Finding Francois by Gus Gordon
Published by Penguin Random House|Puffin
Date: 2 July 2020
Gus Gordon has a way with words, especially the little bits of humour that he weaves into the text; and I was a huge fan of his book The Last Peach. In Finding Francois, he has managed to mix a heartwarming message with small spatters of humour that will warm the hearts of young readers. This inspiring book took a little turn that I wasn’t expecting but seeing the creative and expertly way Gus takes us through a journey of grief, and the warmth of friendship makes this an immersive and thoughtful read.
Alice lives with her grandmother and loves to make lists, in fact, she makes them every day. The one thing she wishes for is a friend of the same size as her, someone to talk to. One day, as she tosses a bottle with a note into the sea, her wish comes true in the form of Francois.
There is much to love about this book, especially the letter writing between Alice and Francois. Their messages are simple – ‘Hello! I am Alice.’, and them being delivered by bottle, sea and various sea and air creatures are so endearing. I particularly love that the sea creatures know exactly where to deliver them too, it speaks loudly of the creative license you can take when writing fiction.
The illustrations have captured Paris in soft tones, apart from one dark page the depicts a sad moment in the book. Although the book does capture the death of granny, it is brief and is by no means the focus of the story. I think her death was well handled and does not affect the light that this story portrays otherwise.
And so it went, back and forth across the sea.
Thankyou Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.