Escape from the mad man (Book Cover)

Escape from the mad man

For your first nights of freedom

The picture book for women escaping domestic violence and facing difficult questions from their children.
Please read this only if you are somewhere safe.

Escape from the Mad Man is based on one pivotal night in Valerie’s experience with domestic violence. She wanted to tell this story in a picture book to give you a tool she didn’t have back then, a way to tell children the truth in a format that is familiar to them.

Domestic abuse is a difficult subject for a picture book. The book needed to be honest but hopeful. It needed to take children’s sensibilities into account. The text says what needs to be said and no more. The illustrations are not graphic in nature; they deal with the emotions involved.

We hope you and your children will move past this frightening time with as much support and love as possible. Thank you, and all our very best.

Valerie Elmhirst & Larry Lalonde

what they said

Every step of my journey was depicted for me in this book. What it did was show me you can escape, that life can change. It’s not a scary book, it’s one that grasps the situation. I recommend this as a tool to help navigate the path of understanding. I spent 30 years as a police officer, and I’ve seen this scenario too many times. Reach out for help, connect to the right path!

Inspector Linda Gillis Davidson, Regimental number O1882

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

It is a very tough topic, but the authors have done an excellent job in presenting domestic abuse in a way that Moms and their children can relate to. Families will have different specific experiences but the main points about anger, control, physical and emotional damage are unfortunately consistent across abusive situations and this book has dealt with all of these issues. This book would be a useful resource for shelters, organizations and individuals going through abusive situations.

Shelley Deegan, Speech-Language Pathologist,


Deeply affecting and compelling…
Evoking a great sense of people and place, Elmhirst and Lalonde convey a pair of siblings’ journey to freedom after their mother escapes their abusive father. Happy meal times, sleep overs, and playdates are the things Emily and Grant can only dream about. Their dad’s unpredictable temper makes it hard for them to enjoy even the simplest pleasures of childhood. The situation is worst for their mom who is tolerating physical violence at the hands of her husband for years. But when Joan escapes with Emily and Grant, the kids have many urgent questions they need answers to. Different characters’ perspective is explained through a series of shifting emotions, creating a narrative that is both somber and accessible. Skillfully illustrated pictures are sketched according to moods of the situation: darkly sketched images accompany somber situations while the bright, popping colors make moments of contentment significant. This nuanced tale of finding courage and making right choices skillfully introduces young children to the topic of domestic violence.

The Prairies Book Review

reviewed on

Dark but filled with hope. Frightening but not negative. Hard truths told clearly with words and pictures. Don’t miss this book.

Dave MacCallum

reviewed on


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