White Ravens: penelope todd

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New Zealand (English) - 2006 - 36
Todd, Penelope
Dunedin : Longacre Press, 2005. 186 p.
ISBN 1-877361-12-7
Government Experiment – Control – Rebellion – Freedom
In her most recent science-fiction novel, popular author Penelope Todd is dealing with a fairly sinister topic. In order to fight some deadly epidemics, the New Zealand government has just started a nation-wide experiment called »Endorsement «, in which every citizen over the age of 13 gets implanted a tiny metal device to »achieve the perfect balance of chemicals in the human body.« Although it is advertised as a highly beneficial health initiative, some people quickly realise that it will provide officials with the perfect means to monitor and control people, to take away their individuality and freedom. This gripping teenage novel follows teenagers Derik, Marti, and Disco as they join other »abstainers« in their rebellion against a quasi-dictatorial scheme. (13+)

Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 134
Cinquetti, Nicola (text)
Rapaccini, Chiara (illus.)
Eroi, re, regine e altre rime
(Heroes, kings, queens and other rhymes)
Roma: Nuove Edizioni Romane, 1997. 80 p.
(Nuova biblioteca dei ragazzi; 20: Poesia)
ISBN 88-85990-44-4
Children's poetry - Children's rhymes - Wordplay
Achilles, Copernicus, Cicero, Penelope, Pasteur and Michelangelo are only some of the famous persons portrayed in these 54 poems. With a light and ironical touch, using puns and pithy expressions, the author invites children to make their acquaintance with these internationally known figures from history, mythology, science and art. This is a stimulating, enjoyable collection of verse, rhymed and unrhymed. Noteworthy are the black-and-white drawings which complement the text, highlighting its sharpness and lyricism. (7+)

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 1998 - 39
Buxton, Jane (text)
Newman, Penelope (illus.)
Donkey dust
Wellington: Mallinson Rendel, 1997. 144 p.
ISBN 0-908783-16-7
Runaways - Donkey - Adventure - Parentage - Secret
When three children between fourteen and six years of age learn that their mother has left suddenly for Australia to help a sick aunt, they decide to set off to visit the father they have not seen in six years. Travelling in a cart pulled by their pet donkey they learn to deal with each other and fend for themselves on the 100 kilometer journey. Covertly followed and indirectly helped by a family friend, they arrive safely in the end and learn from their father the true circumstances of their parents' marriage and separation. Illustrated with attractive black-and-white sketches, this vividly told adventure story is a real page-turner. (+9)

Philippines (English) - 1996 - 41
Ventura, Sylvia Mendez
José Rizal
Metro Manila: Tahanan Pacific, 1992. 32 p.
(The Great Lives Series)
ISBN 971-630-000-X
Rizal, José/Biography - Philippines/War of Independence - Doctor/Biography
One of the Philippines's national heroes, José Rizal Mercado (1861-1896), a brilliant, promising young European-educated doctor came from a simple merchant family. Already as a young toddler it was clear that he was a gifted learner and when he was eleven years old his family arranged for him to go to a school run by Jesuit priests in Manila. These were turbulent times in the Philippines. The only years of relative peace in his life were those spent studying medicine in Europe, where he became a specialist in eye operations and fluent in many languages. Filled with love for his family and his land, he returned home in 1891 to practice medicine, teach children and help with the modernization of his village. When accused of inciting revolution because of his prominent position among his people, he was unable to flee in time to avoid execution, only a few years before the Filipino nation won independence from Spain. This is a moving story of a very exceptional individual, written in hagiographic terms but filled with historical detail. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 215
Torudd, Cecilia
Vi måste bada!
(We have to take a bath!)
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1995. [26] p.
ISBN 91-29-63093-2
Toddler - Brother - Play
A little boy decides to help his even smaller brother because his mother wants to sleep in one morning. In the end the mother needs to spend much more time putting things back in order, than if she had gotten up and done everything herself. This book by the well-known caricaturist is an example of the outstanding Swedish books for small children, which are so witty that adults can take pleasure in them, too. (4+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1997 - 236
Kuiper, Nannie (text)
Hopman, Philip (illus.)
Het kleuterwoordenboek
(The toddler's dictionary)
Amsterdam: Piramide, 1996. 112 p.
ISBN 90-245-2584-5
Vocabulary - Short story
In nearly one hundred short stories, each dealing with a particular word, children are taught to extend their vocabulary in a playful manner. The stories are divided into five chapters in which various subjects are dealt with in alphabetical order. Sophy and Martin, who are friends, are the main characters in each story, which means that the book can also be read as a whole. In a very clever way Nannie Kuiper is able to make ideas, emotions, words understandable to very young children. The cheerful, colorful illustrations by Philip Hopman are an excellent complement to the stories, even giving them an extra dimension by treating an idea with humor. (4+)

France (French) - 2000 - 119
Bruel, Christian (text)
Claveloux, Nicole (illus.)
(Alboom <wordplay>)
Paris: Être, 1999. [28] p.
ISBN 2-84407-005-1
One toy after the other is piled up on a wobbling tower that tilts from side to side, until it collapses with a great crash-boom. There are guaranteed to be delighted laughs of the small toddler when this page is reached at every new »reading« of this little book, whose illustrations have the colorful, haptic charm of baby toys. The text is spun further with each additional toy, synchronous to the tower, and helps the memory with its babbling sing-song. (2+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 132
Vilcoq, Marianne (text/illus.)
J'attends un petit frère
(I am expecting a brother)
Paris: École des Loisirs, 1999. [20] p.
ISBN 2-211-05483-8
Pregnancy - Sibling rivalry
Maud is sulking because she is supposed to get a little brother. Watching her mother's tummy getting fatter and fatter, she experiences all the phases of jealousy mixed with curiousity about what is happening inside. By lifting the flaps on each page, the reader sees inside mother's tummy, where the little brother is growing and moving about. Maud can listen and even feel how the baby gives her a signal. Sensitive, gentle and enlightening all at once, this book solves the crisis of a toddler. (3+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 199
Hammar, Johanna (illus.)
[Stockholm] : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2001. [12] p.
ISBN 91-87803-12-7
Children's game
The style of Johanna Hammar's first two books for toddlers, »Åka« (»Driving«) and »Leka« (»Playing «), resembles that of the Dutch artist Dick Bruna. Like Bruna's books, they meet the demands of educationalists from around 1900 who stated that clear outlines and homogeneous colours were the most suitable for small children. Despite the similarities, this artist can be distinguished from Bruna by her use of more »elegant« outlines and a wider range of colours. Nevertheless, the pictures, full of information, are just as easy to recognise and leave as strong an impression as those of the Dutch artist. (2+)

The Netherlands (Frisian) - 2002 - 231
Boer, Helena de [et al.] (text/illus.)
Trije protters op in prikje : [ferhaaltsjes foar pjutten en grutten]
(Three starlings on a sprig)
Ljouwert : Afûk, 2001. [28] p.
(Aksjeboek foar bern ; 15)
ISBN 90-6273-599-1
Everyday life
This fairytale-like stack story contains tales and poems for toddlers and pre-schoolers about simple events: stomping your boots in the rain, going for a swim with your dog, or a flowerpot falling on your dog's head. The stories and poems by different authors from Friesland give an impression of the rich children's literature of this part of Holland. The illustrations are also of Frisian origin and show a variety of different techniques in their use of colour and in the way they interpret the stories and poems. (4+)