How to occupy your children on the train? Eight captivating books for ages 1 to 8

Discovering language

It’s not the most practical of picture books, because it’s made of cardboard and is 30 centimeters high… but it remains the most effective, the best able to hold the attention of a small child for a long time. Each double page reveals a new universe where the protagonists are funny animals: Mr. Bear’s farm, the airport where Mr. Fox occupies the control tower, the supermarket where Mrs. Pig forgets to buy her fruits and vegetables… Some readers remain blocked on the transport page, others let themselves be absorbed by that of trades. And the adult can take the opportunity to revise his vocabulary a little in English, because all the words are translated. You know how to say “chignole” in english ? No ? So, see page 14.

“The Big Book of Words” by Richard Scarry. Albin Michel, 96 pages, €16.90. From 18 months.

exquisite corpses

Here, each cardboard page represents a cat cut into three parts: the head, the body, the legs – the idea being obviously to mix them to create hundreds of strange and/or funny silhouettes. The strength of Mishmash of tomcats is to have added text: at the same time as he creates animals, the child creates more or less preposterous sentences. “Oscar spills an omelet with shells”; “Romeo picks up very talkative foxes”; “Ramona sprinkles sardine toast”… The formulas are simple and written in large, enough to motivate the beginner reader, who, after the effort of deciphering, is rewarded with a new wacky silhouette.

“Méli-mélo de matous”, by Gaëlle Duhazé. Casterman, 20 pages, €14.90. From 2 years old.

Misappropriation of tales

Geoffroy de Pennart diverting the most famous tales with undeniable talent, he deserved a small anthology. Here, four stories around raging wolves, softies, hungry, in any case always dismissed by little girls or mothers who are smarter than them. The large illustrations allow the youngest to follow the adventures, while the polished language of the texts enriches the vocabulary of the older ones (in how many other children’s books do the words “despise” or “quickly” appear?). With, in addition, gags on each page – the wolves are expensive –, we have here a precious album in the hollow moments.

“Red Round Hat and Company”, by Geoffroy de Pennart. School of Leisure, 152 p., €18. From 4 years old.

Open your eyes, and the good

Detective Samson by Katerina Gorelik.

Put on your monocle and your Sherlock Holmes costume: here is a detective at work, gone on a mission early in the morning. The hen, the mole, the magpie, the shrew… Everyone has lost something. Well settled in their family square, your children turn into Detective Samson to find a farandole of objects in improbable landscapes – the sewers, a wreck, a crowded beach, etc. As new disappearances are added to each page, your peace of mind is guaranteed for at least… the time of a coffee and a newspaper. Unless you get caught up in the game: it’s much funnier with several people, siblings.

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