Pi Po Pierrot
Parlez-vous français? Keep reading…
I knew I should have paid more attention in French class. Last year, I ordered a bunch of beautifully illustrated children’s books from a publisher in Paris called HongFei Cultures.
Pi Po Pierrot is a Chinese folktale translated into French by Chun-Liang Yeh and illustrated by Samuel Ribeyron. According to Google Translate, the story is about two brothers who live in a kingdom where everyone carries a rock on their back. One day, a princess falls ill and in order to save her, the brothers must to take a journey across a river to pick herbs for a magic remedy, a task that was pretty difficult with those rocks on their backs.
The amazing thing about children’s picture books is their ability to transcend culture and language because of the art that accompanies the stories. As an illustrator, I may be biased since I favour the artwork over the text in any story, but to me, as long as there are engaging illustrations, you can still thoroughly enjoy a book without reading a single word. In the case of Pi Po Pierrot, you can get lost in the layers of textures and the soft and subtle colour palette used by the illustrator, and forget that you don’t speak a word of French. You are free to use your imagination and create stories of your own starring the charming, stylized characters created by Ribeyron. A picture is worth more than a thousand words. (Any writers out there, please don’t shoot me – it’s just my humble opinion).
Pi Po Pierrot, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
Author Chun-Liang Yeh + Illustrator Samuel Ribeyron
I came up empty handed while researching both the author and the illustrator. All my search results came up empty or in French (which as you might have guessed from above, I don’t speak) so, unfortunately, I don’t have any biographical information to share.
Publisher HongFei Cultures (September 2008)