From the author of War Horse comes a gentle, evocative story of a young city boy’s summer in 1960s rural Provence.
When Yannick learns that he is to stay with his aunt Mathilde and her family in the South of France, he cannot believe his luck. He has rarely been out of Paris, and if the paintings in his mother’s beloved Cézanne book are to be believed, surely Provence is paradise itself. So begins an idyllic month for the young city boy: roaming the gentle hills and rolling valleys and daydreaming about his beautiful cousin Amandine; helping at his aunt and uncle’s bustling village inn; feeling that he has come to the most wonderful place in the world. But one evening the spell is broken when an important local comes for dinner and Yannick accidentally destroys a precious drawing the man leaves behind. How can the devastated Yannick make things right again — and what surprising discoveries might come of it?
Art lovers of all ages will find this charming read-aloud as delicious a treat as a serving of creme brulee. —Kirkus Reviews
Fans, foodies, and Francophiles will be beguiled. —Publishers Weekly
Soft and lovely watercolor illustrations… [A]n affectionate story of a young boy away from home. —Booklist
The simple yet elegant narrative makes this a compelling choice for reading aloud while the relationship between Amandine and Yannick is likely to resonate with middle-graders who are besotted with their cooler teenage elders. Place’s frequent monochromatic, mixed-media illustrations are as clear and refined as the text and bring to life the French countryside of the 1960s. This might be useful in conjunction with an art class or a unit on artists, or hand it to the kids who love to draw more than they love to read—they’ll appreciate both the artistic connection and the brevity of the book. —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Morpurgo’s short story provides readers with an ironic twist that will lead to interesting discussion. Place’s b&w illustrations add details to the storyline that give readers a feeling of being part of the French countryside. Art teachers and art enthusiasts will find this to be an amusing fast read. —Library Media Connection