Same, But Different: European Picture Books

Looking for a picture book that offers something a bit different – artistic, nuanced, off-beat, maybe even a bit dark?  The library has several beautifully illustrated new picture books from Europe that might catch your eye, or that of a discerning child. 

The World in a Second by Portuguese author and illustrator Isabel Minhos Martins and Bernardo P. Carvalho explores moments occurring simultaneously around the world in the span of one second. There is a mysterious tone to the book, and the events featured are not necessarily child-centered: a man getting his mustache shaved on the island of Azores, a woman dropping a letter in Hungary, a watch stopping on a subway platform in Chicago. Bold illustrations of scenes around the globe make this book a visual treat.

A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna is an oversized picture book inspired by the lion statue in Place Denfert-Rochereau. The lion in the story leaves his home in the grasslands to journey through the city of Paris, encountering many famous landmarks, until he finds the perfect spot to live. The illustrations synthesize a fresh mix of drawing and collage to convey details of the urban landscape. 

Fox’s Garden by Princesse Camcam is a wordless picture book featuring a fox and a young boy whose paths cross one snowy evening. The work of a French artist living in Germany, the images combine paper cutting, painting and lighting to create a gentle, magical world.


In Harold Finds A Voice by Courtney Dicmas, Harold the parrot can imitate any sound he hears, including the daily symphony that occurs within his little Parisian apartment: the growling vacuum, the ringing doorbell, the whirring blender, even the flushing toilet. But does Harold have a voice of his own? An adventure helps him discover his unique voice in this fun, noisy read-aloud.

Mr. Tweed’s Good Deeds is a delightfully odd and colorful book by London-based author and illustrator Jim Stoten. Mr. Tweed and his extra-tall hat can’t seem to go for a walk without attracting a lot of friends in need of help. Little Colin Rocodile lost his kite, Mrs. Fluffycuddle has misplaced her kittens and Pingle Penguin‘s balloons have escaped. Readers can use the detailed seek-and-find illustrations to help Mr. Tweed save the day. 

--Suzanne LaPierre, Kingspark Library

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