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Children's Fiction Friendship

Nice Try, Charlie!

The Adventures of Garbage Picking Charlie

illustrated by Matt James

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Sep 2020
Friendship, Homelessness & Poverty, General
Recommended Age
3 to 7
Recommended Grade
p to 2
Recommended Reading age
3 to 7
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


A new picture book about friendship and community from Matt James, acclaimed author and illustrator of The Funeral.

With his cart full of treasures and big green hat, Charlie is a neighborhood fixture. When he finds a pie, he sets off to find the owner — and helps some friends along the way.

Poignant and funny, this story is an ode to resourcefulness and the compassion that turns neighbors into friends. Charlie and his friends might not have much — but they have each other.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

About the author


  • Short-listed, Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award
  • Commended, Globe 100 Favourite Books

Editorial Reviews

[A] wildly colourful, wonderfully engaging story about a group of neighbours coming together in a spirit of camaraderie, shared joy and gentle humour.

Postmedia News

A book that makes readers think twice about how they see the people in their neighbourhoods.

Globe and Mail

Charlie is a kind and relatable character, and the illustrations are unique. This book could easily be used in classrooms or the home to spark many interesting discussions.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

James uses dry wit, tight pacing, and warmth to turn the story of a neighborhood junk collector into an extraordinary slice of what community can, and does, look like.

Horn Book

Other titles by Matt James