Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide: Mabel Murple by Sheree Fitch

Mabel Murple is a modern classic in Canadian children’s literature. First published in 1995 by Doubleday Canada, despite being a bestseller and exceedingly popular with young readers, when Doubleday stopped publishing picture books in the late 1990s, Mabel Murple went out of print along with many other well-loved books for young children.

Nova Scotia’s Nimbus Publishing has repackaged and republished Mabel Murple with fresh illustrations by Nova Scotian Sydney Smith. Mabel Murple introduces a new line for Nimbus, as this book and future publications of Fitch’s work will be emblazoned with a special logo heralding the book as “A Sheree Fitch Classic” and enabling a new generation of children to wrap their tongue around “Mabel Murple’s house was purple/So was Mabel’s hair/Mabel Murple’s dog was purple/A purple poodle named Pierre.”

Fitch’s star has been rising in various arms of Canadian literature. A recent novel for adults, Kiss the Joy As It Flies, was nominated for the Stephen Leacock medal for humor and, more recently still, a young adult novel, Pluto’s Ghost, has been drawing rave reviews. “There’s no doubt that the young adult novel is Fitch’s true metier,” the Toronto Star gushed. “Her prose, always refreshingly energetic, is so informed by poetic precision and intensity that it can’t help but surprise... Fitch’s picaresque plot and vivid language ... deliver a tale engaging from beginning to end.”

You can view January Magazine’s 1999 interview with Fitch here.

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