Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Fiction Imagination & Play

A Few Blocks

by (author) Cybèle Young

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Oct 2011
Imagination & Play, City & Town Life, Siblings
Recommended Age
4 to 7
Recommended Grade
p to 2
Recommended Reading age
4 to 7
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2011
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2011
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2011 and a finalist for the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award

"It was time for Ferdie and Viola to go to school. But Ferdie had eleven cars to wash, the highest tower ever to build and a snake drawing that wasn't done . . ."

Ferdie doesn't want to go to school, but go to school he must, and fortunately his imaginative older sister Viola paves the way. She tells him to put on his superfast cape and his rocket blaster boots and then off they go! Time and again Viola uses her rich imagination to keep Ferdie on his way. But even big sisters get tired sometimes, and so Ferdie, following her example, draws on his own inner resources andimagination to keep them going.

Told through the eyes of a child, this ordinary event is transformed into a wonderful adventure. The children's fantasy world is beautifully illustrated with Cybele Young's intricate 3-D paper sculptures, created from paintings she made of contemporary street scenes.

About the author

Cybèle Young is an award-winning artist who exhibits her exquisite paper sculpture (Japanese paper printed with etched copperplates) internationally. She has illustrated several books for children, including Pa’s Harvest by Jan Andrews, which was nominated for the Governor General’s Award (Illustration) and Jack Pine by Christopher Patton. She has recently written and illustrated A Few Blocks, a Kirkus Best Children’s Book and winner of the Alcuin Award; Ten Birds, winner of the Governor General’s Award (Illustration); and A Few Bites, which received starred reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly and was named an OLA Best Bet. Cybèle lives with her family in Toronto./p

Cybèle Young's profile page


  • Short-listed, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award
  • Commended, Kirkus Best Children's Books of 2011

Editorial Reviews

Beautifully illustrated with distinctive etched-paper collages, this is the rare story in which siblings offer mutual support rather than ripping each other to psychological bits...celebrates creative play and sibling cooperation in a way that feels very real.

The New York Times


School Library Journal

...a rich fantasy world.

Pickle Me This

Young’s latest attempts to be many things—a foray into a child’s imagination, a touching tale of siblings and a stage for the author’s elaborate paper sculptures—and it succeeds masterfully in doing all three...David Wiesner fans should give this a try...Amazing.


Many picture books are built on the foundation of children's boundless imagination, and in her first solo effort, illustrator [Young] handles the theme with exceptional grace.

Publisher's Weekly

Young’s story is inventive and very readable . . .The joy of imagination is clear throughout the book . . .The illustrations are exceptional.

Waking Brain Cells

In A Few Blocks, Young transforms an ordinary event into an epic adventure. Recommended.

CM Magazine

A rather ordinary event is visually transformed with the aid of amazing 3-D cut paper illustrations...

Read it again, mom!

...ingeniously constructed in collage and watercolours...

The Globe and Mail

...intricate, glowing, imagination-stretching...

Jen Robinson's Book Page

In A Few Blocks she (Young) refreshingly shows the special bond that exists between siblings.

The Cath in the Hat

Other titles by Cybèle Young

Related lists