The Beauty Series

Bringing Up Beauty

Fitzhenry Whiteside, 2003

Winner of the 1996 Silver Birch and the Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice award, a best loved classic about a black Lab puppy raised for a nobler cause: to guide a blind person.

12 year old Elizabeth vows not to love Beauty because she’s one of her mother’s projects,   a temporary pet at best, but how can she help herself?  Even when the dog “hurries up” on a carpet, dives into an aquarium and scoffs down a box of doughnuts, she’s totally loveable. And nothing else seems to go right for Elizabeth this year anyway. She’s lost two best friends to their mutual romance and her sister has moved out.  Beauty becomes her best friend by default.

When Beauty grows into the well-behaved animal she needs to be for her heroic new role, Elizabeth need to grow up too, in order to give her up.

Internationally acclaimed,  a best seller in Norway, Sweden, Germany and Finland.

Read the stand alone sequels, A Different Kind of Beauty and Beauty Returns.

A Different Kind of Beauty

Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2003

When challenged by a dog trainer at Lion’s Foundation to write a story showing the benefits of fostering future dog guides rather than the sacrifices, Sylvia decided to continue the saga of Elizabeth and her family raising Beauty 2, a chocolate Lab this time.  She also wanted to create a kind of sliding doors split narrative where the reader follows the life of a new character, 16 year old Kyle as he goes blind from retinopathy. One chapter from Elizabeth’s life, boyfriend issues continue, her pregnant sister Debra returns,  one chapter from Kyle’s as he trades the potential for a driver’s license for a white cane, the story shows them crossing paths and impacting each other’s destiny without really acknowledging or liking each other.

When Kyle decides to trade his cane for a guide dog, their lives truly intersect.

Beauty Returns

Fitzhenry Whiteside, 2006

When  Kyle’s girlfriend Maddie dumps him at the park on his 16th birthday, he feels like crying.  When 14 year old Elizabeth rollerblades down the hill with her foster dog Beauty, she falls and does cry and Kyle thinks it’s the most beautiful sound in the world.  At that moment, Sylvia McNicoll knew Kyle would fall in love with her in this the final episode of the Beauty trilogy.

Enter Beauty Returns, another split narrative story.  Elizabeth is talked into fostering Magic, a golden retriever destined to be used for breeding so she won’t have to return her after a few months.  Kyle is enjoying new independence because of his guide dog Beauty 2.  When Elizabeth and Kyle hang out together, not only do they risk the censure of their parents, their dogs don’t get along and Beauty would rather listen to Elizabeth than obey Kyle.

But Kyle will risk everything just at a chance of normal life and when he befriends a young boy on the bus rides to and from school, he gets the chance to become a true hero.

Enjoy the Beauty trailer on the video page to listen to Kyle’s lullabye and see all the wonderful dogs who contributed to the creation of the series.

Winner of the 2007 Hamiton Arts Award for Best YA

Nominated for the 2008 BC Stellar Book Award

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