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

Monday, 14 April 2014

Review: A Lion in Paris

The lion is bored and lonely on the grasslands. He is in need or 'more', so he sets off to Paris to find a job, love and a future.

Arriving at the train station, sans baggage, he finds the city a little unnerving. Stopping off at Café de Flore for an espresso, he wonders if people will run screaming, or chase him with a rifle or stab him with their baguettes, but all is calm.

On the metro, hardly anyone pays him notice. He doesn't like to be ignored, so he roars. No reaction. As he wanders the city, taking in the glorious Parisian sites, he stalks the halls of Le Louvre, where--finally--a girl pays him notice. A girl on the wall, behind glass, with a half-knowing smile.

As he continues discovering the city, the lion eventually comes to a plinth at a cross roads at Place Denfert-Rochereaux. He climbs to the plinth, lets out an almighty roar, and is welcomed with a serious of car honks and toots. He likes it so much, he decides to stay--and there he remains to this very day.

A large format book, in landscape orientation, this is a simple story and a pleasant tour of the city of light, but it is the illustrations that take the book to a whole other level. Using a divine, mixed media palette of photographs and varied illustration styles, with über cool, abstract angles and perspectives, this book is a true work of art, and will mesmerise both adults and children.

I simply adore A Lion in Paris, its colour palette and modern/retro/classical blending of concepts and styles. An absolute must for picture book collectors, my only complaint would be an absence of notes on Alemagna's illustration processes and mediums.

Title: A Lion in Paris
Author/Illustrator: Beatrice Alemagna
Publisher: Tate, $29.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 March 2014
Format: Hard cover, large format
ISBN: 9781849761710
For ages: 5 - 10
Type: Picture Book

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