This charming book about a girl and her grandfather walking through the streets of Paris will introduce young children not only to the landmarks and culture of that great city but also to simple French words and phrases (without, however, including a pronunciation guide). In small text, there is also background information and trivia that will enhance the story for older children or adult readers. For example, Grandpa tells his granddaughter:
“This kind of road . . . is called a boulevard. It’s really wide and busy. We’d better cross quickly, before the lights change!”
In smaller print, we read:
“In the nineteenth century, the emperor of France asked Baron Georges Haussmann to rebuild Paris. Haussmann designed wide, straight boulevards, where all the roofs and balconies line up. He also improved Paris’s water supply and sewage system and created beautiful parks.”
The main sites of Paris are included on their walk, such as the fountain at Place Saint-Michel, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Pompidou Center, the Louvre, the Tuileries Gardens. The two travelers go to a bistro for lunch, where we learn about some common food served, and they stop at a patisserie for dessert.
The pair go to both of the two islands of Paris, with the small text explaining that the bigger island is Ile de la Cite and the smaller Ile Saint-Louis. They end the long day at the the Eiffel Tower at night where they watch the light show.
The illustrations by the author in a colorful but muted palette have a “retro” feel and may remind you a bit of the Czech author and illustrator Miroslav Sasek (died in 1980), who created a series of books to introduce children to some of the world’s great cities.
Rubbino fills the two-page spreads with his illustrations, with lots of detail for children to find and identify.
Evaluation: This book can introduce kids to other places in the world, and would make an excellent addition to introductory French classes for children.
Published by Candlewick Press, 2014