Hudson in Provence: Paris-Chien, Book 2

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Hudson in Provence: Paris-Chien, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Hudson tries to be a working dog in South-of-France romp.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Oodles of French words and phrases in both text, illustrations, and glossary at the back offer phonetic pronunciation as well as translation. Some objects in the pictures are labeled, such as la lune, les moutons, and ma maison (the moon, sheep, and my house). Lots of particularlry French things are referenced and pictured, including the TGV (high-speed train), the Gare de Lyon train station, the Cote d'Azure (French Riviera), truffle hunting, playing boules, the Tour de France, artists Cézanne, Matisse, and Van Gogh, and French ice cream and sorbet flavors, including pistache (pistachio) and lavande (lavender). Gives a glimpse of some of the ways Provence is special and how the region is different from Paris.

Positive Messages

Before you travel, it's good to learn a bit about what folks in the area you're going to visit do. But the magic of a place doesn't necessarily come from doing what everybody else is doing; it may come from doing something you want to do.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hudson reads up on Provence before starting his vacation there so he can make the most of his trip. He's upbeat, curious, adventurous, and open to trying what the locals -- both canine and human -- do. He's friendly, paints portraits of his dog friends, and sends them a postcard when he gets back home to Paris. His "mom" is kind and loving and helps talk him out of his frustration at not being good at "Provençal things" by encouraging him to just do what he likes.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hudson in Provence is the lively sequel to Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Ex-Pat Dog, in which an adorable terrier named Hudson learns to speak French and make friends in Paris, where his human American "mom" has taken him to live. Here, he goes on vacation in Provence and tries out some of the activities local working dogs do -- herding sheep, sniffing out truffles -- as he aims to find "the magic of Provence" he's read about. French vocabulary and phrases appear throughout, and "le petit dictionnnaire" at the back offers helpful phonetic pronunciation as well as translation.

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What's the story?

Before Hudson -- the reading, speaking American expat terrier -- goes on vacation in Provence, he reads up on life there and finds the region is filled with working dogs. When he arrives, he has one dog show him how to herd sheep and another how to sniff out and dig for truffles, and he even learns to ride a bike to join the Tour de France when it blows through the town where he's staying. Ultimately, he finds the work he likes best is painting outdoors ("en plein air") like Cézanne, Matisse, and Van Gogh. So he paints portraits of his new dog friends, then has an exhibition of those paintings when he returns home to Paris.

Is it any good?

There's lots more for Hudson to do in this lively sequel. There's also more solid information about France and French life, plus more French words (this time with the articles la, le, and les in front of them) and phrases to learn. At the heart of HUDSON IN PROVENCE is the adorable, curious, enthusiastic, determined, upbeat pup. And author-illustrator Jackie Clark Mancuso's colorful and engaging gouache illustrations, filled with local details and French vocabulary, offer lots for young readers to pore over.

There's also a valuable message amid all the animal antics: When Mom notices that Hudon's feeling like a failure at doing "Provenҫal things," she tells him, "You think the magic is going to come from doing what everybody else is doing? What if it comes from doing something you want to do?"

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about working animals. What other animals have jobs -- on a farm? In the city?

  • What's fun about seeing a dog ride a bike, drive a boat, and paint pictures? What other books have you read where dogs do things humans do?

  • Draw or paint pictures of the dogs in your neighborhood, like Hudson does.

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