Paris by Phone

Putnam. Feb. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399165061.
K-Gr 2–“Josephine Harris really likes Paris,” but her mom, in track suit and slippers, is much too busy working at her computer to indulge. Fine. Jo dials up a better mom on her phone and finds herself larking about the city of her dreams with the stylish Odile and her son Pierre. An art museum, the ballet, oysters at a café, the Eiffel Tower—Josephine does it all and learns a little French until even “ze nation zat is always on vacation” can no longer make up for being homesick. Her phone sees to it that Jo wakes up in her own bed the next morning, but Rome is not out of the question for a future night’s adventure. The rollicking text is written in verse that changes rhyme schemes and doesn’t always scan, creating some challenges for reading aloud, but listeners will catch the vivacious spirit of the slim story. That energy is greatly enhanced by Chaud’s illustrations, which combine a judicious use of patterns with a lively, child’s-eye view of Paris. Worked in gouache and colored pencil, vignettes and double spreads abound with Parisian detail while keeping the focus on the three expressive characters with their large eyes and wiry bodies.
VERDICT More of a homage to the City of Lights than a character-driven story, this additonal purchase is an effervescent viewing and listening experience.

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