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Children's Library at French Institute

(36 Posts)
TooTiredtoGoogle Mon 14-Mar-11 09:52:51

Has anyone ever used this?
And is it worth the £25?
TIA smile

MIFLAW Mon 14-Mar-11 11:04:46

I use it all the time and, yes, I find it worth the money.

But that's because i only ever read (or speak) to my daughters in French and the oldest is of an age (3yo) where her reading tastes will be changing rapidly and it would cost a huge amount to own all the books we would get through.

Also, I have an adult membership (£35) which means I can borrow films, CDs and books for me as well as books for my daughter. This seems to me a much better deal than a membership in her name.

TooTiredtoGoogle Mon 14-Mar-11 11:26:11

That's a good idea. Might just get adult membership if it covers children's library, then DH can enjoy too.
We're just finding it really expensive buying books via amazon.fr, more so because we can't flick through books and look at illustrations before buying ... seems to be such a gamble whether book is hit or miss.

What books does your 3yo dd like?
And DVDs?
Just want some inspiration for my DD (also 3)

Also, can you keep the library books for a while?

MIFLAW Mon 14-Mar-11 11:42:17

DVDs, her favourite is probably Peppa Pig and La Petite Princesse in French; also 5 Rue Sesame; she likes Bali and Trotro; Dim Dam Doum goes down well because of the songs, but she never actually asks for it; Pablo le petit renard rouge and Hopital Hilltop (which I got for about 5 euros the pair in a Belgian toyshop) ditto; Casimir sometimes, also Eliott (bought both second hand on spec in Lille, don't know if they are easy to get hold of); and, of course, Barbapapa. actually her favourite is probably La petite Taupe but this is silent so doesn't tick many linguistic boxes!

Books, she likes a lot and will listen to pretty much anything I choose for her (or she comes to the library with me if she's not being too unbearable behaviour wise!). Recent hits have been "les deux arbres"; "mon petit frere, c'est un ogre"; I got hold of a couple of the Charlie and Lola books in French mail order from Canada and she liked those well enough; "Rita et Machin" which we own in both languages; she liked "La petite poule rousse" (Richard Scarry version) and "La maison qu'a batie Leon"; except where i've said we own them, we picked all of these pretty much on spec at the library.

Another good thing to know is that the area around the French Institute is very French, because of the lycee which is on the same site; so there are also three French language bookshops in Bute Street and on Harrington Road; no cheaper than Amazon, but at least you can browse before you buy.

you can keep library books for a month, I think, and they are quite good about renewing stuff, even by email. DVDs and CDs have to be back within the fortnight though. If you borrow anything before the holidays, you just have to ask and you can keep them over the holidays, which is useful.

They also (adults and children) have a pretty much permanent sale of old stock at lowish prices, too, which is handy.

SchrodingersCatFliesToOz Mon 14-Mar-11 11:50:57

Where I am the french institute library is free for children under 12. I thought their rules were applied worldwide confused

MIFLAW Mon 14-Mar-11 12:02:35

Where's that, Schro? And is it Institut Francais or Alliance Francaise? I always thought they were the same thing but apparently they're not.

SchrodingersCatFliesToOz Mon 14-Mar-11 12:12:12

We are in Bucharest and it is l'institut francais, which should be run as part of the embassy or really close. Alliances have more freedom, isn't it?
French libraries are (used to be?) usually free for under 12 as well. I Ieft france so long ago that all my knowledge is obsolete.

TooTiredtoGoogle Mon 14-Mar-11 12:16:26

Thanks for sharing MIFLAW.
My DD has a similar DVD collection and her all time favourite is Barbapapa, though we only have the first collection.
Is La Petite Princesse very princessy? DD keeps asking for it when she sees the ads, but we've resisted so far.

We use our local library quite a bit to try out books and then buy the favourites, so hope to do the same with French Institute library.

Now I'm thinking about the french bookshops, I wonder if I couldn't order books from there, which would save me the amaozn delivery charge?
anyway, we're making our way to S Ken on Saturday, so will ask then.

BTW - have you ever been to the French Institute's children stories sessions on Saturday?

MIFLAW Mon 14-Mar-11 12:25:05

We went once and my daughter enjoyed it.

I was in there on Saturday and was talking to one of the librarians who ran that session. She tells me that for the under 4s (age brackets are now 0-3 and 4-8 so I assume 4 really does mean 4) the sessions are now in English AND French! Didn't i think this was a good idea, she asked? No, I said - if I wanted my daughter to listen to stories in English, there are libraries across London and throughout the UK that provide that service. (I also thought, but didn't say, that why would I drag her all the way to South Ken for stories in English?) Still, let's wait and see - maybe the English thing will flop. Certainly the one we went to was all in French and it was packed out, so there's no shortage of takers ...

TooTiredtoGoogle Mon 14-Mar-11 12:30:13

Thanks Miflaw. Might pop in as we're going to be around anyway.

MIFLAW Mon 14-Mar-11 12:38:21

0-3 is first weekend of the month.

Nightsdrawingin Wed 16-Mar-11 16:05:30

do the French language bookshops take book tokens, does anyone know? I have a £50 book token and am desperate to spend it on French books rather than on English ones I could get for half the price on Amazon...

MIFLAW Wed 16-Mar-11 16:46:47

Their websites don't say but do include contact details. Here they are:

www.frenchbookshop.com/

www.librairielapage.com/

www.aufildesmots.co.uk/

They are all within 200m of each other.

TooTiredtoGoogle Wed 16-Mar-11 18:34:12

I'd just give them a call and ask them.
Found out today that amazon uk sell some french books, which means that you can choose free delivery option.
Wish I'd have known this before I placed my order last week as It would have saved me about 12 Euros.

Nightsdrawingin Fri 18-Mar-11 21:44:40

Yes I made the same mistake about French books the first time, spent lots of postage unnecessarily! Sadly they don't do DVDs though. I have now ordered lots of French books and cds through amazon.uk, they have a fairly extensive children's range.

Tootired - la petite princesse isn't at all princessy, it's fantastic, my son loves both the books and the dvds, basically it's just about a small and self-centred child who happens to be a princess. You can get the books in French from Amazon Uk if you want to try them out before the DVDs. How old is your dd? And whereabouts in London are you based?

The French DVDs my son (aged 2 years 9 months) likes are Bali, la Petite Princesse, Peppa Pig, Dora l'exploratrice, Little Einsteins (both Dora and Little Einsteins you can buy in the UK, you have to find the ones with multiple language options, I have made a few mistakes and have ended up with ones I have then had to hide as they are only in English), T'choupi and Le Nidouille.

What other French books does your DD like? We also have the hit and miss problem, just can't tell from the Amazon.fr information whether he will like it or not. I'm not ready to trek to South Ken regularly as I'm expecting no. 2 in June.

TooTiredtoGoogle Mon 21-Mar-11 10:02:58

Nightsdrawingin - I'm expecting no.2 too! (In August though, so not as far gone as you).
We're in North London, but very close to Kings X, so only half an hour to S Ken on tube.

My DD is a year older than yours (3.9) and her favourite DVDs are Barbapapa, Peppa, Trotro, Mimi le souri (though she's growing out of it a bit now), Calimero and Disney films which we managed to get in French. We borrowed T'choupi from French Institute library and that seems to be a hit too.
Going to Paris during Easter break, so will probably pick up some more DVDs then. Have been recommended Kirikou et la sorciere and Azur et Asmar and Le roi et l'oiseau.

In terms of books, any Barbapapa books are an instant hit. Herve Tullet for fantastic illustrations. The L'imagerie series is good for explaining things. Apart from that, we were really stuck until we went to French Institute library this weekend and discovered Mimi Cracra. Geoffroy de Pennart's La Princesse, le dragon et le chevalier intrepide is also a recent favourite, as are Antonin Louchard's Pomme de reinette and a gorgeous CD book: Les plus belles comptines des petits lascars which has children singing traditional songs. We've also told that Philippe Corentin is good too, but haven't had a chance to look at any of his stuff yet.

The other thing we've started to do is look up english books which have been translated into French. They have Bear Hunt and Hungry Caterpillar, but we're reluctant to get these in translation - especially Bear Hunt as the magic is in the English language. We have however got Lauren Child's Boucle d'or, which DD loves.
She also loves doing these exercise books

Anyway, hope that helps. And do throw any recommendations this way.
Oh, and we also get a subscription to Pomme d'api, which is fab smile

MIFLAW Mon 21-Mar-11 10:38:27

Hello all

Just a bit of comeback on recent posts - I have to say that I heard "chasse a l'ours" this weekend to a group of bilingual children who knew it in English and they loved it in French too! The translation is really quite good. Ditto the Gruffalo, incidentally - again, it's even better in the original, but the story and concept is so strong that kids love it in translation too. La chenille qui fait les trous is an excellent translation.

Trotro is brilliant and T'choupi is good too, as (for younger children) are Petit Ours Brun, Leo et Popi and Bumba. For older children, Mila raconte 1001 histoires is v good too.

something to be aware of with disney films (and Maisy/Mimi, actually) is that they come already translated into some quite random languages, as in there is no pattern. This means that some you can buy in Britian and they come with a French soundtrack as standard! You just have to look on the back before purchasing, as there really is no rhyme or reason to the language selection (Dumbo, for example, comes with Dutch and Hindi as standard ...) Maisy comes with French and then seemingly every single Scandinavian language too.

Talking of dual soundtracks, thanks to English being the international language, you will often find that, if you buy the disc in French in the first place, it comes with an English soundtrack too! This means you only need to buy it once for a bilingual family, but if you buy the English version first you will end up buying it twice.

Talking of Lauren Child, are her books available in French French now? I bought some about 18 months ago and they only existed in Canada at the time - would be curious to know if there's a different translation on sale in Europe. In any case, the Canadian ones were very good, even if I did have to source them from an independent bookshop (Librairie Pantoute) instead of Amazon.

Tootired, what age would you say the books you mention are suitable for, and who is author of Mimi Cracra?

TooTiredtoGoogle Mon 21-Mar-11 11:35:35

MIFLAW My DD is 3.9, so I guess for that age group?
They are longer stories and more narrative based, so maybe not suitable for very young children with less comprehension? I don't know, but seems fine for DD's age.

Mimi Cracra is by Agnes Rosensteihl - Someone told me it's a really old classic which they remember from childhood. And, you can buy from uk amazon.

We bought the Lauren Child book from amazon fr, so guess it's French French. DH said bits are hard to read, but you could say the same for the English version. Illustrations are gorgeous though.

TooTiredtoGoogle Mon 21-Mar-11 11:36:58

BTW - Mimi Craca is shorter form, so maybe more suitable for younger ones.

Nightsdrawingin Mon 21-Mar-11 12:14:29

Most of our books are translations from English as I haven't known what to search for and we haven't been to France for a while! I prefer the French La petite princesse to the English version, we also have some Quentin Blake in French, some Julia Donaldson (petit gruffalo etc), even some Shirley Hughes - I went by what we liked in English and just switched the language on Amazon to see what came up. I had also looked for Charlie and Lola but no luck so far. We have joined a local book swap now which is great, each week we take along a French book and get on in exchange, only problem has been persuading ds to let go of the current book and give it back.
Thanks for tips with DVDs - we also like Mimi/Maisy but just bought them in the UK and switch the language, again they're not always multi-language though.

Nightsdrawingin Mon 21-Mar-11 12:17:22

Tootired, what age is Pomme d'api suitable for? And can you easily set up a subscription from here? Have assumed so far that since he can't read yet it wouldn't make much difference if a magazine was in French or English but it would be much better if I wasn't translating on the hoof. We're all the way over in East London so South Ken is really quite a long way, wish all these sorts of things weren't in West London

Nightsdrawingin Mon 21-Mar-11 12:23:12

Oh, one more recommendation, my son loves the 'comptimes a chanter' series, they come with CDs and the songs get more unusual as you progress through the volumes. They are available on Amazon UK.

MIFLAW Mon 21-Mar-11 12:44:58

I think Pomme d'Api is for 4 and older, but there is a magazine called "Popi" from the same publishers (Bayard) for the 0-3 ish bracket (ties in with Leo et Popi and also Dim Dam Doum.) There is also a mag called Papoum (?) for the same age range which ties in with Trotro but I don't know if that is mail order, I bought it once off the shelf in France.

Re Mimi Cracra - is it the books that go down well or the DVDs?

TooTiredtoGoogle Mon 21-Mar-11 13:30:34

Pomme d'api is for 3-7, though a friend of mine's DD started on it at the age of 2. We started when DD was 3 and she took to it like a duck to water.
Wd highly recommend - there are games to play like Oukile (which is a bit like Where's Wally) and a board game type thing (eg at New Year there was a Gallette de rois game). Every month there's stories on the same characters, many stories are illustrated comme une bande-dessiner. Stories are themed eg. this month, la famille Noe go for a picnic in the forest to celebrate spring, ZigZag's question for this month is Why do we need trees? There;s always a main story - this month is about an orgre who eats children. And, there's a brilliant section called Les petits philosophes which asks and answers questions (this month is "Is it good to be curious?")
I've never found anything similar to it in English culture. All the magazines we pick up seem to be tacky Peppa Pig ones, but maybe it's because we only buy English magazines in airports to keep DD happy grin
And, yes, very easy to set up subscription over the internet.

MIFLAW Re- Mimi Cracra - I was talking about the books. Didn't know they had DVDs.

Nightsdrawingin - Thanks for the suggestions. Hadn't thought about Shirley Hughes in translation. MIght try that as DD loves Shirley HUghes and language is prosaic enough for us not to be bothered whether in translation or not.
We have the Comptines series too, but DD hasn't taken to it as much as Les Petits Lascars ... no idea why.

Nightsdrawingin Wed 23-Mar-11 09:52:14

Thanks TooTired, I have just ordered the petits lascars so we'll see how it goes! Also found Charlie and Lola in French on Amazon.uk, although they are expensive. Am considering the magazine, might wait until he's 3 though as his French is not as good as his English so not sure how much he'd get out of it now.

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