'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 25 November 2012

Review: Monsieur Albert Rides to Glory

When 60-year-old Albert Larousse enters the Grand Cycling Race in France it seems unlikely that he would even finish the race and impossible that he could win. Wearing his comfortable brown jacket and red scarf and taking along some fruit, bread and wine as a snack, no-one would ever believe that Monsieur Albert could beat Francois, the cycling champion of France. Or could he?

Monsieur Albert Rides to Glory is a humorous take on the Tour de France. Amongst the lean, helmeted cyclists, Monsieur Albert looks like the ultimate underdog in his glasses, scarf, brown suit with bike clips on the pant legs and his panniers packed with snacks, clean underwear, sunscreen and a toothbrush.

The text is entertaining and rhythmic with the rhyming stanzas helping readers with the pronunciation of unfamiliar French words used occasionally in the text. I loved the story and, as always, Bob Graham's wonderfully warm, appealing illustrations. I was a little concerned that Monsieur Albert is considered so old at the age of 60, but I'm sure to young readers who consider anyone over the age of 20 to be 'really old', it will seem entirely appropriate that Monsieur Albert is considered to be so ancient.

Monsieur Albert Rides to Glory is a collaboration between keen cyclist, author Peter Smith, and his brother-in-law, well known illustrator Bob Graham. The book is an enjoyable story for any family to read, but will be particularly appreciated by families that follow the Tour de France, helping children connect with the passion that leads older family members to sacrifice sleep to follow the progress of the event live.

Title:  Monsieur Albert Rides to Glory
Author: Peter Smith
Illustrator: Bob Graham
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 October 2012
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781742376806
For ages:  4+
Type: Picture book