Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Living in Paris has allowed American journalist Druckerman (Lust in Translation) a riveting glimpse into a calmer, rational, sage way of raising children. With three children of her own, all born in Paris and happily bilingual, Druckerman wanted to find the key to forging the well-behaved youngsters she witnessed in parks and restaurants-infants who sleep through the night at two months, children with table manners, who don't interrupt adults or eat between meals. It starts, apparently, with calm, sensible French mothers, who don't become enormously self-indulgent during pregnancy, but quickly lose the baby fat after birth and rarely breast feed. The French health system helps by its generous maternal and child-care policies. Babies are treated as rational creatures, expected to "self-distract" in order to fall asleep (Druckerman calls the essential lapse in response time "La Pause"), and wait to eat when everybody else has their meals, four times a day, including the 4 p.m. sweet time called le gouter. Instead of rushing to satisfy or stimulate a child a la Americain, the French are keen on aiding kids to discover on their own, developing autonomy with the help of a cadre, or frame, which is firm but flexible. Citing Rousseau, Piaget, and Francoise Dolto, as well as scores of other parents, Anglophone or French, Druckerman draws compelling social comparisons, some dubious (e.g., Frenchwomen, unlike Americans, don't expect their husbands to help much with housework, thus eliminating "tension and resentment"), others helpful (insisting that children try new foods at each meal to broaden their palates), but she is ever engaging and lively to read. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Living in Paris has allowed American journalist Druckerman (Lust in Translation) a riveting glimpse into a calmer, rational, sage way of raising children. With three children of her own, all born in Paris and happily bilingual, Druckerman wanted to find the key to forging the well-behaved youngsters she witnessed in parks and restaurants-infants who sleep through the night at two months, children with table manners, who don't interrupt adults or eat between meals. It starts, apparently, with calm, sensible French mothers, who don't become enormously self-indulgent during pregnancy, but quickly lose the baby fat after birth and rarely breast feed. The French health system helps by its generous maternal and child-care policies. Babies are treated as rational creatures, expected to "self-distract" in order to fall asleep (Druckerman calls the essential lapse in response time "La Pause"), and wait to eat when everybody else has their meals, four times a day, including the 4 p.m. sweet time called le gouter. Instead of rushing to satisfy or stimulate a child a la Americain, the French are keen on aiding kids to discover on their own, developing autonomy with the help of a cadre, or frame, which is firm but flexible. Citing Rousseau, Piaget, and Francoise Dolto, as well as scores of other parents, Anglophone or French, Druckerman draws compelling social comparisons, some dubious (e.g., Frenchwomen, unlike Americans, don't expect their husbands to help much with housework, thus eliminating "tension and resentment"), others helpful (insisting that children try new foods at each meal to broaden their palates), but she is ever engaging and lively to read. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


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

Druckerman, a former staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, found herself raising three children in France after following her British husband to Paris. She was taken aback at how well behaved French children are: most will sleep through the night at two months old, are on their best behavior in restaurants, eat a wide variety of foods, and don't interrupt adults when they are conversing. Mystified as well as embarrassed that her own children were not as well behaved, she began to research French parenting techniques and came across a treasure trove of helpful information. In crisp prose and an engaging voice, she explains how the French do not even have a word for discipline, instead referring to the concept as education. And French mothers have plenty of help in educating their children in the form of affordable, high-quality day care managed by experienced, certified child-care professionals. Within a strict cadre, or framework of rules, children are given plenty of autonomy to explore the world, without the aid of high-priced toys and gadgets. Insightful reading from a wise and funny writer.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2010 Booklist