Louis Undercover


All children need to see themselves in a story.  All children deserve to be reassured that other people can make sense of their lives for them.

This story is for all the children in the world who have an alcoholic parent.  Told in chapters with titles like "Four Days Before School's Out," and "Truffle's Accident," the story invites us to share the world of Louis, his little brother, Truffle, his mother and his alcoholic father.  We follow Louis' days at home, at school and with his friends, all the while feeling how the pain and the hopelessness are weighing him down.

What does it feel like to have a father who is drowning in his own tears?  What does it feel like to have a mother who keeps making the coffee and pretending that everything is all right?

Louis watches his father fail.  Louis watches ghost cop cars with his best friend, Bones.  Louis tells Bones about the girl of his dreams, Billie, and his plan to try to talk to her.

We wonder if Louis' dad will get better.  We hope Louis will claim his own bravery and will find the courage to talk to Billie, the amazing girl.

Everything good starts with that first brave step....and a good friend.

So cool this has been done as a graphic novel to put it within the reach of the most reluctant reader.  Pictures reach kids who need to visualize and not simply decode the letters and the words.  So important that we reach the children who are living in alcoholic families and equally important for other children to understand how very, very hard that place is.

160 pages    978-1554988594   Ages 10-14  (Grades 5-9)

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com


In this powerful new graphic novel from Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault, we meet Louis, a young boy who shuttles between his alcoholic dad and his worried mom, and who, with the help of his best friend, tries to summon up the courage to speak to his true love, Billie.


Louis's dad cries ― Louis knows this because he spies on him. His dad misses the happy times when their family was together, just as Louis does. But as it is, he and his little brother, Truffle, have to travel back and forth between their dad's country house and their mom's city apartment, where she tries to hide her own tears.


Thankfully, Louis has Truffle for company. Truffle loves James Brown lyrics, and when he isn't singing, he's asking endless questions. Louis also has his friend Boris, with whom he spots ghost cop cars and spies on the "silent queen," the love of his life, Billie.


When Louis and Truffle go to their dad's for two weeks during the summer, their father seems to have stopped drinking. And when Truffle has a close call from a bee sting, their mother turns up and the reunited foursome spend several wonderful days in New York ― until they reach the end of the road, again.


A beautifully illustrated, true-to-life portrayal of just how complex family relationships can be, seen through the eyes of a wise, sensitive boy who manages to find his own way forward.


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