Monday, February 8, 2016

The adventures of Miss Petitfour by Anne Michaels illustrated by Emma Block


These are some of the words I would use to describe The adventures of Miss Petitfour.  This book is a set of five adventures.  As you can see from the cover, Miss Petitfour travels with her cats in tow using different tablecloths to fly into her special little town.

I just knew I would enjoy this book when I read this sentence :

"She was especially fond of pockets, paisley, playful patterns and anything hand-knitted."

Miss Petitfour lives with fifteen special cats.  As her name implies she loves to cook cakes. (I am a huge cake fan as you probably know). You can see a selection of her delicious creations on the end papers.  She also has a collection of tablecloths perfect for every type of weather.  "A sunny day called for a starched white cloth, so she would seem to be floating gracefully from a cloud.   ... in autumn, when the sky was a deep shade of plum or grey, Miss Petitfour bought out her brightest, most colourful cloth, so that the reds, oranges and gold would glow against the dark sky."

One special feature of this book is the use of colour to highlight particular words in the text - words that are perhaps complex or simply need emphasis.  Another charming feature is the inclusion of little digressions and throughout the  whole book the voice of the author shines through : "If you've been reading about Miss Petitfour's adventures - and of course you have since you're reading this sentence".

Here are some of the special words which you will encounter in this book - propitious, perambulator, gesticulate, quaggy, eccentricity, debonair and my favourite festoon.  You will also notice each little story concludes with the words THE END.  This is worth mentioning because Anne Michaels makes sure these words fit perfectly into the final sentence of each tale.

In town each shop has a special sign.  The bookshop sounds wonderful. There are two sides. One for adventure books and the other for books in which nothing ever happens.  "Miss Petitfour and Mrs Collarwaller spent many enjoyable hours drinking tea together ... and playing a game  ... thinking up titles for books too silly ever to be written."  This would be a fun game for a family of book lovers.

I think this little volume would make a terrific family read-a-loud - perhaps one story each day.  Here is a detailed review.  Take a minute to click through some of the pretty  illustrations.

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