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Review of Nanette’s Baguette

willems_nanettes-baguetteNanette’s Baguette
by Mo Willems; illus. by the author
Primary    Hyperion    40 pp.
10/16    978-1-4847-2286-2    $17.99    g

Willems’s latest picture book takes place in France, where the mother of a young anthropomorphic frog entrusts her daughter, the eponymous Nanette, with the responsibility of purchasing a baguette. The village Nanette traverses on her way to the bakery is a stage of sorts, with digitally rendered characters placed in a meticulously designed and photographed paper-crafted setting. After detailing the girl’s humorous encounters with various neighbors, Willems pulls away from wide visual perspectives that show Nanette in the village and zooms in to focus on her emotional arc when she loses all willpower after buying the baguette and eats it whole before reaching home. Happily, her sympathetic mother, whose hug is as warm and wonderful as “a million baguettes,” reassures her and says, “The day’s not over yet, Nanette…Let’s reset.” This is just one instance in which the playful text positively revels in assonant wordplay through dogged incorporation of words ending in the -ette sound. And so, mother and child return to the bakery to buy yet another baguette, but Willems delivers a punch line that reveals just where Nanette has acquired her weakness for baguettes. Readers: don’t miss out and be upset. This is a book to get.

From the November/December 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Megan Dowd Lambert About Megan Dowd Lambert

Megan Dowd Lambert is an instructor at Simmons College’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. For nearly ten years she also worked in the education department of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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