Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Please Louise! by Frieda Wishinsky & Marie-Louise Gay

Frieda Wishinsky is one of those wonderful as well as versatile authors and she has another hit on her hands. Having written picture books, juvenile novels, and even biographies, she has recently teamed up with the quirky and equally wonderful Marie-Louise Gay for a gem of a picture book, Please Louise! Anyone with siblings will perfectly understand why Louise drives her big brother Jake crazy. She is always underfoot, invading his room, playing with his toys, bouncing on his bed, and even hanging from his chandelier. When he goes outside, or course Louise follows.

Jake's only escape is closing his eyes to shut Louise out. He wishes his sister were a dog. "A dog wouldn't dance into his room./ A dog wouldn't pound on his door./ A dog wouldn't talk all day." But, Jake panics when he opens his eyes to find his little sister gone. He frantically searches everywhere for her, but instead finds a strange little dog who exuberantly jumps into his arms. Did he turn his little sister into a dog? A contrite Jake wishes again, this time "Please Louise./ Don't be a dog.../Please Louise./ Come Back...Please, Louise./ Be my little sister again,".

Wishinsky's well crafted text deftly sidesteps the sentimentality trap and perfectly paints the frustrations and joys of sibling relationships. It is well matched by Gay's zany pencil and watercolor illustrations which capture Louise's boundless energy and enthusiastic affection for her big brother as well as Jake's pull-your-hair-out frustration.

Once you read Please Louise! you, like me, will be hoping that Wishinsky & Gay have many more projects up their creative sleeves.

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