La Bibliotheque de Lennoxville a aussi une belle collection de livres pour enfants et jeunes adultes en francais! Reviews of these books for kids and young adults will be in English, however. For many, getting used to reading in French not only helps build vocabulary, it will help you write in Moliere’s mother-tongue as you get used to its grammar and style. Oh, plus these books are full of fun stories, too.
Let’s begin with the delightful Moka: le chat qui voulait voler comme un oiseau (2006), a beautiful picture book (illustrations by Bruno St. Aubin) with story (by Gilles Tibo).
This cat wants to fly like a bird. He mimics birds, but discovers he does not like worms. (Pouah!)
And Moka is better at caterwauling than singing.
Even jumping into water like a duck does not help (he uses a clothespin to keep the H2O out of his delicate feline nose). But Moka still does not turn into a feathered, winged bird.
It turns out that Moka needs to learn to be happy with who he is, rather than by trying to copy others.
Also filed on the New Arrivals shelf this week are books from three adventure series.
First, La Vallée des dinosaures (1992 by Mary Pope Osborne, and translated in 2002), is the inaugural tale of nine-year-old Tom and his little sister Léa. The worrywart and the adventurer enter La Cabane Magique, which whisks them off through time and space to strange new worlds. (Kind of like… reading!)
Prehistoric critters stomp throughout…. and they’re not all vegetarian. (Wouah!)
Each book in this four-volume series includes a clue to a puzzle, and you need to read them all in order to solve the mystery. Only then will you discover the identity of the magical treehouse’s owner.
For Young Adults, there’s Tila: Pirate Malgré Elle (2008), by Patricia Juste Amédée. Tila is 12 years old, a mixed race girl living in the Antilles with the Kalinagos Indians. Her father was a white pirate; he’s disappeared. Her black mother has found a new companion, and they have a big, happy extended family.
This takes place in the days of slavery, when blacks were kidnapped and shipped to white plantations, and creepy town shamans kept witches at bay. And the shaman Popokondoe seems to know something about Tila — that she’s somehow different. (Mouais!)
She has strange dreams that come true. And now, she’s dreaming that she will be at the wheel of a boat filled with pirates. This is the first in a series, a scene-setter for what turns into a quest to break a curse, with the first book being part history lesson and part travelogue, giving insight into life and human nature in a tiny Caribbean village. But as the story progresses, there’s more and more magic, and the discovery of creepy creatures fighting a secret society of good guys.
Pierre Bottero’s even more action-oriented series Ellana begins in 2006 with Le Pacte des Marchombres. Five-year-old Ellana awakens from her hiding place to discover that her parents, who had hoped to homestead on the frontier, have instead been massacred by ogres. She is a lone human child in a land of fantastical creatures, and grows up with two odd little people caring for her — brothers who’ve never dealt with a child before. This is the most challenging read of the bunch. (Taratata!)
As Ellana hits her teens (page 63), a new life begins. She wants to go home, and steps into a tree that deposits her back in the land of the humans.
She collects friends and enemies on this new path (and kills a bad guy rather brutally on the way). Eventually, she meets the shadow walkers, and…. well, you’ll need to read it to find out.
Here’s a quick list of the winners of the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Awards.
Fiction: Dianne Warren, Cool Water, and Kim Thúy, Ru
Poetry: Richard Greene, Boxing the Compass, and Danielle Fournier, effleurés de lumière
Drama: Robert Chafe, Afterimage, and David Paquet, Porc-épic
Non-fiction: Allan Casey, Lakeland: Journeys into the Soul of Canada, and Michel Lavoie, C’est ma seigneurie que je réclame: la lutte des Hurons de Lorette pour la seigneurie de Sillery, 1650-1900
Children’s Literature – Text: Wendy Phillips, Fishtailing, and Élise Turcotte, Rose: derrière le rideau de la folie
Children’s Literature – Illustration: Jon Klassen, Cats’ Night Out, text by Caroline Stutson, and Daniel Sylvestre, Rose: derrière le rideau de la folie, text by Élise Turcotte
Translation: Linda Gaboriau, Forests, English translation of Forêts by Wajdi Mouawad, and Sophie Voillot, Montreal, Le cafard, French translation of Cockroach by Rawi Hage.
– Eleanor Brown, November 19, 2010