Le Petit Nicolas: the magic of every-day life through the lenses of childhood

In March 1959, the legendary French comics writer René Goscinny associated with illustrator Jean-Jacques Sempé for what then seemed no more than a side project: short stories for children told by one of them, "Young Nicholas" (or, in French, "Le Petit Nicolas"). Little more than 50 years later, the project has become a hit with 8 volumes published (most of them waiting for you at Dibuka), millions of copies sold, translations in several languages and even a cinematographic adaptation.

The recipe of this success is simple and refreshing: Nicholas tells the world as he sees it, with a straightforward, uncomplicated perception that is characteristic of children. Comical effect – when his naive views contradict those, more elaborate but often hypocrite, of adults – and nostalgic memories arouse from his narration. This “double effect”, both comic and poetic, make of the book an early example of modern children' literature, centred around the child's experience of life rather than imposing an adult's point of view. It makes the book suitable for kids, who will be delighted at following the adventures of one of their pairs, and adults, who will look at it as a tender reminder of the golden age of childhood.

 

Hadrien Diez