A few weeks ago I had coffee with three friends. One of them came with her 100% adorable and smart four-year-old son. Knowing I was from France he announced that he was his grandma’s chouchou. I asked him how his brother felt not being his grandma’s favorite.

“I’m not her favorite!” he exclaimed. “She loves my brother too!”

I was relieved that it was the case. “Then,” I said. “You are your grandma’s chou.”

“Okay,” he said.

Now that I had made him half of a chou, I had to elaborate. In this context, chou is sweetie in English.

Being the chouchou, however, is not really a compliment. At school, the chouchou is the teacher’s pet. At home, it’s the darling, the child who’s preferred to any other.

“Anyway,” I told the little boy. “You are an adorable bout de chou.”

“A bout de chou,” he repeated in perfect French. “What is it, already?”

“A bout de chou is a child.”

“So I am a chou and a bout de chou?”


A few days later, I saw one of my three friends. She ran over me, announcing that she had recently explained to a French teacher the difference between a chou and a chouchou.

“But,” she said. “The teacher insisted that a chou is a cabbage. Is that true?” asked my friend, clearly surprised that I would have let the boy’s grandma call him a cabbage.

“Well,” I started, “not only. It’s complicated.”

“French is really a weird language,” she concluded.

“You can say that,” I admitted.

If only she knew the many ways a word as simple as chou is used in French! I thought. Ça me prend le chou! It drives me crazy.


So the word du jour is CHOU!


Yes, a chou is a cabbage but also a puff pastry. La pâte à chou (x) is the pastry dough used to make profiteroles. Chou can also mean “head.”

Just a few of the many expressions used with the word CHOU :

Être bête comme chou: To be dumm as a cabbage. Describes someone who’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

C’est bête comme chou: It’s dumm as a cabbage. Describes an easy, simple task.

Avoir des oreilles en feuille de chou: To have ears shaped as a cabbage’s leaves. To have big ears.

Chouchou: the darling, the teacher’s pet.

Être dans les choux: To be in the cabbages. To be in a bad situation.

Être un chou: To be a puff pastry. To be adorable, kind.

Faire chou blanc: To do white cabbage. To fail, to miss, to not be successful, also used when looking for a specific thing and not finding it.

Rentrer dans le chou: To enter the cabbage. Describes a frontal attack, both literally and figuratively.

Un bout de chou: A piece of cabbage. A small kid.

Une feuille de chou: A cabbage’s leaf. A poor-quality newspaper.

If you want to hear the differents expressions in French:


But the selection of books below is not a feuille de chou. I wrote it to honor every dad, daddy, pop, papa, baba…

Since each one is different these books are different too. So if you are still looking for a small gift to celebrate a father or even a grandfather in your life, I hope you’ll find a book that will fit the day.

Hammers and Nails written by Josh Bledsoe and illustrated by Jessica Warrick

When a little girl and her father must unexpectedly spend the day together things get complicated. But, when they decide to step outside their comfort zones, well, things get simpler and really cool.

Now a classic with a twist and a modern story:

I Love Dad With the Very Hungry Caterpillar written and illustrated by the one and only Eric Carle

Dad By My Side written and illustrated by Soosh who posted series of images of a larger-than-life father and his adorable daughter on Instagram. Over 2 million views made her an instant sensation.

Made for Me written by Zack Bush and illustrated by Gregorio de Lauretis

The refrain, “You are the one made just for me” reinforces the unique ties between a father and his child, from the second he was born to future moments.

Many grandfathers take care of their grandkids, whether during weekends or vacations or on a daily basis, so they should be celebrated too. Three of my favorites Picture Books:

Being Frank written by Donna W. Earnhardt and illustrated by Andrea Castellani

When Frank is too frank with his friends, his grandfather helps him learn that the truth is best when served with diplomacy. Laugh-out-loud humor depicts a grandpa as a role model for tact.

How to Babysit a Grandpa written by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish

From the popular Series How To…

This is a step-by-step book on how to babysit grandpa. From what to eat to what to do on a walk or still how to entertain gandpa, this is funny and heartwarming.

Grandfather’s Wrinkles by Kathryn England and Richard McFarland

There are stories behind wrinkles. Grandpa certainly knows how to tell them. This is sweet and funny and a really lovely book to share between a grandfather and his grandkid.

The Night Before Father’s Day written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer

Part of the Series The Night Before…

It’s the night before Father’s Day, and Mom and the kids plan a surprise for Dad. When he goes for a bike ride, everyone gets to work. Dad wakes up the next day to find his garage well organized and his car squeeky-clean. Dad celebrates by taking everyone for a ride.

Pizza Day written and illustrated by Melissa Iwai

A young boy and his dad assemble the ingredients to make their own pizza. There is even the recipe!

I love this one because my husband and my son love to cook together. It’s quite funny since my son started first to bake with me when my husband was too busy with his career to ever cook. Then, with more time my husband became quite a chef. Now, when our son is home the two of them enjoy preparing dinner. Totally fine with me 🙂

Too Much Glue written by Jason Lefebvre and illustrated by Zac Retz

Matty loves glue. Dad loves glue almost as much as Matty. At home, they make tons of things with glue. But in school, Matty goes overboard, creating a mess, but with unconditional love, Dad declares Matty project a masterpiece.

That Cat Can’t Stay written by Thad Krasnesky and illustrated by David Parkins

When Mom brings home a stray cat one day, Dad decides against. Dad doesn’t want a cat, and certainly not two or three or four. When stray cat number five arrives, Dad, however, takes a surprising stand.

Holly Bloom’s Garden written by Sarah Ashman and Nancy Parent and illustrated by Lori Mitchell

It’s not easy to be a gardener when everyone in your family has a green thumb. But Holly’s artistic dad is smart and keeps telling up that she just needs to find the right tools. And sure enough Holly finds her own way to create flowers in her father’s studio.


These books are really trop chou! These books are really too cute!
















  1. Wow, that is a very versatile word Evelyne! And what a great idea to share those ideas for books for dads to share with their children 🙂

  2. Beautiful post – amusant aussi – ( j’ai été le chouchou de l’instituteur en classe de 6ème et de sa famille aussi. C’est un beau cadeau dans la vie, car il faut se donner envie de le mériter. Tu suis ? 🙂 ) amitiés

    • Merci pour ta visite, France! J’ai souvent été une bonne élève mais pas la chouchoute pour autant:)
      En fait j’étais super timide et je ne savais pas me mettre en valeur:)
      Tant mieux pour toi😍

  3. Thanks for the Father’s Day good wishes. It sounds like you could do an entire April A-to-Z on “chou” expressions.

  4. Fascinating post about cabbages, Evelyne and loved your conversation… does my memory fail me, but is there also mon petit chou…which I had always supposed translated into something like my little darling ???????????????

  5. hilarymb says:

    Hi Evelyne – I’ll try again … it keeps bombing me out … I think I’ll bring some chouchou water to help get comments taken and posted!! This one I will copy before I try and post.

    I’m glad you clarified that chou means cabbage, as well as all the other wonderful concepts … clever lad too – what fun … cheers Hilary

    • I’m sorry to be under the impression that you’ve experienced some issues with the posting of your comments.
      Glad to see you again since the A to Z challenge. Thank you!

  6. I will never look at a cabbage the same again!
    Thanks for the book suggestions – great choices for Father’s Day. I’m going out to get absconding Frank.

    • Funny how a simple word can generate so many expressions, right?
      Some of these books are adorable and funny too. Enjoy Sunday with your family as you all celebrate dads in your lives.

  7. Interesting as distinctions for the fathers’day. Je l’ai traduit en français pour plus de compréhensions. Félicitations! Congratulations… André Bouchard

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