Jean-Paul et ses bonnes idées

Book Title Jean-Paul et ses bonnes idées (Jean-Paul and His Good Ideas)
Author(s) Magaly Rodriguez
Illustrator(s) Juan Carlos Pinilla Melo
Pablo Ortega López
Other Contributors
Published by TPRS Books (view our statement)
Genre Realistic Fiction
Publication date 2017
#Ownvoices N/A
From the author/publisher’s website
Level Level 1

Total Word Count 2,500

Illustrations                    YES 
Glossary                          YES  
Guiding Questions       NO  
Context                            YES (Cultural Notes)  
Other                                N/A

Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities
French, white 

Languages spoken

Sex and Genders
Male – protagonist, science teacher
Females – best friend, French teacher, and Math teachers

Child, Adult

Social classes
Sexual Orientation



Family Structures

Body Type
From the author/publisher’s website 

Jean-Paul is an 11-year-old boy who lives in Paris. His best friend is Pascale. Poor Jean-Paul has one big problem. He does not like school. He does not like to study or do homework. Fortunately- Jean-Paul has a lot of good ideas. He thinks of many fun and exciting things to do rather than going to school. His good ideas include visiting a soccer stadium and an art museum with his friend Pascale. Jean-Paul also thinks about eating delicious pastries in a bakery and rowing a boat in a park. Jean-Paul thinks these are great ideas.
To what extent do the illustrations present positive and thoughtful representations of identities?

The illustrations portray Jean-Paul and his friends as white. Jean-Paul has brown hair with hazelnut eyes, Pascal has blond hair with green eyes. All their friends have a similar skin tone. 

Jean-Paul and his friends are often smiling and they are also portrayed as physically active, playing soccer or rowing on a lake.

We understand identities are complex and no single story represents the spectrum of identity-based experiences. Also, a text may address a stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization without relying on it.

Does any stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization affect any positive and thoughtful representations of identities in the text?

Jean-Paul describes his female friends as ugly (p. 1) or messy (p. 4). However, he describes his male friends as funny and nice (p. 4) or intelligent and serious (p. 4). While he says he is joking about how ugly his best friend is (“Ha! OK, she is not ugly, but she is not as beautiful as me” p. 2), there is a clear contrast between his opinion of his female friends versus his male friends.
This section is for teachers who are working towards sourcing more texts within the four domains of anti-bias education. We are excited about reading all books and we understand that not all books are written for this specific purpose. 

Does this text work toward goals within any of the four domains of anti-bias education as defined by Teaching Tolerance


From the start of the book, we see that Jean-Paul is a typical 11-year old student that is bored with school and with his teachers and that he would rather be in numerous other places. When they return, the overall epiphany that Jean-Paul discovers is that he misses school, the teachers, and the subjects. He realizes that school is not so bad and that school is where he can learn in depth about all of the things he is interested in and he can become who he wants to be.

Since Jean-Paul does not like school, he prefers to go on an adventure around Paris with his friend Pascale. Each of his new ideas takes the reader to a different spot (Stade de France, Le Louvre, Angelina, a famous salon de thé, and the bois de Boulogne). At the end of each chapter, a short cultural note is provided in English to give the reader more info about each spot. The story is written in simple language with repetitions of high frequency structures such as “j’aime”, “je veux”, etc. and useful phrases such as “mais oui, c’est vrai” and “je dis la vérité”.   

There are a few small cultural inaccuracies:
Le Louvre is compared to the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) instead of the Met (p.15).
The cultural note about pastry shops actually talks about baguettes and croissants, which you would find in a boulangerie, and is it not clear what baguettes and croissants have to do with “in honor of Bastille Day, July 14”. (p. 25)
The stadium chant “Qui ne saute pas n’est pas français” is missing the word “pas”. (p. 14)

Jean-Paul is presented as a hyper-confident young man comparing himself with many people that he meets in the story and in all cases, he describes himself as the best, or the strongest, etc. 

In contrast, Pascale’s role in the story is to follow Jean-Paul. While she is Jean-Paul’s best friend, she is described as “ugly” (as a joke) and has little agency throughout the story: she follows Jean-Paul in his adventures, answers his questions, agrees to his ideas, and buys him cakes at his request. The only decision she gets to make is to suggest going home after Le Louvre… because Jean-Paul’s feet are hurting. It seems this character was in fact created for the language purpose of using “Pascale et moi, nous”.  

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