Kid’s Book Review: Saving Celeste

Kid’s Book Review: Saving Celeste

About the Book and Author and Translator

This is a powerful and foreboding story about climate change by Timothée de Fombelle, who is one of France’s greatest contemporary writers for children. This edition, published by Walker Books, is an English translation by Sarah Ardizzone.

In this futuristic, dystopian setting the world is run by !ndustry. People live in crowded cities where cars are stacked vertically and shopping centres run miles into the sky. On the day Celeste starts school she meets a lonely, young boy but the next day she goes missing. Her blood has become as polluted as the seas and rivers and she is dying. On a mission to save her, the boy helps her to escape  !ndusty ‘s prison hospital and travels far away whilst being pursed.

Can he keep her safe and will she heal?

Saving Celeste cover
Timothée de Fombelle author

Timothee de Fombelle was born in the heart of Paris in 1973, but often accompanied his architect father on his travels to Africa. Each summer his family left for the countryside (the west of France), where the five brothers and sisters lived like wild horses, making huts in the trees, playing in the river and losing themselves in the woods. In the evening they performed plays for their parents and devoured the books in the library. Childhood remains for him the lost paradise which he re-discovers through writing.

Sarah Ardizzone is a translator from the French with 50-something titles to her name. Her work spans picture books, graphic novels and travel memoirs as well as children’s, young adult and literary fiction. Twice recipient of the Marsh award, she has won the Scott-Moncrieff prize and a New York Times notable book accolade.


Book Review

a truly powerful read

Saving Celeste by Timothée de Fombelle – translated into English by Sarah Ardizzone is a truly powerful read. It is so important and relevant today. Especially because of the COP26 summit recently, this book shows us how fragile our world is, but that we can save it with awareness and dedication.

Saving Celeste is about a boy who falls in love with a girl called Celeste at school. But she leaves after only one day. The boy manages to find her, but she’s seriously ill. Without giving too much away, she is the human form of the earth. Everything it suffers, she suffers. Saving Celeste shows how together, united, we can save the world. But we have to start before it’s too late.

Sarah Ardizzone, is a brilliant translator, and has translated this book beautifully, you’d never have guessed that this book was not originally written in English. Saving Celeste shows us that no matter what language we speak, we have a common hope of saving our planet. This book also deals with the power government’s and other world leaders hold over people and their lives. I find it interesting that the protagonist is never clearly named, as far as I’m aware. This shows us that it’s the message that makes this book great.

Saving Celeste is a short and easy read but really sticks with you. I’d recommend this to children from around 8+. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.

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Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Becky
  • Age: 12 Years
  • Likes: walking my dog, pizza, playing music
  • Dislikes: marmalade and playing Monopoly!
  • Favourite Book: The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
  • Favourite Song: Piano Man by Billy Joel
  • Favourite Film: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers