Here 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.
Cecile 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.
Delphine 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.
Fred 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)
Hervé Tullet, Un Livre (2010) [Press Here (2011)]
A 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:
- Elizabeth Bird’s Fuse #8
- Julie Walker Danielson’s Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
- Anita Silvey’s Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac
Related posts on Nine Kinds of Pie:
- Emily’s Library, Part 1 (2 Jan. 2012)
- Emily’s Library, Part 2 (3 Jan. 2012)
- How to Find Good Children’s Books (April 2011)
- Desert Island Picture Books (Oct. 2011)
- Mock Caldecott, 2011: Manhattan, Kansas Edition (Dec. 2011)
- Mock Caldecott, 2010: Manhattan, Kansas Edition (Dec. 2010)
That’s it for this installment, but there will be more “Emily’s Library” features in the future.