This picture book is the February Tundra Books book club selection. And it’s perfect for dreaming of a springtime in PARIS. (Not that I’ve been to Paris. But I will remedy that, oh yes I will.)
Here are three things I love about this book:
1. The unexpected choice of an ARMADILLO as its main character.
(click image(s) to enlarge)
I mean, an armadillo! Named Arlo! Driving that red car on the cover and exploring Paris just as his grandfather had many years before! Wearing that adorable French-colored scarf around his neck!
The contrast of an armored little Brazilian mammal with the city of Paris is just odd enough to be perfect.
2. The MYSTERY of the Iron Lady.
Arlo’s grandfather’s travel journals tell Arlo where to go in the city and how each relates to the Iron Lady for whom Arlo searches. For a kid reader who doesn’t know who the Iron Lady is, the guessing is so much fun!
Each stop on the journey is a clue: the CAFE named after the architect who designed her; the LOUVRE, which houses the 1889 World’s Fair Exhibit—this mysterious lady was the official greeter at the fair.
Macarons are compared to buttons the Iron Lady possesses. She is said to sparkle like the Luxembourg pond. On and on through all the stops in Paris.
Until…voilà! She is revealed! And she is the Eiffel Tower. (Some of you knew that all along, didn’t you?) And along the way you get to visit many magnifique places in Paris.
3. Kraulis’s ARTWORK.
I especially love the way Arlo himself is rendered: always a pencil sketch. He’s plain and simple and anatomically correct. He looks like a scientific drawing and that’s a very inventive choice. (Not to mention his sweet, shiny eyes.)
He’s surrounded by the colors and people and magic of Paris. Dresses and macaroons and posters and bright yellow trees. Dreamy water and dreamy sky.
Arlo is a little like us, no? Creatures who want to experience something special. Something more magnificent than we are. And that is why we go on adventures.
The book ends with some amazing facts about the Eiffel Tower that explain the allusions from Arlo’s grandfather’s journals. For example:
“The Iron Lady is covered in 20,000 light bulbs that took 25 mountain climbers 5 months to install. She really does sparkle!”
Thanks to Tundra Books for images!
Tundra is also generously providing one copy of An Armadillo in Paris for a reader! Not only that, the package will include a poster with a reading guide as well as a handful of beautiful postcards, ready to send from your next adventure! (Open to N. America only.)
Eiffel Tower goodies!
Eiffel Tower scissors by Seasonal Supplies on etsy.
TomKat Studios Eiffel Tower cookie DIY.
Baker’s Joy Macaron Eiffel Tower poster.
Finally, for anyone who wants to build their own cardboard and foil Eiffel Tower, directions from Oh Happy Day!