Books by Vivian French

Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"Lightly wraps the love of family as the center of life in a silken gown of word and image, with a playful undercurrent of both whimsy and irony. (Picture book. 5-10)"
The king and queen of a city that reflects a fairy-tale Edwardian version of Venice suddenly realize that their beloved daughter, Lucia, will be queen one day, and she will need a husband. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2010

"That, too, should be fun. (cast list) (Fantasy. 10-13)"
A quick dwarf-spotting expedition into the Unreliable Forest takes a disquieting turn for young Gracie Gillypot and her scruffy royal friend, Prince Marcus, in this third story set in the cozy though occasionally dangerous Five Kingdoms. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2010

"The crayon-and-acrylic illustrations are full of candy colors and cheery shapes (a lot of hearts), and it is hard to fault any story that ends with pizza. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Polly loves her PJs, but when Fred invites her to a party, she is at a loss as to what to wear, so she calls her friends for some help. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2009

"Fans of Jean Ferris's Once Upon a Marigold (2002) and like light fare will be much amused by all the dashing about, the quick brushes with danger and the undercurrents of budding, clumsy romance. (Fantasy. 10-13)"
The Five Kingdoms almost come in for a spot of trouble in this airy sequel to Robe of Skulls (2008), when a witch from beyond the More Enchanted Forest arrives with evil intentions and a bagful of forbidden Deep Magic. Read full book review >
THE ROBE OF SKULLS by Vivian French
Released: July 1, 2008

"Larded with stock comical characters and illustrated with Collins's gangly, Beardsley-esque line drawings, the story will slip down like the bonbon it is. (Fantasy. 10-12)"
Conceiving a burning desire for a new gown—black velvet, decorated with poison ivy, spider webs and skulls—wicked Lady Lamorna decides to pay for it by turning all the local princes into frogs and extracting ransoms from their royal parents. Read full book review >
HENNY PENNY by Vivian French
Released: July 1, 2006

"A welcome addition to the fairy-tale genre. (Picture book. 3-7)"
The traditional tale gets a new—and happier—ending in this clever retelling. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2005

"Functional for its purpose, but this original paperback with black-and-white illustrations will be a tough sell next to standards like Frog and Toad, Henry and Mudge or Mr. Putter and Tabby. (Easy reader. 6-8)"
A departure from French's previous brightly colored picture books by a variety of illustrators, this easy-to-read chapter book, first published in Great Britain in 1995, is part of a series labeled, "Roaring Good Reads" that are "short, lively stories with illustrations on every page, for children just started to read by themselves." Read full book review >
T. REX by Vivian French
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"That's an energizing idea for young dinosaur fans. (index) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-7)"
Representing all children who must know everything about T. rex, a lad grills his granddad as they take in a dinosaur show at the museum: "How were his teeth, his terrible teeth? / Were they sharp? Read full book review >
I LOVE YOU, GRANDPA by Vivian French
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

"A wonderful selection for the littlest one in any family and for the grandpa that is special in his or her life. (Picture book. 3-7)"
When Grandpa comes to spend the weekend, Mom goes off to work, leaving Rex, Flora, and Queenie to look after Stanley, their younger brother. Read full book review >
OLIVER’S MILK SHAKE by Vivian French
Released: May 1, 2001

"Big moon heads, paint-box bright colors, a somewhat child-like smeary gouache medium, and a feather-light story will grab and hold the attention of the youngest readers and surely inspire a trip to a farm. (Picture book. 3-6)"
This fine third Oliver title from French and Bartlett (Oliver's Fruit Salad, 1998, etc.) again takes up the themes of exploration and good times in the world of food. Read full book review >
A PRESENT FOR MOM by Vivian French
Released: April 1, 2001

"Little Stanley, with his sooty ears and crumpled whiskers, is bound to work his way into reader's affections. (Picture book. 3-7)"
With Mother's Day fast approaching, young Stanley feverishly attempts to find the perfect present for his dear old mum. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 2000

"With Anna merrily leading the way, young readers will have a grand time exploring the concept of quantities. (Picture book. 2-5)"
A shopping excursion with Dad turns into a fun-filled, edifying romp for French's irrepressible Anna (Not Again, Anna!, 1998). Read full book review >
NOT AGAIN, ANNA! by Vivian French
Released: Dec. 1, 1998

"Clean, clear colors will catch the picture-book crowd, and the simple story will hold them. (Picture book. 3-6)"
In comfortable shapes, paintbox colors, and very few words, Anna has an appealing and very recognizable day. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

"Especially enchanting is the bookmaking_a fine design on creamy paper that feels satiny to the touch. (Picture book. 5-8)"
French (Once Upon a Picnic, 1996, etc.) mirrors Hans Christian Andersen in an original Thumbelina-like fairy tale, in which a child, magically born of a thistle, comes to a childless king and queen. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"Bartlett's artwork is as lush and electric as ever, demonstrating in the selection of fruit an act akin to picking jewels. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Oliver, who didn't like vegetables in French and Bartlett's Oliver's Vegetables (1995), returns to express his opinions on fruit. Read full book review >
ONCE UPON A PICNIC by Vivian French
Released: June 1, 1996

"Although this book is not as much fun as the original, the formula still affords droll, amusing moments for fans. (Picture book. 4-7)"
In this sequel to Once Upon a Time (1993), the bored little boy is on a picnic, during which he encounters many of the same fairy-tale characters (three bears, the bumbling witch, the giant, Red Riding Hood, and the wolf) he met the first time around. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

"Generous and nourishing fare. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Oliver likes french fries, pretty much to the exclusion of all other food. Read full book review >
LAZY JACK by Vivian French
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

"Funny, nonviolent, and mildly subversive, few folktales have such wide- ranging appeal; this is a particularly readable version. (Picture book/folklore. 4+)"
In this fine retelling of a classic tale, Jack's mom drags him out of bed to work with a succession of employers, but he just can't manage to get his wages home. Read full book review >
UNDER THE MOON by Vivian French
Released: April 1, 1994

"An enchanting trio. (Fiction. 5-8)"
From a British storyteller's repertoire, three stories to tell or read aloud—graceful morality tales about busyness vs companionability, the perils of disobedience, and making altruistic use of ``luck.'' In the title story, a workaholic ``old woman tossed in a basket'' sweeps cobwebs from the sky for the wispy, whispery man in the moon. ``Little Ivan'' is an adaptation of an Eastern European tale of a heedless boy who, tricked by Old Mother Wolf, is rescued by his clever grandmother with the help of a children's band (with plenty of opportunity for audience-supplied sound effects). Read full book review >
ONCE UPON A TIME by Vivian French
Released: May 1, 1993

"After a first reading of the brief text, children will happily pore over the eventful illustrations alone. (Picture book. 3-8)"
``Not much to do. Read full book review >
ONE BALLERINA TWO by Vivian French
Released: Oct. 16, 1991

"As quintessentially simple as Ormerod's own wonderfully expressive line. (Picture book. 3-8)"
A sleek, graceful girl of perhaps 12, neatly clad in a leotard, and a disheveled preschooler wearing a baggy sweater and legwarmers take turns demonstrating some familiar moves: ten careful pliÇs, nine approximate knee bends, eight precise changements, seven oddly assorted little jumps, etc. The logical- minded may enjoy observing that, while the figures are repeated the appropriate number of times, the activities sometimes aren't- -e.g., the older girl is caught at six stages of a single pirouette. Read full book review >