France captured the hearts of southern California born and raised author Ashley and her husband Michael in 2003, when they arrived in Provence with their four young children. Ashley was studying abroad for degrees in French Culture Studies and Business, and whilst Ashley participated in her university work, Michael and the children became immersed in the French culture and language. Trips out exploring their adopted country led to a love of the region, and after returning to the USA to complete her degrees, Ashley and her husband returned with their youngest child to Provence in 2010.
It is perhaps these experiences into the French way of life as an expat which inspired Ashley to create this clever little story. It is written primarily in English, but also has many phrases written, and explained in French also. I think this enriches the story and enables the reader to enjoy a truly bilingual experience.
The setting is the beautiful village of Les Baux-de-Provence. It is a listed heritage site, is noted as “one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France” (“Station classée”). Its ruined castle, and history make it the ideal foil for the wonderful journey of discovery, which La Petite Josette and her big sister Anne-Laure embark upon in this story.
There is great excitement in the household, the family are going for a day out! The girls can’t wait for mum to pack the picnic, and dad to get the car ready. Eagerly they watch the beautiful countryside, the vast vineyards, and olive groves go by on their way to their hilltop destination, Les Baux-de-Provence. However it is the village’s hilltop ruined castle which captivates the girls’ imagination.
As they look around it, papa explains its history, and the girls are caught up in the atmosphere, looking over the ramparts, seeing the village below, and even some troglodyte caves!
What an exciting day, they have, there is so much to see and do! But all good things must come to an end, and it is two tired girls who return home at the end of a wonderful day, and clutched in her hand La Petite Josette holds a very special souvenir.
A lovely story, one to be treasured forever, beautifully illustrated by the author and her husband’s talented daughter Martinique Louise Fisher. – Highly Recommended!
About the Author: Ashley Davidson-Fisher
In between schoolwork and classes, what better way was there to practice those new-found language skills? Adventures, bien sûr! Thanks to their little, white, station wagon named “François” and PB&J croissants (say what??!!), weekend and holiday road trips allowed the family to immerse themselves into the French culture while taking in the magnificent sights of the Provençal countryside. And voilà……just like that, a love of all things French was born.
Upon the family’s return to the USA, Ashley completed her Bachelor of Arts degrees in French Culture Studies and Business at California State University-San Bernardino. She loves traveling, hiking, photography and reading. Since 2010 Ashley has lived in Provence, France with her husband and their youngest daughter, Presley.
La Petite Josette loves adventures and history and she is super excited for her trip to one of the most beautiful villages in Provence, France. What will she find? A castle, knights, perhaps a “treasure” to take home? There’s so much to do before the trip, but with the help of her big sister, they’ll be on their way in no time. Beautifully illustrated by the author’s daughter, this bilingual, French and English language adventure and learning book is designed to help teach children and adults basic, multi-language skills and to foster a love for exploring the world.