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Interest Age: 5–8
Grade: k–3
Reading Level:
Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature:

Hardcover (Picture book) : 9781554511211, 32 pages, February 2008 , 8.78" x 9.30"
Paperback (Picture book) : 9781554511204, 32 pages, February 2008 , 8.52" x 9.04"
Rights sold: English, simplified Chinese


A stirring story about the infectious pleasures of play.

Matt is miserable. The subdivision where he now lives is surrounded by nothing but muddy fields of rocks and sticks. But when Matt ventures out, his imagination kicks in. He draws a muddy, winding line and names it Snake River. A pile of rocks becomes the Dog Tooth Mountains. Just like that, Mattland is born.

Soon a girl shows up with a handful of helpful odds and ends. Piece by piece, she and Matt expand their new world with popsicle-stick bridges and scrap-paper boats. And when a rainstorm finally threatens to wash everything away, all the neighborhood kids appear and help stave off the flood.

Evocative of childhood friendships and with sublime illustrations that brighten in color as the story progresses, Mattland is an inspiring ode to cooperative play.


  • Winner, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award 2009
  • Joint winner, Best Bets List, Ontario Library Association 2009
  • Winner, Alberta Literary Award 2009
  • Nominated, Blue Spruce Award, Ontario Library Association 2009
  • Joint winner, 100 Best Canadian Kids’ Books, Today’s Parent Magazine 2009
  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2009
  • Winner, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award, Canadian Library Association 2009


“A world worth exploring. ”

- Canadian Children’s Book News, 10/08

“Has much to offer those who find themselves in a new place, and to creative souls needing inspiration . . . eloquent and beautifully illustrated. ”

- School Library Journal, *starred review, 06/08

“The creation of Mattland is a riveting notion that kids will be keen to emulate. ”

- The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, 09/08

“Lovely . . . successful on all fronts. ”

- Sunday Book Review, New York Times, 11/9/08

“A rich and multi-layered testament to imagination and the collaborative nature of play. Highly Recommended. ”

- CM Reviews, 06/08

“One of those perfect picture books where text and illustrations brilliantly play off each other. ”

- Quill & Quire, *starred review, 02/08

“Sparse prose and skillful illustrations . . . will give young readers a sense of the experience of displacement. ”

- Book Links, 01/10

“[A] beautifully imagined, beautifully executed picture book. ”

- Globe and Mail, 03/24/08