Le Petit Âne

Illustrated poem
Author: Guy Mauffette
Illustrations: Frédéric Back
Published by: Fides, P'tits bouts de chou collection adapted from L'Oncle " 5 heures trente ", Montreal, 1961, 25 pages


Recounting the fantastic journey of a little donkey who carries his burden beyond the clouds and out into the universe, Le Petit Âne is a poem that can be understood on two levels. With evocative illustrations by Frédéric Back, it offers children an amusing way to learn a complex vocabulary, while discovering different musical instruments and some basic astronomy. This surrealistic little tale can also be understood as an allegory of the artist's role in society.


Actor, producer, poet and storyteller Guy Mauffette (1915-2005) was a star of Radio-Canada radio and was particularly well known as the host of Le Cabaret du soir qui penche and Les Samedis de l'oiseau de nuit. When he decided to publish some of the poems he had performed on his show L'Oncle " 5 heures trente ", he turned to Frédéric Back, who had made a name for himself with his drawings on the TV quiz show Le Nez de Cléopâtre. Frédéric Back illustrated the poems for free in his spare time out of friendship for Guy Mauffette, whom he found "an amusing and whimsical character." Of the six poems initially planned, only four were published: Un Petit Mousse, Ildège de la pomme fameuse, Le Petit Âne and Un Poème.