This week Caramel reviews Captain Rosalie, written by Timothee De Fombelle and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. Originally written in French, the book was translated into English by Sam Gordon. As usual Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.
Sprinkles: So Caramel, can you tell us what this book is about?
Caramel: It is about a little girl named Rosalie. Rosalie’s mom works in a factory making shells, like cannon balls.
S: So she is working in a factory making weapons for the war, right? there is a war going on.
C: It is World War I. They are in France I think.
S: Do you know when that was?
C: Nineteen hundreds?
S: Yes. The war started in 1914 and lasted till 1918. This story seems to be from the fall of 1917.
C: The book wasn’t written in 1917. It’s about a girl living in 1917.
S: Yes. So what happens to this girl?
C: Her mom leaves her at school before she goes to work. She is five, so she is too young to go to school, but she sits in class all day with the big kids.
S: And she has a mission, right? Why is the book called “Captain Rosalie”?
C: Because she refers to herself as Captain Rosalie.
S: A captain is a military officer. Is Rosalie in the army?
C: She is five! So no.
S: Why does she call herself a captain then?
C: She imagines herself to be a captain.
‘’I am a soldier on a mission. I am spying on the enemy. I am preparing my plan. I am Captain Rosalie.’’
S: Yes she thinks she is on a mission. Right?
C: Yup. Her mission is apparently to learn to read.
S: Hmm. Reading is important. But why is it that important to Rosalie?
C: Because she wants to be able to read the letters her dad sends to her mom. Her father is fighting in the war.
S: Do you recognize the illustrator Isabelle Arsenault? You have already reviewed two books by her: Albert’s Quiet Quest and Colette’s Lost Pet.
C: No I did not know that!
S: Now that you know, can you see some similarities?
C: Yes, the drawing style is very similar. A lot of the pictures have very little color, but some colors are bright, and always there. For example, Rosalie’s hair is really bright red. The color of fire.
S: Yes. The illustrations are mostly black and white, in shades of gray, but occasionally there is a sliver of bright orange, pale blue, or light pink… Do you like the pictures?
C: Yes. They make you feel different feelings.
S: Yes, they are quiet, sometimes sad, sometimes calm. Very emotive. So what else do you want to say about this book?
C: It’s a very sad book, and I think even some adult bunnies cried when they read it. But I liked it really very much.
S: Yes, there is some truth to that, I must admit. I do agree, this is a sad book, but also told vey gently, and truthfully.
C: I want to rate it now.
S: I think that could be a good way to wrap this review up. What is your rating then?
C: I rate it 100%. It is a very good book. Now stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!