An Armadillo in Paris by Julie Kraulis.
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!
i haven’t travelled…have never left North America! Would love to visit so many places…Paris is one of course. Ireland. Scotland. Costa Rica. Anywhere would be nice!
Australia is top of my places to go list!
I would love to take my family to France and visit Paris and Provence. I have very fond memories of the people and culture!
The place I most want to visit is New Zealand!
Oh, I have a friend from NZ. Sounds incredible!
What a marvelous little book! After going to Paris for my honeymoon this book seems even more charming. An armadillo? What?! Haha how cute … and I love the art in this one. This seems like an instant classic.
and ps – the place I most want to visit? Oh gosh – too many to count ….. San Franciso, Austin, Hawaii and Barcelona …. sorry, couldn’t pick. 😀
Paris must’ve been quite the romantic honeymoon spot! I have a real hankering to go to the big island sometime soon and Barcelona, I hear, is a very special place.
I would love to spend more time exploring Germany. I was fortunate to visit Berlin a couple of years ago and loved it.
Berlin is in my top five for sure!!
The place I would most love to visit is Scotland.
Then I hope you get to!!
Wherever it is sunny, warm and never snows is the place I am longing to be!
In my mind, that’s Anguilla. Heaven on Earth!
L.A. has all that going for it, but I don’t think it’s what you have in mind. 😉 Anguilla looks amazing!!
So many places to choose from. I’d like to go on a botanical tour of Hawaii, and then spend a few months visiting botanical gardens all over the world.
I want to go on that botanical tour of Hawaii too! 🙂
I can’t wait to look at this book. I was in Paris a looooong time ago and loved it. I would love to return and enjoy more of the wine, food and people.
Super clever book. I want to go to Florence, Italy!
I visited Paris and London many years ago and would love to go back to both, but I have never been to and always wanted to see Australia!
With an armadillo doing the traveling, I thought for sure that this was about Paris, Texas!!! Traveling for me would be anywhere there is a beach and some water! I’ll bring my own tennis balls!
Hahahaha! Well, your guess would make sense! Water is a must. 😉
My family has been blessed enough to travel to France. We climbed The Iron Lady, boated down the Seine, viewed The Mona Lisa and toured the Palace of Versailles. You have captured the warmth and excitement of Paris beautifully. The media you have chosen supports the text and experience in a perfect way. Excellent travail!!
I would love to go to Antarctica!
You win for most adventurous choice!! 🙂
This book looks so cute!
Love the illustrations. I’d love to visit Japan someday.
Great post. Thanks!
Thanks, Dana! (I’m going to Tokyo this spring! Weeeeeeee!) 🙂
I want to go to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair so badly. Maybe not this year, but I’m looking hard at next year.
This looks like a brilliant book. I grew up in Cajun country — and there were armadillos everywhere! The Cajuns that I knew would tell these great folktales about armadillos and the stories would be peppered with French words and phrases. I loved the stories and the way they told them — it was so magical.
Thank you for introducing me to this book. I will definitely be looking for it.
Oh yes, the Bologna Book Fair would be incredible. I hope you get to go next year!
Fascinating about the armadillo tales. Thanks for adding that here!!
I would love to visit Italy to take in the great food and art 🙂
Thanks for another very thoughtful and beautifully presented post. And the Eiffel Tower goodies section is a splendid addition!
My pleasure! Thanks for stopping by, Jamie!
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We have a book winner and it’s Jackie! Thanks to everyone who dropped by and read the post and entered!
Oh mon dieu! Comme c’est une poste merveilleuse. Kraulis is a talent to watch. And as for Paris, je l’adore.
Of course you speak French. You’re a real gem, you know that, Ronna?! It’s true.
I’ll always love Paris and I love this perfect post, Danielle!
Merci Ann Marie!!!
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