Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Phaidon takes a sure step into the children's book arena with this entirely engaging volume, a winning combination of writing, translating and illustrating that gives youngsters a flavor of France (where it has been a bestseller since its 1959 publication). Goscinny's (Asterix) collection of 19 linked tales stars high-spirited narrator Nicholas, a French schoolboy who, along with his classmates, has a knack for landing in trouble. Seemingly quotidian situations in Nicholas's life yield riotous repercussions, as the incessant squabbling among the youngsters tends to result in a delightful domino effect, until events culminate in a comedic climax. A disastrous class photo session drives the photographer away before he snaps the shot, a pick-up soccer game sends the kids bickering about their positions until they're finally set (then realize they have no ball), and a new boy in class who doesn't speak English spouts the off-color language he has picked up from his peers. The hero's recurring references to several students function as humorous comic bits (such as Alec, "my friend who is fat and he likes eating" or Cuthbert, who "is top of the class and we're not crazy about him, but we can't hit him because he wears glasses"). New Yorker and Paris Match artist Semp 's droll line drawings reinforce the text's exuberance, and Bell's translation gives the narrative a wry British spin. And there's additional good news: the publisher has scheduled more Nicholas adventures for future release. Ages 9-12. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This classic book about a mischievous schoolboy and his friends, originally published in French in 1959, is now available in English. The expertly translated text is enlivened by artwork by a New Yorker cartoonist to create the unforgettable milieu of Nicholas and his rowdy friends. A collection of 19 escapades, the stories introduce the protagonist and his cohorts as they wreak havoc out of simple, everyday situations at school, on the playground, and at home. Pestering the substitute teacher, trying to adopt a "lost" dog, and quarreling over soccer positions (only to find there isn't even a ball) make for hilarious and timeless anecdotes that will have readers giggling. Adults will also appreciate Nicholas's childlike perception of each troublesome situation through his comments at the end of each adventure. These charming vignettes beg to be shared aloud in a classroom or library setting. A delightful choice for spicing up middle-grade collections and for exposing kids to stories from abroad.-Jennifer Cogan, Bucks County Free Library, Doylestown, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A favorite in France for decades, these 19 tongue-in-cheek tales of daily life as seen through the eyes of an uncritical young everylad will elicit bursts of laughter from children and adults alike. Writing in long, breathless sentences and liberally applying his favorite word, "fantastic!," Nicholas sunnily recounts a series of quotidian experiences, from his all-boy school's tumultuous Class Picture Day to disastrous visits from a new School Inspector and a local politician, from a forced playdate with a wimpy, teacher's-pet classmate to an unhappy encounter with a cigar. Goscinny, better known as a co-creator of Asterix the Gaul, adds violent but somehow non-traumatic melees to each standalone episode, pokes gentle fun at the grownups and closes nearly every chapter with a droll twist. Liberally endowed with Sempe's tiny, comic cartoon figures, these whimsical mini-adventures will captivate readers who missed their first go-round in English, The Chronicles of Little Nicholas (1993). At least one sequel is scheduled. (Fiction. 9-11)