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*Postmark Paris: A Story In Stamps* by Leslie Jonath - buy it online

Postmark Paris: A Story In Stamps
by Leslie Jonath
9 and up 108 pages Chronicle Books April 2005 Hardcover Recommended at 4 stars of 5   

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.

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  Luan Gaines/2005 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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