Stroll through Paris with These Picture Books

BookendsLynn: Indulge me, please. My husband and I lived in France for a short time and I have been smitten with all things French ever since—picture books set in France are always favorites for me. Here are two sweet ones from 2014 that I would have liked anyway but of course they have that je ne sais quoi that makes me want to share them.

First up is A Walk in Paris (2014) by Salvatore Rubbino. A little girl and her grandfather take a walk around Paris, visiting all the famous places and landmarks. Starting at the Maubert market, they stroll to Notre Dame, eat lunch in a walk in Parisbistro, walk past the Pompidou Centre and the Louvre, the Tuileries and end up, of course, at the Eiffel Tower at night.  Each two-page spread offers a charming new view and Rubbino peppers the scenes with notes providing more interesting information on the culture, language, history, and architecture of the city.

The book will appeal to armchair travelers and City of Light veterans alike—and, of course, the children they’re reading with—and I loved the sketches and the warm, glowing colors. End-page maps and an unfolding Eiffel Tower complete this lovely treat of a book. Where’s my suitcase?

Cindy: Did you make a New Year’s resolution to try new things this year? Or do you know a child who is stuck in a rut? Sarah S. Brannen’s Madame Martine (2014) is spurred to try new things by a stray dog she finds on her routine walk one day. Madame Martine likes her routine—same walk, same food, same sights—and she’s never bothered to climb up the Eiffel Tower only to climb down again.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution
to try new things this year? Or do you
know a child who is stuck in a rut?

Madame MartineThe stray pup is rescued by Madame Martine and she cleans him up and buys a leash and other dog necessities. She names him Max and he joins her routine walk. I won’t give away the rest of the short story, charmingly illustrated, but Max shakes up Madame Martine’s routine just a bit and she learns that trying new things is not so bad. We can all think of local attractions that we haven’t explored and new foods we haven’t tried, and we know it’s far too easy to get stuck in routine. Max and Madame Martine should be inspiration to us all.

(Ed Spicer’s students don’t need this book. Those of you who follow this creative first-grade teacher on Facebook see his students having radish or dill pickles at snack time, or planting pumpkin seeds in the school’s garden and harvesting big orange pumpkins in the fall. Those of you who don’t follow him, should. He is an inspiration, too!)

Happy New Year from Bookends, and Carpe diem!

Update: “As advocates of freedom of the press, we were saddened to learn of another act of extremist terrorism in Paris this morning that coincided with the publication of our blog post about two enchanting Paris picture books. Even by coincidence our thoughts are with the people of the City of Lights as they cope with this dark act.”–@BookendsBlog #JeSuisCharlie

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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