A la Queue Leu Leu or a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

One of the nicest experiences during this crazy A to Z challenge is to meet new people and to strenghten the virtual friendships with loyal readers. And sometimes along the way someone gives you a small gift that makes you warm and happy.

My friend Claire writes about books, places, and books that take you places. For the letter P she chose Paris and my novel Trapped in Paris. Talk of a nice Pat on my back.  I encourage anyone who loves picture books, middle grade novels and YA novels to pay Claire a visit. I bet you’ll decide to subscribe to her blog. Her A to Z challenge theme Read Your World With Kids’ Books will take you through a unique and very well researched field trip.

Thank you, Claire!


My French idiom du jour doesn’t have a literal translation but an easy English equivalent.





Mothers who raise their children away from their native land know how complex it can be. I am no exception.

On one hand, I wanted my children to speak fluent English. On the other, I also knew that bilingualism is a terrific asset.

So until my children entered preschool I spoke French and only French at home. And once in a while, a song, a story, and sometimes just an expression hit a chord with my children.

A la Queue Leu Leu became an instant favorite.


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In the French folklore wolves play a large role. These animals travel in pack and often one behind another. It appears that the noun “Leu” in the expression could be an old form for “Loup,” or “Wolf.” The noun “Queue” means “Tail.” So it would make sense that a wolf walking right behind another would also follow its tail.

In any case, despite the old age of this expression, I don’t think “A la Queue Leu Leu” has died yet.

Etes-vous d’accord les français?

Recently my oldest daughter, who is part of an early childhood education program on a college campus in California, told me that her group of three and four-years-old enjoyed French words and songs.

“They love the expression ‘A la Queue Leu Leu’ most,” she said. “So when I want them to stand in single line that’s what I say. Now they even use the expression after recess, when they have to get back in class.”


You never know what your children will remember of your teaching.  Sometimes a simple but fun-sounding expression can leave its mark and transcend linguistic barriers.


A to Z Challenge


See you tomorrow!

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