Wednesday, 15 May 2013

What's on my Bookshelf Wednesday

It's been a while since I have done a 'books' post, mainly because post-holiday, I got completely sidetracked from finishing reading Dawn French's 'A Tiny Bit Marvellous' even though it was an okay sort of a book.  It did make me laugh, but ultimately, I didn't much care for the characters, except poor-old-in-the-background  Dad, so I guess that's why it took me time to knuckle back down to it.

But I have finished it now and can move onto something else, maybe something with a bit more substance.  

In the meantime, here is a book that appeared at the charity shop a couple of weeks ago.

'The Young Housewives'

Published exactly 50 years ago, it is, perhaps, the perfect book to grace the bookshelf of a (part-time) French teacher.

And remind her how things have changed!

In this little gem are countless playlets, aimed at teaching 'vocabulary of domestic interest to girls in their second and third year of French'.

In learning the vocabulary, vital lessons in how to achieve domestic bliss might also be put over. Ahem!

The importance of an apron is established, and the pulling up of one's sleeves. How riveting to watch a play about such things!

Marie  (mother) and Denise do the washing up.  Papa is probably smoking his pipe somewhere off stage...

Marie brushes the sitting room carpet and contemplates the dusting, before deciding that all the furniture and knick-knacks can be dealt with by her daughter, as she is, quite frankly, pooped.  

The illustrations are rather sweet.

And at the end of the book are a good number of songs which incorporate the vital, domestic vocab, just to drum the messages home a little more...

Just in case you feel in need of a stirring ditty to help you on your way with the housework, I am providing a rough translation,with apologies to those out there whose French is better than mine!  

(Omissions and additions have been made to help it work with the tune. Please note that it would also help enormously if your name could consist of three syllables for the purposes of this song.)

Say hello to the housework [insert your own name, for motivational effect] 
Say hello to the housework [insert your own name] 

Say hello to the housework
This good wife and mother

Says hello to the housework [own name]

1st two lines, as before

She cleans and she polishes 
How energetic is she

5th line, as before

After all of her cleaning
She makes a great soup

Her cooking is always excellent
Always app-er-tizing

She keeps busy with her family
Her husband, sons and daughters

She irons all the blouses
She sews and darns the trousers

She sleeps like a baby
At the end of the d-ay

We'll be wise and hardworking
Then we'll all be happy

Now won't that make your drudgery go with a swing?

Hey - if anyone could tweak the words a bit, maybe we could be on for next year's Eurovision entry?


  1. Well what a coincidence - I have just finished A Tiny Bit Marvellous and was really rather underwhelmed. I was expecting to be roaring my head off with laughter throughout, but I giggled a couple of times, maybe. The characters were so unbelievable, unreal and superficial - particularly Dora, who, I thought, was just a caricature of a teenage girl.

    The French book is delightful! I am going to learn that song and sing it loudly (while I'm blogging)!

    Re the Eurovision Song Contest, do you not believe in Bonny then?!


  2. Love the book...brings back memories of five years of high school French. I can't speak it at all but I still can read quite a bit of it still. I haven't lost all of my vocabulary. I know I live in a bilingual country and I should speak it but to be honest I have rarely needed to.

  3. I think we need someone rather sweet & elfin like to sing that for Eurovision & not belt it out like Bonny !
    Lovely illustrations.