Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Frères: Marie Le Tourneau with Danielle Reed Baty

I have a love of all things French, so when I had the chance to read about a family of mice who run a French Bistro, I didn't have to think twice. Besides--just look at the illustrations!

Perfectly translated, Marie Le Tourneau's storybook is about the mice of the Seven Brothers Bistro. Among bright, full-page illustrations, the story of a family of mice unravels, describing the role of each mouse. Chef Marcel is renowned for his Award-Winning cheese soup, which he makes with the assistance of his seven sons. When it comes time to make the award-winning soup for the annual competition again, Chef Marcel must run an errand to purchase the Secret Ingredient, leaving his sons in the kitchen to start cooking the cheese soup without him. When Marcel doesn't make it back in time, the youngest mouse--and only girl--Michelle, quietly walks to the stove and finishes the soup with her own ingredients. The result is a Happy Ending and the renaming of the bistro to Le Bistrot des Sept Frères et une Sœur (The Seven Brothers and One Sister Bistro).

The story of these minuscule chefs is darling, but the real joy in this book comes from the illustrations. Inspired by the French Art Nouveau, The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Frères is filled with beautifully detailed line drawings. It's also incredibly charming to come across bilingual children's books. Le Tourneau has included a glossary of French pronunciations for her young readers.

Whether your little ones can read or not, they will enjoy searching through the illustrations to find the details. This would be a great picture book for early readers.

Rating: $$$

ARC received courtesy of Tanglewood

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