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Jane, the Fox & Meby Isabelle Arsenault
Synopses & Reviews
Hand#233;land#232;ne has been inexplicably ostracized by the girls who were once her friends. Her school life is full of whispers and lies and#151; Hand#233;land#232;ne weighs 216; she smells like BO. Her loving mother is too tired to be any help. Fortunately, Hand#233;land#232;ne has one consolation, Charlotte Bronteand#8217;s Jane Eyre. Hand#233;land#232;ne identifies strongly with Janeand#8217;s tribulations, and when she is lost in the pages of this wonderful book, she is able to ignore her tormentors. But when Hand#233;land#232;ne is humiliated on a class trip in front of her entire grade, she needs more than a fictional character to allow her to see herself as a person deserving of laughter and friendship.
Leaving the outcastsand#8217; tent one night, Hand#233;land#232;ne encounters a fox, a beautiful creature with whom she shares a moment of connection. But when Suzanne Lipsky frightens the fox away, insisting that it must be rabid, Hand#233;land#232;neand#8217;s despair becomes even more pronounced: now she believes that only a diseased and dangerous creature would ever voluntarily approach her. But then a new girl joins the outcastsand#8217; circle, Gand#233;raldine, who does not even appear to notice that she is in danger of becoming an outcast herself. And before long Hand#233;land#232;ne realizes that the less time she spends worrying about what the other girls say is wrong with her, the more able she is to believe that there is nothing wrong at all.
This emotionally honest and visually stunning graphic novel reveals the casual brutality of which children are capable, but also assures readers that redemption can be found through connecting with another, whether the other is a friend, a fictional character or even, amazingly, a fox.
"The pain that cruel schoolmates inflict on solitary, book-loving girls is familiar territory, but Britt and Arsenault's take on it is worth a second look. Tormented by her classmate GeneviÃ¨ve — 'I stuck a fork in your butt, but you're so fat you didn't feel a thing!!' — HÃ©lÃ¨ne retreats into the pages of Jane Eyre. 'Everyone needs a strategy,' she observes, 'even Jane Eyre.' Arsenault (Virginia Wolf) uses velvety reds and blacks for HÃ©lÃ¨ne's ruminations on BrontÃ«'s novel; elsewhere, she renders landscapes, interiors, and portraits of HÃ©lÃ¨ne and her classmates in delicate grays. A small miracle presages change as HÃ©lÃ¨ne is approached by a wild fox on a school camping trip: 'Its eyes are so kind I just about burst.' Then a classmate named GÃ©raldine absconds (not entirely believably) from the mean girls and befriends HÃ©lÃ¨ne. Arsenault signals the change by introducing the fragile green of new leaves into her monochromatic landscapes. Subordinate characters are lovingly drawn, and time and place references (the McGarrigle Sisters, the Bay department store) add piquancy. More than a few readers will recognize themselves in HÃ©lÃ¨ne and find comfort. Ages 10 — 14. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Fanny Britt is a playwright, author and translator. She has a dozen plays to her credit. She has also translated over fifteen contemporary plays and several other works of literature. She writes childrenand#8217;s books and has published, among others, the Fand#233;licien series with La Courte and#201;chelle. Jane, the Fox and Me is her first graphic novel. She lives in Montreal with her family.
Isabelle Arsenault is a very talented Quebec illustrator, who has garnered an impressive number of awards and international recognition. She has illustrated several books, including Le coeur de monsieur Gauguin (Governor Generaland#8217;s Award) and My Letter to the World and Other Poems (Governor Generaland#8217;s Award Finalist, IRA Childrenand#8217;s Choices), and she has won the Grand Prix for illustration (Magazines du Quand#233;bec) for six years running.
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