***/4 – Gabby: Drama Queen (Deakin Review of Children’s Literature)

Gabby Drama Queen front coverThank you to the Deakin Review of Children’s Literature for this thoughtful, smart review, by Leslie Aitken, of Gabby: Drama Queen.

If you want a Gabby book with a bit more plot, a bit more going on–a bit “busier”–than Drama Queen is the Gabby for you.

Three out of four stars!

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Heading with Gabby back to the Rainforest

Winston Stilwell is the incredible publicist at Fitzhenry & Whiteside. He put together this great box of Gabby goodies. The kids will love them!

Winston Stilwell is the incredible publicist at Fitzhenry & Whiteside. He put together this great box of Gabby goodies. The kids will love them! Photo: Cheryl Chen.

One of the best things about reading is getting to share the joy with kids who don’t have many resources.

That’s the case in Montserrat, where storybooks are scarce and a class visit from an author–well, that doesn’t happen much, to say the least.

Illustrator Jan Dolby and I are flying to Montserrat next week, thanks to One World Schoolhouse Foundation’s Rainforest of Reading program. We can’t wait to meet all of the lovely children. We’re bringing Gabby bookmarks, teacher’s guides–and copies of the second Gabby book, Gabby: Drama Queen.

To find out more about the OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation or to volunteer or donate, visit http://www.oneworldschoolhouse.org/.

This blog post explains more about the Rainforest festival we participated in last year. So incredible!

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Join us at the OLA Superconference Jan. 29,10:15 a.m.

Joyce and Jan signing books at the 2014 OLA Superconference.

Joyce and Jan signing books at the 2014 OLA Superconference.

Gabby’s Joyce Grant and Jan Dolby will be signing copies of Gabby: Drama Queen at the Ontario Library Association’s Superconference on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 10:15 a.m.

We’ll be at the Fitzhenry & Whiteside booth, Booth #423/425.

The conference is at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Hall C, and it’s well worth checking out, especially if you’re a teacher, a librarian, or a book lover!

See you there!

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Review of “Drama Queen” by Midwest Book Review

The Midwest Book Review published a wonderful review of Gabby: Drama Queen on its “Picturebook Shelf,” here.

Wait, wait… look at what they said:

“a delightful story filled with quirky colorful illustrations… a fantastic, fun learning resource for language, story writing, art, cooperative board games, and much more.”

You know, I love the midwest.

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Gabby: Drama Queen reviewed by “Readerly”

National Reading CampaignHere is a recent review of Gabby: Drama Queen, by “Readerly,” the blog of the National Reading Campaign.


By Gillian O’Reilly

When Gabby and her friend, Roy, decide to put on a play in the back yard, she grabs her special storybook of useful letters and throws it on the grass. Out bounce letters to help them build a S-T-A-G-E. Roy wants to be a swordfish and fashions a fine costume. Determined that the play should take place in a royal court, Gabby isn’t enthusiastic about his idea until he gathers enough letters to make her a C-R-O-W-N. From there, they continue to use the alphabet for set construction and present their brief –but grandiosely titled– play, “The Perils of Queen Gabriella,” for their neighbour, Mrs. Oldham. One last assemblage of letters results in tea and crumpets for all.

A book like this could seem didactic, but Gabby Drama Queen is definitely not. Author, Joyce Grant, has written a playful story that is a really fine read aloud and, in the process, an enjoyable way to learn a little phonics.

There are also activities at the back of the book, such as a challenge to find the bird on every page, a lesson in how to draw Roy, a board game of blended consonants, and an explanation of the medicine wheel on Roy’s t-shirt.

Illustrator, Jan Dolby, fills the pages with lively colour, goofy action, and tumbling letters in a textured digital collage. Gabby’s wild red braids, springing out at various angles, often reflect her emotions. The crazily coloured bird hides among the chaos of the back yard game. A nice touch is the cheerfully exuberant Roy with his black hair and medicine wheel shirt; it is good to see a First Nations character incorporated seamlessly into a story. (And older readers will not be surprised to learn that Mrs. Oldham with her glasses and crazy hair was inspired by the comedian Phyllis Diller.)

This is the second Gabby book from the team of Grant and Dolby. Here’s hoping we can we look forward to more fun from enthusiastic Gabby and her special storybook of useful letters.

Gillian O’Reilly is the editor of Canadian Children’s Book News and a children’s book author. This review was reprinted with permission. View it on Readerly.


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Gabby: Drama Queen

Gabby: Drama QueenJoin Gabby on another quirky, word-filled adventure!

In Gabby: Drama Queen, Gabby is putting on a play about a queen in a royal court. Her best friend, Roy, is eager to join in the fun.

He declares that he’ll be a… swordfish!

A swordfish? In a play about a royal court?!

Gabby and Roy will have to use their magic word-book to find some common ground.

As with the first Gabby book, there are lots of fun literacy-based activities in the back that parents can do with their child. And we’ll be posting more on this website so please check back with us.

Gabby: Drama Queen is illustrated by Jan Dolby, and published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside.



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Gabby: Drama Queen is now available in stores!

Gabby’s second quirky adventure is now on store shelves.

We haven’t officially launched the book yet, and we’ll let you know when that party will be. (Hint: you’re invited.)

In the meantime, I signed some copies of Gabby and Gabby: Drama Queen at the wonderful Playful Minds toy store on St. Clair Ave. to help them celebrate their 10th anniversary.

Joyce Grant at Playful Minds Nov 2013

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