SERAPHIN

SERAPHIN

by Philippe Fix (2002 reprint, original 1967)

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This is an amazing book from my childhood, one that I have searched high and low for – remembering only the name of Beebo.  At last, I find that it has had several titles in different countries, and the original english language version is worth a fortune.  A fortune I don’t have but I managed to stretch to this French version  instead.  The copy we had was in Italian for some reason, so I still am not entirely sure about he narrative.

The illustrations are still fantastic: Parisian style cityscapes, inventive machines and architecture, and intriguing characters.  The story (as far as I have translated) is about a man working on the underground.  He is a rebel and tries to brighten up his booth with flowers, looses his job, and finds an old abandoned building to live in.  He builds an incredible house for him and his ever extending family of social rejects, and they all like happily until the bulldozers arrive.

The thing that was really etched in my mind from over thirty years ago is that the story doesn’t really end – a challenging concept for a child.  The characters escape the bulldozers by building stairs up and up and up…

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