Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Children’s Book Review, The Sisters Saint-Claire

Reviewed by Susan Stephenson,

The Sisters Saint-Claire was written by Carlie Gibson, illustrated by Tamsin Ainslie, and published by Allen and Unwin (2016.) RRP: $Au19.99

From the publisher:

This is the tale of the sisters Saint-Claire,

Who lived with their parents Odette and Pierre.

Harriet, Violet, Beatrice, Minette,

And little Cecile, we must not forget!

A delightful rhyming tale about five fabulous French mice who love food, fashion and family, and a story about how greatness can come in any size.

To a confirmed Francophile like me, the idea of market-visiting, food-appreciating mice is delightful. Kids will love them too, especially Madam-mouselle Cecile. There is lots of food-related vocabulary like “gourmet”, “ lavender shortbread”, “quaint”, “ambitious” and even a recipe for Croque Monsieur at the back. This is not a conventional 32 page picture book, but is 44 pages and more of a chapter book shape. The story rollicks along in easy-to-read rhyme, and adults will enjoy sharing it with kids, just as much as newly independent readers will enjoy reading it and showing it to friends.

Ainslie’s art work is perfect for a book about French mice. Scenes like the streets and the market in the town square are gorgeously authentic, with the colours chosen and the detail perfect for kids to pore over. The mice themselves are very cute, each wearing different clothes so we can tell them apart.

The message, that size doesn’t matter, and that “Great things can come from the smallest of us” is one I hope will resonate with children everywhere.

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