Les papas animaux, published in March 2020 by Actes Sud Junior, is targeted at children 6-years-old and up. This book gives an overview of fathers in the animal world through funny and informative text and colorful illustrations. Chinese language rights have been sold.
Children's literature abounds with books about animal mothers and their babies... But what about fathers? Is it because their role in nature is so small that we say so little about them? No! In nature, parity is a reality. Detailed descriptions of the involvement and inventiveness of some animal dads in raising and protecting their young, make this non-fiction work an innovative view of the animal world that will surprise not just young readers.
"There are many types of fathers in the animal world. In some cases, males take care of the young together with the mother. In others, they are the only parent and take care of everything! And then there are those that babysit from time to time," explains author Fleur Daugey in her preface. With Darwin's frogs, for example, the male takes care of the young until they are old enough to fend for themselves, and with seahorses, it is the males who carry the unborn. There are young animals that have two dads, as is customary with swans.
This work’s approach shows that animal life is not always what we imagine, and that some animal behavior is not so far from our own. The highly informative yet accessible text has made this a very popular science book. Bruno Gibert's illustrations of patches of tinted or textured colors add a modern, tender and funny aspect to this work. "I learned a lot: it talks about complicated subjects in simple words and short sentences," Constance, 10, in the children's news journal Mon Quotidien.
"An original subject little treated in children's literature"
Published a few days before the first lock-down, Les papas animaux
received very positive reactions from the French press that contributed to the album’s success, especially since it was featured on Father’s Day.
Thanks to an English presentation available on the Actes Sud site dedicated to Foreign Rights
(click on the icon i
for the English presentation), the album was able attract foreign publishers who appreciate, in particular the originality of the subject little treated in children's literature. Rights have been sold to China for publication in Simplified Chinese.
Hannah Sandvoss and Katja Petrovic