Footsteps in Bay de Verde: A mysterious tale
with artwork by Jenny Dwyer
Starred listing, Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens (Autumn 2020)
Bridie liked Poor Keye. He always had candy in his pockets and a joke or two. Cataracts or no cataracts, he could still find his way around the steep, twisting pathways of Bay de Verde, dragging his bad leg behind him. It was easy to recognize his step when he came in the front door on story nights. Bang! went the door as he opened it. Then came his footsteps: Step—shuffle—thump. Step—shuffle—thump.
Bridie and her brother and sister love to sit up late, listening to the adults trade stories. One stormy night the talk is not only about the price of fish, ghosts and pirates, but also about Poor Keye, a neighbour in hospital who had always loved these storied nights. A loud bang and the sound of his familiar shuffling footsteps suggests that perhaps he is home after all, and has come to join the gathering. But when Bridie’s mother goes to welcome him, Poor Keye is nowhere to be found. The next morning a telegram arrives with shocking news.
Award-winning author Charis Cotter joins forces with emerging illustrator Jenny Dwyer to craft this deliciously creepy book.
What folks are saying
"... the tone, mood, and atmosphere of the story are scrumptiously spooky. ... A good old-fashioned ghost story sure to deliver spine tingles." ~ Kirkus Reviews (Read the full review.)
"Jenny Dwyer's shadowy illustrations provide a suitably spooky complement to Cotter's words. Faces appear luminescent against dark backgrounds, expressions by turns wary and terrified." ~ Trilby Kent, Quill and Quire (Read the full review.)
"Charis Cotter has carved a rich, specific niche for her writing: the eerie, the uncanny, pitched to a younger audience." ~ Joan Sullivan, The Telegram
"Based on a story that Newfoundland storyteller Brian Walsh told Cotter about something that happened to his own mother in the 1920s, this is a wonderfully spine-tingling book. Dwyer's illustrations create just the right atmosphere for this haunting tale of the supernatural." ~ Jeffrey Canton, The Globe and Mail (Read the full review.)
"With meticulous pacing, a richly atmospheric ambiance and details that perfectly capture time and place, Cotter has crafted a chilling story. ...a deliciously ominous tale." ~ Lisa Doucet, Atlantic Books Today (Read the full review.)
"Through her limited palette of cool blues, greys and black, with just the mere touch of red—in a ribbon, on a candy, a stamp on a telegram—Jenny Dwyer upholds the eeriness of the night and the revelation of the next morning. Even on this hot summer day as I review this story, I feel that chill and the mysteriousness of something experienced but unexplained. For another haunting picture book, set in old Newfoundland Footsteps in Bay de Verdemakes the real just a little bit dark and a whole lot mysterious." ~ Helen Kubiw, Can Lit for Little Canadians (Read the full review.)