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French Children Don't Throw Food [Hardcover]

Pamela Druckerman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 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: 13.5 x 3.3 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,984 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
103 of 115 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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4 of 4 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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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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113 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vive la Difference 21 Jan 2012
Beneath a cloak of chatty prose and self-deprecating humour, Pamela Druckerman offers an incisive commentary on child-rearing in France. An irritating American with an irritable British husband (her words, not mine!), she experiences first-hand the differences in cultural, linguistic and performative expectations, covering everything from assumptions about pregnancy, to the socialisation of toddlers, and, of course, plain good manners. Embedded in the text are other stories, of raising bilingual children and of expat mothers in Paris, commiserating over French weirdness and tipping each other off as to where they can buy Marmite and Frazzles.

This is no hatchet job on Anglophone maternity, nor is it a hagiography of French methods. Druckerman is far too smart for that, and even takes time out to investigate how many "American" methods have already been lifted from abroad. Discreet references at the back of the book ground her comments firmly in real research and childcare philosophy, stretching all the way back to Rousseau. Plenty of food for thought, and none of it thrown.

However, since the French are not above dishing out smacks, perhaps someone would like to spank the design department for the ridiculously twee dust jacket, which serves little purpose and ended up in the bin shortly after I acquired the book.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I loved this book and wish I had read it before my first child was born but at least there's hope for my second!

I especially liked the information regarding the 4 month window frame and the 'pause' theory for babies to sleep through the night. I wish I had this information and avoided bad sleeping habits with my baby and eventually having to resort to controlled crying. Looking back now this information makes complete sense especially once you know the science behind a babies sleeping patterns.

If you're reading this book before you first baby is born a lot of the information may go over your head but down the line you may revert book to the information and realise how spot on it is.

The NHS should give this book to every new mum and eventually change our societies way of parenting as at the moment we seem to think that a baby going to bed late, waking up a few times during the night and rising early is 'just part of being a parent' when it doesn't need to be like that!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 12 days 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 16 days 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 25 days ago by Vydaisha Singh
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
Even if you have not got young children this book is entertaining. Made me want to do it all over again and get it right!! Inspiring read.
Published 27 days ago by Merry Widow
5.0 out of 5 stars Recomending it to all my friends
I love this book, really nice tips for a well behaved child. There are gaps but every little one is diffrent and there isn't a recipe for all the problems and ideas which baby's... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Aleks
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting!
I found all the different comparisons between how children are brought up quite fascinating and it has given me some great ideas!
Published 1 month ago by Miss G Sheridan
4.0 out of 5 stars good
The information for new parents was very welcome and made perfect sense. Glad to have read it while expecting as so much of establishing ease and boundaries it seems begins from... Read more
Published 1 month ago by good expecting and new mums and dads
3.0 out of 5 stars Same book as "Bringing up bebe"
Don't get me wrong, I loved the book. Which is why I bought this one, by the same author. However, it's not only by the same author, it's the same book! Frustrating. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Catherine L Cabral
5.0 out of 5 stars Good advice
Whether this book rings true to real french children i do not know as I have never lived in France or know any French children. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Miss Danielle A Garner
5.0 out of 5 stars well written & interesting
Interesting take on Parisian mothers by an American. Written as a personal account rather than a how to, it's enough to help me to briefly review my own parenting.
Published 1 month ago by reader
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