Books by Sarah Ardizzone

PANTHERA TIGRIS by Sylvain Alzial
Released: Oct. 29, 2019

"This one-joke morality tale includes some engaging details but may nonetheless struggle to find an appreciative audience. (Picture book. 5-9)"
A learned scholar travels to the jungle to seek out his most recent subject of study. Read full book review >
ALPHA by Bessora
by Bessora, translated by Sarah Ardizzone, illustrated by Barroux
Released: May 1, 2019

"Heartbreaking and timely."
This graphic novel from author Bessora, illustrator Barroux (How Many Trees?, 2019, etc.), and translator Ardizzone follows a migrant's arduous journey from West Africa to Europe. Read full book review >
Released: June 5, 2018

"Faye provides an interesting window into Burundi and a reminder of the specious logic and horrific cost of treating others like vermin."
Faye's debut tells the story of Gabriel, a preteen boy in mid-1990s Burundi when violence from the Rwandan genocide spills over the border. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 15, 2018

"With 56 pages, a meandering plot, and characterization that tends toward the symbolic, this is a picture book for patient, older readers. (Picture book. 4-7)"
An unusual cast of characters interacts in an odd, circular tale translated from the French. Read full book review >
THE BOOK OF PEARL by Timothée de Fombelle
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

"A luminous, haunting, intriguingly intricate modern fairy tale. (Fantasy. 12-18)"
Exiled from the "land of fairy tales," a melancholy youth seeks to find his way back. Read full book review >
A PRINCE WITHOUT A KINGDOM by Timothée de Fombelle
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"Mournful at times but also illuminated with moments of humanity and grace: a worthy sequel. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)"
Vango's search for the truth of his identity continues, leading him on dangerous escapades across World War II-era Europe and New York City. Read full book review >
VANGO by Timothée de Fombelle
Released: Oct. 1, 2014

"Beautiful writing, intricate plotting, and breathless reveals—plus several plucky female leads—make this a must-read. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)"
Minutes from joining the priesthood in 1934, Vango, who was found washed ashore on a tiny Italian island as a toddler, must suddenly avoid both arrest and a simultaneous assassination attempt. Read full book review >
LINE OF FIRE by Barroux
Released: July 1, 2014

"American children, at least, may not shed many tears, but they should come away feeling closer to understanding what that century-old conflict must have been like to those who fought in it. (Graphic memoir. 11-14)"
An unusually personal view of World War I's early days, conveyed by new illustrations grafted to a French soldier's chance-found diary. Read full book review >
HOT AIR by Sandrine Dumas Roy
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"A tongue-in-cheek look at global warming whose satire will probably go over the heads of young readers, but its idea, pictorial execution and mordant humor will certainly amuse teens and adults. (Picture book. 10 & up)"
With the planet heating up, the animals confer and decide that cow farts and burps are the cause; after considerable time and effort, they fit the cows with "cowtalytic converters"—perhaps too late. Read full book review >
LITTLE RED HOOD by Marjolaine Leray
Released: June 1, 2013

"It definitely conveys a sense of power and control that small children in red cloaks don't often get to enjoy. Gruesomely satisfying. (Picture book. 6-12)"
Two colors, minimal words, no grandma and a role reversal make for an eye-opening take on the traditional story. Read full book review >
adapted by Joann Sfar, illustrated by Joann Sfar, translated by Sarah Ardizzone
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

A prolific comic-book artist tackles the beloved standard of French children's literature in graphic form with middling results. As if taking his cues from the late Antoine de Saint-Exupéry himself, Sfar approaches his source material with no small degree of deference. The text is reproduced nearly verbatim, and the artist takes great pains to faithfully render the intricately detailed illustrations Saint-Exupéry imagined (and stated in the text). If anything, Sfar may be too true to the original. His drawings are charmingly competent, but they lack creativity. This version of the doe-eyed prince, though clearly partaking of the illustrator's unique aesthetic, isn't really anything readers haven't seen many times before. The haunting landscapes of Saint-Exupéry's surreal wonderland might seem the stuff of which illustrators dream, but these fall unusually flat. Standard six-per-page panels might have been interwoven with alternate perspectives and formats; without such relief, this adaptation plods. A rare miss from an otherwise adept and engaging artist; opt for the original and an evening under the stars. (Graphic classic. 8 & up)Read full book review >
TOBY AND THE SECRETS OF THE TREE by Timothée de Fombelle
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

A Lilliputian world yields sharp political satire in this adventure fable, sequel to Toby Alone (2009). Three years after Toby's daring escape, life has grown even harder for those left on the Tree. "Friendly Neighbor" Joe Mitch has tightened his tyrannical grip while furthering his ecological devastation. Meanwhile, Leo Blue's merciless campaign against the Grass People is only tempered by his obsession with Toby's beloved Elisha. The Tree is withering, discontent is everywhere and the slightest catalyst could spark an uprising; then a rumor crops up that Toby Lolness is back. While retaining all the cleverness, wit and suspense, this follow-up suffers from an excess of character and plot. A multitude of unique viewpoints, each with a separate narrative arc, shift from comedy to drama to intrigue to adventure at the expense of a unified story line or theme. Once all these people and threads intersect, the sheer quantity of coincidence and contrivance to tie them off neatly strains credulity to the breaking point. Nonetheless, the knit never quite ravels, displaying a brilliance and depth nothing short of dazzling. A mess, but a spectacular one. (Fantasy. 10 & up)Read full book review >
Released: March 2, 2010

"'I'm a human gimmick,' confesses Jack, 'who wishes he could ditch the special effects.' The author should have ditched them too."
First the broken heart, then love, in this reverse-sequence fantasy about a medical freak, French musician/novelist Malzieu's first U.S. publication. Read full book review >
TOBY ALONE by Timothée de Fombelle
Released: March 1, 2009

An adventurous fable stars a miniscule hero facing massive ordeals. Toby may be not quite 13 years old and only one-and-a-half millimeters tall, but he has made a lot of enemies. When his scientist father declares that the Tree their people call "home" is not only alive but also endangered by their civilization, the whole family is exiled, then arrested, then sentenced to death. Now Toby is on the run from an entire world that sees him as a threat to their way of life. The obvious ecological allegory, while never heavy-handed, remains the thread weaving together lengthy flashbacks, asides and foreshadowing into a twining plot, featuring dozens of swiftly sketched, memorably idiosyncratic characters. The narrative voice dances on the razor's edge between fey and twee, gliding effortlessly from grotesque farce to sly satire to nail-biting suspense to thrilling escapes, shocking violence and heartbreaking betrayal, while Place's delicate pen-and-ink doodles offer marginal commentary. While abrupt, the conclusion provides both a satisfying culmination to Toby's character arc and an edge-of-the-seat cliffhanger for the promised sequel. Witty, original and devastatingly entertaining. (Fantasy. 10 & up)Read full book review >