(Hodder Children’s Books)
Monsieur Roscoe On Holiday, Jim Field’s latest picturebook and the first he has penned himself, is a bilingual word book which introduces French words to its young audience with each French words appears alongside its English translation. Unlike many word books however, this book follows a narrative, as Monsieur Roscoe and his goldfish Fry travel through France for their summer holiday, meeting their friends along the way.
Grown-up readers will notice the legacy of Richard Scarry’s artwork amongst the pages of Monsieur Roscoe On Holiday . It has a similar quirkiness, humour and attention to detail inviting little readers to pore over each double-spread and Jim Field’s wonderfully vintage style and colours are just pitch perfect. I love how Parisian buildings and side streets are captured. There is also a little feel of Tati’s iconic early 1950s movie Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot in there as well. It’s an era that is often used to epitomise French joie de vivre and it is wonderfully depicted here.
Monsieur Roscoe On Holiday is a glorious, joyful book which offers a brilliant way to introduce a new language.
I was chuffed to be asked to be part of the blog tour celebrating this wonderful book. For my stop, Jim Field shares Five Fabulous French Language Picturebooks:
Five of My Favourite Picture Books in French
by Jim Field
N’y a t-t-il personne pour se mettre en colère
Toon Tellegen & Marc Boutavant
I picked this book up when I first moved to Paris. I’m a big fan of Marc Boutavant and this combination of Marcs artwork and the Aesop style short fables by Toon Tellegen are wonderful.
There are twelve short stories about different animals and how they deal with their own anger, very good to share with children. It’s a beautiful book and of course stunningly illustrated by Marc who is an illustration hero of mine. I can’t say I can understand all of it as it is a bit beyond my French reading ability!
Published in English as The Day No one Was Angry by Gecko Press, translated by Bill Nagelkerke
Toto veut la pomme
This is one of my favourites to read with daughter. It’s so simple – even I can read it in French. Toto, the worm wants to eat an apple from the tree. But it’s all the way up there and he is all the way down here. Toto has many cunning ideas to help him get up the tree but each time his new plan fails. Until finally he and the apple are reunited. But in slightly unfortunate circumstances.
The story is dry and funny and it has the graphic charm reminiscent of Paul Rand.
Published in English as Toto’s Apple by Phaidon Press
I could have picked several of Vincent’s books, his humour resonates with me.
Jungle is the story of a man dressed in a safari outfit quite simply describing his love of the jungle. It has a play on words – which is something the French love to do. With each description of his beauty of the wild jungle, the words are flipped ‘ C’est tordant… ou c’est mordant !’ ‘It’s writhing – or it’s biting!’ and the page turn reveals him being pooed on by parrots, bitten by a chameleon, attacked by a cheetah, eaten by a crocodile etc. It sounds a bit brutal but the way Vincent illustrates it with his charming character expressions, the animals mocking the man and the intense colour palette – I think it’s hilarious and brilliant.
Also, check out his book ‘LE CHAT LE PLUS MIGNON DU MONDE’ another corker!
Un grand jour de rien
Not many author/illustrators could make a book on big day of doing nothing, but Beatrice is an expert storyteller.
This follows a boy and his mother in the countryside during a vacation. His mother is busy working/writing and her son just plays space invaders on his hand console. She keeps telling him to stop and go outside and enjoy some of the beautiful nature. He finally does so and after accidentally dropping his game console in a pond his eyes finally open to the wonder and beauty around him. Beatrice has a magical way to capture life through a child’s eye. Her artwork is skewed with wild perspectives, an abundance of texture and pattern that you can almost feel the artists hand grabbing the art materials around her. Stunning!
Published in English as On A magical Do-nothing Day by Thames & Hudson, translated by Jill Davis
It’s a wordless picture book so this could work in any language.
I bought this in a bookshop in Paris for our daughter’s 2nd birthday based on the cover – a blonde mother and her daughter hand in hand walking in the market. It reminded me of my wife and our daughter and I fell in love with it instantly. It’s such a simple story, of mother and daughter going to the market to buy items for a big party. Noëlle’s illustrations are simply gorgeous, they are brimming with life and character in each and every spread. There are lots of lovely little things to spot with your child along the way, the more you look at it the more you spot.
Thank you so much Jim for this amazing selection!
Monsieur Roscoe on Holiday is published by Hodder Children’s Books and is out now. You can buy a copy here or any good bookshop!
Check out the other posts in the blog tour:
Source: review copy kindly provided by publisher
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