Review Blog

Feb 13 2017

The sisters Saint-Claire by Carlie Gibson and Tamsin Ainslie

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760291563
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Cooking. Siblings. Markets. Rhyming tale. A wonderful rhyming story about five mouse sisters, Harriet, Violet, Minette, Beatrice and Cecile, living with their parents, Odette and Pierre in France. The youngest mouse, Cecile is a wonderful cook, and the siblings love going to the market on Sunday, knowing that when they return Cecile will have cooked them a tasty array of treats. But one Sunday she asks to go with them. The girls all offer reasons for her to stay at home and cook, but her parents tell them that it is time for Cecile to see the world. She cooks before they go, setting up a stall at the market for the day. But no one buys her pies. By the end of the day when other stalls are empty and the bunting is being taken down, the Queen arrives with great fanfare. She loves Cecile's pies and tells her that she will return every week just for her pies. From that day on, Cecile takes her place at the market every week, with her family helping with the sales.
This wonderful story will be read aloud by one and all, as the readers relish getting their tongues around the names of the the pies Cecile makes. The inventive rhymes and word puns will make many readers giggle as they take in the array of words offered. I loved the inclusion of French words recognising that some French words are now very much part of our speech.
Readers will delight in this family of mice, the food words, the market and the French background, offering a view of a different way of life.
The soft pastel illustrations are a delight, reflecting the French town in which they live: the small streets, cafes, the Sunday market and the clothing. The mice prance their way across the pages, entrancing all who read of Cecile's growing independence.
Fran Knight

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