Book Review: Belle and Sébastien (Cécile Aubry)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Alma Books

Pages: 189

Release Date: 2016

Summary:

The son of a Gypsy woman, Sébastien is found as a newborn baby in the Alps and brought up by César and his grandchildren Angélina and Jean. Born on the same day, Belle is a beautiful white Pyrenean Mountain Dog who has been neglected and passed on from owner to owner, until one day she escapes from a kennel. When Sébastien rescues the runaway Belle from the wrath of the villagers, the boy and the dog form a lifelong friendship and embark on exciting adventures in the mountains.

First published in 1965 to coincide with the internationally successful television series of the same name, Belle and Sébastien is a heart-warming story of camaraderie, adventure and freedom.

Review:

This was a charming little book about a young gypsy boy raised on the mountains after his mother dies giving birth to him, and a dog who befriends him and learns to trust again, despite the village people who are believe she is a beast who needs to be killed.

When I was sent this I thought it sounded beautiful, though I’d never heard of the television series before. I have to admit I found it a bit hard to read – I struggle with classics and find the language a bit jarring. This book was a struggle at times because the language sometimes drew me out of the story. There were times when the tense would change and I’d find that a bit confusing. It’s also been translated from French so I think that can explain some odd phrases sometimes.

Despite these difficulties, I found the story really charming and loved willful little Sébastien and the blossoming romance between the Doctor and Angélina. But my favourite character was the bossy and gossiping Célestine, who stole every scene and made me laugh grit my teeth – I’m sure in real life she would be incredibly annoying!

If you’re looking for a children’s classic about friendship and loyalty then this is the book for you!

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