E is for Eiffel Tower
- Illustrator: Yan Nascimbene
- Published by Sleeping Bear Press
From its achievements in architecture (Chartres Cathedral), science (Louis Pasteur), and literature (Marcel Proust), the country of France has had a profound impact on the world. E is for Eiffel Tower: A France Alphabet explores its venerable history and cultural heritage.
Sumptuous artwork magnifies each letter topic’s poem and expository text.
Artists and critics tried to stifle
The daring design of Gustave Eiffel.
Yet a hundred years later, still it stands
A symbol of France to other lands.
Young readers can experience the treasures of the Louvre Museum, play hide-and-seek in the gardens of Versailles Palace, or get a bird’s-eye view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower. The achievements of Claude Monet and Victor Hugo come to life alongside stunning monuments, breathtaking scenery, and history-in-the-making moments.
This is Helen Wilbur’s fourth book with Sleeping Bear. Helen also authored Lily’s Victory Garden; M is for Meow: A Cat Alphabet; and Z is for Zeus: A Greek Mythology Alphabet. She lives in New York City.
Yan Nascimbene’s work includes over 40 books. Among his prestigious awards are the Society of Illustrators’ Silver Medal and the Bologna International Book Fair Graphic Award. His book, Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers, received the Society of Illustrators’ Gold Medal. Yan lives in France.
She Is Too Fond of Books’ review:
Calling all Francophiles! E is for Eiffel Tower is another winner in the “Discover the World” series from Sleeping Bear Press. Like the “Discovering America” books and the several books focusing on science and nature (my review of V is for Venus Flytrap), books in the “Discover the World” series break a large topic (in this case, France), into 26 memorable pieces.
A simple 4-line poem sits atop the illustration in the center of the page (perfect for the read-aloud set!). A short essay in the sidebar expands on the idea introduced in the poem, offering details and interesting facts for the advanced reader. For example, the letter O has this poem:
O is for Omelette
Beat fresh eggs smooth and light.
Pour in the pan and stir just right.
Add cheese and chives, roll then set.
You’ve got a perfect omelette.
The accompanying sidebar essay lists foods with French origins – “omelettes, croissants, soufflés, éclairs, mousse, mayonnaise,” explains the derivation of the word “restaurant” (translates to “restoratives;” I didn’t know that!), and discusses the trends from haute cuisine to regional peasant dishes.
Yan Nascimbene’s illustrations are appropriate to the text. I believe they are pen-and-ink drawings; some more resemble flowing watercolors. I’m pleased to see how well he represents a multi-cultural world; people of every color, size, and age illustrate Parisians and tourists alike. The tourist in front of the Louvre bears a striking resemblance to the Mona Lisa … with the addition of a hoodie sweatshirt!
I really can’t get enough of these special alphabet books. The two-tiered text makes them perfect for home, school, or library use, and the additional resources extend the learning. The Discover the World website has author and illustrator biographies, games and puzzles, recipes, French phrases, etc. The Teacher’s Guide can easily be adapted for home use. E is for Eiffel Tower is also a simply fun reminder of travels to France, or a great incentive/tease while you’re planning a visit.
Children’s Literature – Danielle Williams
“France is home to a fascinating history and people. A simple introduction, in the form of short poems, takes the reader on a brief tour of the country. Romantic locations such as Brittany and Versailles are presented side-by-side with a glimpse of some of the great artists and artistic treasures inspired by the culture and countryside of France. The author presents 26 poems, A to Z, and the brief poems focus not only on geographic locations or historical figures, but also highlight the culture and customs most commonly associated with France. The simple poems catalog a topic of France corresponding to the letter offered, but included with the poem is a brief, yet more in depth description of the topic under consideration. Full page illustrations of the topic presented add a romantic twist to the in-depth description accompanied by the brief poems. Included with the text is a link to a website which offers additional information on France, as well as information on all of the countries in this “A to Z” series.”
Free Downloadable Teacher’s Guide:
E is for Eiffel Tower: A France Alphabet (367.9 KiB, 2,700 hits)