Mr. Leon’s Paris

Barroux, trans. from the French by Sarah Ardizzone. Phoenix Yard (IPG/Trafalgar Sq., dist.), $9.99 paper (32p) ISBN 978-1-907912-08-5
Cabdriver Mr. Leon navigates central Paris in this homage by Barroux (Lucy Rescued), originally published in France in 2011. Although capably translated, Barroux’s wordplay and allusions suffer, and his blocky, abstract comics (reminiscent of Guy Delisle’s work) merely nod to landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Moulin Rouge windmill. When a devil hops in Mr. Leon’s taxi and asks for “Hell’s Passage, please,” or when “pretty Suzie from Princess Court” needs a lift, readers receive English approximations of le passage d’Enfer and la rue Princesse. Similarly, when a poultry merchant needs to travel “from Chicken Street... steering clear of Fox Boulevard,” the renard joke remains but the route is impossible to fathom. Armchair travelers can consult a map on the endpages for the French street names and iconic locations, and nostalgists will enjoy references to midcentury lithography in Barroux’s squared-off shapes and roughed-in paintings. Unlike Barbara McClintock’s Adèle and Simon, which cheerfully explores Paris yet does not require a connoisseur’s knowledge, this edition depends on a proud (and exclusive) familiarity with the city. Ages 5–7. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/06/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-907912-07-8
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