Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Expat Dog

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Expat Dog Book Poster Image
Terrier adapts to new Paris home in charming dog tale.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Lots of French vocabulary and phrases, with a glossary in the back, and names of places in Paris, such as the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Café des Amis. Shows scenes of Paris life with diverse city dwellers, plus many kinds of dogs to identify.

Positive Messages

Making the effort to learn to speak the language of the country you're in can help you make friends and feel less lonely and more at home. Sometimes it takes a while to feel comfortable in a new place or a new home.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hudson is curious and adventurous and studies hard to learn French. (It helps that he's able to read and speak!) His "mom" (the author) is kind, understanding, and supportive.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Expat Dog is a cute story -- narrated by the dog -- that's set in Paris and touches on universal realities of feeling lonely and out of place in a new town or new home. Kids will pick up some French vocabulary and phrases, and there's a glossary (with helpful phonetic pronunciation) at the back.

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What's the story?

Hudson, an English-speaking Norwich Terrier, is excited to learn that his "mom," a human writer, is taking him to live in Paris for a year. But when he gets there, he finds it's hard to make friends when he doesn't know the language. His mom enrolls him in a languages course -- taught by a French poodle -- and he's finally able to converse at the dog park and and places around town, such as the Algerian market and the Café des Amis, and he doesn't feel so lonely and out of place anymore.

Is it any good?

This fun tale of an English-speaking dog adapting to life in Paris works on several levels. The colorful gouache illustrations of dogs, people, and city scenes have loads of personality and emotion and will engage kids even if they know nothing about dogs or Paris. For fans of France and the French language, there's even more to enjoy and learn.

Realism flies out the window when Hudson talks (as do the other dogs), reads, and takes a language course. But PARIS-CHIEN: ADVENTURES OF AN EXPAT DOG strikes a universal chord as it shows how it feels to be the new or different kid in any situation. So in addition to being a cheerful story of a cute pup solving his problem, it's relatable and can build empathy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about living in a foreign country. How would you feel if you were suddenly living in a place where you didn't speak the language?

  • What's fun about stories where animals act like humans? What are your favorite books with dog characters?

  • Do you have any relatives, neighbors, or teachers who are from another country? Do you think they felt like Hudson when they came to your country? Are there any shopkeepers in your neighborhood who speak other languages?

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