most of the books I can think of that fall into this originated decades in the past - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (1940s), Mary Poppins (1930s), Amelia Bedelia (1960s). And, with the exception of Amelia Bedelia, children were still the focus even if they weren't the protagonsts. I think Miss Petitfour fits in pretty nicely with this cohort, though I will be curious to see what the response is from children reading this.
  • I liked that Miss Petitfour traveled by tablecloth (perhaps that is where I'm connecting to Mary Poppins) and that the wind not going the right direction causes many of the mishaps, as should be expected.
  • I liked the adventures. They were fun and unusual and interesting.
  • I liked the illustrations, which matched the tone and feel of the book quite well. It's going to be a lovely little volume when all are rendered in color.
What I would have liked:
  • I would have liked the cats to be a bigger part of the story. There were so many of them that we don't really get a good understanding of most of them. I would have liked their personalities to be a bit bigger and have more impact on the story and on Miss Petitfour.
  • I would have liked to see more of Pleasant, the one child we do meet in the book. She seems like a very interesting person and I wanted more of her.
  • I would have liked a little less of the long lists of names and definitions and a little more of the quirk and fun that comes through a good part of the time.
  • Some people are going to find this book utterly charming. I certainly enjoyed parts of it.
  • However, it didn't quite work as a whole for me. I don't know if it was the lack of children (or children type creatures - the cats could have worked well for this) or if it was just a personal preference.
  • Miss Petitfour is whimsical, but she is firmly an adult, which lends a more mature tone to a book that seems to be focused on a slightly younger audience.
  • I think that many people, both adults and children, will be calling for more adventures for Miss Petitfour.

For more information you can check out Anne Michaels GoodReads page and you can find more about Emma Block's illustrations on her website.

I received this book as an advance reader copy at BookExpo America.

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