Charles Thibodeau is the hero of Charles the Bold (McClelland & Stewart), a novel by Yves Beauchemin (translated by Wayne Grady) that is truly Dickensian in style. Charles is a good and beautiful boy who endures tragedies and indignities that would discourage a “less bold” child. Our hero is a dog-charmer of unmatched skill, love and generosity, and there are many strays to charm in the streets of east Montreal in the 1970s. Our hero is wise, wily, resourceful and innocent. He’s as complex as any child learning how to be in the world. His heart is broken and then repaired. The adults in his world let him down, but others are there to pick him up. Beauchemin evokes the time and place with Separatism, cigarette smoke, Labatts and jolly, hard-working folk. In those carefree days it was okay to drink and smoke, and kids and dogs alike freely wandered the streets and alleys. In this tale of good versus bad, good prevails no matter how long it takes—which is a relief, because we are rooting for young Charles and we want to see him flourish. We want him to be bold, because he is already so brave. This volume, the first in a series about Charles Thibodeau, bodes well for the rest of his story.