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Adèle & Simon Hardcover – September 5, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2–When Adèle meets her younger brother after school, she cautions him not to lose anything on the way home. The children take a leisurely route, visiting friends, a street market, a park, and two museums. Predictably, Simon leaves an item (his drawing, hat, knapsack, glove) behind at each location. Set in Paris during the early 20th century, this simple story is the basis for some remarkable illustrations. McClintock's pen-and-ink with watercolor technique has the feel of illustrated children's books from that period. The retro effect is accented by an old-fashioned typeface, creamy paper, and wide borders around the spreads. The children's route is traced on the endpapers–a map of Paris from 1907. Each stop is based on a real place, some immediately recognizable, such as the Louvre and Notre-Dame. McClintock's research is described in wonderfully detailed endnotes. For example, in the picture of the bustling street market, the groupings of people are based on works by Honoré Daumier and Eugène Atget. In the Louvre, Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt help Simon find his crayons. Readers will enjoy the visual game of hide-and-seek; the more they look, the more they can find. A beautiful example of bookmaking, with plenty to charm children, this is a visual delight.–Robin L. Gibson, Granville Parent Cooperative Preschool, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* K-Gr. 3. "Please try not to lose anything today," Adele implores her little brother, Simon, as they begin their walk home from school. She might as well have asked the sun not to rise in the East, for at each stop along the way Simon loses something: first a drawing he had made, then his books, then one of his gloves. And so it goes until the children finally arrive at home, where Mama discovers that Simon has lost everything ! But who can blame him? After all, the setting is Paris in the early twentieth century, and there are simply so many wonderful distractions en route that it's a miracle the children make it home at all. As for young listeners, they'll want to peruse the endpaper maps (by Baedeker) to follow the children's peregrinations through the busy City of Light and linger over McClintock's meticulous double-page depictions of Parisian neighborhoods and landmarks, identified in charming, informative endnotes. McClintock's beautifully restrained use of color may evoke a long-ago time, but her compositions are so dynamic that there's always something for contemporary children to discover. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 550L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374380449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374380441
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barbara McClintock is an author and illustrator of children's picture books.

Her books have won 4 New York Times Best Books awards, a New York Times Notable Book citation,
a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor award, and numerous other awards, recommended/best book lists,
and starred reviews. Her books have been made into children's videos, a ballet/opera, and a recorded books on tape.


Barbara drew constantly as a child. By the time she was seven, she knew she would be an artist when she grew up. Her older sister recommended she be a children's book illustrator, and this proved to be a rare instance when she folowed her sisters' advice. Barbara also wanted to be a cat when she grew up, and is glad she had art as a back up plan.

The first part of Barbara's growing up was in Clinton, NJ. Her early influences were her photographer father, seamstress/teacher mother, and the cartoon character Top Cat.

Barbara moved to North Dakota when she was 9 with her mother and sister after her parents divorced. She continued to draw throughout middle and high school, often in the margins of her test papers and homework.

Barbara attended Jamestown College in North Dakota, where she refined her drawing skills by copying pictures in art books she checked out of her college library.

Two weeks after her 20th birthday, Barbara moved to New York City to begin her career on the recommendation of Maurice Sendak, whom she called from North Dakota for advice about how to become a children's book illustrator.

Barbara studied briefly at the Art Student's League in New York. She continued to copy from art books she checked out from libraries, and sketched paintings and drawings in museums and galleries in New York, London, Paris, Vienna, and Lisbon. Barbara is essentially self-taught as an artist/illustrator.

After working early in her career for Jim Henson illustrating books for his television series FRAGGLE ROCK, Barbara wrote and illustrated THE HEARTACHES OF A FRENCH CAT. Rejected by 16 publishers before it was bought by David R. Godine, it won Barbara's first New York Times Best Books award.

She currently lives in rural Connecticut with the illustrator David A. Johnson, their two cats Pip and Emma, her son Larson when he isn't in China, and David's gorgeous rose garden. Barbara is at work on ADELE & SIMON IN CHINA, due out fall 2011.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'm a bit odd. There is nothing I like more in the entire world than for a picture book to make me feel stupid. I live for the feeling. And, as it happens, it doesn't occur as often as I should like it to. Enter in Barbara McClintock. The unofficial successor to Kate Greenway, Ms. McClintock's books are touch and go affairs. One moment she's penning the unaccountably beautiful, "Dahlia". Next minute she's scandalizing Beatrix Potter puritans everywhere with her re-illustration of, "A Tale of Two Bad Mice". I always want to count on Ms. McClintock, but I never know how a book is going to come off until I have it sitting smack dab in front of me. The fact that, "Adele and Simon" not only fell into the Good McClintock bin but went above and beyond the call of duty by being smart, beautiful, ludicrously well-detailed, and other terms of high praise... well it's enough to make a librarian like myself weep with joy. For pure unvarnished and unapologetic Francophilia alongside references to art, culture, and a smattering of "Where's Waldo", McClintok's newest is an enjoyable book that deserves as much love as I can heap upon it.

At the turn of the twentieth century a girl named Adele picks up her little brother, Simon, from school. Simon's a pleasant kid, but he has an odd tendency to lose his things. Right from the start Adele says to him, "Simon, please try not to lose anything today". Simon replies honestly but with more than a hint of foreshadowing, "I'll try". Together, the two walk about Paris and each place they go Simon loses something new. At first it's just small things. The cat picture he made in school goes missing during a street market. His scarf goes awry in the natural history museum. As the kids continue, however, Simon's losses get bigger.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Anne B. Levy on November 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Imagine letting your kids wander city streets alone for a few hours after school. No cell phones, no nannies, no idea where they are or what they're up to.

Not in a hundred years, right?


McClintock takes us back a full century to Paris at its fullest glory, when the Impressionists were still alive and the colorful streets teemed with activity (instead of traffic) and cheerful kids could meander for hours. How different from our own anxious, overscheduled age!

Big sister Adele picks up a smiley Simon after school, who's schlepping a full rucksack and the usual cold-weather garb. Since this is pre-Ritalin, he's allowed to be what we once called a typical boy: irrepressible, funny, smart and a complete ruffian. He's off in a dozen directions at once, losing a scarf here or crayons there as he drags his sister through a leafy, sepia-drenched Paris and one gorgeous full-bleed spread after another.

We're launched on a "Where's Waldo"-style hunt for all those missing items, which get stuck in trees or a baby carriage or who knows where. I was quite pleased with myself for finding most of them, even as I empathized with Adele's mounting exasperation.

McClintock used pen and ink to recreate this wondrous city at its most vital, then filled it in with watercolors. Each spread looks like a period print or vintage postcard, even down to the choice in typeface. Hers is an idealized fin de siecle Paris, where parades just happen by and acrobats pop up and Edgar Degas is available to hunt for those missing crayons (end notes fill in some must-know facts).

I've made three trips to Paris and can tell you the Jardins du Luxembourg hasn't changed a bit, and the Boulevard St.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ann on September 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book 2 weeks ago and my 3 year old son asks me to read it everyday ( sometimes 2 and 3 times).

Hidden in the pages of this simple story of Adele and her little brother misplacing brother Simon, is a submersive journey back in time to Paris in the turn of the century. Hidden historical jems lie in the beautifully intricate illustrations Barbara McClintock composes. I truly discover something new each time I open the book and explore the pages and inevitably so does my son. Sometime we don't even read the story - we just go from scene to scene looking for Monkeys or Madeline or sampling an eclair. What a joy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By KAM on February 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My children ages 5 and 6 adored this book. The illustrations are beautiful, the story is charming, and the book is very engaging. My boys loved searching each page for the items Simon kept losing throughout the story. Clever. Lovely. Quality book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gigi2 on March 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 4 year old Daughter absolutely loves this book. She relates, since she has a little brother like the character Adele. The illustrations are georgeous. This is definetely a favorite for mother and daughter :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By W. Andrew on January 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Initially my 4 1/2 year old son didn't seem interested in this book, however once I read it to him, it became a favorite. He loves looking for the lost items in the beautifully drawn pictures.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Look through a window of imagination to a world of excitement! Adele and Simon takes you to Paris, around the park, through the market, and all the way home! Help Adele find crayons, scarves, hats, and notebooks. The illustrations are amazing and make you feel like you are there! I highly recommend this book and think it is wonderful!
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