Bon Appetit, Betrie!
Joan Knight. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56458-195-2
Basic French vocabulary is the raison d'etre for this lighthearted picture-book adventure. Out of the blue, the boring, stay-at-home Bonfig family wins a trip to Paris. Upon the clan's arrival in the City of Light, young son Bertie scours the hotel in search of a snack. While the boy is treated to gastronomical delights in the hotel kitchen, his parents, hotel personnel and even the police are launching an all-out search. Mayhem ensues, and Knight's text serves up several French words (unobtrusively and skillfully woven into the story's framework) to describe the action. Dann's sprightly, slightly cartoonish watercolors maintain the air of frivolity. Many scenes contain objects labeled with the appropriate French word--one lively spread presents a map of famous Paris landmarks, another showcases a table laden with traditional French food. The carefully selected background detail and hotel decor are informative as well. Young readers can't help but appreciate this antic, ultimately effective introduction to another language and culture. Ages 4-7. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1993