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Lieve Snellings is a retired freelance photographer who lives in Leuven (Belgium).
Her series of children's books 'Margot the Groundhog and Her North-American Squirrel Family' count now 3 books, available in Dutch, English, and French.
Nominee TopShelf Book Award 2020
IAN (The Independent Author Network) Book of the Year Award 2018: https://www.independentauthornetwork.com/2018-book-of-the-year-winners.html
Reader’s Favorite Book Award 2018: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/groundhog-secrets
Readers Review Room Author of the month of October 2017
BookGoSocial Top Voted Children's Author 2017
Her images illustrated many books, magazines and were published online. Her photos were shown in exhibitions all over the world.
Since 2008, after meeting up with her partner who lives in Quebec, you can find her for about 4 to 5 months a year in Canada. There she became a passionate nature photographer. She spent hours, weeks... observing wildlife and searched every info she could find. This and her imagination made her publish two children's books in which photos are as important as words. The books are written in her mother tongue Dutch and translated in English and French.
Her stories take the traditional picture book experience and transform it by replacing illustrations by her own nature photography. The books are written in her mother tongue Dutch and translated in English and French..
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Margot Gets An Unexpected Visit is a charming work of nature storytelling and photography composed and compiled by author-photographer Lieve Snellings. In this story of nature in Quebec, aimed at ages 5 to 9 years old, the central character Margot is a groundhog. Also known as woodchucks, these typically solitary creatures may sometimes surprise you, and this is just the story which the author has captured and recorded for her tale. When Margot the groundhog meets two human girls with a passion for nature, an interesting and heart-warming story develops between them. Filled with real-life photos of their little adventure together, the book sends a message of how nature and humans can live in harmony together.
Author-photographer Lieve Snellings does a great job staging and capturing fantastic images to convey her story, and bringing other woodland creatures into the tale to enrich the educational value of the work. Marie and Lowieske are adorable sisters who clearly respect and are excited by interacting with nature, which is really inspiring for other youngsters reading this book to see. There’s also plenty of cultural quality and the humor of Canada present in the work, as well as European influences which again make the overall reading experience all the richer for learners. I can see this book being utilized in schools for the many lessons it can teach, as well as its high entertainment value. Overall, Margot Gets An Unexpected Visit is a recommended read for anyone with youngsters curious about the natural world.
The photography is wonderful and it lends to the story so well
This is a truly lovely book for all ages. The photography is wonderful and it lends to the story so well.
I bought it for my niece who has loved, and read it many times.
I highly recommend this book for everyone, it brings us closer to nature and helps to feel the enviroment all around us.
Get it now!
This book is beautifully illustrated and has a lovely storyline and gives some
A lovely children’s book about an unexpected friendship between a groundhog and 2 little girls.
This book is beautifully illustrated and has a lovely storyline and gives some interesting information. However, my son did lose interest quite quickly so I think it may have been a bit too “old” for a 3 year old. He did however love the photos and asked lots of questions.
This is an entrancing book – a beautifully illustrated story of a groundhog and her friendship with two young sisters. The photography is amazing – stunning snow scenes in Quebec, Margot the eponymous groundhog in hilarious scuba diving mask, Eufrazie the red squirrel with her hairdressing equipment – and a whole cast of birds who get a special sporting hairdo for the Women’s Ice Hockey World Cup. There is a welcome underlying message that we don’t need to be afraid of difference. We follow the two sisters through a delightful – and always surprising – exploration of love and diversity, full of wonder.
A groundhog’s friendship with two little girls
This lovely children’s book tells the tale of a meeting between a groundhog, Margot, and two little girls from Belgium who are on holiday in Canada.
The images by Lieve Snellings are beautiful and the story rolls along. It is very wordy and there are a lot of ideas in the mix, such as a running commentary on an ice hockey game which goes off in another direction but adds to the reader’s knowledge about Canada.
It would be helpful if the author put in the blurb the age group at which he is aiming. Small children, under three, would love the illustrations but at that age they don’t like too many words before you can turn the page. Older children would like the story and learn about nature.
A delightful tale for children.
Fine photos, attractive tale
This little story is going to delight youngsters still of an age to retain their sense of magic, who’ll be entranced by the imagined chatty relationship, out there in the snow, between two little Belgian girls and a Canadian woodchuck. What they’ll get with the fun is a morality tale: diversity in family life is OK! If Margot the woodchuck can have a chipmunk in her family, Lowieske and Maria can be just fine with their lesbian parents or a brown-skinned step-brother back home. Adult readers of “Margot” will be gripped by the quality of the nature photos. Clever retouching equips our furry rodent friends with technology like headsets and telescopes. But behind these pages are the stunning eye and powerful lens of a fine wildlife photographer. A sequel is promised – I shall be watching out for it through my binoculars.
Exciting children’s book
What a great book! The nature photography is amazing – lots of adorable close-ups of marmots and a couple of pages of excellent pictures of crested birds. It is such a treat to see the photos of live animals and not just illustrations. The story weaves together such different topics as lives of marmots and their relatives, diversity in human families, the beauty of Quebec, and World Cup ice-hockey. I definitely recommend this charming book for children who can read or as a book to read to younger children as they look at the pictures.
This book is unique
The book is delightful for all and introduces children to natural wonders, uniquely.
Groundhogs are more fun than you think!
Lieve Snellings is a graphic designer and photographer who put his artful skills to work creating a charming book for children, providing a glimpse into the world of groundhogs (and other fauna) at work and play. In “Margo Gets and Unexpected Visit,” two girls on vacation in Quebec meet Margot and share adventures and interests, and learn about the diversity in both worlds.
The digitally enhanced images are delightful, but as a story that is offered as one of a “surprising friendship” there is no emotional payoff here, just a sweet interchange of dialogue between species. The reference to an upcoming Women’s World Cup Ice Hockey game is a bit of “insider information,” and does little to advance the tale. But it’s still worth a look for parents who want to expose their children to the wonders of the wild. And since it’s the first in the book series, “Nature in Quebec,” best to grab this one now with anticipation for some charming new books in the future.
Margot, the Groundhog and the Women’s Soccer World Cup – Go Canada
*I was given a complimentary copy in exchange for a review*
This is delightful little story and nature photography book all in one. I can see using this book in homeschool as a way to introduce children to the animals in their world.
Inside, you’ll learn about diversity in the animal world and the human world. There’s even a little bit of Go Canada! when Margot and friends gather to listen to the Women’s Soccer Team play for the World Cup.
The photos are gorgeous in their own right. This book inspired another book by the author which is all about Woodchucks.
Here’s something I learned: Groundhogs are also known as WoodChucks. Here I thought they were two different animals.
An Excellent Book to Encourage the Love of Nature and Friendship
I appreciate this book written by Lieve Snellings. I have ordered a hard copy and read it online too. This book is particularly important as an “average child can identify 300 corporate logos, but only 10 native plants and animals?” This sad fact reflects how little time children spend outdoors, hiking on trails, exploring parks, and catching bugs, bird watching compared to the amount of time they spend watching commercials on TV, video games, walking through malls or spending time in various engagements on their mobile – not necessarily educational apps! The books that spark excitement and interest for kids about nature are special in the context of our lives and encourage them to explore nature.
Lieve’s tender feelings and playfulness adding joy and value to the excitement of the interesting plot of the story. Will order more for Christmas gift!
Margot the groundhog invites the reader into her world.
A groundhog named Margot and two little girls learn about one another’s lives, create a friendship and charm the reader.
This slender and graceful book is a wonderful way for the young reader to enter the first person world of creatures with whom they share the world. Margo is the first of a series with photographs that are beautifully done and an inviting layout. Margo will be a welcome companion and oft read gift for children.
Margot gets an unexpected visit, is an adorable, funny and cute book about a groundhog named Margot.
Margot gets an unexpected visit, is an adorable, funny and cute book about a groundhog named Margot. This sweet book follows Margot and her unique friendship with two girls visiting Canada from Belgium. With beautiful photos and awesome facts about groundhogs, this is a must for a giggle and a laugh.
Did you know that squirrels wrap their tails like a thermal blanket around themselves during the night and that they can also use them as an umbrella against the rain? Lieve Snelling’s touching story of love and friendship between Margot the groundhog and Marie and Lowieske, exposes the readers – young and old – to some wonders of Nature. Her beautiful pictures show us the variety of squirrel and bird families near Quebec city in Canada.
Through the story, we learn in a simple yet convincing way that humans – with all their differences – are ONE big and diverse family. It also tells us that overcoming our fear of the unknown and different folks will bring us new and exciting friendships, knowledge and love.
I am 8 years old and I enjoyed your book
I decided to give it to my cousins' daughter, Erin, to get a child’s point of view. The book went down well and this is what she had to say:
“I enjoyed the parts of ‘Margot gets an Unexpected Visit,’ like when Lowieske froze in front of Margot. I think it is funny when Mary and Lowieske come back from their bike ride and everyone has the same hair cut as Margot, and Eufrazie cuts everyone’s hair.
I am 8 years old and I enjoyed your book. Thank you.”
“Alice in Wonderland Move Over!”
Lieve has a beautiful mind and writing style. So graceful, Lieve also has a big imagination which our society tries so desperately to make us forget about as children, but yet she has been able to hold on to hers. Margot gets an unexpected visit, is an awesome children’s book about a magnificent friendship between two girls and a groundhog. The book is also very beautifully illustrated with awesome story-lines that gives additional interesting information. If you have children 3-6 years of age this is a must buy, You will not be disappointed.
This was a very cute story with wonderful wildlife photos.
Unusual but it comes together well!
What do you get if you combine nature photography, Canadian hockey, and kids? This book, of course. Somehow they all come together well in this story about a groundhog meeting some little girls. The photos are gorgeous and there’s even a bird watching section with more vivid images of birds in the wild. Elementary school children will enjoy this unusual look at nature.
It is an excellent story for school-age children
While this is a long read for younger children, it is an excellent story for school-age children. The pictures are the first rate and the narrative is interesting and fun. This book would be a great transitional book from short story books to chapter books. A great read and well worth the price!
I read this with my four-year-old daughter Jennifer and we both loved it. I was a bit worried that the book would be too long for her attention span but she was so engrossed with it that she carried on right through to the end. Jennifer loves playing with other children and animals so she found this charming tale about a groundhog’s friendship with two sisters hard to resist. The book was also a visual treat and Jennifer loved the vibrant, colorful pictures, especially the wackier ones involving Margot the groundhog. As a parent, I was also pleased to see a strong educational thread run through the book as it teaches children all about different species of rodents and birds. Jennifer especially enjoyed the page that displayed all the birds who had just visited the woodland hairdresser and spent a long time deliberating before picking out her favorite hairdo. This is a book I will be revisiting time and time again as part of Jennifer’s bedtime reading. The only disappointment from this superb children’s book is that Canada loses the big hockey game to America, as I always enjoy seeing the Yanks getting taken down a peg or two in the sporting arena. Let’s hope it’s not a case of Groundhog Day and the Canadian women eventually get their revenge on the ice.
Margot and her friendships are for real!
This brilliant picture book by Lieve Snellings offer much upfront wisdom on encounters with ‘difference’. It normalises ‘mobility’ as a regular act of life. This book is highly educative with simple yet valuable lessons on perceptions and response to ‘difference’ and ‘diversity’ around us. Through the metaphor of Margot, the groundhog, Ms Snellings brilliantly addresses the issue of diversity that is characteristic of both the human race and the citizenry of the modern nation states. This story specifically shows us through the communication between Margot and her friends Marie and Lowieske, that the language of love and understanding is universal. It calls for the opening of our hearts and minds to those around us who are seemingly different, by overcoming the fear of the ‘unknown other’. I thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity of her story-telling and recommend the book as a must-read for kids, who can do with a more inclusive imagination.
Its beautiful story and I like it.
Every child should read it
The photography is good and Lieve Snellings does a tremendous job of touching …
“Margot gets an unexpected visit” is an unexpected surprise. The photography is good and Lieve Snellings does a tremendous job of touching on critical social issues while keeping the story suitable for children. Margot the groundhog should be a character on a children's tv show. I read this story with my daughter! Keep it up Lieve!
This is a cute story with just enough information about groundhogs and squirrels for educational interest and just enough sports and storyline for general interest. The photos were great. My grandson definitely enjoyed it. However, we both struggled with pronouncing Loweiske.
Designed to entertain and educate
What made the book for me were the various get-ups the woodchuck wore. So many cute ones, I couldn’t pick a favorite. Unless… it’s the love shaped sunglasses. I learned a woodchuck is related to a squirrel which is related to a chipmunk. The photographs are imaginative and creative designed to entertain as they educate.
Vivid photography and a fun story about Margot the ground hot who meets two …
Lovely, vivid photography and a fun story about Margot the ground hot who meets two little girls in Canada. Great pictures and story for kids. Highly enjoyed.
Clever photographs add a touch of humour to this sweet tale.
The photographs and images were cleverly input into the story. I could imagine reading it to a five or six-year-old and they become immersed in the story. I enjoyed it, though I am not five or six and would recommend it to parents whose children love animals.
Marie and her sister Lowieske are from Belgium and, like me, did not know what a woodchuck was prior to their meeting with Margot. The images of the groundhog wearing glasses etc were amusing and again this would appeal to children. I found the text a little hard to read but that is an easy thing to remedy particularly if I am reading the story to young children, who are mostly interested in the images and how I deliver the story.
I bought this book on recommendation and enjoyed it.
Bird lovers will enjoy the bird photos–taken after a visit with Eufrazie
In this photostory of nature in Quebec, Margot (the groundhog or woodchuck) gets an unexpected visit with two girls (Marie and Lowieske) from Belgium. Lieve Snellings weaves cute photos of groundhogs, species of squirrels, and chipmunk into the story. Bird lovers will enjoy the bird photos–taken after a visit with Eufrazie, the hairdresser, who designed a special sporty crest haircut for the Women’s World cup of ice hockey finals. I really like Ms. Blue Jay!
LOOKING BEYOND GROUNDHOG DAY
A charming picture book that combines a heartwarming tale of friendship between a groundhog named Margot and two sisters, and amazing facts that feature the wildlife of Quebec. Lowieske and Marie are two sisters native to Belgium who vacation in Quebec. They share their feelings and enjoy adventures together. Margot keeps her own journal. She shares information about her distant relatives, the squirrels. Readers become aware of the many similarities among humans and groundhog families.
I found the tale of Eufrazie, the squirrel hairdresser, particularly amusing. Margot enlightens us with photos of the hairdos Eufrazie creates for all the animals who are cheering for the Canadian women in the World Hockey Game. I won’t reveal the winner, but as the sisters get ready to depart for Belgium, they are already looking forward to more adventures with Margot and her animal friends next year.
This beautiful book can be used as an introduction to nature for younger children. There is quite a bit of interesting information about the wildlife of Quebec. As such, the book is a good beginning reader that will sustain interest due to the nice blend of fiction and nonfiction. Children can easily empathize with Margot and her wildlife friends. I would particularly recommend it for children in the six to nine age bracket.
Quirky and Delightful!
I was charmed by this lovely picture book from the first page. As I was reading through the story – about a friendship between a groundhog and two girls – and looking at the lovely illustrations all I could think of was that this would be a wonderful way to spend time with my two young nieces. They would love this. Not only is it entertaining but it’s educational too and in a quirky delightful way. Highly recommended.
A perfect story for kindergartners
This is a nice story book for kindergartners, it has a lot of beautiful pictures and is very educational. I would definitely recommend.
Amazing pictures! This children book is perfect
Amazing pictures! This children book is perfect. In a time where people for their greed are destroying nature, this book for children can start inculcating the love for nature and taking part in enhancing the beauty of nature instead of destroying it, the pictures are wonderful. It is written in a fun way for kids and delicately gives the message. Beautiful!
I loved the photography in this book! And the writing quality very good. The story seemed a bit long, and I was left wondering why a description of a hockey game had been included in such a beautiful nature book. But I was enchanted with the idea of little girls making friends with a groundhog! Kids will love it!
Such lovely pictures of animals! The author makes the book interesting and funny, which keeps a child’s attention throughout the story!
A beautiful book for children
This is a delightful book with beautiful photographs and a story that children will love. Full of fascinating facts about woodchucks, I like how the author has given the animals some characteristics that children can relate to, such as sports, hairdressing, physical differences, etc. Older children will find it useful for school projects, while younger children will love to look at the pictures and perhaps make up their own stories for Margot.
How lovely! A befitting tribute to a delightful story told with such visual brilliance and quirky humour! The star of the book, Margot and her Chipmunk family are given character and life through the photography and the narration that gives a sweeping overview of the diversity not only of life forms but also of relationships across genders, geographies and species! This is nature storytelling at its best….congratulations Lieve Snellings and here is hoping that the book really goes places and gets widely read and loved.
A “Big Kid” review
What a wonderful book to read with the entire family! Beautifully conceived and photographed. I also shared it with a friend who is a children’s book author and who was visiting our area on a recent book tour. She mentioned that there is a rise in “Big Kids” loving and cherishing and adding kids books to their home libraries to share with their children, grandchildren and other parents/friends! This is not only an easy and delightful read – it’s simply entertaining!
This book was a fantastic read, good for the whole family! From its stunning photography to its endearing topic, this is one I will read to my children for years to come! This book shows that being different is not a bad thing! “Margot Gets an Unexpected Visit” I feel is one of those books that every child needs to read. Tangled with the entertainment and beauty of this book is a lesson deep within! Fantastic job Lieve Snellings.
Who knew groundhogs lived such interesting lives?
This was a fun picture book to read! I enjoyed seeing how the author used nature photos she’d taken herself, and added props to create the illustrations for this book. Very creative! With each page I turned, I wondered what prop I’d see in the groundhog’s hands next, and the author did a great job Photoshopping those items into the scene.
I liked that the story was told from the groundhog’s perspective, as most children love stories that revolved around animals as main characters, and the groundhog was definitely a unique choice.
A lot of interesting facts about groundhogs and other related animals were presented in this book, and I enjoyed the whimsical nature in which this story was told. I can picture reading a book like this to a Kindergarten or Preschool class. It contains just enough information to tell the story, without bogging down little readers with too much detail.
I will be reading more by this author.
A haiku review
First they are affraid.
Curiosity forms friends.
Teaching and learning.
Margot Gets an Unexpected Visit takes the traditional picture book experience and transforms it by replacing illustrations with the author’s own nature photography from Quebec.
The story follows the chance meeting between the main character, Margot the Groundhog, and a young girl on vacation from Belgium. At first, both are scared of each other, and the photograph on page 9 of a scared groundhog will make children laugh out loud.
As Margot and her new human friend get to know each other, the reader learns more about groundhogs, as well as the other animals in Margot’s neighborhood. As a hair dresser, Margot shows off her best work through the hair dos of other animals – and I imagine that these photos are some of the author’s best work too.
Just as Margot explains the relationship between herself and other animals in the forest, so to does her human visitor educate Margot about human relationships. And here was the real gem for me. This little girl explains to Margot that some people have a mom and a dad, and others either have two moms or two dads, or sometimes they just have one mom or one dad.
This probably isn’t a revelation to people from Belgium or Quebec, but here in middle America, it’s rare to see such a casual inclusion of same-sex couples in children’s picture books. You hardly ever see reference to gay couples unless the picture book is expressly about gay couples. And here is the real power of the author’s casual inclusion.
For the reader, it’s presented as a simple matter-of-fact, neither something especially noteworthy nor something that could be excluded from an explanation of human pair-bonding. This book totally stands on it’s own as a fun, funny picture book that teaches kids about wildlife in Quebec. But it was the unobtrusive inclusion of same-sex relationships that makes this a great addition for the classroom. It’s one thing to write a picture book that teaches kids why they should embrace diversity, it’s something entirely different to see a picture book that just embraces LGTBQ, point-blank, without any justification or explanation. That’s real acceptance, and young readers may not notice it as something noticeable, but they will certainly feel it through the way that it’s presented.
Margot arrived through my letterbox this morning.
What a pleasant surprising children's book. Beautiful pictures and a lovely story / Beautifully illustrated. Educational in a fun way. I just loved pages 5 and 20 and I liked the diversity on page 21.
I loved it! Teaches the kids in a fun way. My grandson loved it too
I’ve already reviewed one of Lieve Snellings’ books, Groundhog Secrets, which was very sweet and informative. I was expecting more of the same here, but instead, this is a gentle little story about a Groundhog meeting a couple of curious human girls.
There are some tidbits of information, a dash of humor and an unexpected foray into ice hockey.
A beautiful story about being different.
The photography and story are both stunning and humorous. You learn a lot about groundhogs, humans, and other animals. Every child will enjoy reading this book.
Author Lieve Snellings is a brilliant photographer and author. This story flows well for the age group and I can see children wanting to read it again and again. I giggled at Margot and her friends’ props and apparel. The two girls in the story are darling and could be anyone’s best friend.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves learning about nature.
A delightful narrative of an unlikely friendship between 2 girls and a groundhog
Margot the groundhog is a very personable character who is able to speak to humans, write letters, decorate her home, and do all wonderful things. Margot, who narrates the story, tells a wonderful tale of becoming friends with two human sisters, Lowieske (pronounced Loo-wees-ka) and Marie. It is fully illustrated using real photographs. While reading I found myself starting to read in a foreign accent. I don’t know if it was the author’s use of certain words or terms, such as “on holiday” instead of “vacation”, the outfits of the little girls, the names of the girls, or the mentioning of Chateau-Richer located in Quebec, which I later discovered.
This book not only tells the delightful narrative of an unlikely friendship, but children reading this picture book will learn about groundhogs and its distant relatives. I discovered that ground hogs are marmots and solitary animals, who love eating and sunbathing, also called woodchucks and are distant relatives to squirrels. I learned so much about rodents than I had ever anticipated. I recommend this book for 9-year-olds and older due to the length and breadth of this story. What I enjoyed most was the use of natural photography instead of cartoons or animated illustrations, which were beautifully captured by the author, Lieve Snellings. She is very talented in her ability to tell stories and use different graphics. The book is also filled with many life lessons. Children’s vocabulary will also increase as they learn the meaning of the words: inquisitive, creek, species, glance, and settlers. They will also be exposed to some geography as they learn about Canada, United States, and Belgium and learn about other cultures: the French and the Swiss. The story also goes into a discussion of what she believes constitutes a family.
This is such a cute little book about a groundhog who’s name is Margot, who meats to little girls It is a heartwarming tale about friendship.
The two girls Lowieske and Marie are two sisters from Belgium who vacation in Quebec. They share their feelings and enjoy adventures together. Margot keeps her own journal. She shares information about her distant relatives, the squirrels. Children become aware of the many similarities between humans and the groundhog families.
This book is very educational that would be great in a classroom library as well as your child book self-parents does your child love animals and enjoy reading about animals then they are going to love this cute little storybook about Margot the groundhog.
The Author did an amazing job on this story and the cute captivating story that will captivate the hearts of all readers.
When I was a kindergarten teacher’s aide I did story time I really enjoyed reading to the kids and this is one of the books I wish I was able to read to them.
This book was a fantastic read, good for the whole family From its stunning photography to its lovable story.
Ever wanted to know more about woodchucks well here is a great book to learn all about them.
This is a great book for kids to learn all about the amazing woodchuck it is super cute and will keep your kids interested in learning about woodchucks the story is so cute and the pictures are so cute.
I love these kinds of books because I love learning about animals and different kinds of animals.
You should put this on your child’s reading list this summer do you and your kids go to the library over the summer if so you should do the summer reading program and add this to your summer reading.
I am is really interesting it was a wonderful book about animals, this book would be perfect for a classroom library and in your child’s book self.
The pictures in this book are so cute with so many cute and wonderful amazing the way the author brought the story to life.
Fun and Educational!
This book is truly unique! It is both a children’s fiction story and one that educates about wildlife. Rather than illustrations, the book is filled with beautiful, up-close photos of groundhogs, squirrels, birds and more. This is a perfect book for parents to sit down and read with their children because there are so many opportunities to talk about animal facts, and other lessons, along the way. I really appreciate the positive messages about diversity that are included in the story. I would recommend this book and have confidence that the other books within this series are just as engaging.
Great book for young animal lovers
Young animal lovers will enjoy this sweet story about Margot the groundhog (also, as I’ve now learned, called a woodchuck!) The photographic illustrations are great. In the story, Margot shares interesting details about her life, her relatives, and her love of ice hockey(?!) with 2 young human friends. I’m fairly gullible, but not quite sure the squirrel hairdresser part is real! (The author has an amusing sense of humour, though.)