That yearning may partially explain why I had an Edith Piaf tune stuck in my head the whole time I was reading this tale of an intrepid armadillo who visits the City of Lights.
However, I suspect there is more to it than that.
Perhaps it is the charcoal portraits of the main character, so meticulously drawn, reminiscent of the detailed sketches of 19th-century naturalists. Which is awesome, because armadillos are such freaky creatures to look at!
Maybe it’s the magic of the story itself—a grandson following in the footsteps of his adventurous grandfather, guided only by a journal that promises the solution to a grand mystery.
Or the surprise bursts of colour in the illustrations that bring an art gallery to life or allow you to experience the beauty of multicoloured sunlight streaming into a church.
Perhaps it’s all of the above, with a dash of je ne sais quoi for good measure.
Whatever it is, An Armadillo in Paris will appeal to a child’s sense of wonder and is meant to be pored over again and again. Long after the words have been memorized and the mystery has been solved, kids will enjoy studying the scenes for clues as to the many other things there are to do in Paris, whether it be people-watching along the banks of the Seine, playing chess in the park, or catching a marionette show.
And just WHO is the Iron Lady? Mais, bien sûr, that is something you must discover for yourself, mon petit chou.
Author: Julie Kraulis
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Age range: 5-9
Note: I received a copy of the finished book from the publisher, but opinions are my own.
And the pic on right is a completely amateur shot of the permanent window display of Bon Macaron in my town…8,000 long kilometers from Paris!
Bonus feature (and earworm): A gorgeous rendition of “La Vie en Rose”