22 Jan 2013
Ernest and Celestine
Oh joy! One of my favourite French children's books has been republished in English!
Ernest and Celestine, or as it was originally in French, Ernest et Célestine ont Perdu Siméon, by Gabrielle Vincent is a charmingly old fashioned story about two friends who go for a walk in the snow accompanied by Celestine's beloved stuffed penguin, Simeon. When Simeon is accidentally lost, Celestine is devastated and blames Ernest. What can he do? He can't find a new penguin anywhere in town, and Celestine won't accept anything else. Then suddenly he has a wonderful idea...
Ernest is a poor bear who adopts Celestine after discovering her as a baby amongst the garbage on the streets. Together they live simply but happily together. The story is one of age old values - hope, family, friendship, love, generosity and happiness.
The most beautiful part of this book is Vincent's delightful illustrations. In fact you can tell a great deal about this book from its cover. I am delighted to see it republished in English for another generation of children to enjoy. Hurrah!
The French version of this book is very well known to us, since it is one of a handful of French language books that we read over and over in earlier years. Sometimes we read the story through; at other times we did FIAR type exercises. How many boxes are there? How many plates? Where is the bed? Where is the dresser? What room is this? Can you tell me what you see in French? It is much loved. Nowadays as Jemimah has reached...a certain age...sigh...our copy has graduated to the Christmas Basket of Delights, where it continues to enchant us with its sweet story and delicate watercolour illustrations.
Ernest et Célestine, the movie was shown at the Melbourne International Film Festival last August, and was released for the public in December. So far it is only in French, but I am hoping an English version won't be too far behind! Here's the trailer.