The Invitation

The Invitation

A review of The Invitation by Stacey May Fowles

Published on March 16, 2023

Fern is not a fan of surprises, so when an unexpected yellow envelope arrives in her mailbox, she is worried. “Questions clouded her mind. What if something’s happened? Fern wondered. What if it’s bad news? What if, what if—. With a little help from her imaginative friend, Fawn, she finally gathers the courage to open the envelope and finds an invitation to a special exhibition at the museum. Immediately, she’s overcome with social anxiety. 

The Invitation

The Invitation
Stacey May Fowles
Illustrated by Marie Lafrance

Groundwood Books
$19.99
cloth
40pp
9781773066615

While all kids worry sometimes, many struggle with persistent worries. It can be a challenge for kids to express these worries, and difficult to comfort them. Stacey May Fowles’ debut picture book provides one model to shift their mindsets: find an outgoing, easygoing friend who will affirm your worries while proposing an alternative narrative. As the plot evolves, a cast of fantastical characters tag along for the ride and Fern’s anxieties melt away. Marie Lafrance’s illustrations elevate the story. Fern comes alive on the page as a magical, botanical being with expressive (worried) eyebrows and storm clouds in her foliage bouffant.

Though anxieties are not easily chased away, The Invitation asks kids to trust in their abilities to become comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity.mRb

Meaghan Thurston is a Montreal-based arts and science writer, co-editor of the anthology With the World to Choose From: Seven Decades of the Beatty Lecture at McGill University, and mother to two budding readers.

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