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Bijou, Bonbon and Beau: The Kittens Who Danced for Degas Hardcover – April 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 26 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811819752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811819756
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 9.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,264,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"On a blustery day long ago, a weary cat crossed a bridge over the river Seine in Paris. All afternoon, she had been searching for a warm place." So begins Bijou, Bonbon & Beau: The Kittens Who Danced for Degas, Joan Sweeney's second playful peek at the art world after her critically acclaimed Once upon a Lily Pad: Froggy Love in Monet's Garden. In Bijou, Marmalade, the weary cat in question, decides to stop in a Parisian theater known for its ballet and its resident artist, Edgar Degas.

Et voilà! The next morning Madame Duvay discovers Marmalade and three adorable kittens--Bijou, Bonbon, and Beau. The friendly felines make themselves right at home--to the delight of the dancers and Degas, who quietly sketches them: "Oh, the mischief they got into! They chased after the ballerinas and slept in their toeshoes. They got tangled in Madame Duvay's thread and ran off with her ribbons." On the big opening night there is a bona fide feline fiasco as the kittens make their dancing debut! Furious, the stage manager threatens to throw the kittens out on the street--but of course the next day they are the talk of the town, and they are allowed to stay.

This charming story, illustrated by Leslie Wu with Degas-like pastels, includes a gatefold reproduction of Degas's The Rehearsal on the Stage, and a short biography of the artist. "Wu makes the obvious choice of imitating the impressionists in hazy pastels but takes imaginative leaps with her perspectives (e.g., one playful picture shows the backs of the kittens as they view the performing dancers)--and her kittens are undeniably adorable," says Publishers Weekly. Cat lovers, art lovers, and young ballerinas rejoice! Bijou, Bonbon & Beau has a little something for all of you. (Ages 6 and older) --Karin Snelson

From Publishers Weekly

Cat lovers will embrace this pretty tale of a pregnant stray who gives birth to kittens in the theater where impressionist painter Edgar Degas sketches dancers. The feline family is threatened by a huffy stage manager, but Degas stands up for them, even when they ruin his drawings. When the kittens interrupt a performance, however, it seems certain they'll be evictedAbut the audience finds them charming, so they are saved. Sweeney's (Once Upon a Lily Pad) serviceable prose descends periodically into caricature ("Sacre bleu!" cries the stage manager), and the character of Degas never comes into focus. She is similarly fuzzy with details (all of the dancers are called ballerinas, for example), and may thus disappoint ballet students. In her picture book debut, Wu makes the obvious choice of imitating the impressionist in hazy pastels but takes imaginative leaps with her perspectives (e.g., one playful picture shows the backs of the offstage kittens as they view the performing dancers)Aand her kittens are undeniably adorable. A gatefold on the last page reproduces Degas's The Rehearsal on the Stage and invites readers to search for paw prints among the shadows. Ages 2-6.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amanda (age:7) on February 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"Look, kittens! " This book is about a cat named Marmalade and her three kittens, Bijou, Bonbon, and Beau. This story takes place in Paris, France. Bijou, Bonbon and Beau make their home in a ballet theater. The angry stage manager does not like pets! So, the costume designer takes care of the family. One night during a ballet performance, the kittens charge on to the stage. Will the stage manager allow that? Find out!
There is also a young artist in the book who spends a lot of time sketching the ballet dancers. He also tries to keep peace in the theater. He wants to convince the stage manager to like the cats, but the stage manager does not listen.
I'd like to say that the pictures by Leslie Wu are so beautiful and make you want to just look at them over and over! Leslie Wu copied Edgar Degas' style. At the end of the book, they show the Rehearsal On The Stage (one of Degas' paintings). Do you remember the young artist I just mentioned? Well, I think that the author meant him to be Edgar Degas!
I think you should read this book especially if you want to know how to dance ballet or even play a sport because you can do anything you choose to do... even if you are a cat! I would also recommend this book to kids/grown-ups that like cats because the cats and even the dancers are just like Edgar Degas' paintings. They are fuzzy and light-colored. If you did now know who painted the pictures, I bet you would guess that Edgar Degas was the artist!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rosary on March 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The best review I can give this book is that my 3 1/2 y.o. daughter just loves it. It is a sweet story about a mother cat and her kittens who live in a Parisian theatre and are cared for by the members of the ballet company. The story is simple for young children, but the presence of Degas sketching the ballerinas opens the door for many other discussions about art and may even inspire a trip to the museum.
Tara, I respectfully disagree with your asessment of the prose. Keep in mind this is a children's book. The tone flows smoothly and is a wonderful soothing story that does not excite my daughter when I'm trying to get her ready for bed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
Short, but sweet. Whether you like great art, dance or cute little kitty cats (or all three!) this brisk little book should bring a big smile... Painted after the style of Edgar Degas, this tells the story of a mama cat and her three kittens who become adopted by the dancers and stagehands of a Paris concert hall where Degas is making sketches for his famous ballet paintings. Degas himself is enchanted by the kittens and shields them from the scornful eye of a hot-tempered house manager, all the while working on his famous paintings. Cute story, beautiful artwork, nice cultural-historical lesson as well, although in a very subtle, unforced way. Recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Soaring Heart on November 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
Any girl should love this book with a sweet story by Sweeney and lovely illustrations of kitties and ballerinas plus an introduction to the renown French artist, Edgar Degas (1834-1917) whose studies of ballerinas are known for their "mastery of motion and for reviving the lost art of pastel." Degas is considered one of the great artists of his time and Leslie Wu's illustrations are in keeping with his style but with her own unique vision and bolder use of color. Great job, Leslie! I wish more stories were tributes to great artists like BIJOU, BONBON & BEAU--Sweeney and Wu set a nice example I hope others follow.
"No one saw a cat slip through the back door." Kitties may cause mischief, yet can win over even the grumpiest of persons, in this case, Mr. Klenk. I don't want to give away the story, so please enjoy reading this amusing book with your little girl, or buy it for your older reader. Great book for girls aged five to twelve.
As a dear friend of mine recently shared with me, "Kitties are angels in fur." So true. I certainly love my cat and can't imagine what I'd do without her. I've only had her close to two months and it feels like a lifetime.
Soar!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ellen Yirovec on October 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really cute book/text and because we go to the Detroit Institute of Art my grand daughter can see the real Degas paintings
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