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Children's Fiction New Experience


illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Aug 2023
New Experience, Imagination & Play, Emotions & Feelings
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 6
  • Grade: p to 1


When her family must move once more, Ophelia uses her imagination to make magic out of a scary situation.

Giant rabbits with sharp teeth circle the old motel where they are staying. Ophelia can also hear crow-witches cackling from the trees. And when it’s time to go to her new school, she encounters an ogre who blocks the road with his giant ogre laughs.

But most frightening of all is when Ophelia is left in her new class and realizes that everyone speaks French. Except her.

The kids stare, and Ophelia feels like a fish in a fishbowl. But equipped with the magic of a sheet of white paper and a rainbow of pencils, she will find a way to cast her own spells over the class.

Inspired by events from her own childhood, beloved children’s author-illustrator Marie-Louise Gay weaves a wonderful tale of imagination, creativity and resilience as the keys to children’s power in an uncertain world.


Key Text Features



Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:


With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.


Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

About the author

MARIE-LOUISE GAY has achieved international acclaim as an author and illustrator of children’s books. She has won many awards, including two Governor General’s awards, the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. She has also been nominated for the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Marie-Louise’s very popular Stella and Sam series has been translated into more than fifteen languages and is loved by children all over the world. Her recent books include Any Questions? and Short Stories for Little Monsters. She lives in Montreal.

Marie-Louise Gay's profile page

Editorial Reviews

An endearing, reassuring picture book for kids facing their own first-day-of-school jitters.


The use of hopscotch to help Ophelia "hop" through her challenges was creatively used.

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database

Hopscotch is a thoughtful, creative and magical picture book.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

Marie-Louise Gay's distinctive artwork is a perfect complement to this story about overcoming fears with dreams and creativity.

Calgary Herald

Marie-Louise Gay has amused and enthralled children for over 20 years.

Winnipeg Free Press

Gentle encouragement to embrace life's inevitable changes.

Kirkus Reviews

Gay conveys with perceptive power a contrast between the anxious fantasy of the child's world and the reality of an adult's.

Publishers Weekly

Hopscotch brings to light the incredible capacity for children to use their creativity and imagination to help them through times of uncertainty.

Montreal Review of Books

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