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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

Category results for 'french-literature'.

Florence & Leon is an unusual picture book in that it is pretty much a quirky romance story (not something I often see in picture books, but perhaps it's more common in French ones, as this was originally published in French), and while it's written at a level that children can understand, I imagine it would appeal more to teens and adults, though I could be wrong. 

I do like the visual of the straws that each person uses to describe their particular physical difficulty, and the connection they make because of it. That's an aspect that older children might be able to appreciate, especially with a common object being used as an illustration. 

Perhaps it's cheesy in places, and it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I thought it was cute.

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Simon Boulerice
Illustrator: Delphie Côté-Lacroix
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

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The Golden Glow is a story about a fox who loves botany (originally published in French). One day he goes off in search of "the golden glow" -- a very rare flower, which (he is eventually told) can only be found at the very top of the mountain. 

The story takes its time in reaching this destination (though it's not draggy or overly wordy), including informational pages here and there featuring topics such as items for hiking preparedness, common flowers, trees, mountain elevation zones, etc.

I liked the illustrations, especially the color palette, though the "angular" way that most things are drawn is interesting considering how sleekness and curves seem to be the order of the day.

Ultimately I appreciated the message of the story, which is that nature appreciation doesn't need to mean possessing everything we find, especially items that are rare and beautiful. I also thought this story avoided the common pitfall of presenting important ideas in a didactic way. 

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author/illustrator: Benjamin Flouw
Pages: 48
Content Advisory: None

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The Pink Umbrella, originally published in French, is a tender story about a woman named Adele who manages a cafe, and loves the sunny weather. But when it rains, she has a hard time coping. 

But then someone begins leaving her gifts to help protect her in the rainy weather, and she wonders who it could be... 

The illustrations here are just perfect -- there's a lot of pink of course, but it doesn't feel overdone because the tones are so soft and beautiful. The story has just the right touch of romance to it which is communicated through thoughfulness and friendship -- the very best kind, in my opinion.

The only thing I didn't like was how the first quarter or so was written -- it felt like too much direct "summary" that didn't flow very well, and sometimes switched tenses as well. Of course, perhaps the fact that this is a translation is why it feels a bit clunky to me, but it's absolutely worth reading. It's not even that wordy, overall, but probably would appeal more to older children (or adults!) than younger ones.

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Amélie Callot
Illustrator: Geneviève Godbout
Pages: 72
Content Advisory: None

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Shelter is a gentle fable (originally published in French) that contains beautiful and absorbing artwork, full of earth tones and winter blues. In a forest neighborhood, a storm is coming. The animals get ready, but when a pair of strangers show up asking for shelter from the cold, they receive very mixed reactions -- but as the storm worsens, one family finds themselves needing shelter too. 

Different people will probably take different messages from this story (some reviewers see a possible "climate change" statement here since the visitors are polar bears), but for me the takeaway is that the best way to receive is through giving, and that compassion can breed more compassion. 

I thought the story was well told. Sometimes, the more important the message, the easier it can be for storytellers to communicate in heavy-handed ways, but I believe that was mostly avoided here, because the story can stand on its own. I assume the heart of this story is related to the current global refugee crisis, and if that's the case then this is a timely story indeed.

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Celine Claire
Illustrator: Qin Leng
Pages: 42
Content Advisory: None

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The Lion and the Bird is a beautiful, contemplative story by Montreal author/illustrator Marianne Dubuc, and it was originally published in French. It tells the story of a lion who finds an injured bird in the autumn, and cares for it over the winter. But when spring comes again, the lion understands that the bird has to fly away with the other birds. 

One thing I love about the way this tale is told is that it makes space for sadness. Even though the book does leave us with a happy ending, we really feel the loss the lion feels as he walks sadly back to his house after saying goodbye. We watch him wordlessly trying to go about his daily tasks as usual, with the inescapable awareness that someone special is missing. "Sometimes life is like that," we are told. 

Not only is there space for sad emotions, but Dubuc gives space for the tale to be told in the first place. At 64 pages, the book manages to feel complete and well-rounded without being "long." It is not overly wordy either -- the sentences are fairly short and simple, going back and forth between the narrator and words spoken by the lion. 

The story itself could be summarized quite easily in a sentence or two, but the author makes use of white space, multiple frames, and also a few wordless pages to convey a linear narrative where even the small moments are important. This also gives space for the adult reader to point things out to a child, or ask questions ("How do you think the lion feels right now?") without disrupting the flow of the story.

This story is brief, yet thorough -- succinct, yet spacious, encompassing a look at each of the four seasons, the sadness of letting go, and the beauty of friendship.

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author/Illustrator: Marianne Dubuc
Pages: 64
Content Advisory: None

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