Reviews for Moi and Marie Antoinette

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

This picture-book account of Marie Antoinette, told from the perspective of her pug dog, Sebastien, highlights Antoinette's life from age 13 through her becoming queen of France and motherhood, with glimpses of eighteenth-century court life along the way. As Sebastien tells it, the queen's life leaves Antoinette unhappy, and with little time for Sebastien. But years later, after earning the affection of Antoinette's six-year-old daughter, Therese, Sebastien reminds Antoinette that happiness can be found through love, family, and, of course, dogs. The engaging, humorously vain pug delivers an animated narrative, which is whimsically illustrated in elegant, swirly, pastel-hued pictures, lavished with historical details. The dense prose and the focus on Antoinette as a teen and adult (Therese doesn't come in until the end of the story) suggest an older audience. Even so, the message is classic, and the royal pooch makes an enticing narrator, especially accessorized with period glamour. --Shelle Rosenfeld Copyright 2006 Booklist

Publishers Weekly
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Loosely based on a true story, this picture book chronicles the French queen's journey from an Austrian girlhood to royal motherhood, as narrated by her beloved canine companion. Perhaps in an attempt to better the reputation conferred on Marie Antoinette, Cullen (The Mightiest Heart) puts a human face on this historic figure. S?bastien the pug, aka "Moi," peppers the tales of his mistress's adventures with witty asides. Upon learning that Antoinette (as her family calls her) will become queen, he jests, "This news was not as exciting as tender morsels of chicken, but I would have to make do." His self-centeredness is not unlike a child who demands 100% attention from his caretaker. While Moi maintains his presence throughout Antoinette's life, he is mostly left to his own devices, as his mistress becomes too caught up in her responsibilities to pay him much attention. Once Moi ultimately forges a relationship with Antoinette's daughter, he no longer feels like that forgotten child. As in Young's books about Belinda the ballerina, her portraits of the heroine here strike just the right balance between disciplined and playful, so Antoinette always seems approachable, and Moi's loss of playmate the more poignant. The detailed illustrations, especially of Antoinette's and Moi's faces, help convey the many emotions of the parent-child relationship in this rather lengthy read. The result is a softer picture of a queen whom many believe ruled with an iron fist. Ages 5-9. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved