The Bathing Costume: Or the Worst Vacation of My Life
The book's protagonist is Michel, an eight-year-old Parisian boy. His brother Martin, who's twelve, detests him, and he detests Martin right back. This summer, Michel will go away alone, which really means without his mom, to stay with his grandparents while his parents move apartments. To add to the horror, Michel's older boy cousins will be going, too. As Michel says, "To put it simply, they are big, strong, and pals with Martin. I am their scapegoat." Recounted by Michel himself, his vacation doesn't turn out to be such a complete zero after all. Between a competition to see who can shower the least, wild bike rides without gear, and a tooth that finally falls out, Michel discovers both independence and real moments of happiness.
The text is both very funny and moving, with good reason, for we see an eight-year-old's vacation with his grandparents and older cousins through his own eyes, with all of the little things that are important to a boy of eight: the dumb things that he'll never tell his mom; the small triumphs; the disregard and mocking of the older cousins; the shame of having a bathing suit that slips off in the pool; the freedom of being away from home; and the satisfaction of overcoming fears. As always, Olivier Tallec's illustrations render all the emotions of our little hero with an enormous amount of expressiveness, talent, and sheer gorgeousness.
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A USBBY Outstanding International Book of 2014 "It's funny. It's touching without being cloying. Its tone is just right, and the characters nearly leap off the page in all their authenticity. It's a coming-of-age story with heart and truth and lots of humor. Don't miss it. ... The Bathing Costume is enticing and humorous reading that youths will relish with a charming art style, recommended." -- Julie Danielson, Kirkus "Moundlic gets the voice just right...Tallec is gorgeously sensitive to the passions of childhood." -- The New York Times Book Review "Tallec's softly rendered illustrations are always in tune with Myron's moods...A pensive, sensitive book for pensive, sensitive children." -- Publishers Weekly
"Moundlic's tale of bourgeoning self-confidence is on the lengthy side, but it resonates with emotional truth. Tallec's gentle watercolors capture Ronnie's misery, the beauty of the French countryside, the energy of a summer with cousins and Ronnie's bare-bottomed triumph. "I want to have exactly the same vacation next year," he concludes. Who wouldn't?" --Kirkus Reviews
"The Bathing Costume is enticing and humorous reading that youths will relish with a charming art style. Recommended." -- The Midwest Book Review