Two Children’s Books from Chapel Street editions

When Pigs Fly by Michelle McLean

She’s a dragon-slaying
mischief-making
pain in my behind.
She’s loud and rough but fiercely fun,
exuberant and kind.

(From “Sisters”)

From the first page, these poems put a smile on my face. When Pigs Fly is an imaginative poetry collection comprised of whimsical and playful rhyming poems. Michelle McLean covers just about everything, from porcupine hugs to the “itchy heart” one gets when they are missing a loved one. My personal favourite is “Ms. Woebegone,” a short poem about a woman who takes a lost dream home and makes it her own.

Each poem is accompanied by a black and white drawing illustrated by twelve-year-old Sophie Arseneau, making this a vividly joyful book. With both soft, gentle poems and laugh-out-loud funny ones, this collection has something for every mood.

About the Author

​Michelle McLean is a clinical social worker, educator, award-winning poet, and mother of two fabulous, big-hearted daughters. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Quills, Ascent Aspirations, Understorey, Other Voices, Peacock Journal, JONAH, and others. She lives with her family in the village of Bath, New Brunswick.

About the Illustrator​

Sophie Arseneau, now 12, completed the illustrations for this collection between the ages of 10-11. Sophie is an artist, writer, and competitive dancer.


The Woodcarver and the Bears by Gordon Gilhuly

“A long, long time ago, or, perhaps, only a short time ago, or maybe one day not too far in the future—one can’t always be certain about these things—is where our story begins.”

The Woodcarver and the Bears tells us about the Storyteller, a wise man who visits villages and speaks to the children there. This particular day, he tells the tale of Peter, a young woodcarver who encounters a bear in the woods. Peter does not believe in magic but, as the Storyteller says, magic “doesn’t seem to care whether you believe in it or not.” Led by his love for the forest and all the animals in it, Peter discovers a wondrous world around him, inhabited by talking bears and glittering fireflies.

At its heart, this is a story about love: a love of nature and animals, a love of art and craft. Readers are instructed to look to the magic in the world and find a community in it. With woodcut illustrations by John Cooper, this picture book feels like a legend of old, ready to be passed from one generation to the next.

About the Author

Gordon Gilhuly has been writing poetry, drama, short stories, and nonfiction for over fifty years. He has published three books of poetry. His second book, Every Poem is a Love Poem, was nominated for the 2000 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. He is the author of an award-winning one-act play, Coming Into Rooms. His creative non-fiction story, “Monsters” was short-listed for the CBC/Air Canada Award, while his short story, “Grace,” won second runner-up in the Winners’ Circle Anthology Short Story Contest of the Canadian Authors Association. The Woodcarver and the Bears is his first children’s book. Gordon lives in Woodstock, New Brunswick with his wife Carol. At last count, he has three sons, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

About the Illustrator

John Cooper is from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario but has lived in Halifax (5 years in the Canadian Navy), Toronto, Montreal, Mexico City and the United States. He is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design where he majored in printmaking. He has practiced silkscreen printing, zinc and copper plate etching, monoprinting, and linocut. John has been a self-employed stained glass artist for 28 years and is known for his stained glass kaleidoscope. He lives in Barrie Ontario with his wife Susan. The illustrations in The Woodcarver and the Bears are the first he’s created for a book.


Chapel Street Editions is dedicated to a literature of place that advances an appreciation for not only our home region of Wolastoq but for all of New Brunswick’s natural regions and the cultural life of their human settlements.


Claire Bennet is a writer based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from Dalhousie University and is currently completing a Certificate in Publishing through Ryerson University. Despite being a grown-up, Claire loves everything about kids’ books, especially Canadian ones.

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