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Groundwood Books

Louis Undercover

Written by Fanny Britt • Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

For kids 10 - 14 years old | Published October 01, 2017 | ISBN 9781554988594
JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / General

Cover of Louis Undercover

Regular price $19.95 CAD

160 pages | 11.25 in × 8.5 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

Louis Undercover

Fanny Britt • Isabelle Arsenault

A stunning graphic novel from the award-winning creators of Jane, the Fox and Me.

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.

Key Text Features
speech bubbles

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

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

About the Creators

Fanny Britt

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

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.

Awards and Praise

"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. " — Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

"This nuanced tale of an observant, sensitive boy finding his own brand of strength is bittersweet and beautifully composed." — Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

"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. " — School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

"A deceptively complex book — simple enough for children, but with enough layers to reward repeated readings by adults." — Foreword Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"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. " — Horn Book, STARRED REVIEW

  • Winner The Best American Comics, 2019
  • Commended ALSC Notable Children's Books, 2018
  • Commended School Library Journal Top 10 Graphic Novels, 2017
  • Commended Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year, 2018
  • Short-listed Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award, 2018
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