I recently illustrated this beautiful text for Alma Publishing. It was such a treat. I illustrate a lot of picture books, which I love doing, but it was good to get my teeth into something a little older, with more thorny subjects: it starts with a woman giving birth and dying during a snow storm on the alps.
Belle at Sebastien was first published in 1965 to coincide with the French television series of the same name. Do you remember it? I don't, I think it was slightly before my time. So, while I waited for the manuscript to arrive, I bought the DVD and spent a whole day, sat with cups of tea and a sketchbook, soaking it all in. One of the best bits of the series is the intro at the start of each episode. Cecile Aubry, the author gives a little round up of the story so far. She is so french and glamorous, wearing a turtle neck and smoking a cigarette! On a children's TV series, different times!
Those people who did see it as a child always remember the beautiful, haunting theme music. I played it over and over on my headphones while I worked, I find it really helps to emerge myself like this.
Synopsis: The son of a Gypsy woman, Sébastien is found as a newborn baby in the Alps and brought up by Guillaume and his grandchildren Angélina and Jean. Born on the same day, Belle is a beautiful white Pyrenean Mountain Dog who has been neglected and passed on from owner to owner, until one day she escapes from a kennel. When Sébastien rescues the runaway Belle from the wrath of the villagers, the boy and the dog form a lifelong friendship and embark on exciting adventures in the mountains.
You can buy it at Alma Publishing, or Amazon, or any good bookshop.