Honoring the history and hope for the future of Notre Dame, Jeter presents a fictionalized creation story for Paris and its iconic cathedral featuring a little girl who plants the garden of Paris and all the flowers in it, including her “greatest flower”—Notre Dame. The story and illustrations work in tandem as they transport the reader through Paris’ history—including world war—to reach the tragic fire in 2019, with the overwhelming feeling being one of reverence for the past and an enduring hope for the future. The story itself tends towards the abstract, making it better suited for older readers, but the interweaving messages (among them to always plant Good Things, even if Bad Things can’t be kept away) and absolutely stunning illustrations featuring lovely architectural details and cameo appearances from famous historical French figures make this a unique and lovely book. The end papers at both front and back ground the book in fact and history (as does the fold-out timeline) and give curious readers even more details to explore. A breathtaking white and gold wordless spread, featuring concourses of people reminiscent of angels remembering Notre Dame, highlights slightly religious undertones (befitting a cathedral) present throughout the book.
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A graduate of Brigham Young University’s law school, Nicolas Jeter has lived several years in Paris and is fluent in French. The Girl and the Cathedral is his debut book. Nicolas lives and works in Texas, where he also enjoys reading and playing the piano. Sara Ugolotti was born in a small town in Italy. In 2012, she obtained a degree in Architecture from the University of Parma, and in 2015, she earned a degree in Illustration from the International School of Comics in Reggio Emilia. Specializing in children’s books, she has worked as a freelance illustrator for clients worldwide including Auzou Editions, IglooBooks, Il Battello a Vapore, Jilin Publishing Group Ltd, Oxford University Press, Rusconi Libri, and Usborne Publishing.
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