Read to Me Picture Book Challenge – a French Flavor

There’s a Book’s Read-to-Me Picture Book Reading Challenge, Books 4, 5 and 6.

No language specific guidelines were given in the reading challenge, so I am assuming as long as my review is in English I can read my books in other languages. I was surprised to note when looking up these books on amazon.fr, that the French seem to rarely leave any comments on books, unlike the US or UK Amazon sites.

Book 4 La Petite Reine par Emile Jadoule & Catherine Pineur

24 pages, large font and text every other page; this book is definitely destined for the younger reader, say 1-4. Despite a clichéd first page, “Il était une fois une petite reine”, “Once Upon a Tme there was a small queen.” this is a charming, bold pastel-illustrated story in exactly the same genre as “Peter”s Chair” (my Book 3 in this challenge). This little queen is not a happy camper when a “little king” comes along to disrupt her sovereignty in the family. She goes though lots of stroppy, self-focused moments until she recognizes that every little queen really needs a little king and she is happily reconciled to her little brother on the final page. Lots of short, punchy sentences will make this attractive, especially with a young female audience.

Book 5 Le Yeti par Fabrice Houdry.

This is a winner! I suspect even if children had limited or no French they would enjoy this pictorial romp through the daily life of a friendly, caramel-eating yeti. I have to show you the first page and I know you will agree with me 😉

There is no profound plot, but with the huge font, lots of fun repetition, BIG illustrations and simple sentences… kids will love the visual message of this book. Maybe this could be a fun way to introduce some French to your child?

Book 6 Un Artiste Chat by Jean-C. Denis

Our feline hero, Pedro, has spent the past 10 years as a faithful circus acrobat, not only this but he is an esteemed scholar too, being able to count fluently to ten! But “rien n’est plus ennuyeux que d’être un chat savant.” “nothing is more tedious than being a learned cat.” All Pedro really longs for is the freedom to pursue his true creative passions. So farewell circus, and Pedro flees to the first home he comes to in the village . After the initial rage of our rustic homeowner Sancho, an agreement is reached. Pedro keeps the mice at bay for free board and lodging and the freedom to pursue those passions of music, poetry and painting. Word spreads and once again Pedro has an audience, but this time for his creative masterpieces not his addition and acrobatics! Danger looms in the final pages when the circus is back in town and Pedro’s old circus trainer offers Sancho a large sum of money for this Chat-artiste, but Sancho wisely chooses the joy Pedro has brought to his home and village over riches. Though only 15 years old the illustrations had a slightly dated feel to it for me, which detracted from the message and while I was happy to see our artist-cat able to flourish in an appreciative environment, it was not a story that gripped me visually or verbally.

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7 Responses to Read to Me Picture Book Challenge – a French Flavor

  1. Hi Joanna,
    My daughter is in 2nd grade and just started learning French. I took 4 years of French in High School (which was long ago) but my daughter’s recent interest has made it fun for us to experiment with the language. I never thought of getting picture books written in French. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Bon Appetit ~ Lauri Chandler
    http://www.bookblogfun.doodlekit.com

  2. Joanna says:

    Lauri, I think your daughter would love a few picture books in French. I am sure to review other French books over the year too.

    Joanna

  3. ibeeeg says:

    This is so cool. My 15 year old is learning French, and purchasing a few French children books would be good for her, and my 4 year old daughter. Even if my 15 year old cannot read all that is in the pages, it would give her a good challenge…I think, what do you think?

    • Joanna says:

      Hi there,

      I work i an International School where we have around 35 nationalities. The Primary part is completely bilingual French/English. It is easy for the kids coming into the primary section, as even if they have neither of these languages as Mother Tongue they are soon rapidly speaking and reading in both languages fluently. When they come in at an older age it is a little more challenging, but we do indeed give them Picture Books to read at first, trying to pick those with a slightly older theme. Next time I blog on French books I will try and select ones for older kids as I am sure you aren’t the only one with this query, so thanks for the question. 🙂

      Joanna

  4. ibeeeg says:

    Thanks for your answer. I was able to locate
    La Petite reine but not the others. I am going to keep my eye open for more. I do look forward to more French picture book posts from you. Again, thanks.

  5. La Petite Reine sounds wonderful! I will look for it. (The Yeti book sounds like fun, too.)

    Your concern about the cliched beginning, “Once upon a time” reminded me of a time (good grief, 40 years ago now!) when I was reading “The House that Jack Built” to my cousin’s little boy. Every time I started reading “This is the house that Jack built”, he would stop me and say (more and more forcibly), “No! ONE time!” Finally, I realized what he was saying, and added a few words to my reading. “Once upon a time, this is the house that Jack built”… and he settled back happily to listen to the story! So what we see as cliched may be an important ritual to a child!

    • Joanna says:

      I think you make a valid point, Beth, that cliché to adult may be important familiarity to child. Also, after reading your comment, I did think that maybe the phrase impacts a French ear in a different way to the English phrase for an anglophone?

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