Books by Geneviève Côté

MR. KING'S MACHINE by Geneviève Côté
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2016

"Environmentalism for the nursery. (Picture book. 2-6)"
Mr. King—a vaguely lion-ish animal who stands upright—builds and uses an invention that harms his ecosystem in several ways. He quickly agrees with his friends' concerns and creates another that is beloved by all. Read full book review >
GOODNIGHT, YOU by Geneviève Côté
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2014

"These friendship tales are totally in tune with preschool anxiety and fears; Côté brings another winner. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Friends Piggy and Bunny return in the fourth of this charming series, and in this episode, they experience their first campout—that is, if they can dispel their fears first. Read full book review >
FLARE by Kallie George
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2014

"A sweetly fantastic addition to the early-reader shelf. (Early reader. 6-8)"
A little phoenix gets in touch with his feelings. Read full book review >
STARRING ME AND YOU by Geneviève Côté
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2014

"Third in a series, the book easily stands alone. Among all the picture-book friendship stories, this one stands out for the younger set. (Picture book. 2-5)"
The two animal friends, a pig and a bunny, from Me and You and Without You (2009, 2011) are back in a return engagement as they attempt to put on a play, but will their emotions get in the way? Read full book review >
SPARK by Kallie George
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"'YAY!' Spark yells at the end. 'I did it!' Reassurance for newly independent readers with, if not identical, at least corresponding concerns. (Early reader. 5-7)"
An aptly named little dragon has trouble controlling his flame—but, as with Leo the Late Bloomer, it's just a matter of time. Read full book review >
MR. KING'S CASTLE by Geneviève Côté
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2013

"Much lightened by its upbeat resolution, a cautionary but not strident discussion starter about responsible resource allocation. (Picture book. 4-7)"
In this companion to the similarly eco-themed Mr. King's Things (2012), a lion-turned-real estate developer recklessly undermines his own foundations. Read full book review >
NONI IS NERVOUS by Heather Hartt-Sussman
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 9, 2013

"A charming, seemingly simple book that gets right to the heart of the matter. (Picture book. 4­-7)"
From the creators of Noni Says No (2011) comes a book about getting through the first day of school and facing one's fears. Read full book review >
MR. KING'S THINGS by Geneviève Côté
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2012

"Waste not, want not. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Mr. King likes to toss out his old things in favor of new ones, until he discovers recycling—with a little help from his friends. Read full book review >
HEY LITTLE BABY! by Heather Leigh
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 3, 2012

"A lovely choice for new babies and their parents. (Picture book. 2-6)"
With a melodic and motherly voice, this gentle and captivating picture book welcomes a little baby into the world. Read full book review >
ELLA MAY AND THE WISHING STONE by Cary Fagan
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 9, 2011

"Thoughtful and touching. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Friendship is hard. Read full book review >
NONI SAYS NO by Heather Hartt-Sussman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 8, 2011

Though young Noni is competent in most areas, when it comes to her best friend Susie, she "absolutely, positively cannot say no." Here is a fine book that explores early friendships from a new angle—how to be a friend without being a doormat. This honest glimpse at the inner workings of young elementary friendships portrays Susie and Noni as ordinary friends—Susie taking the lead in all things and Noni going along with Susie, even when she wants to do something different. Soft collage and watercolor, digitally manipulated, add the right childlike perspective. Noni is surrounded by a red background when she is not speaking her mind, while Susie is assigned sunny, contented yellow. When Noni allows Susie to cut and dye her hair, the red is even more pronounced. And when Noni finally finds her voice, the red extends to Susie herself. Young readers trying to figure out the challenges of friendship and teachers trying to shore up the timid will find a new friend in Noni. Gentle, like Noni herself. (Picture book. 6-9)Read full book review >
TOO MANY FAIRIES by Margaret Read MacDonald
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2010

The magic in this Celtic cognate to "It Could Always Be Worse," summoned by an old woman's complaints about her housework, comes in the shape of crazy-cleaning fairies, who, as soon as they have washed the dishes, swept the floor, made the bed and done the knitting, undo all their work so they can start again. The village wise woman gives the old woman the right advice to both get rid of the fairies and stop her complaints. Using strong construction and repetition in all the right places, the simple text is so artfully composed that it is ready-made for retelling, from the old woman's cantankerous "Work! Work! Work! How I hate it! Hate it! Hate it!" to the onomatopoeic clankety, swishety, flumpety and clickety noises made by the fairies gone berserk. Mitchell's watercolors reflect the text too sweetly, without enough visual clues to make the cute gossamer-winged, roly-poly mischief-makers convincing nuisances, and even the crotchety old woman doesn't look very crotchety. Taken alone, master storyteller MacDonald's work shines. (Picture book/folklore. 4-6)Read full book review >
ME AND YOU by Geneviève Côté
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2009

Not to be confused with another, equally pleasing 2009 book of the same name, by Janet A. Holmes and illustrated by Judith Rossell, this tale of two friends goes ear-to-ear and tail-to-tail between a rabbit and a pig. Standing side by side, each animal is painting a picture and turns to the other, saying: "I wish I were just like you. / My tail would be as curly as a lemon twist. / My tail would be as fluffy as cotton candy." Each spread depicts the silly trade-offs, with the speaker indicated by distinct shifts in typeface, until a mud puddle makes them realize that they really like their differences, which make them even better friends. The spare text is complemented by nuanced, mixed-media illustrations in a soft palette set against a white backdrop, while the loose, energetic lines enact the antics. The banter of the first-person dialogue is childlike and exuberant and will have kids smiling while subtly reinforcing individuality. Simply charming. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
MISSUK’S SNOW GEESE by Anne Renaud
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

In this gentle far North tale, a father departs by dog sled to hunt caribou. His young daughter busies herself at home, sewing a sealskin mitten like her mother. More passionately, emulating her father, she tries to carve a snow goose of soapstone, using her own ulu knife. Failing to "find the graceful bird in the stone," Missuk leaves the igloo for the snowy landscape, where there is a hint of spring. As the returning snow geese fly above, Missuk—for hours—makes bird imprints in the snow with her bundled body. (Readers will correlate these with "snow angels.") Safely home and abed as a storm blows in, Missuk dream-worries about her father. Families will relish this simple telling's child-empowering ending: The next day, father recounts how "a trail of goose shapes" led him home. Côté's watercolor-wash and charcoal pictures warmly illuminate the family's emotional connection against a harshly beautiful landscape that teems with wildlife. Employing her signature stylized white faces, she adds ochre-washed cheeks to telegraph the First Nations family's ethnicity. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
MINN AND JAKE’S ALMOST TERRIBLE SUMMER by Janet S. Wong
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 11, 2008

This summer Jake has opted to go with his mother and little brother to visit his Korean grandmother in his old neighborhood in Los Angeles, thus exempting himself from tightly scheduled camps and lessons. Now he regrets his choice: He cannot reconnect with his old friends, and seems to fall into one humiliating, embarrassing predicament after another. He avoids contacting his best friend at home, Minn, even though he really misses her, leading her to believe that he doesn't care anymore. When she comes to L.A., everything is resolved during a riotous visit to Disneyland. Wong once again employs free verse to create a charming, breezy, compassionate glimpse into the insecurities, misunderstandings and awkwardnesses of children's friendships. Minn and Jake, brother Soup and Grandmother Halmoni are quirky and charming, and their adventures are outrageous and hilarious. Côté's black-and-white cartoons nicely highlight the action and, together with the text, capture the very essence of childhood summers. Good fun. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
THE MAGIC BEADS by Susin Nielsen-Fernlund
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2007

When a little girl living in a shelter has to produce something for Show and Tell, she is filled with anxiety until her imagination takes over. Lillian's tummy flutters with nervous butterflies on her first day of second grade in a new school. Butterflies magnify into grasshoppers when her teacher explains the daily classroom Show and Tell and assigns Fridays to Lillian. As the week advances, the grasshoppers grow into rabbits and then into donkeys and finally into stampeding buffalo as Lillian worries what she's going to show. She has no toys in the shelter where she's living with her abused mother until they can afford an apartment. Watching classmates show off spiffy dolls, scooters, Lego spaceships, robots and action figures, Lillian resents her absent abusive father as well as her mother, who can't afford to buy a new toy. But when Friday arrives, the resilient Lillian relies on her strand of plastic beads and lots of imagination to create the best Show and Tell ever. Simple line-and-watercolor illustrations effectively contrast innocent classroom activities with Lillian's dark inner fears. A talisman for anxious readers. (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >
WITH YOU ALWAYS, LITTLE MONDAY by Geneviève Côté
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2007

Throughout the world, there exist many legends to account for the appearance of the Rabbit in the Moon (a counterpart of the Man in the Moon). In this Are You My Mother-style explanation, Little Monday, a foundling bunny in a blue coat, spends an exhausting day visiting each of the animals in the forest in search of a likely mommy, but none of them seems quite right. " ‘Never mind,' said Little Monday." Roused from slumber by an unknown force, Little Monday sees, in the big bright moon, a rabbit—smiling at him, reassuring him, sending a moonbeam caress. While the story may not seem much of a surprise, Côté's mixed-media work is a wonder. Deceptively simple on its surface, it is expression-filled and elegant in light and line. Analogous hues of blue and green and honeyed tones of gold and brown create a sense of serenity that lets the reader know that all will end well, and her characters' body language—the turn of a head, the tilt of a chin, the cast of a crayon-dot eye—is eloquent (though some of bunny's poses are positively Peter-ish). Sweetly sentimental. (author note) (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
WHAT ELEPHANT? by Geneviève Côté
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

Côté turns the common expression about "ignoring the elephant in the room" into an "Emperor's New Clothes" sort of tale. A young gent named George unhappily goes about coping with the huge pachyderm that has appeared in his house because his neighbors think he's deranged when he tries to tell them it's there. Then, when they see it too, they keep quiet for fear of being thought loopy themselves. Wielding a black crayon with expressive fluency and adding thin washes of color, the author creates tongue-in-cheek scenes of the huge, rotund "guest" cheerily crushing furniture, flooding the house at bathtime and clearing out the kitchen cabinets, as George and his friends stand by with averted eyes. The part of the clear-eyed child in Andersen is played by the elephant's keeper, who rushes in at last to lead it back to the circus. Have George and company learned their lesson? Not to judge from their "Who? Me?" reaction to the pink poodle that then strolls in, carrying a suitcase. Children not yet up to thinking in metaphors may need some explanation, but the theme is certainly worth exploring, as there are always "elephants" around. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
THE LADY OF SHALOTT by Alfred Lord Tennyson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

Côté's illustrations catch the haunting tone of Tennyson's Arthurian lyric, while adding several original touches. Weaving "a magic web of colours gay," the Lady lives in happy isolation in a tower until she catches a glimpse of Lancelot—activating a curse that sends her lifeless body drifting downriver to Camelot. In the sketchy, modernist art, medieval passersby mix with more contemporary ones on the road below Shalott, traveling toward Camelot's high-rise skyline by horse or automobile. And Lancelot cuts a stylish figure, wearing a long duster rather than armor, and goggles pushed up on a plumed hat. Côté also adds a brighter ending: After Lancelot's closing observation that, even in death, "she has a lovely face," a small figure rises on butterfly wings over the city. A classic poem, in an unconventional but sensitive and suitable setting. Includes long notes on poem and illustrator. (Poetry. 10-15)Read full book review >
MINN AND JAKE by Janet S. Wong
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 12, 2003

Tall Minn and small Jake are the Mutt and Jeff of fifth grade. Each one is desperately seeking a true best friend, but neither knows quite how to go about it. Minn is enamored of worms, lizards, and the like, while newcomer Jake cannot abide them. There are some misadventures with lizard catching and worm eating and a practical joke and dare that go terribly wrong, but somehow a friendship grows. Wong tells the story in free verse that is only partially successful. At times it's charming and moving, conveying the two children's insecurities and awkward attempts at understanding each other. But the use of the immediate present tense often renders the language stiff. Côté's black-and-white sketches add a nice touch, but do little to flesh out what is essentially a very slight work. (Fiction. 8-10)Read full book review >