In this powerful new graphic novel from Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault, we meet Louis, a young boy who shuttles between his alcoholic dad and his worried mom, and who, with the help of his best friend, tries to summon up the courage to speak to his true love, Billie.
Louis’s dad cries — Louis knows this because he spies on him. His dad misses the happy times when their family was together, just as Louis does. But as it is, he and his little brother, Truffle, have to travel back and forth between their dad’s country house and their mom’s city apartment, where she tries to hide her own tears.
Thankfully, Louis has Truffle for company. Truffle loves James Brown lyrics, and when he isn’t singing, he’s asking endless questions. Louis also has his friend Boris, with whom he spots ghost cop cars and spies on the “silent queen,” the love of his life, Billie.
When Louis and Truffle go to their dad’s for two weeks during the summer, their father seems to have stopped drinking. And when Truffle has a close call from a bee sting, their mother turns up and the reunited foursome spend several wonderful days in New York — until they reach the end of the road, again.
A beautifully illustrated, true-to-life portrayal of just how complex family relationships can be, seen through the eyes of a wise, sensitive boy who manages to find his own way forward.
FANNY BRITT is a writer, playwright, and translator. She has written a dozen plays and translated more than fifteen. She is the winner of the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Award in Drama for her play Bienveillance. Jane, the Fox and Me, her first graphic novel, was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award in Children’s Literature — Text, won a Libris Award, a Joe Shuster award, and was on the New York Times Best Illustrated Books list.
Isabelle Arsenault is an internationally renowned children’s book illustrator whose work has won many awards. Her books include Alpha, Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear, Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky, Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol and Migrant by Maxine Trottier.
Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault first collaborated on the graphic novel Jane, the Fox and Me, winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustration (French) and the Joe Shuster Awards for Best Writer and Best Artist. It was also named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book.
An unflinching, delicate portrait of a boy and his broken family.
Britt writes with perception about the torment of first love and the pain felt by children caught up in a foundering marriage. … Arsenault excels at capturing characters in the grip of powerful emotions they’re trying to conceal.
. . . a graceful exploration of the frightening fragility and tentative resilience of preteen boys.
A deceptively complex book — simple enough for children, but with enough layers to reward repeated readings by adults.
Arsenault's symbolic use of color and animated illustrations breathe life into Britt's quirky, beautiful story, which emphasizes that love is the bravest act of all.
This nuanced tale of an observant, sensitive boy finding his own brand of strength is bittersweet and beautifully composed.
An engagingly thoughtful and thought-provoking read from beginning to end.
The collaborators behind Jane, the Fox & Me have crafted another poignant picture book–sized graphic novel, this time about alcoholism, family separation, and the meaning of bravery.
Praise for Louis Undercover:
Best American Comics 2019
Praise for Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault:
“Readers will be delighted to see Helene’s world change as she grows up, learning to ignore the mean girls and realizing that, like Jane, she is worthy of friendship and love.” School Library Journal, starred review
“Hélène’s emotional tangle is given poignant expression through Arsenault’s pitch-perfect mixed-media art...[Her] story is sweetly comforting and compelling.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review
“Britt’s poetic prose captures Hélène’s heartbreaking isolation . . . [A] brutally beautiful story.” Horn Book, starred review