To start out our exploration of books useful for introducing young people to world languages, let’s take a look at two little books that are sure to spark an interest in French: French for Cats: All the French Your Cat Will Ever Need and Advanced French for Exceptional Cats: Sophisticated French for a Cat as Smart as Yours by Henry Beard (and John Boswell) and illustrated by Gary Zamchick. Both books are written in English and French with a lighthearted humor that is sure to warm the hearts of cat lovers and language lovers alike.
Both are little books, only roughly four by six inches, but they pack a big dose of laughs. Just to be clear, there is a bit of “potty” (well, litterbox) humor and referenced to being neutered, so the reader range is probably mature middle grade to young adult.
The illustrations are pen and ink cartoons with watercolor, in keeping with the light tone of the books.
Example of text:
What I do
Ce Que Je Fais
If you own cats, you know about that last one. 🙂
French for Cats works as a fun introduction to vocabulary for beginners and a brush up for more advanced speakers. Advanced French for Exceptional Cats even has a mini-session in grammar.
To get you in the mood, here is a video of another French cat, Henrí. Although the humor of the video is more subtle than the books, it still makes me laugh out loud. Look for videos like this one to hear French being spoken.
Although the first editions were printed in the 1990’s, the books were bestsellers and were reprinted, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a copy.
French for Cats: All the French Your Cat Will Ever Need by Henry Beard, John Boswell and illustrated by Gary Zamchick
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Villard; 1 edition (October 8, 1991)
Advanced French for Exceptional Cats: Sophisticated French for a Cat as Smart as Yours by Henry Beard and illustrated by Gary Zamchick
Publisher: Villard; First Edition 2nd edition (October 27, 1992)