Reviewed for the Emmet O'Neal Library Children's Department. Click here to access the children's portion of the review.
Grown-up portion of review:
ThisReviewed for the Emmet O'Neal Library Children's Department. Click here to access the children's portion of the review.
Grown-up portion of review:
This is one of those kids' books that gets more stars for kids than it did for me. But this is the first time I've given it two extras on the library site.
I think kids might appreciate the use of language, whereas I found some of it a bit kitschy. There were descriptions and even minor plot elements that chose quirky aesthetic sweetness over actual usefulness. A Chelsea bun that tastes like blue skies? It's a lovely sentence, but I'm no closer to knowing what that bun tastes like. And having a suit where a heart should be? It's been done - in fact, I'm pretty sure Meg Ryan says something very similar in You've Got Mail. But for young readers/writers just learning to wrangle words into a particular voice, this kind of language can be engaging and open up new possibilities.
Another thing that makes the book enchanting for kids but a little dull for adults is the slightly stock nature of the characters. The hateful and conservative child welfare hounds; the crusty-but-kind, street-wise orphan boy; the loving, nontraditional, scholar dad. They create a magical world, even though I've read or watched all of them before.
Finally, it's absolutely unbelievable. Yet another reason it bothered me but probably won't bother elementary readers.
It's written for kids, so maybe I shouldn't even mention these grown-up off-putters; but the best of children's literature engages readers of all ages, and I think Rundell has it in her to write something that does so....more
The illustrations by Saul Bass echo (or rather foreshadow) Blexbolex’s Seasons, but this book has a sweet and funny story to go along with the pictureThe illustrations by Saul Bass echo (or rather foreshadow) Blexbolex’s Seasons, but this book has a sweet and funny story to go along with the pictures.
Henri lives in the tiny town of Reboul, but he feels like his heart is in Paris. One day he cannot wait any longer and sets out to walk there. After falling asleep in the woods along the way, his walk takes him to a Paris very different from what he expected.
The story and illustrations are reprinted from 1962 and make for a book that’s just as charming now as it must have been when it was originally published....more
Perhaps I would have liked this book a little better had I not read it as a chaser to the magnificent Suite Francaise.
I appreciated that the story traPerhaps I would have liked this book a little better had I not read it as a chaser to the magnificent Suite Francaise.
I appreciated that the story trained and focused its lens on the Vel d'Hiv roundup, an abonimable event in WWII France, perpetrated by French police and government, that I hadn't ever learned about and that apparently most French folks don't learn about either. But I lost interest when the story, which began as two stories alternating by chapter, streamlined into one narration. I missed the gripping firsthand account of Sarah's Holocaust tale when it merged with Julia's 21st century narrative, and might have rather just read the WWII story instead of Sarah's life contained in Julia's life.