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The book that helped me learn French fluently was Jeunnes Voix, Jeunnes Visages (and forgive my Spelling but I do not have French Spell-Checker). It was strong in that it provided enough dialogues for us (rebellious college students and ill-fitting Spanish learners of French) a way to connect the two romance languages together and get the linguistic comparatives that we needed to obtain in order to succeed.
In fact, that college text book helped me more at a much more difficult learning age than my AP French book did in High School.
Or maybe I am just a genius. Just kidding.
My brother-in-law apprently learned French and Italian using Rosetta Stone while in Iraq. I'm not sure that he's fluent, but in traveling, he's pretty satisfied with his conversational knowledge.
The private school I worked at had a subscription for students who wished to take a language other than Spanish and I've heard from several that the program is actually pretty effective when taken seriously.
A great series of textbooks that was used to teach me French were called Tricolore. I am sure they are still around. I remember them very well, and though they might be aimed at high school students, they give great examples that are easily understood.
Since most of us have acquired our vocabulary, sentence structure, etc. from reading and reading and reading, the same is true for the acquisition of another language. Unfortunately, most of the books in elementary French are on juvenile topics. So, the best thing to do is try to find books written for high school students or above that are on a very low reading level in French. There is a company called Teachers' Discovery that has some excellent resources.
Also, some of the poetry of Jacques Prevert is very simple. Some of these can be viewed at xstream.online.fr/Prevert. There are two sites, one in French, one in English.
It's not a book exactly--at all, really--but I like the free online French learning program available from BeforeYouKnowIt.com. I was using it for awhile with good results until life conspired and threw up unavoidable distractions--can hardly wait till I can recommence my lessons. They have planned lessons and study methods, but you can also develop your own--say you want to learn action verbs--all on the same free software.
About.com has some great french resources. It has lessons, quizzes, will say words and phrases to you, etc. It even includes reviews and links to French books. The links I have posted below go to About.com's page of French e-book recommendations and links to the books. The second link is reading resources for beginner to intermediate French level learners.
I can recommend a good pack of revision cards - French Swot Cards. I got them free at a language fair, but they're nicely presented and easy to follow which is ideal if your a beginner. I don't think they're on sale in shops but you can get them online at swotcards.com. The more learning material you have the better in my opinion!
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