Monday, April 16, 2012

Kids Books that Made Me Love France - Even Before I Got There

In the early 50's, my aunt married a young French doctor and moved to Paris to become a French wife. I've always admired her ability to jump into everything and just go. The result of this marriage is that my only first cousins were from France (how exotic in the 60's and 70's in Maine) and that I didn't get to know this family until I stayed a summer with them at 10. But it also meant that I received exotic gifts occasionally. There were clothes and games all wrapped neatly in exquisite tissue papers and a gold sticker with the store's name on it.

I also received some pretty cool books. Here are my three favorites:

Paris by Miroslav Sasek, Copyright 1960 - mine is in French  but it's available in English. This is  a cool exploration of Paris, with a beatnik sort of style

Babar's French Lessons by Laurent de Brunhoff, Copyright 1960 - I used to pour over this book, wishing I could live this glamorous life that Babar lived and wishing I could speak French! As a Paris-obsessed mom, I have used this over the years to interest my kids in the language and culture. After all, who can resist these little Elephants!

 La Cuisine est Un Jeu d'enfants by Michael Oliver, Copyright 1963 - Cooking is Child's Play is also in French and contains recipes that every good, little French girl (and probably boy) should have known how to cook. I always loved the pictures and the book was useful to learn the language of cooking. Recipes take you through the courses of a proper French meal,  from Soups and Hors-d'oeuvres to desserts. The recipes include classics like onion soupe, Coq au Vin, Rabbit in Mustard sauce, and Creme a la Vanille (vanilla custard.)

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