The Copy Cat

Coming March 2020


Media posts about The Frame-Up:

October 7th: The CopyCat’s cover is included in Pop Goes the Reader’s Do Judge a Book by its Cover.

October 4th: The Frame-Up is chosen as one of the best of the season by Read the review here.

May 27th: The Frame-Up is published in Taiwan!

May 25th: I’m on The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers talking about historical fiction!

May 11th: I’m in the Estevan Mercury discussing writing and my book tour!

April 30th: I was on CBC New Brunswick dinner news talking about the book and giving a tour at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery!

April 30th: CBC radio Fredericton did a radio interview with me!

March 23rd: I’m on CBC Radio’s THE NEXT CHAPTER talking about The Frame-Up!

November/December: I’ve been chosen as one of the authors who will participate in the 2019 TD Canadian Children’s Book Week!

December 2018: Quill and Quire includes The Frame-Up in its list of the best books of 2018.

November 27th: The Frame-Up is given a starred review and rated as one of the best middle grade novels in Canada for 2018 by The Canadian Children’s Book Centre!

November 23rd: I was interviewed on CBC about my donation of a companion story to The Frame-Up as a fundraiser for the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

November 17th: I did a Q&A for the Telegraph Journal!

September 21st: The Frame-Up gets a 5 star review by CM: Canadian Review of Materials!

July 16th: I’m interviewed by the radio show Q:

July 8th: The Frame-Up Receives a glowing review in The Wall Street Journal:

Children’s Books: Meeting the People in the Paintings

A girl in a portrait flits into the frames of her gallerymates.

In 1915, the Irish painter William Orpen captured in oils and chiaroscuro the young daughter of a Canadian industrialist. In her portrait, Mona Dunn gazes out with a calm, serious expression, her hands folded in her lap and her golden hair glinting bright against the darkness that surrounds her. The picture, called simply “Mona Dunn,” is the sort that can evoke a strange, intense mingling of longing and belief in the viewer: that if only there were some way to connect with the person in the painting, each would like and understand the other, and yet, of course, it’s impossible.

Or is it? That’s the tantalizing idea that animates “The Frame-Up” (Greenwillow, 364 pages, $16.99), a mystery-adventure by Wendy McLeod MacKnight that takes place almost entirely in the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where “Mona Dunn” hangs on the wall in real life.

In this delicious tale, 13-year-old Mona is not merely a figment of pigment: Like her gallery-mates Somerset Maugham, Helena Rubinstein and Max Aitken, aka Lord Beaverbrook, she is wide awake and, after hours, can flit from frame to frame to visit friends or sit in the dappled Italian sunlight of John Singer Sargent’s “San Vigilio, Lake Garda.”

Life for the gallery residents is timeless and pleasant, for the most part, though some do chafe under Lord Beaverbrook’s strict rules. (Anyone wishing to go to the basement, for instance, must first enter Salvador Dalí’s “Santiago El Grande” and answer a riddle posed by the horse and rider at its center.)

“Mona Dunn” (c.1915) by William Orpen
“Mona Dunn” (c.1915) by William Orpen PHOTO: BEAVERBROOK ART GALLERY

Everything changes for the people in the paintings one summer, however, with the arrival of a 12-year-old boy with a name taken from art history. The gentle, unhappy son of the gallery director, Sargent Singer catches Mona making a face at a rude young patron. Incredulous and thrilled, he promises to keep her secret, even as the two new friends notice suspicious doings among the adults around them. In the human world, Sargent’s father seems oddly complacent about a shifty art restorer who is making eccentric demands. In the painted world, Beaverbrook is stricter and Maugham more acid-tongued than ever.

Hanging over the whole story, meanwhile, is a cruel reality. “Sargent will leave at the end of the summer,” a painted friend reminds Mona. “He will grow old. You will not. The path you travel guarantees nothing but heartache.”

Ah, but does it? As if answering a riddle from the Dalí painting, Sargent finds a solution to the conundrum that we discover in the final pages of this clever, satisfying story for art-loving readers ages 11-14.

June 13th: The Frame-Up gets a lovely review over at bookpage,com. You can read it here.

June 13th: Just found out that the Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association is awarding me the 2018 Emerging Author Award for IT’S A MYSTERY, PIG FACE!, one of two awards being presented at the association’s summer book fair in Halifax. So thrilled!!!! More details to come!

June 12th: I’m interviewed about The Frame-Up over at The BooksBetween Podcast!

June 11th: Wonderful author Patricia Bailey gives The Frame-Up a wonderful review over at her website!

June 7th: I’m interviewed over at Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb!

June 6th: I’m interviewed over at Books and Ladders blog!

June 5th: I’m interviewed over at the JedLie Magic podcast!

June 5th: I’ve got a guest post up over at MGBookVillage!

June 5th: Just Another Teen Reading Books has posted a review of The Frame-Up.

June 3rd: Book Riot names The Frame-Up one its top 21 books for the first half of 2018!

May 30th: The Children’s Book Review lets author Matthew Landis pick five MG book favourites and spoiler alert – he chooses The Frame-Up as one of them!

May 29th: I’m interviewed by the Miramichi Leader about The Frame-Up!

May 29th: The Tuesday Writers blog features an interview with me about The Frame-Up!

May 28th: From The Mixed-Up Files blog chose The-Frame-Up as one of its fun summer reads

May 27th: Missed the Book Launch at the Beaverbrook. Click here to see my remarks and a short reading!

May 27th: CBC Article on The Frame-Up.

May 25th: I was interviewed about The Frame-Up on CBC’s Shift Radio Program. You can listen here.

May 25th: I did an interview with From the Mixed-Up Files blog here!

May 21st: My guest post for the LILBooKlovers blog is live here!

May 16th: I’m featured in CLCD’s Read and Shine Newsletter! Read it here!

May 5th: The Geekreadskids blog gives The Frame-Up a great review!

The Frame-Up Reviews:

April 2018: The Frame-Up gets a starred review from Booklist:

April 2018: The Frame-up gets a wonderful review by The School Library Journal:

Gr 3-6–Inspired by the author’s lifelong love of art and the moving portraits in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, this inventive fantasy gives a second life to its painted subjects. For the past 100 years, Mona Dunn has watched the world go by. Like the rest of the pieces at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, she is alive but only allowed to interact with the other painted inhabitants of the gallery. Communicating with the real world is strictly forbidden. These rules keep the gallery’s secret safe but make life lonely and boring for the eternally 13-year-old Mona. So boring, that one afternoon she is caught recklessly moving in front of the gallery director’s son, Sargent. Sargent’s own loneliness prompts him to develop a friendship with Mona. Their mutual insecurity with peers is relatable despite the magical circumstances. Readers will delight in the canvas world that exists on the other side of the frame. Mona’s gallery neighbors are equal parts quirky and endearing, while a sinister threat propels the plot forward. The book includes a full-color insert of the masterpieces referenced, which could be a great starting point for readers to imagine stories and worlds of their own. VERDICT Not just for art enthusiasts, this middle grade read paints fantasy, humor, and mystery into a satisfying tale about the power of friendship.–Sophie Kenney, Vernon Area Public Library District, IL

Media Posts about It’s a Mystery Pig Face!

December 30, 2013: my op-ed piece at the Globe and Mail about chucking it all to try and become a children’s book author

July 21, 2015: Publisher’s Weekly announced that my debut novel, It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! will be published by Sky Pony Press

March 22, 2016: The Winged Pen Blog recently interviewed me about my journey to publication!

April 4, 2016: The Daily Gleaner interviewed me about my new career!

July 14, 2016: Author Melissa Roske puts me under the microscope using the famous Proust Questionnaire!

September 11, 2016: Blogger Jamie Kramer featured It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! on her wonderful blog!

September 13, 2016: Publisher’s Weekly’s Children’s Bookshelf announced my two-book deal with Harper Collins’ Greenwillow Books Imprint:


September 26, 2016:  Author Jonathan Rosen interviewed me over at the Tuesday Writers blog 

September 30, 2016: I’m featured on the Swanky Seventeen Website in their regular Meet the Author post. 

October 7, 2016: I’m featured in the Fall Issue of the University of New Brunswick’s Alumni News!

December 7, 2016: I’m over at Pop Goes The Reader talking about what the holiday season means to me!

February 2, 2017: I’m interviewed by the Telegraph Journal!

March 23, 2017!- I’m interviewed over at I Write for Apples blog.

April 5-8! It’s a Mystery, Pig-Face! the  town read for the inaugural St. Stephen StoryFest!

April 11, 2017: It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! in the news!

April 2017: I’m presenting at the Frye Literary Festival – read all about it here

August 11, 2017: I’m inducted into the Chocolate Lover’s Society!

September 8, 2017: It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! reviewed by Atlantic Books Today!

Author of Children's Literature