Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bastille Day

Liberte! Egalite! The French are celebrating Bastille Day (when the prison fortress the Bastille was stormed and the French Revolution was underway). Here are three books we’ve enjoyed with French stories.

Fred Marcellino 1999

In I Crocodile that pesky emperor Napoleon captures a crocodile from Egypt and displays him in a fountain in Paris. It’s humorously told from the crocodile’s perspective and in the end he manages a daring escape into the sewers of the city where he’s able to dine on the fashionable Parisians. It always bothered Madeleine that a woman dressed all in pink (her favorite color at the time) was the first victim.

The Toast of the Tuileries!

Yes!  Lucky me!  The sewers of Paris!  Crocodile Heaven!

Nancy Milton 1992
illustrated by Roger Roth

The Giraffe That Walked to Paris is based on a true story and is about the first Giraffe that came to France. She traveled by boat across the Mediterranean Sea and then because she was too tall for a wagon or carriage, was walked from Marseilles to Paris. She was even given a raincoat to wear! The historical information at the back includes a photograph of her taxidermy body in the La Rochelle museum.

And finally...

Kay Fender 1978
illustrated by Philippe Dumas

An old man unwittingly brings home a baby bird on his hat. He names her Odette and she becomes his companion while he walks the streets of Paris and plays his accordion in the Metro station, brightening up the old man’s life. She leaves in the winter for a warmer place and when she returns she only finds the old man’s hat in a tree and lovingly uses it as a nest for her baby birds. It’s a sad story for a children’s book, but the illustrations are rather nice.

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