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Stories 1,2,3,4

Overview

Back in print for the first time since the 1970s, these illustrated stories by one of the twentieth century?s great playwrights make ideal bedtime reading for young children. The ?silly? stories, as Ionesco called them, are accompanied by nearly 100 full-color illustrations, painstakingly restored by the artist for this brand new edition.

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Overview

Back in print for the first time since the 1970s, these illustrated stories by one of the twentieth century’s great playwrights make ideal bedtime reading for young children. The “silly” stories, as Ionesco called them, are accompanied by nearly 100 full-color illustrations, painstakingly restored by the artist for this brand new edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First published in France as four separate books between 1969 and 1976, Ionesco’s snippets of playful conversation between Papa, Mama, their daughter Josette, and Jacqueline the maid return in a single volume. Delessert, the original illustrator of the first two stories, has provided splendid new illustrations for the others and a new English translation as well. The French setting and comfortable social circumstances of the family (in the first story, the maid brings breakfast to Papa and Mama, who are lying in bed after a night of carousing) may put some readers off, but those who push on will find many delights. In Story 3, the father tells Josette about an airplane journey they’ll take together; Delessert draws a jaunty, toy-size airplane that sails past the concierge, over the Paris rooftops, and on to the moon. “Pretty good, it’s melon,” Papa says, sampling a piece of the moon. “Let’s put some sugar on it,” says Josette. Visual quotes (including plenty of Ionesco rhinoceri) pop up everywhere, and Ionesco’s surrealist drollery (“Maybe I’m in the dining room. You should check”) is as fresh as ever. Ages 6–10. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
“Among the most imaginative picture books of the last decade... Ionesco’s poker-faced absurdities and Delessert’s uncanny illustrations reflect the interior world of children with immense originality.”
—Maurice Sendak

"Newly translated by Delessert from the 2009 French edition, this gathering also features the first appearance of his illustrations paired to any English version of Story 3 and Story 4. Each tale starts in the same way—little Josette coaxes an early morning flight of fancy from her father, who in three of the four is bleary from a long night on the town—but then veers off in increasingly elaborate directions. By the final one, he is repeatedly sending her to “look” for him in various rooms of the apartment while he shaves and dresses in the bathroom. Delessert’s crowded, detail-rich pictures add period elements (a dial telephone, a yellow submarine with visible Beatle) to surreal assemblages of toys, plush and fantasy animals, red-capped mushrooms, psychedelic flowers and cozy close-up scenes of Josette with Papa and (more occasionally, as she is generally elsewhere until the very end) Mama.

Handsomely designed, more silly than existentially “absurd” and just the ticket for sharing on a parental lap."—Kirkus

"Fresh as ever."—Publishers Weekly

"Some of the best children's books have an element of absurdity to them, whether in the story telling or the strange pictures that accompany them. This collection has a fantastic amount of both."—Apartment Therapy

"Originally published overseas piecemeal across the sixties and seventies, this droll work is all you could hope for from Ionesco"—Daniel Kraus, Booklist (Starred Review)

"Four stories are devoted to exchanges between a small girl and her parents (and sometimes a maid) as she wakens them each morning hungry for a story. A third-person narrator clues readers in that Mama and Papa have been out late the night before, and that the father has most likely overindulged in food, beverage, and entertainment, but the richness of the text lies within his stories. The tales range from the absurd (a child’s name is Jacqueline, as is everyone’s name in her family as well as all whom she meets), to the renaming of all objects in the house, and a highly imaginative father/daughter flight on an airplane. The closing story is a cheeky pseudo-game of hide-and-seek where Papa encourages his daughter to “find” him as he bellows clues to his whereabouts from the bathroom as he prepares for the day. Stunningly illustrated, this collection is a visual feast. Young children will linger over pages full of animals, artifacts, even a lunar landscape. The stories may, at first glance, seem absurd, but to imaginative children, they make perfect sense. The dialogue between the girl and the adults in her life is spot-on silliness and will resonate with those who are young and those who remember being young. Perfect for lap sharing, albeit a bit heavy, this book will keep them engaged for hours."—C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY, School Library Journal

"This is no ordinary kiddie book!"—Smithsonian's Book Dragon

Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
What is it like to engage the world in a magical way? In this sensitive story, young readers will step into Josette's world through four well-crafted stories. In this collection, Josette is thirty-three months old and the only child of sophisticated parents who love the theater and fancy restaurants. In these Parisian scenes, young readers will watch Josette emerge with sensitivity and grace, haunting the halls of the apartment where she lives with her parents and becoming more imaginative and creative in each adventure. In the first story, Josette begs her father for a story while her mother sleeps. So her father tells Josette a story in which all the characters are named Jacqueline. By the end of the story, Josette has taken her father's story to heart, imagining the entire world is filled with people named Jacqueline. In the second story, Josette discovers her mother has left the apartment with a pink umbrella, pink gloves, pink shoes, and a pretty flowered dress. At the end of this story, Papa enchants Josette with a nonsensical explanation about the world, in which a floor is called a ceiling and the wall is called the door. In the third story, Josette experiences Paris by air, flying in a plane with her father until they reach the moon. In these imaginative stories, young readers will be enchanted by Ionesco's lyrical text and Delessert's beautifully crafted paintings. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Four stories are devoted to exchanges between a small girl and her parents (and sometimes a maid) as she wakens them each morning hungry for a story. A third-person narrator clues readers in that Mama and Papa have been out late the night before, and that the father has most likely overindulged in food, beverage, and entertainment, but the richness of the text lies within his stories. The tales range from the absurd (a child's name is Jacqueline, as is everyone's name in her family as well as all whom she meets), to the renaming of all objects in the house, and a highly imaginative father/daughter flight on an airplane. The closing story is a cheeky pseudo-game of hide-and-seek where Papa encourages his daughter to "find" him as he bellows clues to his whereabouts from the bathroom as he prepares for the day. Stunningly illustrated, this collection is a visual feast. Young children will linger over pages full of animals, artifacts, even a lunar landscape. The stories may, at first glance, seem absurd, but to imaginative children, they make perfect sense. The dialogue between the girl and the adults in her life is spot-on silliness and will resonate with those who are young and those who remember being young. Perfect for lap sharing, albeit a bit heavy, this book will keep them engaged for hours.—C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY
Kirkus Reviews
Four affectionately playful father-daughter exchanges written by a mainstay of the Theatre of the Absurd, back in print (in a single volume, to boot) after decades as collectors' items. Newly translated by Delessert from the 2009 French edition, this gathering also features the first appearance of his illustrations paired to any English version of Story 3 and Story 4. Each tale starts in the same way--little Josette coaxes an early morning flight of fancy from her father, who in three of the four is bleary from a long night on the town--but then veers off in increasingly elaborate directions. By the final one, he is repeatedly sending her to "look" for him in various rooms of the apartment while he shaves and dresses in the bathroom. Delessert's crowded, detail-rich pictures add period elements (a dial telephone, a yellow submarine with visible Beatle) to surreal assemblages of toys, plush and fantasy animals, red-capped mushrooms, psychedelic flowers and cozy close-up scenes of Josette with Papa and (more occasionally, as she is generally elsewhere until the very end) Mama. Handsomely designed, more silly than existentially "absurd" and just the ticket for sharing on a parental lap. (jacketed in a fold-out poster) (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936365517
  • Publisher: McSweeney's Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/11/2012
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 534,264
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 610L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Eugène Ionesco (1909-1994) was one of the foremost French playwrights of his time. His work is read and taught and performed around the world.

Etienne Delessert has illustrated more than eighty books, some translated in 14 languages, with millions of copies sold worldwide. His illustrations have appeared in Le Monde and The New York Times, among many others, and he has animated pieces for Sesame Street.

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