In honor of our trip to Paris one year ago, I decided to share with you a few of our favorite picture books that take place in Paris!
We already love and own two classic picture books about Paris — Madeline and Mirette on the High Wire. These will always be my first loves, and they rise above any others as enduring classics. Do you know and love them as well?
These new favorites pictured above, though, all come from this extensive list that my friend Becca shared with me a few months ago. I found most of them at my local library. Some weren’t that great, in my opinion, like this one — I just can’t love this character, try as I might, and the book was a headache to read aloud.
But these six are our new favorites. They, along with Madeline and Mirette, are the crème de la crème, as they say!
by Leslie Kimmelman
A cheerful book without many words, this is great for teaching children how to say hello in French. A young girl travels throughout Paris — to a patisserie, a soccer game, the Eiffel Tower — and everyone says “bonjour!” wherever she goes. Helpful for teaching children — and adults! — that greeting with a bonjour is essential before any interaction in France. I wish I’d read this before we visited.
“Anatole is a most honorable mouse.” This beautifully illustrated Caldecott Honor book is the story of a mouse who decides to earn food for his family in an honest way, so he sneaks into a cheese factory, tastes all the cheeses, and leaves little notes on them indicating “good,” “not so good,” “needs orange peel,” and so on. The cheesemakers love his advice, but they cannot imagine who this connoisseur could be…
This is a sweet and simple book, and not super Parisian, but Lena really enjoyed it, so I’m putting it on the list. Hugo is a dapper bird who loves his city, but he only loves it from the ground — because he refuses to fly. Then he meets a lovely little bird named Lulu who convinces him to spread his wings. How long can he keep her on the ground? Will he ever learn to fly?
THE INCREDIBLE PAINTING OF FELIX CLOUSSEAU
Once again, I was not as big a fan, but Lena requested it over and over, so what do I know?! Felix Clousseau is an odd old painter, and no one paid him any mind — until his paintings come alive and volcanoes start erupting and ducks start quacking in them. This is all a nuisance, and his paintings are confiscated. All except one. Will that painting save the crown and make Clousseau a hero? I’ll give you one guess. ;)
Adele and Simon are a brother and sister walking home from school in Paris who see their friends and the sights of Paris along the way. Simon, however, has his hands full of books and crayons and binoculars, and he can’t seem to keep track of them. He loses something on every page! Can you find them for him? The illustrations are beautiful, and both Lena and I loved this book. I also recommend Adele & Simon in America.
What a wonderful book! If you are planning a trip to Paris, this is essential reading — and it would make a charming gift for an adult, too. The author writes the book to you, the reader, with wonderful pictures of everything you will see and do in Paris. The illustrations are gorgeous, the writing is tongue-in-cheek, and the whole book is fresh and delightful, even though it was written in the 1960s. Check out the rest of Sasek’s travel series as well.
Now, even as I put together this post I came across more picture books set in Paris that I haven’t even heard of yet. We even have one in our house right now — The Tooth Mouse — that takes place in Notre Dame and is just wonderful.
Do you have any favorite picture books that are set in Paris? We’d love to hear!