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Friday, 18 December 2009

French Friday (6)

Don't forget to check out Brizmus' participation on her blog.

Bonjour tout le monde, et bienvenue à ce sixième Vendredi Français !

You might have noticed that Christmas is coming, haven't you ? So let's make this French Friday a kind-of-Christmassy French Friday. Today I will talk about Martine. Martine is the heroin of a huge series of llustrated children's books, by Belgian author Gilbert Delahaye and illustrator Marcel Marlier. The first Martine was released in 1954. Since then, Martine became a real worldwide phenomenon. Her stories have been translated in more than 50 countries. In the US, Martine actually became Debbie (!). Martine has always had a huge success in France, and is considered a classic.

Each Martine book presents an activity she's taking part in : Martine learns how to swim, Martine at the circus, etc. The Martine books had a big impact on me when I was a child. The drawings are beautiful, and I swear I can still see many of them in my little head. And for a lot of people, she is part of their life and memories. I must have read Martine Petit Rat de l'Opera hundreds of times...!
And since it's Christmas, here is the cover of Martine : La Nuit de Noël.

Nice, huh ? In this one, Martine wants to learn ice skating. Indeed she discovered recently that her mother was a talented ice skater when she was young. So, Martine decides to pay a visit to the Père-Noël to ask him a pair of ice skates for Christmas. She ends up in an abandoned house full of toys, that looks like the Père-Noël's workplace. There, she meets dolls, puppets and other cute or creepy toys. In the end, she doesn't meet Him. Of course, the Père-Noël was busy distributing his gifts around the world. But in the morning, she finds a pair of ice skates under her Christmas tree (at least that's how I remember it)...

Recently, Martine was the victim of a funny parody on the web. Some guys started a website called Martine Cover Generator, where visitors could add their own titles to the classic Martine covers. When they made this website public, they didn't expect the success that followed. The book titles have always been simple and that's what make them cute and charming too. So changing them could quite easily be funny ! But Casterman, Martine's publisher, asked them to close it because of the bad image it gave, and also because of the copyright.

Here are a few good ones :

Translations :
1. Martine (apparently) doesn't wear knickers.
2. Martine, climate refugee
3. Martine gets out of jail

And changing the subject, here are the original and French versions of The Cabinet of Wonders' covers, which I reviewed earlier.

Joyeuses Fêtes everyone !


  1. How sweet! I can imagine there are lots of young girls who adore Martine.

  2. The French cover is so much cooler..international book covers are always so much cooler...lol

  3. Another great French Friday! I love it! And the Martine title changing is hilarious! Love Martine (apparently) doesn't wear any knickers. Hahaha!

  4. Yay! I loved Martine when I was a little girl!!! Et j'adore les couvertures détournées lol!!! Ah bravo! Tu nous corromps! Moi mon blog est mort depuis un moment, faut vraiment que je m'y remette... trop occupée!!!

    Bisousss et bon noël!

  5. Becky : Indeed, Martine is a star !

    Ladystorm : French covers are not always better than the originals, but I admit that there are some great ones !

    Juju : Yeah !

    Jo : Yeah, that's my favorite one too. :)

    Laure : Et oui, j'adore corrompre mes lecteurs...! Et je comprends bien que ton blog ait été en mort temporaire avec la vie que tu as menée ces derniers mois ! :)


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