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Children's Fiction Beginner


by (author) Christine Dencer

illustrated by Jessica Meserve

Simply Read Books
Initial publish date
Feb 2015
Beginner, Dogs, Friendship, Emotions & Feelings
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 9
  • Grade: k to 4
  • Reading age: 5 to 9


Sophie has to make an important delivery to her best friend Stanley. There is just one problem: Stanley has a dog. And Sophie is afraid of dogs. Find out if the power of friendship will be enough to help Sophie confront her fear.

About the authors

Christine Dencer grew up in a small town in New Brunswick where she spent most of her childhood playing outside with her friends or sisters. To her, a lilac bush was never just a lilac bush, a swing set was never just a swing set and snow was not just something white that gave you a day off school once in a while. They were the springboards of endless adventures. Play, laughter, imagination, friendship and family were the foundations of her childhood. Today, they are the foundations of her stories. Christine, a grown-up in body but not in spirit, lives a contented family life in South Surrey, BC with her husband and two daughters. For more information visit

Christine Dencer's profile page

JESSICA MESERVE was born in Maine, studied illustration in Scotland, and worked in publishing as a children’s book designer before pursuing a career as an illustrator. She has illustrated a number of books for children, and is the author-illustrator of four picture books, including Small Sister and Can Anybody Hear Me? Jessica lives with her family in the UK.

Jessica Meserve's profile page


  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Award

Excerpt: Misty (by (author) Christine Dencer; illustrated by Jessica Meserve)

Stanley is my best friend. He lives in the house across the street. I play with Stanley in my front yard every day after school. But we did not always play at my house. We used to play in the big bush in Stanley’s yard. Then Stanley got a dog. I am afraid of dogs. Every day Stanley asks, “Do you want to play in the big bush today?” Every day, I say, “No thanks, Stanley.” I would like to play in the bush in Stanley’s yard but I am afraid of his dog. Stanley’s dog is big and black. Her name is Misty. She sits outside tied to a long rope. When Stanley and I play in my front yard, Misty runs and jumps and barks. “Misty says she wants to play with us,” says Stanley. I do not know what Misty says. I do not speak Woof.

Editorial Reviews

"The first title in this new beginning reader series introduces Sophie and Stanley, neighbors and best friends. Four cumulative chapters tackle the friendship’s first obstacle, Stanley’s new dog Misty. “I would like to play in Stanley’s yard,” says Sophie, “but I am afraid of his dog.” The pair plays in Sophie’s yard instead, temporarily solving the problem, until one day Stanley hurts his arm. Sophie’s class entrusts her to deliver their get-well card to him, which means getting past Misty. The illustrations, with their long lines and soft washes of color along with purposeful layouts and perspective shifts, reinforce the story line while also bringing emotion and resonance to the easy-reader first-person text. Stanley calls out encouragement from his window, and Sophie finally braves the trip into Misty’s territory for her friend. While the picture she drew on Stanley’s card of them playing together—with Misty—is not yet the reality, she has found some initial courage. This gentle story suggests the beginning of a supportive multi-volume friendship." ~ Julie Roach, The Horn Book Magazine

"Misty is a sweet story perfect for those discovering chapter books. The short, single-scene chapters are easy to understand, with pages full of bright, colourful illustrations by Jessica Meserve. The characters of Sophie and Stanley will be relatable to many readers as will the challenges these friends face. Dencer’s own experiences with a black lab like Misty helped to inspire this story, and this personal inspiration adds heart to the tale. Misty is a great start to a promising new series about best friends conquering challenges together. Highly Recommended."
~ CM Magazine, 4/4 Stars Review

Other titles by Jessica Meserve