The Adventures of Miss Petitfour

Anne Michaels, illus. by Emma Block. Tundra, $17.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-77049-500-5

In her first children’s book, adult author Michaels presents five stories driven equally by whimsy and self-aware humor. They concern Miss Petitfour, a lithe, redheaded young woman with 16 cats and a tendency to go where the wind takes her. Quite literally: she travels by catching breezes with a tablecloth, her cats trailing behind her like a kite’s tail. Michaels is fond of digressions, one of many vocabulary words she highlights as the narrative comments on the peculiarities of storytelling (“Certain words are like twists of crumpled paper jammed into the hole in the bottom of a leaky pail, to keep the story from spilling out too quickly”). Block’s delicate color illustrations are ideally suited to Miss Petitfour’s subdued and decidedly eccentric adventures, which involve everything from an empty marmalade jar to a lost stamp. Ages 6–9.