05 February, 2014

Un Lion à Paris - Children's Book Review

 A Lion in Paris - Un Lion à Paris
Once upon a time there was a lion. Bored in the Savannah he jumps a train to Paris. Expecting to incite fear, he discovers that the Metro passengers pay him no mind. This and the rain that make the city look grey cause him to feel sad. While out exploring he visits landmarks like Café Floré, the Pompidou Museum, the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré Coeur. At the Louvre Mona Lisa’s tender regard cheers him up. He finds a perch to look out on the city from and decides to stay indefinitely.

A sweetly simple story by Italian writer/illustrator Beatrice Alemagna, compiled into a beautiful book. Even the way it’s bound it atypical, it hinges from the top rather than the side. The illustrations, a combination of drawing and collage, are what make it my favorite children’s book. I bought a copy for myself long before my son was even born.

I recommend this book for adults and children alike. It was originally published in French and recently translated into English. Though I shy away from reading novels in French, children’s books are a less intimidating way to pick up some vocabulary while travelling the fantastical voyages between the pages. Some of the words I like from this story are: rugir – to roar, and bouche bée – to have your mouth open in surprise. Reading it would be a fun way to prepare for a trip to Paris, or to revisit the sites afterward.

I first discovered A Lion in Paris in the Pinacotheque museum gift shop, a fun place to browse.
You can order a copy in English here.
To learn more about Beatrice Alemagna, visit her website here.

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