cover image A Lion in Paris

A Lion in Paris

Beatrice Alemagna, trans. from the French by Rae Walker. Tate (Abrams, dist.), $19.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-84976-171-0

The majestic trim size and vertically oriented format of Alemagna’s tribute to Paris command attention, and so do her solemnly quirky drawings of a lion drinking espresso and puzzling over baguettes (“a strange kind of sword,” he thinks). Eager for adventure, he arrives at the Gare de Lyon (“Naturally it was a little scary”) and sets out to explore. Alemagna (The Bug Next Door) populates the city with comic, cutout faces from old magazines and naïf-style penciled figures; her spreads have a Rousseaulike innocence. The famed unflappability of Parisians extends even to lions: “The lion waited to see if he would terrify anyone. He wondered if people would start screaming.” Far from it, cafe patrons don’t even notice him. Yet Paris grows on him. “At last a girl noticed him and her eyes followed him for a while with a loving, tender look.” (He’s in the Louvre, and the girl is the Mona Lisa.) By the time he decides to settle in the City of Lights, readers will be thoroughly charmed by both the lion and his creator. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)