Even though I’ve eaten crêpes for many years, I didn’t really know how to pronounce this French word correctly, until today. Thanks to an interactive storybook titled Crêpes by Suzette, I also learned how to pronounce key French phrases such as s’il vous plaît, tout de suite, and merci beaucoup.
Crêpes by Suzette is a lovely storybook written by Monica Wellington based on her various trips with her daughter to Paris. Even though the book is written in English, it introduces key French phrases throughout the story. You also get to see the beautiful city of Paris through the perspective of Monica Wellington.
A Day in the Life of Suzette, the Crêpe Maker
The story takes you through a day in the life of Suzette, a crêpe maker, as she meets and greets various customers at major tourist attraction sites throughout Paris. It’s like taking a trip to Paris with Suzette as your guide. You also get to learn more about crêpe, the French pancake, and even watch a video of how to make them.
There are 14 pages in this book, and each designed to be contextual. A scene may show a typical morning on the streets of Paris, while another scene shows the bustling markets. As the story progresses, you will tour the city of Paris and visit key attraction sites such as the Luxembourg Gardens, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre museum, the Tuileries Gardens, Palais-Garnier opera house, and the Eiffel Tower.
If you tap on the Map icon on the top left, you will get access to a wide variety of resources, such as photos, videos, and art references. These resources help make the reading experience more immersive.
The photos section shows you photographs of people making crepes, activities on the street market, and areas surrounding the sites I mentioned earlier. For example, you can see people making transactions at the street market, the beautiful walk along the River Seine, and the French Gothic architecture of the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
The videos section includes a special step-by-step video on how to make your own crêpes. It also includes a video of kids playing in the areas surrounding Luxembourg Gardens and the Eiffel Tower.
Parents Need to Know
Crêpes by Suzette is a great way for kids ages 4+ to learn key French phrases. Other than the ones I mentioned earlier, you will learn how to pronounce these phrases correctly: on y va, bonjour, oui, oh là là, c’est bon, bien sûr, vite, au revoir, and bon appétit. If you go to the Vocabulary section, you can learn what these terms mean and how to say them in other languages, such as German, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.
The app also includes a special Art section that explains where Monica Wellington got her inspiration to illustrate a scene. For the scene where a postman buys crêpes from Suzette, Monica was inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s portrait of postman Joseph Roulin in the Luxembourg Gardens.
Here is a list of other paintings that served as inspirations for the art in the book:
- Luncheon on the Grass by Manet
- The Bath by Cassatt
- Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
- Dance by Matisse
- The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer by Degas
- The Circus by Seurat
- The Bride and Groom of the Eiffel Tower by Chagall
This also brings us to the other benefits you get from this app: exposing kids to famous paintings and encouraging them to visit museums to find their own inspirations.
Things I Like
Crêpes by Suzette may not be an app that works fully in Airplane mode, but it’s absolutely worth the hassle to grant it access to an Internet connection. In the Art section, you can follow links to various museums’ official websites to learn more about each painting. The way the app asks for your permission is classy: to follow a link, tap and hold for three seconds, then tap OK when the confirmation popup dialog shows. It shows that the developers care about keeping the readers alert about any external visit.
Overall, the app is well done. I hardly find any problem navigating through the different menus, despite the fact that it’s a rich app filled with multimedia content. I also enjoyed listening to the audio played as we’re reading the book. You will hear birds chipping and the sounds of footsteps, which make it feel like you’re walking through the streets of Paris.
And as you’d expect from an app packed with referential content, you will probably learn a new thing or two as you read the book. For example, the book taught me that every neighborhood in Paris has outdoor street markets. I believe that’s not something you’d find in a European capital city.
I rarely see a storybook developed as serious as Crêpes by Suzette. Not only do you get to experience a day with Suzette the crêpe maker, but you also get to see the beautiful city of Paris and learn how to pronounce a few key French phrases. The photos, videos, and art references really help readers feel as if they’re visiting Paris with a professional tour guide.
If you ever feel like buying the hardcover copy of the book from Amazon, here’s a handy link for you.
App was provided for our honest review.
About Monica Wellington
Monica Wellington is a prominent children’s book writer who has written and illustrated more than 25 children books throughout her career. This particular book, Crêpes by Suzette, is a special one, because it features Monica’s daughter as the sunny little girl with blonde hair, and was inspired by their various trips to Paris.