TITLE: Captain Rosalie
by Timothee de Frombelle, translated from the French by Sam Gordon, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Candlewick Press, first U.S. edition, June), 60 pages in 6-by-7-inch hardback, $15.99.
STORY: A girl too young for school goes to school while her mother works in a munitions plant. Rosalie seems docile as she draws animals in her little sketchbook, but in fact she is a ferocious spy.
"When at last the class sits down, I pretend to be elsewhere, lost in my thoughts," she says, "even though I am concentrating perfectly. I am Captain Rosalie, and I have infiltrated their squad this fall morning in 1917. I know what I have to do."
She must find out what is really going on.
At night, her weary mother cheerfully reads letters Father sends from the front: He plans to take Rosalie fishing. He is happy thinking of trout and walnuts. Rosalie doesn't buy any of it. How does her mother keep reading even after the candle gutters out?
Finally Rosalie gathers enough intel to accomplish her mission, and to the whole town's horror, she learns the terrible truth about the war. She saves her mother from despair.
This somber, beautiful story depicts the mind of a child who is being lied to by well-meaning adults.
Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.
Style on 06/03/2019
Print Headline: READ TO ME