Stacey May Fowles’ debut picture book is a whimsical, warmhearted story of how a super-special surprise can lead to anxiety — or invite imagination.

One beautiful fall day, Fern opens her mailbox and finds an envelope. After much worrying about what it could possibly contain, her friend Fawn encourages her to open it. Inside, she finds an invitation to a super-special surprise at the museum — but Fern doesn’t like surprises! 

Luckily, Fawn offers to come with her to the party. What could possibly happen, he asks. Along the way, Fern voices her worries: What if they can’t make it in time? What if they don’t know anyone there? 

Fawn playfully follows his friend's way of thinking, while gently suggesting twists to her story and a fun new cast of characters — the chipmunk who could show them a shortcut, the grumpy bear who could clear their path, the brave dentist who might treat the bear’s toothache — until at last they arrive, and Fern is able to enjoy the wonderful surprise happening around her. 

Marie Lafrance’s delightfully dreamy illustrations bring the imagined world of Fern and Fawn to life in this super-special story about catastrophic thinking.


Key Text Features



Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:


Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.


Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.


Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.


The detailed full-colour drawing style with pencil marks and shading, along with the exotic characters, make The Invitation a feast for the eyes.

- CM: Canadian Review of Materials

This picture book presents a beautifully illustrated, warm-hearted tale about facing one's fears with the help of friends.

- School Library Connection

Though anxieties are not easily chased away, The Invitation asks kids to trust in their abilities to become comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity.

- Montreal Review of Books

The delicate, startling visual world … vaults Fowles’s children’s debut, a tale about real-world anxiety, into the realm of fantasy.

- Publishers Weekly

Visually appealing empowerment in the face of anxiety.

- Kirkus

The coloured pencil illustrations are a whimsical delight.


Anxiety is real, and Fowles takes it on in a loving way, giving children a safe way to ask all the questions they need in this delectable and ultimately ­calming outing.

- School Library Journal

Fern and her friends are charmingly illustrated in this wonderful story about trust and friendship.

- Calgary Herald

Stacey May Fowles and Marie Lafrance have created a beautifully captivating picture book with The Invitation. The illustrations bring levity and depth to Fern's problems.

- Canadian Children’s Book News