Didactic fantasy – Clever books to grab the attention

Using the accordion, pop-up or hidden lists, children’s authors have fun, just to share knowledge.

Noise the universe

In the bathroom, the “sfrocht”, “razz pisshhhht” …


In the din of the world, children remain kings. The proof by this giant and cardboard manual to withstand all sound volumes. Each double page covers a space and lists the noises. In the garden, after the “cui-cui” of the birds, it will be a question of spotting the “kwaark” of the black-headed gull and other “scouich” of walking on grass. And so on, from “plic-ploc” in the rain to the “click-click” of the game console. Far from the albums equipped with chips, it is a question here of seizing this base to give it a music.

Creator of unclassifiable books such as “Take refuge” with the writer Mathias Enard, Zeina Abirached lived in Beirut in the midst of civil war before emigrating to Paris. Listening to the world, the young cartoonist has designed an offbeat humor, like a neighbor on the floor capable of hearing everything, and an elaborate color rhythm, black and white being reserved for narrative information. More complex than it looks! From 6 years old.

“The big book of little noises”, Zeina Abirached, Éd. Casterman.

At Casterman, a “wow!” Album

At Casterman, a “wow!” Album


Classify chaos

Neil Packer, 59, eccentric Londoner, kept from a childhood in the Libyan deserts where his father worked, the mania of copyist monks. Let him work on detailed illustrations of classics, “The Odyssey”, “The Name of the Rose”, etc. or draws an imaginary map of British railways, everything here is filtered under the microscope of a crazy inventiveness framed with rigor.

His art culminates in “Unique in the world”, which “wants to show extremes and just about everything in between”. Organize, classify, collect: everything starts from Arvo, a little boy who has a family, a cat, other people, etc. The universe expands and contracts in giant pages to get lost in it or let itself be guided. From 6 years old.

“Unique in the world”, Neil Packer, Éd. Albin Michel, 48 p.

Traveling in accordion

In jargon, the “leporello book” refers to the cardboard frieze that stretches accordion-style as desired. Hubert Poirot-Bourdain designed the Tour de France for “L’Équipe”, the posters for the Transat Jacques Vabre, the 24 hours of Le Mans, etc. An ecologist to the end of the colored pencil, this traveler lets himself go in “The train”, which stops in the most unexpected places.

From an aquarium to a botanical garden, from a golf course to a movie theater, a girl and a boy discover a thousand treasures. And the story? It’s up to everyone to fantasize about it starting from these little moments sown in the memory of the two explorers. For ages 4 and up.

“The train”, Hubert Poirot-Bourdain, Éd. The Joy of Reading, 44 p.

The train unfolds over the most fanciful stages.

The train unfolds over the most fanciful stages.


Climb to seventh heaven

Juliette Einhorn and Hélène Druvert, already authors of a stunning “Ocean”, raised their heads in the confinement, which inspired them another album a little perched in the stars. Inserts, cut papers and zippers literally enliven a mass of scientific knowledge which, without this scenography, could be put off.

One page, one scenography: the sky is framed thanks to Juliette Einhorn and Hélène Druvert.

One page, one scenography: the sky is framed thanks to Juliette Einhorn and Hélène Druvert.


Slipping from migratory birds to flying machines, from wind nomenclature to meteorological variations, from the ballet of planets to terrestrial pollination, this intelligent but entertaining decryption of the sky invites you to escape. From 6 years old.

“The sky”, Juliette Einhorn and Hélène Druvert, Éd. de la Martinière, 40 p.

Zigzag your way

Shielded against all the clumsy little fingers, this solid accordion book rolls with all energies. Ambulance, motorcycle, tanker, tractor or pedal boat: more than 100 machines are parked in this giant leaflet made of thick cardboard which, when unfolded, reaches 2 meters.

Here again, the principle remains. It’s about spotting the detail that hooks and will inspire a saga. Birth of a champion or a storyteller? Those who are stuck with ideas can turn the book over to fill up on unusual information on the means of transport invented by man. On their site, the Dutch duo Makii even offers coloring. From 6 years old.

In line with the accordion book, coloring pages to extend the exercise.  www.makii.nl

In line with the accordion book, coloring pages to extend the exercise. www.makii.nl


“Zigzag, The vehicles”, Makii, Éd. Casterman.

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