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Nicholas Hardcover – June 14, 2005

4.9 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6–This classic book about a mischievous schoolboy and his friends, originally published in French in 1959, is now available in English. The expertly translated text is enlivened by artwork by a New Yorker cartoonist to create the unforgettable milieu of Nicholas and his rowdy friends. A collection of 19 escapades, the stories introduce the protagonist and his cohorts as they wreak havoc out of simple, everyday situations at school, on the playground, and at home. Pestering the substitute teacher, trying to adopt a lost dog, and quarreling over soccer positions (only to find there isn't even a ball) make for hilarious and timeless anecdotes that will have readers giggling. Adults will also appreciate Nicholas's childlike perception of each troublesome situation through his comments at the end of each adventure. These charming vignettes beg to be shared aloud in a classroom or library setting. A delightful choice for spicing up middle-grade collections and for exposing kids to stories from abroad.–Jennifer Cogan, Bucks County Free Library, Doylestown, PA
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"...Liberally endowed with Sempe's tiny, comic cartoon figures, these whimsical mini-adventures will captivate readers..." -- Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1070L (What's this?)
  • Series: Nicholas
  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; Tra edition (June 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714845299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714845296
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #316,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A while ago I was heading off to join a boat on which my two granddaughters are the junior crew. At home they'd had a pal named Nicholas, so I figured they'd like this book. Little did I know what a hit I'd made! Not only did the girls (aged 3 and 5) oblige me to do a daily reading, but after the first chapter I realized that I'd also captivated the rest of the crew, ranging in age from 30 to 43. All work stopped at five o'clock, and the two children and six adults gathered for the next chapter of Nicholas's adventure.

Not only was the original wonderfully done (on that I have the testimony of the girls' mother, who read it for a French class in high school) but the English translation is perfect. Nicholas and his friends are still little French schoolboys, but the names of the adults and some of the children have been changed to their English equivalents. (The snooty rich kid is now Cuthbert.)

I think part of their appeal is that they aren't politically correct. They swear ("big fat stupid ninny!") and smoke cigars and beat each other up and run away from home. The girls are terrible manipulators. On the other hand, Nicholas cries from time to time. It's all very satisfactory!

I'm delighted to see that in Britain a second volume is being published this month (October 2005). With any luck, it will soon be available in the U.S. I know of two children and six adults who can't wait!
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Format: Hardcover
If you know Anthea Bell, you know her for one reason. She's the woman who translates almost all of Cornelia Funke's children's fiction. If you know the artist Sempe you also probably know him for one reason. He does those delightful little covers for the New Yorker that strike everyone as utterly sublime. And if you know Rene Goscinny then you are probably French. There is no other explanation for it. Even though Mssr. Goscinny created "Asterix", has won multiple awards for his cartoons, and became (according to his bio anyway) "an internationally successful children's author", he's not exactly common knowledge here in America. In fact, if you were to stop your average joe on the street and do a little free association with the words, "French children's books" you're going to get two kinds of answers. They're either going to say, "Little Prince" and start reminiscing about 9th grade French class, or they're going to say, "Tintin" and then rush to the nearest bookstore to read them. It's not Goscinny's fault. He was never properly introduced to American children before. Now all that has changed and it's thanks to, of all publishers, Phaidon. Yes, the company that usually prefers to publish glossy glorious art collections with titles like, "The Photography Book", has now dipped its toe into the murky waters of children's literature. With translations, however, they're fairly safe. "Nicholas", originally published in 1959, remains a uniquely droll little series of small boyhood adventures.

Nicholas attends an all boy's school somewhere in France. Where he lives is not especially important. What is important is that he and his friends often have ripping good times, much to the dismay of a variety of authority figures.
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Format: Hardcover
I had not heard of this book (originally published in France in 1959) before I came across it in a bookstore. But I was so intrigued, I decided to buy it, since Phaidon is one of my favorite publishing companies.

This story is so charming, I'm already looking for futher volumes! Goscinny's writing is full of wit and the directness that children really do have. Reading the first chapter, "A Photograph To Treasure" took me right back to my own childhood, and the antics of Picture Day. I think I even had the same teacher Nicholas did!

The late Rene Goscinny obviously had a special gift. We so often loose our childlike imaginations and candor when we become grown-ups, but not he. Like so many others around the world, I am an admirer of Sempe's work from magazines like the New Yorker, and his illustrations here strike just the right tone for this wonderful story.

Don't worry if you don't have children, or nieces or nephews. This book is for anyone and everyone. It's gentle charm will touch your heart and remind you of the sweeter, simpler times in life.
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Format: Hardcover
The humor in Nicholas probaby isn't for everybody, which might be part of why my daughter and I liked it so much. It is translated from the French, it was written originally in 1960, and the artwork is done by Jean-Jaques Sempé, who is well-known in America for his wonderful, quirky New Yorker cartoons and covers. "Nicholas" is a little boy who attends an all-boys school in France (not Paris, it seems.) He gets in trouble, as do his friends. Over and over again. The adults are exasperated, the boys cause one disaster after another but remain best of friends, and the tone is one of utter innocence. Why are those grown-ups so upset? My 8 year-old daughter LOVES this book and is begging me on a daily basis to buy the rest of them. She carries it around with her like a treasure and reads funny passages out loud at the drop of a hat. I think this is one of those books that creates its own world, not just of the story around Nicholas, but also the style of writing, the funny drawings, and the French insouciance...all these things combine beautifully. Even though my daughter is only 8, she really "gets" this book, but I'm sure it would appeal to older kids and adults, too.
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