A review of Hopscotch by Marie-Louise Gay

Published on July 5, 2023

The latest addition to her extensive repertoire of children’s books, Marie-Louise Gay’s Hopscotch is a story about connection and belonging. With the playful contrast between bursts of colour and monochromatic tones in her artwork, the veteran author-illustrator does a fantastic job leading readers in and out of the imaginary worlds of Ophelia, a brilliant young soul with the potential to fly.

Marie-Louise Gay

Groundwood Books

For Ophelia, adapting to unfamiliar settings is nothing new. With parents who are often on the move, what Ophelia seems to lack in her sense of stability is found with the connection to her neighbour’s dog, Jackson. When she wakes up one day to find the small white dog suddenly gone, Ophelia holds on to the hope of Jackson’s return. After receiving news that her family must relocate once again, the thought of reuniting with Jackson is her only shield from the frightening creatures that lurk in the dark while between homes.

The apprehensive, but brave, Ophelia’s next feat is starting at a new school where she must confront her biggest challenge yet: learning French. Hopscotch brings to light the incredible capacity for children to use their creativity and imagination to help them through times of uncertainty. As Ophelia begins to settle into her new environment, she bids Jackson a warm and loving “au revoir!” in her dreams, signalling a newfound sense of security as she begins to read and write in her new language.mRb

Phoebe Yī Lìng is a freelance writer, editor, and full-time explorer. She currently works with the Nunavik Inuit community as a Gladue writer and sometimes spends her time dabbling in experimental performance or marvelling at the complexities of intra/interpersonal communication.



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