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[Monday Reading] Tiny Kids from Europe With Huuuuge Imagination in “Bonjour Camille” and “Little Big Boubo”


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

I love how these two picturebooks portray two very young children who are evidently self-possessed and unapologetically-playful. They both have a boundless imagination that frolics and plays and absorbs everything around them: everything that most adults wish for a child.

Bonjour Camille

Written by: Felipe Cano Illustrated by: Laia Aguilar
Published by: Chronicle Books, 2014. Originally published in Spain by Bobo Choses in 2011. ISBN: 1452124078 (ISBN13: 9781452124070). Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me. 

When I was trying to find out where this book was from, I realized just how complicated that question can get. It is similar to asking another individual “Where are you from?” and getting a labyrinthine response in return as people redefine global citizenship. While the title sounds French, the book creators are from Spain, and the book manufactured in China (as most books are, I suppose, so no surprises there, really).

Regardless, it was a pleasure meeting this young girl, Camille with her “battledress” – being a top hat and a tutu. What I love best about this picturebook is how boredom has absolutely no space in the pages. Way too often, we hear young children claim that they are bored. Well, not Camille.

She knows that there are just so many things she can do: from naming all the waves, asking the wind to tell her a story, or drawing faces in balloons. I normally do not share the final image in a story, but this one deserves a little bit of attention, as it reminded me of Suzy Lee’s wordless picturebook Shadowwith the young girls being brought back to reality with the voice of an adult calling them:

These two picturebooks would be a good pair to make children appreciate that they can find beauty in the ordinary.

Little Big Boubo

Written and Illustrated by: Beatrice Alemagna
Published by: Tate Publishing, 2014 ISBN: 1849762848 (ISBN13: 9781849762847). Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me. 

I adore most everything that Beatrice Alemagna creates (see here for my review of What Is A ChildThe Five MisfitsThe Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty), and this one is no exception.

While Boubo is still little, he thinks of himself as a big boy. He can already do a lot of big boy stuff such as ride a bicycle. He also has a big boy nose and big boy eyes. Clearly, this little one is very impatient to grow up. He does not know as yet that #adulting is hard, but that’s a secret we try to keep from impressionable young ones.

Throughout the pages of the book, Boubo provides very clear evidence as to why he is already big. Yet, at the end of the day, he wants his mummy to tuck him in…

… further affirming just how this kind of boundless love empowers young kids to believe that they are standing on top of the world. A beautiful book.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

8 comments on “[Monday Reading] Tiny Kids from Europe With Huuuuge Imagination in “Bonjour Camille” and “Little Big Boubo”

  1. Little Big Boubo sounds wonderful! What child does not wish to be big? So sweet when he wants to be tucked in! Thanks for sharing!


  2. You always find new books for me! I can’t always find them, but I’ll look!


  3. Camille sounds especially enchanting – and I love her idea of battle dress!


  4. It’s funny – I love European picture books, and I’m always drawn to them because they offer such a refreshing twist from North American picture books, but that exactly quality can make them a bit of a hard sell in the library. Kids here are used to a specific sort of style (typically very commercialised, cartoony and cutesy), and it can be hard to convince them to give “strange-looking” books like Little Big Boubo a try!


  5. I love that battledress!
    The illustrations in Little Big Boubo make me want to read it now.
    Two more picture books are added to the list!


  6. Pussreboots

    Camille reminds me of a bunch of kids her age. We’re in the last few days in our current place. It seems like the work to move will never end. Come see what I’m reading when I’m not packing.


  7. I want a battledress! Must lay my hands on this title!


  8. Little Big Boubo sounds familiar. I’m sure I read it. Camille sounds fascinating.


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