Henri's Walk to Paris

Written By: Leonore Klein

Illustrated By: Saul Bass

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations and Text:

Peruse the cover and illustrations throughout the book with your child. Ask your child questions like these to get him/her to make initial observations and predictions about the story you are about to read:

What do you notice on the cover and in the illustrations?

What do you think will happen in this story?

Why do you think Henri go to walk to Paris?

Do you know where Paris is?

{Flip to an illustration} What do you think is happening in this picture?

As You Read

Vocabulary Building:

This story features several common French names and terms so be sure to bring them to your child’s attention. For example, when Henri describes the people that live in his small city, say, “Monsieur and Madame are the French way of saying Mr. and Ms. So if were to say it to you, I would say ‘Hello, Madame/Monsieur ________’”You can point to the fact that Henri and his friends have very typical names by saying, “Henri, Andre, Jacques and Michel are all common French names.”

Making Connections:

Make the story more engaging by asking questions that will help your child relate to the main character and the story. For example, when Henri begins listing the way that Reboul and Paris are different, ask, “Can you think of some things that we have in our city?” If s/he can’t come up with a few things on his/her own, ask “Do we have a playground? Is it big or small? Do we have a grocery store? What else? Do you like our town (or neighborhood)? Why or why not?”

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

Gauge your child’s understanding of the story and its central theme by asking questions like:

Did you enjoy the story? Why or why not? What was your favorite part?

Why did Henri want to go to Paris?

How is Paris similar to where we live? How are is different?

How did Henri get sent back to Reboul instead of to Paris?

At the end of the story, Henri realizes that the qualities that initially made Reboul pale in comparison to Paris are actually the things that he loves the most. Ask your child, “Why didn’t Henri end up getting to Paris? Was he upset? Why not? Do you wish you lived somewhere else? Why or why not? What do you love about where we live?”

Activity: Visiting Paris from Your Home

Supplies: Printer, paper, a small dowel or straw, tape, a camera, and French music

Help your child discover what Henri would have seen if he had actually made it to Paris, France by setting up Paris’ most popular attractions in your home!

  1. On your own, find pictures of famous Parisian attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Mona Lisa, Notre Dame, etc., and print them out on full sheets of paper. If you’d like, you can print out several different pictures of each attraction, so as to give more angles and views. You can also print out other images of things that Henri mentions in the story like Paris’ many buses or their zoo. Also print out a small version of the French flag while you’re at it.
  2. Take these pictures and place them in different rooms around your home. Make sure they are easily visible and large enough to get your child’s attention.
  3. Now take the French flag, cut it out, and tape the left side to a dowel or straw to make a flag that you can wave.
  4. Pick some fun French songs to play and let your tour begin! Act as your child’s tour guide and guide him/her from room to room and describe each attraction. To help yourself, you can print out small cards with fun facts about each attraction. Carry a camera with you and have your child pose with each attraction as you go along.