- Age Range: 5 - 9 years
- Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
- Hardcover: 56 pages
- Publisher: Candlewick; First Edition ? edition (December 13, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0763641731
- ISBN-13: 978-0763641733
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.4 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,230,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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French Ducks in Venice Hardcover – December 13, 2011
Amazon Best Children’s Books of the Month, December 2011: Illustrated in a style that is reminiscent of classic animated children’s films, French Ducks in Venice is a story of friendship, loyalty, loss, and healing, told with warmth and heart. A pair of ducks, Georges and Cécile, befriend a young dressmaker, Polina, who they call a “Russian princess” for her gowns made, not only of cotton and silk, but also “pieces of the night sky, and strawberry jam.” This princess has a prince, Sebastian, who makes her very happy, until one day he goes away--for good. The reader never learns why Sebastian went away, only that Polina is very sad as a result. The ducks bring Polina a gift of golden light from where the sea meets the sky, and with the passage of time she emerges from her sadness, a reassuring reminder of the endless opportunity for new beginnings and happiness. --Seira Wilson
There's virtue in presenting a portrait of loss with a spoonful of sugar; readers learn how to talk about hurt, while McGuire's cinematically lit pictures recall classic Disney images of winsome animals consoling star-crossed heroines.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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The artwork is amazing, beautiful, not overdone, perfectly capturing the scenes.
The story is a touching one and when it ends it will leave you wanting to know what happens next to our "Russian princess" and her gown or wishing for further adventures involving the ducks.
At the beginning of the story Polina lived in a small and charming bungalow happily with her boyfriend, Sebastian. Polina made beautiful dresses everyday and her two French duck friends visited her everyday to admire her out-of-the-world creations. The ducks called Polina a Russian Princess for her majestic creations.
But, one day, Polina lost her inspiration because her boyfriend, Sebastian, left her to make movies in L.A. Polina was too sad to create any more dresses. Her royale friends, George and Cecile were also sad for her. The two French ducks try to encourage Polina, but nothing worked.
Finally, George decided to take on a journey to find an inspiration for Polina. After searching all over the world, George finally brought Polina a golden and soothing light as a gift. The gift helped Polina to regain strength and inspiration to creat beautiful dresses agian.
My favorite part of the book was a dreamy illustration by Erin Mcquire. McGuire captured the beauty of the canal city, Venice along with gorgeous designs on dresses.
This book would definitely appeal to the girls who appreciate beauty, independence, and strength. I think that girls age between 8 and 13 would mostly enjoy this book.
Review by Isabella S., age 7, San Francisco Regional Mensa
Georges and Cécile try to stop Sebastian from leaving, but it is no use. All Polina tells the ducks is that he "had to go." Instead of trying to find Sebastian and bring him back to Polina, Georges sets out to find a present for Polina, one that will bring beauty and happiness back into her life. His search for the perfect gift takes him far from the canals of Venice and out over the sea. Where the ocean meets the sky, Georges finds something for his princess --- something golden and soothing, something to inspire her and make her feel at least a little better.
FRENCH DUCKS IN VENICE is author Garret Freymann-Weyr's first picture book. The story is rich and emotionally sophisticated but told in a straightforward and delightful way. The plain language, however, is sometimes at odds with the depth of the story: the content seems intended for older readers, yet the wording seems a bit young. The illustrations by Erin McGuire are graceful and sweet, and capture all that is compelling in the story. Though the narrative has a few missteps, it remains a unique approach to the theme of broken-heartedness and the joys and comforts found in true friends.
A bittersweet twist on fairy tale romance, this story is about the power of friendship and unconditional love and the importance of patience and creative work. It doesn't shy away from the pain of loss but presents it in an honest way. Polina will always be "a little bit sad," but with the help of her friends, she will be happy, too.
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
The digital illustrations are undeniably alluring and readers are in for a visual treat. Unfortunately, we are not privy to Polina's magical dresses made with Georges' present. Some scenes are too long such as when Georges is incredibly flummoxed by Sebastian's departure, and repetitive phrases may bore some readers. Suitable for readers ages nine and up, this book is divided into scenes with symbols denoting a scene's end.
Originally reviewed in the San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review from ARC