Seraphin

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Written and illustrated by Philippe Fix

Translated from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith

Seraphin, dreaming of gardens full of birdsong, sunny avenues, and flowers, works as a ticket seller in a metro station underground. One day, after being scolded by the stationmaster for trying to save a butterfly that had flown into the station by accident, he learns that he has inherited an old, dilapidated house. Overjoyed by the possibilities, he and his friend Plume set about building the house of their dreams, and much more besides! Philippe Fix’s illustrations, cinematic in their scope, have entranced children since their 1967 début. Out of print in English for decades, a fresh translation of Seraphin allows a new generation to experience the wonder and inventive spectacle of the original.

Date of Publication: July 9, 2019

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-939810-25-0  

E-ISBN: 978-1-939810-26-7

Seraphin amazes, bewilders, confounds, dazzles...the story and the wonderfully whimsical illustrations that accompany it transport the reader to flights of fancy while grounding the reader with bits of reality.
Vidya, Lady in Read Writes


The cartoon-like illustrations, reminiscent of the old Usborne books, are full of detail and individuality and fun to pore over. The translation is fresh, and I enjoyed the great vocabulary. I think kids will experience surprise and delight while reading this unusual book.
Stephanie Tournas, Youth Services Book Review


An odd, captivating picture book...At work, Seraphin gets in trouble for decorating his ticket booth with flowers. In his free time, Seraphin likes to prowl flea markets with his best friend, Plume, and to rig up such ingenious gizmos as hamster-powered whirligigs.
Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal


This makes for one of those stories that will keep children entertained long after they have finished reading the book.
Martin Dowden


Each page deserves loving scrutiny. And, the hero's final creation is stupendous. Wonderful, wonderful book. Particularly good for that younger tinkerer or maker in your life.
Seema Rao


The illustrations are the highlight of this strange little book; particularly the full page art [...] it reminded me a great deal of the 70's works of Maurice Sendak.
Lucy Dixon


The parents who treasured Seraphin as one of their childhood favorites can introduce him to their children and classroom students.
Ann Martin


A cute, quirky, philosophical tale.
Teresa Grabs, The Haunted Wordsmith


Pictures were wonderful and extremely detailed.
Bella Haver


Love the illustrations! Superb colour and detail that draw you in for closer examination with wonderfully artful use of negative space and perspective [...] The warm central character and realistic setting (Paris) make it quite believable while being perfectly wonderfully absurd.
Adriana Pray Haines, Bookseller, Pea Green Boat Books


A fanciful and delightful tale for children with such sweet illustrations!
The Caffeinated Reader, Blogger


This is a picture book that will help you explain to your child that being yourself is the best thing you can do and being creative will always, always find a path towards helping you achieve something great.
DoodleMom


Rendered gracefully in a new translation by Nicholson-Smith, Fix’s winning narrative voice is matched in charm by his wonderfully intricate, warmly lit illustrations [...] This vision of an existence unbeholden to anyone else offers a satisfying escape from the everyday.
Publishers Weekly


Full of unexpected twists and turns, this beautiful idealistic story left me feeling hopeful and starry-eyed. I loved Seraphin's stubborn optimism and determination, despite so many obstacles. I loved Seraphin's sweet friendship with Plume. I loved the gorgeous, whimsical illustrations!!
Délice Herum, The HSP Bookshelf


A jovial narrator guides readers through this meandering story, Nicholson-Smith's conversational translation retaining Gallic eloquence. ... Readers will also fall under the spell of Fix's inexhaustible imagination, transferred onto the page as immense, richly detailed, golden-hued watercolor-and-ink illustrations.
Kirkus Reviews


A Parisian Metro ticket puncher follows a butterfly and his heart, searches for beauty, and loses his job in this beloved French classic. Thought-provoking and made relevant for a new generation, the enchanting artwork of the original is retained alongside a fresh English translation. The winding tale leads Seraphin and his friends along an imaginative path of magical realism, where dolls come to life and heads really might end up in the clouds.

Foreword Reviews


When I think about reading, I think not so much about single works, but more about various pieces of literature that complement my life and reality through fiction […] It is then when Seraphin comes to my mind – a book that my kids love, the same way I loved it when I was younger [...] Towards the end of the book, Seraphin's wonderful house is threatened by constructors, so he and his friend Plume decide to build a staircase towards the sky, by which every step they take and build they rise higher and are further from the ground. That's approximately how I felt as a reader of Seraphin, as if I too were climbing up a staircase without a start or without an end, leading me courageously throughout the unknown, full of memories and expectations, and always higher.
Peter Stamm


Philippe Fix is a creator with an overflowing, off-beat, and funny imagination. He’s also an observer, curious about everything and attentive to the most whimsical details...the images dazzle and pop out of their frames... complex and provocative.

La Revue des livres pour enfants


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