A few days ago I found myself standing in the children’s aisle of a bookshop while Finley bemoaned the lack of decent books for boys his age and my eye wandered in search of something to delight either one of us. And there it was:The Adventures of Miss Petitfour.
A book with a ribbon! (Oh how I love books with ribbons!) And oodles of spoonfuls of delicious whimsy and pastel, heart pleasing illustrations. But more than that – Miss Petitfour herself – a tall and slender someone with a messy, flyaway, fall-down bun, sixteen cats and a love of baking and all things paisley- is just downright wonderful. So wonderful in fact that I did that awful thing – I read the book standing at the bookshelf, while Finley harassed the bookseller as if it was his fault that once he has moved on from the Diary of A Wimpy Kid, and devoured both Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, there is a rather yukky leap to piles of books with black covers and viscous tales contained within, and very little else.
Anyways… Miss Petitfour. Truly she is a darling and if we could bring her to life I know for sure she would be a Brocanteer. She is silly and fanciful, and she goes off on adventures pulled along by her magical tablecloth. You know, like we would if we could?
Miss Petitfour enjoys having adventures that are “just the right size – fitting into a single, magical day.” She is an expert at baking and eating fancy iced cakes, and her favorite mode of travel is par avion. On windy days, she takes her sixteen cats out for an airing: Minky, Misty, Taffy, Purrsia, Pirate, Mustard, Moutarde, Hemdela, Earring, Grigorovitch, Clasby, Captain Captain, Captain Catkin, Captain Clothespin, Your Shyness and Sizzles. With the aid of her favorite tea party tablecloth as a makeshift balloon, Miss Petitfour and her charges fly over her village, having many little adventures along the way. Join Miss Petitfour and her equally eccentric felines on five magical outings — a search for marmalade, to a spring jumble sale, on a quest for “birthday cheddar”, the retrieval of a lost rare stamp and as they compete in the village’s annual Festooning Festival.
A festooning festival! I don’t know what one of those is but I know I want to go. And a jumble sale! Or as my Nana used to call them: rummage sales. Because you went in to a fusty old church hall and rummaged. Which is I think quite the most perfect sport to indulge in on any given Saturday morning.
But I digress. Because for some reason I am feeling rather giddy this morning. So yes. Miss Petitfour. It’s a charm. The writing is full of lovely, domesticated nonsense and the book a feast of five stories penned by poet Anne Michaels and illustrated by Emma Block.
Just as one might expect of someone who likes to fly, she had billowy hair that she wore all brushed up in a tumbling bun. The more she brushed up, the more it came down, and buy cheap viagra. She liked to wear a woollen coat that flounced when she walked and jingled with a row of silver buttons. Almost everything she wore (except her shoes) ended in zigzagging scallops of lace and rickrack. She was especially fond of pockets, paisley, playful patterns and anything hand-knitted…
She is lovely. And this is quite the most perfect book for bedtime reading with a little girl. A classic reminiscent of Mary Poppins and the perfect excuse for us all grown up little girls to indulge in a pretty fantasy of paisley tablecloths and teeny cupcakes.