"The animal is interesting the children."
Traduction :L'animal intéresse les enfants.
Tu diriez probablement "The animal interests the children" ou "The animal is interesting to the children."
I agree and the second one sounds a bit better, but I would be most likely to say - The children are interested in the animal.
Peut-etre, mais mes phrases sont un peu mieux. Je suis americaine, tu es francais, je crois? Ou anglais? Ou autre?
Australienne :) I don't know whether to be flattered that you think my french is good enough to be mistaken for a french person (assuming you have seen anything I have written in french…), or worried that english doesn't sound like my native language : )
Checked with all the family (also Australians) and we would all phrase it with the children as the subject; as per my sentence. None of us would ever say what DL suggested. We agreed we would possibly use yours, but unlikely as it makes the children almost bystanders in their own "interest" and it just doesn't sound right to us. Hard to explain - I guess it is a regional thing.
If you put it into the first person the "passive" sentences you suggested sound even more strange (but possibly only to me)
"The animal interests me"
"The animal is interesting to me"
"I am interested in the animal"
Interestingly enough, if you say "Animals interest me" or "Books interest me", it sounds fine, something to do with generalisations rather than a particular incident when someone is interested in something….. I just thank my lucky stars I am not trying to learn english! And I am amazed how much I now second-guess what I would actually say in a given situation - I no longer feel sure of my command of my own language!!!
I might have to go back to uni and study linguistics and language - it fascinates me. Amazing - I am happy to be passive with "fascinates" - must be because the "thing" is doing the fascinating. So "The animal fascinates me" sounds perfectly correct.
Sorry such a long, probably boring response…...