By Jean-Jacques Sempé
Reviewed by AY
Wonderfully translated by Anthea Bell (of Asterix fame), it tells the story of a boy who well…blushes for no reason at all (and doesn’t when he ought to, like at the time when he gets a zero for his exam). A boy called Roddy Rackett moves to neighbourhood and Martin and Roddy instantly become best friends. Roddy, who plays the violin, sneezes perpetually. They do everything together and they enjoy and accept each other for who they are.
Then, as with all things in life, they are forced to part ways. Roddy moves away and Martin never finds the letter that Roddy left behind with his address…..until many years later they recognise each other in a crowd. How? Because Martin still blushes and Roddy still sneezes for no reason at all. It is essentially a story of two children who learn to live with their insecurities; and by accepting others’ peculiarities they learn to accept their own peculiarities as well. It is a children’s book, but if you don’t have children to read it too…..don’t worry, adults will find no problem loving it as well. Did I mention that the illustrations are almost better than the story in this heart-warming book? One can spend hours (I know I did) just pouring over wonderfully detailed and funny drawings by Jean-Jacque Sempe.
Thanks for the review, AY! Very much appreciated.