Emily’s Library, Part 3: En Français

section of Emily's Library, Emily's Room, Switzerland. Photo taken 31 Dec. 2011Here are a few en français.  For each, I also provide the title as translated into English.  As noted in Emily’s Library, Part 1, I read the books in English (since I don’t speak French) and then send the French originals to my niece (whose parents are raising her in English & French).  I agree that this section of the library needs to expand at a faster rate, and especially welcome further suggestions.

Ramona Badescu, Gros Lapin. illus. Delphine Durand (2007) [Big Rabbit's Bad Mood (2009)]

Badescu writes, “Big Rabbit had a big, bad hairy mood that stuck to him like glue,” and Durand draws a grey, furry oblong creature following big rabbit around.  Big Rabbit spends much of the book trying to evade the bad mood, but to no avail.  In the end, though, the bad mood leaves. Very funny, and evocative of what a bad mood feels like.

Boyer, Ouaf Miaou Cui Cui (2009): coverCecile Boyer, Ouaf Miaou Cui Cui (2009) [Woof Meow Tweet Tweet (2011)]

Brilliant use of typography to tell a story.  Boyer represents each animal using the word for that animal’s characteristic sound; each sound gets its own typeface.  Ingenious.

Sylviane Donnio & Dorotheé de Monfreid, Je mangerais bien un enfant (2004) [I'd really like to eat a child (2007)]

A funny story about a crocodile who won’t eat the food his parents get him because he’d prefer to eat a child.  Of all the books I’ve sent, this one is a particular favorite of my sister’s.

Delphine Durand, Ma Maison (2000) [My House (2007)]

Non-narrative book that explores the many rooms and creatures that live in the house.  Lots of detail with much to examine on each page.

Durand, Bob & Cie (2004): coverDelphine Durand, Bob & Cie (2004) [Bob & Co. (2006)]

A story about life, the universe, and story, Durand‘s Bob & Cie is one of my all-time favorites. It asks the big questions. It’s funny.  It has philosophical and theological implications, which can be pondered or ignored (depending on the interests and cognitive abilities of the reader).

Jean-Luc Fromental & Joëlle Jolivet, 365 Pingouins (2006) [365 Penguins (2006)]

An oversize book about math, the environment, and… penguins!  Its bold contrasts and limited color palette recalls mid-twentieth century poster design.

Catherine Graindorge & Fiona Land, Mon tout premier livre d’éveil (2005)

This is the sole book featured here — or, indeed, on any of these “Emily’s Library” lists — that I didn’t buy for my niece.  In the tradition of Dorothy Kunhardt’s Pat the Bunny (1940), Mon tout premier livre déveil is a tactile experience, with textures to rub, flaps to pull, even a mirror to look in.  I’m including it here because Emily loves it.  One caution: it might be more sturdily designed.  She’s already torn off two of the flaps.

Marcellino, Le Chat Botte (1999): coverFred Marcellino & Charles Perrault, Le Chat Botte [Puss in Boots] (1999)

The late, great Fred Marcellino did amazing work.

Beatrice Rodriguez, Le voleur de poule (2005) [The Chicken Thief (2010)]

This one is wordless (and so should really be included in yesterday’s list), but I purchased the French edition. Curiously enough, I first saw the book in Germany, where it is published under the title Der Hühnerdieb (2009)

Tullet, Un Livre (2010): coverHervé Tullet, Un Livre (2010) [Press Here (2011)]

New York Times bestseller, Tullet’s picture book reminds us that books are interactive.  Who needs an interactive ebook when you can read this?  Note that, in French, the title is simply A Book, but in English it’s Press Here.

Dorothée de Monfreid, Nuit Noire (2007) [Dark Night (2009)]

Felix, walking home through the forest in the dark, sees many scary creatures — and meets a brave rabbit who shows him how to deal with his fears.

Yes, I am aware that all of these are recent, and I do know Babar and The Little Prince. Saint-Exupéry’s book does not strike me as being for very young readers — a point which, admittedly, also might be made regarding a few other choices I’ve made. Emily has already been given a few Babar books. Regarding recency: as noted at the top, I’m seeking suggestions!

Looking for other great children’s books?  Try these blogs:

Related posts on Nine Kinds of Pie:

That’s it for this installment, but there will be more “Emily’s Library” features in the future.

5 Comments »

  1. Clementine B Said,

    January 4, 2012 @ 8:20 am

    I’ve just given my goddaughter ‘Visite au zoo’ by Pittau and Gervais http://www.amazon.fr/Visite-au-zoo-Pittau/dp/2070639126 – very cool huge alphabet/animal/colour book with 4 different readings…

    Another great book for very young readers published recently is ‘Le ballon de Zébulon’ by Alice Brière-Haquet & Olivier Philipponneau, published in English as ‘Zebedee’s balloon’ – a story in black, white and red, all illustrated with wood engravings.

    And my favourite picturebooks from when I was a little girl in the 1990s:

    - Claude Ponti is THE best French picturebook artist of the past 30 years. His best picturebooks, I think, are ‘La tempête’ (The Tempest) and ‘L’arbre sans fin’ (The Endless Tree), and for even younger children he’s got a whole series of ‘Blaise’ books featuring a little yellow chick. They’re all very surrealistic. Not sure if any of these are translated.

    - ‘La belle lisse poire du prince de Motordu’ by Pef is an absolute classic, completely untranslatable as it is integrally composed of puns http://www.amazon.fr/belle-lisse-poire-prince-Motordu/dp/2070627446/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325685845&sr=1-1

    - Grégoire Solotareff is a very important French picturebook artist, ‘Loulou’ is his most famous one http://www.amazon.fr/Loulou-Gregoire-Solotareff/dp/2211021204/ref=sr_1_24?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325686326&sr=1-24 but he’s written loads of cool picturebooks

    - ‘Chien Bleu’ by Nadja is a powerful and strange story about a blue dog http://www.amazon.fr/Chien-bleu-Nadja/dp/2211014178/ref=pd_sim_b_39 – works very well with very young children

    - A bit later, people like Eric Puybaret, Rébecca Dautremer and Benjamin Lacombe started publishing beautiful picturebooks like ‘Graines de cabanes’ http://www.amazon.fr/Graines-cabanes-Philippe-Lechermeier/dp/2013911629/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325685519&sr=1-2 – they completely enthrall children but I think this style is becoming a little precious

    AND of course she’ll also need a few comic books… :)

  2. Philip Nel Said,

    January 4, 2012 @ 8:36 am

    Wow! Thanks very much for these recommendations, Clementine B! I don’t know any of these, and I’m excited to look at them.

  3. debbie Said,

    January 4, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    I love Bob & Co and Ma Maison! I never get tired of looking at those.

    I have a very lovely book called Tram, voyage en zigzag by Choloe Francisco Trenti – beautiful illustrations: http://www.la-compagnie-creative.com/albums-tram-voyage-en-zigzag-41.html

  4. amw Said,

    April 22, 2013 @ 11:43 am

    have you done the “petit ours brun” series?

  5. Philip Nel Said,

    April 22, 2013 @ 11:50 am

    AMW: No, I haven’t. Thanks for the suggestion!

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