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French Children Don't Throw Food [Hardcover]

Pamela Druckerman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 Jan 2012

How do the French manage to raise well-behaved children and have a life!

Who hasn't noticed how well-behaved French children are - compared to our own?

- How come French babies sleep through the night?

- Why do French children happily eat what is put in front of them?

- How can French mums chat to their friends while their children play quietly?

- Why are French mums more likely to be seen in skinny jeans than tracksuit bottoms?

Pamela Druckerman, who lives in Paris with three young children, has had years of observing her French friends and neighbours, and with wit and style, has written a memoir that is ideally placed to teach us the basics of parenting a la francaise.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (19 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385617615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385617611
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pamela Druckerman is a journalist and the author of Bringing Up Bébé (The Penguin Press: 2012); the UK edition of the same book, called French Children Don't Throw Food (Doubleday UK: 2012); and Lust In Translation (The Penguin Press: 2007). She was a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Observer, the Financial Times and Marie Claire. She has appeared as a commentator on the Today Show,, BBC Women's Hour, National Public Radio, Public Radio International, Al Jazeera International, France24 and CNBC. Her website is

Product Description


"Fascinating... gripping... extremely funny... A desperately needed corrective to received wisdom about child-rearing and what having children is supposed to do to a woman's sense of self. I loved it. It made me want to move to Paris" (India Knight The Sunday Times)

"Self-deprecating, witty, informative... But however much she admires "the easy, calm authority" French parents seem to posess, will Druckerman manage it herself? Her efforts to do so add a compelling narrative to this fascinating study of French parenting" (Michele Hanson Guardian)

"Observant, dryly entertaining... In recounting how her three children went native, Druckerman is engagingly self-deprecating... This book is worth its price for the crucial information it reveals about how to win the sleep wars" (Amanda Craig Daily Mail)

"Fascinating and enlightening... Druckerman's observations struck me as Eureka discoveries that could improve interaction between adults and children here" (The Lady)

"I couldn't put it down! Smart, funny, provocative, and genuinely eye-opening" (Amy Chua, Author Of "Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother")

Book Description

The number one Sunday Times bestseller, the book all parents are talking about.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think 4 Aug 2013
By KatyBee
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book - it was written with humour, but interesting observations on different approaches to child-rearing in Britain/America and France. I wish I had read the bit about ignoring wakeful spells in their sleeping when my children were young -and I might have managed a full night's sleep before my eldest was five years old and the youngest two and a half!
Lots of the ideas put forward as used by French parents were thought-provoking, like making them wait before responding to their demands, not 'pushing' them or expecting too much of them - but my children have grown up into successful, friendly, sociable adults and the writer seems to find many French adults distant and unfriendly and we know that the French have a reputation for disliking authority, so which way is right?
Most children grow into youngsters who eat a variety of foods and don't throw their food at the table so why worry?
A good read though.
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107 of 119 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but to be taken with a pinch of salt 10 Feb 2012
By Emma
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I recently bought this book as I live in France and am expecting a child. It is an entertaining read, and I believe that is all it is meant to be. However the author's view on France is incredibly narrow and became increasingly frustrating. It is a shame that she insisted on generalising so much when her contact with France and the French seems to be very limited, she mixes with a small section of wealthy and educated Parisians. Comparing Parisians to the rest of France is silly and shortsighted. Londoners do not represent the UK, nor do New Yorkers America.

Some of her facts about France's views on baby rearing are incorrect. She claims that in France practically nobody breastfeeds and it is not considered beneficial. That is untrue on the RSI website it states very clearly that breast is best, should be done (if possible) for the 1st 6 months and going back to work was not a reason to stop.

I also find her generalisations about Anglophones frustrating as again I don't think that her experience of British people has much depth. Admittedly she is married to a Brit, but he was brought up in Holland and so possibly not a true representative. Some of the things that she seemed to be amazed about in France are also common place in the UK.

All in all it is an entertaining book with a couple of good pointers, but be aware that there is a lot of generalisation and so should be taken with a large pinch of salt.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look into french parenting style 4 July 2012
By Saira
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If your looking for a mummy story-parenting challenges-advice-tips but not a textbook, then this is a book for you. Its an easy read where the author explains her experiences about raising a family in Paris. The author has done an excellent job in analysing the French parenting style and comparing it to British/American styles. I've used some of what I've learn't in practice and its worked wonders on my 2 1/2 year old. A lot of it is common sense but sometimes that just goes out the window when you become a mum! After reading this book I see my toddler in a different light so to speak. And I'm enjoying being a parent more. I have read about a million different British parenting books and none of the techniques really helped. This book has hit the nail on the head. I'm not running around my toddler all day, trying to trick her into eat her vegetables, or hoping that she achieves her next milestone before her age etc. She's calmer and as a result so am I. So if you wish to bring some sanity into your insane world give this book a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A funny (and biaised) perspective on parenting 5 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To start with, I have no children, so for me this book was for entertainment purposes only, and not for getting any parenting tip. It did seem though, that a lot of them seemed valuable, and could be implemented quite easily by parents. I should also mention that I am from France (born and raised), and so for me, the real interest was to read about how children are being raised in the US, as I am quite familiar with how French parenting works obviously.

That being said, it was a very entertaining book ! I read it in 1 go.

I do think that the author exaggerated things. Not all parents raise their child the same way (in France or in the US). But I have traveled quite a bit, and I have to admit, British and American kids did often seem to me to have what we would consider in France, very bad manners and education. I met some horribles kids in France, and some very behaved ones in the US/UK, but overall, I always did notice a difference.
Also, do not read if you mind clichés, as you will encounter quite a lot of them in this book !

Bottom point is, it was a very entertaining book, I laughed quite a lot. If you are a parent, you might find parenting tips you would like to implement. But even if you don't, you'll have a good laugh at least! And a good laugh is always welcome.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I found this on my partner's side of the bedroom and picked it up, intrigued. We have a ten month old which explained why it had appeared. I have to say I found it incredibly humorous. Yes, I sympathised and empathised with the plight of the author and "Bean"; Yes, I read curiously over various marshmellow experiments, considered appreciately the concepts of "delaying" and "teaching patience through "baking". All that aside, to all fathers out there, you could do a lot worse than reading this over the plethora of scientific and preachy "guides" that have created an entire "parenting" section in every high street bookshop. To be honest, I took the France v UK/USA with a liberal pitch of 'sel' as it came across as a selling gimmick rather than hard science. It merely illustrated that perhaps french parents are more relaxed about parenting, more "child ryhthm-attuned". Not something that only the French can do!
What was important it that it was funny. I actually wanted to read it. Some stuff made sense, I changed a couple of methods with our child. My partner and I read it to each other. Heck, I even read it to my ten month old one night rather than a story about a dog. She giggled along with me.
Finally, I found a light-hearted irony in the way Pamela Druckerman castigates the "over-parenting, method-obsessed, book and magzine article-focused" nature of UK and US parents - then gives us yet another book on the matter.
Fathers should read this. Mums should stick this in their husband's Xmas stockings just to get them to read a parenting book because, like me, he'll appreciate it, find it humorous and engaging. And...because fathers will like to read it, they might just find something useful in it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting book and very useful. It is another perspective to...
Very interesting book and very useful. It is another perspective to see parenting. I think that every mother and father should take into consideration many of the French parenting... Read more
Published 16 days ago by MARIA TSIOUNI
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent reading, very different from what mums in UK are accustomed to reading with fresh simple information.
Published 25 days ago by Moon16
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and useful book
I found this book great. It was a very interesting look at how French children are brought up. I loved the tales about the author and her child. Read more
Published 1 month ago by London Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous and Fun too
i bought this book to use in my paediatric practice - loved it and just can wish i had it when my kids were really small!
Published 1 month ago by ABA
5.0 out of 5 stars informative
A really terrific read for any expat and any parent. The story reads with humor and love and passion. It makes you want to move to Paris.
Published 2 months ago by many one
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
it all seems like common sense when you read this. so much better than some of the other books that seem to be written by army captains rather than real people with lives and jobs... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anthony
5.0 out of 5 stars Would reccomend!
I would reccomend this to any new parents, I have found it really really helpful - especially the tips on sleeping through! Worked a treat :)
Published 3 months ago by Shirley Newton
1.0 out of 5 stars where to start
If there were no stars at all, I would have chosent hat option as giving even just one stars adds up to the rating. Read more
Published 3 months ago by LINDA
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative
It was fascinating to learn how French children are brought up and it was a bit galling to discover how much more care and attention the French state puts into this, compared with... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Elizabeth Frazer
4.0 out of 5 stars International Parenting Perspective
A good read if you're interested in another way to get your child on the right path of discipline and positive behaviour.
Published 4 months ago by Vydaisha Singh
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