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Groundwood Books

Nice Try, Charlie!

Illustrated by Matt James

For students in grades P - 2 | Published September 01, 2020 | ISBN 9781773061801
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Friendship

Cover of Nice Try, Charlie!

Regular price $21.95 CAD

48 pages | 12 in × 8.75 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

Nice Try, Charlie!

Matt James

A new picture book about friendship and community from Matt James, acclaimed author and illustrator of The Funeral.

With his cart full of treasures and big green hat, Charlie is a neighborhood fixture. When he finds a pie, he sets off to find the owner — and helps some friends along the way.

Poignant and funny, this story is an ode to resourcefulness and the compassion that turns neighbors into friends. Charlie and his friends might not have much — but they have each other.

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

Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

About the Author

Matt James

Matt James is a painter, author/illustrator and musician whose many highly acclaimed children’s books include Yellow Moon, Apple Moon by Pamela Porter (New Mexico Book Award); I Know Here by Laurel Croza (Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award) and its companion volume, From There to Here; and The Stone Thrower by Jael Ealey Richardson. Matt’s illustrations for Northwest Passage, a stunning tribute to the iconic Stan Rogers song, won the Governor General’s Literary Award. He also wrote and illustrated the highly acclaimed book The Funeral. Matt lives in Toronto.

Awards and Praise

Praise for author/illustrator Matt James for Nice Try, Charlie!:

“James uses dry wit, tight pacing, and warmth to turn the story of a neighborhood junk collector into an extraordinary slice of what community can, and does, look like.” — Horn Book

“Charlie is a kind and relatable character, and the illustrations are unique. This book could easily be used in classrooms or the home to spark many interesting discussions.” — CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“[A] wildly colourful, wonderfully engaging story about a group of neighbours coming together in a spirit of camaraderie, shared joy and gentle humour.” — Postmedia News

Praise for author/illustrator Matt James for The Funeral:

Ezra Jack Keats Award Honor Book

New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books

New York Public Library Best Books for Kids

CBC Books Best Canadian YA and Children’s Literature of 2018

Finalist Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award, 2018

“James uniquely and playfully captures the particularities of a child’s perspective.” — Booklist, starred review

“[A] book that gives young viewers a glimpse of the funeral experience but tacitly champions their right to process it in their own way.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

“Enveloping and original, James’ authorial debut offers an honest exploration of a difficult and delicate subject. Exceptional.” — Kirkus, starred review

“In his first outing as author, Canadian artist James examines the way the funeral of a distant relative feels to a child… . [the story] traces with a big heart the way she makes sense of this puzzling event.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Witnessing the acceptance of varied reactions to death and the elements of memorial will help children prepare for or reflect upon their first funeral. A notable portrayal.” ­— School Library Journal, starred review

“Matt James’s (I Know Here) quiet, child’s-eye view of a funeral, with all its mysterious rituals and traditions, is a pitch-perfect introduction to a sometimes-difficult theme… . [A] graceful, beautifully illustrated picture book about death, customs and emotions.” — Shelf Awareness, starred review 

Nice Try, Charlie! Nice Try, Charlie! Nice Try, Charlie!