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Children's Fiction Friendship

Mavis and Merna

by (author) Ian Wallace

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Mar 2005
Friendship, Girls & Women, Death & Dying
Recommended Age
4 to 7
Recommended Grade
p to 2
Recommended Reading age
4 to 7
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2005
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


Winner of the IODE Toronto Chapter Jean Troop Book Award and the IODE Violet Downey Award

Merna and Joe Gully are the owners of the busiest store in Fortune's Cove. Mavis is a young girl who loves everything about the store and dreams of buying all the wonderful things she sees But then Joe dies suddenly and Merna closes the store, sparking rumors that she has inherited a fortune.

So, one fall night, Mavis sneaks across town to the Gully house to see if she can spot evidence of these supposed riches. Instead of finding money, she finds a lifelong friendship

This poignant story of loss and the healing power of friendship is Ian Wallace at his finest.

About the author

Ian Wallace has had a distinguished career as an author and illustrator of picture books, publishing many classics such as Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance, Boy of the Deeps and The Huron Carol. His visual interpretation of Canadian Railroad Trilogy by Gordon Lightfoot received three starred reviews and was named a USBBY Outstanding International Book and a Resource Links’ Year’s Best. He has won the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award. He has also been nominated for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Ian lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife, Deb.

Ian Wallace's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Our Choice
  • Winner, IODE Toronto Chapter Jean Troop Book Award

Editorial Reviews

The intergenerational friendship between the two characters is free from sentimentality, and Wallace adds a wry sense of humour to the touching story. The watercolour illustrations evoke the maritime setting.

Canadian Children's Literature - CBRA

...many children will enjoy the portrayal of spirited, unsentimental friendship across generations.


...a testament to the healing power of friendship...a quality picture book from a firmly established talent.

Quill & Quire

An old-fashioned flavor permeates this unique story...

School Library Journal

...a great addition to a school or public library.

Resource Links

Librarian Reviews

Mavis and Merna

Set in Atlantic Canada, this poignant tale explores the relationship between a young girl and a widow. A touching, gentle story of loss and the healing power of friendship.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2007.

Other titles by Ian Wallace