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The Beatrice Books

My mother-in-law Beatrice Cote Joanisse, the original Beatrice

The three picture books in this series are derived from French-Canadian folklore and set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the days of the lumber camps. They feature the adventures of a very special child, clever and brave, who “lives up the hill with her mother” and is always at the ready to use her wits against giants, lutins and even Pere Noel.
Gorgeously illustrated by Heather Solomon, they are available for purchase here.

   “If I ever had any doubts about whether children still crave simply told, oral-tradition stories in their overly technologized, over-stimulated world, the experience of reading this book to children in schools has erased those doubts. Something kicks in that I can see on their faces when Beatrice first walks up to the sleeping giant and then takes a step even closer to say: “Good afternoons, Mister Giant, Sir. I have come to make a bet with you!”

-From Margaret Willey’s acceptance speech,
The 2002 Charlotte Zolotow Award for Clever Beatrice

Other Awards:
Parent’s Choice Award
Los Angeles Time Best Book Award
Horn Book Fanfare Award

“I accept this award with joy and a deep appreciation for brave and clever children everywhere and with gratitude to the award committee for recognizing the healing and redemptive power of pure story.”

-From Margaret Willey’s acceptance speech,
Anne Izard Storytellers Choice Award for Clever Beatrice and the Best Little Pony

A celebration of Beatrice’s northwoods Christmas Traditions.
"Christmas was coming to the far north," begins this graceful tale, in which Clever Beatrice promises three children from the village a bell from Pere Noel's sleigh, a button from his cape, and even a snippet of his beard.”

In this beautifully written Christmas story from the Clever Beatrice series, Margaret Willey has once again taken us into the world of the Canadian far north where snow is abundant, lumbering is the work of fathers, traditions are valued and children are awaiting the coming of Pére Noël at Christmas. Highly recommended.
-CM Review, University of Manitoba

Why French Canadian Folktales?

My husband is French Canadian; my children are half French Canadian and so I was very interested and inspired by the folklore of French Canada. But I have loved all folk and fairy tales since I was a little girl. In fact my most recent picture book is a version of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears.’