The US Review of Books
January 22, 2017
by Anne Dana
reviewed by Michael Radon
"Pierre ran after the visitors down to the river Seine. Everyone admired the city. Snap! Click! Smile!"
Monsieur Pierre Poulpe is a small octopus that was fished out of the ocean and placed in one of Paris's many decorative fountains. Though he is a cheerful and happy octopus, what he really wants more than anything is a friend. Since the Mademoiselle Poisson statues refuse to speak with him, Pierre leaves his fountain and joins a tour group to see Paris. Despite travelling to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and other tourist hotspots, nobody notices Pierre as they are too busy snapping photos of the landmarks. Dejected, Pierre returns to his fountain only to be discovered by two tourist children from California who adopt Pierre and bring him home to start the first of many both friendships and adventures.
Inspired by a hand-knitted octopus that the author bought on a vacation in Paris, the pictures and words of this story work together to show children the splendors of the capital of France. While Pierre is the only real consistent character for the majority of the story, eagle-eyed readers will be able to spot recurring figures and images within the tour group in France as well as after Pierre begins his life in the United States. The full-color illustrations on every single page give added detail to all of the details of the story and each were illustrated by the author herself. Teaching both a zeal for travel as well as the value of a friend, this book is perfect for children who love an adventure or for those who are nervous about an upcoming trip or vacation.
This review was written by a professional book reviewer with no guarantee that it would receive a positive rating. Some authors pay a small fee to have a book reviewed, while others do not. All reviews are approximately half summary and half criticism. The US Review of Books is dedicated to providing fair and honest coverage to all books.
Foreward Clarion Reviews
Reviewed by Peter Dabbene
February 3, 2017
Clever illustrative touches and an adventurous main character make this a fun story about the pleasures of friendship.
In Anne Dana’s delightful picture book Monsieur Pierre, a small orange octopus with a mustache sees the sights in Paris and California.
Monsieur Pierre Poulpe, taken from the ocean as a baby octopus, finds himself living in a Paris fountain. He sets off from there, with the goal of making a friend in the big city, and sees the river Seine, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and Montmartre; he does not, however, find a friend. Back at the fountain again, he meets two tourists, children who offer to take him back home to California with them. Pierre trades in his beret for a baseball cap and embraces the California lifestyle, enjoying a seaweed smoothie, a yoga class, beach activities, and the local sights.
The book’s text is simple and effective, with cute observations from Monsieur Pierre’s point of view, like his thoughts on the Mona Lisa: “Pierre tried making silly faces at the lady. The lady kept smiling but didn’t make silly faces back at Pierre.”
The hand-drawn illustrations in Monsieur Pierre, rendered in ink and watercolor pencils, appear raw and rough at times, with the occasional asymmetrical line showing through. But where in some books this would be a negative, here the “natural” illustrations work, seeming to flow organically with the story as Monsieur Pierre moves from one locale to the next.
Dana does an excellent job with the layout of the pages, with eye-catching angles and lots of neat touches, like Monsieur Pierre taking his picture with a selfie stick and insertions of Monsieur Pierre and the children into real photographs of famous sights around California. The details and colors of Paris are especially well done, and young children will enjoy spotting the Mademoiselles Poissons—the fish from Monsieur Pierre’s home fountain—as they appear in the page backgrounds.
Monsieur Pierre is a fun introduction for young children—to Paris, and to the pleasures of sharing an experience with friends.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Written and Illus. byAnne Dana
L O Annie Press
February 18, 2017
In this debut illustrated children’s book for ages 3 to 5, a French octopus gets lonely and leaves his native fountain to explore Paris and beyond.
Monsieur Pierre Poulpe, a beret-wearing orange octopus with a dapper mustache, has been living in a Paris fountain, along with two fish, the Mademoiselles Poussins, ever since he was a baby. The fish sisters are snooty, though, and talk only to each other, so one day lonesome Pierre decides to follow a diverse group of tourists around Paris. Through coffee and croissants, a boat tour, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and Montmarte, Pierre looks around and tries to be friendly, but everyone ignores him. The Notre Dame gargoyles frighten him, and Pierre embarrasses himself with a faux pas. Even the Poussin sisters, who tag along, give him the cold shoulder. Feeling down, Pierre returns to his home fountain, but then two American children come by arguing about what to bring home for souvenirs. “Take me!” shouts Pierre, and they do, kindly holding “some of Pierre’s arms” (great phrase) on the plane so he won’t be scared. Pierre enjoys such California staples as a swimming pool, breakfast smoothie, yoga class, and Bay Area tourist spots, liking it all so much that he settles down in California—though he sometimes has “surprise visitors from Paris,” like a museum guard toting the Mona Lisa and the now-friendly Poussins. In her book, Dana delivers a delightful, colorfully illustrated tale. The human figures are drawn somewhat clumsily, but they’re expressive, and Pierre is full of Gallic charm. As children follow Pierre on his adventures, they can learn something about Paris and its sights; they can also enjoy looking for and finding the Mademoiselles Poussins on all the France-set pages. They can learn a little, too, about the San Francisco area. Children will likely sympathize with Pierre’s loneliness, embarrassment, and fears, which make his new happiness and friendships in California all the sweeter; even the scary gargoyles come to visit along with the formerly snobbish Poussins.
This story provides a charming, warm introduction to Paris for kids, ending on a happy note.
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