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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
A Lion in Paris
by Beatrice Alemagne
Age Range: Under_5
One day, a huge Lion arrives in Paris after becoming bored with the grasslands where he lived. The Lion has never been in a city before and encounters many new and strange things as he travels around; from the station at La Gare to enjoying an expresso in a café, going up the Eiffel tower, climbing up to the Sacré Coeur or visiting the Louvre.
There are so many comic touches: the Lion puzzles over the baguettes that people are carrying and he wonders if they are " a strange kind of sword". He is unhappy about the lack of attention he draws, after all he is a magnificent Lion, but no one seems to notice him even when he roars. It is only at the Louvre that a young girl's adoring eyes follow him, but is she real?
This vertically orientated large-sized picture book by Beatrice Alemagne was originally published in France in 2006 where it has been a bestseller for many years and it was a winner of the Bologna Ragazzi Special Mention Award in 2006.
Alemagne explains at the back of the book that the story was inspired by the statue of a lion in the Place Denfert-Rochereau in Paris which is much loved by Parisians.
The mixed media, with pencilled figures and collage cut-out photo faces, architectural rendering of Parisian landmarks and a larger than life protagonist, combined together with the sparse, large-type text on the top of each page and the sturdy paper pages make this a delectable book. It is almost certainly one of Alemagne's best creations, both for the lovely illustrations and wonderful humour.