Marie Letourneau lives on Long Island, NY. Born in Queens Village, Marie (a 5th generation New Yorker) moved to Long Island at the age of 5. She grew up in Babylon Village - a little town on the Great South Bay. She has been interested in illustrating books for as far back as she can remember. As child, she would make little books out of paper and staples to give them to family members as gifts. In 2000, Marie earned her BFA from 'The New College' at Hofstra University. In 2006, her first book (author-illustrator), The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres, was published and won ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award, Bronze Medal. Marie has done illustration design work for (and appeared on) The Nate Berkus Show, and The Revolution (with fashion icon Tim Gunn) In 2014 & 15, Marie was a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards for her stationery shop Le French Circus, on Etsy. Her influences include Ludwig Bemelmans, Maurice Sendak, Jim Henson, Wes Anderson, and Theodor Seuss Geisel.
Random useless facts
I love Beach Glass
I don't look good in hats
I love carnivals at night
I love the Muppets
Total Star Wars Geek
I love dogs and would have a whole pack if I could
My favorite things to illustrate are animals
Coffee is my favorite drink (and iced tea!)
Pottery was one of my favorite classes in college
My sister and I were born in the same year but we
are not twins (Jan-Dec)
I love rollerskating and play roller derby
AWARDS & STUFF
2006 ForeWord Magazine BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD (Bronze) The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres
2014 and 2015 Finalist Martha Stewart American Made Award for her stationery shop Le French Circus on Etsy
"A fox named Argyle (who wears an argyle-patterned scarf knit by his mother) attempts to play outdoors on a windy day in this mild story from Letourneau (The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Frères). Despite his mother’s admonition that playing cards will blow away, Argyle builds a card tower that topples almost immediately. The young fox ignores similar warnings from his animal pals, who try to discourage subsequent ill-fated games—including role-playing as a spider, pirate, and knight. (Readers may note that Argyle’s choices of imaginative activities are less an issue than his flimsy accessories—a paper pirate hat, a cardboard castle, etc.) Letourneau captures Argyle’s frustrations in fresh, cheery illustrations punctuated with her hero’s frustrated outbursts (“Stupid wind!”) and a large, hand- lettered “Woosh” that accompanies each destructive gust. Though short on surprises, Letourneau’s tale offers a gentle reminder of the rewards of perseverance, resourcefulness, and creativity: with only a bit of encouragement from his mother, Argyle hits on a natural windy day activity, repurposing his supplies to create kites for himself and his friends."
Outdoor playtime can be a challenge, but not for a clever and artistic fox.
The titular fox lives in a forest filled with springtime winds. Argyle decides, nonetheless, that he would like to play outdoors, but his choice of activities is bedeviled by those winds. “Wooosh”: his stack of cards blows away. “Wooosh”: he’s blown into the spiderweb he’s made. “Wooosh”: his pirate hat blows away, his soccer ball lands far out of bounds, and finally his castle collapses. The other animals did warn him, and at last, he gathers up his playthings and returns home. His mother tells him that if he thinks about it, the perfect pastime will occur to him. After some thought, it does. Argyle gathers up his yarn, paint, and tape, goes outdoors, and flies his handmade kite with a resounding “wooosh.” Letourneau’s animal characters are appealing, and the settings are busily colorful, with greens, blues, and oranges filling the pages. The final spread is endearing as Argyle shares, at no cost, his artistry and hands out kites to the other forest creatures—a squirrel gets one with an acorn, and a beaver gets one with a tree.
Argyle ably demonstrates that if you build it yourself, you and your friends will have a great time.
“Sometimes in early spring, the wind whips down the mountainside and through the trees,” where Argyle Fox lives. Despite his mother’s warnings about the wind, the fox is persistent when it comes to playing outside. First, Argyle creates a card tower. But as he’s adding the final touches—“WOOSH”—the wind blows it over. Although his mom and friends advise him otherwise, Argyle insists on doing things his way. Unfortunately, his ideas of making a spider web, a pirate ship, and a castle come to no avail. “Gah! Stupid, stupid, STUPID wind! I’m going home!” After some encouragement from his mom, Argyle comes up with the perfect solution. Anticipation is key to Letourneau’s simple, engaging plot. Closing many pages with the cliff-hanger, “But just then . . . ,” the story will engage youngsters as they await the wind’s effects on Argyle’s games. Amid playful scenes punctuated with Argyle’s frustration, Letourneau balances her story with cozy, inviting idyllic forest and home scenes, as well as stylized figures and warm colors. A great read-aloud about perseverance and creative thinking.
The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres:
"The illustrations are wonderful, the reader will pick up a few words of French, and there is a feminist-mouse (femousenist?) point made."
— Disney's Wondertime Magazine, (NPR's)Daniel Pinkwater
"Budding foodies will salivate, and the Gallic touches add a droll flavor."
— Kirkus Reviews
"With her lively text and expressive illustrations, Marie LeTourneau has created the recipe for a winning picture book, liberally spiced with French phrases and sprinkled with a helpful pronunciation guide."
— Washington Parent
"With fanciful illustrations, an amusing gastronomical story and everyday French words and phrases effortlessly incorporated into a primarily English text, this is an engaging introduction to French culture and language. There’s even a pronunciation guide and, on the publisher’s website, a recipe for Chef Marcel’s delicious cheese soup. Ooh la la!"
— 50 Must Read Books for Kids, Atlanta Parent
"The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres is a delightful picture book with charming illustrations. French words (and their English translations) are interspersed throughout the story. The illustations are whimsical and child-friendly — the mice just look so appealing.
Marie's book, The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Frere's, was featured on an episode of Ace of Cakes. Duff and the gang made a Petite Michelle Cake for a party celebrating the book award.