Books by Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod

Released: Nov. 1, 2009

Rambunctious Rita in her red dress returns for a third round with her canine companion, Whatsit (Rita and Whatsit, 2008). The simple story, first published in France, has an understated, droll narrative tone, as though a bemused adult is recounting, in the present tense, the antics of the comical duo. Together, Rita and Whatsit engage in traditional Christmas Eve preparations, but each one has a witty twist, such as the dog's own scrawny tree bedecked with meaty decorations. Tallec's minimalist line drawings stand out on stark white pages with splashes of Christmas red in Rita's clothes and the spot surrounding one of the dog's eyes. Both children and adults will enjoy the funny touches within the illustrations and the comical expressions on Whatsit's face. The amusing story is simple enough for the youngest listeners, and older kids will enjoy the sly touches, as will grown-ups. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
RITA AND WHATSIT by Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod
Released: May 1, 2009

Rita is a petulant little girl wearing a flowered red dress for her birthday celebration. Whatsit is a shy, white dog with a red patch over one eye. He arrives as one of Rita's birthday presents, the only present she cares for in her pile of gifts. The simple plot revolves around Rita's getting used to having a pet and trying out various silly names for her pooch. This story, which was originally published in France, reveals its Gallic origins with humor that is droll and understated and a plot that is amusing but not overly hilarious. Rita has both flair and attitude, and Whatsit has charming manners and a certain savoir-faire that indicates he may bring a civilizing influence to bear on his young owner. Tallec's cartoon-style line drawings are spiced with dashes of bright red and stand out against plain white backgrounds, and he indicates Rita's moods through her expressive eyebrows or shy smile. A companion volume, Rita and Whatsit at the Beach (ISBN: 978-0-8118-6551-7) provides a further look at this charmingly understated duo. (Picture book. 3-5) Read full book review >