Like most Chronicle books, Postmark Paris is visual, an
artistic adventure through the boulevards of Paris. The
journal is narrated by a nine-year old girl who navigates
Paris for the first time, collecting postage stamps to
remember her time in this cosmopolitan city. In this small,
tidy book, the personal entries are opposite distinctive
postage stamps, each related to a memory or occasion, notes
by a thoughtful girl reflecting on her experiences. The
collection mirrors a world within a world, visits to the
usual tourist sites, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame,
Montparnasse, the twisting Seine.
Timbres is the French word for stamps. The girl carefully
pastes each one into her orange stamp album with transparent
pages, samples from every country imaginable, an amazing
variety of colors and shapes, decorated with fruit, flowers
and people. There is even an open-air stamp market off the
Champs-Elysses, the vendors eager to share their wares with
the neophyte stamp collector.
As the family settles into their year in France, they picnic
on balmy days, viewing the Luxumborg Gardens for tulips and
poppies and the gardens of the Tuilleries by the Louve. They
snack on fried fish, fritures, on the banks of the Marne
River outside of Paris. As the year winds down, the girl
bids adieux to her French schoolmates, who line up to "pour
faire les bisoux- to kiss me goodbye on the cheek."
Back home in California, the treasured book of stamps is
kept on a nearby shelf; whenever the girl grows nostalgic
for those picturesque Parisian days, she turns the pages,
reliving her adventures, each memory reflected in the stamp
so carefully pasted on the page. This small, colorful
collection is the repository of fond memories, a fascinating
country and a year of adventure, postmarked Paris.
Appropriate for child or adult, this whimsical book will
most likely hold the interest of ages nine and up, the
journal entries replete with names and French phrases, the
writing small and personal, intimate family outings and
savored details of this extraordinary Parisian visit.
||Luan Gaines/2005 for curled
up with a good kid's book
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