Picture book Paris

I've never been to France, but one day I would very much like to go there. I have to admit though, that my impressions of Paris have largely been generated by the picture books I read when I was little, so I expect I'll be a bit disappointed if I don't encounter scenes like those drawn in books by illustrators M. Sasek, Paul Galdone, Winifred and Cecil Lubell and Roger Duvoisin.

M. Sasek's vibrant 'This Is' series, featuring different cities from around the world, was first publisahed in 1959. A number of books from the series were reprinted a couple of years ago and my younger brother bought three for me as a graduation present. Below are a few images from This is Paris:

Who can forget Anatole, written by Eve Titus and illustrated by Paul Galdone (1957). I loved this story about a proud little mouse who is horrified to discover that his kind are regarded by humans as dirty villainous creatures who steal food and make a mess. Anatole sets out to prove his worth by sneaking into a cheese factory and using his superior sense of taste and smell to review the cheeses and indicate which are the best. This proves to be a great success and in the process restores Anatole's sense of self-respect. Here are a few images from a battered, much-loved copy that Jack found back in 1993 (according to his scrupulous records):

Another charming picture book set in Paris is Rosalie The Bird Market Turtle by Winifred and Cecil Lubell (1962). The story was inspired by an old man who sold birds at the famous Paris bird market. He always brought along his pet turtle Rosalie and his talking crow Gaston. In the Lubell's tale the turtle goes missing and everyone sets out to find her. Gaston, the clever bird succeeds, eventually discovering Rosalie happily munching away inside a strawberry cart.

Gaston's search for Rosalie takes him all over Paris

The two friends are pretty tuckered out by the end of the day.

To conclude my picturebook tour of Paris here's a darling book called The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio and illustrated by Roger Duvoisin (1955). The story (set in an unnamed French town rather than Paris) is about a very sweet tempered lion who discovers that people don't respond to him quite so warmly when he is outside his large enclosure in the middle of the town. The keeper's son Francois saves the day and escorts the lion back to his home.

 Until I get to see  Paris for real, picture-book Paris will do me nicely!

  Enjoy your week!


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