Wake up, Nellie! The fun is about to begin. First, there’s deciding what to wear. Then there’s breakfast with all kinds of shapes and textures and tastes. From indoor play in a made-up train, to a trip to the park and a bedtime cuddle with Daddy, Nellie’s day is full of discoveries.
Marthe Jocelyn’s bright collages incorporate a feast of concepts for small children to explore. With so much to look at and talk about, A Day with Nellie is sure to be a favorite with the very young and with the people who take care of them.
About Marthe Jocelyn
When I was a child, I liked to read books about ordinary children who stumbled across enchantment. I really thought that if I looked hard enough, I might find a magic nickel or a secret room behind the bookcase or a gnarled gnome whom only I could see. As I grew older, I felt the same thrill of seeing mysteries unveiled when I went to the theatre or read a book. In my childhood activities, I played with dolls way past the normal age, made dioramas out of junk scraps, directed backyard plays with casts of neighborhood kids, and was always, always reading–only as an adult can I clearly see my pursuit of illusion.
When I was 14, I spent a year in a Quaker boarding school in England, encountering a world utterly different from my own, no magic necessary. I learned the advantage of being a stranger; I created a new character for myself, far from my family and not dependent on anyone’s preconceptions. This later fed my approach to fiction: My heroines are small part “me” and large part invention of who I’d like to be, or to have been.
My earliest chapter books (the Invisible trilogy) were about an ordinary child who stumbles across enchantment. My next several books were historical novels (Earthly Astonishments, Mable Riley, and How It Happened in Peach Hill), set in worlds utterly different from my own. It’s easy to see in retrospect that exploring alternate realities began as a game in childhood and eventually became a consuming pastime, otherwise known as research. I love doing research. I depend on what I learn not only for flavor and accuracy of details, but also for the occasional serendipitous discovery that alters the plot of a story.
But then we come to my most recent novel, Would You. It is a complete departure from any of my other stories, because its inception was in the accident that gravely injured my sister when I was 20 years old and she was 27. Paula was hit by a car and remained comatose for several weeks. When she emerged, she was severely brain-damaged and a paraplegic. Ten years later, she was again hit by a car–in her wheelchair–and killed.
Friends were concerned that Would You would be too difficult to write. In fact, it was the easiest book I’ve tackled yet. I didn’t have to worry about plot! The characters are teenagers and the main challenge was to capture their irreverence and humor alongside the tragedy.
The friendship between the sisters, Natalie and Claire, is inspired by that of my own two daughters. As a mother, I delight in the love they have for each other. It is impossible not to think about my own sister and what I have lost. But here I am, 30 years later, having a fine life, and surrounded with the alternate reality that only teenagers can provide. I hope that I have written an elegy for my sister and an homage to my children.
“Jocelyn's charming, intricate collages magically turn cloth, buttons, and other materials into lively, colorful, multidimensional scenes. Children will enjoy the pictures and relate to this day in the life of a typical pre-schooler.”
–School Library Journal
“…delightfully child–friendly…There are so many things to see and so many different objects…used to make the pictures that numerous readings will be welcomed.”
“A Day With Nellie is a delightful picture book… Strong, playful color illustrations resembling paper cutout models make this a particularly vibrant and happy tale for beginning readers.”
“The book irresistibly draws the child in and encourages the reader to point and name objects. Marthe Jocelyn’s cloth collage is cheerful and child-like… The end-papers…are joyful and inviting.”
–Books in Canada
“Marthe Jocelyn has surely been a mother of a pre-schooler, for her simple text about the rhythms and choices of a small girl’s day is not only fun, it rings true…Who could resist this beautiful book?”
–Children’s Book News
“As with her stunning Hannah books, Marthe Jocelyn has again crafted delightful child-appealing collages to accompany her text… What distinguishes this catalogue of preschool activities…is the strength of its illustrations… This book will be sure to be a winner with the preschool set. Highly Recommended.”
“[Young readers] will see a little bit of themselves in Nellie’s routines and A Day with Nellie is sure to spark interest and discussion. Even better than the text, however, are the illustrations…that will attract the readers (and listeners) to the story… A Day with Nellie is sure to delight children and adults alike…I highly recommend this book for school and public libraries.”
“…a charming new book for preschoolers. Jocelyn’s trademark collage illustrations are perfect for this age group: simple and uncluttered in design, yet rich in texture and pattern…”
–Quill & Quire
“Very little children…will enjoy Canadian Marthe Jocelyn’s collage-illustrated story…”
“…a sweet new concept book for toddlers…Jocelyn’s unusual and appealing collage-art style of illustration incorporates fabric and other items for a fun 3-D effect, and the simple text depicting young Nellie’s activities from morning til night is just right for two–and three–year–olds.”
“Nellie introduces us to her wonderful world…There is sure to be animated discussion as this book is shared. Young readers will note that Nellie’s day has much in common with their own. The vibrant, textured collages are quite extraordinary…”