Antoinette by Kelly dePucchio and Christian Robinson
Simon and Schuster, 2017. ISBN 9781481457835
(Age: 4-8) Recommended. Paris. Bravery. Family. Dogs. A charming tale of being yourself, of following your heart has Antoinette, despairing of her place in the household, where her three brothers are known for their strengths. Rocky is clever, Ricky is fast and Bruno is strong, but she has nothing to compare with them. Mum reassures her that she has a special gift but it is not yet apparent. One day while in the park, Mrs Bulldog notices that one of the poodle pups is missing. Antoinette sees her brothers try out their special gifts, but they cannot find Oo-La-La. She decides to try for herself and follows the scent after the others have given up. Her nose takes her across the park to the Louvre, and despite being chased by a guard, she finds Oo-La-La in a most perilous position and rescues her. Her bravery and tenacity is apparent for all to see and later she becomes a famous police dog.
The stylish naive illustrations give the impression of block prints with slabs of acrylic colour used as the background to the story. The reduced pallet of colour compliments this impression, making the story stand out against a pared back setting, while the dogs have a collage appearance, which children may like to emulate after reading the book. I loved the setting with images of Paris on several pages. Readers, like me, will have a great time recognising iconic images of Parisian life and its buildings: the Louvre, an artist, poodles, a beret amongst others along with some French words to further pique interest.