Books by Marthe Jocelyn

ONE YELLOW RIBBON by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 12, 2019

"A cleverly illustrated wordless outing that is a natural progression for readers of Jocelyn's previous board books. (Board book. 1-3)"
The titular yellow ribbon explores the world. Read full book review >
ONE PIECE OF STRING by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 24, 2017

"Overall, this is a fun and thought-provoking book by a talented illustrator with a knack for wordless storytelling. (Board book. 2-4)"
A piece of string can be many things in this cleverly illustrated wordless board book. Read full book review >
ONE RED BUTTON by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 24, 2017

"All in all, this is a clever, attractive book that parents and children will thoroughly enjoy. (Board book. 1-4)"
A red button falls off a coat and ends up on an adventure. Read full book review >
SAM SORTS by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 14, 2017

"A deceptively simple, joyous introduction to set theory, with lots of other concept practice as a bonus. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Sam's got a mess, but he knows how to have fun cleaning it up: sorting it! Read full book review >
A BIG DOSE OF LUCKY by Marthe Jocelyn
YOUNG ADULT
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"A fresh coming-of-age tale with an unconventional twist. (Historical fiction. 13-17)"
Malou always wondered who her parents were and how she came to be the only colored girl at the small-town orphanage. Read full book review >
VIMINY CROWE'S COMIC BOOK by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 13, 2014

A harmonious blend of narrative and intertwined graphic sequences finds two preteens at a comics convention closer to the action than they ever imagined. Read full book review >
WHAT WE HIDE by Marthe Jocelyn
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 8, 2014

"Poignant and often witty, this novel treats its audience to a nuanced look at the era. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)"
A group of teens alternate narration of this irreverent historical drama set at a Quaker boarding school in England. Read full book review >
SNEAKY ART by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 26, 2013

"Good fun, even for those who do not consider themselves artists. (Nonfiction. 8 & up)"
First there were guerrilla knitters, now sneaky artists. Folks who want to create fun, temporary works of art for public places will have plenty of inspiration here. Read full book review >
ONES AND TWOS by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 10, 2011

With their first collaborative effort, this mother-daughter team proves that they are a duo to watch. Marthe Jocelyn's text is perfect in its simplicity, the short phrases and vocabulary just right for toddler audiences, while the rhythm and rhyme are spot-on. The text loosely follows two young girls and a mother bird through a day, the three often crossing paths. Beginning with, "One bird, two eggs, / One girl, two legs," the tale eventually ends in the dark with, "One nest, / two heads. / Two girls, / one bed." In between, Jocelyn adds a further layer of meaning to the simple concept of counting ones and twos in what she chooses to pair: "One swoops, two walk, / One sings, two talk." Nell Jocelyn's picture-book debut is a visual feast of colors, patterns and textures. Found papers and objects, cut paper, folded elements, newspaper and string are all collaged into a wonderfully cohesive whole. The artwork allows children to see the big picture as well as the details. And are there ever details! A lower border of tiny images provides more matching opportunities, while the larger picture is chock-full of things to keep readers coming back for yet another look. A worthy contribution to any toddler bookshelf…and hopefully just the beginning of a long partnership. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: March 22, 2011

"The title refers to disparaging comments made by Nathaniel Hawthorne in a letter to his editor; Hawthorne was convinced female writers had nothing worthy to say, but this collection consistently proves him wrong. (notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 14 & up)"
Spanning the globe and 1,000 years, Jocelyn profiles extraordinary women whose writing offers fascinating insight into their respective places and times. Read full book review >
FOLLY by Marthe Jocelyn
FICTION
Released: May 11, 2010

Alternating narratives weave a tale of fatalistic misfortune set in Victorian England with an unexpected note of hope striking the final chord. A girl cast out of her home by her stepmother finds a place as a kitchen servant, falls in love with a charming young soldier and is soon terrified to find herself pregnant. Meanwhile, a boy raised in a loving foster family reaches the age at which he must leave them and return to the foundling home of his birth. Careful readers will guess the connection between the two early on, but this will not lessen the impact of this poignant story, which lays bare the ravages of the era's poverty and social stratification while tempering the tone with mischievous humor. Nicely realized secondary characters, particularly a kindly teacher and a jealous maid, add dimension, and the author's note relating her own family history will further create empathy. A thoughtful, accessible and richly detailed read that moves along at a satisfying clip—this will appeal beyond just already-established fans of historical fiction. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)Read full book review >
SAME SAME by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 13, 2009

Giving preschoolers and even aging toddlers food for thought, on each page Slaughter and Jocelyn group three items—all rendered as bright, very simple graphic images in primary colors plus black, white and green—that share a common characteristic: "round things," "things that make music," "things that fly." To create links between groups, each illustrated group includes one member that reappears on the subsequent spread—a tambourine is a "round thing" and a "thing that makes music," a snake is both a "striped thing" and a "long thing" and so on. Unlike the title, which sounds like some sort of pidgin, Jocelyn's terse captions are in plain language; an apple and the Earth are "round things," a dog, an elephant and a chair are "things with four legs." In most cases these are probably superfluous, but at least take away any guesswork. An inviting way of introducing connections and commonalities. (Picture book. 2-4) Read full book review >
WOULD YOU by Marthe Jocelyn
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: July 8, 2008

Sisters Claire and Natalie share a room, clothes and secrets until an accident separates them forever. Pretty and popular, Claire's in a "perpetual good mood" as she anticipates leaving for college. Although Natalie's busy with her summer job as a lifeguard and hanging out with her friends, she feels as though Claire's abandoning her to face 11th grade on her own. Then Claire goes to meet her boyfriend, is hit by a car and ends up on life support in the ICU. Natalie relates the events in the week leading up to and following Claire's accident in the present tense; this device is particularly effective as she describes the profound shock, disbelief and grief as she, their parents and their friends try to cope with the reality of Claire's situation. Afraid to imagine life without her sister, Natalie's honest enough to know Claire's chances of survival are slim. The narrative's strength is in its candor: At one point Natalie sees Claire's new laptop and thinks it will be hers now, then instantly feels remorse. A realistic and very credible account of how one family's life is inexplicably and unexpectedly shattered. (Fiction. 14 & up)Read full book review >
READY FOR SUMMER by Marthe Jocelyn
FICTION
Released: April 8, 2008

Off with the pajamas! It's time to get ready for summer. Brightly patterned fabric collage images of tank top, playsuit, sunblock and sandals—or "nothing at all!"—provide the building blocks to help readers prepare for the season. The busyness of the colors marks this for older babies and toddlers whose vision can accommodate the occasionally subtle contrasts. One of four titles, one for each season. Read full book review >
EATS by Marthe Jocelyn
by Marthe Jocelyn, illustrated by Tom Slaughter
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 9, 2007

The creators of One Some Many (2004) are back, this time with a concept book about what different animals eat. On the left, in black, is the name of the animal; at the bottom right, in white, the food it eats. "Worm / apple / anteater / ants / bees / nectar / bears / fish." From children's favorites of dog, squirrel and monkey, Jocelyn branches out to include a few African animals and some species that are not as much in the spotlight—pandas and whales. Slaughter's crisply outlined cut-paper animals stand out against backgrounds of vivid hues. The simple shapes and spare details will help focus young children's attention on the unique identifying features of each animal and its favorite food, while the large illustrations are perfect for sharing with groups. A good choice for storytime sharing. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
HOW IT HAPPENED IN PEACH HILL by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 13, 2007

In 1924, Annie and her mother, an elegant but fraudulent clairvoyant, move among upstate New York towns, profiting tidily by telling seekers what they want to hear. Annie assists by eavesdropping in town and reporting crucial details about clients to Mama. Newly ensconced in Peach Hill, Mama has Annie assume life as an "idiot," with roving eye and drooling mouth, the better to avoid detection. Clever Annie chafes under this odious burden, and when truant officer Mrs. Newman deposits her in first grade, she orchestrates a "cure" for herself, one-upping the furious Mama. Jocelyn seamlessly weds Annie's lively narration with plenty of well-constructed dialogue, as Annie struggles between her practiced role as shill and newly beckoning experiences: tenth grade, friendships and magnetic classmate Sammy. Even secondary characters emerge whole, with housegirl Peg mothering Annie far more lovingly than Mama, suspicious Mrs. Newman surreptitiously proffering aid and ostensibly wealthy Mr. Poole meeting his match in lovely, scheming "Madame Caterina." The strife of Helen, abused daughter of a more dangerous charlatan, contrasts soberingly with Annie's troubles. Colorful and engrossing. (Fiction. 11-15)Read full book review >
ABC x 3 by Marthe Jocelyn
ABC BOOKS
Released: Oct. 11, 2005

Illustrated with simple paper-cuts in bright, high contrast colors, this trilingual alphabet pairs upper and lower case letters in a sans serif face with appropriate, if sometimes unexpected, shapes, animals or items captioned in English, Spanish and French. Though neither "ç" nor any accented vowels get separate entries, Spanish letters "Ch," "ll" and "ñ" do, with one-word labels "chaqueta," "lluvia" and "niños." Non-Spanish speakers will have to figure out the meanings of these for themselves, however, from pictures that are abstract enough to leave some room for confusion. Furthermore, six of the other examples—Jaguar, Kiwi, Quetzal, Radio, Windsurfer and Zigzag—are identical in all three languages. An uneven outing from a team that usually does better, but refreshing for its multicultural outlook. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
OVER UNDER by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 8, 2005

Slaughter explores more concepts with the same supersaturated colors and cut-paper, predominantly animal, forms that make One Some Many (2004) and 1 2 3: A Counting Book (2003) such toddlers' delights. Jocelyn's rhymed text, running to just a word or brief phrase per page, adds both continuity and a sense of verbal rhythm to go with the vibrancy of the art: "over / under / up / and down / inside / outside / country / town / above is sky / below is ground." With just enough extraneous detail to keep it from being pedantic, this will inspire plenty of repeat visits as it enriches younger viewers' verbal and visual vocabularies. (Picture book. 2-4)Read full book review >
ONE SOME MANY by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 8, 2004

A combination concept and counting book, this would work better if it were one or the other. The concepts of "some," "many," and "a few" are introduced to young readers but without the repetition that would make them truly stick in the minds of children. One pear stands alone, three pears are some, while a tree full of pears represents many. A "few" is presented as being more than two—it might be three, four, or more. From this point, the text diverges into a counting book. Once reaching ten, the story asks the never-answered questions, "is ten some? / is ten many?" Slaughter's bright, bold paper cuts are reminiscent of Matisse and are a good bridge to the world of modern art. Too bad it tries to be so many things. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2004

In 1901, Mable, 14, and her older sister, Viola, board with a dairy-farm family in Ontario. Viola is the new schoolteacher in Sellerton, and Mable will assist her. Their widowed mother counts on Viola's wages to help support the children left at home. Mable confides all of this, laced with her own irrepressible curiosity and high spirits, to her diary. A mysterious neighbor, Mrs. Rattle, is young, wears the new, scandalous bloomer costume, and owns a typewriter. Mable is dazzled, and more so when she learns that Mrs. Rattle's reading circle disguises a group of suffragists. Mrs. Rattle leads a climactic strike at the local cheese factory, which the farmers depend on as a market for their milk. As she wrestles with new ideas and her sister's prissy ways, Mable vents her feelings in a serial that she sends to a friend back home, full of heroes and villains, romance and royalty, allowing alert readers to see ever more deeply into her emotions. An interesting ploy, and if the inner workings are a bit too obvious, still a good read. (Historical fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
A DAY WITH NELLIE by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 15, 2002

Busy Nellie wakes up in a tangle of blankets ready to start a full day. First on the agenda is deciding on the appropriate attire. Every type of clothing presents itself and Nellie selects an outfit. Breakfast is next and, for Nellie, it's an introduction to textures as well as food: "crispy cereal o's, squishy egg, crunchy toast fingers." Pausing briefly in her busy schedule, she takes a moment to say hello to her friends. Directions such as out, in, on, and under are illustrated as Nellie goes about her morning playing. "Nellie gets tired . . . cranky . . . stubborn . . . mad!" It's definitely time for a nap. Lunchtime follows and the quick bite is a good excuse to do some counting: "3 baby carrots, 4 cookies, and 24 ants." The afternoon is filled with colors and the alphabet with one final nod to cause and effect with the introduction of mud and soap. A quick dinner and a story with Daddy finish off this busy toddler's day and then it's time for bed. Bright, crisp, multimedia collages are at once simple and effective at conveying the quick lessons on every page. Visually stimulating and interesting, readers will get a taste of many concepts and terms as they spend a day with Nellie. Fast, clever, and fun. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
HANNAH’S COLLECTIONS by Marthe Jocelyn
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

Readers with a penchant for collecting things will be enthralled by Jocelyn's (Earthly Astonishments, 2000, etc.) youthful hobbyist and her eclectic assortment of objects. A classroom assignment impels Hannah to examine her bric-a-brac in search of the ultimate collection to bring to school. Hannah's found treasures are a conglomeration of discarded objects that could easily be dismissed as waste materials by the unimaginative: used popsicle sticks, miscellaneous seashells, and stray feathers become the medium for her creative expression. With each collection meticulously arranged and counted, young readers are provided with an intriguing foray into counting. Ultimately, Hannah's search inspires her to try a new venue—sculptures—to exhibit some of her favorite things. Woven out of the minutiae of everyday life, Jocelyn's collages celebrate the ingenuity of children. Each page highlights one of Hannah's collections. Organized to resemble a scrapbook, the text is printed on a white rectangular piece of paper, framed by a colorful cut-out border and surrounded by the items described. The diverse objects, sorted out via individual characteristics and grouped accordingly, form fascinating studies in design, texture, and symmetry; popsicle sticks are laid out in geometric patterns while random buttons are arranged into neat categories of shape, size, and color. A dazzling book to stimulate reader's imaginations and creativity. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
EARTHLY ASTONISHMENTS by Marthe Jocelyn
Released: March 1, 2000

A small but plucky and resourceful heroine stars in this novel, set in the era of P.T. Barnum and his extraordinary exhibits, from Jocelyn (Hannah and the Seven Dresses, p. 884, etc.). Josephine, only 22 inches high, is sold by her own parents to a young ladies boarding school, with a headmistress who makes Sara Crewe's Miss Minchin appear angelic. The place is a horror, for Miss MacLaren uses the tuition money to line her own pockets, spending little on her students and less on the house and help. Josephine escapes to the city, to become part of the Museum of Earthly Astonishments along with Charley, an albino boy, and his mother, the kindly Nelly. Josephine learns her part and plays it well, a living doll dressed in historical costumes; Charley and Nelly become her family. But Miss MacLaren tracks her down, of course, a development that leads to more daring escapes, vivid newspaper stories, and touching friendships. Set in and around Coney Island and the Lower East Side of New York City in the 19th century, the novel is full of historical color while focusing on a tiny person whose courage and inner fortitude are very large, indeed. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >