HEADLINER

AUTHOR Aurore Petit
Publisher Les Fourmis Rouges
Publication Date 19 September 2019

Children's Books

A MUM IS LIKE A HOUSE

The first book of a trilogy for young readers about motherhood, birth and family. 27,000 copies in France.

Une maman c’est comme une maison ("A Mum is Like a House") is the first volume of a trilogy about the family: from the birth of the first child to the arrival of the little sister. Step by step, the reader discovers a baby’s daily life in a simple and poetic way. 18,000 copies sold for the first volume, a success with both the critics and the public in France since 2019.

In the first volume the author tells the story of the birth of a child as well as that of a mother. There is a comparison on every page. "A mother is like a nest", where the sentence is accompanied by a lovely illustration of the mother in the maternity ward carrying her newborn wearing a diaper. "A mother is like a kangaroo", where she has a baby in a carrier on her stomach. Or "A mother is like candy" and we see her hugging her baby on a play mat. Like a nursery rhyme, these phrases accompany the baby’s daily life. The reader follows the child through these short phases which are big steps for the baby.

Aurore Petit had the idea for this album when she was pregnant. "The first year, as you discover your child, you are very aware of the moments that get away, even as you experience them. Everything happens so fast, and you can't stop time," she recalls.

"What touches me is how authentic the images and the texts are. How real everyone is, mom, dad, child, baby: they, as well as the relationships, are all so well represented. Complex emotions are simply presented," explains Hannele Legras, foreign rights agent for Les Fourmis Rouges (and other publishers) and who has sold the rights for the work in Basque, Catalan, simplified Chinese, Dutch, English (world), Galician, Greek, Italian, Korean, Spanish (world), Portuguese and Romanian.
"The take on the book is unanimous. I think what makes it an international success is the beautiful and strong graphic design for a subject that could be a little too cute and but isn’t at all in this case. When a work incites emotion every time it is read, it's a very good sign for us rights sellers."

Following on the success of Une maman c'est comme une maison, Aurore Petit tells the story of the arrival of the second child in Bébé ventre, published in 2021.  6,000 copies were sold in France and the rights were published in Basque, Catalan, Simplified Chinese, Galician and Spanish. This time, it is the stages of a new pregnancy that the reader discovers: the first time we hear the baby's heartbeat, announcing the news to the future big brother, through to the long-awaited arrival of this brand-new person who will change the equilibrium and the roles of each family member. Telling the story from the baby's point of view allows the reader to explore a world of sensations – noise, touch, taste.

Then along came La petite sœur est un diplodocus in September 2022, the final part of the trilogy, which has already sold more than 3,100 copies, and where Aurore Petit covers big brother meeting his little sister. Though at first, happy about the idea of sharing his games with the newcomer, the little boy quickly realizes that this tiny being takes up a lot of space and that he can’t do anything with her. Very angry, he turns into a tyrannosaurus fighting with this giant dinosaur until, finally alone, they come together.

"How do you tell a child about its first year, how do you share the anticipation of a little brother or sister with a child, how does the sibling get to know this little brother or sister..., by asking these questions, these books are targeted at children but also at parents. They are often given as gifts to future mothers or families," says Hannele Legras. 

Katja Petrovic