book review

Anatole by Eve Titus and A Look At School Lunches in France

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This month Little Passports has taken us to France by way of their little famous suitcase.

Little Passports

Like every month, Little Passports creates wonderful adventures for us to take.

Little Passports France

Quick recap of Little Passports:

Little Passports is your child’s ticket to an exciting global adventure. Inspire a love and understanding of the world as your child learns about a country’s geography, history and culture in a fun and memorable way. This winner of the Parent’s Choice Awards they introduce country and culture to kids every month. It’s a way to offer the world to your kids within  a budget that most parents can work with.

Little Passports intro package includes an adorable suitcase, a large and colorful world map, a postcard and letter from Sophia and Sam (the little explorers who are taking a magical adventure around the globe on a transporting scooter) explaining what Little Passports is all about, a passport to document our travels, stickers, and a fun worksheet (called a boarding pass) filled with letter puzzles and activities to learn more about Sam and Sophia’s adventure.

To add to all this fun I thought I’d pull out an old family favorite about a mouse called Anatole.

Anatole bookcover

Anatole is a mouse living in Paris with his wife Doucette and their six children (Claude & Claudette, Paule & Paulette, Georges & Georgette). Anatole is a highly principled and honest mouse who discovers that sneaking food from the people of Paris has left them with a rather nasty impression of mice. Appalled to be thought of in this manner, Anatole resolves to find a more honest and respectable manner of acquiring food for his family. So he heads for the tasting room at the Duvall Cheese Factory. On each cheese, he leaves a small note–“good,” “not so good” or  “needs orange peel”–and then signs his name.

When workers at the Duvall factory find  Anatole’s notes in the morning, they are perplexed, but they realize that this mysterious “Anatole” has an exceptional palate and they decide to take his advice. Soon Duvall is making the best cheese in all of Paris! They would like to give Anatole a reward–if only they could find him.

Anatole this mouse I can honestly say is a dear friend to this family. This is the first book in a series of ten and all are simply brilliant, but this one always holds a soft place in my heart.

**Some of these links are affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may get a very small commission.
This money goes towards postage and supplies to keep books and ideas in the hands of young readers!

Something To Do

All of this talk about cheese has made us hungry. It’s also made us curious as to what do French children eat ? Though we’ve been to Paris, France before, we were just merely American’s eating in Paris. To find out what French children are eating we had to do a little detective work.

Did you know that French children enjoy a 3 or 4-course meal that is made from high-quality ingredients and is mostly made from scratch? The children all sit in the same eating area or the cafeteria. An interesting fact is that there are no vending machines in schools, because they’re banned due to the high sugar and fat content of the treats they carry. Typical school lunches in France can have a variety of dishes and ingredients, such as grilled fish, salad, red beans, seasonal vegetables, garlic sausage, fruit salads and chocolate flan (just to name a few). Another perk is that the food is served on plates and eaten with real silverware!

After learning this now we were really hungry. I think this adventure will have to do with food.

Anatole Cheese Tasting

French cheeses

There are over 500 cheeses in France. Needless to say, we can’t taste them all but wouldn’t it be lovely if we could? We chose a few different cheeses in a variety of consistencies to sample.

  • A Soft cheese: Brie
  • Hard cheese: Ementhal and comte
  • Blue Cheese
  • Goat cheese

We took a 5 x 5 index card and made four categories so we could rate our cheeses. It’s important to note that we did not use crackers when cheese taste testing but merely tasted the cheese itself and wrote our notes.  We love comte and simply can’t get enough of it.

French School Lunch

French Kid's Lunch


Photo by Karen Le Billion

“Kid’s food” doesn’t exist in France. Meals are taken at fixed times with wholesome food choices and there is NO snacking between meals. After having lived in France and Europe for a majority of my adult life I can attest to this. Here’s what we had for our “French School Lunch” :

Grilled Pesto Salmon and Asparagus



Roasted Green Beans and Peppers


French Viking Coleslaw



And of course a nice table setting and chilled fruit for dessert.



For more ideas on what to serve for “French” lunch have a look at Karen Le Billon’s site. It is loaded with French school lunch menus from all over France. Karen has written a very wonderful book called French Kids Eat Anything. My friend Sarah Jane did the illustrations for it. Just thought I’d share that, because I’m so proud of her.

What are your thoughts about French School lunches? What types of cheese would you pick if you were to do a “Anatole cheese sampling?” Share your thoughts in the comments below! I’d love to hear your options.


**Some of these links are affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may get a very small commission.
This money goes towards postage and supplies to keep books and ideas in the hands of young readers!

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