September 16, 2017

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Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems | SLJ Review

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redstarWILLEMS, Mo. Nanette’s Baguette. illus. by Mo Willems. 40p. Disney-Hyperion. Oct. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484722862.

nanettes-baguettePreS-Gr 2 –The hilarious account of how Nanette, a young frog entrusted with her “biggest responsibility yet” ends up “beset with regret.” Although Nanette meets her friends and “Mr. Barnett with his pet” on the way to buy a baguette for the first time by herself, she doesn’t forget her task and emerges triumphant from the bakery. But the loaf is warm and “smells wonderful,” and bite by bite, she devours it before she reaches home. Nanette’s fear of facing her mom proves unfounded, though, when she admits her mistake and is enfolded in her mother’s soothing embrace. The two set out together to get another baguette, and a surprise ending demonstrates that even adults can succumb to temptation. With few exceptions, the entire text contains words rhyming with Nanette. The French village, handcrafted with cardboard and paper and digitally integrated with other photographed illustrations, is home to Nanette and her frog community. Visual jokes fill every page: the pictures on the walls of Nanette’s home, Mr. Barnett’s pet, signs in a shop window. With lip-smacking delight, Nanette floats through double-page splashes of vibrant color as she consumes the baguette, then appears in a bull’s-eye, eyes popping, mouth twisted, as she realizes her error. The background echoes her distress as it becomes dark and filled with black squiggles and the “KABOOM” of a thunderstorm, which leaves the girl “wet with no baguette.” There is so much to discover and enjoy in this treat for eye and ear—even a hidden Pigeon. VERDICT For a storytime treat that children will devour, don’t miss this shopping trip.–Marianne Saccardi, Children’s Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA

This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2016 issue.

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