Is there really a building with its ductwork and escalators on the outside?
A little girl discovers there is indeed as her grandfather points to the Pompidou Center on their walking tour of Paris. The two emerge from the Paris Metro to spend the day viewing the architecture, culture and landmarks of the great city. They wander the narrow streets and the wide boulevards, full of pigeons and bicyclists, sidewalk cafes, artists and booksellers. They watch the boats float down the River Seine and taste cheese at the local market. The girl waits patiently (a note explains that “queue” is the French word for “line”) to climb to the top of Notre-Dame Cathedral to get a bird’s-eye view of the city. Scattered about the pages in a distinct, smaller typeface that does not overshadow the primary text are translations of commonly used French words and terms, historical facts, trivia and even travel tips. The consciously retro illustrations in soft, muted colors are lively and expressive, and there’s a nice balance between detailed images and simple silhouettes. Adults familiar with M. Sasek’s This Is… series will find this pleasantly reminiscent of those old favorites. As the book reads more like a travelogue and less a story with a captivating plot, its natural audience is older readers of picture books.
Sparkling lights and lovely sights fill this whirlwind tour of Paris. (Picture book. 4-8)