White Ravens: 1996
Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 1
Harada, Takehide (text/illus.)
(Francis of Assisi)
Tokyo: Suemori Books, 1992.  p.
Francis of Assisi - Christianity
The most important stations in the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, who selflessly searched for his own path to God, are presented in a poem in this brief book. The concentrated, simple illustrations complement the plain text, and together they form a unity which radiates a lyrical-meditative atmosphere. (10+)
Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 2
Itō, Hiroshi (text/illus.)
(The Boy with the Hammer)
Tokyo: Crayonhouse, 1994. [24 ] p.
Sound - Imagination - Visualization
While his father is repairing the dog house a young boy enjoys listening to the sound of the hammer while his eyes are closed. Suddenly he is overcome by the idea that a stranger has come from far away who could perform something funny or thrilling. After this surprising discovery, he tries to use the hammer himself - against the ground, a tree trunk, a metal guard rail, water, etc. The feelings and scenes which the boy associates with each individual tone are visualized in abstract pictures. This is a very original, playful picture book. (4+)
Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 3
Kako, Satoshi (text/illus.)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1995. 52 p.
Origins of life - History of Mankind
»Man is a living creature and living creatures have their source in the universe.« Starting from this premise the author has created a highly vivid picture book about mankind and man's place in the universe. Beginning with the Big Bang he shows the origins and development of humans, the anatomy and the functions of individual organs as well as cultural and social behavior. He makes very clever use of the picture book format: texts and illustrations complement each other and convey in an easily understandable manner scientifically grounded information about mankind. (9+)
Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 4
Kanouchi, Takuya (photos)
Yabuuchi, Masayuki (illus.)
Nakano, Masataka (cover and layout)
(Who Dropped It?)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1994. 40 p.
Using a bird feather which a boy finds in the woods children are told how they can collect and identify such feathers themselves. The instructions are embedded in a suspenseful story. Clear and aesthetic photographs give an impressive view of landscape, animals and feathers. This work was designed by a team of excellent specialists for nature and animal books and stands out from the usual information book due to its tasteful and playful manner. (7+)
(15th Yoshimura Akashiko Award for Science Books for Children, 1995)
Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 5
Kimura, Yūichi (text)
Abe, Hiroshi (illus.)
Arashi no yoruni
(On a Stormy Night)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1994.  p.
Sympathy - Friendship - Antagonism
Can natural enemies become friends if they find each other likeable. Can opposites be overcome? These are the questions posed by this bitter-sweet comedy about a goat and a wolf who take refuge in the same hut during a storm night. Without knowing who the other really is, because they can see nothing in the darkness, they arrange to meet again. What will happen then?
(26th Kodansha Cultural Prize in Publishing for Picture Books, 1995; 42nd Sankei Cultural Prize for Children's Books & Publications - JR Prize, 1995)
Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 6
Kokaze, Sachi (text)
Ono, Kaoru (illus.)
Yubinukikōji no himitsu
(The Secret of Thimble Lane)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1994. 448 p.
Happiness - Philosophy of life - Handicraft
When the button which his mother bought from a peddlar is sewn on his coat, an eleven-year-old boy is magically transported to a world where the present and the past meet and he learns the many life-stories of the residents of Thimble Lane. This is a fascinating tale of fantasy about the secret of the five bottoms from the hoof of the unicorn. The author incorporates in it her sense of value about the things which a person can create with an upright dedication and patience thanks to his skills as a craftsman. (11+)
(32rd Noma Award for Juvenile Literature - Prize for New Authors, 1994)
Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 7
Miyazawa, Kenji (text)
Kuroi, Ken (illus.)
Kumo no shingō. Īhatobu shigashû
(The Signal of the Clouds. Stories and Pictures from »Īhatobu«)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1995. 48 p.
Universe - Nature - Buddhism - Landscape/ Northern Japan - Imagination - Poetry
»Îhatobu« is a fictitious place in the soul of this poet, a practicing Buddhist and agricultural expert, who is deeply rooted in his home region, the Iwate prefect in northern Japan. The 21 poems in which he describes the heavens, clouds, mountains, snow, etc. of his home, are distinguished by an singular language. By employing terms from Buddhism and natural science, he creates an imaginary, unique lyrical world and captivates the reader. The spacious lyrical images open up the universal world of poetry. (14+)
Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 8
Miyazawa, Kenji (text)
Ise, Hideko (illus.)
Suisenzuki no yokka
(The Fourth Day of the Month of the Narcissus)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1995. 36 p.
(Nihon no dôwa meisakusen)
Snow - Spirits
In the mountains of northern Japan the "4th day of the month of narcissus" is the day that the evil old snow woman lets her apprentices, snow boys and snow wolves have a fling. A child hurries home through the forest. The blue skies change and the voice of the snow woman can be detected in the approaching snow storm... The author develops this life-threatening natural phenomenon into a fairy-tale like story while the illustrator Hideko Ise gives it an artist's interpretation. She transforms the appearance of snow into the wild activities of snow spirits in cold and ice. (10+)
Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 9
Mizuki, Shigeru (text/illus.)
Emaki ehon. Yōkai no mori
(Emaki Picture Book. The Forest of Demons, Spirits and Ghosts)
Tokyo: Kogumasha, 1995.
Demons - Spirits - Ghosts - Oral tradition/Japan - Folk beliefs/Japan
While making an excursion a young boy and girl enter the forest kingdom of demons and spirits. In a very entertaining manner his 280cm long fold-out book presents their helter-skelter encounters with 170 figures and beings who have their origins in Japanese folk beliefs and Buddhist beliefs of the soul and the afterlife, or were created by the author himself. The ethnological background of these figures iscommented upon in a supplemental booklet. (5+) ☆
Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 10
Mori, Eto (text)
Uchū no minashigo
(The Orphans of the Universe)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1994. 206 p.
Willpower - Self-assertion - Individuality - Friendship
Fourteen-year-old Yōko and her younger brother hate to be bored and are always thinking up new adventurous games. So they come up with the idea to climb up on the rooftop secretly one night. For them and their two classmates who join them this represents a challenge to break out of their own dissatisfaction. Then as all four of them are sitting on the roof, they realize that they have to shine through their own power like the stars above, which do not let themselves be gobbled up by the darkness of the universe. The author makes the case for willpower and individuality as a way for young people to find their path in life. But they need friends as a counterweight. (12+)
(33rd Noma Award for Juvenile Literature Prize for New Authors, 1995)
Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 11
Nishi no majo ga shinda
(The Witch in the West is Dead)
Tokyo: Nire shuppan, 1994. 205 p.
Willpower - Autonomy - Grandmother/ Granddaughter - Love - Witch - School
Thirteen-year-old Mai is having so much trouble at school that she finally refuses to go anymore. As a result, her parents send her to stay with her grandmother, who lives alone in the country. She is a silent, strong-minded person for whom Mai has always had great respect. The grandmother gives Mai »witch lessons« in self-discipline. The simple life in natural surroundings and her grandmother's understanding love help this sensitive girl to achieve stability and autonomy. This is a stirring story, which addresses the current problem of pupils wanting to cop out of school. (12+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 12
Nasu, Masamoto (text)
Nishimura, Shigeo (illus.)
E de yomu Hiroshima no gembaku
(The Atomic Bomb of Hiroshima in Pictures)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1995. 84 p.
Hiroshima - Atomic bomb - World War 2 - Nuclear Physics - Peace movement
The title tells the reader straight away that this is no easy reading. But whoever opens up this over-sized, oblong picture book will be overwhelmed by the splendid interaction between text and illustration and by their expressiveness. The reader will be filled with a desire to learn more about this event. The text provides a wealth of information about the Second World War, the atomic bomb, radiation damage, the world-wide escalation of nuclear armaments after Hiroshima, current issues about atomic energy and about the anti-nuclear energy and peace movements. This broad and diverse subject matter is given meticulous treatment, interspersed with drawings, tables and graphic art work to make it easily understandable by anyone. Parallel to the very well-structured text segments scenes of life in the old castle town of Hiroshima before, during and after the bomb was dropped, are depicted in full-page illustrations. In all these pictures floats the soul of a victim of the atomic bomb, accompaning the reader along the »stations of this ordeal.« With their diversity and simplicity the illustrations touch the emotions through their diversity and simplicity, allowing each reader a very personal experience. This informative book includes only drawing, setting it apart from most other documentary works based on photographs. (9+) ☆
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 13
Ochi, Noriko (text)
Masai, Kei (illus.)
Terifuriyama no somemonoya
(The Dyer of Terifuri Mountain)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1995. 138 p.
Colors - Plants - Nature - Japan/Fairy Tale
During an artistic crisis a young man takes refuge in the mountains in order to begin anew his work, colors and weaving. His efforts to win the beautiful colors of nature from plant sources are intensified when he makes the acquaintance of a young girl and her father, the »dyer of Terifuri Mountain«, who has a wonderous way of performing his craft. Through this encounter and by experiencing a festival of the mountain inhabitants in moonlight he develops his very own art of coloring which makes him famous. Finally he himself becomes known as the »dyer of Terifuri Mountain.« This fictitious fairy tale is marked by a sensibility to nature, the Japanese aesthetic, and illustrated with graceful, simple pictures. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 14
Ōta, Daihachi (text/illus.)
(Butan, the Pig)
Tokyo: Kogumasha, 1995. 34 p.
Friendship - Greed - Pig - Exploitation
Colorful, earthy pictures tell about Ben and his unusually large pig, Butan. Every-one wants to see it - people from the village, from the city, from the newspaper, from television. It is the main attraction of a show in the city. For the closing celebration, Butan is to be slaughtered and Ben is offered a considerable sum of money for him. Completely enraged , Ben returns home, and from then on Butan helps out in the fields and entertains the children. Behind this naive story there is a bitter truth to be found about exploitation. (4+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 15
Ozawa, Toshio (reteller)
Akaba, Suekichi (illus.)
Nihon no mukashibanashi. Zen 5 kan
(Japanese Folk Tales. Vols. 1-5)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1995. Each 368 p.
Folk tales/Japan - Ainu/Oral tradition - Folk tales/Okinawa
The 301 tales collected here by the leading folk-tale researcher in Japan, T. Ozawa, give a comprehensive picture of Japanese folk tale tradition. In order to give todays's children this rich store of tales in its original form, this edition has been edited with a view to the ethnographical background and literary style of oral folktales. Furthermore, the local dialects have been trans-formed into standard Japanese and the rhythm of speech adapted to enable smooth-flowing story-telling. The tales are grouped according to the four seasons and excellently illustrated with pictures by the Hans Christian Andersen prize-winner Suekichi Akaba. (4+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 16
Satō, Makiko (text)
Ozawa, Masumi (illus.)
Watashi no himitsu no hanazono
(My Secret Garden)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1994. 270 p.
Illness/Everyday life - Nature - Garden
Written in a very concise, atmospherically dense manner, this autobiographical story describes in 21 episodes the everyday life and psyche of an 8-yearold girl who suffers from a serious case of asthma. Just as in her favorite book »The Secret Garden« by Burnett, the garden plays a central role in the life of this protagonist. It represents happiness and life even though her experiences of nature summon up conflicting feelings due to her illness. (12+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 17
Segi, Shinichi (text)
Kayama, Matazō (ed.)
Kokoro ni nokoru Meigabijutsukan. Zen 5kan.
(The Gallery of Famous Pictures. Vols. 1-5)
Tokyo: Kin no hoshisha, 1995. Each 48 p.
Painting - Children - Animal - Nature - Love - Pleasure -Mourning - Imagination
These five volumes contain all together 216 famous paintings from artists all over the world. The volumes are dedicated to the following themes which children are most concerned with: 1: Father, mother and child; 2: The world of animals; 3: Beauty and grace in nature; 4: Love, joy and mourning; 5: Wonderous world of dreams. This makes it easier for children to enter into the world of artistic painting. Short commentaries describe the artists, their works and the historical context. In volumes two and three the differences between the painting techniques and styles in European and Japanese art are given special emphasis. (11+) ☆
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 18
Tang, Yaming (text)
Yu, Dawu (illus.)
(The Journey to the West)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1994. 69 p.
China - Buddhism - Ape - Demons - Adventure
The fantasy- comedy »Hsi-yu chi«, written in 1592 and recounting the travels of the monk Xuanzang to India in the 7th century, has been retold in this impressive artistic picture book. The dynamic protagonist of this classic Chinese work is the apeking, Sun Wukong, who was born from a stone. Endowed with supernatural powers, he even pushes his way into heaven where he is turned into a stone by Buddha. After 500 years he is freed by another monk whom he accompanies and helps to fight against demons who hinder believers making their pilgramage. This is a selection of the most popular episodes from the complete work consisting of 100 chapters, each accompanied by a short preface. (6+) ☆ ☼
(42nd Sankei Cultural Award for Children's Books & Publications - JR Prize, 1995)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 19
Yosano, Akiko (text)
Takabe, Seiichi (illus.)
Kingyo no otsukai
(The Gold Fish Couriers)
Tokyo: Kakusha, 1994.  p.
Goldfish - Help - Humor
Three brothers and sisters of a Tokyo family send their gold fish as couriers to another quarter of town. The fish are able to walk and speak like people, but possess all the characteristics of a fish. Thus they encounter all kinds of difficulties along the way, but are repeatedly assisted by friendly people. The notable illustrations by Seiichi Takabe for this naive-absurd story for children by the wellknown poet Akiko Yosano (1878-1942) contain a certain surreal humor in a commercial art style that was common in Japan at the beginning of this century. (5+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Republic of China (Taiwan) (Chinese) - 1996 - 20
Ceng, Yangqing (text)
Liu, Zonghui (illus.)
Yuanyuan de facai meng
(Yuanyuan's Dream of Getting Rich)
Taibei: Xinyi Jijin, 1994.  p.
Wealth - Blindness - Friendship - Betrayal
Yuanyuan, the shepherd boy, dreams of becoming rich one day and marrying a princess. The enchanted chameleon in the old pagoda knows of his wish and shows him how he can make more from his money. He cheats his friends, the bird and the trees, and even gives his friend, the lily, to the princess to win her favor. But the princess spurns his advances. Blinded by his desire for wealth, he has thus lost everything. At last he awakens from his daydream. Marvellously delicate illustrations, which are easily accessible for the viewer, accompany this story and replicate the mood of each scene and its figures in subtle shadings of color. (7+)
Special Mention - Republic of China (Taiwan) (Chinese) - 1996 - 21
Lin, Qingxuan (text)
Wu, Jianhua (illus.)
Wangzi he yizi
(The Prince and the Chairs)
Taibei: Xinyi Jijin, 1994.  p.
Prince - Pride - Work
The spoiled prince never works, he won't even carry a chair into the garden when his fathers asks him to. He is much too high-born to lower himself in that way. But then he loses the kingdom and must learn to carry chairs and work hard. Tasteful illustrations transport the reader into an oriental fairy tale world. (5+)
Special Mention - Republic of China (Taiwan) (Chinese) - 1996 - 22
Wang, Lan (text)
Zhang, Zheming (illus.)
Da hua mao
(The Large Multicolored Cat)
Taibei: Genhua, 1992.  p.
Cat - Respect - Empathy
The large multicolored cat is very hungry. Setting out to find something to eat, she encounters first two goldfish swimming in a bowl. They lament that if she were to eat one of them, the other would be sad and lonely. The cat accepts this and leaves them alone. Suddenly a little bird falls at her feet, but the parents beg her to spare the life of their child. The same again happens with the mice. Each time there is a good reason for the cat to give up her catch. Will she ever be able to still her hunger? This colorful picture book intends to show that it always pays off to respect the life of others and find other alternatives. (3+)
Ghana (English) - 1996 - 23
Abdallah, Mohammed ben
Ananse and the golden drum. A play for children
Accra: Woeli, 1994. 34 p.
Folktale/Ghana - Greed
One of Ghana's leading playwrights, Abdallah uses here the well-known clever and crafty folktale figure Ananse to write a tale about greed and the consequences of trying too hard to get one's own way. (6+)
Namibia (English) - 1996 - 24
Marais, Anna Louise (text)
Marais, Christine (illus.)
Windhoek: Gamsberg Publishers, n.d.. 102 p.
Namibia - Natural life - Animals
The animals living in the southern regions of African need not become familiar around the world only through folktales. This well-designed information book provides an artist's ink-and-watercolor renderings and informative texts about the habits and character traits of well over 100 animals found in this Namibian national park. A glossary, index and list of references make the book accessible for young adults. This is a useful addition to collections of African studies. (8+)
South Africa (English) - 1996 - 25
The Boy Who Counted to a Million
Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 1995. 109 p.
Self-identity - Grandfather/Grandson -
World War I/Memories - Racial violence This story is set in modern day South Africa during the period of high racial turbulence, which also influence relations between the members of a white middle-class family. Matthew is a thoroughly normal boy who enjoys comics and war games, but his experiences of violence with their black neighbors and his great-grandfather's vivid, guiltily repressed memories as a warfront soldier help him see that there is no glamour in real fighting. Bransby develops this compassionate story of a boy's search for meaning in a well-developed plot. (12+)
Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1996 - 26
Deall, Alanna (text/illus.)
Sandton: Mike Jacklin/Knowledge Unlimited, 1995.  p.
Old Man/Boy - Friendship - Kite
An old man sits under a tree carving animal figures, peaceful but lonely. Then a little boy suddenly comes out of nowhere, flying a plastic bag as a kite. The two of them make it into a real kite and spend a mutually enjoyable day together. The gentle, poetic narrative is accompanied by pen-and-watercolor drawings which capture the character of the protagonists, their feelings and their immediate surroundings. The book is designed in an very attractive style. (4+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1996 - 27
King, Georgiana (text)
Eloff, Friedel (illus.)
Zolani Goes to Yeoville
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1995. 48 p.
Father/Son - Friendship
When Zolani recovers slowly from a debilitating bout of measles, his mother decides that a change of setting would help him and decides to invest all her savings - instead of buying a cow - in making a visit to the father who works in faraway Johannesburg. Their weeks long stay there as subletters in the home of a white family makes an interesting experience for the boy used to living in a remote rural district. The peaceable relations between Zolani's family and their temporary hosts is portrayed without any moralizing overtone, and the everyday pleasures and misunderstandings make interesting reading. (10+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1996 - 28
Wyk, Chris van (text)
Callinicos, Luli (text)
Cape Town: Maskew Miller/Longman, 1994. 66 p.
(They Fought for Freedom)
Tambo, Oliver/Biography - African National Congress - South Africa/Politics
This series of biographies presents southern African leaders who have been struggling for freedom and justice in this century. Short readable chapters with fictionalized conversations and meetings make these books lively and inspiring. Illustrated with photos and supplemented with maps and an appendix of vocabulary, project activities and further reading, the series can also be used in classrooms. (10+)
Special Mention - Swaziland (English) - 1996 - 29
Leggat, Gillian (text)
Heerden, Marjorie van (illus.)
The Car with Three Wheels
Manzini: Macmillan Boleswa Puublishers, 1995.  p.
Brother - Birthday present - Homemade toy
Musa wants to give his little brother a special birthday present, but he has no money. With considerable ingenuity - and some forbidden scavenging - he find enough scraps to make a red racing car. Not only does his brother find it the »best present in the world«, they both continue to collect odds-and-ends for future presents. Though this story is set in Africa, where pocket money may be scarcer than elsewhere, the idea that hand-made things are as valuable as store-bought ones, and a gift of the heart the dearest of all, is universal. The color or black-and-white full-page illustrations attractively capture the main events of this simple everyday story. (6+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Zimbabwe (English) - 1996 - 30
Proctor, André (text)
Koch, Hannie (illus.)
The school we made
Harare: Baobab Books, 1992.  p.
School - Soccer - Everyday life/Village/Zimbabwe
The villagers first get support to build a real school building and then they are granted their request for an accredited teacher. But this strict, taciturn stranger has other ideas about classroom behavior, appearances and when it is appropriate to play soccer on the school's sport field. The efforts of the parents and the heart-felt enthusiasm of the pupils for their soccer team finally win him over and he becomes integrated into village life. The gently drawn pen- and-brush drawings on each page capture the main elements of this well-written entertaining tale. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Zimbabwe (English) - 1996 - 31
Waste Not Your Tears
Harare: Baobob Books, 1994. 73 p.
(Turn about series)
Love - AIDS
A young woman thinks she has found the man of her dreams. After she moves into his quarters, his promises of marriage prove to be the false words of a lazy and self-centered man. When she discovers that he has infected her with AIDS, she must find the strength to live with this situation. This topic is not only of interest to Africans, but all over the world. (14+)
Australia (English) - 1996 - 32
Fred Hollows. Leaving the World a Better Place
Carlton: CIS/Cardigan Street Publishers, 1995. 44 p.
(Makers and Shakers)
Hollows, Fred/Biography - Eye disease - Medical Care
New Zealand-born Hollows (1929-1993) is revered by thousands of people as a »larrikin saint.« He dedicated his life to bringing the highest quality medical care to the eyes of the poorest of the poor. The author describes Hollows beginnings and early »Wanderjahre« in New Zealand and Australia, before focusing on his professional life as an ophthalmologist. Explanations of medical treatment and the socio-political issues which effect medical care around the world are also featured here. The text is given an attractive layout with black-and-white photos and and documentary information. (10+) ☼
Australia (English) - 1996 - 33
Clark, Margaret (text)
Guthridge, Bettina (illus.)
Wally the Whiz Kid
Ringwood: Puffin/Penguin Books Australia, 1995. 99 p.
(Mango Street Story)
School - Politicians - Adventure story
Wally knows a lot more than most kids his age, but he only gets in trouble when his best friend, Sean, dauntlessly sally into the state parliament house to get out of the rain. A case of mistaken identity, they are asked to give their opinions on major political matters - before running cameras! Sean, the narrator, tells of their misadventures with a jaunty commentary of the adult world that will surely entertain. (9+)
Australia (English) - 1996 - 34
The Drover's Dog
Norwood: Omnibus Books/Ashton Scholastic, 1995.  p.
Man/Dog - Tricks - World travel - Affection
Joe is a simple man in the outback. His dog Sue has a gift for acrobatic tricks which she gladly does to please her master, earning his praise and attention. But once he becomes obsessed with travelling the world and earning money with her tricks, their old way of life changes for the worse. It takes the intervention of a kindly queen for Joe to realize how selfish he has been in denying Sue the very thing that made their relationship so special - true affection. Water-colored pen-and-ink sketches exuberantly convey a simple story about the needs of the heart that children - and hopefully adults - will appreciate. (5+) ☼
Australia (English) - 1996 - 35
The First Book of Samuel
Ringwood: Viking/Penguin, 1995. 158 p.
Family - Father/Daughter - Grandfather/ Grandson - Conflict of Interest
The past history of a family can have an effect on the next generation, as in the case of 12-year-old Samuel where the relationships between his father, her mother, his father's first wife and children, and his dearly beloved grandfather form a core constellation that produces a turning point in his life and helps to establish his own identity. The author skillfully develops the events which lead up to a climactic »kidnapping« and reconciliation. The theme of family relationships is narrated here in a fascinating style with the voice of a concerned observer, giving the story a feeling of immediacy. (12+)
Australia (English) - 1996 - 36
A bit of a hitch and other stories
Melbourne: Hyland House, 1995. 160 p.
Short stories - Australia - Old Age - Pets - Imagination
These funny and fast-paced short stories revolve around episodes of everyday life in modern Australia, but could perhaps happen to anyone anywhere. There is, for example, a case of an accidental long distance call from Scotland, or an imaginary aunt invented and fully-blown to reality by the whole family, all for the sake of a school essay. In an appendix Steele describes where the inspiration for each story came from. This is entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking reading based on well-formed plots and characterizations. (10+)
India (English) - 1996 - 37
Jafa, Manorama (text)
Harichandan, Deepak (illus.)
Gandhi. The Man of Peace
Delhi: Ratna Sagar, 1995. 95 p.
Gandhi, Mahatma/Biography - Peace - War of Independence
A leading writer of children's books in India has carefully prepared this biography of India's and the world's most famous leader in a readable style, filling it with anecdotes and imagined scenes from Gandhi's life as a boy, a young lawyer in South Africa, and a political activist in the still British colony of India. Black-and-white sketches highlight important stations of his life. (10+) ☆ ☼
India (English) - 1996 - 38
New Delhi: Children's Book Trust, 1994. 152 p.
Mother/Son - Self-identity - Friendship - Family origins - Detective story
When his father dies, a English schoolboy discovers the secret of his mother's identity which his father had tried to hide from him. Determined to learn the mystery of his parent's relationship and find his mother, he travels with his butler and a school friend to the Himalayas. Their many adventures before finding the remote village of Malana, home of Jack's reclusive mother, make for a suspenseful story and a framework for getting to know one area of India. At last reunited with his mother, their future together or apart is left open. The problems and challenges of bi-cultural families makes up part of this interesting story. (12+) ☆
New Zealand (English) - 1996 - 39
Dunedin: Longacre, 1995. 115 p.
School - Outsider - Sport - Conformity
Byrony moves to Auckland and enters a new school. She is well-to-do, white, and clever in a school where many pupils are none of these. Tormented at first by her classmates, her efforts to win acceptance through conformity with their values results in a brush with the law. This is a thoughtful novel about two girls, united by their love for softball, who try to bridge class divisions through growing understanding and friendship. Boock is a prizewinning writer for young adults, and also for theater and television. She shows great insight into the problems of growing up in modern times, where individuals must struggle to chose the path that is right for themselves. (14+) ☆
Philippines (English) - 1996 - 40
Kuhonta, Ma. Michelle (text)
Llana, Dindo A. (illus.)
Metro Manila: Cacho Publishing, 1995.  p.
(We Love the Earth Books/Mini Series)
How Anna learns to swim at the seashore is told her in rhyming verse, illustrated in full-page richlydetailed spreads with elements of modern art and child-oriented humor. (3+) ☼
Philippines (English) - 1996 - 41
Ventura, Sylvia Mendez
Metro Manila: Tahanan Pacific, 1992. 32 p.
(The Great Lives Series)
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+) ☆ ☼
Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 42
Cashford, Jules (reteller)
De'Angeli, Daniel (illus.)
Theseus & the Minotaur
Bath: Barefoot Books, 1995. 32 p.
Greek mythology - Minotaur - Theseus - Greed - Betrayal
This classic myth of greed and betrayal is retold in an easily accessible but lengthy narrative.The text alternates with sparse water-color illustrations by the Italian painter De'Angeli which give his own rendering of the main events related in the text opposite. In an afterword the author points out the cultural and historical elements of the story and gives an interpretation of the symbolic meaning to be found in the main characters and their deeds. The book's aesthetically pleasing design will further it's appeal for older children. (8+)
Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 43
Coplans, Peta (text/illus.)
Cat and Dog
London: Andersen, 1995.  p.
Cat - Dog - Counting - Tolerance
Is this a counting book or a book about tolerance and friendly rivalry? The cat brings a delicious tencourse picnic (»snack« she calls it) to the beach but refuses to invite the dog to join her. Distracting her with a counting game, he manages to grab more than his share of the goodies. Fortunately she takes the loss lightly and in a critical moment the tension is broken with a game of chase. These gaily painted uncluttered full-page water-color illustrations are sure to appeal to pre-schoolers. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 44
Dicks, Terrance (text)
Beaumont, Laura (illus.)
London: Piccadilly Press, 1995. 75 p.
(Chronicles of computer game addict)
Computer - School - Fantasy adventure
Zak is a computer game champion who seemed to have his addiction under control. But suddenly he and his elderly neighbor, the shopkeeper, and other adults also appear to be having hallucinations. Zak takes on the mission of tracking down the enemy named Virus in cyberspace and learns that though things may not always be as they appear to be, one can take control and change them. Black-and-white illustrations and a somewhat oversized type mark this as a early-reader book. This is the third adventure story about Zak, a boy whose wild and weird experiences will keep other boys of his age and background turning the pages. Reading could become addictive, too. (7-10) ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 45
Hendry, Frances Mary
Oxford: University Press, 1995. 120 p.
India/Customs - Marriage - Family
At the age of eleven Chandra, a schoolgirl in modern-day Delhi, is married by her family to a sixteen-year-old boy, a distant relative whose traditional family lives in a remote rural area. All her dreams of a modern marriage with a boy she immediately liked vanish when he dies before she arrives at his home. But in accordance with tradition, a widow must remain in the family, staying out of sight, and work as a servant. And indeed this family is very hard on her. Chandra's spirit, however, is not easily broken, and she manages to escape from this cruel fate. Though her parents refuse to help her, her grandmother finds a way to enable her ultimately to start a new life in England. This novel touches the heart in its portrayal of a determined girl up against nearly insurmountable odds.The narrative is well-paced, the local color of the city and rural Indian life believable. Though not written by a native of India, the author has surely done considerable background research to create a sympathetic portrayal of the dilemmas of Indians torn between socially cohesive traditions and the desire for progress and individual happiness. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 46
London: Walker Books, 1995. 217 p.
Climate - Conservation - Electricity - Windmill - Computer-based communication
This novel is set in 1999 against a background of chaos in world weather patterns and reflects anxiety about the encironment and changing climate. Telly lives on a wind farm and is a member of »Weather Eye«, a club that shares information via Internet about climatic conditions all over the world. A neardeath experience during a storm leaves her with psychic powers and a clear, if daunting purpose. The third award-winning book by Lesley Howarth is a sophisticated and well-written story in which the suspense and drama are sustained throughout. (12+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 47
London: Victor Gollancz, 1994. 125 p.
Ten-year-old Robin and his widowed mother run a bed-and-breakfast in an old Victorian house on the Yorkshire coast. After a collision with a dog sends him to hospital, Robin is extremely wary of canines. His new neighbors, family with four children, whose wacky, unconventional and inventive way of life adds adventure to his life, help him overcome his fears of dogs and bullies. The sprightly story, full of funny episodes is a well-developed, fastpaced entertainment. (9+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 48
Our Universe. A Guide to What's Out There
London: Kingfisher/Larousse, 1995. 96 p.
Universe/Origins - Astronomy
Stannard, a professor of physics, has already written several well-received and entertaining introductions to the concepts of modern physics. Beginning here with the facts and basic laws of nature on our planet, he moves from matter and gravity to the solar system and on to the theories of the origins of our universe. The design of each page is varied, using colorful illustrations, box inserts for factual details, black-and-white cartoons and quiz questions, all arranged to keep the focus on the subject matter. This informative and easy-to-follow text will appeal even to young readers who might otherwise avoid natural science topics. (10+)
Ireland (English) - 1996 - 49
Dublin: Basement Press, 1995. 126 p.
Football - Good/Evil
Larkin's Lot are a football team with a difference. They are the seven all-time worst players. In an attempt to achieve victory the two main players, Gerald and Fran, enter into a sinister plot with Lucky Lucy, the devil in a sports coat - and soon achieve more fame than they are ready for. The perennial struggle between the forces of good and evil is played out on a football pitch in this fastpaced comedy that is sure to appeal not only to football-playing boys. (10+)
Ireland (English) - 1996 - 50
Dublin: Poolbeg, 1994. 155 p.
Ireland/History 1893 - First love - Self-discovery
In this sequel to »The Hiring Fair« the everyday life of a farming family in Donegal is presented from the standpoint of the eldest daughter, Sally. Returning from Scotland where she and her sister worked as hired hands, she finds that her would-be boyfriend is being pressured by his family to strive for a liaison with a richer girl. Sally has her own dreams for a better life and decides to pursue them by going off to Dublin. Full of authentic details of Irish country life in those times, a young girl's path of self discovery is portrayed here in a fascinating, well-paced narrative. (12+)
Ireland (English) - 1996 - 51
Could this be love? I wondered
Dublin: O'Brien, 1994. 160 p.
First love - Family - Social differences
Jackie lives in a well-to-do suburb of Dublin and has little contact with other poorer neighborhoods until she goes to a disco evening at another school. For quite some time she has been exchanging »he Look« with a boy on her bus line, to whom she feels mysteriously attracted. When they finally meet, there are still further barriers to be overcome. The ups and downs of their romance, with all the family and social complications, are told by her in the first person, making it a believable story which teenagers will be able to identify with. (14+)
Ireland (English) - 1996 - 52
Hannah Or Pink Balloons
Dublin: Marino/Mercier, 1995. 96 p.
Hannah, Mark and Ben stay with their Belfast grandmother for over six weeks while their parents are away. Then Granny has an accident, and the additional responsibilities placed upon them deepens the relationship between the children and their grandmother. The narrative structure is engaging, the characters well-developed as the children go about their everyday activities of school, homework and housework. Though the story works well without any sensations or crises, the text is interspersed with humorous side-line commentary by magpies who observe the events from their nest at the bottom of the garden. (10+)
Ireland (English) - 1996 - 53
Melody for Nora. One Girl's Story in the Civil War.
Dublin: Wolfhound, 1994. 217 p.
Ireland/1922 - Father/Daughter - Music - Alcoholism
Set against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War in 1922, just one year after most of Ireland won independence, this timely balanced novel explores complex political allegiances, the horror of war and difficult family circumstances through the eyes of the its central character. Fourteen-year-old Nora looses her mother and experiences only bitterness in her usually drunken father. But she is musically talented, resourceful and ultimately a survivor. This novel is as much about Irish life in that turbulent period as it is about growing up in hard times. (12+)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1996 - 54
Aura, Alejandro (text)
Gukova, Julia (illus.)
Langer, Shirley (transl. from Spanish)
Sefami, Sally Stokes (transl. from Spanish)
The Other Side
Toronto: Annick Press, 1995.  p.
Curiosity - Opposites - Reversal - Eternity
One day the king sent all the children in his kingdom out to discover what the world was like on the other side. Made curious by their reports that everything was just the same, except »sdrawkcab« he decided to see it all for himself. The surprising result is left open-ended in this playful, mindboggling tale. The author, a prize-winning poet and philosopher, is a major figure in contemporary Mexican literature. The composition of this story follows the axioms of storytelling by awakening the curiosity and imagination of the young reader with thought-provoking ideas. The illustrator, who lives in Moscow, has already illustrated many children's books and won the Third Prize at the BIB. She has expanded the text with Alice-in-Wonderland-like imagery in a surrealistic style where colors play an important role. (7+)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1996 - 55
Gilmore, Rachna (text)
Priestley, Alice (illus.)
Lights for Gita
Toronto: Second Story Press, 1994.  p.
Festival - Homesickness - Friendship
A young Indian girl whose family recently moved to the chilly northern climate of Canada excitedly looks forward to celebrating Divali, the Hindi celebration of lights in honor of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth who brings good fortune and prosperity to all throughout the year. Though the day turns out much differently than she expected, she makes another step toward accepting her new surroundings. (6+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1996 - 56
Gugler, Laurel Dee (text)
Willms, Russ (illus.)
Little Wynne's Giggly Thing
Toronto: Annick Press, 1995.  p.
Family - Usefulness
Little Wynne would like to contribute to the running of the household, but all the important things in home and garden are taken care of by the adults. So she turns to making gadgets and sculptures whose only function is to stimulate laughter and enjoyment. Not successful at first, she is persistent and finally gets the others to see the usefulness of her own playful creations. The caricaturist full-page and double-spread illustrations support the zany thesis of the book. (6+)
USA (English) - 1996 - 57
Ashby, Ruth (ed.)
Ohrn, Deborah Gore (ed.)
Steinem, Gloria (intro.)
Her Story. Women Who Changed the World
New York: Viking, 1995. 304 p.
World/History - Women/Fame
This compendium of 120 biographies of women who became famous during the course of »history« is an inspiring, informative book. Each two-page biography is prefaced with a quotation that can be taken as that woman's life motto. The long list runs from an Egyptian queen born in 1486 B.C. to the Guatamlan freedom fighter Menchú, born in 1959. Texts by the nine contributors highlight the early circumstances, turning points and main achievements in each woman's life. An introductory essay summarizes the course of women's collective fate and an extensive bibliography gives valuable tips for further reading. Nearly half the woman cited were born in the USA, but over 60 women from other countries can also be identified by country in an index. (12+)
USA (English) - 1996 - 58
New York: Viking, 1995. Each  p.
ISBN 0-670-85804-8; 0-670-86392-0
Wordless picture book - Perception - Travel
The Hungarian-born, New York-based artist Banyai has composed two fascinating picture books with mind-expanding images fitting together like a Russian wooden doll, Babouschka. He takes the beholder on a wordless journey through space and time via images which follow upon one another in a telescope fashion. The first scene focuses on one minute object. With each successive page, one finds either more detail revealed in a wide-angle panorama or the previous context once again concealed by another jump backwards. As each individual, snapshot- like scene unfolds, it depicts events in different epochs in different parts of the world, ranging from Egypt, Hollywood, India, to Japan. These books surely invite the younger reader to look carefully over and over again, to explore details, sense shifts of perspective and see incongruities; older viewers can appreciate the books as visually rendered intellectual exercises in freeing the imagination from the boundaries of time and space. (6+)
USA (English) - 1996 - 59
Bruhac, Joseph (reteller)
Shrader, Christine Nyburg (illus.)
Gluskabe and the four wishes
New York: Cobblehil Books/Dutton, 1995.  p.
Wabanaki/Folktale - Greed - Wish
The author, a well-known storyteller, is a registered member of the Western Abenaki Nation of the Wabanaki peoples of New England. He drew on several written and oral sources in writing this tale about the selfish consequences of desire and foolhardy curiosity. The Glushabe (also spelled Koluskap or Gloopskap) is a cultural hero who aids the Great Spirit of all things, and here gives each of the four men their various heart's desires. As he points out, the oral stories are meant to teach but also must entertain.The text is complemented by dark natural tones which corresponde to the natural environment. (6+)
USA (English) - 1996 - 60
New York: Cobblehill Books/Dutton, 1995. 114 p.
Cohen rightly notes in his introduction that the imaginations of children and adults alike are easily captivated by the figure of the vampire, or rather stories and rumors of their existence. Young adult literature abounds with horror stories today. Cohen has collected a facinating compendium of tales and events from different countries which have been told over the past 200 years.He relates each story briefly within an objective framework and gives a commentary. The reader can thus maintain a distanced stance and even laugh about the gullibility of »other people« while still enjoying the tales, too. (10+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 61
Clarke, Dr. John Henrik (intro.)
The Middle Passage. White Ships - Black Cargo
New York: Dial Books, 1995.  p.
Africa/Slavery - North America/Slavery - South America/Slavery
The renowned US-American artist and professor of art, Tom Feelings, expresses the horror of the African diaspora - the transport of millions of black men, women and children into slavery in the New World - in 64 narrative paintings. Feelings captures here a world-shattering event while also giving expression to a highly personal experience. Leaving out any text captions helps to emphasize that this sin against humanity can only be fully realized at the visceral level. In an introduction he explains how he came to develop this project, while Dr. Clarke gives historical background to the forces that led to the slave trade. This is a highly recommendable work for showing young people that history is more than facts, illustration is much more than decoration. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 62
Garland, Michael (text/illus.)
Dinner at Magritte's
New York: Dutton, 1995.  p.
Dali, Salvador - Magritte, René - Fantasy - Art
The American illustrator Garland conveys his enthusiasm for surrealist art in this simple story of a young boy living outside of Paris who breaks out of the boring, even petrifying stillness of his parent's cottage to visit his artist neighbor, Magritte. When Magritte's friend Dali also pays a visit, they help Pierre discover that there are other ways of visualizing one's immediate surroundings. Garland's colorful surrealist illustrations invite readers to open their imaginations. (4+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 63
Murphy, Jim (text)
Kiesler, Kate (illus.)
Into the Deep Forest with Henry David Thoreau
New York: Clarion Books, 1995. 39 p.
Thoreau, Henry David/Travels - Nature
The award-winning non-fiction writer, Jim Murphy, uses Thoreau's own journal entries about a trip through the wilderness of Maine to create an adventure story of suspense and discovery which young readers who appreciate nature will find eye-opening. Watercolor scenes of landscape and black-and-white vignettes of animals and plants attractively frame the text. (8+) ☼
Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 64
Hamanaka, Sheila (comp./intro.)
On the Wings of Peace. Writers and Illustrators Speak Out for Peace, in Memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
New York: Clarion Books, 1995. 144 p.
This collection of contributions from 60 wellknown authors and illustrators from numerous countries of the world is dedicated to the people who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, a terrible event which serves to remind us why we must work for peace. The written contributions are short texts about true or fictitious events or poems well-suited for reading aloud. Some speak to the mind, others to the heart, but all condemn war and its pain. The artwork includes every thinkable type of media. The pieces are excellently reproduced on full-sized pages. The book was put together with great care and dedication. It includes a valuable bibliography of resource materials on war and on conflict resolution for adults and for children, biographical notes on the authors and illustrators and step-by-step instructions for folding an origami paper crane. (6+) ☆
Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 65
Scieszka, Jon (text)
Smith, Lane (illus.)
London: Viking/Penguin, 1995.  p.
(Orig. ed: New York: Viking, 1995)
Mathematics - School
When his teacher states that „almost everything [is] a maths problem", a boy begins to see his entire life in terms of numbers and mathematical functions. He begins to feel she has put a curse on him. Of course, for this well-known author-illustrator team that is just an excuse to give the reader a riotously funny romp through a maze of incongruous quiz questions. The artwork and design of each page are fully absorbing, and the clear typeface suggests that this is also a book for first readers. The editor has apologized for and corrected a mathematical error which was overlooked. Fans of this authorillustrator team will not be disappointed in this latest collaboration. (6+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 66
Venezia, Mike (text/illus.)
Chicago: Children's Press, 1994. 32 p.
(Getting to know the world's greatest artists)
Mike Venezia believes strongly that the best way to introduce children to art or music is through fun. His wry and witty texts and matching comical, deadpan illustrations are interspersed with samples of the artist's most famous pieces. The texts highlight key biographical facts and stages in the artist's development. This series includes books on a broad range of artists from Sandro Botticelli and Rembrandt to Georgia O'Keefe and Edward Hopper. Another series done in the same style is titled »Getting to know the world's greatest composers« and includes modern composers such as Aaron Copland and earlier ones such as George Händel. (8+) ☼
Austria (German) - 1996 - 67
Frischmuth, Barbara (text)
Kállay, Dušan (illus.)
Gutenachtgeschichte für Maria Carolina
(Good-night Story for Mary Caroline)
Wien: Jugend & Volk, 1994.  p.
Sleep - Dream - Toad - Fantasy - Orderliness
While taking an adventurous journey, Mary Caroline and the dreamtime toad meet the Sudel (a German term for sloven), little friendly creatures whose disconcern for orderliness - especially at the table - immediately wins the full sympathy of the child. But while the Sudel are able to simply shake off their messes, all of Caroline's messes are still to be seen on her clothing the next day. And yet it is clear - dreams can help. Particulary essential to this story are the bizarre-fantastic pictures of Dusan Kállay, whose sophisticated use of coloring gives the eye a visual adventure. (6+)
Austria (German) - 1996 - 68
Goller, Anja (text)
Brinx, Thomas (text)
Plöger, Juliane (illus.)
Koch Eduard träumt
(Eduard the Cook Dreams)
Wien: Esslinger im Österreichischen Bundesverlag, 1995.  p.
Fish - Cook - Dream - Love - Promise
A lonely fish cook dreams even at night of the pleasures of fishing. Suddenly he realizes that as a professional cook he must kill the fish. But when the queen of the fish promises to marry him, he changes his cuisine from fish specialities to sweet dishes. The illustrations are on the one hand notably reminiscent of the old masters. A touch of children's painting, on the other hand, may be seen in the fish and their surroundings. The resulting tension matches that between dream and real-life. (8+)
Austria (German) - 1996 - 69
Janisch, Heinz (text)
Kernke, Gabriele (illus.)
Benni und die sieben Löwen
(Benni and the Seven Lions)
Wien: Betz, 1995.  p.
Fear - Fantasy - Self-confidence
Benni has lots of courage. In the course of one day he conquers seven threatening lions. They cross his path while he was defending himself against the other children. At home in the evening he tells all about it and it becomes clear that he can fight crocodiles, too (they are sitting at the dinner table with him). It needn't only be lions. This is an eyewinking book of encouragement that children will immediately respond to. (6+)
Austria (German) - 1996 - 70
Jooß, Erich (text)
Boratyński, Antoni (illus.)
Der Sohn des Häuptlings
(The Chief's Son)
Mödling: St. Gabriel, 1995.  p.
Indians/Legend - The Flood <motif> - Creation
The son of the tribe's chief refuses to become a warrior. He encounters the great Mother Earth who has tried to heal the wounds to the earth which men have caused. Finally she announces the Great Flood and the chief 's son survives in the Ark. When the flood recedes, the earth begins to bloom again. A dolphin becomes a young woman and she stays with him. This Indian legend unites Christian biblical and naturalist myths. The topic of war and peace is expanded upon by the illustrator by focussing on Nature and the idea of creation. (8+)
Austria (German) - 1996 - 71
Nöstlinger, Christine (text)
Sidibé, Frank Abu (text)
Waldschütz, Barbara (illus.)
Wien: Dachs, 1995.  p.
Africa/Fairy tale - Cinderella <motif>
The great village celebration is about to take place, but one girl, the step-daughter of an African mother, is not allowed to decorate herself. A lion comes to her rescue and the black king's son chooses the lovely Cinderella to be his wife. Thereupon the stepmother and her daughters, filled with jealousy and anger, turn into large and angry buzzing flies. Ever since then all large flies buzz. This variation of the widely known fairy tale motif, in which a lion turns into a braid-making hairdresser for the African Cinderella, gives the story a fully new touch. The pictures are based on African art. (10+)
Austria (German) - 1996 - 72
Wien: Jungbrunnen, 1995. 142 p.
Cyberspace - Future - Media - Crime - Detective
In the year 2004 it may be possible for a (virtual) talkmaster to have eternal youth, while his human original is dying of boredom in a retirement home. private detective Lilly Lobster (17) solves the case with the help of her few but trusty friends. The reader will find himself confronted with baffling new forms of cohabitation, interpersonal communication and justice. Using the current usage of electronic media as a starting point, the author takes it virtually (and pleasurably ironically) a step further. (10+)
Austria (German) - 1996 - 73
Slupetzky, Stefan (text/illus.)
Nurmi, der Bär
(Nurmi the Bear)
Wien: Picus, 1995.  p.
Bear - Runaway - Mischief - Return home
Nurmi is the most curious, most hungry, most sassy, most brave but also the loneliest and saddest bear around. As long as he enjoys his roaming, he plays one trick after the other on people. But when winter comes, he withdraws into the family cave. And now he is the most-in-love bear of all. This light-hearted story presents interesting possibilities of how (bear) children can really pester, though not without some risk, the adults. But a happy ending is possible anyway. (6+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 74
Hamburg: Dressler, 1995. 205 p.
School holiday - Family - First love - Siblings
The thirteen-year-old twin sisters Annabel and Linda are both in love with Finn Rückert. But the whole touchy matter only gets off the ground when the Moll family takes their holiday at home. The neighbors are not supposed to notice that they haven't gone away (»no Bahamas«!) and playing hide-and-seek involves no little difficulty. This is a cheerful and slightly ironic story about the apparently so very taken-for-granted living conditions and expectations of people in West Europe. (12+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 75
Drude, Lothar (text)
Wittkamp, Franz (illus.)
Mauerblümchen und Schattenmonster
(Wallflower and Shadow-monsters)
Recklinghausen: Bitter, 1995. 64 p.
Argument - Neighbor - Wall - Reconciliation
It is the wish of the combative shadow-monsters, Morgler and Abenil, to let the wall of the soul between Ferdinand and Fridolin and the stone wall between their gardens grow higher and higher. When the hobo, Wall-flower, decides to take a nap on the little wall, he is able to take the role of a nonpartisan mediator. With the support of Wittkamp's illustrations, the author successfully portrays the wrongs of a groundless enmity and the satisfying reconciliation of the opposing parties. (6+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 76
Erlbruch, Wolf (text/illus.)
Frau Meier, die Amsel
(Mrs. Meier, the Blackbird)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1995.  p.
Blackbird - Pet - Flying - Learning
Mr. and Mrs. Meier live a quiet and fairly uncomplicated life - until a blind baby blackbird lands in their pumpkin patch. Mrs. Meier raises it, feeding it worms and flies all day and night. The crowning moment of her efforts comes when the little bird learns to fly. Mrs. Meier must herself take to flight before the blackbird dares to try. Mr. Meier has never seen his wife so happy. Since Erlbruch's stories are not necessarily limited to earthly matters, the theme, tone and pictures of this book fit together exquisitely. (5+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 77
Erlbruch, Wolf (text/illus.)
Zehn grüne Heringe
(Ten Green Herrings)
München: Hanser, 1995.  p.
Herring - Children's poetry
In an unconventional and boisterous style Erlbruch re-writes and re-illustrates the poem »Ten Little Indians« as a totally nonsensical story about ten green herrings. In this version everything is possible and in the end they are ten again. This small-sized book, designed to be carried about anywhere by children and adults, to be told and looked at again and again, is pleasing in both word and picture. (4+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 78
Friedrichson, Sabine (text/illus.)
(The Glass Ball)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995.  p.
England/Fairy tale - Fox - Girl
Loss and betrayal, lies and faithlessness with an uncertain ending are the stuff fairy tales are made of. Here a girl tries to get her glass ball back out of the fox's yard. Only by breaking a number of rules can she find her ball again. When she flees, the animals whom she meets during her flight promise not to betray her, but do so anyway as soon as the fox makes inquiries about her. The fox, the girl and the glass ball were never seen again. The repetitive style of this fairy-tale plot finds its visual counterpart in the regular spatial design of the pages. Thus the dynamics of the plot and the statics of the symbolism balance each other out. (6+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 79
Giordano, Mario (text)
Spohr, Heinz (illus.)
Drei vom Zirkus - I tre del circo
(Three from the Circus)
Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1995. 135 p.
Circus - Animal Trainer - Escape - Survival - Bilingual text
Thle Circus Malinka is in desparate straits. The animals are being tormented, their food is running out. The she-wolf, Aischa, the little pig, Ludwig, and the raven Kolja succeed in breaking out of their cages and finding a way to the mountains. Tonio, the son of the animal trainer, successfully pursues them in order to save them from being killed. The author describes the ordeal of the captive animals and their longing for freedom with considerable sympathy. (8+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 80
Grimm, Brothers (text)
Heidelbach, Nikolaus (illus.)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 383 p.
This edition presents the works of Nikolaus Heidelbach. The satirical manner of the artist, as he supplements and interprets the content of the tales, occasionally offers new ways of looking at familar tales. Numerous full-paged illustration plates give this attractively designed, voluminous edition the character of a home treasury, ever ready to be leafed through, looked at and read aloud. (6+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 81
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 129 p.
Sexual abuse/Suspicion - Friendship - Single mother
Jette is often left to her own devices. Thus she is pleased to have the friendship of two older gentlemen in the bookstore across the street who in turn encourage her love for literature. When the suspi- cion is raised that Jette is being sexually molested there, her magical (fairy tale) world is destroyed. She feels humiliated by suspicious adults who think they know everything. Full of insight, but avoiding sensationalism, the author writes about this volatile issue from an unusual point of view. (12+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 82
Heidenreich, Elke (text)
Buchholz, Quint (illus.)
München: Hanser, 1995. 87 p.
Italy - Germany - Cat - Psychology - Leadership
Tomcat Nero, six weeks old, is the self-appointed boss of an Italian farmyard thanks to his lion-like bravery which verges on brazenness. He manages to travel to Germany with a family of animal-loving German tourists, to a cat's paradise, and even brings his little naive, blue-eyed, cross-eyed sister Rosa along, too. There he helps to populate his new neighborhood in Cologne with his favorite female friend »Little Kleist.« And at the end of his days he feels drawn again back to his farmyard. With unsentimental, laconic humor the author writes this glorious story of the macho-mafioso Nero the Lionhearted for all cat fans, young and old alike. (8+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 83
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 193 p.
Carribean - Everyday life - Outsider - Brother - Color of skin
The inhabitants of the Carribean took the proud traditions of their peoples seriously as long as their own daily life was intact. For instance, evil spirits were made responsible for the light complexion of a baby's skin when an albino was born. This was the case for Ramón's brother, who must come to terms with his fate as an outsider. The reader discovers in an entertaining but stirring way through one Carribean family many essential facts about this people, whose values have not been able to survive within the Western civilization. (10+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 84
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1995. 189 p.
Ecology - Water - Mussels - Pearls - Folktale
A folktale, the ecological problems of today's world and the story of one girl's growing up are united in this novel by a fascinating plot. Margarete feels especially drawn toward the brook and its meadowlands. When the waste water of the new factory cause disease among the clams in the brook, she risks her life to prevent an ecological disaster. The author succeeds in portraying contemporary issues in their social and historical context in conjunction with the developments in the life of a young protagonist. (10+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 85
Hohler, Franz (text)
Loosli, Arthur (illus.)
Tschipo in der Steinzeit
(Chipo in the Stone Age)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverlag, 1995. 190 p.
Dream - Reality - Time travel - Stone Age - Language
Chipo dreams that he lives in the Stone Age. Patiently and with much fantasy he tries to get to know the stone age men's a way of life, though it is very strange to him. In particular their language is incompatible with his own rich, modern-day vocabulary. Hence he turns to creating words by using (somewhat linguistic) techniques of onomatopieia to explain the advantages of cooking and the possibilities of modern technology to the cave men. This is a charming story full of wit and subtle connotations told in an easy-going, unconventional narrative style. (10+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 86
Brum, Alexa (ed.)
Heuberger, Rachel et al. (ed.)
Ignatz, Bubis (preface)
Ich bin, was ich bin, ein Jude. Jüdische Kinder in Deutschland erzählen
(I am what I am, a Jew. Told by Jewish Children in Germany )
Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1995. 123 p.
Germany/Everyday life - Jew/Child - Children's writing
These short texts by Jewish children demonstrate that the current generation of six to eighteen-yearolds are very much aware of the problems of present-day situation and often reflect on them with ambivalent feelings. But their approach to life is marked above all by the wish to live an absolutely normal life within German society. Books of this type can be the beginning of a necessary opening of the general interest in Jewish matters. In an appendix further information about Jewish culture and history are included. (10+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 87
Wie der Tiger zählen lernt
(How Tiger Learns to Count)
München: Mosaik, 1995.  p.
Counting - Humor - Irony
One of Janosch's black humor maxims about living is »whoever can count will never fail in life.« Hence little Tiger finds it necessary to learn to count. He counts his friends, but not his enemies (for it is an honor to be included in Tiger's count), and everything that creeps and flees. The reader can practice too, in memory of the nice days of counting with little Tiger. This is a heart-warming book whose best feature is the total absence of any pedagogical methodicism or »little steps.« (6+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 88
Johansen, Hanna (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
München: Hanser, 1995.  p.
Fish - Secret - Imagination
A fysh is a fysh is a fysh (in »adultspeak«: fish). This is probably what Dodo thinks, after her birthday wish for such a fish was fulfilled. It can turn red and blue and multi-colors (when it wants to). It can run around the table with Dodo and Dodo can swim with it in the aquarium. They want to find out which is better, running or swimming. Naturally they do all this only in private, without any family audience. The text and illustrations hit the bull's-eye of the secret world of children and fyshes, just as one would expect from this author-illustrator team. (6+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 89
Kant, Uwe (text)
Deneke, Gesa (illus.)
Wer hat den Bären gesehen?
(Who Has Seen the Bear?)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 69 p.
Bear - Zoo - Escape
The bear has escaped from the zoo because the visitors claimed that bears belong in the forest. So he looks for the forest while his keeper looks for him. In general it is merely known that the bear possesses the ability to stand on his hands and on his head and to wiggle his ears. However, the author admits that he made up this bear. Uwe Kant gives younger children a funny story and quite incidentally a first introduction into the method and purpose of literary story-telling. (7+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 90
Kasparavičius, Kaspar (text/illus.)
Esslingen: Schreiber, 1995.  p.
Easter Egg - Nonsense
This unusual picture book is an incentive for an entertaining egg hunt and riddle solving at Eastertime and anytime, where ever eggs can be searched for and found: in the woods, on the catwalk, and even in egg paradise. The painter from Lithuania, who did this book especially for the German publisher, lets richly detailed, brilliantly colored pages tell his story. (4+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 91
Links neben Cori
(To the left of Cori)
Weinheim: Anrich, 1995. 156 p.
Sudden-Death-Syndrome - Bereavement - Twin - Friendship - Yugoslavia/Germany
Corinna, a German girl, and Seada, a Bosnian girl, have become friends. Each of them has had to deal with death. Seada's brother and her father died in the Yugoslavian civil war. Corinna's twin sister died as a baby. The author succeeds in vividly portraying the considerable differences in experience between the two children. Minor features of everyday life become important due to the different associations each makes. The reader learns how the two girls together succeed in getting over the catastrophic experiences of their childhoods. (10+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 92
Gestehen Sie, Dr. Thoma!
(Confess, Dr. Thoma!)
Berlin: Elefanten Press, 1994. 102 p.
Television - Cyberspace - School - Friendship - Doll
The introverted Robert and his very outgoing classmate Hürlimann fall in love at the same time with Mary, the new exchange student from the United States. But soon they make an unexpected discovery while trying to help an indisposed Mary and find themselves on the trail of a crime. With much humor, the author pokes fun at television reality, where virtual and genuine reality can hardly be distinguished from one another anymore. (8+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 93
Obrecht, Bettina (text)
Meyer, Kerstin (illus.)
Jonas läßt sich scheiden
(Jonas Gets Divorced)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1995. 64 p.
House-sharing - Family - Friendship - Role-switch
Jonas has two moms, two dads, five grannys and three grandpas, as well as several half-brothers and half-sisters because his parents are divorced and remarried. His friend Pablo and his mother, who is also separated from her husband, shares a flat with others. Jonas and Pablo decide to switch families on a trial basis, but this doesn't work out. Jonas comes to the realization that to get a divorce one must be an adult. A delightful reminiscence on the days of the student revolution generation, which only partly succeeded in finding new forms of family-style living. (8+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 94
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverlag, 1995. 190 p.
Germany/History 1939-1945 - Russian prisoner-of-war - Hiding - Betrayal
Anna aids a young Russian prisoner-of-war who has hidden on her parents farm. Yet she had given her word of honor to her brother that she would not do so. When the Russian army approaches, the soldiers take revenge for all the injustice suffered at the hands of Germans by randomly shooting down most of the village inhabitants. The young Russian is not there to save Anna's family. He had already been shot by her fanatic brother. The author succeeds in rendering an extreme situation in a impressive literary form. (12+)
Germany (German) - 1996 - 95
Rathenow, Lutz (text)
Bauer, Peter (illus.)
Leipzig: LeiV, 1995.  p.
Usefulness - Animals - Fleas - Pigs
The flea Fatgut considers his existence meaningless and would like to turn into a useful animal. He tries to be a pig: puffs himself up, wallows in pink paint and puts on a cardboard snout. But when he discovers that the usefulness of a pig is calculated in pounds, he prefers to find a more intellectual occupation. He pricks anyone who picks on other people. To everyone's joy, these bad-tempered people become ready and willing to improve themselves. This is a parable about the role of material and spiritual values in life. (8+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 96
Schär, Brigitte (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Das geht doch nicht!
(That Won't Work!)
München: Hanser, 1995.  p.
Christmas - Present - Secret - Terror - Education
The beloved youngest child of the family is making Christmas presents. No one can or wants to try to stop her, but they grow more and more amazed. It appears to be something gigantic. The family is already celebrating under the Christmas tree in the kitchen (there is not enough room anywhere else) when the beloved child finally reveals the secret. The family is given a ship, big enough for them all to fit into, and they immediately go off to the sea, even though the necessary demolition of the apartment house in order to get the ship to water is rather disturbing to some of them. This affectionate-ironical story about the situation of the youngest children, who are both gifted and pampered, and whose wishes are hard to refuse. The illustrations supplement the events of the plot in a very successful, chaotic manner. (6+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 97
Reise zwischen Nacht und Morgen
(Journey Between Night and Morning)
München: Hanser, 1995. 350p
Circus - Friendship - Love - Travel - Death
The great adventure for Circus Sarmani begins with an unexpected trip to the Orient. The director is trying to track down his family roots. He and his oriental friend become younger and younger the longer the journey lasts. This is a fantastic, but worldly novel written as a series of episodes from the mysterious world of the circus. (10+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 98
Die Reise in den Norden
(Journey to the North)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 396 p.
Skandinavia/1730 - Exploration - Androgyny
Isak Zettervall embarks on a botanical research journey in the 18th century to the still unexplored northern areas of Scandinavia, also entrusted with a secret political mission for the king. The progress of his journey is burdened by the unexpected arrival of an at first unwelcome young female accompaniment. Surprisingly it turns out that the success of the entire undertaking would be questionable without her assistance. The author gives a captivating account of the peoples and landscape of the far North. (10+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 99
Fürstin der Wissenschaft. Die Lebensgeschichte der Sofia Kowalewskaja
(Countess of Science. The Life of Sofia Kowalewskaja)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 190 p.
Russia/History 1850-1900 - Women/University - Mathematics
Sofia Kowalewskaja was one of the first women to become an university graduate. This information book describes her development from a protected childhood within the Russia haute bourgeoisie - which she herself described in her highly successful literary »Childhood Memories«- to her political activism and to her appointment as a mathematician at the University of Stockholm. With this example of the fate of an unusual woman, the reader is presented with a vivid segment of the history of political upheavals and the beginnings of women's liberation in Central Europe. (10+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 100
Federico oder das Leben ist kein Hühnerspiel
(Federico or Life is No Chicken-game)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 110 p.
Federico García Lorca/Biography - Outsider
The happy, sheltered childhood of the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca was a source of his poetry. Even younger children will be able to understand how literature and life influence one another with this short biography. As a young boy Lorca lived amidst the other children in his surroundings as a dreamy outsider. Up to his early death in the Spanish Civil War, writing poetry was an existential necessity in his life, which the author cautiously tracked down. (8+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 101
Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1995. 283 p.
Intelligence - Mentally handicapped - Circus Exhibitor - Murder - Psychiatry
Winifred is looking for his uncle. But his uncle has been murdered (to mention only the beginnings of this pleasureably told satire-detective story). Uncle Ludwig's well-preserved corpse is hidden in the horror house where Wilfried works. (Detectives will enjoy the wordplay »Toter Mann« standing for the corpse and the figure in the horror house). The story is settled to everyone's satisfaction and the bad guys get their just reward. With a black but not bitter humor, the author sketches the dark and lighter sides of humanity, much to the pleasure of the reader. (12+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 102
Nirgendwo in Afrika
(Nowhere in Africa)
München: Langen Müller, 1995. 383 p.
Africa/Childhood - Cultural comparison - Jew/Persecution
A Jewish family flees from Germany to Africa in 1938. While the parents cannot adjust to life in a strange culture or to their status as »enemy refugees«, the preschool child Regina grows up to womanhood under circumstances full of sacrifices, but also full of love toward fellow man, for the landscape and the culture of Africa. At the end of the war the family returns to Germany, but now it is Regina who loses her beloved African home. This literary and extremely captivating text gives an authentic portrait of a child growing up in a foreign culture. (16+)
Switzerland (German) - 1996 - 103
Johansen, Hanna (text)
Bhend, Käthi (illus.)
Die Hexe zieht den Schlafsack enger
(The Witch Pulls the Sleeping Bag Tighter)
Zürich: Nagel & Kimche, 1995.  p.
Calendar - Poetry
Subversive and rebellious in content, conventional in rhyme and meter, these verses come from the whole year long. Without the aid of a continuous storyline, one still learns much about the joys, sorrows and everyday life of a little girl, about her family problems and celebrations. Käthe Bhend's well-received, bizarre illustrations are the ideal accompaniment to this volume. (8+)
Switzerland (German) - 1996 - 104
(The Winds of July)
Zürich: Diogenes, 1995. 136 p.
Self-identity - Friendship - Homeless man
Julius, nicknamed Schüül, makes friends with two men who are putting together a Cadillac from the wrecks in a car scrap yard, where one of them, Most, even lives. When the two men get into trouble with the police, they run away, taking Schüül - against his will - with them. He must find his way home all alone: the way from childhood to adulthood. He sees old Most just one more time, when the police have extradicted him from a southern country and placed him in a mental hospital. (14+)
Switzerland (German) - 1996 - 105
Pacovská, Kveta (text/illus.)
Gossau: Neugebauer, 1995.  p.
Tower - Dream - Play - Sunset - Flying
A new artist's picture book that both challenges and quickens the narrative imagination. Where can »towers« be better imagined than in Bologna, Italy? They have much to whisper to one another in the magical hour between daytime and dreamtime - about flying, story-telling and celebrations. With this impressing large-sized format, with folds and flaps to look at and read - the artist has truly made this an uplifting book. (6+)
Switzerland (German) - 1996 - 106
Schami, Rafik (text)
Cools, Ed (illus.)
Streich, Oliver (illus.)
(Maker of Beak-stands)
Zürich: Nord-Süd-Verl., 1995.  p.
Single mother - Outsider - Courage - Vanity - Game
The little raven is still too young to fly - but no other raven child can stand on their beak like he can. Hence, it cannot understand why the pheasant is called the king of the birds, since he has those beautiful feathers through no effort of his own and he does nothing else all day but show off by faning his tail. The raven's efforts to dethrone the »king« are met with great approval by the other animals. So ever since then a beak-standing raven is regarded more highly than a peacock fanning his tail. This is a story of encouragement for young outsiders. (6+)
Switzerland (German) - 1996 - 107
Schneider, Jürg E. (text)
Siegfried, Anita (text)
Müller, Jörg (illus.)
Auf der Gasse und hinter dem Ofen. Eine Stadt im Spätmittelalter
(In the Alley and Behind the Chimney. A Town in the Late Middle Ages)
Aarau: Sauerländer, 1995. 47 p. + 4 posters
Germany/1309-1349 - City/Everyday life - Plague
Four persons of different age groups and social backgrounds lead the reader into a foreign world, a city in the middle of the 14th century. A boy, a girl, a young woman and a monk go through a typical day, fulfilling different tasks and duties. In preparing the painstakingly elaborate frieze-style illustrations as supplements to the text, Jörg Müller used true-to-original models of towns. The extremely difficult plan to bring the historical context and traditions to life appears to be successful in this large-format portfolio of text and illustration. Factual materials are also included, so that the necessary imaginative processes can take place on the basis of solid facts. (8+)
Switzerland (German) - 1996 - 108
Traxler, Hans (text/illus)
Wenn Kühe Propeller hätten
(If Cows Had Propellers)
Zürich: Diogenes, 1995. 54 p.
Nonsense - Logic
The caricaturist Hans Traxler gives himself and his readers this gift of a book filled with relaxing double-entendre and so-called non-sense. In series of »if-then« sentences he creates the most absurd causal relations. The purpose behind this activity may lay in pointing out the irony of adult logic which in general usage and as forced upon children is often not easily understandable. Having a laugh over unexpected (word) imagery is a liberating experience. Especially when laughing together. (8+)
Switzerland (German) - 1996 - 109
Weninger, Brigitte (text)
Marks, Alan (illus.)
Auf Wiedersehen, Papa
Gossau: Neugebauer, 1995.  p.
Marital separation - Everyday life - Anger
Only his Teddy can explain to Tom why he does not need to be angry with his absent father. When his mother and father (bear) no longer get along peaceably in their cramped cave, it is better for everyone when he meets the father outside to play and romp about. And soon he comes back again. This picture book does not make use of intellectual explanations to show young children how to make the best of an unsatisfying situation. (6+)
Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 1996 - 110
L'Arbre aux Corbeaux
(The Tree of the Ravens)
Paris: Pastel, 1995.  p.
Raven - Enemy - Violence - Civil war - Destruction - Fable
A large swarm of ravens lives peacefully in an old tree until one of them finds a red scrap of material and decides he will become the king. A little later another raven discovers a scrap of yellow material and also wants to become king. That means war! The rival kings and their followers fall upon each other. A merciless war ensues. Finally one group sets fire to the tree to kill off the enemy. When the tree is ablaze, the ravens finally realize what they have done. The fighters unite and put out the fire. Peace returns and as an admonition, the yellow and red scraps are left to hang on the tree. This fable of the raven's civil war is expressively staged. The sparse text outlines the course of the story and lets the illustrations portray the action. The aggression of the explosively escalating forms and color are very effective means for conveying the meaning and message of the story: how violence develops, what destructive forces they encompass, which even when held in check, still exist under the surface. (5+) ☼
Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 1996 - 111
Vincent, Gabrielle (text/illus.)
Je voudrais qu'on m'écoute
(Please Listen to Me)
Paris/Louvain-la-Neuve: Duculot, 1995.  p.
Loneliness - Runaway - Neglect - Parents/Daughter
This picture book illustrates the labile sensitivity of a child. Sitting in front of the mirror in her room, a little girl decides to run away from home because no one will listen to her. The steps and stubborn ideas that must be taken when running away are revealed in each subsequent picture, passing through a long landscape into the deep dark forest. Sparse lines and subdued watercolors skillfully suggest the loneliness of the wilderness in which the child becomes lost and in desparation calls for her mother. When the full moon rises, Papa finds his child and carries her home again. (4+) ☼
France (French) - 1996 - 112
Albaut, Corinne (text)
Ceccarelli, Serge (illus.)
Comptines á croquer
(Counting Verses to Nibble On)
Arles: Actes Sud Junior, 1995. 64 p.
France (French) - 1996 - 113
Albaut, Corinne (text)
Boucher, Michel (illus.)
Comptines pour le temps de Noël
(Counting Verses for the Christmas Season)
Arles: Actes Sud Junior, 1995. 64 p.
Counting - Poems - Wordplay
The publishers have launched their new series for young children with two treats: counting rhymes that melt on the tongue, ring in the ear and are easy to learn. The lovely illustrations often put the cheery nonsensical wordplay on words in astoundingly inventive scenes. To be read aloud, looked out, recited and continued. (3+)
France (French) - 1996 - 114
Baronian, Jean-Baptiste (text)
Paris: Grasset Jeunesse, 1995.  p.
Dog - Sheep - Seasons
Polichon is a shepherd dog who cares for his own herd of sheep. One sees him busy with his tasks throughout the year. This picture book of collages made with torn paper of various textures and coarse material is seemingly simple and broad, but the details, in the animal faces and gestures, are filled with astounding emotional expressiveness. The haptic quality of the collages may also motivate young readers to undertake such creations of their own. The novelist and fantasy writer Baronian contributed the ingenuous verses. (3+) ☼
France (French) - 1996 - 115
Binder, Jean (text/illus.)
Pipo et Sifflet sont des Cobayes
(Pipo and Sifflet are Guinea Pigs)
Paris: Archimède/ L'École des Loisirs, 1995. 38 p.
Guinea pigs/Pets - Pets/Guidebook - Adventure
This first picture book by the well-known Zurich illustrator Jean Binder, is an adventure story of runaway guinea pigs with an original punch line, and illustrated in his usual wood-cut style scratchboard technique. He employs the guinea pigs ground-level perspective to show how the human sphere towers above it and can seem threatening. Lovers of this house pet will find useful tips in the appendix about care, food and birthing habits. (5+)
France (French) - 1996 - 116
Bon, François (text)
Dans la ville invisible
(In the Invisible City)
Paris: Gallimard, 1995. 124 p.
Reading - Reality/Unreality
Home alone in an apartment on the 14th floor, oscillating between dream and reality for five days and nights, the protagonist, an introverted teenage boy, goes through a phase of time-unbounded hallucinations. He had buried himself in a book of old legends, leaving them only for a nightly round through the high-rise building, where he experiences unreal encounters. The dividing line between the fictitious world of books and imagination and the concrete reality has completely disappeared. Everything seems equally real. In short, intervening chapters other narrators (the doorman, his stepfather, a friend) have their say. The novel weaves fantasy, lyricism and surrealism with a pinch of humor into a piece of high-level literature, equally suited for adults. (15+)
(Prix Totem 1995 du meilleur roman)
France (French) - 1996 - 117
Boudet, Robert (text)
Daniau, Marc (illus.)
Coups de théâtre
(Effects of Theater)
Toulouse: Milan, 1995. 150 p.
Theatre play - Self-experience - Group solidarity - First love - Intercultural understanding - Violence
A theatre group is established at a school and begins to rehearse. The peppy novel convincingly conveys the increasing fascination of the group with the play. The young reader will be able to identify with them easily. They speak his jargon and have the same daily problems - friendship, first love, puberty, complexes and self-experience, as well as cultural barriers with foreign-born classmates and an unsettling experience with youth violence. This book is part of the »Mille Passions« series, which covers a wide spectrum of themes, which young people are known to find interesting. Even notorious non-readers will find these up-to-date books to their taste. (12+) ☆
France (French) - 1996 - 118
Brun-Cosme, Nadine (text)
Boucher, Michel (illus.)
La maison des trains
(The House of the Trains)
Paris: Ipomée, 1995. 54 p.
Friendship - Loneliness - Train
From a distant hill, across the snowy landscape broken only by the railway tracks a young boy watches the signal house. He is at once curious and fearful of the mysterious inhabitants. The little girl behind the window sees him. She cannot open it as long as the father is away. The children get to know each other only very gradually. Loneliness and fear lay upon their souls like the snow blankets the countryside. The discreet elegance of the illustrations leave considerable empty space for the cold winter. Suddenly, like an explosion, the steam engine breaks into the numbness, the graphic peak of the book. (9+)
France (French) - 1996 - 119
Combesque, Marie Agnès (text)
Gibrat, Jean-Pierre (illus.)
Drogue: Aux deux bouts de la chaîne
(At Both Ends of the Chain)
Paris: Syros, 1995.  p.
Drugs - Mafia - Crime - Poverty
This educational book on the topic of »drugs« is divided into three sections. In the middle section a documentary report gives an overview of the world-wide net of plantations and processing, organizations of the drug cartel, business and money-washing, users and their street crime. Two fictitious stories before and after this documentary section show the fate of the weakest members of this chain - at the beginning, the Columbian farmers who are forced to plant cannabis, and at the other end, the young drug addicts in Paris who waste away between shots. The very concrete approach to this topic is food for thought, not only for young readers. (12+)
France (French) - 1996 - 120
Douzou, Olivier (text)
Lejonc, Régis (Illus.)
Tour de manège
Rodez: Rouergue, 1995.  p.
Merry-go-round - Enchantment - World travel - Old age
The flyleaves of this picture book show sketches of old wooden merry-go-rounds from the museum of fairs in Paris. The double-paged pictures tell the story of two children who loose track of time in the endless circular rides. The perspective from the merry-go-round is enchanting. From the small circle the children fly out onto a trip around the world. The text coils and rolls with the rhythm of the rounds as an eternally repeated refrain from page to page. The children grow imperceptibly from one round to the next. When all their tickets are gone, they are old people. Once again they buy tickets. (5+) ☼
France (French) - 1996 - 121
Dubost, Jean-Pascal (text)
Melinette, Martine (illus.)
Les quatre - chemins
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon: Cheyne Éditeur, 1995.  p.
(Poèmes à grandir)
Poetry - School holidays - Auvergne - Grandparents
There is a consistent meticulousness in the volumes of this series. High-quality paper, rasberry colored lettering and dark blue graphics blend together to make a bibliophilic edition that will also provide young readers aesthetic pleasures. The poems reflect the now past magic of the long summer holidays with the grandparents. The second part is then dedicated to the now widowed grandmother whose loneliness is tenderly and painfully felt from the child's perspective. Using the face and hands of a clock, the illustrations play with the basic theme of time's inevitable progress. (12+)
France (French) - 1996 - 122
Guyennon-Duchêne, Claudie (text/illus.)
Adéwi Komé, la nuit
(Adéwi Komé, at Night)
Orange: Grandir, 1994.  p.
Africa/Travel - Togo - Diary - Foreignness
The idiosyncratic southern France publishing house has specialized in graphically unusual artistic books. This African diary, too, rests on its exceptional design. Strongly impressed with her stay in Togo, a young artist rendered this into expressively painted sketches of effusive colorfulness, in which strongly repainted Polaroid photos and a rudimentary text composed of keywords are inserted. The visual immediacy with which the fascinating and often unsettling experiences are outlined will appeal to young readers. (12+) ☆
France (French) - 1996 - 123
Une vie à tout prix
(Life at Any Cost)
Paris: Rageot-Editeur, 1994. 156 p.
Kidney transplantation - Donor organs/Black market - Affluence - Third world - Slum children - Hippocratic oath
How the fates of two individuals coincide without meeting is narrated here in alternation. Melanie lives in France and has an incurable kidney disease. To save her life her parents bring her to a clinic in Bogota where organ transplantations are carried out. Adriano is an orphan who struggles to survive in the slums of Bogota. He is snatched away in a car and taken to a clinic where one of his kidneys is removed. Then he is sent back to the streets again. The shocking facts in this story are revealed without embellishment. A short documentary appendix deals with the medical and ethical issues involved. (13+)
(Prix du Roman de Jeunesse (for the manuscript), 1994)
France (French) - 1996 - 124
Muscat, Bruno (text)
Besson, Jean-Louis (illus.)
Les secrets d'une ville
(The Secrets of a City)
Paris: Bayard, 1995. 46 p.
Paris/Guide - Big City/Life style
From early morning until nightfall Madame Pinson travels through Paris with her young charges. In double-paged illustrations thousands of humorously drawn details show how people in the big city live and work, how traffic and commerce are organized. A city plan helps provide an overview. With a »find-the-figure« game, the reader is encouraged to look for people with certain names and professions in the teeming crowds of the big city. In this way the city of a million inhabitants loses its anonymity and becomes an accessible living space. Highly recommendable for foreign language instruction. (10+) ☼
France (French) - 1996 - 125
Pour faire un ours bleu, choisir un beau lion...
(To Make a Blue Bear, take One Beautiful Lion...)
Paris: Le sourire qui mord, 1995.  p.
This first picture book by Eric Peltier is somewhat irritating at first glance because the pictures make a mockery of the text. When the story tells of a wellbehaved, polite bear, the pictures present a lazy bear and rowdy bear. Children will soon have fun with this game of opposites in the alternating text and picture and will continue the story further. At first glance the brightly colored illustrations are terse and self-evident, but upon closer viewing reveal amusing details and often fascinating perspectives. (5+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 1996 - 126
Piquemal, Michel (select.)
Vautier, Mireille (illus.)
Paroles de fraternité
(Words of Fraternity)
Paris: Albin Michel, 1996. 64 p.
Fraternity - Ethics - Anthology
To share, to give, to stand together - these are synomyms for fraternity or brotherhood. Saint- Exupéry said it with an image: we must throw a ladder out into the night. Abbé Pierre, father figure for all the homeless, has taken as the motto for his life: remember to love! All the authors who are represented in this anthology know of the mobilizing power of fraternity from a deep human experience. Whether Epiket, Tolstoy, Georges Brassens - they all express with a passion their dedication to fellow man in an impressive, personal style. Their words are not merely abstract appeals, but suggest possibilities for practicing the ideas of fraternity. That makes this collection of text so seducingly convincing. It can be a vade mecum for one's own life. The illustrations, done in the style of art brut, corresponding perfectly to the spirit and immediate appellative character of the texts. Reduced to their simplest form as heads, the figures have stripped off everything that would prevent an encounter with their brothers. Their ability to smile is as convincing as the expressivness of the texts. And the vivid, flat/broadly applied colors correspond to the message of the words. The sources of the text are given in an bibliographic appendix. This series also contains other recommendable anthologies. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - France (French) - 1996 - 127
Poncelet, Béatrice (text/illus.)
Chut ! Elle lit.
(Shhh! She Is Reading)
Paris: Seuil Jeunesse, 1995. 36 p.
Mother/Child - Reading - Disturbances - Tenderness
Two pairs of children's eyes peer out of the darkness - codes for the point of view from which the story is to be experienced. The children's mother has buried herself in soft pillows near the mellow light of her lamp, hoping for a quiet hour of reading. Suddenly a zooming toy grasshopper and a picturebook are pushed to the foreground. They belong to the sons, who pester their mother, demanding her affection. The cool, dark tones give way to warm, lighter colors and at last she enfolds all the children in her arms. In this suble portrayal of childlike perceptions, the artist has broken with all conventional techniques of picture book illustration. She works with an assembly of elements which can only be grasped with associative reading and encoding. (10+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 1996 - 128
Ponti, Claude (text/illus.)
Tromboline et Foulbazar: Les Masques
(Tromboline and Foulbazar: The masks)
Paris: L'École des Loisirs, 1995. 20 p.
Chicks - Masks - Fear - Fun
The well-known illustrator presents an attractive series for small children in small format. Reduced to a few funny effects, the graphic economy of the story develops its own sophistication. With selfmade masks two little merry chicks take pleasure in frightening each other. And the masks are so well done that they are even frightened of themselves. (3+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 1996 - 129
Royer, Alain (text)
Carpentier, Georges (text)
de Seynes, Sophie (illus.)
Paris: Mango, 1995.  p.
Bible - Jesus - Jerusalem - Last Supper - Resurrection
This new series is intended to provide little children with their first encounter with Biblical stories. The idea is correspondingly clear-cut: the easily understandable texts are kept short in comparison with the space given over to the illustrations which portray Biblical scenes in transparent watercolors. The faces are drawn with pen strokes, and showing lively real-life mimics. The colors and localized details of the Mediterranean world are carefully chosen, stimulating a closer look. This is also a suitable book for reading aloud and re-telling. (3+) ☼
Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 130
Soupault, Ré et Philippe (text)
Yao, Li Zhong (illus.)
Dragon bleu, Dragon jaune
(Blue Dragon, Yellow Dragon)
Paris: Père Castor Flammarion, 1995.  p.
Korea - Emperor - Painting
The emperor of Korea commanded the best painter of the kingdom to paint two dragons as symbols of power and peace for the throne room. After considerable preparation the painter merely threw a blue and a yellow brush stroke on the silk canvas. At first this »work« made the emperor very angry. But then he recognized that the dynamics of the two lines had fully captured the nature of the dragons. This tale is taken from a collection by the Soupaults which is still popular today , »Stories of Wonder from Five Continents.« The Korean illustrator has supplied illustrations in the traditional style of his homeland. He demonstrates for children that the variety of artistic means extends even to absolute reduction. (6+)
Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 131
Vénuleth, Jacques (text)
Diet, Robert (illus.)
Les pierres du silence
(The Stones of Silence)
Paris: Hachette, 1995. 188 p.
Israel - Jewish-Arab Conflict - Palestine - Intifada - Mutism - Diary
In a psychiatric clinic in Jerusalem a young girl begins to keep a diary. As a Palestinian from an Arabic village in Israel, and hence a citizen of Israel, who goes to a boarding school in Switzerland, she has had trouble to admit her own identity. After experiencing a violent act of revenge by Jewish soldiers against the Intifada during a visit to her village, she had fallen mute from the shock. The reader follows her painful process of healing and self-discovery in the course of her diary. This highly literary work of fiction enables a deeper understanding for a conflict-ridden chapter in contemporary history. (13+) ☆
(Grand Prix du Livre pour la Jeunesse (for the manuscript) 1994)
Special Mention - France (French) - 1996 - 132
Weulersse, Odile (text)
Manaud, Jean-Luc (photos)
Aghali, berger du desert
(Aghali, Shepherd in the Desert)
Paris: Hatier, 1995. 62 p.
Sahara Desert - Touareg
The life and customs of the Touareg caught between tradition and modern demands is presented here through a fictitious tale about a young shepherd boy. High-quality documentary photos accompany the text. In an appendix further ethnographic information and explanations are provided. This is a new addition to the well-received series »Pali Mali« on modern ethnography. (8+) ☆
Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 133
Buongiorno, Teresa (text)
Nidasio, Grazia (illus.)
Olympos. Diario di una dea adolescente
(Olympos. Diary of an Adolescent Goddess)
Firenze: Salani, 1995. 231 p.
(Gl'Istrici; Istrice Sapiens; 95)
Greece/Classical Age - Mythology - Hebe - Growing up - Diary
Hebe, the daughter of Zeus and Hera and the goddess of youth, feels it is a burden to be condemned to eternal youth. The young girl tells here of her search for identity and of everyday life and various adventures on Olympus. The members of the extended divine family prove themselves to be very human, whimsical, cantankerous and moody. A decisive turn in Hebe's life comes when she falls in love with Heracles and becomes his wife. This entertaining story is told by Hebe herself in diary form, divided into 90 chapters which read like episodes of a mythological soap opera. (12+)
Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 134
Davico Bonino, Guido (ed.)
Lazzarato, Francesca (ed.)
Canottiere, Lorena (illus.)
Sartoni, Lorenzo (illus.)
Il Girotondo degle Spiriti Allegri. Fiabe di morte, santi e diavoli
(The Roundelay of Happy Spirits. Tales of Death, Saints and Devils)
Milano: Mondadori, 1995. 142 p.
(Tutto è fiabe)
Italy/Folk tales - Death - Devil - Demons - Saints
Traditional folk tales and legends from various regions of Italy have been gathered together in this collection and translated or retold in the modern vernacular. This book is one of a new series by the publisher Mondadori in which individual volumes group together stories by theme or geographical region, for example, tales about talking animals, tricksters and magicians, tales from Ireland or the tales of Native Americans. (8+) ☆
Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 135
Dell'Oro, Erminia (text)
Mariniello, Cecco (illus.)
La pianta magica
(The Magic Plant)
Trieste: E. Elle, 1995. 66 p.
(Le letture; 93)
Set in Eritrea, this is a story about a plant named Winta, which has magical powers. It can attract clouds and make the rain fall wherever water is especially needed. In the Spring of 1994 Winta is picked by an ignorant tourist and brought to Italy. A bird sets off to find it again. This book, a mixture of fairy tale, history and legends from Eritrea, is dedicated by the author to the children of this east African country as well as all the children who must endure the great sufferings of war. (9+) ☆
Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 136
Gandolfi, Silvana (text)
Orecchia, Giulia (illus.)
Occhio al gatto!
(Beware of Cat!)
Firenze: Salani, 1995. 207 p.
Venice - Cat - Odyssee - Detective story
It is surely no coincidence that Virgilio, the tom-cat, is named after Dante's guide through the underworld. This book views Venice, its canals, bridges and dark doorways, from a cat's perspective - along with the boy named Dante, who after imbibing a magical chocolate drink has power to see with the eyes of a cat. The boy becomes involved in a kidnapping and discovers the evil side of supposedly unsuspicious persons. Characteristic for this adventure story is the intrusion of phantasy elements in everyday life and the things behind the mask of appearances. (10+)
Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 137
Lavatelli, Anna (text)
Zahradka, Mirek (illus.)
Il cannone Bum!
(The Cannon Boom!)
Casale Monferrato: Piemme, 1995.  p.
(Il battello a vapore / Serie bianca; 13)
War/Peace - Old age
At the end of the war Boom, the cannon, is put in mothballs. At first still a celebrity, it soon is forgotten. After a long time has passed, it is discovered again by a circus director and given a new, peaceable and merry-making function in it's old days. The story of Boom is a story against war, but also about old age and the often thoughtless manner of dealing with people and things that no longer seem to have any use. The cheerful color illustrations in mixed media are a highly appropriate complement to the text. (6+)
Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 138
Lazzarato, Francesca (adapt.)
Galloni, Adelchi (illus.)
La novantanovesima moglie del re. Fiabe e leggende della tradizione nigeriana
(The King's Ninety-ninth Wife. Traditional Tales and Legends from Nigeria)
Milano: Mondadori, 1995. 79 p.
Nigeria/Tales - Nigeria/Legends
This is one of the titles of an exemplary paperback series which presents the tales, fables, and legends of various peoples and countries, providing the opportunity to look beyond one's own narrow (eurocentric) borders and discover and understand better foreign cultures. This volume is dedicated to the west African country of Nigeria, a land marked by the co-habitation of very different peoples, which has been in the public eye recently above all with negative headlines. Accompanied by colored illustrations, this volume collects myths of origins, animal tales and other brilliant short stories. In an appendix the reader will find supplemental information about Nigeria. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 139
Montanari, Massimo (text)
Luzzati, Emanuele (illus.)
Il pentolino magico
(The Little Magic Pot)
Bari: Laterza, 1995. vii, 118 p.
Food/History - Eating/History
The Grimms' fairy tale »The sweet porridge« prompted the author to write this stimulating and entertaining book which explores in 34 chapters the topics of food and eating, both of which have played a fundamental role in all cultures in all ages, whether in the creation myths, religious texts, cult rites, literature, in celebrations or in everyday life. Human history is in no small way a history of hunger and sacrifice, of surplus and of lust for eating. Massimo Montanari's texts offer a richly varied mixture of stories, documentation, myths, legends and historical accounts. The palette offers, among other things, stories of the tree of life, miracle stories from the Bible about the appearance of food and drink or the corn people myths of the Mayas. Furthermore other topics such as the land of Cockaigne, the discovery of the potato and the cocoa bean, table manners, seasonings and flavorings, beer and tortellini. It is remarkable how many connections and parallels in cultural history can be discovered. The book is enhanced by numerous colorful, vivid pictures in mixed media, primarily in pastel crayons and paper collages. The beginning of each chapter is graced with an original anthropomorphic initial letter. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 140
Denis del pane
(Denis of Bread)
Trieste: Einaudi Ragazzi, 1995. 232 p.
In the Middle Ages the mill considered the focal point of rural life since everyone had to go there sooner or later, even a child. When Denis, a nameless foundling, arrives there, the miller brothers Gustav and Francois Tabin agree to take him in. Denis's best friend is Freut, a mongrel dog, and together they have many adventures which shape his development as much as the bread sculptures, knights, and mysterious letters. The author skillfully develops the story to give a vivid picture of life during those times. (11+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 141
Stanisci, Andrea (text)
Ricci, Stefano (illus.)
Don Giovanni. Doppio giallo
(Don Giovanni. A double detective story)
Firenze: Salani, 1995. 119 p.
(Gl'Istrici; Istrici della Ribalta; 96)
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus - Reality/Fiction - Opera house - Detective story
Inspector Gustav and his assistant finally have a »real« case to solve. Signor Francesco, the main actor of Mozart's opera »Don Giovanni« has disappeared without a trace. During their investigations at the opera house the both discover strange parallels between the plot of the opera and the life of the singers. Reality and fiction are so interwoven that in the end they prove to be inseparable, and even the case remains shrouded in mysterious darkness. In the new series »Istrici della Ribalta« young readers become acquainted with the world classics of literature in a very unconventional manner. (12+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 142
Tamaro, Susanna (text)
Ross, Tony (illus.)
Il cerchio magico
(The Magic Circle)
Milano: Mondadori, 1995. 117 p.
Wolf's child - Forest - Threat - Destruction - Nature - Civilization
Like Romulus and Remus, Rick has been nursed by a she-wolf in the only space left open in a big city. This idyllic life takes an abrupt turning point when some men, greedy for wealth and without scruples, decide to cut down the unexplored wood, »il cerchio magico«. As a result Rick's mother, the she-wolf, is killed and the boy is forced to enter the aggressive world of human beings. Acting resolutely and with the help of some human friends and animals, Rick succeeds in saving the »cerchio magico«. With its well-constructed plot and welldrawn characters, the story's setting seems very realistic and plausible. (11+)
Portugal (Portuguese) - 1996 - 143
Andersen, Hans Christian (text)
Bacelar, Manuela (illus.)
de Fonseca, Ribeiro (transl.)
(The Little Mermaid)
Porto: Afrontamento, 1995. 61 p.
Andersen's fairy tale of the impossible love of the little mermaid, a princess, and the human boy, a prince, is rich on descriptions of colors and shapes. Similarly, Manuela Bacelar's double-paged illustrations achieve their full effect above all through the use of color and form. She captures the atmosphere of this tale with a wide range of green, blue and grey tones, soft lines, vague contours. And her pictures reflect the basically melancholy mood the dimly lit underwater world and the sombre seascape and coastal landscape. (8+)
Portugal (Portuguese) - 1996 - 144
Mimoso, Anabela (text)
Caetano, João (illus.)
Dona Bruxa Gorducha
(The Fat Witch)
Coimbra: Livraria Arnado, 1995. 32 p.
(Colecção Barquinhos de papel)
What does a witch do when she gets so fat that her broom can no longer carry her? She becomes inventive and sets everything in motion in order to conjure up a set of wings to solve her problem. But her efforts are in vain and so she has to set off for the Witch Congress by foot. To everyone's surprise, she is quite thin when she finally arrives there two years later. With humor and imagination this book describes the »daily life« of witches, which is full of exotic and bizarre problems from the point of view of any non-witch. The text is accompanied by full-paged, expressive illustrations (water color and line drawings) in broken blue and brown tones. (8+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1996 - 145
Un alt glob, vă rog!
(A Different Globe, Please)
Bucureşti: Ed. Ion Creană, 1992. 70 p.
Romania/Emigration - Holland/Immigration - Mother/Daughter - International politics
This book about the pain of living in emigration is dedicated to the children and young people who gave the impulse for the Revolution in Romania in 1989. In 1987, after enduring reprisals from the »Securitate« and the Romanian police, the author and her ten-year-old daughter emigrated to Holland. Săvulescu-Voudouris reports here on the first year in the shelter for refugees from the point of view of the child. The child experiences a new world which her past experiences have not prepared her to understand. Then there was her mother's serious depression, from which she only gradually recovered. This world, where everything familiar has lost its meaning, has an allegory in the old globe with which mother and daughter try to locate the sources of news they hear on television and where long outdated political entities are not to be found. (10+)
Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 146
Andersen, Hans Christian (text)
Mestres, Apeles (illus.)
Roca y Roca, J. (transl.)
Madrid: Compañía Literaria, 1994. 355 p.
(Facsimile ed. of the first edition: Barcelona: Biblioteca »Arte y Letras«, 1881)
Andersen, Hans Christian - Fairy Tales/Anthology
This beautifully bound facsimile edition contains a selection of twenty of Andersen's fairy tales illustrated by the famous Catalan artist Apel·les Mestres (1854-1936) with zinc etchings, full-paged wood-cuts and vignettes and borders. Although they date back to 1881, this work already portends that Mestres would be one of the most important representatives of the Spanish »Modernismo.« In this series the publisher has issued further facsimile editions such as Perrault's Tales and La Fontaine's Fables, both with illustrations by Gustave Doré. (8+)
Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 147
Antoniorrobles (pseud. of Robles Soler, Antonio) (text)
Madrid: Siruela, 1994. 133 p.
(Las Tres Edades; 32)
Boy/Girl - Everyday life - Fantasy - Adventure
This new edition of Antoniorrobles' (pseudonym of Antonio Robles Soler, 1895-1983) classic children's book, which first appeared in 1939, relates eight tales from the life of a boy names Botón Rompetacones and his sister Azulita. At the time of its first publication it was considered quite innovative, and even today will surprise its readers with a special humor bordering on the absurd, with its interweaving of everyday events and fairy-tale like fantasy elements and adventures. This edition is also noteworthy for its meticulous, attractively designed format with the original illustrations by Peinador. (10+)
Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 148
Atxaga, Bernardo (text)
Valverde, Mikel (illus.)
Atxaga, Bernardo (transl.)
Shola y los leones
(Shola and the Lions)
Madrid: SM, 1995. 75 p.
(El Barco de Vapor; Serie Oro; Azul; 5)
Dog - Nature - Identity crisis <Motif>
Shola, easy-going little dog lady, is positively convinced that she is in truth a lion, »the king of the wilderness,« who »can kill his enemies even with his last heartbeat.« Missing the proper signs of respect from her master, Shola sets all her energy to proving her wild nature, but must finally admit to herself that she cannot deny her true character. Bernardo Atxaga's simple, humorous story about this engaging impostor is ideally matched by Mikel Valverde's water-colored line drawings. (8+) ☼
Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 149
Cano, Carles (text)
Giménez, Paco (illus.)
¿En qué se diferencian el blanco y el negro?
(What is the Difference between White and Black?)
Barcelona: Aura Comunicación, 1994.  p.
White <color> - Black <color> - Theory of Color
Following up the previous titles by the team Cano and Giménez »¿En qué se diferencian una selva y un abecedario?« and »¿En qué se diferencian el mar y un elefante?«, this book deals with the seemingly insignificant colors of white and black. It poses the question what if they didn't exist and then points out their fundamental significance and the fact that they complement each other in a phantastic way. Clever and surprising examples from everyday life, from painting, literature and the animal kingdom give proof to their claims. The design and the imaginative illustrations as well as the unusual use of the horizontal format for picture and text make this a very special book. (9+)
Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 150
Cano, Carles (text)
¡Te pillé, Caperucita!
(Little Red Riding Hood, I've Got You)
Madrid: Bruño, 1995. 121 p.
(Colección Altamar; Serie Teatro; 90)
Fairy tale/Parody - Theater - Travesty
Using the technique of a play within a play, this drama works the figures and plots from famous fairy tales against the grain by letting the actors spontaneously change their roles. Little Red Riding Hood is a cheeky little brat, Puss-in-Boots turns out to be an ordinary bandit, one of the Three Pigs changes into the revenger of his butchered and sausaged brother. Parody and travesty are heightened even more between the acts by »advertising« in which still other fairy-tale figures sing the praises of imaginary products. A fast-paced, hilarious piece of nonsense, this work won the prestigious Premio Lazarillo in 1994. (11+)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 151
Nunca seré como te quiero
(I'll Never Be Like I Want You to Be)
Madrid: SM, 1995. 146 p.
(Gran Angular; 140)
Social status - Alcoholism - First love
Seventeen-year-old Jacobo lives alone with his father in the waterfront district of Santander, a town in northern Spain. His mother abandoned the family twelve years before; his father, a former teacher, works as a fisherman and struggles with alcoholism. When Jacobo enters high school, he must go every day »to the other side,« to the old district of town, the well-to-do neighbourhood of Santander. Removed from his familiar surroundings, he must now adjust to a new setting which he feels to be strange and at times even threatening. Along with these difficulties, he is preoccuppied with his father's illness and his love for Christine, a girl in his school. Although the author employs certain themes and elements typical of a young adult novel, the book does not contain the usual images and elements of plot. The characters seem very much real and convincing, the problems tangible, and the reader is given no easy solutions. The boy's conflicts, his vacillating reactions to his father's decline and the fascination of his first romance are very plausible. The convincing portrayal of the city, the waterfront, and life near the sea round out this novel, and keep the reader turning the pages to the very end. (14+)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 152
Hauff, Wilhelm (text)
Cañas Cortázar, Alicia (illus.)
Bombín Izquierdo, Elena (transl.)
(The Complete Tales)
Madrid: Anaya, 1994. 285 p.
This is the first time that a complete edition of the Hauff tales has been published in Spanish. This large-sized book has been excellently designed from paper to printing quality. Alicia Cañas has very fittingly reproduced the mood of the texts in her illustrations. Exotic and bizarre figures, animals, fabulous creatures populate the scenes, moving about within magical landscapes and meticulously designed interiors. Whether full-paged color illustrations or small pencil vignettes, there is always something new for the viewer to discover. (6+)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 153
Martínez Gil, Fernando
El verano de la linterna mágica
(The Summer of the Laterna Magica)
Madrid: Alfaguara, 1995. 166 p.
Spain/1974 - Spain/16th century - Humanism - Inquisition
This novel has two plots which are narrated on the one hand by a boy who discovers an old manuscript and a Laterna Magica hidden in the cellar of a house and on the other hand by a young man who invented this apparatus. Both stories are set in Toledo - in 1974 and in the middle of the 16th century - and are connected together by the young firstperson narrator. The passages of the history tale are of particular interest due to the lively and suspenseful portrayal of life in Spain after the expulsion or forced Christianization of the Jews, a period strongly influenced by humanistic ideals but also the first signs of the Inquisition. (12+)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 154
Meléndez, Francisco (text/illus.)
Núñez, Justo (text/illus.)
Aventuras de Mr. Boisset. Tomi-Kikansha. (Continuación de las aventuras de Mr. Boisset)
(The adventures of Mr. Boisset. Tomi-Kikansha. The Continued Adventures of Mr. Boisset)
Zaragoza: La Biblioteca de Lastanosa, 1995.  p.
Japan/19th century - Invention - Steam locomotive - Travel
The steam locomotive Tomi, the creation of the inventor genius Mr. Boisset - who landed in Japan after many adventurous travels - and his assistant Omuro, finds itself alone one day and sets off to discover the world. Tomi's travels are a wondrous journey through 19th century Japan, and end finally after crossing the ocean in California. Just like the naive, inexperienced locomotive, the reader will also be captivated by the fascination and peculiarities of Japanese life. Encounters with apes, washerwomen, a monk, a feudal lord and his samurai, a travelling Bunraku puppet theater, etc. join to make a many-facetted image. Francisco Meléndez, inspired to write this book during a study tour, has succeeded here in creating an exceptional story. Funny, richly detailed, imaginative pictures, different types of paper and illustration techniques, creatively used Japanese characters and a meticulously printed text form an original, artistically remarkable book that will appeal to youth and to adults. (14+) ☆
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 155
O'Callaghan i Duch, Elena (text)
Comella, Àngels (illus.)
Equipo Edebé (transl.)
Un gato muy poco gato
(A very Uncat-like Cat)
Barcelona: Edebé, 1995.  p.
(Tren azul; 22)
(Orig. ed. in Catalan from same publisher)
Cat - Identity - Role - Dog
A cat named Felipe finds a new home with the boy Gregorio. Strangely enough, Felipe doesn't like fish, runs away from birds and miaus loudly when strangers come to the door. In short, it is quite clear that he considers himself a dog. This humorous story is excellently matched with colored drawings. Particularly striking is the consistent use of typography as a means of artistic expression. Different type faces and sizes express, for example, surprise or emphasis, and the text is placed on the page - sometimes in curves or waves - in such a way that it is an integral element of the illustrations. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 156
Rodríguez Almodóvar, Antonio (text)
Meléndez, Francisco (illus.)
Animales de aventura
Madrid: Altea, 1995. 64 p..
(El viaje imaginario)
This large-scale, richly illustrated book offers young readers a short, entertaining glimpse into a number of classics of children's literature, including several books written for adults, but also read by younger readers. The special uniting element is that in each story a literary animal figure is the main character, as for example, Pinocchio's companion, the cricket, or the swordfish in Hemingway's »The Old Man and the Sea.« The texts have been illustrated by Meléndez's bizarre, and at times very original interpretations. Short portraits of the authors are included in an appendix. (12+)
Spain (Catalan) - 1996 - 157
Fuster, Joan (adapt.)
Echevarría, Pablo (illus.)
El flautista encantat
(The Enchanting Flute Player)
Barcelona: Abadia de Montserrat, 1995.  p.
(Llibres del sol i de la lluna; 71)
Pied Piper of Hamelin
The illustrations to this adaption of the famous story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin do not attempt to present a historicized or folkloric version of the events. Aside from a few accessories, the illustrations are reduced to portraying the main characters. The people and the rats, clothed in bizarre costumes, are given features and gestures which lend tempo and drama to the course of the story. This portrayal concentrates above all on form and line, when the illustrator uses colors, particularly yellow and brown tones, it is done only sparingly. (8+)
Spain (Catalan) - 1996 - 158
Ptolemeu, el cuinetes
(Ptolemeu, the Cook)
Barcelona: La Galera, 1995. 95 p.
(el corsari; 2)
Manliness - Social roles - Sex roles - Self-identity
Ptolemeu feels as if a thunderbolt struck him when his favorite aunt gives him a »doll's kitchen« as a birthday present. What will all his friends think?! Only gradually does it dawn on him that this is a practical camper's kit and that cooking can be fun. This is a witty book about the everyday life of an eleven-year-old and his difficulties in coping with his wounded manliness. It is an original and entertaining effort to poke fun at the role models already established in the minds of children. (9+)
Spain (Catalan) - 1996 - 159
Rubio, Gabriela (text/illus.)
Barcelona: El Arca de Junior, 1995. 30 p.
Cat - Disturbance - Fly
The worst things happen on Mondays. This is also true for a cat who is disturbed by an ordinary housefly while occuppied with her peaceful do-nothing. While her companion sleeps on calmly, this cat lives through an acoustic nightmare that nearly drives her crazy. Gabriela Rubio uses elements of comic strips and skillfully employs typography as a means of design and narration. Her witty picture book comes alive through the colored drawings and the considerable dynamic which makes the portrayal nearly grotesque. (5+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1996 - 160
Madeleine-Perdrillat, Alain (text)
Rodari, Florian (art comp.)
Un dimanche avec Cézanne
(A Sunday with Cézanne)
Genève: Skira, 1995. 56 p.
(Un Dimanche avec...)
Cézanne/Biography - Painting Cézanne - Painting - Biography - Aix-en-Provence - Sainte-Victoire
The task of leading children to appreciate art resembles that of the mountain guide. He choses the route, i.e. the language, that children will understand. But the »mountain«, art, remains independent of the route. Using this motto, the art historian Florian Rodari has created the series »A Sunday with...« together with the publishing house Skira, a specialist in exquisite art-books. In this book Cezanne takes the child-reader on a long walk through, showing all his favorite places. The path ends in the »great studio«, outside in nature, vis á vis his favorite motif, the mountain of Sainte- Victoire. Along the way Cézanne addresses his young audience in a slow, impressive monologue about ways of seeing, about colors and form, about his life, his studies in the Louvre, his friends, fellow painters and writers, his wife and her manner of modelling for him. His manner of speech is simple, reduced to the essentials and vivid. The words encourage reflection and the first attempts at seeing from an artist's point of view. The illustrative material, a cross-section of Cézanne's oeuvre, is nestled with the text so that additional captions are not needed. Several photos and documents, a brief biography and a map of Aix and surroundings round out this walk through Cézanne's world of art. (12+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1996 - 161
Begag, Azouz (text)
Louis, Catherine (illus.)
Ma mère est devenue une étoile
(My Mother is Now a Star)
Genève: La Joie de Lire, 1995.  p.
Death - Mother - Burial - Father/Child
During the requiem for the mother, a father holds his child in his arms. They try to comfort each other. The text lets the child speak in the first person about what is happening in the church, about the impossibility of understanding the absoluteness of leave-taking and the roguish hope of making it all reversible. It is illustrated with abstract colors and color collages dominated by the blue and brown tones of religious panels and stained glass windows. A picture book that is only gradually accessible, and which deserves to be looked at and explained to a child over and over again. (6+)
Argentina (Spanish) - 1996 - 162
Historia de un amor exagerado
(The History of an Exaggerated Love)
Buenos Aires: Colihue, 1995. 65 p.
(Libros del malabarista)
This brief story deals with a gigantic bouquet of flowers, happiness and sadness, a lively correspondence and the largest love letter the world has ever seen. It is the story of two children whose moving and inspiring love story is followed by some with pleasure and benevolence, while others criticize it as »un-childlike« and boundlessly exaggerated. With a sure feel for mood and sentiment as well as a sense of poetry and nuances, Graciela Montes describes the magic and uniqueness of love, its simplicity and absoluteness. (10+)
Argentina (Spanish) - 1996 - 163
Suez, Perla (text)
Rojas, Mara (illus.)
El árbol de los flecos
(The Tree of Scraps)
Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 1995. 54 p.
(Colección Pan flauta; 32)
This is a collection of five traditional Jewish stories which the author heard from her parents. They belong to the rich culture of orally transmitted story-telling among the East European and Oriental Jews. The stories are set in different epochs and in different places, such as Russia or Turkey. The fascination of these stories, reduced to their essential components, lays in the austerity of the language. The plain, almost reticent style is excellently matched in the wood-cut style black-and-white illustrations. (12+) ☆
Brazil (Portuguese) - 1996 - 164
Azevedo, Ricardo (text/illus.)
Pobre corintiano careca
(Poor, Bald »Corinthians« Fan)
São Paulo: Melhoramentos, 1995. 104 p.
City life - Poverty - Family - Fatherlessness
The thirteen-year-old José Pedro lives with his mother in poverty bordering on misery in São Paulo. At the center of his life are the soccer club »Corinthians« and Camila, the girl he is equally crazy about. He is burdened by the lack of a father and tries to explain or justify it by inventing stories in which reality keeps getting mixed up with his dreams and longings. The author suceeds in writing a sensitive, well-developed narrative about this young protagonist's everyday life, feelings and family problems. (12+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 1996 - 165
Lago, Angela (text/illus.)
O personagem encalhado
(The Person Who Got Caught)
Belo Horizonte: Lê, 1995.  p.
(O siso do riso)
Gnome - Book - Trap
In this small-sized, nearly textless book with greyand- white double-paged illustrations the space between the two covers is the scene of an ingenious episode. A little, jaunty spindly man - a sort of gnome - accidentally lands in a story, slips down into centerfold and finds himself trapped, only able to get out again with extraordinary exertion. Angela Lago has skillfully worked this original, unspectacular idea into a highly entertaining picture book. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 1996 - 166
Mello, Roger (text/illus.)
Uma história do boto vermelho
(A Story of the Red Porpoise)
Rio de Janeiro: Salamandra, 1995. 63 p.
Brazil/Amazonia -Porpoise/Transformation/ Man - Hunting - Myth/Loss
This story, which is set on a river and in a small village in a remote region of Amazonia, tells of a red porpoise who has the power to turn himself into a young man at certain times. This creature, whose legendary existence captures the imagination of the village inhabitants but also feeds their hunting instinct, makes the acquaintance of the young girl Joana. Their affection for each other grows, but for two reasons can have no future. On the one hand, neither one of them can completely and permanently overcome the boundaries of their worlds, i.e. their different elements; and on the other hand, Joana can only just barely save the porpoise from the death which her people plan for him. So in the end he leaves his familiar habitat and retreats to distant waters. In a poetic manner and changing narrative patterns, in accord with the peaceful course of life at the river or the dramatic turns of plot, this story unites old traditional stories with a story of our own times. In a simple and subtle manner this story tells how our world becomes ever poorer and more prosaic through man's dominance. There is no longer room for the extraordinary, the magical. It becomes surpressed, surviving only in the world of legends and myths. (11+)
Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 1996 - 167
Orthof, Sylvia (text)
Meus vários quinze anos
São Paulo: FTD, 1995. 64 p.
Woman - Old age - Social role
Violeta, a 75-year-old woman from Rio de Janeiro, can look back on an active life. Her memoir is divided into five chapters, each of which covering a fifteen year period. Violeta's memories include happiness and disappointment, love, friendship, good-byes and losses, each followed in spite of it all by a new beginning. With a light humorous touch this book summarizes the life of a woman full of zest and ripened by life's experience, thereby making common clichés about marriage and old age questionable. (12+)
Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 1996 - 168
Ziraldo Vito Grandam. Uma história de vôos
(Vito Grandam. A Story of Flights)
São Paulo: Melhoramentos, 1995. 142 p.
Boy/Uncle - Family
At the center of this first-person narrative by a 17-year-old boy is Vito Grandam, his uncle, whom he greatly admires and worships like a hero, though he is only a few years older. In different episodes the life story of the narrator is assembled piece by piece: adventures he shares with his uncle, family circumstances and difficulties, the separation of his parents, life with his father, all his hopes and dreams. The author, an internationally known illustrator, draws here a very vivid and sensitive portrait of a boy coming of age. (12+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 1996 - 169
León Zamora, Aníbal Eduardo (text)
Meza B., Mariluz (illus.)
(An Aymará Dream)
[Medellín]: Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, 1995. 247 p.
Peru - Andean Highlands/Everyday life - Village life - Aymará/Everyday life
Set in a small village in the Peruvian Andes, this story focusses on a group of children belonging to the Aymará people, who live still today in the highlands of Peru, Bolivia and northern Chile. Described from the perspective of the boy, Basilio, this story of village life connects the past and the present in many short chapters. In this way the Peruvian author succeeds in creating a lively and authentic picture of everyday life of the Aymará, their traditions, legends, their religion and the way they see and understand the world about them. (12+) ☆
Venezuela (Spanish) - 1996 - 170
Rivas, Ivonne (text)
Savino, Irene (illus.)
El dueño de la luz
(The Lord of Light)
Caracas: Ekaré, 1995.  p.
Venezuela/Warrau/Legend - Light - Creation myth
This book is based on a legend of the Warao, a tribe living in the area of the Orinoco Delta. It tells how light was given to the people who had lived in darkness and how it came about that the sun and the moon »circle the earth.« The short text is very poetic and forms a highly successful whole with the unusual illustrations. In these atmospheric pictures the focus is not on people but rather on the real protagonists of the story, darkness and lightness, night and day, reflected light, mirror images and water as the living space of the Warran. (8+) ☆
Venezuela (Spanish) - 1996 - 171
Tabuas, Mireya (text)
Keller, Cristina (illus.)
(The Locked-up Cat)
Caracas: Monte Avila, 1995. 64 p.
(Primera Dimensión; Serie azul)
Cat - Disappearance - Search
A young boy tries to find out what has happened to the cat that had always visited him on Mondays until two weeks ago. He goes about the task like a real detective, making up a list of the suspects and making inquiries by the rest of the residents in the building. Surprisingly, everyone of them is also missing a cat. It turns out to be the very same cat, which is found at last, unharmed, with seven newborn kittens. This clearly structured story is told by the main character in a humorous, breezy manner. (8+) ☼
Canada (French) - 1996 - 172
Brousseau, Linda (text)
Maigné, Claire (illus.)
Ce n'est pas de ma faute !
(It's Not My Fault)
Québec: Editions Pierre Tisseyre, 1994. 102 p.
Childhood - Traumatic experience - Guilt feeling
Luc feels the death of his mother is his fault and enjoys playing the role of the failure. In order to clearly portray this dangerous mental burden, the narrator invents a mysterious shrinking illness which causes Luc to lose on size every day. The love of his younger sister and an act of consciously willed liberation finally help to loosen his mental block. A gripping read which sensitizes the reader to mental problems. (9+)
Canada (French) - 1996 - 173
Dubé, Pierrette (text)
Au lit, princesse Emilie!
(Off to Bed, Princess Emily!)
St-Hubert (Qc): Raton Laveur, 1995. 24 p.
Princess - Castle - Race - Bedtime
The night for night battle to get the recalcitrant child to go to bed may be easier to deal with after reading this picture book together. Emily mobilizes the vast staff of the castle for the hopeless task of putting her to bed. From the dungeon to the highest tower rooms, the runaway princess has them all hot on her heels. The droll caricaturist illustrations and rhythmic text with refrain will soon make this book an essential part of the going-to-bed ritual of the youngest readers. (8+) ☼
Canada (French) - 1996 - 174
Galouchko, Annouchka Gravel (text/illus.)
Shô et les Dragons d'Eau
(Shô and the Demons of the Deep)
Toronto: Annick, 1995.  p.
ISBN 1-55037-399-4 (fr); 1-55037-398-6 (engl.)
(Also published in Engl.)
Japan/Folktale - Kite - Nightmare - Sea monster - Spirituality
This poetic tale about the invention of the Japanese kite is visually rendered here in bright colors with rich ornamentation. Using the style of naive painting the illustrator creates a fairy-tale transformation of the motifs of classical Japanese woodcuts. Children who of course cannot yet appreciate the artistic and folkloristic allusions will be fascinated by the many small anecdotal details of these fullpaged pictures. (6+)
(Prix du Gouverneur Général pour les illustrations, 1995)
Canada (French) - 1996 - 175
Gervais, Jean (text)
D 'Amour, Henri-Julien (illus.)
La Décision de Cathou
(Cathou Makes a Decision)
Montréal: Boréal, 1995. 46 p.
Alcoholism - Mother/Daughter - Advice
As an child psychologist the author is wellacquainted with the sufferings of children who have problems with themselves and their surroundings. His books are the result of extensive research and discussions with nine- to twelve-year-olds. They offer practical guidance through short stories based on real situations that show paths of self-help. In the appendix parents and educators will find precise and sound advice. This is a new genre of youth literature which corresponds to the real needs of modern-day children and youth. (9-12)
Canada (French) - 1996 - 176
Le trésor de Brion
(The Treasure of Brion)
Montréal: Québec/Amérique Jeunesse, 1995. 388 p.
Treasure hunt - First love - Puberty - Friendship - Self-discovery
This is a superb young adult novel that goes far beyond adventure and treasure hunting. The protagonist, a young boy, goes through a painful process of breaking away from his parents, experiences happiness and insecurity in his first romance, finds his own sense of responsibility in lonely reflections on sexuality and faithfulness, and sets his own life's goals. This wealth of complex topics is woven into a breezy narrative which moreover includes high-sea sailing in the Atlantic, coastal landscape and climate, village life and historical reminiscences. (13+)
(Prix 12/17 Brive-Montréal 1995 (Youth novel))
Canada (French) - 1996 - 177
Olscamp, Marcel (ed.)
Merola, Caroline (illus.)
Crinière au vent. Poésies du Canada francophone.
(Manes in the Wind. Poems of French-speaking Canada)
Ville LaSalle (Qc): Hurtubise, 1995. 88 p.
Fifty authors from the French-speaking population of Canada who are represented here with recent poems come from different backgrounds - Indians, immigrants and residents of different provinces. The particular charm of this collection lays in the diversity of the poetic voices. The short, lively texts are easily understandable and ideally suited to encouraging young adults to make their own ventures into the world of lyric and visual expression. (12+)
Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1996 - 178
Comme une peau de chagrin
Montréal : La Courte Echelle, 1995. 154 p.
Anorexia - Friendship
Gabriele begins to notice strange changes in the behavior of her girlfriend Fréderique. Suddenly she comes to the realization that Fréderique has anorexia nervosa. With increasing uneasiness she observes the progress of the illness and discovers the psychological causes which lead to this drive toward self-destruction. The trusted face of her friend breaks to reveal a different merciless person who is driven by a revengeful obsession with power. This moving novel offers a sound exposé of the disease which is symptomatic of our times. It also shows that true friendship only reveals itself when put to the test. (13+)
(Governor General's Literary Award 1995)
Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1996 - 179
La traversée de l'apprenti sorcier
(The Journey of the Magician's Apprentice)
Montréal: Médiaspaul, 1995. 176 p.
(Neubourg et Granverger)
Sea travel/1595 - Bretagne/New World - Myth - Occult
This fantasy novel completes a 10-volume cycle of historical tableaus spread over four centuries with which the author has held his readers in suspense for serveral years. The scenario on which the plot is based is historically sound, solid and tightly developed. The figure of the master who has the powers of a shaman brings in mythical ideas from a prehistoric age. On the journey to the so-called New World he teaches his pupil to read world's phenomena to find traces of submerged ages and to trust the magical powers which influence human fate. (13+)
Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1996 - 180
Vachon, Hélène (text)
Le sixième arrêt
(The Sixth Bus Stop)
Saint-Lambert (Québec): Héritage, 1995. 40 p.
Bus - Fantasy - Adventure
»Step aboard, get your ticket, get off at the sixth stop,« Papa tells his son Somerset when he is about to take his first busride. But Somerset set off for the ride like a knight sets off on a mission. The bus is a dangerous opponent, the driver the master of the dungeons, the passangers his prisoners. Already by the first busstop unbelievable things have occurred as seen from the perspective of an imaginative child. The interaction of text and illustration is perfect even in this small paperback format with its narrow pages and large print, interspersed with plenty of colorful pictures full of »action«. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1996 - 181
Villeneuve, Michel (text)
Sylvestre, Louise (illus.)
Waterloo: Michel Quintin, 1994. 24 p.
Beaver - Natural science
The distinguishing feature of this picture book series is the successful connection of information in the text and clever illustrations which combine realistic and anthropomorphic portrayals of the animals, in this case the beaver. In this manner the young viewer can empathize and have pleasure with the animal kingdom while subtly acquiring a precise lesson in natural history. (5+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 182
Als, Roald (text/illus.)
Personlig tog jeg ikke skade af at vokse op
(Personally It Did Me No Harm to Grow Up)
København: Høst & Søn, 1995. 91 p.
Family - Growing-up - Trondheim - Childhood memories
This is the story of a family eking out a meager existence in the 1920s in Trondheim. Memories of those days and the usual people and situations which were part of that life are awakened during a trip back to Trondheim many years later. The author describes this trip and his memories with an unmatched dry humor, making the story a pleasure even for people who don't come from Trondheim. The Norwegian-born author is a cartoonist for the newspaper »Politiken,« and has therefore illustrated richly the book with very severe-looking but skillful caricatures as well as with atmospheric drawings. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 183
Bach Ølgaard, Ragnhild
(Sleeping Beauty's Castle)
København: Modtryk, 1995. 171 p.
Youth - Old age - Love
This is the story of two dreamers with a great difference in age. Thirteen-year-old Jonas and 93- year-old Mariane both are outcasts of society. Jonas is tormented at school, the old woman vegetates in a nursing home which is called »Sleeping Beauty's Castle.« She tries to free herself from this narrow world through her imagination. The encounter with Jonas in a mystical past lets them both believe in a fulfilling love. This very lyrical young adult novel, the author's first work, is certainly not accessible to everyone, but can offer give comfort with its positive, idealistic perspective. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 184
Bertelsen, Karen (ed.)
Egebak, Birte (ed.)
Thaulov, Pia (illus.)
(Fairy Tale Princesses)
København: Borgen, 1995. 113 p.
Fairy tales - Princess
This is a colletion of well-known (H.C.Andersen, Grimm) and less well-known stories and fairy tales, mainly from the Scandinavian region, and about princesses. It includes attractive black-and-white drawings by the talented illustrator Thaulov. (8+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 185
København: Forum, 1995. 153 p.
Denmark/Germany/Occupation - Denmark/Third Reich/Resistence
The young girl Stine, who is an activist against Neonazism, discovers that her grandmother had an affair with a Danish SS-man who she later reported to the police when he returned from the war. Stine begins to reflect upon the German-Danish relationships, especially about Danish citizens of German descent. In this context of personal rela-tionships the problematic relationship between Denmark and the Nazi regime, which until now state officials have prefered to keep quiet, is revealed (exposed, uncovered) in an accessible form for the young reader. (12+) ☆
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 186
Hedlund, Irene (text/illus.)
Historien om et meget vredt næsehorn Brutalis
(The story of the very nasty Rhinoceros Brutalis)
København: Forum, 1995.  p.
Children who cannot control their anger will feel both understood and gently chastised by the fate of this rhinoceros with a name that speaks for itself. But since according to modern developmental theories, every burst of anger has a cause and is never from within the child himself, Brutalis's anger actually stems from the fact that his mother left him. Only when he is sent to Africa does he feel good again. The artist lets Brutalis's anger shoot out of his mouth as brightly colored flames, in keeping with the strong colors and activity characteristic of her pictures. (4+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 187
Flugten fra Kaos
(The Flight from Chaos)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1995. 161 p.
Dictatorship - Escape - Survival
The entire world is shaken by catastrophes and wars. The »Northland« is ruled by a dictator. A young boy flees from a prisoner camp and together with the young girl Nanna tries to survive. In this suspenseful story the author attempts to show young readers in an encoded form that even fifty years after the last world war the causes of its origins have not yet been eliminated. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 188
Jørgensen, Lone Diana
Marie på stenbroen
(Marie on the Cobblestones)
København: Høst & Søn, 1995. 175 p.
Moving house - City life - Integration - Family size
Six-year-old Marie, who has to move with her family from the country to the city, has to cope with a new, not very friendly and narrow environment, full of dirt and above all strange children. How she manages to adjust to her new world is described by the author in vivid detail with a cerain amount of soberness that makes it especially moving. The background descriptions are particularly vivid. (6+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 189
(The Nights of Blood)
København: Høst & Søn, 1995. 183 p.
Vampire - Love
When a comic-drawing artist goes to the country in the summer, he doesn't find the hoped for rest and relaxation when vampires get involved. This is a suspenseful and amusing (if bloody affairs can be amusing!) modern vampire novel. It's special touch lays in the fact that the politically correct, charming and mysterious female vampire, whom the artist encounters, incites him to act similarly. The story closes, in proper style, with the hero joining up with an honorable society of vampires. The author, who makes his debut in 1995, writes in an easy, entertaining style without seeming too trivial. Teenagers may feel this book is written for them. (14+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 190
Lind, Peter (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
København: Høst & Søn, 1995. 16 p.
Sun - Wind - Competition
Dorte Karrebæk's speciality is the grotesque. In the current European picture book scene she is quite unbeatable. She describes the old story of a bet between the wind and the sun as to which of them will succeed in getting a man to take off his coat in illustrations just bursting with action. She finds not only very clever but also surprising illustration ideas. She portrays the wind as an bloodsucker (leech) gone wild, who tears out the skyscapers roots and all and bears his teath at everyone. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 191
Madsen, Peter (illus.)
Menneskesønnen: en tegneserie om Jesus
(The Son of Man: A Picture Story of Jesus)
[København]: Det Danske Bibelselskab, 1995. 135 p.
Jesus Christ - Bible story - Comic
This is an impressive attempt to tell the life of Jesus in comic-style format. Peder Madsen succeeds in avoiding any pious kitsch and transforming the story in dramatic, biblically accurate, though fairly sombre illustrations in a realistic, pictorial style. (10+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 192
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
København: Forum, 1995.  p.
Canada/Indians/Fairy tales - Fire
The Indian tale about how man took fire from the wolves in order to keep from freezing and to be able to eat roasted food is told in humorous caricatur illustrations dominated by much movement. The illustrator has succeeded in developing an original draftsman-like style in her several picture books. (6+) ☆
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 193
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1995. 219 p.
Sixteen-year-old Jesper is one of the boys who keeps to himself and lets no one get close to him, especially not any girl. He suffers from always wanting something but not being able to do anything about it. His self-doubting is described here in a very sympathetic manner, which will stimulate the reader to think more about other people and the reasons for their behavior. (14+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 194
Spang Olsen, Ib (illus.)
Den store Krage: En gammel vise
(The great Crow: An old Song)
Hillerød: alma, 1995.  p.
Crow - Farmers - Boaster - Wealth
Boastfulness has no reward, according to an old Danish song. The farmer who shot a crow must account to the bishop's servant for what he did with the bird. In the farmer's account, the pieces of the crow which he used get larger and more plentiful - like the loaves and fishes in the biblical story of the feeding of the multitudes. In the end he must hand over his bow and arrow, the cause of his apparent wealth, to the servant. Spang Olsen succeeds marvelously in making the story come alive with his subtely colored pencil drawings, and he seems to have no trouble in portraying the crow as a magpie. (8+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 195
København: Høst & Søn, 1995. 12 p.
Cat - Mouse - Hunt - Rescue
Pai Thaulov is one of the best Danish illustrators of children's books. With her cartoon pen and her humor she succeeds in creating picture books for the very small reader that are far removed from the usual sugariness. She doesn't just string together inidividual pictures, but tells little stories without any text. Four titles in this series have appeared so far. (3-5)
Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 196
Asbjørnsen, Peter Christen (text)
Moe, J. E. (text)
Granhaug, Silje (illus.)
Hanen og reven
(The Rooster and the Fox)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1995.  p.
Fox - Threat - Rooster - Cleverness
The tale of the rooster who is caught by the fox but then uses his cleverness to free himself is presented here as a picture book with modern illustrations in a pictorial style - in images take on expressive character through their almost grotesquely deformed proportions, but which with their use of extreme perspectives at times resemble comic art. (6+)
Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 197
Kornetten - et rop om hjelp
(The Cornet Player - A Cry for Help)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1995. 127 p.
School - Pop music
The main character and first-person narrator of this book is a new member of a brass orchestra at school. The orchestra not only serves to develop musical talents, for example by practicing »I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas«, but also to give a sense of community. The boy must learn to deal on the one hand with the demands of the music group and with his aversion to it and on the other hand with his parents in order to exert his own will. The appeal of this amusing and contemplative story, full of dry humor, is to be found in a few episodic highlights and in the dialogues. (12+) ☼
Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 198
Bringsværd, Tor Åge (text)
Nortvedt, Therese (illus.)
(The Twilight of the Gods)
Olso: Gyldendal Norsk, 1995.  p.
(Vår gamle gudelære, Bd.12)
In this twelve-volume series the individual heathen gods and characteristic themes of Scandinavian mythology are presented in a comprehensive story rather than in the usual general description in encyclopedia style. The various Norwegian illustrators of the series have attempted to avoid the usual historicizing style of illustration. Therese Nortvedt excells with these expressive, artistic pictures. Sharp contrasts between black-white and color resemble the style of l'art brut. In addition to the twelve volumes there is an encyclopedia-style volume with alphabetized descriptions of all persons mentioned with references to the respective volumes. (10+)
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 199
(The Missing Diary)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1995.  p.
Diary - Loss - Search/Find
Having already attracted attention with a number of original picture books, the artist shows here that she is capable of even more. While retaining her individual graphic style - a mixture of abstraction, expressive gestures and primitivist form - she employs more expansive and consistency in these pictures. This is the story of a statue that loses her diary, searches for it in various places in the city and finally finds it at the police station, it is fascinating to see how the artist can create a level of uncertainty and mystery behind the concrete figures and landscapes. She encourages the imagination of the reader who is prepared to indulge in the mood of the images. (6+)
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 200
Halstvedt, Tor (text)
Hansen, Thore (illus.)
(The river thief)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, . 152 p.
Tramp - Transformation - Adventure travels
Kåre, the stutterer, and Johan are absolutely bored to death. But not for long, because they soon are captured by a tramp and turned first of all into fish. They have to wander around the world searching for a stolen river before they finally arrive home again safely. This is an adventure story, amusingly told, illustrated with comical cartoon illustrations that take all the trouble out of reading. (10+)
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 201
Hansen, Espen (text)
Sandemose, Iben (illus.)
De tre sauene som dro til byen for å ha det fett
(The Three Sheep Who Went to Town to Have a Good Time)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1995. 38 p.
Sheep - Hibernation - City/Country - Opposites
Almost as a travesty of the City Musicians of Bremen, the author tells here of three sheep who see the winter approaching and believe they could survive it better in the city. In a compact, fairy-tale like form the reader experiences the grotesque clashes between the animals, whose can only imperfectly behave like people (leaving behind them in the bus funny black lumps), and civilization. They advance to stardom as pop-singers because their rhythmic ba-ba-ba fits ideally into the level of pop-music. Brief and humorous, accom-panied by ingenious black-and-white illustrations in Iben Sandemose's typical, robust style - books which succeed as well as this one are not found often. (8+) ☼
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 202
Rem, Håvard (text)
Nordberg, Harald (illus.)
(The Twin Brothers)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1995.  p.
In a very delicate manner the two opposing sides of human nature are portrayed here in twin brothers. This is a topic which is often disturbing to children when they realize that they want to be good, but instead do bad things. That both sides go to make up each person is shown in the ending when the gentle, handsome Jon and the strong, coarse Sigurd melt together into one person. Harald Nordberg's pictures portray shapes and landscapes in almost naive form, embedded in spotty, even cracked color backgrounds. Static or full of movement, the shapes and colors merge into vigorous pictures which can unfold their full effect even in a relatively small book format. (6+)
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 203
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1995. 32 p.
Cat - Death - Angel - Grief
The theme of death and grieving has certainly never been dealt with in such and ingenious and humorous manner as in this picture book. It describes how a little girl buries her dead cat and forwards all the cats letters to heaven. A fallen angel (connoisseurs of will recognize the allusion to Hugo Simberg's famous picture »Wounded Angel«), whom she carries off and nurses back to health with her also grieving older girl-friend, takes her for a visit to heaven where she can see for herself that her cat is happy. Later a new cat helps to overcome the sadness once and for all. Iben Sandemose (*1950), whose expressive style has sadly only been published to date by daring publishers in Scandinavia, has a talent for telling a story as unsentimentally but still very movingly, so that the guidance that she hopes to offer reaches the reader undiminished. Sandemose works with vivacious movement and solid lines and spaces and intensive but not garish colors. The double-paged spreads with hand-written text (the letters) excellently unfold their full graphic effect through the contrast between black-and-white, monotone and multicoloring. She is even able to make a field full of black gravestones aesthetically appealing. (6+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 204
Lagercrantz, Rose (text)
Lagercrantz, Rebecka (illus.)
(The Friday surprise)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1995. [14 ] p.
Divorce - Single parent - Loneliness - Girlfriend
Two girls, only children of divorced parents, one living with her mother, the other with her father, become friends and thus overcome their loneliness. While a seemingly everyday life story, the author's style of narration captivates the reader with an intensive, human approach and a penetrating choice of words that will leave no reader unmoved. Similarly direct and intensive are the watercolor illustrations by her daughter Rebecka, who has become a drawer with a brush who puts whatever she sees onto paper, in color, without any detours via sketches and drafts. (8+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 205
Eklund, Erika (illus.)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1995. [14 ] p.
Child/Grandfather - Forefathers - Adventure
When a child is alone, its imagination is especially willing to go wandering. In one illustration a grandfather, great-grandfather and great-greatgrandfather step out one after the other, each drawn to their old easy chair where each had liked to sit, and now they begin to fight over it. When his parents come along, Nikodemus pushes them and in fact his imagination quickly back into the picture again. This well-known motif is given amusing variation and illustrated with action-filled, loosely drawn caricatures. (8+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 206
Ryberg, Ulf (text)
Härdin, Sonja (illus.)
Pappan som växte fast på sin stol
(The Papa who Became Stuck to his Chair)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1995.  p.
Father - Family - Conservativism - Punishment
Such a grotesque, pasha-like father who lets his wife do all the work while he does nothing but eat can only be found today in picture books - at least in Sweden. Getting fatter and fatter, he earns his punishment when his chair becomes stuck to his bottom. Only the difficult decision to change himself releases him from this embarrassing mark of Cain. The text in verse form, as is still common in Sweden, is accompanied by appropriately caricaturist illustrations, making the book an entertaining read for everyone. (6+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 207
(Behind the Attic Door)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1995. 97 p.
Foreigner - Integration
The life a perfectly normal, average Swedish family is disrupted by an extraordinary event, the arrival of a refugee family from the Middle East. This book sensitively describes the problems and cautious attempts at becoming acquainted from the point of view of the little girl, Liselott, in simple words so that the young reader can easily identify with the goals of the book. (8+) ☆
Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 208
Stark, Ulf (text)
Palmgren, Jessica (illus.)
Min vän shejken i Stureby
(My Friend the Sheikh in Stureby)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1995. 114 p.
This strongly autobiographical, amusing book by the renown Swedish author deals with a boy's attempts to conquer the world (at first through hypnosis), his first closer encounter with the female sex and a boy's life in Sweden in the 1950s. It is the sequel to Min vän Percys magiska gymnastikskor (»The Magical Gymshoes of my Friend Percy«). (10+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 209
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1995. 266 p.
Single mother - Mother/Daughter - Father/ Daughter
Always particularly interested in the strange ways of the human psyche, Mats Wahl relates here in this many-layered novel - with as usual for him in lower class setting - the problems of a fifteen-year-old girl, Marie, the first-person narrator. Frequently acting unexpectedly aggressive, Marie runs away when she fears that her mother's friend wants to have sex with her. By bringing longstanding terms of relationship into motion, she actually becomes closer to her mother, even though in the end she must learn to accept that fact that she owes her own life to a rape. Wahl's stunningly written description of youthhood in Stockholm give the book its tension and color. (14+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 210
Wahl, Mats (text)
Nordqvist, Sven (illus.)
Nu seglar Vasa!
(Now the Vasa is sailing!)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1995. 95 p.
Wasa (Ship) - Disaster/History 1628
In Sweden there are now many books available about this famous shipwreck, but hardly any in other languages or for children. Now two of the best children's book authors have been assigned the task of making this new book for children and have valiantly succeeded in creating a better book than all previous ones. Mats Wahl tells a suspenseful story about the life of the ship builders; Sven Nordqvist shows that he can draw more than just cats. His illustrations are vivid, lively and thus informative. His slightly caricaturistic manner of drawing, remotely reminiscent of Ralph Steadman, fits this book well. In addition the book contains thirty pages of interesting facts and photos. (A German edition of this book was published in 1995 by Carlsen). (10+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 211
Herr Balders hemlighet
(Mr. Balder's Secret)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1995.  p.
Sheep - Lawn mower
A very typically English style of grotesque humor is given expression in this story of the estate owner Balder, who orders sheep by newspaper advertisement to mow his lawn. The sheep are little inclined to work and decide to take it easy. But they also defend him, as it befits their own interests, against the much too strict neighbour. This amusing and unusual, but not exceptionally original story with pictures in finely drawn contours, as curly wooled as a sheepskin. (6+)
Bulgaria (Bulgarian) - 1996 - 212
Gabe, Dora (text)
Lalev, Dimităr (illus.)
Boža majka : Knižka za dobri deca
(Mother of God: A book for Well-Behave Children)
Plovdiv: Žanet-45, 1995. 45 p.
Bulgaria/Social customs - Christianity/Church calendar - Poetry
Dora Gabe (1888-1983) was one of the most popular Bulgarian children book's writers. Her works were widely read both between the two world wars and during the Socialist era. This volume of poems deals with religious subjects or have a religious background. The book is illustrated with spiritual images of a Bulgarian avant-garde artist. (6+)
Croatia (Croatian) - 1996 - 213
Dovjak-Matkovié, Blanka (text)
Kirin, Vladimir (illus.)
(Stories from Zagreb)
Zagreb: Znanje, 1994. 139 p.
Zagreb/History/1920-1940 - Childhood memories
In this very autobiographical novel Blanka Dovjak- Matkovié (1920-1993) describes what it was like to grow up in Zagreb in the 1920s and 1930s. Without lengthy descriptive text, she is still able to convey the flavor of various parts of the city and their different ways of life. Although the author is more known for her short prose, she succeeds here in giving a convincing psychological study of the main characters. This is not a novel about an idyllic childhood, but rather an account of the life of a child with all its ups and downs. (10+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 1996 - 214
Daněk, Adolf (text)
Bornová, Erika (illus.)
Baje Českého Pošumaví
(Tales from the Bohemian Forest)
Praha: Kentaur/Polygrafia, 1994. 225 p.
This tales from the Bohemian Forest appeared first 1948. The Czech folklorist Adolf Daněk took the collection and added a story around them, describing the occasion and cirumstances of an oral tradition. Hence in the age of written literature this is an important contribution to the understanding and re-discovery of storytelling. Alongside of the eternal motif of watermen, sprites and water nymphs, these tales deal with every other possible kind of supernatural appearances. The avant-garde, naive illustration style of Erika Bornová, the daughter of the celebrated Czech artist Adolf Born, appear to be images from the psyche of the characters whose experiences are related in these stories. (10+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 1996 - 215
Zelený, Mnislav (text)
Smrčinová, Eva (illus.)
Fibiger, Milan (illus.)
Urban, Petr (illus.)
(Encyclopedia of Indians)
Praha: Albatros, 1994. 255 p.
This information book from the formerly state-own children's book publisher Albatros is an excellent source about North American Indians for both general reading and reference.The articles by the ethnologist Mnislav Zelený give scientifically sound information not only on the history, customs, life-style, art and crafts of the Indians of South, Middle and North America, but also of the Aleuts and the Inuit (Eskimos). The illustrations are not merely informative, but also meet high artistic standards. (12+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 1996 - 216
Klučina, Petr (text)
Petráček, Jiří (illus.)
České země v době husitské
(The Bohemian Countries in the Days of the Hussites)
Praha: Albatros, 1994. 64 p.
(Dějiny v obrazech)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 1996 - 217
Lněničková, Jitka (text)
Maget, Jan (illus.)
České země v době baroka
(The Bohemian Countries during the Barock Era)
Praha: Albatros, 1994. 63 p.
(Dějiny v obrazech)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 1996 - 218
Mandelová, Helena (text)
Anlauf, Lubomír (illus.)
Na úsvítu Českých dějín
(At the Dawn of Czech History)
Praha: Albatros, 1995. 63 p.
(Dějiny v obrazech)
These three volumes belong to the series »History in Pictures«, in which the history of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Slovakia from the prehistoric ages (the immigration of the Slavs) to the present are described. In precise pictures, tables and a narrative text the reader is given a lively introduction to historical events as well as the economy, life circumstances and social life in each historical period. (10+)
Serbia and Montenegro (Serbian) - 1996 - 219
Stefanovié, Mirjana (text)
Otaševié, Dušan (illus.)
(Seka's Little Village)
Beograd: Ginko, 1994. 125 p.
Witch - Animals - Island - Isolation
This fantasy novel for children by the renown Serbian author Mirjana Stefanovié (*1939) contains many ironical experiences from her own life and travels, many pieces of nonsense and is also a treasure grove of Serb(ocroat)ian phraseology. The text cries out for a rendering on stage or in radio. In the first section a woman character on a witch's broom travels not only through different countries and parts of the globe, but also through periods of time, through a macrocosmos which is counterbalanced by the microcosmos of Serbia. In the second section she employs a rooster and its chicken ballett to describe the world of culture with its glamour, intrigues and complex relationships. In the third section, the first person narrator reports on experiences made with her cat. In the final chapter the narrator is preparing to emigrate to a lonely island in the Pacific Ocean, where she plans to live together with her chickens, cats and friends from all over the world. With its allusions to the isolation of Serbia, this novel is evidently an attempt to convey the need for a more cosmopolitan view of the world. (12+)
Latvia (Latvian) - 1996 - 220
Leja, Gunta (comp.)
Dobrājs, Kārlis (illus.)
VģJA VANADZIŅŠ : Latviešu tautas teikas
(Latvian folk legends)
Rīga: Sprīdītis, 1995. 399 p.
This extensive selection of Latvian tales deals with such themes as wind and weather, the origins of the stars and the earth, the origin of animals and the descent of man, the conditions in which man lives and his society, gods and spirits, dragons, giants and dwarves, devils, magicians and witches, willo'- the wisps, nightmares and werewolves, and also contents legends on cities, castles and churches. This volume is illustrated with expressive avantgarde graphics which reflect the archaic agrarian society and emphasize the transcendental aspects of the legends.
Lithuania (Lithuanian) - 1996 - 221
Erlickas, Juozas (text)
Gultiajeva, Nadežda (illus.)
Bobutģ iš Paryžiaus arba Lakštingala Zarasuose: Eilģraščiais
(The Grandma from Paris or The Nightingale from Zarasai: Poems)
Vilnius: alma littera, 1995. 158 p.
Lithuania - Poetry/Lithuanian
This funny and tastefully illustrated volume contains 100 witty poems for children. (6+)
Lithuania (Lithuanian) - 1996 - 222
Nemunģlis, Vytģ (i.e. Bernardas Brazdžionis) (text)
Valiuvienģ, Sigutģ (illus.)
Tevu nameliai brangūs
(The Beloved Family Home)
Vilnius: Vyturys, 1995. 132 p.
Lithuania/Nature - Poetry/Lithuanian
The Lithuanian symbolist Bernardas Brazdžionis (*1907) was highly acclaimed between the two world wars for the poetry he wrote for children under the pseudonym Vytģ Nemunģlis. In 1936 he was awarded the Red Cross Prize for Children's Literature. After he emigrated via Austria and Germany to the United States in 1944, his works could not appear there 50 years long.The former state-owned publishing house Vyturys has now issued a selection of his poetry on the theme of nature taken from nine of the original volumes. (6+)
Lithuania (Lithuanian) - 1996 - 223
Vitalija Gražienģ (ed.)
Valiūģtģ, Eglģ (illus.)
Saulģs kelias Tautosakos ir grožinģs literatūros kūriniai ikimokyklinio amžiaus vaikams
(The Sun's Path. Pieces of Folk Literature for Pre-School Children)
Kaunas: Šviesa, 1994. 246 p.
Seasons - Times of Day - Life
This well-illustrated and attractively designed volume contains poetry and short tales related to four themes: (1) Morning - birth - spring; (2) Day - Light - Growth - Summer; (3) Evening - Twilight - Frost - Autumn; and (4) Night - Darkness - Winter. A considerable number of the contributions come from Lithuanian authors or from Lithuanian folklore, but also from international classics by authors such as H. Chr. Andersen, Janosch, T. Jansson, S. Lagerlöf, A. Lindgren, A. A. Milne, B. Potter, G. Rodari, J. Tuwim. The gay illustrations are taken from nature and from fairy tales. (4+)
Russia (Russian) - 1996 - 224
Lunin, Viktor (text)
Muchanova, Elena (illus.)
Priključenija sdobnoj Lizy : Povest'-skazka
(The Adventures of Gingerbread Liza. A Fairy Tale)
Moskva: Slovo, 1995. 88 p.
Cat - Phantastic tale
Viktor Lunin first became known to Russian children's literature through his witty verses, in which he gave shape to moods or ideas, without tackling any particual subject. Interestingly enough, he takes the same approach in his prose. He reduces the plot to a minimum, sketches out moods and shapes of plot. In this fairy tale the master pastry maker Cream makes a cat, the gingerbread Liza, come to life. She jumps through the window and wanders through town and countryside. In her many adventures she still remains a creature made of dough. With her new friend, tom-cat Valerian on the track of mice, she accidentally returns to the shop of the pastry maker, who has been given a basket of mice by an ill-willed relative. Liza and Valerian free Cream from this nuisance. The story shows many parallels to folk-tales and is told typically for Lunin, in a lively, child-oriented narrative. (6+)
Russia (Russian) - 1996 - 225
Buslenko, Vladimir (text)
Andreev, N. (illus.)
Kak rabotaet kompjuter
(How a computer works)
Moskva: Malyš, 1995. 26 p.
This very simply bound, but excellently designed booklet gives an insight into the history and functioning of calculating machines, beginning with the mechanical calculator of Blaise Pascal (1648) to the modern personal computer and large-frame computers, with their many uses. In the historical section the illustrations are historical, while the section on modern computers is strongly oriented toward Soviet avant-garde art of the 1920s and 1930s. (10+)
Russia (Russian) - 1996 - 226
Šif, Ljubov' Isakovna (text)
Džigirej, Alla (illus.)
Putešestvija po Peterburgu s Alikom i Gusarikom
(Trips through Saint Petersburg with Alex and the Little Husar)
Sankt-Peterburg: Nevskij kur'er, 1994. 78 p.
Travel guide - Saint Petersburg
This is the first volume of a series of narrative city guides to Saint Petersburg. Seven-year-old Alex and his friend, the little Husar, visit the Church of Peter and Paul, the Eremitage, the city's first house - the little house of Peter the First - and Vasiliy Island and other interesting and historically significant sites. Beginning with several stories about the history of the town, the two friends themselves land in these historical periods. The book is illustrated with black-and-white silhouette graphics interspersed in the text and with double-paged color illustrations. (8+)
Russia (Russian) - 1996 - 227
Serova, Marija Micheevna (text)
(Tales from Novgorod)
Novgorod: Zemlja Novgorodskaja, 1995. 151 p.
This small collection of fairy tales from northwest Russia appeared in 1925 in a small print run of the publishing house Petrograd. But it could not be found in Russian libraries. Thus this volume, with its at times earthy humor, has been reissued based on a copy of the Serova family living in Paris. It is typical of those days, illustrated in a style having elements of art nouveau, expressionism and Russian folk art, where ornamental images alternate with free compositions and icon-like portrayals of real people. (8+)
Russia (Russian/English) - 1996 - 228
Kružkov, Grigorij (text)
Šatalov, A. (illus.)
Bartlett, Rosamund (Engl. transl.)
Otkuda što vzjalos' - Where Things Came From
Moskva: Linka-Press, 1995. 36 p.
This simply designed Russian picture book, a bilingual booklet, about the origins of animals, plants and the world in which they live incorporates legends and creation myths from all around the world. (6+)
Slovakia (Slovak) - 1996 - 229
Hudec, Ivan (text)
Ondrejčka, Karol (illus.)
Báje a mýty starých Slovan
(Legends and Myths of the Old Slavs)
Bratislava: Slovart, 1995. 133 p.
Just as the Germanic myths hardly play a part in the traditions of the Germanic peoples, so it is that the Slavic peoples only know their own myths and tales of gods in pieces, often as a turn of phrase or oath. In this exquisitely illustrated book with color graphics, the reader is introduced to the Slavic story of creation and the world of the gods, and shown how mythology developed from its origins up to the beginning of historical times. (10+)
Slovakia (Slovak) - 1996 - 230
Dušek, Dušan (text)
Machaj, Vladimír (illus.)
Daidalos a Ikaros
(Daedalus and Icarus)
Bratislava: Mladé letá, 1995. 27 p.
The text of this richly illustrated volume of classic legends was adapted from a modern classic of Slovakian children's literature by Dušan Dušek.
Slovenia (Slovenian) - 1996 - 231
Novak, Boris A. (text)
Manček, Marjan (illus.)
Blabla : pesmi in igre za male in velike tigre
(Blah-Blah: Stories and Games for Tigers Large and Small <Play on words>)
Ljubljana: DZS, 1995. 9 p.
This book contains seven very successful cyclic poems by one of the most popular Slovenian poets of modern times, both for adults and children. The themes of these poems include both animals and humans and make reference to various forms of pop music, card games, human fate, values such as orderliness and cleanliness (from various points of view), television. It also includes brazen and thought-provoking verse on topics such as love, nonsense poems and plays on words. (11+)
Belgium (Flemish) - 1996 - 232
Dreesen, Jaak (text)
Averbode: Altiora, 1995. 47 p.
Illness - Death - Mother/Child
»Mummy, mummy,« cries a sick boy. The difficult themes of illness and dying are tackled in this simple, moving story. The narrative style is sober, and because of the many repetitions the text has a poetic rhythm. Feelings of tenderness and powerlessness are central to the story. Although the ending is open and optimistic, thoughts and dreams expressed in the story linger on in the reader's mind. The text is rather condensed and contains many streams of thought keeping the reader continually poised between dream and reality. (10+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1996 - 233
Dekkers, Midas (text)
Vrede, Angela de (illus.)
Neuzen in je oksel
(Put Your Nose in Your Armpit)
Amsterdam: Leopold, 1995. 46 p.
Plants - Animals - Anatomy
Midas Dekkers has constructed this book using a typical, associative technique. He describes various anatomical characteristics of human beings, animals and plants, and takes these as a starting point to highlight all kinds of characteristics and behaviours of the owners. The illustrations, consisting of juxtaposed loose elements of various organisms, are not only functional but very beautiful. Midas Dekkers' narrative technique and Angela de Vrede's illustrative style go hand in hand in this book. (9+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1996 - 234
Hagen, Hans (text)
Geelen, Harrie (illus.)
Stilte a.u.b. ik denk aan de kip
(Quiet Please, I'm Thinking of Chicken)
Amsterdam: Van Goor, 1995. 32 p.
Death - Mourning - Dreams
In this book, the death of a friend is not presented in tragic or inevetable terms. Each in their own way, Onno Ebe, cockerel and crow try to deal with chicken's death, and to accept it by letting their dreams and thoughts take their own course. In this way, a new bond with chicken evolves. The picture book, with its sober yet effective use of words, a poetic language without frills, certainly stimulate the reader's thoughts about life and death. (5+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1996 - 235
Jong, Trude de (text)
Dematons, Charlotte (illus.)
Een verboden kind
(A Forbidden Child)
Amsterdam: De Harmonie, 1995. 204 p.
The Netherlands/World War II - Mother/Daughter
As far as Erica knows her father died in the war. She now (circa 1955) lives with her mother and her aunt in a bourgeois street in The Hague. At home Erica receives evasive answers to her questions but gradually she finds out that during the Second World War her mother had an affair with a German soldier.The descriptions of the relationship between Erica and her mother is handled with sensitivity. Incomprehension and anger gradually make way for understanding and appreciation. (11+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1996 - 236
Mileau, Sofie (pseud. of Carry Slee) (text)
The Tjong Khing (illus.)
Haas en kip
(Hare and Chicken)
Houten: Van Holkema & Warendorf, 1995. 30 p.
Love - Friendship - Differences
This story deals with relationships. How can two individuals love each other, in spite of, or perhaps because of all their differences. A mosaic of poetic stories. In a few deliberate and well-chosen words, the author evokes feelings of friendship and love. The gossamer drawings are moving, sober and recognizable. With a few lines the illustrator expresses deep feelings. (5+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1996 - 237
Moeyaert, Bart (text)
Poppel, Peter van (illus.)
Amsterdam: Querido, 1995. 94 p.
Death - Grief - Loneliness - Revenge
On New Year's Eve, Ward, his dog Elmer and his best friend Bernie are caught by Betjeman who kills Elmer with his plastic hand. Bernie and Ward can only think of revenge and return to Betjeman's house. Bernie with a knife, Ward with his bare hands.The book has a stifling and indeterminate mixture of feelings and moods, an intrinsic tension that keeps the reader in suspense. Ward's sorrow over the loss of Elmer, his feelings of hatred, resentment, fear and insecurity are expressed in a subtle, indirect and suggestive way. The subdued, poetic language, the sober narrative style and the deliberately frugal way in which the story is told contribute to his fascination. (10+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1996 - 238
Vries, Anke de (text)
Walraven, Ilja (illus.)
Mijn olifant kan bijna alles
(My Elephant Can Do Most Everything)
Rotterdam: Lemniscaat, 1995. 30 p.
An elephant who can do most everything: stand on a balloon (at least, when he holds his breath) or hang from the ceiling like a gnat. He can do most everything, but he can't stand being away from his young master. When he is off to school, the elephant is sad. When he comes home, elephant can do everything again. A simple picture book with clear, colorful illustrations by a promising children's book illustrator. (3+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1996 - 239
Wilmink, Willem (text)
Ali Baba en de veertig tekenaars
(Ali Baba and his Forty Illustrators)
Amsterdam: Zirkoon (De Bijenkorf), 1995. 85 p. With illustrations
In this text, originally published in 1983, Willem Wilmink tells the story of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves in rhyme. The story is told in forty stanzas, each one a little gem of playful rhyming. »This book should please everyone who likes horror stories,« as he says in his introduction. But it is not so much the text which makes this book so special. With each stanza, a renowned illustrator has given his or her view on the story. This makes for an exuberant and colorful mosaic of illustrations in a great diversity of styles. Beneath the illustration plates, which are attached by the upper edge only, a small biography of the illustrator is included. Also, all the artists have left their fingerprint in gold next to their illustrations. The book, including its excellent design and typography, can be considered representative of the current standard of Dutch children's book illustrations. (8+)
The Netherlands (Frisian) - 1996 - 240
Pistra, Riemkje (text)
Tuinen, Marianne van (illus.)
Grutte Giele & Lytse Loer
Ljouwert: Afûk, 1995. 24 p.
(Dutch ed.: Gele Gijs & Lange Loeres. Transl. Mariska Hammerstein. Houten: Van Holkema & Warendorf, 1995. ISBN 90-269-8798-6)
Cat/Dog - Home
A dog and a cat are no longer satisfied with their sleeping quarters at their young master's place. They set off in search of a new home but everywhere they go they are either shoved away or unhappy themselves. At last they return to their original home and fall asleep contentedly. The story (originally written in Frisian) is rendered in highly detailed paper collages. (6+)
Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 1996 - 241
Syllogê Prusê, Kosta (text)
Tsangares, Champes (illus.)
To basilopullon tês Benedias
(The Prince of Venice)
Nicosia: Tsangarês Champês, 1995. 96 p.
Fairy tale/Cyprus - Multilingual text
The fascination of this impressive, large-sized book stems above all from the singular illustrations of the internationally recognized artist Champes, whose palette of colors ranges from royal blue to deep red and glowing gold. The atmosphere of Venice in the 15th and 16th century is skillfully, convincingly captured in his scenes. The ruler of Pafos, according to this old Cypriot fairy tale, once embarked on a longer journey. Choosing the present he should bring her from his journey, his youngest daughter demands three hairs from the head of the son of the Venezian king. Each time she burns one hair, he flies to her in the shape of golden eagle. But the third time is different. The text of this book is given in Cypriot, Greek and English. (8+)
Greece (Greek) - 1996 - 242
To phantasma tês Portitsas
(The Ghost of Portitsa)
Athêna: Kastaniôtês, 1994. 141 p.
School - Ghost - Village life
Winter 1927. In the little village of Portitsa a ghost suddenly appears in the basement of the school. He revives memories of the village residents, makes inconspicuous things appear bigger, endows everyone with eloquence, and stirs their imaginations. At the same time panic breaks out in the region. The prejudices and mistrust of ordinary people are placed in a humorous light, thus providing a mirror image of the post-war provincial way of life. (12+)
Greece (Greek) - 1996 - 243
Balabanês, Panos (text)
Ganôsê, Anta (illus.)
O lophos me ta krymmena mystika. To chroniko mias phantastikes anaskaphes
(The hill of hidden secrets. The chronicle of a fantastic excavation)
Athêna-Nea Smyrne: Akritas, 1995. 78 p.
Greece/History - Archeology
This is the story of a place somewhere in Greece, hidden in the heart of a hill that has arisen from 8000 years of lives and adventures. One generation after the other came and built their houses and their temples. When these were destroyed by earthquakes, fires, or enemies room was made for the next settlement, the next culture. One day an archeologist arrives. Being a patient man, he succeeds in uncovering all the secrets of this hill, one after another. This process of making history is depicted in a fantasy story that could even be a true one. (8+)
Greece (Greek) - 1996 - 244
Athêna: Patakês, 1995. 134 p.
Father/Son - Illness - Growing-up
Twelve-year-old Domênikos sets off on a journey to find the medicine which could save his father's life. On his unusual journey he meets the Skeleton of the Very-Very-Old- Sailor, the Woman-with-Hairof- Pearls, the Very-Strong-Dwarf and other bizarre creatures. He visits mysterious places such as a breathing cave or the House-that-Stands-on-its- Head and in this way encounters the great values of life and the eternal secrets of nature. He becomes a responsible young man who is able to save his deathly ill father. A part of the adventure of puberty is over… (10+)
(Honorlist of the Greek IBBY section)
Greece (Greek) - 1996 - 245
Karetta. Zoa pu kindyneuun
(Loggerhead Turtles. Endangered Species)
Athêna: Ereunetes, 1995.  p.
Turtles - Animal protection
This attractive information book presents the world of ocean turtles, their origins, habitats, hatching areas, and also the fables which have developed around them. The author gives special attention to the particularly endangered loggerhead (caretta caretta) turtles which have chosen the Greek coastal areas as their only hatching area in all of the Mediterranean basin. The young reader is given valuable information not only about the steps needed to protect these turtles, but also about various organizations which are involved in this work. The extensive text and many detailed illustrations will help to motivate the reader to help protect this lovable animal. (8+)
Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1996 - 246
Athêna: Patakes, 1995. 157 p.
Newspaper - Outsider - Dreams
»O Psyllos« is the title of a small newspaper in the remote village in the mountains of Olympia, care-fully, lovingly written out by hand by twelveyear- old Elias. He and »The flea« are one: »It is a dream...the wings that will take me far far away some day.« But in the village there is almost no one who believes in him. Even the teacher treats him like an unwanted outsider. But Elias doesn't give up so easily. The film »O Psyllos« was an international success and was voted as the best European children's film in Luxembourg in 1990, won first prize in film festivals in Berlin, Chicago and Belfast. (10+)
Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1996 - 247
Xanthulês, Giannês (text/illus.)
Aneba stê stegê na phame to synnepho
(Climb up to the roof to eat the cloud)
Athêna: Kastaniotes, 1994. 83 p.
(To kalo biblio gia paidia)
Citylife - Fantasy
»Zementupolê« (Cement City) everyone is getting ready for the annual celebrations in honor of their beloved cement. But this time things turns out differently than planned. Young Annula is sick of living in the stiffling metropolis.With a single jump she springs on to the highest roof. From this position she announces that she will not come down again until the mayor fulfills all her demands for ... While she is waiting, she carries on conversations with her grandmother, meets the crazy old Sunday, last year's Christmas and lives from the clouds of candy stars and snow-juice with sun-rays. (8+)
Ireland (Gaelic) - 1996 - 248
Wynn, Gwyneth (text/illus.)
Micí Agus An Rí
(Micki and the King)
Dublin: An Gum, 1995.  p.
Dog - Curiosity - Runaway - Lion
Micky shares a house with Teddy. While Micky loves to watch television, Teddy doesn't approve. He prefers reading books. One day Micky sees a lion for the first time in his life - on television - and decides to go off to meet this king of the animal kingdom. His adventurous undertaking is wellrewarded, but he is happy to return home again to Teddy. This gentle, reassuring book is well-suited for reading aloud. The well-drawn pen-and-ink illustrations complement the simple storyline. (4+)