Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 24, 2020

Book Giveaway: THE LITTLEST VOYAGEUR by Margi Preus

Margi Preus has a new middle grade book, THE LITTLEST VOYAGEUR, illustrated by Cheryl Pilgrim and published by Margaret Ferguson Books. Margi has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Margi and Cheryl, especially at this stressful time when authors and illustrators need to promote their books completely online.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


A red squirrel, Jean Pierre Petit Le Rouge, stows away on a canoe to fulfill his dream of joining a group of voyageurs–men who paddle canoes filled with goods to a trading post thousands of miles away.

It is 1792 and unbeknownst to a group of voyageurs traveling from Montreal to Grand Portage, an intrepid squirrel, Jean Pierre Petit Le Rouge, sneaks onto their canoe. Le Rouge is soon discovered because he can’t contain his excitement–mon dieu he is so enthusiastic. The smells! The vistas! The comradery! The voyageurs are not particularly happy to have him, especially because Le Rouge rides, but he does not paddle. He eats, but he does not cook. He doesn’t even carry anything on portages–sometimes it is he who has to be carried. He also has a terrible singing voice. What kind of voyageur is that?

When they finally arrive at the trading post Le Rouge is in for a terrible shock–the voyageurs have traveled all those miles to collect beaver pelts. With the help of Monique, a smart and sweet flying squirrel, Le Rouge organizes his fur-bearing friends of the forest to ambush the men and try and convince them to quit being voyageurs.

Written by a Newbery honor author, the book has over 20 black-and-white illustrations.


My journey with Jean Pierre Petit Le Rouge (the littlest voyageur, a red squirrel) was shockingly long. I had not remembered just how long until, while digging around in some file drawers in my office, I came upon a folder marked “Littlest Voyageur, 2005.” So take heart, writer, if you have a moldering manuscript from the two thousand-aughts—something may yet come of it!

The story evolved considerably from those earlier drafts, which were set up as journal entries written by the squirrel about his journey. The premise was that I, the “editor,” had supposedly rescued a tiny, oil-cloth-wrapped journal where it had become trapped under a rock in a swiftly flowing rapids, then translated it from its original language (Squirrel), in which, fortunately, I am fluent.

Over the course of the project, the story shifted to a more standard storytelling format, along with many other changes, but the point of view is still firmly the squirrel’s, and I think his joie de vivre is very much alive, and brought to vivid and adorable life with charming illustrations by Cheryl Pilgrim.

I was inspired to write about voyageurs since what I love most in the world is to paddle a canoe on the waterways of northern Minnesota (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness) or southern Ontario (Quetico Provincial Park) where the voyageurs once traveled. Jean Pierre Petit Le Rouge echoes my sentiments when he says, “Some days the wind howled out of the north, cold and bitter. There were cool days and days of driving rain. On warm days the air was fragrant with pine. There were days of fog and days of dazzling sunlight. They were all good days.”


Margi Preus is the author of the Newbery Honor book Heart of a Samurai and other books for young readers, including the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon, and the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award book The Clue in the Trees, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series.

Her books have won multiple awards, landed on the New York Times bestseller list, been honored as ALA/ALSC Notables, selected as an NPR Backseat Book Club pick, chosen for community reads, and translated into many languages. When not writing, Margi enjoys traveling, speaking, and visiting schools all over the world.


Cheryl Pilgrim is an author/illustrator and public school art teacher living in the Houston area with her husband and a menagerie of rescue cats and dogs. She works mainly in acrylics, pencil and some digital. She always loved drawing, painting, and writing, but didn’t become serious about the kidlit world until she was approaching 50 and her two children were nearly grown.

Her first book she illustrated was Hound Dawg by Patricia Vermillion (TCU Press).  Since creating Big and Little, she has also illustrated a middle grade chapter, The Littlest Voyageur by Newberry Honor Winner Margi Preus. (Holiday House, March 2020). Cheryl continues to work on her stories. Her hope is that others will see it is never too late to start on your dream.

Thank you Margi for sharing your book and its journey with us. I am sure kids will love the adventurous nature and outdoor historical setting of this book. Cheryl’s illustrations are gorgeous and really brought your book to life. Parents and teachers will be drawn to a French pronunciation guide, and the historical notes included at the end of the book. Best of luck. Looks like a winner to me.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What a fun way to learn a little about history (voyageurs).


  2. what a wonderful book


  3. Looks like a fun adventure! Congrats!


  4. This sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to read!


  5. Mon Dieu! It sounds and looks fabulous!


  6. I saw an earlier post about the art – looking forward to reading and seeing the book! I follow.


  7. Everything about this book looks amazing. What an interesting historical time period for a picture book. I can’t wait to read it.(I am a blog follower)


  8. I love stories that take place during historical periods. Plus a squirrel!! The illustrations look wonderful, too! I shared on twitter.


  9. What a fun book. I shared on Twitter, FB, PInterest and regularly receive your emails. Thanks!


  10. Congrats on your book! It looks very enticing! thanks for the chance to enter this giveaway!


  11. I keep seeing this book and I’m more and more compelled each time by the premise and GORgeous art! 😀


  12. I’m fascinated by the original story-telling idea of this book. Look forward to reading it.


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