Ferdinand Cheval Reycraft Books
The Postman Who Delivered a Palace
Illustrated by Anna Salopek
It is not easy to pen a historical book for kids. Often the dialogue is dry and overly factual, a fault largely avoided by Anne Renaud’s grasp of poetic beauty. The story is not without some heartbreak – the loneliness of this man is not concealed – yet the dedication of this eccentric figure who built an oddity for the ages shines through. Anna Salopek’s illustrations mimic Cheval’s curious design and recall the curving lines and colourful mosaics of another celebrated architect, Antoni Gaudi. As was the Ideal Palace, the drawings feel born of dreams and visions.
There is a place for works of creative non-fiction in children’s book collections. After reading this book, I was compelled to learn more about Cheval, my curiosity piqued. But what elevated this book above others in the genre is that my kids connected to this guy’s vibes. On our walks home from school, I am the designated keeper of the many interesting stones they insist on collecting (forgive me, dear neighbours, for the missing gravel) and I could very well build an Ideal Palace from the contents of my pockets! I recommend picking this book up when it is released in AugustmRb