Egan, Tim. Dodsworth in Paris. Illustrated by Tim Egan. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Unpaged. $15.00. ISBN 9780618980628.
The second book in this series finds our intrepid travelers exploring the City of Lights, Paris. Dodsworth admonishes the duck not to “cause any trouble here” but readers familiar with the series may not believe duck when he answers, “I wouldn’t dream of it.” The duck notices the local folks who are wearing berets and decides he needs one, which he fashions out of an acorn cap. The pair of friends have several escapades, precipitated by the duck, such as when the duck starts sending paper airplanes from the top of the Eiffel Tower. It turns out, the paper he was using came out of Dodsworth’s wallet! With no more money, the friends must figure out a way to earn some. Delivering baguettes by bicycle sounds like a great idea until they happen upon the route of the Tour de France. In four chapters, humorously illustrated by Egan, the mix-ups and silliness continues, with a happy ending that culminates with a hot air balloon ride.
This book might be a fun one for a French teacher to read aloud, not just for the occasional French words, but also for the cultural references that are woven into the story. Duck encounters a hunchbacked hippo ringing the bells of the cathedral nearby, a reference to the Hunchback of Notre Dame. With a nod to the Impressionist art movement, Dodsworth’s painting becomes a success after a misty drizzle falls on it and the duck has danced on it a bit.
Though the form of this book is fairly standard for early readers, (illustrations on each page, brief sentences, and 4-7 words per line), the addition of French vocabulary raises its comprehension level a bit. Words like “beret,” “debonair,” “bonjour,” “monsieur,” and even Eiffel and Notre Dame could prove to be challenges for less confident readers.
Friendship, Travel, Paris, Adventure, Humor
The three other Dodsworth adventures will appeal to fans of this book: Dodsworth in New York (2007), Dodsworth in London (2009), and Dodsworth in Rome (2011).