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Phileas's Fortune: A Story about Self-Expression
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Phileas's Fortune: A Story about Self-Expression

4.56 of 5 stars 4.56  ·  rating details  ·  224 ratings  ·  47 reviews
How can Phileas express himself to Cybele when he doesn't have the right words say? How can he tell her how he feels when he doesn't have enough money to buy the words?

Phileas's Fortune reveals the power of language and self-expression. Words are important, but what is more significant is the sincerity and character behind what is actually being said. True self-expression
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Magination Press (first published 2009)
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Powerful, touching, warm-hearted story!

Phileas lives in a world where words are made at a factory. Only the rich can afford the valuable, creative, descriptive words. Phileas is not rich, people like him must hunt for words in trash cans, gutters, and if they are lucky, floating in the wind. Phileas has a special friend, Cybele. Her birthday is coming up, so Phileas saves up for three words to share with her. If he was rich, he would buy the words: I love you and happy birthday...but he is not,
Thw whole time I'm reading this book, I'm thinking that it is a great concept and sweetly done, but something is just off. Yeah, the subtitle is insipid. Okay, the illustrations are about words, and the words are largely in French, but that's just a quirk of translation. Then the end... wow what a horrid little lecture from the American Psychological Association. Now I get it. Thanks to other reviewers on Goodreads I learn a little history of the book and how the American edition is skewed by th ...more
Wow! Not only is the story beautiful, about the worth of speech and about the fact that having much is not always better than having little.

But the most beautiful thing in this book are the illustrations. To me, the only other artist who is that good and works in children's books today is Saun Tan - and that's saying something, he is awesome! Actually, the comparison to Tan works on more levels than 'just' quality, it's actually a similar approach: Valeria Docampo uses the same kind of clear li
This book was originally written in French (the version of which I have not read). The first version Iread was in Chinese and is titled "The Word Factory" (the Chinese version is not an option on GoodReads). The pictures are beautiful with contrasting colors like dark browns and greys (the colors of most printed words) with bright reds that portray all the subtleties, ominousness and brightness that a world economy based on the cost of words would create. In the meantime, the narrative focuses a ...more
Janne Varvára
God, this was a gorgeous book! The title, here in Norwegian, means "The Word Factory", and tells the short, but incredibly satisfying story of a young boy in a country where words have to be bought to be said. The rich have many, big, important words, but this little boy only has a few, stray words, which he's been able to catch with his butterfly net. He so wants to tell the little girl in his building "I love you", but only has the words "dust", "chair" and "cherry". What's really moving about ...more
Dit was echt een super prachtig en magisch boek.

Het land zelf, ik vond het best wel onderdrukkend, alsof het een oorlogsland betrof, maar nee, hier heerst een woordenfabriek, een fabriek die woorden uitspuugd, en ook de enige is die dat mag doen.

Als je wilt praten kun je woorden kopen, of je kunt ze vangen of goedkoop vinden, maar dat zijn over het algemeen toch niet echt goede worden. Appelsapmakerij of dromedariszadel, daar kan je toch niks mee?

Onze hoofdpersoon heeft een oogje op een meisje.
Phileas’s Fortune: A Story About Self-Expression by Agnes de Lestrade and illustrated by Valeria Docampo addresses the importance of self-expression over showing off or bullying. Where Phileas lives there is an old factory that spits out words. People must buy, catch, or hunt for the words then swallow those words they wish to speak. Some words are expensive and Phileas is poor, but he catches three words and saves them to say to a girl, Cybele. A bully, Oscar, is able to afford very expensive w ...more
Phileas lives in a town where a factory produces all of the words. You cannot speak a word until you have bought it (or found it) and have eaten it. Of course all of the fancy and important words are very expensive. How will he ever get the right words to say to the girl he loves?

In the first pages I had flashes of Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth. This was a very sweet story with slightly dark images for a kids' book. The only objection I have is the subtitle and the "parents' note" at the
Petya Kokudeva
Освен великолепните (винаги!) рисунки на Valeria Docampo (Argentina), в тази книга се къта история, която наистина ще прочитам много пъти оттук насетне. Благодарна съм, че я имам. И, пет звездички изобщо не ми стигат.
Katherine Muylaert
Magnifiek prentenboek. Geen woord te veel, maar ook geen woord te weinig. De tekeningen zijn bovendien ontzettend mooi. Zo wordt dit boek een waar pareltje.
Es un libro para niños pero adorable para adulos. Una gran enseñanza sobre la importancia y belleza de las palabras.
This is the best of the magination press books we've got lately, and it would be even better if it hadn't had the stupid afterword and the subtitle "a story about self expression." Because it has beautiful illustrations, and actually tells a really sweet story, but then you get to the end and they tell you what you should have learned from this story. Just so you know you couldn't learn a variety of things, because this is just about one thing. Which I thought was ridiculous, because the book wi ...more
Susan Hoeck-buehler
Original Title La grande fabrique de mots.

I loved the concept of this book and envision using this as a discussion point with children in our international school. The children are multi-lingual and often arrive without any experience in the language of instruction. I see possible connections for discussions on friendship, love, awareness of body language and how we communicate with each other as well as on the difficulty of not having the words you need to express yourself. I haven't yet checke
Love this book. The illustrations were gorgeous and the story has such a great message without being all preachy. A big machine makes words that people then have to buy from shops (grr consumerism and capitalism) but it's the way Phileas uses the few words he's got that gets so much more meaning across. It's a very cute story full of nudges for thinking outside the box and that more can be less- both ideas that are very much against the societal push for what's popular and going big or going hom ...more
Phileas can't afford the words he wants to speak to his neighbour for her birthday. But he's found some beautiful words that he's been saving for her, and when he finally gets to share them... The combination of anticipation, intimacy, colour and the words created a rushing feeling in my ears and a warm feeling in my fingers.
I thought the book was good because I liked the message portrayed that you don't need nice and expensive things to express yourself. I also thought the idea of having to buy words was interesting and original. The illustrations were also beautiful. The neutral tones and bursts of read really convey the mood of the story.
Marguarite Markley
OMG! How freakin' beautiful is this book?!?! In addition to being written wonderfully, the illustrations are fab! I LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! In a world where you can only speak the words you buy, you must choose carefully what you say and when you say it. What words would you buy and speak? *Sigh*
Dirk Vander Beken
I worked with this wonderful book in my drama classes for primary school teachers in Antwerp and last week in Valencia. There is a Dutch kamishibai-edition by De Eenhoorn. I found a French film La fortune de Phileas with adolescent actors and a Spanish version for hearing-impaired persons. Inspiring book!
Beautiful picture book about the importance of words. What if you couldn't say what you wanted to say, because words cost money? You would need to be rich to say "I love you." If you aren't rich and wanted to celebrate a friend's birthday, what would you do? Lovely book.
Ruth Govaerts
Eén van mijn lievelingsboeken! Zo'n mooie illustraties en zo'n mooie verhaallijn/betekenis!
MOET iedereen ooit gelezen hebben. Ik ben blij dat ik dit boek heb gekocht,
kan ik het later aan mijn kindjes voorlezen. :)
Sweet story about two children who find a connection in a society where words must be bought or found before spoken. Wish there wasn't a heavy-handed message at the end telling you what to learn from the book, though.
Such a great book for young ones and not so young ones.The images and colors are simply breath taking. Fell in love with it when one of my teachers at university read it at the beginning of his class. :)
Story a bit heavy-handed, but I like the concept of individual words being important, and that special words spoken sincerely can mean more. The art reminds me of Shaun Tan.
Lisa Neumayr
Ein sehr schönes Buch mit einer ergreifenden aber dennoch auch lustigen Geschichte, das auch schon kleine Kinder zum Nachdenken und Diskutieren anregt.
Loved the pictures. The story, not so much. Oh, this could have been good. It just wasn't. I'd love to see more word by the illustrator though.
I read this book for my kids in class and they LOVED it. It's a wonderful book with beautiful illustrations.
This gorgeous story about humility and self-expressions was thoroughly enjoyed by P3Yellow this morning!
fior d'aprile
letto e riletto ai bimbi tante volte prima di addormentarsi ed è sempre una magia!! ...ancora....
Ein bezauberndes Bilderbuch für Erwachsene über die Kraft der Liebe und eine tolle Geschenkidee!
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