Des livres en traduction pour les petits enfants

Il y a des ans, j’ai écrit un article de blog sur le sujet des livres traduits en latin, (ici). Récemment, un collègue qui enseigne le français à nos jeunes élèves a obtenu des éditions traduites de livres d’images classiques. Vachement chouette! (as they used to say in France for ‘really cool’!)

I can’t resist sharing a couple of quotes in French from these with you, and please, do feel free to correct my French above!


Le Gruffalo de Julia Donaldson et Axel Scheffler

Une souris se promenait dans un grand bois profond.
<<Ah, se dit un renard, un souris c’est très bon.>>
-Eh bien, petite souris. Où va-tu dans ce bois?
J’ai un joli terrier, viens manger avec moi.
-C’est terrible gentil, mon bon renardeau
Mais je dois déjeuner avec un gruffalo.

-Un gruffalo? Mais qu-est ce que c’est?
-Un gruffalo? Tout le monde le sait.

A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.
A fox saw the mouse, and the mouse looked good.
“Where are you going to, little brown mouse?
Come and have lunch in my underground house.”
“It’s terribly kind of you, Fox, but no –
I’m going to have lunch with a gruffalo.”

“A gruffalo? What’s a gruffalo?”
“A gruffalo! Why, didn’t you know?

La chenille qui fait des trous de Eric Carle

Un beau dimanche matin,
le soleil se lève et POP!
une miniscule chenille sort de l’oeuf.
Elle a très faim.

In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.
One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and – POP! – out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry caterpillar.

Max et les Maximonstres de Maurice Sendak

Un soir, Max enfila son costume de loup.
Il fit une bêtise, et puis une autre,
et puis une autre…

<<MONSTRE>>, lui dit sa mère.
<<JE VAIS TE MANGER>>, répondit Max
et il se retrouvera au lit
sans rien avoir mangé du tout.

The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind

and another

his mother called him “WILD THING!”
and Max said “I’LL EAT YOU UP!”
so he was sent to bed without eating anything.


It was the discovery that the French for ‘caterpillar’ was ‘chenille’ that sent me off to explore further – a perfect description for a caterpillar, but I do think that giving the game away in the French title could spoil the read – but only for grown-ups who don’t know what’s to come inside!

The Gruffalo is the most different in its translation, due to having to rhyme and scan – which must be especially difficult for the translator. Indeed its follow-up, The Gruffalo’s Child (Le Petit Gruffalo) had even more complex language and rhymes.

When it comes to Where the Wild Things Are, I appreciate that it is difficult to translate the word ‘things’ in this context, but give me ‘wild things’ over ‘monstres’ – I came up with ‘creatures sauvages’ – but that would be too literal and uncolloquial I suspect.

Anyway, what a great way to enhance early French lessons these books are! Hope you enjoyed this diversion.

P.S. Just discovered, my friend has La chasse a l’ours too!


BUY these French editions at Amazon UK (affiliate links)

7 thoughts on “Des livres en traduction pour les petits enfants

  1. Rebecca Foster says:

    Do you speak French as well as you write it? I’m impressed! I can just about get by with everyday shopping exchanges and pleasantries in France, but much of what I learned in school through uni (I have a French minor) is lost. When I was in high school, I used to borrow French children’s books from the library, things like Frog and Toad, but I would despair at how little vocabulary I knew. Even in picture books I was having to look up several words from every page.

    [I think you’ve fallen foul of Autocorrect in the Sendak quote — “Manager”]

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      My French is pretty good, but not good enough at idioms etc to read a full book in French. I did have to look up ‘picture book’ and words for blogging! Thanks for spotting the typo – corrected!

  2. Calmgrove says:

    Maintenant je voudrais lire Peepo ecrit par M et Mme Ahlberg en français, est ce que tu sais si on a déjà traduit cet oeuvre pour les enfants outre-Manche?

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