Mr Leon's Paris (Paperback)

Author: Barroux
Translator: Sarah Ardizzone

Age: 5+
RRP: £6.99
ISBN: 9781907912085
Publication Date: 20-04-2012
Format: Pb, 280mm x 220mm
Extent: 32 pages

Bonjour... I'm Monsieur Leon

Mr Leon, a Parisian taxi driver of many years, spends his days ferrying colourful characters to designations corresponding to his passengers’ personalities and nationalities. From behind the wheel of his little yellow taxi, Mr Leon travels the world, from the North Pole to the Eiffel Tower to the Congo.

Until that is, Mr Leon decides it’s time to explore the real places after which the streets in Paris are named. After putting his taxi up for sale, Mr Leon sets sail for Liberty Street and beyond; even the moon if the wind is good...

An extraordinary illustrator's UK debut. This book contains a new map of Paris, drawn by Barroux and created specially for this English language edition.

Download activity ideas and the accompanying activity resource.


"Barroux's inventive tale Mr Leon's Paris (Phoenix Yard, £6.99) has been translated from the French. Climb into Mr Leon's taxi to explore the chic streets of Paris, and beyond!"

Junior Magazine - April 2012 preview

"Paris is beautifully rendered in moody beige, blue and orange in this retro-styled tale of French taxi driver Mr Leon and his multifarious taxi journeys around the city.

His eccentric array of passengers - Jeanette the hairdresser going to Scissor Row, a mummy going to Pyramid Street via Cairo Place or even the Devil himself motoring over to Hell's Passage - characterise the idiosyncratic city, presented here in loving and stylish detail. Look out for the beautiful end papers, which include a hand-drawn map of Paris's streets: children will enjoy spotting the various locations mentioned in the story.

Translated into English by award-winning translator Sarah Aridzzone, this is a sophisticated and stylish picture book to be savoured again and again."


“Mr Leon's Paris takes us on a wonderful journey around the more quirky named roads in Paris, while showing many of the gorgeous sights that the city has to offer, which will be fun for young readers to spot. I loved how each passenger is somehow linked to its destination: a mummy wants to go to Pyramid Street and passes the Pyramide du Louvre on its way, Jeannette the hairdresser wants to go to Scissor Row!

Mr Leon's Paris is an ode to what makes the city great, from its sights to its people. I particularly liked how it brings to life the French's cultural heritage, bringing elements from its colonial past (North Africa) and overseas territories (Tahiti). This is not that usual in French picture books.

The artwork is beautiful, using a retro palette of colours but with a slightly faded effect, and is so full of detail that it will have little readers engrossed. Look out particularly for the map of Paris at the end, which was drawn by Barroux for this edition.

This is a wonderfully stylish book which will work as a great introduction to the city for the little globetrotters. I would definitely recommend Mr Leon's Paris if you intend to bring your family to Paris, or simply if you are dreaming to do so!”

Library Mice, May 2012

"First published in France in 2011 under the title Le Paris de Leon, this highly original book takes us on an exhilarating ride across the streets of Paris in Mr Leon’s taxi. His passengers include all sorts of intriguing people whose names are often linked with the places they are collected from or destined for. This is the source of much verbal entertainment: for example Jeanette the hairdresser goes to Scissor Row and Captain Scott is picked up from Englishman’s Street. That the humour is retained is down to the skill of the translator, of course. The illustrations have a surrealist flavour: we have people with elongated bodies and tiny heads and splodges of colour sometimes eccentrically placed. Features in the urban landscapes are fascinatingly detailed: buildings have hundreds of windows, jaunty statues and tiny chimney pots.

After thirty years of driving his taxi Mr Leon wants to move on and to visit some of the places after which the streets of Paris he has traversed so often are named. Children will love spotting them in the splendid picture map of Paris on the endpaper – drawn specially for this edition of the book. In short, this is a sophisticated and wonderfully amusing creation which will appeal to people of different ages."

Books For Keeps, May 2012

About the Author / Illustrator & Translator

Born in Paris, Barroux spent most of his childhood in North Africa. On returning to France, Barroux studied photography, art, sculpture, and architecture at the famous École Estienne and École Boule. He went on to work as an art director in Paris, Montreal and New-York. While in Montreal, Barroux began illustrating by creating linocut images. He is now very well-known in France and North America for his illustrations for children's books and the media. His work has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post and Forbes; and he has written and illustrated many books for children. Motivated by interesting colour palette and the imagination, Barroux prefers to work in traditional mediums, mixing linocut, pencil and acrylic.

Sarah Ardizzone was born in Brussels. She studied theatre in Paris and now lives in London. As a travel writer, her assignments included sailing half-way across the world on a cargo ship. Sarah has translated over 40 books for children and grown-ups, including Little Red Hood and Line of Fire for Phoenix Yard Books.

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