The Girl and the Cathedral: The Story of Notre Dame de Paris

Bushel & Peck. Apr. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781733633550.
Gr 3-5–This fictional tale based on the story of the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral is told through the eyes of a young girl. Ugolotti’s mesmerizing and colorful illustrations draw the reader in from the very beginning, focusing at first on the girl, who is busy planting seeds. The unnamed girl pulls a large seed out of her pocket, explaining that it’s a seed like no other and that it allows her to plant anything she wants. She wants to create something for the people of Paris, her people. The seed grows and instead of a flower, a great cathedral begins to form, the Notre Dame, the lady of Paris. Throughout the story, Paris and its people continue to evolve through wars and industrialization. The girl persists through it all and continues to plant seeds, which readers are told represent courage, hope, and freedom. All the while, the Notre Dame cathedral watches over the people of Paris. Toward the end of the story, dark, haunting images of red flames flicker through the tall columns of the cathedral as the people of Paris cry, depicting the fire that swept through the cathedral in 2019. At the end is a bright, golden image of the people of Paris singing in unison around the cathedral. Also included is a time line of the cathedral’s history.
VERDICT This emotional and beautifully illustrated tale about Paris, the cathedral, and its people will make a great addition to any library.

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