So many books. So little time.
Ah to be Camille! The simple pleasures of childhood that we trade for the experience of age. Till along comes a book like Bonjour Camille, to carry us back to those forgotten joys. Thinking, imagining, whispering (to the wind, no less!), unfettered by the ‘enoughness’ that we grow into. Unaware of the the concept of ‘silliness’.
Is Camille really unaware though? “On Sunday mornings, as soon as the sun comes up, Camille opens her eyes and….puts on her battledress…” Maybe unconsciously she knows that there are bounds. She marches on regardless, because “She has so many things to do!” Ah to be Camille! marching to the beat of our own drum.
The book, however, is a dazzling pas-de-deux. All picture books are collaborations between author and illustrator, and when both hear the same music the dance (book) is perfection. Laia Aguilar’s line-drawings add fun to the author’s words. The very first illustration: Camille’s tutu or her hair? The truck going by: look closely and you will see the hidden umbrellas. You can imagine that leafless trunk on a light purple background “yelling at the winter to go away.” The “something unexpected on a map.”
Even the youngest of readers will enjoy the illustrations that provide mysteries to be solved, the easy-to-understand story. Camille’s activities are innocuous: the kind that could be replicated at home or in a classroom. This is a book belongs in all homes and schools and libraries.