Isabelle Arsenault's illustration style is unique and, with her new picture book Colette's Lost Pet she proves she is a unique storyteller as well. Colette's family moves to Mile End, a city neighborhood of apartment buildings, narrow back yards and alleys. With a firm and frustrated, "For the last time, NO PET!" her mother sends Colette out into the backyard and tells her to explore her new neighborhood. Running into two boys in the alley, Colette begins spinning a story about a lost pet she is looking for. The more questions the curious kids ask, the bigger the story gets, and the more kids get involved. Soon, Colette is part of a pack of kids winding through the neighborhood looking for her "truly amazing" lost pet. When Colette's mother calls her in for dinner, she sadly begins to comply. Maybe she thinks they know she was making up a story, maybe she thinks they won't want to be friends with her if she doesn't need them to help look for her lost pet. Either way, her sadness is palpable as she slumps back toward home. But, the gang of kids prove her wrong, making plans to, "explore the jungle" tomorrow!
It's rare that a picture book that begins with a lie doesn't end with some kind of lesson and, while I suppose, if pressed, you could pull some kind of lesson from Colette's Pet, I hate picture books with lessons. I prefer to be carried along by Colette and her storytelling skills and enjoy the marvelous illustrations, of which I could find very few, in this marvelous book!