Hudson in Provence by Jackie Clark Mancuso

[I received a review copy from the publisher. No other compensation was received.]

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Hudson in Provence is a beautiful and fun picture book told in a series of bucolic gouache paintings of a most endearing little dog’s visit to Provence.  Each painting is striking, charming, and utterly absorbing.

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From Hudson in Provence.  Images used with permission.

Hudson (a most endearing little dog) and his maman are heading on a vacation to Provence!  How exciting! They even get to take the super fast TGV train!  They stay in a gorgeous old stone house in the middle of a vineyard.  More than anything, Hudson wants to feel the magic of Provence — he doesn’t simply want the tourist experience, he wants an authentic one.

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From Hudson in Provence.  Images used with permission.

So first he decides he’s going to work as a provençal dog.  After he goes to the beach, and while enjoying an evening at the place, he networks with some local dogs to see if he can join them in herding sheep.  Gaston, a local sheep dog, shows him the ropes, but when it is Hudson’s turn the sheep look at him like he’s a joke.  It doesn’t look like sheep herding is in the cards for our dear, dear Hudson.

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From Hudson in Provence.  Images used with permission.

But all is not lost.  Gaston introduces him to Philippe who agrees to show him how to hunt for truffles!  Yes, please!  Unfortunately, Hudson just doesn’t have what it takes to sniff them out.  So he decides that maybe riding in the a bicycle race might be more his thing. Alas, this isn’t so much for him either.  Poor Hudson,  he just isn’t feeling the magic of Provence like he truly wants.

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From Hudson in Provence.  Images used with permission.

 

Hudson and his maman have a heart to heart and she has wise words for him that maybe he shouldn’t necessarily do what everyone else is doing and instead do what he thinks he should be doing — and then she hand’s him a painting set.  (Such a smart mom!)

He starts to paint and discovers that he likes it.  He paints the idyllic scenery and other dogs and he has such a wonderful time that his vacation just flies by.  He has to say good-bye to his friends but is able to take them with him in a very special way.

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From Hudson in Provence.  Images used with permission.

Reading Hudson in Provence is such a wonderful experience that you simply want to reread it immediately.  It is easy to adore the elegant images while identifying with Hudson’s struggles and triumphs as he learns more about who he is and being true to himself.

It is such a sweet tale about our romantic expectations of visiting a new place, facing the reality of ourselves and our situation, and then taking our discovery and turning it into something truly wonderful and magical.  Hudson has endurance, grit, and the openness to explore and try new things.  It’s a beautiful lesson of self-discovery and personal success.

Hudon’s story is told from his perspective and you see each scene as if you’re with him. Hudson talks directly to the readers and in a friendly and enthusiastic tone takes you along to Provence.  And for those of us unable to go this summer to France, its about the next best thing. 30 French words are sprinkled throughout the story, sometimes as part of the narrative and sometimes as part of the paintings giving a seamless introduction (or reinforcement) of French vocabulary.

We’ve been reading Hudson in Provence for about a year now.  My eldest son was in a French immersion preschool and it was wonderful to be able to sit down with him and read Hudson in Provence.  It was a perfect book to read with him when we moved to a new city and he started a new school.  Hudson’s ideas, expectations, struggles, and successes are so spot on and universal that it is easy for both parent and child to feel sympathetic and inspired by his story.

Both my eldest and youngest have asked for me to read Hudson in Provence to them over and over.  I love reading Hudson in Provence to them.  I love the illustrations.  The colors, the friendly eyes on the dogs, and the beautiful scenery of Provence make it a decadent feast for the eyes.  The story’s tone is a perfect balance of humor, struggle, and resolution which makes for a superb read.

It’s so good to see Hudson again!  Paris-Chien is the first book written by Jackie Clark Mancuso and also follows Hudson’s ups and downs as he navigates Paris.  Together these two heartwarming and elegant tales are perfect for entertaining and inspiring adults and children alike.

Read them!  They’re so very wonderful!

Where to Get it:

Author and Illustrator Websites:

More Reviews of Hudson in Provence:

Where Obtained:  I received a review copy from the author. No other compensation was received.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

FTC Disclosures:  Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit.  It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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