A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

French / France

La Barbe bleue. Un livre-accordéon avec des décors et des découpes
(Bluebeard. A leporello with props and silhouettes)

Perrault, Charles (text)
Sourdais, Clémentine (illus.)
Paris: Hélium, 2014. – [32] p.
ISBN 978-2-33003-448-1

Curiosity – Punishment – Violence –
Fairy tale – Pop-up book – Picture book

How does one re-energise a Perrault fairytale such as “Bluebeard”? Paper engineer Clémentine Sourdais shows us how, using a combination of cut-outs and shadow play. Her blue, black and white book object is carefully put together and can be set up like a folding-screen. One side shows key scenes from the story as coloured cut-outs, and on the verso, they appear as black silhouettes. Set up one behind the other, the pages create a special three-dimensional staging thanks to the transparency of the cut-outs. Central motifs – the key, the forbidden room – and the main characters can thus be staged in special ways. The fairy-tale text, including the rather antiquated moral at the end, runs along the bottom of each page as its border trim. The translation of the story into visual theatre also lessens the chances of the text frightening young readers. This technique offers a fitting way to reflect on the fairy tale’s highly ambivalent messages concerning violence. (Age: 5+)