Thursday, 16 April 2009


It would be hard to visit France and not come across an image or souvenir of Becassine somewhere on your trip, these days we can buy Becassine souvenirs of every type and its not only children who fall for the charms of this young lady from Finistere.

When she was ‘born’ Becassine was basically a ‘filler’. In 1905 magazine for young ladies La Semaine de Suzette was about to be launched but there was a blank page – Jacqueline Riviere wrote the story and Joseph Pinchon illustrated it.
It was the editors idea that La Semaine de Suzette should be a complete contrast from both the readers educational and religious learning, the magazine had stories, games, competitions, poetry, recipes etc. At one time it could boast 100,000 loyal readers, mainly girls from middle class families between the ages of 10 and 15 years old
Becassine was a success and became an occasional feature, although it was not until 1913 that she featured in regular stories. It was at this point that Becassine’s real name was revealed: Annaïck Labornez

Becassine was not the brightest girl, but she was sweet natured, she tended to take things a little too literally with sometimes odd results, but usually a happy ending. At the time the stories were first written it was much more tolerated to laugh at one sector of the community, in the UK we had ‘Irish jokes’, in the US I think you had a similar attitude to Appalachian Mountain folk, for the French it was the Bretons who filed this role, and so making fun of Becassine and her unsophisticated way was quite acceptable

Between 1913 and 1950 twenty seven volumes of stories were published (with a six year break for the war) and the publishers continue to republish these albums adapting and updating them to move with the times.

I love Becassine but confine myself to little resin figures and the feves, however I did find what looks like a wooden Becassine at Chatou a few years ago: despite the apron being a replacement I couldn’t help but fall for her cheeky grin – perhaps she speaks to the child in all of us?


  1. Gay, I like Becassine too, only have a little stuffed one, a few books. Your collection is nice! I'm enjoying your posts.

    Have a great Friday in the UK.

    All best,

  2. Gay, I too am a big fan of Becassine! She reminds me of Amelia Bedelia, a beloved storybook character here in the United States. Amelia Bedelia was the creation of an elementary teacher, Peggy Parish, in 1962. The character, Amelia Bedelia, is a house keeper and is forever mixing up instructions given her because of idioms and the double meaning of homonyms within the English language. Children love the adventures of Amelia Bedelia! I don't have any Becassine figures, but a favorite in my Q collection is one of the HB Quimper yellow with green pok-a-dot series – a female figure with a basket in each arm. I like to keep little blooms from the garden in her baskets and refer to her as Becassine.