The Martine series of books is the French equivalent of the English Topsy and Tim, written at the same time and aimed at slightly older children. We enter a world of French sophistication that is totally different to that of the homespun Topsy and Tim and much more adult.
The early sixties were a time when little girls started wearing dresses with extremely short skirts, and if the illustrations by Marcel Marlier are anything to go by, these little girls possess an obvious degree of Gallic charm. “Thank heavens for little girls, they grow up in the most delightful way”, and all that.
Martine’s parents are wealthy and their world is very modern for the era, they only go to the best shops, eat the best food and travel to places like New York to visit friends. Martine herself is very attractive and all her friends, both boys and girls are exceptionally pretty, and all the animals have smiles on their faces and romp about in a charming fashion. Martine has a pet dog, Patapouf, who gets into all kinds of mischief, so much so that he has a whole series of books to himself.
The books in the Martine series, written by Gilbert Delahaye and illustrated by Marcel Marlier, are interesting examples of 1960’s chic, and hopefully I have given you a flavour of that in the pictures below:
Martine and family at the check-in desk
Marine enjoys lobster for lunch in First Class
Martine at the fair
Martine enjoys an ice cream
Martine does the housework. Note rug (endangered species?) and 1960s rubber plant
Martine does the washing up
Martine’s family in their imported Chevrolet Corvette, standing sans seat belts. No health and safety in those days.
Martine and mother shell petis pois with elegance
Martine at the supermarket
Martine at the department store
Martine’s friend on the beach