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Children's Fiction General

Give Maggie a Chance

by (author) Frieda Wishinsky

illustrated by Dean Griffiths

Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Initial publish date
Apr 2004
Recommended Reading age
5 to 8
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2004
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


When push comes to shove, timid Maggie is determined to overcome her catty rival!

Now that she can read, Maggie is eager to show her new teacher. But when Maggie is called to the front of the class, her knees shake like jelly, her mouth dries up like a desert, and she can't utter a sound. She's forced to sit down while snooty Kimberly takes over and reads with ease. And the next day is no better. When called on, a miserable Maggie silently prays for the floor to swallow her whole or a rocket to blast her into space. And Sneering old Kimberly, who coolly remarks that she's been reading since she was a baby, triumphs again.

All poor Maggie can do is hold back the tears while she imagines all manner of uncomfortable fates to befall her stuck-up rival. It isn't until Kimberly picks on the stuttering Sam that Maggie is able to forget her own fears. And indignant and determined, she summons up the courage to defend her pal and show everyone what she can really do.

The author of No Frogs for Dinner and So Long, Stinky Queen, Frieda Wishinsky addresses an all-too-common fear that primary students face, and gives it a delightful twist that will have early readers howling and turning the pages to find out what happens next. Artist Dean Griffiths (Ballerinas Don't Wear Glasses and Fairy) creates, in his feline subjects, a heart melting, all-too-human quality that readers will love. A must-have for all intrepid heroes in the making.

About the authors


Frieda Wishinsky
est l'auteure de plus de 40 livres pour enfants. Parmi les ouvrages déjà
parus, on peut citer, entre autres,

Ounga Bounga, Tu es méchante Lily-Ange!, Le sac à main de la reine,
Canada en vedette

et les romans de la série Catastrophe! Elle vit à Toronto, en


FRIEDA WISHINSKY has written over seventy books for children, including Oonga Boonga; You're Mean, Lily Jean; the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award winner Please, Louise!; the middle-grade series Survival, and the non-fiction books Explorers Who Made It . . . or died trying; Everything but the Kitchen Sink and Colossal Canada. Frieda lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband. Visit her online at

Frieda Wishinsky's profile page

Dean Griffiths is a popular picture book artist with more than 25 titles to his name. His many awards include the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Book Prize for Maggie Can't Wait and the Chocolate Lily Award for Ballerinas Don't Wear Glasses. Dean's 2012 title Lumpito and the Painter from Spain has been nominated for the SYRCA Shining Willow Award and was a Bank Street Best Book. His most recent book is When Emily Carr Met Woo. Dean lives in Duncan, British Columbia, with his daughter.

Dean Griffiths' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"As many of us finally learn, Maggie discovers she can overcome her own fears by helping a friend face his. Dean Griffiths sees these characters as dressed animals - cats, in fact, which allows him to give nasty Kimberley a particularly fierce presence - one that probably mirrors the way any child might visualize a dreaded enemy."
City Parent

"This lovely book will resonate with many schoolchildren...Wishinsky's well-crafted text uses rhythms of the folktale - a classic genre for underdog stories - to increase dramatic tension, particularly in its repetition of threes. Like many folktale heroes, Maggie wins in her third encounter with Kimberly. Maggie's fantasies of revenge also come in threes - she longs for her foe to be removed by a giant wave, a giant bird, then a giant troll. Dean Griffiths' wonderful illustrations perfectly capture the strong emotions of the story. The big surprise here is that all of the characters are cats! Primly clad in dresses, jackets, and shoes, Maggie and her classmates are completely anthropomorphized. This makes for some sly humour (Maggie's toys are mice and dogs)...This is a book that will surely be popular with children struggling with their own Kimberlys at school."
Quill and Quire

"Most school aged children and adults will be able to identify with this storyline. Readers will sympathize with Maggie's dilemma because there always seems to be a "Kimberly" in each classroom...This book will serve as a good example to struggling students not to give up but to keep trying. Public speaking is a very common fear, one that many children carry forward into adulthood. Griffith's soft muted watercolour illustrations depict cats in this story as the main characters...Kimberly's rude, snide remarks are wonderfully shown in her facial expressions...School and public libraries always need another addition to their collections dealing with fear, teasing and courage. This would be a good book to use in classrooms to start a discussion about teasing with young primary students."
CM Magazine

"In making the surprise decision to cast Wishinsky's characters as cats (when no clues were provided by the prose), Dean Griffiths took a risk that proved enormously successful. Although the cats are dressed in children's clothing and show human emotion, they retain their essential cat-ness. And, in distancing the story from the children themselves, perhaps Griffiths has allowed for children to experience an even closer empathy with the characters, in the same way that therapists working with children can get children to talk to and about puppets in ways that they would not do directly."
Children's Book News

Other titles by Frieda Wishinsky

Other titles by Dean Griffiths