Google+ Authentic Parenting: French Books For Toddlers

Thursday, January 6, 2011

French Books For Toddlers

I've been having a hard time finding good toddler books, and since my daughter is an avid 'reader' we need plenty. I don't read parenting magazines and browsing for books online can be a pain. And going to the store with a toddler in tow can prove difficult - at least if you want to look through the books before you buy them.
I've noticed that other parents have this problem too, so I thought I would share the books we like reading. We read in Dutch, French and English. Since few of you would benefit from knowing my Dutch book selection, here's the French books we absolutely love (I know many of you are bilingual French, so I thought that might come in handy).

Image: Editions Milan
Histoires Comme Ca (Rudyard Kipling) from Milan Jeunesse is a very pretty and nicely illustrated book. In a collection of short stories, it explains where animals get their characteristics from in an eloquent and humorist way. Some of the stories aren't very authentic parenting like, but altogether it's a lovely book, with stories of the right length.
It is actually a translation of a 1902 book in the English language, so it would be possible to find a copy in English for those who don't read French.

Odilon Le Grillon (Antoon Krings at Gallimard Editions) is part of a series of children's books with different animals in the lead called "Drôles de petites bêtes". This one stars a cricket, who knows a lot of hardship after the queen bee breaks his musical organ, but eventually falls back on his feet. The book has a nice elaborate vocabulary and nice imagery.

Image: Milan Jeunesse
Le Chantier is another Milan Jeunesse book. It is part of a series of thematic doc-type picture books. We own several of them, but this one is by far the one that pleases my daughter most, not in the least beause it explains what her daddy does at work.
There are some small errors in the book, but it gives a nice overview of how a building site works.
The collection is printed on a plastic-like surface that makes it very resistant to tearing and doesn't wear on heavy use.

La Sorcière Camomile is a collection of small story books about a funny witch who lives through different adventures. The image/text ratio is great for small children, and the pictures are very detailed.
You can buy the books separately or in one collection. The single books are a small size and easy to take all over. We ended up buying the collection and giving the first book (La Sorcière Camomille et le Chateau Hanté) to another little girl, who liked the story just as much as our daughter.

For smaller children, the series "Les Imageries des Touts-Petits" from Fleurus are really great encyclopedia-type picture books. They have clear drawings and give a nice overview of their topics. They are recommended for children from 3 to 5 years, but I think it's more from 1 to 3.
We have "La Nature" and "Le Corps" and I was very pleased by both of them.
They have the same series for older children too, but I have yet to try them.



  1. English Books, The books by Dr. Seuss are great. They are written in rhyme with a bouncy sound. Easy on the ears.

  2. We are going to the library, every Wednesday. The librarian reads a few stories to the children, then I let the children look at the books and roam free (the librarian is sort of a friend, and very nice and laid-back). They open the books they want to, look at the pictures, and if they find one they like (Nina ALWAYS brings me the one about sharks), we take it home for the week. Libraries are wonderful !

  3. Sadly libraries aren't plentiful where we live, so we are making our own. With an avid reader like my daughter, we kind of have to

  4. Thanks for sharing your recommendations! I really like the "Imageries" series too, and have managed to procure a few of them cheaply on eBay. I especially appreciate the "Imageries" series for the even younger children with enchanting illustrations modeled from clay--Griffin loved those as a one- and two-year-old.

  5. We never had the clay ones, might be a good idea for the next child! thanks!

  6. Mamapoekie, I know you don't have libraries where you live :-)

    But I find it that WHEN libraries are available, they are gravely under-used. It costs very little money and the choice is large, plus the children usually enjoy going through the books before picking some to bring back home. It makes for a nice outing (especially during the rainy cold months).

  7. I totally agree, Murielle! I love libraries and I wish we had the opportunity to have one. I had a library card in my village until I moved to Brussels and I went every week to get six books (max limit) and I read them all!


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