Thursday, May 6, 2010

French Children's Books

by Sarah Fox

Illustration by Rebecca Dautremer

Upon walking into a children’s book section in Paris, one of the first observations is the recognition of popular American characters—Disney princesses abound, along with Eric Carle’s uniquely illustrated tales, such Une si Petite Graine (The Tiny Seed), and Maurice Sendak’sMax et les Maximonstres (Where the Wild Things Are). But hidden in the shelves, less visible, sit internationally renowned French novelties such as Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry’s Le Petit Prince (1943) and Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar (1931). But what about contemporary French children’s writers? Where are the French Sendaks hiding? In this paper I examine the answers to this question by looking at the history of French children’s literature, as well as the content of current books and the influence of American children’s literature on the French market.

Illustration by Tomi Ungerer

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