A little while ago, I offered the French/English series to an acquaintance in Tokyo for his young son, Kai, aged 6 (while apologising that I still haven’t been able to find a publisher to do a Japanese/English version – arrgh!).
The book went home and into Kai’s hands – he speaks neither English nor French, but he connected right away with the illustrations: in his thank you note (bless him!) he managed to draw Betty with a droopy ear – something his dad hadn’t picked up on. Kids are awesome (I’m old enough to remember the original meaning of this over-rated word and this is the perfect spot to use it!).
I regularly come up against parents who find the fact that the books aren’t translated too intimidating for their kids, or the language “too complicated”. Rubbish. The children’s author Sandra Boynton, whose board books for small children have sold 75 million copies (I can only dream of such numbers), had to fight to have the word “intone” remain in one of her books. Her response: “We’re reading this to a zero-old. All language is new to a kid. Why not invite them into a vocabulary that’s special from the beginning?” Yay Sandra Boynton. (From an article in the November issue of The Atlantic)
I’m proud of my Betty & Cat books and I’m even more proud of the little readers and their parents who “get” them .