CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 7 . . . . October 14, 2011
In this new addition to the “Pierre Le Poof” series, Pierre is excited to learn that he’ll be going to a dog show in Paris – home of the Eiffel Tower! He’s certain that adventure awaits. Instead, the poodle is left in the apartment for three days in a row. Finally, he strikes out on his own and explores the Tower. A gust of wind sends an umbrella sailing over the side, and Pierre sails along with it, drifting gently to the ground.
Children will get a kick out of the jokes in this story. For instance, Pierre’s owner sees a picture in the newspaper of an amazing dog sailing through the sky: “He looks a bit like you, Pierre,” she says. In another spread, Pierre rounds out his day of adventure with a snack from the dumpster, then curls up on the couch. The illustration shows Pierre dripping wet with garbage stuck in his fur, but Pierre nevertheless believes “Miss Murphy will never know I’ve been gone.”
Pierre’s charm is what sets this book apart from other animal adventures. He dreams of being a Daredevil Poodle, and when he is groomed, Pierre notes, “Adventurers don’t have pompoms.” Upon learning that the dog show is in Paris, his reaction is, of course, “Oooo la la.” Indeed, his favourite cheese is French Brie! Pierre’s faithfulness to French clichés is silly and fun and never strays into insensitive territory. His eternal optimism is also appealing. Even after being left behind for three consecutive days, Pierre is unfazed and simply takes matters into his own hands. The dog’s happy exclamations of “Arrooooo!” make this book particularly fun to read aloud.
Beck’s beautiful illustrations are usually a full-page spread with a smaller illustration on the page with the text. The bright colours are visually appealing, and Pierre’s face is very expressive. For instance, when Pierre is left behind in the Parisian hotel, he sits on the balcony and gazes at the city. The pastels of Paris are viewed through the dark wrought iron swirls of the balcony. Pierre’s tail swooshes from side to side. There is a smile on his face, and a hopeful look in his eye. The humour and adventure in Pierre in the Air will appeal to a wide range of children. Although this book is part of a series, it works well as a stand-alone.
Katie Edwards, a former Children’s Librarian, is currently a Special Librarian with the Calgary Health Trust.
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