This private, off-limits diary of a young girl records ideas and feelings that she doesn't want to reveal to anyone else, turning readers into instant voyeurs.
The fictional Marilou writes narrative and simple poetry in a convincing voice. She includes things that make her sad or happy, disappoint her or make her proud, thoughts about friendship and solitude, examples of courage and fears and feelings about growing up, life, war, death, peace, hope and sharing with the world. Two common events prompt many of her musings: the death of her red goldfish and her parents’ announcement that they are expecting another child. These short entries are presented in a variety of handwritten printing styles (no script) and taped in a scrapbook, leaving plenty of white space on each page. They are accompanied by slightly surreal images, usually filling a single page but sometimes spilling over the gutter. Done with a variety of media, some illustrations look like watercolor paintings enhanced with crayon and some collage, others are more textured with brushwork visible. First published in Canada in French, this was shortlisted for a readers' choice award in Atlantic Canada. No translator is credited.
The U.S. publisher, an arm of the American Psychological Association, suggests shared reading to prompt discussion; some readers may prefer to maintain the illusion of learning someone’s secrets, responding to them without adult interference. (Picture book. 7-10)