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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)
by Lily Jean-Javel
Age Range: 6-8
Grandmother Greylocks lives with her cat Purrpurr in an old house in a French village. The local children often go to visit her to listen to her wonderful stories. One day she recounts the story about Fortune’s Caravan. Napoleon Fortune owned a large inn where he cooked the most wonderful meals but also charged his customers a lot of money. When his inn is set on fire by a jealous and envious customer, Mr Fortune, his wife, twin daughters and son found themselves homeless. They purchased a caravan and formed a travelling circus performing in various locations in France. Toinette telling stories, her twin sister Suzanne trained two chaffinches, Titi and Toto, while their brother Jacques performed acrobatics on horses.
This lovely story, written in 1932, by French author Lily Jean-Javel (1882-1958), translated by Marion Saunders, has a real flavour of times gone bye. There were twelve editions of the book published between 1932 and 1957 in French and English.
Maggie Salcedo’s woodcut illustrations in black and white and colour throughout the book are absolutely outstanding and very evocative of the Art Deco period.