BONJOUR, MR. SATIE by Tomie dePaola


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A slight story that makes a valid point, wrapped in an elaborate junior roman à clef: Uncle Satie (a cat) and his "companion," Ffortusque Ffollet, Esq. (a mouse), report on their recent Parisian adventure to Satie's niece and nephew. At Gertrude's salon, Satie says, there had been an argument among the regulars (people) about the relative merits of "Pablo's" paintings and "Henri's." Asked to mediate, Satie became a hero when he voiced an unarguable judgment: "Both are delicious but taste is totally different. . .I declare the contest--a draw!" The illustrations here--caricaturing the expatriate and French painters and literati of the 20's and evoking their milieu and art in rich, bright tones and carefully controlled designs--are among dePaola's best, though the framing story's illustrations seem bland and pallid by comparison. Stripped of its ulterior meaning, the story itself is adequate; but the author's teasing key--which will be understood only by knowledgeable adults (20 characters are listed on the back flap with just first names and an initial: "James J.," "Alice T.," Virgil T.," etc.)--seems a bit like snickering in the corner while the hapless excluded wonder what the joke is.
Pub Date: March 28th, 1991
ISBN: 0-399-21782-7
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2000


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