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Children's Fiction Humorous Stories

Wash On!

by (author) Michèle Marineau

illustrated by Manon Gauthier

translated by Erin Woods

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Apr 2018
Humorous Stories, Imagination & Play, General
Recommended Age
4 to 7
Recommended Grade
k to 2
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2018
    List Price
    $16.95 USD

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Where to buy it


Young fans of not-so-obedient heroines like Olivia and Eloise will fall for the mischievous Petronilla who spreads chaos and color around the world.

One day when Mrs. Gillis is giving her daughter a bath, Petronilla cries, “Wash on!” “Wash off, dear,” Mrs. Gillis corrects her. But Petronilla’s words seem to have power. The blue of the washcloth has stained the girl’s cheek. And that is only the beginning. Colors start transferring between every object Petronilla touches. And every person. And every person who touches an object that has been touched. Before long, the entire world is a spreading mess of colors, and only Petronilla can stop it.

But will she?

Translated from Barbouillette by Michèle Marineau, Wash On! is a gleeful adventure with an appealingly mischievous heroine. Manon Gauthier’s mixed-media illustrations are both innovative and charming, inviting young readers into a world where the words of a child have the power to change everything.


About the authors

Michèle Marineau sait comme nulle autre allier finesse de l’écriture, profondeur d’émotion et intrigue fouillée dans une oeuvre dont la qualité a été maintes fois soulignée. Elle a remporté à deux reprises le Prix du Gouverneur général, d’abord en 1988 avec son premier roman, Cassiopée - L’Été polonais, puis en 1993 avec La Route de Chlifa, qui lui a valu la même année le prix 12/17 Brive/Montréal et le prix Alvine-Bélisle. Elle vit à Montréal.


Michèle Marineau's profile page

Manon Gauthier is a graphic artist who made the leap to picture book illustration in 2006. After her first book was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Children's Literature, she dedicated herself entirely to illustration, and to giving presentations and art workshops in schools across Quebec. A flexible artist, Manon works in many media, including gouache, pencils, and paper collage. She lives in Montreal.


Manon Gauthier's profile page

Erin Woods has been translating children's books since 2015, and has loved them all her life. She would like to thank her parents for forcing her into French Immersion, even though at five years old she was sure it was the end of the world—or at least her social life. Erin lives in Toronto, Ontario.


Erin Woods' profile page


  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best" selection

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Wash On!

2018 Resource Links "The Year's Best" selection

"A girl alters a simple phrase and changes the world....Gauthier's gorgeous mixed-media illustrations are quirky and angled, with an energetic combination of drawn lines, watery paint, cut paper, wood textures, and photo collage....Topsy-turvy offbeat fun."—Kirkus Reviews

"[A] delightful well-paced narrative that constantly catches readers by surprise....Gauthier has created a series of masterful mixed-media illustrations that work with the text and contain extra details that pump up the humor....VERDICT An extremely fun story for family and storytime sharing."—School Library Journal

"The story is diverting and very imaginative. The award-winning author has created an energetic romp with a likeable but naughty heroine whom children will relate to....Children will revel in the chaotic nonsense."—Resource Links

"Be swept away in the magic of colour as Petronilla and her family paint their home and town with every touch! Wash On! brings colour and life to a world in which Petronilla feels is too dull and boring...The characters' emotion, tone, and volume are heard and experienced through Marineau's use of descriptive dialogue...Manon Gauthier's mixed-media illustrations are captivating and inventive....Wash On! (originally published in French as Barbouillette) will leave readers wanting to experience the remarkable transfer of colour from one object to another and paint their world with colour! Highly Recommended."—CM Magazine

"Michèle Marineau has written a story for the smallest of us....Petronilla's ability to cause chaos, not only throughout her own household but across the globe, is sure to amuse....Multi-media illustrations by Manon Gauthier bring the chaos to life, creating an atmosphere of fun and mischief....Young artists will be inspired to colour outside the lines."—Canadian Children's Book News

"Children will enjoy watching young Petronilla wielding her power. The illustrations of mixed media perfectly convey the chaos of color....[Wash On!] will be enjoyed by any younger siblings who long for control."—Youth Services Book Review

"I'm always fascinated to see children's books translated from other countries...Not only are the stories different, but so are the illustrations. I really enjoyed this fun story about a little girl who's just a little different!"—Literacious

"We rated this book: [4.5/5]...I thought the story was very creative, funny, and imaginative, especially all the colors and how the illustrator painted it on."—Madie, Age 5, Kids' BookBuzz

"Wash On! focuses on the joie de vivre of a world filled with colour....Michèle Marineau tells powerful stories in her native French language and this translation by Pajama Press's Erin Woods highlights that poignancy with merriment and spirit....[Manon Gautier] continues to do amazing things with gouache, pencil and paper collage, ever different and totally wonderful....Wash On! may say a lot about living a life in colour but it also reminds us about moderation and having control over the lives we lead. Young readers will laugh at the silliness of the family's situation but we can all learn a lesson or two from Petronilla and her splashy world."—CanLit for LittleCanadians

"[A] lovely tale...The fun of imagining [coloritis] happening is enhanced by the illustrations showing color moving to other objects and the confusion it causes. A fun book."—Canadian Bookworm


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