cover image A SPREE IN PAREE


Catherine Stock, . . Holiday, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1720-9

A French farmer's impromptu holiday in Paris turns out to be more taxing than relaxing when his animals join him for the jaunt in this lighthearted picture book. Monsieur Monmouton works hard tending to all the chores on his small plot of land. But he receives some help—and some much-appreciated company—in the summertime when he welcomes a gaggle of Parisians who camp in his field by the river. The city folk, grateful for their summer retreat spot, invite Monsieur to visit Paris sometime. The cows, sheep, pigs and other livestock pals think that's a fine idea and pile into the farmer's truck. After a day of taking in all the sights—from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre and the Follies Bergère—the whole cacophonous crew heads back to the barn. The farmer may be exhausted, but in the last spread, the barnyard denizens are busily leafing through "Zatcat" and "Mooma Art" guides, perhaps foreshadowing a transatlantic trip. Stock's straightforward text follows a pleasant story line, but never quite matches the zing of her engaging illustrations. The loose-lined watercolors teem with skillfully selected and detailed scenes of both Paris and the surrounding countryside. Her spreads seem to crackle with activity whether her characters are standing in the pasture or sailing down the Seine on the bateau mouche . Ages 4-8. (Mar.)