White Ravens: 1999
Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 1
Akahane, Junko (text)
Sekiguchi, Shun (illus.)
Otonari wa majo
(My neighbors are witches)
Tokyo: Bunken shuppan, 1998. 160 p.
School - Bullying - Trust - Friendship - Individuality - Prejudice
In the neighborhood of the schoolgirl Akari, there lives a single mother and her daughter Rui. Because of their unusual appearance and style of life others are reluctant to get to know them. To set themselves off from their petty bourgeouis neighbors, they like to call themselves »witches.« When Rui joins the same school class as Akari, she finds it is dominated by a bully. For fear of being excluded or the next victim, the pupils are cowardly or pretend to be blind; no one trusts the others. Rui and Akari bravely act to resolve the problem and become true friends. The author attacks this serious problem with a funny and encouraging tale. (11+)
Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 2
Aman, Kimiko (text)
Yamawaki, Yuriko (illus.)
Himitsu no hikidashi aketa?
(Have you opened your magic drawer?)
Tokyo: PHP Kenkyujo, 1996.  p.
(PHP nikoniko ehon)
Search - Gift
Rummaging through old mementos makes a day quite special. An old woman has the habit of saving all sorts of things in a drawer. When she opens the drawer to find something particular, it won't stop opening out further and further until all her knicknackery has come to light. The children who are playing nearby are each allowed to pick out something they want to have. When the item originally sought is found at last and each child has a new treasure, the drawer closes again by itself. The old woman has many new friends now. In this picture book with likeable, naive illustrations young readers will enjoy finding figures to identify with and many of the scenes will be familiar to them. (4+)
Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 3
Funakoshi, Katsura (text/photos)
Omocha no iiwake
Tokyo: Suemori Books, 1997. 60 p.
Toy - Woodworking - Family memories
Katsura Funakoshi, the designer of this tasteful photographic picture book, is a contemporary sculptor. When his children were still young, he created toys for them from scraps of wood. Each of the pieces, which are portrayed in meticulously staged photographs here, has a story which the artist reveals in accompanying essays. This makes the book both a family chronicle and a biography of the artist himself. His words and fascinating pictures transport the youthful and adult reader into an introspective- poetic world that offers the treasured shelter of family life. (15+)
Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 4
Gotō, Ryūji (text)
Yoshida, Mitsuhiko (illus.)
Sanada jūyūshi. Sarutobi Sasuke
(The ten heroes of Prince Sanada. Sarutobi Sasuke)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1998. 302 p.
(Tsūkai sekai no bōken bungaku ; 4)
Japan/History 1500-1600 - Vasal - Ninja - Adventure
In former times in Japan it was common for historical events to be related by storytellers. Thus the heroic epic tale about three Sanada princes, who lived in the 16th century under Toyotomi Hideyoshi has its origins in the 18th century. At the beginning of the 20th century this story was enlarged to include ten heros with varying family backgrounds and talents, and the figure of Sarutobi Sasuke became especially popular. Based on these folk legends, the children's book author R. Gotō retells the story of the orphan child Sarutobi Sasuke, who became a Ninja, and travelled throughout the land at the behest of his ruler to study the land and find other brave men. This is a highly readable adventure story supported by exquisitely drawn, authentic illustrations. (11+)
Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 5
Higuchi, Michiko (text/illus.)
Iwata, Mitsuko (text/illus.)
(The crab snips and snaps)
Tokyo: Kogumasha / Tenyaku ehon fureai bunko, 1997. 16 p.
Crab - Paper - Play - Imagination - Picture book for the blind
This is a picture book which offers the blind child more than other books. The story of the crab who is playing on the shore with a piece of paper is imaginatively crafted and the pictures can be felt with the fingertips. A special technique creates a differentiated surface design making forms and textures palpable. The texture of the sand and the emotions of the main character become evident. The colorful pictures and the parallel texts for blind and non-blind readers allow children to share the book together and talk about it. The publication of this book was initiated by the Tenyaku ehon fureai bunko, a private charitable library for lending picture books for the blind. (7+)
Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 6
Iwase, Jōko (text)
Watanabe, Yōji (illus.)
Arumajiro no shippo
(The tail of the armadillo)
Tokyo: Akane shobo, 1997. 205 p.
Everyday life - Friendship - Siblings - Dog
Natsu is a diligent pupil and has good marks. Now she has a new girlfriend who becomes her role model. In spite of the conflicts with her younger sister, her daily life lacks nothing. And yet she sometimes feels oppressed by existential fears and loneliness which she senses at the sight of a dark tunnel, her frail grandmother, a stuffed armadillo or at the death of her pet dog. With much empathy and sympathy for the emotional world of children and teenagers, the author has created a very literary story of everyday life, enfolded in a transparent and melancholic atmosphere. (12+)
(12th Akai tori Award for Illustration, 1998)
Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 7
Kamiya, Shin (text/illus.)
(Weevils try hard)
Tokyo: Kin no hoshi-sha, 1997.  p.
Weevil - Insects - Enemy - Self-protection - Survival
A tiny little weevil and a larger one are easily frightened. When in danger, they roll themselves up and fall from the leaves, only to climb back up again - an absolutely tedious way of life. When they encounter other insects and tiny creatures in the forest, they discover other ways that one can protect oneself from an enemy. In refreshingly colorful and lively collages, younger children are introduced to nature's laws of survival. (5+)
Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 8
Kun, Kumiko (text)
Iino, Kazuyoshi (illus.)
Ano toki suki ni nattayo
(I have grown fond of you)
Tokyo: Kyōiku gageki, 1998.  p.
(Minna no ehon)
Friendship - Sympathy - Aid - Conscience
Due to a physical abnormality the first-grader Akari is given ugly nicknames by her fellow classmates. By all except Yuiko. But in secret, when Yuiko is angry with Akari, she calls by those names, too. One day Yuiko gets into trouble and Akari is the one who helps her. Yuiko recognizes her dilemma and the two become good friends. The illustrations depict the protagonists with individualized proportions to perfectly match the brief, memorable text; in particular the over-sized faces speak directly to the reader. The confusion of a child's way of thinking is convincingly depicted. (7+)
Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 9
Mori, Tadaaki (text)
Karino, Fukiko (illus.)
Tokyo: Komine shoten, 1998. 111 p.
Everyday life - Diary - Memories
The events in the life of the ten-year-old narrator, which he records in his diary at the end of the year 1958, are mostly bitter ones: the separation of his parents, the despised swimming class at school, the death of a woman who regarded him highly, an accident that occurred while skipping school, and fears and protests of the citizens of the town of Tachikawa (near Tokyo) who protest against an American military base. With astonishing distance he is able to observe himself and his life situation. This distance and the lyrical phrases that surface in the midst of a description of prosaic situations and reveal the inner life of the figures and the local flavor are the literary characteristics of this author. (10+)
(28th Akai tori Literary Award, 1998)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 10
Ryōte no naka no umi
(The sea in one's hands)
Tokyo: Tokuma shoten, 1997. 200 p.
Father/Son - Transvestite - Self-fulfillment - Father image - Tolerance
While his mother is away on a long business trip, Kazumi's father, who had left the family four years earlier after a personal identity crisis, suddenly appears. Kazumi is disgusted to find him living as a woman and using the female form of speech. Against Kazumi's will his father stays and takes over the household work. The more Kazumi learns about the earlier, inner conflicts his father experienced and his conviction that a person must be honest with himself, the more he can understand and accept his transformation. Before Kazumi's mother returns, the father disappears again forever, leaving Kazmi behind with a positive father image and a new perspective on life. This comical novel offers many amusing scenes with substantial dialogues between father and son. A remarkable testimony for self-fulfillment and tolerance toward those who are supposedly different. (15+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 11
Oka, Shūzō (text)
Tachibana, Naonosuke (illus.)
Boku no jinsen. Shigeru no baai
(My life. The case of Shigeru)
Tokyo: Popular-sha, 1997. 143 p.
(Junia bungakukan ; 29)
Handicap - Muscular atrophy - Love - View of life - Self-confidence
Life for twelve-year old Shigeru is extremely limited due to muscular atrophy and outside of his special school he is completely dependent upon the care given by his mother and younger sister. Sometimes he wishes they would devote more time to him, although he realizes they are overburdened ever since their father deserted the family. Desires and feelings of resignation haunt his mind, filling him with self-depreciation. A talk with a teacher and then the realization that his mother loves him in spite of everything help to change his view on life one day, leaving him with more self-confidence. The realistic portrayal of Shigeru's emotional life brings the reader face to face with the life circumstances of a handicapped youth. (11+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 12
Sekiguchi, Shun (text/illus.)
Hoshizora no hanashi
(Night Sky Watching)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1998. 48 p.
(Kagaku no hon)
Constellation (Star) - Stargazer - Mythology
At sunset two children hurry impatiently to the mountain top where they will be able to gaze at the stars a whole night long with their amateur astronomer grandfather. The magnificent starry sky holds many secrets. Grandfather begins to tell them about the constellations, their movements, mythology and horoscopes. Designed for the young reader's first encounter with astronomy, this information book is easy to follow and entertaining. The night-time hue of blue, especially in the illustrations of mythological figures and in the glowing star map on the reverse side of the foldout bookcover is particularly aesthetic. (8+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 13
Sueyoshi, Akiko (text)
Komine, Yura (illus.)
(Where the rainflowers bloom)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1998. 278 p.
Japan - Goblin - Friendship - Help - Time travel - Love - Self-knowledge
Eleven-year old Yuka makes the acquaintance of the goblin living in a guest house during her holidays in the mountains. Together with him, she finds herself travelling 150 years back in time. There she is an observer of the very difficult lives of a young woman and her daughter, and realizes how precious life is. As a result, she is prepared to deal more seriously with her own life. In Japanese children's literature the goblin known from Japanese traditions is seldom to be found, and thus it is all the more enjoyable to find him »revived« in this suspenseful and mysterious story. (12+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 14
Tajima, Yukihiko (text/illus.)
(Sōbē in space)
Tokyo: Doshinsha, 1998. 40 p.
Tightrope walker - Moon - Stars - Adventure
The rabbit in the moon asks the earthlings to visit its master, the moon, to cure her illness. Out of curiosity an doctor, a monk from the mountains and the tightrope walker Sōbē follow it. To fulfill their task, the battle with the spira nebula, they get involved in a dispute among the stars, and have a jolly time. The artist, who has won several international prizes, is known for his unique technique of patterns and dyes. This is his third adventure story about Sōbē, which is set in the pre-modern day Japan, and illustrated with dynamic pictures in folk-tale style. Particularly inventive is the portrayal of the moon and the constellations as well as a text consisting only of dialogue. (7+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 15
Tanikawa, Shuntarō (text)
Nakatsuji, Etsuko (illus./photos)
Yoru no yōchien
(Kindergarten by night)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1998.  p.
(Nihon kessaku ehon shirīzu)
Monster - Kindergarten - Nighttime - Imagination - Onomatopoeia
Even the title and cover of this book, with its unusual color contrasts, give cause to suspect that this book will be full of surprises. And indeed it is highly amusing, thanks to the congenial cooperation between author and artist. At nighttime little monsters appear in the kindergarten, only to disappear again at dawn. Scenes of their boisterous activities are paralleled in very brief, onomatopoeical phrases. In fact, the names of these comical figures are matched with astonishing perfection to their movements and action - a delight of melody and word sounds, for listening and looking. The illustrations are based on actual black-and-white photographs of a kindergarten, to which have been added colors and additional details - making a clever contrast to the colorful and naive-style monsters. (3+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 16
Tokyo kodomo toshokan (ed.)
Ōkoso, Reiko (illus.)
(Tokku, the lazy girl)
Tokyo: Tokyo kodomo toshokan, 1998. 171 p.
(Aizōban ohanashi no rōsoku ; 2)
Modern fairy tale - Children's poetry - Storytelling - Reading aloud
This anthology, in an attractive pocket-sized format, is a compilation of folktales and modern fairy tales as well as poetry from Japan and other countries. These are select tales which the director of the Tokyo Children's Library, Kyoko Matsuola, and her storyteller co-workers have carefully prepared to oral presentations and already put to use with great success. For the first time these stories are being published with black-and-white illustrations in a bibliophile edition, in order to reach a wider audience of children and adults who appreciate the lively style of narration. (8+)
Republic of China (Chinese) - 1999 - 17
He, Qunying (= Ho, Chun-yin)
Gerlong'er wang zhuanji
(The biography of King Gelong'er)
Taibei: Shibao Wenhua (China Times Publishing), 1995. 246 p.
(Da shishi ; 6)
Tibet - King - Heroic epic - Power of love
The epic tale of King Gelong'er (Gesar), one of Tibet's literary treasures, is re-told here for the first time for young adult readers. Originally a god, Gesar was sent to Tibet to save the people from their sufferings due to war and poverty. Married at a young age to the most beautiful woman in Tibet, King Gesar later left his country to fight a nineheaded monster in the north and fell under the love spell of the monster's sister. In his absence Tibet was invaded by a neighboring king, and Gesar's wife used her tears to break the spell and bring Gesar back to Tibet. This edition was well-received both in the Republic or China and in the People's Republic of China. (12+) ☆
Republic of China (Chinese) - 1999 - 18
Lai, Ma (text/illus.)
Wo han wojia fujin de yegoumen
(The stray dogs around my house)
Taibei: Xinyi Jijin Chubanshe (Hsin-Yi Publications), 1997. 36 p.
Dog - Pet - Responsibility - Animal love
With the increasing prosperity in Taiwan more and more people have begun to keep dogs as pets. But unfortunately some pet owners sometimes desert their no-longer loved dogs and this has led to a problem of stray dogs all over the island. Fearing these biting dogs, the main character of this picture book must wear a disguise or make a detour in order to reach school safely. Yet despite his fears, he feels sorry for the poor dogs and would like to adopt one himself. But he comes to accept that this is impossible. The author gives a lively description of the boy's conflict between fear and affection for the street dogs, opening up a topic for discussion between parents and children. The illustrations reflect the experiences of children in Taiwan. (6+)
Republic of China (Chinese) - 1999 - 19
Liu, Yanli (= Liu, Yen-li) (text)
Hong, Yian (= Hung, Yih-nan) (illus.)
Fang lang de haizi
(The child who herded wolves)
Taibei: Guoyu Ribao (Kuo yu Daily Newspaper), 1996. 73 p.
Wolf/Man - Deceit - Trickery - Greed - Gullibility
Ah-pu, a boy who herded wolves, was banned for his transgressions and went to live with the wolves. Threatened by a massive hunting campaign, the wolves convinced Ah-pu to appeal to the human community for mercy, but the men ignored him and called him a liar. Only the wolves' offer of gold moved the men to negotiate a truce. They cunningly gave the wolves red hats and guns in return for their gold. The wolves grew merry and careless, not knowing that the guns were fake, the hats a target. Once the greedy men discovered the gold mines, they annihilated the unsuspecting wolves and seized their gold. Only Ah-pu survived by hiding in the crevice of tree, crying his heart out in sadness. (10+)
Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 1999 - 20
Zhou, Hui-zhu (= Chou, Hui-chu) (reteller)
Lin, Hong-yao (= Lin, Hung-yao) (illus.)
Lehunle tou. Meinaodai de Afu
(Silly With Joi. Foolish Ah Fu)
Taibei: Fuguang Chubanshe (Fokuang Publishing), 1995.  p.
(Baiyujing Tuhuashu ; 20)
China - Buddhism - Sutra/Adaptation - Passion - Discipline
The two stories in this picture book have been taken from the Buddhist book of »The Illustrated Sutra of the One Hundred Parables« and retold for children. In the first story a foolish man has cooked a sweet syrup for his guest and tries to cool it off with a fan although the fire is still burning under the pot. The lesson is that a person who cannot tame the fire of his passions, will not find peace and enlightenment. The second story is about a man who prepares fire and water in the evening in order to cook dumplings, only to find the fire extin- guished and the water evaporated the next morning. This teaches that a person who cannot give up worldly pleasures will always be tormented by them. The vivid narrative style relays the spirit of the original text in a clear and simple form. The pictures by the prize-winning illustrator are done with fine contours and gentle colors, which resemble paintings from the Tang Dynasty, making these Buddhist teachings pleasurably accessible. (7+) ☆
South Africa (English) - 1999 - 21
Camp, Lindsay (text)
Coplans, Peta (illus.)
Hippo's River Café
Cape Town/London: Tafelberg/Andersen Press, 1998.  p.
Laughing - Friendship - Tolerance
Cheetah and Hippopotamus are best friends and love to laugh over Cheetah's corny jokes. But Cheetah, who is rather vain and lazy, has no interest in helping Hippopotamus build his riverside café and sulks away while Hippopotamus works himself to exhaustion. When the café nearly fails due to Hippopotamus' bad temper, they find the perfect solution for a joint venture. The naive, stylized pencil and watercolor illustrations for this animal fantasy tale capture the dynamic quality of the text. Camp is an advertising copywriter in England and Coplans an international illustrator living in Cape Town. (4+)
South Africa (English) - 1999 - 22
Grobler, Mari (text)
Pulles, Elizabeth (illus.)
Lulama's magic blanket
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1997.  p.
Counting - Colors - Imagination - Blanket
Lulama has a patchwork blanket that her mother made for her from garmets once worn by members of her family. When she plays with it outside, she and the blanket can become anything she imagines. The dynamic, colorful scenes designed partly with torn tissue paper show Lulama dancing and whirling while pretending to be a tortoise, a snake, a teacher, a preacher or a housewife. When she lays down for her afternoon nap, the magical blanket also becomes a counting scheme, helping her drift off to sleep. This is a delightful and imaginative read-aloud story. It has also been published in Xhosa, Zulu, and Afrikaans. (3+)
South Africa (English) - 1999 - 23
Cape Town: Maskew Miller, 1993. 153 p.
Xhosa/Folklore - Oral tradition - Legends - Taboo
This is a collection of folktales, myths, legends, idioms, proverbs and poetry the reflect the rich heritage of the Xhosa oral tradition. They include stories told by the fireside, examples of the eloquence of the Xhosa language, explanations of taboo words for different groups of people, and cultural beliefs related to animals and insects. The elements of folk wisdom and morality are still considered relevant for the modern generation. (12+) ☆
Swaziland (English) - 1999 - 24
We have our dreams
Manzini: Macmillan Boleswa, 1997. 111 p.
South Africa - Immigration - Big City - Friendship - Foreigner - Disappointment
This is an absorbing, tragic novel about the adventure- filled struggles of two young men from the Congo and Mozambique who have come to Johannesburg in the hopes of finding success and fortune. But instead they find themselves facing the underside of life in a big modern-day city, while trying to hold on to their dreams. Despite the appearance of African names and terms, this fast-paced story is highly readable due to the universality of the relationships between the major characters. And it gives insight into the alternatives available to people in a society beset with change and corruption. (14+)
Australia (English) - 1999 - 25
Ringwood: Puffin/Penguin, . 182 p.
Single mother - Brother/Sister - Responsibility - Neglect
Angus has problems with sex but what he really wants most is to be a kid and play Bumface the pirate. His childhood has been turned topsy-turvey by a vain TV star mother, currently between partners and rarely at home, who counts on twelveyear old Angus to manage the daily routines for himself and his two younger siblings. In depicting the many entanglements, crises and disasters that ensue over several weeks, Gleitzman has a gift of creating comic, exaggerated situations with serious undertones to entertain and touch the reader. For this witty social satire in no way overshadows his compassion for a child's dilemmas in a modern adult world. (10+)
Australia (English) - 1999 - 26
Howes, Jim (text)
Harvey, Roland (illus.)
Islands in my garden
Port Melborne: Roland Harvey Books, 1998.  p.
Play - Garden - Adventure - Hide-and-seek - Nature
Even before the story starts Roland Harvey begins to entertain the reader with a zany menagerie of miniature portraits (a cicada, a lady bird, a centipede, a bread roll [deceased], and even Harvey and Howes themselves) on the frontispiece. In beautifully composed watercolor spreads that invite intensive inspection - to find the natural processes but also quirky jokes - Harvey provides the appropriate nature settings for Howes' five-line verses about all the things that can be discovered in the space of one backyard. (5+) ☼
Australia (English) - 1999 - 27
McDonald, Meme (text/photos)
Pryor, Boori (text)
St. Leonards: Allen & Unwin, 1998. 74 p.
(Little Ark Book)
Growing up - Frog - Friendship - Security - Boy/Girl - Haunting spirit
Drawing upon childhood memories of family life with ten brothers and sisters, school bullies, learning to fish with father, flirting with girls and, most of all, overcoming fears of a bad spirit lurking in their house at night, Boori Pryor writes a fictionalized first-person narrative about a boy and his green tree frog. The book's considerable charm is enhanced by a most unusual style of design: different typefaces, often reflecting the emotional content, and various uses of atmospheric black-andwhite photographs throughout the book. (10+) ☼
Australia (English) - 1999 - 28
Marsden, John (text)
Gouldthorpe, Peter (illus.)
Melbourne: Lothian, 1998.  p.
Mountain-climbing - Snowstorm - Supernatural - Ghost
This beautiful pictorial ghost story for older readers unites a free verse narrative with perfectly suited realistic pictures of the Australian bush. Narrated in the first-person plural, the text and illustrations begin with a panoramic view of six teenagers hiking high in the mountains on a sunny day. After being caught in a surprise blizzard and taking refuge - for three snowbound days - in an old cabin already being used by a mysterious young man, the group continues its journey. With the discovery that the hut had burned down in a blizzard forty years ago, the suddenly spooky narrative comes to an end with a chilling breeze. A masterpiece of the supernatural! (10+)
Australia (English) - 1999 - 29
St. Lucia: University of Queensland, 1998. 221 p.
Aborigines - Race relations - Friendship - Cultural identity - Family guilt - Stolen children - Growing up
This is the author's third book about members of a contemporary Aboriginal family. Gracey and her white friend, Angela, finish school and begin university together but soon follow different paths. Angela falls in love while Gracey's life becomes increasingly politicized and alienated from fellow white students. Angela's discovery of her family's involvement in a case of a stolen child weighs upon her relationship with Gracey. Moloney draws his characters with great perception and insight into their conflicts and inner turmoil. While the historical background is fascinating, the emotional involvement created by the narrative make this book as absorbing as its predecessors. (14+)
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1999 - 30
Toft, Kim Michelle (text/illus.)
Sheather, Allan (text)
One less fish
St. Lucia: University of Queensland, 1997.  p.
ISBN 0-7022-2947-4 (paperback)
Counting - Fish - Great Barrier Reef - Environmental protection
Using the melodic chant of a counting rhyme which descends from twelve to zero, the authors present a multi-faceted introduction to the dangers facing the ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef, which is the habitat of twelve stunningly beautiful species of fish. The young reader can actively follow the countdown by noting the disappearance of one fish at each number and comparing the nearly identical illustrations on the recto and verso sides of a page. The countdown chant on the recto shows the playful fish confronted with an intruder. In a brief text on the verso, facts about the effects of human behavior on marine life are discreetly presented below the illustration. Along with the informative text, an attractive layout and a glossary of scientific terms on the last page, the book's most stunning feature is the brightly coloured silk-screen paintings of marine life. Taken together, all these features synthesize into a captivating reading experience and will encourage reflection and re-reading. (5+) ☼
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1999 - 31
Broome: Magabala Books, 1997. 168 p.
Australia/History 1900 - Stolen children - Cultural identity - Racial tension
Set in a period of Australian history when children of mixed racial parentage were given up or taken forcibly by white authorities for preferential treatment such as better schooling, this story tells about one family caught between the fronts. Attempting to keep her children but unable to flee with them, a mother sends her son and half-white daughter to hide in the bush. After dangerous adventures, they are finally brought to the ancestral village. A tribal rebellion is barely avoided when authorities try to enforce their policies. The Australian setting and cultural background of the Aboriginal way of life are especially well-drawn. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1999 - 32
Wild, Margaret (text)
Argent, Kerry (illus.)
Miss Lily's fabulous pink feather boa
Ringwood: Viking, 1998.  p.
Loneliness - Friendship - Confidence - Quest
In this parable-like tale about individuality and the quest for fellowship, a small Australian creature, that thinks itself to be The Last Potoroo, spends a month at a guest house run by a huge, warm-hearted, merry-making crocodile. Miss Lily's gentle sympathy and tacit understanding of the shy, lonely Potoroo finally inspire it to go off in search of other Potoroos. The exquisite watercolor illustrations beautifully capture the house's ambient and the emotions of the main characters in this strikingly well-designed, oversized picture book. (6+)
India (English) - 1999 - 33
Agarwal, Deepa (ed.)
Guha, Tapas (illus.)
There's another way! Stories of peace, love & friendship
New Delhi: Madhuban Educational Books/Vikas, 1998. 103 p.
(My great collection)
Everyday life - Tolerance - Peace
Ten well-known writers for children have contributed stories to this anthology that reveal the many ways in which an attitude of tolerance and goodwill can make a difference in human relationships. The child protagonists either learn a lesson about life or make a difference to others through their behavior. Well-drawn black-and-white illustrations capture highlights of the stories. (10+) ☆
India (English) - 1999 - 34
Stories for a winter night
New Delhi: Indus/HarperCollins, 1996. 83 p.
(Peacock for the young)
Everyday life - Honesty - Adventure - Friendship
These five anecdotal short stories are set in different areas of India, revealing different styles of life and often simple lessons about life that are gathered from memorable encounters in everyday life. Swapna Dutta creates dialogues and situations that come alive and make for easy reading pleasure. (10+) ☆
New Zealand (English) - 1999 - 35
I am not Esther
Dunedin: Longacre, 1998. 159 p.
Religious sect - Single mother - Mother/Daughter - Abandonment
When the dark sad secret of her childhood, the reason for her banishment from her family and their fundamentalist religious sect, threatens to be- come known, a widowed mother sends her daughter Kirby back into that very family and disappears. The psychological strains which follow for both mother and daughter are gradually revealed through Kirby's first-person narrative of her new life. The author creates a convincing tale about family relationships and how people deal with pain, authority and conflicting emotions, giving insight into various alternatives. (14+)
New Zealand (English) - 1999 - 36
Clarke, Mere (text)
Smith, Manu (illus.)
Whirikoki and his seal
Wellington: Huia, 1997.  p.
New Zealand/Legend - Seal - Man/Animal - Friendship - Death - Oil
When surveyors recently drilled for oil on the Manga-tai-Kapua hills, they found only shallow pools. In the legend told in this picture book it is explained that the oil seeped into the hills after a seal, who had accidentally fallen asleep too long under the sun with his human friend, injured himself on the rocks and died. The few Maori words used in the text to give the story an authentic atmosphere are explained within the story. The double- spread illustrations use varying perspectives and strong, luminous colors to capture the beautiful New Zealand landscape. (4+)
(Te Kura Pounamu Award, 1998)
Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 1999 - 37
Dunedin: Longacre, 1998. 160 p.
Post-apocalypse - Good/Evil - Love - Death - Grief - Friendship - Survival - Nomad
With the inner strength gained through his years of survival in a post-apocalyptic barren land and the wise teachings of his old companion (Because we were the travellers, 1997), Ish is able to overcome his grief at the murder of his dearest friends and intended wife. He befriends a slave castrated by the cruel leaders of the Salt People and they continue their odyssey in search of a peaceful, settled life while being relentlessly pursued by the enemy tribe and endangered by new enemies. This vivid, engrossing adventure story, told in the first-person, depicts a bleak, danger-filled life where survival is only possible through sheer will-power and belief in the future. (12+)
Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 1999 - 38
Leaving One-Foot Island
Wellington: Mallinson Rendel, 1998. 73 p.
Family/Separation - Outsider - City life/Rural life - Cook Islands - Island - Diary
Tuaine has grown up in a sheltered, tight-knit family with her grandparents on Aitutaki (One-Foot Island), one of the Cook Islands. Because of her high marks at school, a New Zealander teacher recommends that she go to Auckland to complete her schooling. After two months with her widowed aunt's family, Tuaine begins to record in an excercise book - inspired by Anne Frank's diary - her experiences of being caught between two worlds as she tries to adjust to a new school life and to the stressed family life in a impoverished family in a big, cold city. The story has a naturalness of language and an authenthic ring that gives immediacy to the feeling of being a guest and a stranger in a foreign place. (12+) ☆ ☼
Philippines (English) - 1999 - 39
Arcellana, Francisco (text)
Alègrè, Hermès (illus.)
Makati City: Tahanan Books for Young Readers, 1997.  p.
ISBN 971-630-079-4 (paperback)
Childhood memories - Gift - Death - Memory
This is an adaptation of a classic story first published in 1938 by the Philippine's National Artist for Literature when he was only 22 years old. It is a moving story told in the first person about an incident in a girl's family. The gift of specially-made mats which are brought back from a business trip helps reveal to the narrator her father's love for all his children, and his sorrow for those already dead. The painterly, stylized illustrations by a young artist, Hermès Alègrè (*1968), are done in bright, rich colors which capture the love and warmth of close family life. (6+) ☆
Philippines (English) - 1999 - 40
Blanco, Marivi Soliven (text)
Santos, Reinard P. (illus.)
Philippine fright. 13 scary stories
Manila: Tahanan Books for Young Readers, 1996. 103 p.
Philippines/Folktales - Supernatural - Trickster
These thirteen spine-tingling stories draw upon legends and frightful supernatural creatures in Philippine folklore but are clearly set in modern times in the Philippine islands. The humorously told tales are spiced with Philippine words whose meanings are apparent in the context of the story. The graphic artist's background in cartooning is apparent in these bluish or violet two-tone grotesque drawings. (8+)
Philippines (English) - 1999 - 41
Flores, Karen (text)
Justiniani, Mark (illus.)
The chair king
Manila: Tahanan, 1997.  p.
Giant - Chair - Wish - Search - Trickery
A lazy, dreamy giant becomes obsessed with finding a chair to fit him. After rampaging the cities and countryside he stumbles upon a remote village, Purok Palukit, which is famous for its hand-made production of especially long-lasting chairs. In spite of his rampaging fit a little girl recognizes there is nothing to fear in the mad, selfish giant. While he sleeps, the villagers unite their talents to create a chair big enough for him - and use his vanity to trick him. The story is well-matched in the fullsized, luminous caricaturist illustrations. (4+)
Special Mention - Philippines (English) - 1999 - 42
Reyes, Severino (text)
Lumbera, Bienvenido (comp.)
Cordero-Fernando, Gilda (transl.)
Gamos, Albert (illus.)
The best of Lola Basyang. Timeless tales for the Filipino family
Manila: Tahanan, 1997. 244 p.
More than 400 tales were written under the pseudonym of Lola Basyang (a well-known storytelling old matriarch in Manila) by the businessman, folklorist, dramatist and editor Severino Reyes (1861- 1942) and published in the vernacular Tagalog in a weekly magazine, »Liwayway«. Twelve of the best stories appear here for the first time in an English translation, which tries to preserve the richness and the spirit of the original, along with an introduction which explains the special qualities of these narratives and the author's intention to capture the nighttime storytelling ambience. The reader will recognize familiar folktale themes (such as Cinderella and Bearskin) woven into these elaborate, well-structured tales. Albert Gamos received an honorable mention at the 1985 BIB and was a runner-up at the 1992 Noma Concours for Picture Book Illustrations. His richly detailed twotone pictures in decorative frames resemble the elaborate illustrative style of the late 19th century. (8+)
Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 43
London: Picadilly, 1998. 141 p.
ISBN 1-85340-408-X (paperback)
Dream - Romance - School drama - Romeo and Juliet - Growing up
Charlotte spends her school-days day-dreaming of high-flung romantic scenes with a handsome but unattainable boy in her class. Her dream is partly fulfilled when, as the understudy for an injured „Juliet", she steps into the leading role of Shakespeare's play. Acting opposite her dream-man Romeo she gives a smashing performance. But, alas, she wins neither the leading man nor her second choice. The story's appropriately ambiguous ending is a humorous admission of teenage fickleness. The irony of the non-parallel plots of play and real-life, and the familiar behavior of parents, brother and best friends contribute to the realism of this very entertaining comedy-of-errors novel. (12+)
Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 44
London: Belitha Press, 1998. 32 p.
(The world reacts)
Famine - Relief assistance - International politics
This highly topical information book presents twelve cases studies and eyewitness accounts of hunger found in different parts of the world in the 1990s. Each double-page spread presents a typical feature of this terrible plight, documented by photographs and boxed texts with a few key statistics and technical terms (which are explained in a glossary). The addresses and Internet sites of organizations such as the Red Cross and the Red Crescent are included in a section addressed to the reader. Notable for a clear accessible style of presentation, this series also includes books on war, earthquakes and floods. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 45
Witnesses to war. Eight true-life stories of Nazi persecution
London: Viking, 1998. 127 p.
Germany 1933-1945 - Persecution - Childhood/War - Stolen children - Survival
Along with the story of Anne Frank, the world's best-known story of a childhood destroyed by political persecution and war, this book by an awardwinning British journalist depicts the devastating experiences of seven other children who were born in Germany, France, Czechoslovakia, Poland and England and survived terrible ordeals in World War II. Leapman writes highly readable accounts of their experiences - at once informative and moving - based both on his interviews with them and general background information, which can also provide a well-grounded, sober introduction to the Holocaust. The intention of the book is to speak to the humanity of every (young) reader, preparing them for the sad realization that »war and conflict persist, in Europe and elsewhere, and children are still the innocent victims.« (14+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 46
MacDonald, Alan (text)
Williamson, Gwyneth (illus.)
Beware of the bears!
London: Magi, 1998.  p.
Fairy tale - Bear - Visitor - Wolf - Mistake
In this clever continuation of the famous fairy tale about Goldilock's visit to an unattended house, her victims, the three bears, seek revenge. After Little Bear follows her to a house across the forest, Mother Bear and Father Bear join him to ransack the unlocked house. The merrily colored watercolor illustrations of their zany antics - in sets of three, of course - make great visual entertainment. When Goldilocks comes back to retrieve her forgotten teddy bear, they all just barely escape discovery by the house's real - big, bad - owner. The surprise ending may encourage the young story-hour listeners to create further possible sequels. (4+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 47
Manning, Mick (text/illus.)
Granström, Brita (text/illus.)
Out there somewhere it's time to...
London: Watts, 1998.  p.
World - Time zones
In the cheerful watercolor illustrations of these double-spread scenes of everyday activities in cities or spots around the world, the concept of time is introduced to young readers. They show what different people are doing simultaneously because they live in different time zones of the earth. Each picture is accompanied by short texts in two type faces, a running story narrative and an informative fact about the place. A world map with picture captions and a glossary of helpful words conclude the book. The author-illustrator team won the silver Smarties Award in 1996 for another book in this series. (5+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 48
Llandysul: Pont Books/Gomer Press, 1997. 206 p.
Handicap - Shyness - Parental conflict - Romance - Arthritis
A teenage girl lives with her parents in a ruined mansion in a remote area of Wales. She has become too shy to meet new people or go to school, fearing others' reactions to her severely disfiguring rheumatoid arthritis. By chance a young man with dreams of becoming an architect becomes a regular visitor to the house on a school assignment and helps Mary overcome her fears and face family secrets. The author, a school librarian, draws on historical events in a real mansion in Wales to create an authentic Welsh setting. (13+)
(Tir na n-Og, 1998, Shortlist; NASEN Special Educational Needs Children's Book Award, 1998)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 49
Onyefulu, Ifeoma (text/photos)
My grandfather is a magician. Work and wisdom in an African village
London: Frances Lincoln, 1998.  p.
Nigeria - Family life - Herbal medicine - Grandfather/ Grandson
This picture information book presents a child's view of his family's professions in a village of southeast Nigeria. The boy's first-person narrative is accompanied by attractive photos of adults at work. In his childlike way, the boy ranks the skills of his grandfather, an expert in tribal medicine, above all the other important professions (such as lawyer, baker, or blacksmith) he observes and hopes to continue one day in his grandfather's footsteps. A brief afterword gives scientific details about the herbs presented. This very personal approach to a multidisciplinary topic (family, professions, medicine) represents an interesting way of portraying cultural facts to children. (6+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 50
Stannard, Russell (text)
Levers, John (illus.)
Ask Uncle Albert. 100½ tricky science questions answered
London: Faber and Faber, 1998. 197 p.
Science - Nature - Curiosity
The author, a former professor specializing in high energy nuclear physics, offers another volume in his highly acclaimed series of question-and-answer books for young readers on scientific subjects. Here one finds 100 questions grouped in 19 categories of subjects ranging from the universe, materials, time, computers to human and animal life. Stannard writes in a conversational style, directly addressing his real-child correspondent, and cites both facts and various scientific opinions as well as giving his own conjectures. He often draws connections between other numbered questions and has added 38 quiz questions to chew on throughout the text. This informational book makes for most entertaining reading. (10+)
Ireland (English) - 1999 - 51
Milano, Ed (text/illus.)
It's a jungle out there
Dublin: Wolfhound, 1997.  p.
Cat - Outdoors - Self-identity - Hide-and-seek
In this inner monologue a white cat describes its backyard »jungle kingdom«. In the luxuriant stylized pictures of natural hiding places, animal life, and other shadowy shapes, the viewer shares the cat's perspective of a wide world of danger and mystery. This picture book gently triggers the imagination and invites repeated readings (a ladybug is also hidden on each double page spread), not only as a bedtime story. The author-illustrator has achieved remarkable harmony between text, illustration and book design. (4+)
(Bisto Book of the Year Award, 1998, Shortlist)
Ireland (English) - 1999 - 52
Dublin: Poolbeg, 1997. 140 p.
Father/Son - Family conflict - Music band - Career choice - Boy/Girl - Growing up
Joey is a gifted musician who writes the music and lyrics for the rock band with his three mates and a new talented girl singer. But his widowed father has other career hopes for his clearly intelligent, but academically lazy son. Along the way to proving that his choice can bring financial rewards, Joey has to fool his Da and re-examine his flippant manner of dealing with family and friends. This début novel, written when the author was only fifteenyears old, captures the teenage attitude and jargon and the Irish melody of speech to create an authentic, entertaining tale of growing up. (12+)
Ireland (English) - 1999 - 53
Dublin: O'Brien Press, 1997. 175 p.
(Other world series)
Nightmare - Magic - Good/Evil - Witch - Dreaming - Mystery
A three-year old boy is plagued by the same terrifying dream with increasing frequency. He cannot find the words to explain to his parents how the evil figure Pooshipaw can have such a hold over him. His grandmother consults with an old woman who has magical powers, including mind-reading. The witch helps the boy - and his twelve-year old Dutch-Irish cousin, who has different worries - to overcome the hold of the evil spirit in his dreams, while the dull, baffled parents try to solve the riddle of her identity. This engrossing horror story has strong, believable characterizations and adds color to the realistic plot with Irish words and lilting speech patterns.
(Bisto Book of the Year Award, 1998, Overall winner)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 54
Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1998. 165 p.
Interracial marriage - Search for identity - Grandfather - Prejudice - African slavery
Zack's adolescent discontent with life in his last year at school is compounded by a move from the middle of an exciting big city to a remote rural area. It is gradually assuaged when he takes on a school project that leads to historical detective work involving African freed-slave settlers and also gets romantically involved with a girl. His identity as the son of a black blues singer and a white Jewish historian was never an issue, but his new knowledge about the treatment of the former slaves leads him on a secret odyssey to meet his mother's estranged father in Mississippi. In a taut and plausible plot, the first-person narrator makes decisions that help him to gain maturity and a better understanding of other people. While the family rift is left open in the end, Zack is now ready to face adulthood and pursue academic studies. Much ground is covered in this well-constructed novel, made especially readable by the witty, perceptive narrative tone. (14+)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 55
O'Brien, Lisa (text)
MacEachern, Stephen (illus.)
Lights, Camera, Action. Making movies and TV from the inside out
Toronto: Owl Books/Greey de Pencier, 1998. 64 p.
Film-making - Television production
As a creator, writer and producer of TV shows for children as well as an acting teacher, the author brings a well-grounded insider's perspective on a topic which is of great interest in the modern media age. This information book is packed full of facts and vignettes organized into six chapters. The attractive layout of the landscape-sized pages uses a wide variety of visual presentation styles, lively cartoon- like illustrations, and different type fonts to set off the many different capsules of information. Throughout the book terms are explained clearly and quiz questions given which reveal interesting film trivia. (10+)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 56
Raskin, Lawrie (text/photos)
Pearson, Debora (text)
52 days by camel. My Sahara adventure
Toronto: Annick, 1998. 88 p.
Sahara - Travel - Adventure
A Toronto man's boyhood fascination with the desert (triggered by a Donald Duck comic and nurtured later by David Lean's film of Lawrence of Arabia) and his unwavering pursuit of his evermore concrete dreams led him to the Sahara. Finding an old road sign »Timbouctou 52 Jours« inspired him to seek out this ancient, mysterious city. Here he documents his journey in exquisite photographs, hand-drawn maps, and a running narrative interspersed with boxed explanations on topics related to the people, language and geography of the desert. The layout design of text and illustrations is pleasantly varied and adds a special dimension to this travel adventure book. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 57
Toronto: Key Porter, 1998. 120 p.
Single mother - Siblings - Growing-up - Peer pressure - Love relations
Three sisters, each very different from the other, ranging in age from thirteen to seventeen have a close relationship, partly due to their divorced mother's long working hours. They have a ritual of sharing their experiences in nighttime truth-only »telling« sessions. As each in turn recounts the events of recent weeks during one summer holiday, issues arise - drinking too much alcohol, going along with a group decision one disagrees with, coping with ego problems of a boy one likes, keeping a gay friend's secret, having sex - that make them grow up and see things better by talking them over. This first-person narrative flows easily and gives much food for thought. (12+)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 58
Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998. 174 p.
(A Groundwood Book)
Boy/Girl - Child/Death - Friendship - Outsider - Imagination - Bat - Child neglect
When summer holidays arrive and his best friend, Tom, is gone to camp, Terrence finds himself drawn to Lucy, a strange girl his age who hangs around the same city park and thinks she is a bat. Not only does he begin to understand and enjoy her make-believe world, he also gets caught up in the crisis triggered in part by her family's chaotic and neglectful style of life. The situation escalates when she hides for days in a cave and he is torn between feelings of loyalty and concern for her wellbeing. This first novel is an absorbing read with a child-like (first-person) perspective, sharply observed details, and wide cast of believable characters. (10+)
(Groundwood twentieth anniversary first novel for children contest winner, 1997; Governor General's Literary Award, 1998, Shortlist)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 59
Wynne-Jones, Tim (text)
Petričič, Dušan (illus.)
On Tumbledown Hill
Red Deer: Red Deer College Press, 1998.  p.
(Northern lights books for children)
Monsters - Hide-and-seek
The theme is monsters (or else »painting-on-awindy- afternoon-amidst-chaos«). The literary form consists of sentences, each having one word less than the previous one. The eye-catching graphic format is made up of six rows of black block-letter words, one word to a square, which progressively disappear to reveal more of the underlying illustrations. The zany scenes of events on Tumbledown Hill are done in pastel watercolors, the whimsical narrative has a melodic, lyrical flow. At the end of the day the protagonist's painting and the story converge at a question which every young viewer will delight in answering. This two-layered anecdotal tale is a congenial collaboration between an esteemed writer and a talented artist who began his artistic career in Yugoslavia. The book is highly suitable for reading aloud and intensive looking over and over again. (4+)
USA (English) - 1999 - 60
Cazets, Denys (text/illus.)
Minnie and Moo go to the moon
New York: DKInk, 1998. 48 p.
(A Richard Jackson Book)
Cow - Tractor - Farm - Adventure
Moo and Minnie, two cows, are very best friends. Moo has a wild imagination and a daring spirit, while Minnie, though a bit more sensible, always goes along for the adventure. Here Moo suggests they could drive the farmer's tractor and after ransacking the barnyard it takes them flying over a hill, to land, apparently, on the moon. The hilarious Laurel and Hardy style conversations between Moo and Minnie are sure attention-holders in this very attractively designed and charmingly illustrated beginning reader chapter book. (5+) ☼
USA (English) - 1999 - 61
Johnson Stephen T. (illus.)
City by numbers
New York: Viking, 1998.  p.
Counting - City landscape
This is a picture book album of highly realistic paintings of completely natural scenes in Manhattan which, upon closer observation, reveal the numbers one to twenty-one (chosen in commemoration of the coming century). As explained in a preface, the artist hopes to inspire the viewer to see in fresh and playful ways, to make new discoveries of his or her own surroundings, to »transcend the mundane« and find beauty hidden in urban buildings and scenes. (6+)
USA (English) - 1999 - 62
Painters of the caves
Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1998. 48 p.
Chauvet Cave (France) - Cave painting - Prehistoric man
In 1994 three amateur cave explorers discovered 300 paintings in a cave in the linestone hills near Avignon which were created by Stone Age painters thousands of years ago. Though not the only such find, it is the best preserved cave found yet. Along with brilliant photographs and other documentary illustrations, Lauber gives an account of what scientists have learned and are still seeking to learn - through art, fossils and buried artefacts - about the world's common ancestors, the first »modern humans«. This is just one of several equally beautiful information books for young people published by the National Geographic Society this year. (10+)
USA (English) - 1999 - 63
Restless spirit. The life and work of Dorothea Lange
New York: Viking, 1998. 122 p.
Lange, Dorothea (1895-1965) - Photography - USA/ Social history - Woman/Career
This richly illustrated biography of a strongminded, sometimes difficult photographer is not only well-written but also enriched with warm per- sonal observations. As a child Partridge, along with her parents, was a member of the intimate circle of Lange's family friends. Lange's life exemplifies the complexities a woman faces in the male working world and as a devoted - but never subservient - mother and wife. The challenging circumstances of her personal life and her professional idealism as a documentary photographer of some of the great social tragedies of the 20th century in the U.S. will inspire young readers on several levels. (12+)
USA (English) - 1999 - 64
Parzival. The quest of the Grail Knight
New York: Lodestar/Dutton, 1998. 127 p.
Perceval (Legend) - Grail - Knight - King Arthur - Curse - Fool - Redemption - Middle Ages
The consummate storyteller and 1998 Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Katherine Paterson retells the chivalric tale of an errant knight and the Holy Grail as a parable. According to the 25,000- line epic poem by one of the greatest German medieval poets, Wolfram von Eschenbach - which goes beyond the Round Table version of Percival - Parzival is an innocent fool who endures many trials before finally achieving redemption. Paterson succeeds in creating a very readable tale without resorting to modernisms of speech. Yet it retains the humor of the source tale and portrays a character whose misadventures and human frailities seem maddeningly plausible. (10+)
USA (English) - 1999 - 65
Ten minutes till bedtime
New York: G.P. Putnam's, 1998.  p.
Hamster - Tourism - Imagination - Bedtime - Internet
In a highly inventive story that begins on the frontispiece with a hamster viewing the Internet advertisement for a »10-minute bedtime tour« in Napville, we follow a nearly wordless animal fantasy story that is marked only by the taciturn, newspaper-reading father's countdown. In each full-page, increasingly action-filled illustration, the megaphone-wielding hamster-host and pajamaclad boy as chief entertainment attraction prove to be an enormous success with vacationing hamsters, who arrive in a caravan made up of every possible kind of vehicle. In her brilliant water-color compositions, Rathman proves again and again that one picture = 1000 words! (4+)
USA (English) - 1999 - 66
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998. 233 p.
(Frances Foster Books)
Punishment - Family history - Friendship - Reading - Survival
In short chapters and unadorned sentences containing dry wit - perhaps reflecting the barren Texas landscape - Sacher tells a heart-warming story of a boy whose bad luck finally runs out. Caught with stolen shoes that had flown off a bridge, Stanley is sent to a detention camp in the desert which is run by a cruel, single-minded director who forces the inmates to dig holes daily in search of a buried treasure. The mystery of the treasure happens to be bound up with Stanley's grandfather, whose story forms a parallel narrative. Stanley's hesitant friendship with Zero, their daring survival adventure and ultimate triumph form a wonderfully worked plot that makes very satisfying reading. (10+)
(Newbery Medal, 1999)
USA (English) - 1999 - 67
Shulevitz, Uri (text/illus.)
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.  p.
Snow - City life - Imagination - Transformation
Shulevitz' keen artistic sense of color contrasts - here grey vs. white - and a talent for lyrical descriptions of everyday occurences and, lastly, an imaginative way of depicting dynamic activity are combined in a sparely told tale of snow falling. Can enough snowflakes „survive" to cover the whole city? The little boy protagonist believes they will succeed, contrary to all weather forecasts, and when they do he dances about happily with Mother Goose characters that have come to life. The watercolor illustrations of a fairy-tale like city and stylized, impish characters accompany a laconic text. (3+)
(Caldecott Medal, 1999, Honor Book)
USA (English) - 1999 - 68
The lost boys of Natinga. A school for Sudan's young refugees
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. 44 p.
Sudan - Civil war - Refugee - Relief assistance - Lost childhood
In one of the refugee camps that was established in 1993 by rebel soldiers in southern Sudan for boys uprooted by their country's civil war, there is a school offering formal and informal classes run by an American relief organization. Walgren, a journalist who has reported on the Sudan war since 1989, spent nearly two months in the remote site of Natinga under extreme conditions to document the way children and youth are growing up, caught between the fronts, living from day-to-day, but preparing for a better future. Her descriptive text is filled with details of personal fates and the difficulties of coping with these needs, giving a clear indictment of war. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - USA (English) - 1999 - 69
New York: Hyperion, 1998.  p.
School - Ethnicity - Sushi - Rejection - Curiosity - Friendship
In this charming animal fantasy Yoko is a Japanese girlcat who attends first-grade at a multi-cultural school. When Yoko unpacks her Sushi at snack-time, her fellow classmates join together in a chorus of teasing. Inspite of the teacher's intermediary efforts, only one child is finally tempted to try Sushi (and loves it) at their International Food Day. Wells relates a common childhood experience - differentness and rejection - based on experiences of her own and of her daughter as young school children. She chose to make Yoko an animal because she finds they »are better than humans in conveying certain ideas and feelings«, and a cat to reflect her quiet, sweet nature and emerging independence. True to her intent, as stated in the journal »Book Links« (September 1998), Wells superbly succeeds in expressing the »emotional connection« between her characters in carefully colored, precisely composed picture portraits. (4+) ☆
Austria (German) - 1999 - 70
Blazejovsky, Maria (text/illus.)
(The game of kings)
Wien: Jungbrunnen, 1998.  p.
Boy/Girl - Friendship - Jealousy - Argument - Reconciliation
Tim and Tina are the best friends in the world. Until one day while playing the game of »King« each tries to seize the king's crown (and its power). An enormous argument ensues! That night Tim dreams of being lonely. The next day Tina is bored playing all alone. And so, at the sandbox, they surreptiously move closer and closer - and we know that neither of them will want to be »King« today. In the fullpage pictures in flat earthy tones there is a sense of wholesomeness, while the chaotic movements of the figures convey an endangerment to the world of play. (5+)
Austria (German) - 1999 - 71
Esel oder Pferd? Geschichten vom Herrn Cerny
(Donkey or horse? Mr. Cerny stories)
Wien: Dachs, 1998. 109 p.
Pony - Donkey
Mr. Cerny's father was a donkey and his mother a pony. Thus he was born a dwarf mule and after living for a short time in animal shelter, he was given a home on at a riding farm together with several other important figures in the horse world. Mr. Cerny is a serious challenge to both man and animal at the farm because he had received no proper upbringing at the animal shelter and inspite of his stenorious voice he is umbelievably timid. But they make the best of things and in the end the animals once again have the training of their people back under control again. An adorable book told with humor from the perspective of souvereign pets. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1999 - 72
Janisch, Heinz (text)
Kállay, Dušan (illus.)
Die kleine Marie und der große Bär
(Little Marie and the big bear)
Wien: Betz, 1997.  p.
Bicycle - Accident - Unconsciousness - Fabled animal
Marie has had an accident while riding her bike, but the reader learns this only at the end of the text. At first she dreams, while still unconscious, that her big Teddybear wants to dance with her. As she twirls and dances she sees many other familiar and unfamiliar fabled animals and even herself, though much older and wearing glasses. At least she becomes dizzy and falls into a deep sleep. When she awakens, she is surprised to find her parents standing at her bedside next to people in white overcoats. In these dream and phantasy scenes Dušan Kállay has taken a theme that no other artist could capture better. Earthy tones, bizarre shapes and figures, in all sizes and crowded together, take the reader-viewer along to a world of fantasy. (6+)
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1999 - 73
Sieben Tage im Februar
(Seven days in February)
Wien: Jungbrunnen, 1998. 141 p.
Burgenland (Austria) - Bomb attack - Father/Death - Roma - Ostracism - Racism
In the Austrian province Burgenland four men from the Roma settlement at the edge of town are killed in a bomb attack. Josef's father is one of them. Why? A well-respected, inconspicuous elderly gentleman considers this settlement a thorn in the side. All of his negative emotions intensify into an obsession. He wants to destroy these idle vagabonds. He manages to build a bomb without anyone taking notice. The plot of this story is based on an actual occurence which received media coverage. The author succeeds in depicting the gulf that can develop between people which cannot be bridged by even the best of intentions and good will. (14+) ☆
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1999 - 74
Konsek, Dieter (text/illus.)
Vincent und das Farbenwunder
(Vincent and the miracle of color)
Wien: Picus, 1998.  p.
Magician - Colors - Music
Long ago, when the world was still grey and colorless and music had not yet been invented, the magicians held a gala party once a year. Each presented what he could do best. Only little Vincent had nothing to show off. Then one day he noticed that when he blew into his reed pipe, the world was bathed in a rainbow of colors. Soon he convinced the singing birds to help him with his presentation. And hence he discovered the most valuable magic trick of all. The artist renders his story in archaic shapes and earthy tones. (5+)
Germany (German) - 1999 - 75
Auer, Martin (text)
Kulot-Frisch, Daniela (illus.)
Die Erbsenprinzessin. Die Geschichte von der Prinzessin auf der Erbse nach Hans Christian Andersen ganz frei nacherzählt, aufs Zehnfache aufgeblasen und mit vielen Versen versehen, dazu um die Geschichte des treuen Dieners Truffaldino bereichert
(The Princess and the Pea)
Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1998. 121 p.
(Thienemanns fliegender Teppich)
Princess - Servant - Social inequality
Accompanied by his faithful servant, an eligible bachelor prince goes off in search of a bride. But as he is not all too clever, the servant Truffaldino must amend many royal blunders (not all girls are princesses!). Thus they return home without a fiancée. But soon she is standing, unsummoned, at the door - pitch wet and cranky. And just as in Hans Christian Andersen's original tale, she notices the pea under the mattress, and the wedding follows. Yet there is nothing even slightly proper or royal to this version, as uncouth as a Punch and Judy show, making it all the more enchanting. (6+) ☼
Germany (German) - 1999 - 76
Bauer, Jutta (text/illus.)
Königin der Farben
(Queen of colors)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1998. 64 p.
Colors - Argument - Reconciliation
The queen of colors is the ruler of red, blue and yellow, but she cannot prevent them from getting into fights with one another. When this happens, the world doesn't become more colorful, but rather all too brown and grey. The queen is so upset and troubled that she begins to cry colored tears, until red, blue and yellow re-emerge from the grey of the world. The artist's colored pencil technique and sensitive stroke give this small-sized book an air of vivaciousness and optimism. (4+)
Germany (German) - 1999 - 77
Krisensommer mit Ur-Otto
(Summer of crisis with great-Otto)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1998. 129 p.
Youth group - School holiday - Old age - Inheritance
Hanna and her brother and her girl-friend Carina are having a boring summer holiday until »Ur-Otto«, Mother's great-grandfather, takes up residence with them after a stay at the hospital. Ur-Otto is a master at the art of living and brings lots of excitement into the life of the whole family with his sayings and songs. Even the media get involved. And Mother's natural foods store begins to do great business on his account. But when all the enthusiasm begins to wane, Ur-Otto has still another surprise up his sleeve. A thoroughly enjoyable book about a hale and hearty (outwardly) old man who nevertheless can change the »don't care« attitude of the teenage generation. (10+)
Germany (German) - 1999 - 78
Büchner, Barbara (text)
Boratyński, Antoni (illus.)
Die sieben Vogelscheuchen
(The seven scarecrows)
Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1998.  p.
Scarecrow - Deterrence - Friendliness - Compromise - Ecological balance
A farmer rises up in arms because the birds have lost all respect for the old scarecrow. So he gives it a steel helmet and skull and bones. The bird deterrence is a complete success - but the caterpillars eat the whole field bare. There is no bird in sight to prevent them. The farmer must call a retreat and grant his feathered companions their share of the harvest grain. Boratyński presents the friendly scarecrow and the drastic horror figures in convincing opulence. (6+) ☆
Germany (German) - 1999 - 79
Tilla von Mont Klamott
(Tilla of Mount Klamott)
Berlin: Altberliner Verlag, 1998. 320 p.
Berlin/History 1950-1990 - Growing up/Girl
In post-war East Berlin a young girl is being brought up by her grandparents. (Later her parents, who work in West Berlin, will leave East Germany illegally with their daughter). Although lacking in chocolate bars, chewing gum and similar miracles, this is a healthy childhood embedded in an emotionally and socially sound framework of relationships. The important things are the lesser and greater events of everyday life, the friends, grandparents, while the state authorities play only a marginal role. This is a story with no ideological bone to pick but full of local color. It is an intensive and literary childhood memoir which even seems to enjoy holding up a mirror to today's satiated world. (14+)
Germany (German) - 1999 - 80
Dörrie, Doris (text)
Kaergel, Julia (illus.)
Lotte will Prinzessin sein
(Lotte would like to be a princess)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger, 1998.  p.
Clothing - Everyday life - Party
One morning Lotte doesn't want to do what Mother wants - despite her threatened temper tantrum. And Lotte doesn't want to put on the blue skirt and red pullover, she wants to wear the yellow princess dress. And Mother should dress up as a princess, too (a red evening dress with jewels - to go to work?). Lotte wins: soon both the little and the big princess leave the house in haste, but not without their crowns. And it isn't even carnival season. »Cool dress,« says Mother's girlfriend at the office. Both text and illustrations of this first children's book by the wellknown German filmmaker attack the drab monotony of mothers' and daughters' daily routines. (4+) ☼
Germany (German) - 1999 - 81
Ensikat, Peter (text)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Das A steht vorn im Alphabet
(A is at the beginning of the alphabet)
Leipzig: LeiV, 1998.  p.
Alphabet - Poetry/German
This ABC picture book offers both young and old a not easily won, but lasting pleasure for the eye and the mind. In fact, in this case the alphabet is only a pretext to create a lovely book, not a didactic tool for younger children. In partly encoded and riddle-like verses the author takes aim at the secret (orthographic) life of each letter, as well as elaborate highflown pedantry. The wealth of illustrative matter expands and illuminates in a charmingly encoded manner the linguistic and world view of the illustrator Klaus Ensikat. (10+)
Germany (German) - 1999 - 82
Enzensberger, Hans Magnus
Wo warst du, Robert?
(Where have you been, Robert?)
München: Hanser, 1998. 276 p.
Picture - Time travel - History
Robert can disappear into a certain picture just by staring at it. In this way he unexpectedly sets off on a journey backwards through several hundred years of the world's history, starting in Russia in the year 1956, then back to the Thirty Years War and finally to an artist's studio in Amsterdam in the 17th century. As the artist's apprentice he discovers the possiblity of painting himself back to his own time. Curiously, no one at home even noticed his absence. Hans Magnus Enzensberger's depiction of the boy's experiences is a plea for critical reflection on contemporary and historical times. (12+) ☆
Germany (German) - 1999 - 83
Unter der Asche die Glut
(Fire under the ashes)
Würzburg: Arena, 1997. 629 p.
Germany/History 1933 - Emigration
Christian Fink has big plans for his life - he wants to become a master tilemaker. But Germany is in a period of upheaval. Things begin to happen in his life in a quite ordinary, unspectacular way that later occur on an enormous scale in social and political life. More and more of his friends run to join the Hitler Youth, whose slogans and activities Christian finds revolting. And so he decides to emigrate and begin his life all over again. The author depicts a detailed picture of German history between the two world wars. (12+) ☆
Germany (German) - 1999 - 84
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (text)
Erlbruch, Wolf (illus.)
(The witch's one-time-one)
München: Hanser, 1998.  p.
Numbers - Paradox - Poetry
For all his Faustian hunger for knowledge, man reveals himself here as a weak and easily confused being - aping and yellow-bellied, money-hungry and violent. Fleeing foolishly from the Grim Reaper, he clambers about on the roller coaster of life. That is the essence and the visualized result of the Goethe-Erlbruchian calculation in this picture book. Erlbruch renders here a free interpretation of the absurd and playful text. He paints, cuts and pastes collages in free association, offering both young and old a firework of vivid and profound fantasy. (10+) ☼
Germany (German) - 1999 - 85
Hagemann, Bernhard (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Charlie, du Blindekuh!
(Charlie, you blindman's buff!)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger, 1998. 42 p.
(Der blaue Rabe: Allererster Lesespaß)
Birthday party - Hide-and-seek - Getting lost - Humor
The game of Blindman's Bluff is part of every birthday party. Now it is Charlie's turn to be the blindman. When all the other children are settled down for the birthday cake, the poor child is still searching for someone to take over from him. Without realizing it, he wanders off down the street and gets completely lost, until the little dog of one of the other party guests brings him back. Charlie kept on searching patiently and never learns what a roundabout way he has travelled. This simple, yet striking story is told with much humor in text and slightly caricaturist pictures. (4+)
Germany (German) - 1999 - 86
Heidenreich, Elke (text)
Buchholz, Quint (illus.)
Am Südpol, denkt man, ist es heiß
(It is hot, one expects, at the South Pole)
München: Hanser, 1998. 63 p.
Antarctic - Penguin - Opera performance - Satire
The penguins of the South Pole, who wear tuxedos by nature, are predestined to experience a gala performance. For lack of any other audiences, the famous Three Tenors have set out on an Antarctic Tour and present the enthusiastic birds Verdi's »La Traviata« - with Luciano Pavarotti in the leading female role. This absurd story is told »with a pokerface « by Elke Heidenreich in fabulous verse form. In his calm, yet profound illustrations Quint Buchholz does not conceal that the prima donna has, for a change, a beard. Yet the penguins find the performance just as enchanting as the readers of the entire book. (8+) ☼
Germany (German) - 1999 - 87
Das blaue Sofa. Von der Kunst, erwachsen zu werden
(The blue sofa. The art of growing up)
München: Bertelsmann, 1998. 346 p.
Growing up - Role model - Old/Young
Modelled on Goethe's novel »Wilhelm Meister«, the author describes how a sixteen-year old boy grows into a man. When his grandparents' wealth becomes scattered after their death, he finds himself able to talk with the old man who lives in the house across the way, whom he learns to call his master, about existential questions. This is a grippingly told story that takes its time and builds up atmosphere, portraying the doubts and conflicts of youth without any all too quick and easy solutions. (14+)
Germany (German) - 1999 - 88
Heuck, Sigrid (text)
Kunstreich, Pieter (illus.)
Wo geht's nach Dublin?
(Will you show me the way to Dublin?)
Hamburg: Dressler, 1998. 135 p.
Ireland - Vagabonds - Domesticity - Freedom - Animals
Ireland' government wants to see the last vagabonds settle down. But the O'Connells love their life in a covered wagon and the children don't want to give up the big pony Pinky and the little black-and-white dog for a pitful existence in the crowded social settlements of Dublin. So the two oldest children run away one night with their animals. And what a surprise! Inspite of the intervention of police and social worker, the story ends happily on the farm of old Tim Malloy. The law is satisfied and everyone has something to gain. The joys and trials of the vagabonds and their drive for independence, both inward and outward, is told with much affection and humor. (8+)
Germany (German) - 1999 - 89
Hirsch, Ludwig (text)
Hoffmann, Carl (illus.)
Würzburg: Echter, 1998.  p.
Punishment - Loneliness - Tower - Understanding
A young boy is locked up in a dark room as punishment for misbehaving. He takes flight by dreaming that he could live together with all the children of the world in a tower. When his confinement is over the boy tells all his friends, including a young girl named Hildi, about his dream. As a result each of them plans to learn a different profession: architect, clay shingles, draftsman, and stone mason. Together they make plans to build the tower. Large illustrations show many lonely children who have vivid hopes for mutual understanding and a common future. (8+) ☆
Germany (German) - 1999 - 90
Juksch Jonas und der Sommer in Holundria
(Juksch Jonas and the summer in Holundria)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1998. 221 p.
Moving house - Weekend house - School holiday - First love
Jakob (nicknamed Juksch) Jonas narrates the results of one year in his life - beginning with the move to a new, unknown city where he tries unsuccessfully to find friends. Soon his father rents a weekend house that needs to undergo complete renovation - as a joint project for the whole family. It has no electricity, water only from a well, and all around nothing but nature. They spend Christmas at the cottage, completely snowed in and cut off from the outside world until their neighbors shovel them out. Jakob finds a friend, a boy named Uli who later turns out to be a girl. These childhood memories are related with feeling, understanding and much imagination. (8+)
Germany (German) - 1999 - 91
Janssen, Susanne (text/illus.)
Madame Butterflys Klavierstunde
(Madame Butterfly's piano lesson)
München: Hanser, 1998.  p.
Teacher - Piano lessons - Imagination - Childhood memories
Madame Butterfly is a most unusual piano teacher. In every room, in every corner of the house she has a piano and one often hears quite different music coming from all the rooms at the same time. Her pupils enjoy the atmosphere but especially their teacher, in her plum colored housecoat, who teachs them with charisma and patience, even when they have not practiced enough. Once a year they all travel together to Paris on a concert tour. In large-sized illustrations with unusual perspectives this picture book sings praises of the unconventional, music-filled life of a beloved, unforgotten teacher. (8+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 92
Johansen, Hanna (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Bist du schon wach?
(Are you awake?)
München: Hanser, 1998. 23,  p.
Waking up - Grandmother - Questions - Reading aloud
Dodo is the first in her family to wake up. It's Sunday. She doesn't know what to do first. Quietly she goes to her parents and asks each of them »Are you awake?« No, they answer softly. Too bad. But Grandmother says, »Yes. I never sleep.« She reads Dodo a story about a little girl who wakes up early one morning. In this story it is the mother who asks »Are you still sleeping?« »Yes,« answers Dodo. »Why do you ask? I know! Because you like to ask questions. « This is a game with language and talking, bound up in a story that imaginatively interweaves the worlds of experience and of telling, thus offering many subjects for further questions. As in a doll house, the attentive reader sees all the protagonists talking and interacting with one another at the same time. (6+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 93
Könnecke, Ole (text/illus.)
Elvis und der Mann mit dem roten Mantel
(Elvis and the man in the red coat)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1998.  p.
Santa Claus - Accident - Gift-giving
Santa Claus has an accident with his reindeer-drawn sleigh on Christmas Day. He has to seek help from crazy Elvis in order to »get to work«, as he mysteriously says. His request is fulfilled, but Elvis has no idea whom he has helped. In all his hurrying around, he neither looked nor listened to the sleigh-driver. Only Elvis's grandfather vaguely remembers, who the man in the red suit must be, but he forgets again right away. The irony and humor of this story create a very special Christmas spirit, in good part with the help of the comic-like characters in the illustrations. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 94
Köster, Magdalena (ed.)
Härtel, Susanne (ed.)
Sei mutig und hab Spaß dabei. Acht Künstlerinnen und ihre Lebensgeschichte
(Be courageous and have fun. Eight women artists and their biographies)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1998. 307 p.
Artist - Biography - Anthology
Eight women artists are presented here in short but well-founded and thoroughly researched biographies. Their professions range from acting, dance, painting and architecture to fashion design, literature and photography. The appearance of an anthology only of women's biographies implies that the achievements of women in male-dominated professions still need to be accorded special attention in order to gain wider acquaintance among the general public. And this is done in a concentrated and vigorous style. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 95
Mebs, Gudrun (text)
Marcks, Marie (illus.)
Ohne Suse ist das nix! Geschichten von Opa Hans und Suse
(It's no fun without Suzy! Stories about Grandpa Hans and Suzy)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1998. 83 p.
Young girl/Old man - Assistance - Everyday life
Suzy doesn't have a grandfather and her mother is away from home all day. So she adopts Hans, a man in her neighborhood, as her grandfather. First they have to clean up his apartment, and then they can start fooling around. Suzy is happy, and so is Grandpa Hans. Often a not-so-good day turns out to be quite a nice one with Suzy's help. The author convincingly depicts the pleasures of a relationship between young and old made possible by mutual affection. The caricaturist Marcks does a superb job of showing this visually. (6+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 96
Meißner-Johannknecht, Doris (text)
Ellermann, Heike (illus.)
Die Puppe Bella oder bloß keine Schwester!
(Bella the Doll, or anything is better than a sister!)
Oldenburg: Lappan, 1997.  p.
Jealousy - Siblings
Perhaps there is a way to get rid of Baby Inga? Perhaps one could ruin her pleasure in the new doll? But perhaps she gets lots one day in the woods and everyone is afraid she is lost forever? And surely one can protect her one day from big bullies. The author understands how to depict the agonies of sisterly jealousy until in the end an opportunity for surprising affection opens up. The pictures adopt different styles and perspectives to represent the continuing stages of development from hated baby to accepted little sister. (7+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 97
Orlev, Uri (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Pressler, Mirjam (transl.)
Der haarige Dienstag
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1998.  p.
Hair care - Resistance - Hair cut - Compromise
Tuesday is hair-washing day, the cause of deepest agony for three-year old Michael. His loud protests move the whole family to pity - even Mother. Michael's sister, Daniela, finds a solution: no hair - no hair washing. Michael only needs to get rid of his hair. With a shock he imagines his future hairlessness and comes to a decision. He chooses the lesser of two evils: crying rather than being shorn bald. A thoroughly realistic story about the helpless desperation of a young, patronized minority told with wit and irony, illustrated from the perspective of childlike chaos. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 98
Beruf Philosophin oder die Liebe zur Welt. Die Lebensgeschichte der Hannah Arendt
(Profession : philosopher or: For love of the world. The life of Hannah Arendt)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1998. 326 p.,  p.
Hannah Arendt earned her doctorate in 1928 under Karl Jaspers but had to flee Nazi Germany in 1933, emigrating first to Paris and then to the U.S.A. Thus she experienced her greatest achievements as a university lecturer and scholarly writer there. She also played an active role in the post-war discussions over the Holocaust, climaxing in an analysis of the role and personality of Adolf Eichmann. She also returned to teach at German universities. The author portrays his subject as a person, a woman and philosopher, all three in active unity. The reader experiences the indivisibility of life and profession. (14+) ☆
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 99
Richter, Jutta (text)
Janssen, Susanne (illus.)
Der Hund mit dem gelben Herzen oder die Geschichte vom Gegenteil
(The dog with the yellow heart or the story of the opposite)
München: Hanser, 1998. 110 p.
Dog - Talking animal - Creation - Home
Dog, homeless, knows how to talk and tells (invents) the story of his life for Lotta and her brother. He tells how he has been to see the inventor G. Ott and admire his pictures, which showed the entire world. And how he then has gone in search of G. Ott's best friend, who had been banished from the garden of paradise. That the garden door is closed when they try to return to G. Ott. In return for his story Dog is given a home with the children and Grandfather Schulte, who strangely enough bears much resemblance to G. Ott. There is considerable meaning to be found in this enjoyable, but quite serious interpretation of the creation story. (8+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 100
Schulz, Hermann (text)
Erlbruch, Wolf (illus.)
Auf dem Strom
(On the river)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1998. 136 p.
Tanzania - Father/Daughter - Boat trip - Healing
A German missionary in Tanzania believes that he can only save the life of his daughter with the help of the white doctor's medicine. And so he undertakes a dangerous journey by boat. Out of necessity, but against his Western-Christian beliefs, he learns to trust the black healers' help. His relationship with and love for his daughter takes on a new shape when she is healed through the help of the Africans. This literary, compelling story is based on a true incident. The author writes about Africa on the basis of his own experiences there, full of respect for the customs and values of the black inhabitants. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 101
Big city rap
Würzburg: Arena, 1998. 160 p.
(Arena-Taschenbuch ; 2591 : Arena life)
Big City - Youth gang - Foreigner - Violence - Social inequality
Alexander Abel lives with his mother in a high-rise section of a major German city. There is a high potential for social conflict in their neighborhood. With this material the author composes an intricate story and captivates the reader with a narrative style that does not curry to teenage slang. The story does not have the appearance of a »problem book«, but takes instead the genuine perspective of the young first-person narrator. The problems being described can be understood at the experiential level, without resorting to black-and-white descriptions or an evaluative authorial voice. (14+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 102
Die Mitte der Welt
(The middle of the world)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1998. 459 p.
Twins - Father/Search - Single parent - Promiscuity - Homosexuality - Death
The twins Phil and Dianne live alone with their mother on the margin of society in a small city in Europe. They know nothing about their father and experience the promiscuous life of their young, attractive mother with mixed feelings. Phil is gay; Dianne is lesbian and the great love in her life has been lying in a coma for years after a traffic accident. The author describes their roles in their social situation with great understanding. In this modern »Bildungsroman« all the values of the (petty) bourgeois society are put to question. In the end Phil has come of age. He sets out for America in search of his father. (16+) ☆
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 103
Zimen, Erik (text)
Lausche, Katharina (illus.)
Mein Esel. Ein Rotfuchs-Sachbuch
(My donkey. A Rotfuchs information book)
Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1998. 93 p.
(rororo Rotfuchs ; 20899)
Donkey - Animals - Pets
In this fascinating mixture of inventive donkey-lore and real experiences with two of his own Sardinian dwarf donkeys, the animal expert Zimen arouses the reader's interest in this ancient breed of pets. The very exact anatomically and psychologically accurate illustrations by Katharina Lausche are ideally suited for a book which will expand the enthusiastic fan group of this loveable grey animal. (8+)
Switzerland (German) - 1999 - 104
Zoë und Rea
Luzern: Rex-Verl., 1998. 176 p.
Friendship - Social inequality - Outsider -
Juvenile delinquency - Conflict resolution Zoë looks like a strange bird, she has family problems and she is new in the class. Rea, from an upper-middle class family, attaches herself trustingly to Zoë inspite of the considerable differences in character, but to no good. The two girls begin a series of thefts. Rea's family, who have warmly welcomed Zoë into their fold, know nothing of these adventures. Zoë falls in love with Rea's brother. But in the end Zoë steals even from her guest family. She is banned from the house and the friendship is broken off. An unusual book about social conflict and its effect on an adolescent. (14+)
Switzerland (German) - 1999 - 105
Gmehling, Will (text)
Ronnefeldt, Caroline (illus.)
Tiertaxi Wolf & Co.
(Animal taxi Wolf & Co.)
Aarau: Sauerländer, 1998. 56 p.
Wolf - Talking animals - Taxi
The wolf lives in a large city and has two friends - Leila, the dog, and the fox, who he had once freed from a trap. The wolf loves taxis and so, with the help of the little Chinese girl, Fa Ya Wang, who repairs junk cars, they establish a taxi company for animals and enjoy great success. One day they all set off on a tour around the world. In China the great mountain tiger is planning his wedding and Fu Ya Wang is invited. With merry nonchalance man and beast encounter each other all over this book, getting along with each other on the whole. Highly detailed, gentle pictures give an adequate depiction of the sly humor in the text. (6+)
Switzerland (German) - 1999 - 106
Grasso, Mario (text/illus.)
Venedig - anders gesehen. Venedig - eine einzige und dauernde Metamorphose
(Venice - with different eyes. Venice - a permanent metamorphosis)
Basel: F. Reinhardt, 1997. 139 p.
»Venice - a single and constant metamorphosis,« is the subtitle of this unusual city tour guide. The changeability and alterations of the city over the course of centuries are depicted through the illustrator's unique artistic view of the world-famous squares and of the historical events which he distorts and populates with a great variety of figures. The necessary explanations accompany each of the fullpaged spreads. The artist's presentation of a city is refreshingly irreverent and not in the least antiquated. (12+)
Switzerland (German) - 1999 - 107
Johansen, Hanna (text)
Bhend, Käthi (illus.)
Vom Hühnchen, das goldene Eier legen wollte
(The chicken who wanted to lay golden eggs)
Zürich/Frauenfeld: Nagel & Kimche, 1998.  p.
Chicken - Wish - Persistence - Flight - Freedom
The little chicken wants to learn to sing, to swim and to fly, as well as lay golden eggs, but none of the 3333 battery chickens takes it seriously. But with much persistence it succeeds in pecking a hole in the wall. At last it is out-of-doors and has room to try out all its ideas. But the other hens also find their way out through the hold, begin to grow real feathers again and don't even cough any more. They are recaptured, but escape again and again. One day they are allowed to remain outside. Black-and-white graphics describe the life in a chicken coop and in the meadow, as well as the success brought on by persistence by only one individual and his crazy idea. (6+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1999 - 108
Mühlenweg, Fritz (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Lengwil: Libelle, 1997. 142 p.
Journey - Homecoming - Imagination - Constellation - Animals
Nuni is kidnapped from her parent's yard. She has to transverse imaginary worlds with names like »Desert Dull« and the dangerous »Forest Evergreen.« She makes exciting new friendships when the animals in the zodiac help her find her way home and the calendar man mixes up the course of time. Naturally Nuni is filled with fear. But in the end she finds her way home. The author packages little rules of life, which are hardly recognizable to children, into the fascinating plot, which takes its course, so to speak, between heaven and earth and essentially represents the maturation of a childlike consciousness. Moreover, the dynamic pictures and lovely layout are a delightful enhancement of this new edition of the classic Nuni story, which was first published in a different format in 1953. (6+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1999 - 109
Schendel, Andreas (text)
Renn, Lola (illus.)
Die Geschichte von Gina und Herrn Seeger
(The story of Gina and Mr. Seeger)
Zürich: Palazzo, 1998. 53 p.
Old/Young - Friendship - Play - Death - Comfort
Gina is seven years old and Mr. Seeger's best friend. Mr Seeger is retired and lives with his wife live on the groundfloor of the same house. They love to tumble about together, playing makebelieve lion mother and lion baby. Then one day Mr. Seeger is no longer there. Gina dreams often of their afternoon walks and how she had to rescue him from his musty old books. An unsentimental story about friendship and leaving-taking. (7+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1999 - 110
Waechter, Friedrich Karl
Der rote Wolf
(The red wolf)
Zürich: Diogenes, 1998. 58 p.
Wolf - Dog - Learning - Death
A young dog is brought up by wolves and learns to hunt and catch his prey just like any wolf. When he is wounded by wolf-hunters, he finds a new home with a young girl. She promises to take him back to the wolves' den, to his friends, when it is time for him to die. But if that were the whole story, it wouldn't be by Waechter. It so happens that this animal's fate takes place at the end of World War Two, when man and animal are on the run, some to the West, others - the wolves - to the East. In moving, lyrical images and text an unusual dog's life passes before the reader's eyes. (8+)
Cameroon (French) - 1999 - 111
Njoya, Idrissou (text/illus.)
Yaounde: Éd. Akomba Mba, 1996. 24 p.
Rural life - Wild animals - Deceipt - Trickery
Wandering around the forest, three boys find the fresh corpse of an antilope. A large, strong young man appears suddenly and makes off with the largest part of the game. A trick is then used by the weaker three - as is often the case in African tales - to get the better of the stronger one. Without further ado the children take their booty back to the village for a festive meal. The illustrations present the story with ease and simplicity. The facial features and actions of the children are captured in a minimum of lines. (5+) ☆
Ivory Coast (French) - 1999 - 112
Keïta, Fatou (text)
Mobio, Claire (illus.)
Sinabani, la petite dernière
(Sinabani, the nest egg)
Abidjan: Nouv. Éd. Ivoiriennes, 1997. 31 p.
Family - Love - Jealousy - Adolescence
Sinabani - which means »nest egg« in the African language Malinke - enjoys a privileged role between her father, mother and three older brothers. But her happiness takes a plunge when a little brother is born. Her mother's tolerant understanding helps her to overcome her malice and jealousy. The illustrations are seeped in tenderness showing heart-warming scenes of family life. The strong presence of emotionality may give the smaller readers a feeling of being cuddled. (4+)
Special Mention - Mali (French) - 1999 - 113
Kulubali, Baabilen (text)
Aaron, Fatinia (illus.)
Diyenkoroba ou Vieux-comme-le-monde
(Diyenkoroba or As old as the world)
Bamako: Donniya, 1997. 26 p.
(Text in French and Bambara)
God/Man - Illness - Healing - Ingratitude
Ethical-religion instruction is the purpose of this classical story about God when he travels the earth disquised as a vagabond and receives nothing but ingratitude from the people he heals of their illnesses. The only thankful person he encounters is rewarded with rich blessings. All the others are punished again with their old sufferings. In addition to the text in Bambara and French, citations from the Koran and the Bible are given in an appendix. The illustrations have dignity and brilliancy. The key scenes of the story are set in the foreground while in the background the leisurely rhythm of everyday life continues, women go about their tasks, children play their games. The daily habits, living styles and traditional garb of the Mali culture are made visible inobtrusively. The meticulous, artistic layout underscores the timeless wisdom of this legend. (8+) ☆
Belgium (French) - 1999 - 114
Gelber, Eva et al. (text)
Dehaes, Serge (illus.)
On ira à Mopti
(We are going to Mopti)
Bruxelles: Editions Labor, 1997. 34 p.
Interracial friendship - Solidarity
A young boy from Mali lives in Belgium with his adoptive parents. He tells a schoolmate about his family in Mali, his home country and its catastrophic problems with weather and disease. The two children decide to be friends forever and go to Mali with medi- cal aid teams when they are grown-up. The humanitarian message is dressed up here in funny, richly detailed illustrations, which naively capture the two different worlds. The children's optimistic plan to create a better world is reflected in the final pages, which look as if they had done the painting themselves. (6+) ☆ ☼
Belgium (French) - 1999 - 115
Hassan, Yaël (text)
Girel, Stéphane (illus.)
Manon et Mamina
Bruxelles: Casterman, 1998. 122 p.
(Romans Casterman; 92)
Runaway - Old woman - Loneliness - Old/Young - Friendship - Philosophy of life - Optimism
Mamina is a widow, a grandmother, sometimes strongwilled, still young at heart, and has a mind full of crazy ideas. Missing any warmth and understanding from her son and daughter-in-law, she runs away - in the same way as young Manon, who feels quite unappreciated by her parents. And as chance will have it, they meet up with one another. Their mutual curiosity about each other is the begin of many uncomplicated discussions. The difference in their ages becomes unimportant. With her practical life experience Mamina is able to soften Manon's stubborn resolve to never go back home again. And Manon's affection for Mamina helps to overcome the older woman's bitterness. (10+)
Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 1999 - 116
Norac, Carl (text)
Joos, Louis (illus.)
Paris/Bruxelles: École des Loisirs, 1998.  p.
Africa - Illness - Hope - Magic
A city, a village and the jungle of Africa are the settings for this story, and the stations for the rites of passage which the young heroine must go through. An ambulance has taken the dangerously ill mother off to a clinic, the child remains behind, alone. But she is not helpless. »My hope is bigger than I am,« she says, and sets off to find a way to save her mother. The miracle worker gives her a magical bundle that she must carry to the end of the world. Her path is marked by the messengers of death, the vultures and jackals. But as she reaches the final abyss, a pelican appears as the bird of life. And here the story ends. Joos' illustrations are steeped in magic and conjuring spells. The rich contrasts, created through the very different drawing and painting techniques, has the powerful effect of giving even the more abstract pictures an atmosphere of intensity. (6+) ☆
France (French) - 1999 - 117
Badaoui, Abdel Kader (illus.)
Hije gusar = Devinettes tchadiennes
(Riddles from Chad)
Saint-Maur: Sépia, 1996. 127 p.
(Carnets du Tchad)
(Text in Arabic and French)
Chad - Riddles
In Africa riddles are part of the traditional literary genre of high culture and play an important role in the mental and visual development of children. The Chad riddles, in the form of pictures and short twoline stories, depict experiences from daily life using analogy and symbolism and give answer to children's questions about their own bodies, the environment, the animals, human life, world and cosmos, birth and death. These 120 riddles written in Arabic transcription and with French translation form a well-rounded collection.The very well-arranged, strikingly abstract pen-and-ink illustrations take their inspiration from Arabic calligraphy and the heavily stilized rock paintings of the Tibesti Mountains in Chad. (10+) ☆
France (French) - 1999 - 118
Le voyage clandestin
(The illegal journey)
Paris: Seuil, 1998. 182 p.
Algerian - Paris - Illegal immigration - Prison - Islam
This first novel by the journalist Loïc Barrière takes up the current issues of illegal immigration. A young Algerian boy gets into France with the help of professional smugglers. Naive, determined and brave, he manages to find his way, but finally is caught and put into prison. His situation, representative of many others, gives the reader cause to test his or her own unprejudiced views of »the problem of foreigners.« One also finds a testimony for a genuine Islamic life that differs radically from the fundamentalism that dominates media reports. (14+) ☆
France (French) - 1999 - 119
Les berceuses des grands musiciens. Les vingt plus belles berceuses du grand répertoire classique
(The lullabies of great musicians. The 20 most beautiful lullabies of the great repertory of classical music)
Paris: Gallimard Jeunesse [et al.], 1998. 47 p. + 1 CD
Lullaby - Classical music
The brochure which accompanies this CD of lullabies is attractive for several reasons. It offers the original texts of the lullabies along with French translations and pictures of cradle scenes, nursing mothers, and children in swaddling clothes. There is no less variety to be found in the images than in the diversity of the songs. How easy it is to place Brunhoff's classical picture book »Babar« next to such icons of art history as Leonardo da Vinci's »St. Anne with Mary and the child Jesus« from the Louvre. Interwoven between the pictures are ethnological notes about historical customs regarding diapering and pacifiers. (6+)
France (French) - 1999 - 120
Billioud, Jean-Michel (text)
Cachin, Claudia (illus.)
Le rêveur de bicyclette
(The bicycle dreamer)
Paris: Père Castor Flammarion, 1998. 26 p.
China - Bicycle - Dream
Red, the dominant color of this picture book, represents China, the setting for this story. Red are the lanterns on the flyleaf. Red the color the little bike should be that the father of young Tsin promised him for his birthday. Red is the square where the other children race around on their bikes. But now the father is dead and the dream would be, too, if friends hadn't pooled their resources and fulfilled Tsin's dream. The illustrations have a nostalgic flair, making use of the perspectives typical of wood-cut art. (5+)
France (French) - 1999 - 121
Billout, Guy (text/illus.)
Il y a quelque chose qui cloche
(Something gone awry)
Paris: Harlin Quist, 1998.  p.
Reality - Paradox
One of the first new titles by the re-established publishing house Edition Harlin Quist caters to the pleasure taken by readers, both young and old, in optical puzzles. In oversized, cool pictures cities, parks, seas and mountains become showcases for impossibilities of nature. With a surrealistic wink, our perceptions of reality are turned upside down. The resulting uncertainties are resolved in the humorous captions, as for example in the picture with a ocean liner cruising through the desert, decks filled with passengers in lifesaving vests, with a coastline on the horizon and the tell-tale caption: »Sea a-hoy!« (6+)
France (French) - 1999 - 122
Bloch, Muriel (text)
Bourre, Martine (illus.)
Le loup et la mésange
(The wolf and the titmouse)
Paris: Didier Jeunesse, 1998.  p.
(À petits petons)
Wolf - Titmouse - Luck - Trickster
The song and story tradition of southwestern France includes the merry chorus rhymes of the bird that with a bit of luck escapes from a wolf's stomach. The haptic and richly imaginative illustrations are elaborate constructions consisting of a heterogeneous range of materials such as knitting wool for the titmouse, dried leaves, ferns, cork, brushes and buttons for the bugs and worms on the titmouse tree, and tin foil and electronic circuitry for the claws and bowels of the wolf. (4+) ☼
France (French) - 1999 - 123
Brami, Elisabeth (text)
Le Grand, Claire (illus.)
Le doudou de Tiloulou
(Tiloulou's cuddling blanket)
Aubenas: Magnier, 1998.  p.
Cuddling blanket - Lullaby
Everything that rhymes with the French word for cuddling blanket (»doudou«) finds a place in these illustrated good-night verses. The focal point is a small child who masters all his child-sized worries, whether fear of the dark or conflicts with parents and playmates, only with the aid of that irreplaceable accessory. The final picture presages a day in the future when an older child is finally able to manage without the blanket. A comfort for all parents who may find their darling's dingy rag a thorn in the side. (4+)
France (French) - 1999 - 124
Cantin, Marc (text)
Perdreau, Brigitte (illus.)
Le meilleur papa du monde
(The best father in the world)
Paris: Grasset-Jeunesse, 1998. 46 p.
(Lampe de poche ; 18)
Father - Megalomania - Tall-tale
This grotesque story has all the features that appeal to a beginning reader. Its short chapters and generous illustration contribute considerably to the fast-paced sensational plot. The hero of the story is a small, portly, conservatively dressed father who lives the life of a megomanic to the full. By insisting on gigantic proportions for everything, he manages to make the whole family's life most complicated: windows can only be reached on stilts, going from room to room only with rollerskates. In the end all are delighted when a giant dog causes their palace-like domicile to collapse. (7+) ☼
France (French) - 1999 - 125
Desplechin, Marie (text)
Morice, Jean-Claude (montage)
Comment j'ai marié mon frère
(How I got my brother married)
Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux/ Calman Lévy, 1998.  p.
(La petite collection)
Manet, Edouard (1832-1883) - Painting
A cycle of twelve oil paintings by Edouard Manet, presented in excellent reproductions, is supplemented with a narrative text in diary form depicting a young woman's attempts to get her brother married. This imaginary scenario offers an easy, amusing entry into Manet's portraits of fashionable young Parisians, enticing the beholder - yet without leading by the nose - into an intensive study of Impressionist masterpieces. (12+)
France (French) - 1999 - 126
Douzou, Olivier (text/illus.)
Rodez: Éd. du Rouergue, 1998.  p.
Tricycle - Prank
On each page there is nothing more than a scribbled tricycle. It belongs to Tom, the text says. What he does with it can be seen by watching the tricycle's trailer. From one picture to the next the pile of things in it grows, filled with items he has pinched from other members of the family: grandpa's crutches, baby's pacifier, papa's car keys, etc. The single lines of text humorously reveal the results of these losses for the owners. The uncomplicated, sprightly little pictures are ideal for shared reading between children and adults because they readily give rise to riddlesolving and story-making. (4+)
France (French) - 1999 - 127
Dubost, Jean-Pascal (text)
Couprie, Katy (illus.)
(This is raven)
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon: Cheyne, 1998. 61 p.
(Poèmes pour grandir)
Raven - Animal study - Poetry
Gentle humor pervades this short chronical of the unusual companionship between a poet and a young raven who has fallen out its nest. The attempt to adopt the raven is recorded here, accompanied by an ironical commentary on man-animal relations. Through his unpredictable actions the bird acquires a personality of his own that resists being integrated in the daily life of a human. Accented by black-andwhite silhouetted illustrations, the poet offers richly lyrical variations on the theme »raven«. (12+)
France (French) - 1999 - 128
Dutheil, Florence (text)
Fellner, Henri (illus.)
Le petit livre pour dire non à l'intolérance et au racisme
(The little book about how to say no to intolerance and racism)
Paris: Bayard poche / Astrapi, 1998. 29 p.
(Le petit livre pour dire non ; 2 (Bayard poche))
Intolerance - Racism - Protest
This thin paperback volume offers sound advice for all situations in which a person becomes aware of the differences between people. It begins in the family and ends at school and in public, where members of different ethnic groups are likely to meet. Comic-style drawings with balloon captions depict typical, ordinary scenes in two variations: negative-intolerant and positive-praiseworthy. The texts, which are not only for children, contain well-founded and easy-to-do suggestions for overcoming and avoiding intolerance and racism. (7+) ☆ ☼
France (French) - 1999 - 129
Elèves de Pascal Paquet, Collège du centre, Dir. de l'Enseignement de Mayotte (text)
Elèves de Patrice Cujo, Collège du centre (illus.)
Un étrange marriage
(An unusual marriage)
Paris: Éd. du Baobab/Servédit, 1997. 17 p.
(Collection grain d'encre)
Magician - Witch - Punishment - Transformation
In the Savannah there once lived a witch. She married a magician. They took in a lost child, but one day the witch devoured it. In punishment, the magician transformed her into a Baobab tree that one still sees standing today. College students from Mayotte (one of Comoro Islands off the coast of Mozambique) have written this story down in very effective laconicsm and illustrated it with animal motifs and ornamental patterns in the style of their folk art. (6+) ☆
France (French) - 1999 - 130
Godard, Alex (text/illus.)
Paris: Albin Michel Jeunesse, 1998. 43 p.
Antilles - Fisherman - Poverty - Family/Separation - Leave-taking
The over-sized illustrations of this picture book authentically capture the picturesque world of the Antilles. The young girl Cècette lives with her grandparents, a poor, illiterate fisher family, on Guadeloupe. After her father was lost at sea, her mother had to move to a distant city to find work. Cècette is allowed to visit her during the school holidays. Taking leave of her grandparents is a moving moment and reflects the other side of life on the beautiful island - in order to escape from its material poverty, one must leave behind the people one loves. (6+) ☆ ☼
France (French) - 1999 - 131
Henry, Jean-Marie (ed.)
Vautier, Mireille (illus.)
Tour de terre en poèsie. Anthologie multilingue de poèmes du monde
(Around the world through poetry. A multilingual anthology of poems from around the world)
Paris: Rue du Monde, 1998. 62 p.
Mankind has written poetry in over five thousand languages. The small selection, presented here in the original language and in French, has been taken from an immeasurable treasury. It is accompanied by a variety of different scripts. This lyrical journey around the world reflects the wide diversity and differences between people, and yet often reveals an astonishing affinity that transcends great cultural and geographical distances. The refreshing layout and naive, richly allusive drawings make the pages a delight to the eye. (8+) ☆
France (French) - 1999 - 132
Hol, Coby (text/illus.)
La naissance de la lune
(The birth of the moon)
Paris: Hatier, 1998.  p.
Moon - Animals
This simple animal story gives young picture book enthusiasts an explanation of the moon as the reflector of the sun and how it waxes and wanes in the heavenly skies. The paper collage illustrations capture the magic that the night-time star exerts on small animal and will appeal to the tactile sense of children, enticing them to discover the moon for themselves through their identification with the animal protagonists. (3+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 133
Mwankumi, Dominique (text/illus.)
La pêche à la marmite
(The catch of fish with the pot)
Paris: École des Loisirs, 1998. 37 p.
Congo - Fishing - Rural life
Two hundred kilometers from Kinshasa there is a fishing village called Panu. In the rainy period the river is overflowing with fish. Kumi and his friends set out to fish. It is not without danger. Suddenly a crocodile approaches. Fortunately, Kumi is alert enough to scare it off. The luminous power of these illustrations of this true story which capture the lively experiences of Congolese children let the reader know that these are scenes from the childhood of the Congolese painter now living in Brussels. Parallel to the story, the mood of the story is unfolded as the color tones shift the yellow of the hot midday to the shadowy hues of evening and nighttime. The reader is transported into a world of childhood far beyond the routine of school-days and safety-inspected playgrounds. A brief afterword describes the current living conditions of Congolese fishermen and their families. (5+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 134
Ottenheimer, Laurence (conception)
Truong, Marcelino (illus.)
Une journée à Hanoi
(One day in Hanoi)
Paris: Hachette Jeunesse, 1997.  p.
Hanoi - Family life - Daily routine - Traditions/Modern life
The seven landscape-sized tableaus show a day in the life of the family Tran in bustling Hanoi. The traditional and modern ways of life are intermingled. One observes ceremonies of ancestor worship taking place adjacent to relics from the French colonial period, such Baguette from the bakery or steam engines. The recent past is called to mind by a passer-by crippled during the war. Ricksha drivers, apparently unemployed intellectuals, read while waiting for customers. Illnesses are also in evidence. The extreme closeness of the living quarters is made relative by the unperturbed cheerfulness of the residents. In an appendix there is a photodocumentary afterword. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 135
La pluie comme elle tombe
(Raindrops keep falling)
Paris: École des Loisirs, 1998. 179 p.
Boy/Girl - Holiday camp - Puberty - Communication problems
In alternating inner monologues, a girl and a boy reflect upon their experiences at a holiday camp. Both loners, they hate the way their social activities are strictly organized. Although the girl makes an effort to win the boy as a friend, their monologues never manage to become one dialogue. Each remains the focus of his or her own thoughts. The casual style of teenaged jargon only appears to cover up each one's inability to communicate, and especially the boy's nearly pathological introversion. The compelling literary rendering of each protagonist's inner life involves the reader in the oppressive disasters of unsuccessful encounters in numerous variations. (14+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 136
Roger, Marie-Sabine (text)
Roca, François (illus.)
A la vie, à la vie...
(To life, to life...)
Paris: Nathan, 1998. 118 p.
(Pleine Lune ; 83 : Roman réaliste)
Illness - Pain - Fantasy/Reality - Dying
The young protagonist of this novel knows that he will die soon. The narrative describes his last days from his point of view. Gentle dialogues with his mother and fantasy games with his neighbor, an old sea captain and great storyteller, intermingle with the nightmares of pain, feverish dreams and longings. The illustrations done in black-and-white-and-grey maintain a balance between distorted and realistic drawing, in keeping with the pulse beat of this invalid story, in which the fatal end of the child is experienced as a happy embarkment as ship's mate on the captain's pirate schooner. (10+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 137
Sadeler, Joël (text)
Robin, Ségolène (illus.)
(The shared child)
Chaillé-Sous-Les-Ormeaux: Dé bleu, 1998. 47 p.
(Le farfadet bleu)
Father/Child - Poetry
On the title page of this poetry collection on the theme of father and child one sees two little houses. They belong to mother and father who live separated. Between the houses there is a narrow foot-bridge. The child is standing there with a heart »between two doors.« The poems speak of the bitterness of a double- life, but also from all-absorbing game, day-dream phantasies and having fun. From his adult point of view, the father sensitively observes the charm and incalculable self-reliant nature of his child. (12+)
(Prix Poésie Jeunesse, 1997)
Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 138
Au cinéma Lux
(In Cinema Lux)
Paris: Syros Jeunesse, 1998. 74 p.
Cinema - Blindness - First love
The logical explanation for the gentle narrative tone of this novel is found only in the final pages when the reader learns that both protagonists, a young girl and young man, are blind. The unbiased reader encounters them in the cinema - a very unusual place, considering their handicap. As members of a film club, they get emotionally involved week for week, side by side, in each screen story. Shy and with tender deference they become closer friends, their accidental acquaintanceship turns into love. The happy ending is moving and shows an astonishing zest for life that is beyond any form of pity. (13+)
Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 139
Buongiorno, Teresa (text)
Frugoni, Chiara (text)
Carrer, Chiara (illus.)
Storia di Francesco il santo che sepava ridere
(The story of Francis, the saint who knew how to laugh)
Roma: Laterza, 1998. 100 p.
(Il pentolino magico)
It is always a challenge to deal a legendary person like Saint Francis of Assisi, but here the author and illustrator succeed in giving children an accurate account of the »Saint of the poor« both in historical and artistic terms. The educational intentions of the text are well balanced with a detailed and colorful narrative which transports the reader back to the times in which he lived. This fascinating documentation is adorned visually with fresco-like illustrations with a strong resemblance to those in the Church of Assisi. The values Saint Francis propagated, such as peace, equality among all people, and God's love for all creatures are conveyed in a pleasing manner. (7+)
Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 140
Detti, Ermanno (text)
Luzzati, Emanuele (illus.)
E quando cupa mezzanotte scocca
(And when gloomy midnight strikes)
Firenze: Fatatrac, 1998. 71 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni; 16 : Ottagono junior)
Italy/Folktale - Courage/Fear - Adventure
This is a octave poem about the well-known Italian fairy tale character »fearless Giovannin« who was also featured in Italo Calvino's »Fiabe Italiane« (1956). The epic and picaresque adventures of the boy who longs to experience fear are full of events taken from popular traditions. In five episodes (How Giovannino became a knight; The dead woman still lives; Noon of fear; The pirate's treasure; In the churchyard) his quest for this emotion are skilfully and delightfully turned into selfchallenges - the greatest fear is fear of one's self. The vigorous outlines and deep colors in Luzzati's pictures convey the hero's restlessness. (7+)
Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 141
Facchini, Vittoria (text/illus.)
Le femmine non mi piacciono perché...
(I don't like girls because...)
Firenze: Fatatrac, 1998.  p.
Girl/Boy - Sexual role - Gender differences
How do little girls appear to little boys? The faults, manias and bad habits of females as perceived by male children is quite amusing: girls like to whisper in one's ear, girls are sneaks and telltales, girls collect only Barbie dolls, they are mood, and tend to cry alot. But in the end, despite of all their peculiarities, boys admit they need girls because »the snack tastes better.« The attractive full-page illustrations reinforce the ironic criticisms with busy graphics. The author has also written another book from the little girls' point of view, »I maschi non mi piacciono perché...«. (5+)
Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 142
Viaggio di maturità
(Journey of maturity)
Trieste: E. EL, 1998. 173 p.
(Frontiere ; 31)
Friendship - Adolescence - Adventure - Journey - Quest
After their leaving-school examinations, three young men take a journey in search of an ex-girlfriend of one of them.This »road novel« through Italy, in which the friends experience unexpected events, memorable encounters with strangers, and squabble with one another, also reveals their personal histories, their adolescent anxieties, their loneliness and longings. Sharing the stirring sensation of newly found freedom, they unveil their own inner lives to each other, making it clear that the real quest takes place within one's self. The author depicts the adolescent emotional and psychological world with great sensitivity, conveying the complex realities of modern youth. It will surely appeal to many adolescents. (14+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 143
Guarnieri, Paolo (text)
Landmann, Bimba (illus.)
Un bambino di nome Giotto
(A child named Giotto)
Milano: Arka, 1998.  p.
(Collana Perle d'arte)
Giotto <di Bondone> - Art - Painting
This narrative picture book presents the legendary life of the painter Giotto as an introduction to art. Beginning with Giotto's childhood as a young shepherd and his fortuitous meeting with Cimabue, the outstanding master and innovator in pictorial art of his times, the author entertains the young reader both through the story and informative descriptions of the techniques involved in fresco painting. Full-page plates in warm, earthy tones resembling altar pieces describe not a saint's life but that of the celebrated Romanesque painter. Especially striking is the use of decorative elements that convey the Byzantine influences on Giotto's education and work. (7+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 144
La parole magiche di Kengi il Pensieroso
(The magic words of Kengi the Pensive)
Casale Monferrato (AL): Piemme Junior, 1998. 302 p.
(Il batello a vapore / Serie rossa / Serie oro; 5)
Sumer - Adolescence - School - Learning
Kengi, a thirteen-year old farmer boy in Sumer in ancient Babylonia, has a dream. He wants to learn to write and become a scribe. Through a fortuitous event he is able to enter a school for scribes where he is entrusted to a cruel teacher who thwarts his learning. Kengi finds himself up against several hostile people who oppose his desire to improve his status. This is a well-constructed and fascinating historical novel, rich in adventures, that will stimulate the reader's imagination. Kengi's enthusiasm and longing for knowledge represent adolescent fragility but also perseverance in pursuing one's aspirations. (12+) ☆
(Premio Il Battello a Vapore, 1997)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 145
Lavatelli, Anna (text)
Vignale, Silvia (illus.)
Alex non ha paura di niente
(Alex is afraid of nothing)
Casale Monferrato (AL): Piemme Junior, 1998. 56 p.
(Il battello a vapore / Serie bianca; 27)
Fear - Hospital - Appendectomy - Courage
A timid child, Alex, is filled with panic at the thought of the appendectomy he must undergo. In hospital he makes friends with a younger child who mistakenly thinks him courageous. This gives Alex the strength to overcome his hidden fears. This simple and direct narrative turns children's fears of doctors and hospitals into a story of courage that may also help young readers to face other adversities of life, too. The easyto- read tale in paperback format is enhanced with humorous, dynamic line drawings that reflect the emotions of the protagonist. (5+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 146
Fuggo da tutto
Milano: Mondadori, 1998. 77 p.
(Shorts ; 12)
Adolescence - Runaway - School - Mass media
The two school friends, Marco and Numia, are as different as day and night: he is introverted and chaotic while she is outgoing and resolute, he is white and she is black. But they share the desire to escape from their families. While on a school trip to Florence they spontaneously join forces and decide to runaway. Sure that no one will expect them to stay in Florence, they hide there and follow the dramatic sensationalized reports of their »flight« in the newspapers and on television. Told in a lively, light-handed style, this novel is sure to absorb its readers from the very start. (12+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 147
Nanetti, Angela (text)
Balbusso, Anna (illus.)
Balbusso, Elena (illus.)
Mio nonno era un ciliegio
(My granddad was a cherry tree)
Trieste: Einaudi Ragazzi, 1998. 144 p.
([Einaudi Ragazzi / Storie e rime] ; 96)
Tree - Grandfather/Granddaughter - Death - Love - Life philosophy
A cherry tree named Felice is planted in commemoration of the birth of a girl and grows up with her. The cherry tree is the focus of the narration, the children's playmate, a place of knowledge and adventure, a symbol of life's continuity. But the tale's most important figure is the grandfather, who, with his vitality, sense of freedom, and ability to hear the tree's breathing, is somewhat „crazy". With a light touch, the author is able to deal with topics such as suffering and death, with lyrical emotionality, to convey the belief that »you don't die till someone loves you and till the cherry trees keep on living for you.« The charming illustrations create a harmonious balance between the story's different emotions. (10+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 148
Nava, Emanuela (text)
Carrer, Chiara (illus.)
Ciliegie e bombe
(Cherries and bombs)
Firenze: Giunti, 1998. 93 p.
([Giunti ragazzi universale / Under 10] ; 31)
Yugoslavia/Civil war - Orphan - Diary
Nine-year old Dragan is a war orphan from ex-Yugoslavia living in an orphanage in Italy. During the long months the staff look for a family to adopt him, he records his fears and hopes, his memories and experiences in a diary and makes acquaintance with people who want to help restore peace and quiet to his life. This is an intense, melancholic and moving story, brightened by occasional flashes of irony and fun. The illustrator's witty and sensitive style conveys the universal child's fears and emotions with warmth and humor. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 149
Nava, Emanuela (text)
Carrer, Chiara (illus.)
La mummia che fuggì dal museo
(The mummy who escaped from the museum)
Firenze: Salani, 1998. 124 p.
(Gl'istrici ; 130)
Mummy - Adventure - Love
After spending thousands of years in a sarcophagus, a pharaoh's wife - now a mummy - tires of her lazy existence in a museum and decides to escape. Finding refuge in southern Italy with an old nurse who rears crocodiles - the symbol of fertility - in her garden pond, the mummy discovers love and turns into a fascinating and radiant woman with sex appeal. All efforts by the police and public health officers to make her leave are in vain. She even finds help from the statuettes of her Egyptian servants buried with her. Throughout the colorful story the reader is given a humorous interpretation of Egyptian culture, which is also presented in comic style illustrations. (9+) ☆
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 150
Pitzorno, Bianca (text/illus.)
La voce segreta
(The secret voice)
Milano: Mondadori, 1998. 188 p.
Infant - Magic - School - Growing up
Though not yet old enough to go to school, Cora is considered old enough to look after her new-born twin brothers. Most of her free-time is spent playing with the neighborhood children, learning irreverent games, nonsense rhymes and »metropolitan spells«. With one of these magic formulas, she makes a pair of wings sprout on one of the babies' backs. And this gets Cora into trouble because her winged brother does not behave like an angel. In her well-practiced style, Pitzorno depicts the world of children through Cora's naive, but at the same time sharp and critical eyes. (10+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 151
Vivarelli, Anna (text)
Toesca, Maria (illus.)
Storie per gioco
(Tales to play)
Roma: Nuove Ed. Romane, 1998. 90 p.
(Nuova biblioteca dei ragazzi; 26: Narrativa)
Play - Child/Adult
This collection of short stories was inspired by ten traditional children's games such as »snakes and ladders «. Playing games is the common theme that leads the readers to rediscover the simplicity of childhood and the importance of human relationships in today's high-tech society where a child may sit alone in front of a television or computer screen. The light and clear manner of writing emphasizes how easy it is to find enjoyment in playing games and will appeal to both children and adults. The unpretentious sketches highlight key episodes in each story. (6+)
Portugal (Portuguese) - 1999 - 152
Mota, António (text)
Lúcia, Ana (illus.)
O agosto que nunca esquecei
(The August that I have never forgotten)
Porto: Edinter, 1998. 171 p.
(Edinter jovem ; 17)
Rural life - Village - Rural exodus - Home
In hindsight, from the perspective of the first-person narrator, this book tells of the experiences of elevenyear old David in 1966 in his home village in northern Portugal. It is a summer full of surprises and major changes, both in the family and in the village, and ends with David leaving his home to earn his living in the big city of Porto. In his realistic but at the same time reticent, reserved style the author describes traditional rural life and its gradual but unstoppable decay. There is a lightly melancholic tone in the narrative yet it is free of any bitterness and nostalgic overtones. (11+) ☆
Romania (Romanian) - 1999 - 153
Popescu, Vlad (text/illus.)
Nu trageţi în ... zîmbete!
(Don't shoot - smile!)
Bucureşti: Lumina Lex, 1996. 103 p.
Romania - Everyday life - Adolescence
In short stories in video-clip style the adolescent author makes fun of the weaknesses, mistakes and stupidity of adults. And he doesn't spare himself the same treatment, thus giving a complex picture of everyday life in contemporary Romania as seen through the eyes of an innocent youth. (12+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1999 - 154
Sorescu, Marin (text)
Georgiţă, Arina (illus.)
Diligenţa cu papuşi
(The doll buggy)
Cluj: Ed. Cartimpex, 1998.  p.
Rhymes - Aphorisms
Ten years after the political changes in Romania, the abrupt privatization and break-up of the distribution networks, new publishing houses, such as Cartimpex, are trying to establish themselves with solid, highquality little booklets. This is a thin booklet with sparse, aphoristic four-liners to accompany the artistic illustrations. The playful, spontaneous collages match the rhymes and thus inspire the reader to complete and extend them. This is a very personal style, with an inexhaustible supply of ideas. (6+)
Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 155
Echegaray, Marta (text)
Castillo, Jorge (illus.)
Inciértico o La rica historia del Sexto Océano
(Inciértico or The wonderful tale of the Sixth Ocean)
Madrid: Ed. Siruela, 1998. 91 p.
(Las tres edades ; 60)
Fantasy travel - Island - Alphabet - Language - Alice in Wonderland <motif>
Twelve-year old Marisol and her turtle Kikí reach the land of Inciértico by boat. This is a country consisting of 26 islands, each named after a letter in the alphabet, and is ruled by the slightly despotic King AyZee. With this monarch, who gladly shows her his whole kingdom, Marisol is able to conduct witty, sometimes absurd, sometimes sophisticated conversations. Consciously drawing parallels with Lewis Carroll's »Alice in Wonderland,« this story follows in the tradition of classical nonsense literature in which wordplay and games involving logic are more central to the story than any plot. (12+)
Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 156
Otero, Rodolfo Guillermo (text)
Vassallo, Stephane (illus.)
La estrella Peregrina
(The star Peregrina)
Barcelona: Noguer y Caralt Ed., 1997. 63 p.
Universe - Stars - Star of Bethlehem - Transiency - Death - Philosophy of life
A star is born and sets off along on a journey through the universe. Peregrina (which means pilgrim) meets other stars, »red giants,« comets, makes friends, learns the meaning of farewells, and gradually becomes familiar with the mysteries of life, growth and decaying, welcome and separation, life and death. This easy-to-understand and sensitive text with color illustrations is an inquiry - using stars as an example - into existential questions and the meaning of life and underscores the value of every individual being. What Peregrina's fate is, is found out in the end, as a bright star comes to shine over a small village named Bethlehem. (7+)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 157
Peña Muñoz, Manuel
Madrid: Ed. SM, 1998. 175 p.
(Gran Angular ; 177)
Chile 1940s - First love - Farewell - Memories - Returning - Homeland
Fourteen-year old Víctor Manuel travels at the end of the 1940s with his mother from Valparaíso to the tiny village Maillines in the southern part of Chile. His mother has been asked to deliver an ominous-looking blue packet from Spain to a long-lost man whom she was once in love with, during their youthful years in Spain. Maillines is a slumbering, secluded place, a world of its own that follows its own slow rhythm of life and time. In this „magical" place, which signifies the final destination of a journey to the past for the mother, and the beginning of the boy's passage into adulthood, the life stories of quite dissimilar persons are interwoven for a few days. Maillines becomes the symbol for homeland, meeting and parting, hoping and waiting. Writing in a calm, compact and atmospheric language, the author (born in 1951 in Valparaíso) helps the reader to appreciate the poesie of the moment and the moods (e.g., intense anticipation, sadness, melancholy) of the novel's figures. (12+)
(Premio Gran Angular, 1998)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 158
Piérola, Mabel (text/illus.)
(I don't know)
Madrid: Ed. SM, 1998. 30 p.
Naivity - Curiosity - Philosophy of life
Children are hungry for knowledge, they observe our world with their own eyes and are interested both in the big questions and the little details of life. Why don't we walk on four legs? Why do I get goosebumps? Or even: where was I before I was born? On each double-spread of this picture book one such question is posed. Each question stands alone, but together they give an entertaining and profound insight into the way children think. Mabel Piérola has created her dynamic, sparingly colored illustrations using mixed media on torn greyish brown and white paper, completely from the children's perspective. (4+)
(Premio Internacional de Ilustración de la Fundación Santa María, 1997)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 159
Plaza, José María (text)
Gallego, José María (illus.)
El paranguaricutirimicuaro que no sabía quién era
(The paranguaricutirimicuaro who didn't know who he was)
Madrid: Espasa, 1998. 131 p.
(Espasa juvenil ; 55)
Animals - Difference - Search for identity
A curious, adventurous little animal sets out alone, leaving parents and familiar territory behind it, in order to discover the world. On its random course it encounters a wide variety of animals who all make fun of the naive stranger. For the frog its eyes are too big, for the snake, its legs too long, for the ant it is much too large. And on top of that they all want to know: who are you? This becomes clear in the end: a paranguaricutirimicuaro - although this name gives rise to even more questions. The diversity of the animal world and the search for one's own identity are the themes of this amusing and accessible story. (7+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 160
Prada Samper, José Manuel de (reteller)
Filella, Luis (illus.)
Las mil caras del Diablo. Cuentos, leyendas y tradiciones
(The thousand faces of the devil. Folktales, legends and traditions)
Barcelona: Ed. Juventud, 1998. 246 p.
(Colección cuentos universales)
The folktales and legends in this extensive anthology all deal with the figure of the devil. José M. de Prada has done a meticulous job of researching and re-telling the traditional tales from many countries and cultures. The result is an interesting mixture, that enables a multi-faceted view at a well-known, many-sided character. Using a thematic approach - such as the origins of the devil or the classical motif of the devil's pact - the author offers interesting connections. Initial vignettes, black-and-white and some color illustrations, as well as an extensive list of sources and secondary literature round out this exemplary book. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 161
Ramírez Lozano, José A.
El cuerno de Maltea
Madrid: Alfaguara, 1997. 102 p.
Goat - Superstition - Large city - Rural life
When is sister and brother-in-law move to Sevilla, Lulino has no choice but to accompany them. The crass adjustments from provincial life in the country to life in the big city are further exacerbated by the fact that the boy had insisted on bringing his goat Maltea with them. Maltea gets loose and causes various upsets, is taken for an incarnation of the devil and in the end must play with its life on account of human superstition and of being alien and intolerably disruptive to city life. Told from Lulino's naive, at times almost picaresque point of view, this is a colorful, humorous story with a sense for situational comic. (10+)
(Premio Literario Jaén, 1997)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 162
Sierra i Fabra, Jordi
Un hombre con un tenedor en una tierra de sopas
(A man with a fork in an earth of spoons)
Madrid: Bruño, 1998. 171 p.
(Paralelo Cero ; 22)
Chiapas (Mexico) - Aborigines - Oppression - Social Conflict - Photographer - Suicide
The younger brother of a Spanish photographer wants to find out why his brother chose to commit suicide, even though he had received an important prize for the publication of a photo of a massacre in the Mexican state of Chiapas only a short time before. The question leads him to the center of the conflict, the jungle of Lacandona. This suspenseful, ficticious story by one of today's most widely read young adult writers in Spain is based on the real suicide case of a photojournalist. The book not only sheds light on the background of this socio-political conflict but also shows clearly the implications of journalism. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 163
Estricnina con yogur
(Strichnine with yoghurt)
Madrid: Anaya, 1997. 129 p.
(Espacio abierto ; 51)
Verónica only wants nothing more than to spend a romantic weekend with her boyfriend at a holiday camp for highly gifted teenagers (though she finds the camp itself terribly boring). What happens in the time between her arrival and that of her boyfriend can hardly be summarized in this short space because this fastpaced narrative is so absurd and grotesque. In less than 24 hours Verónica runs into five Doberman dogs with psychopath looking faces, is nearly killed by a catapult, and much more. All in all a rather unspectacular story but it provokes laughter again and again. The author has a masterful way with words and a conspicuous talent for unconventional, spontaneous, and imaginative ideas. (13+)
Spain (Catalan) - 1999 - 164
Garriga, Carme (text)
Giménez, Anna (text)
Giménez, Anna et al. (photos)
Ostelinda. Jo vinc de tot arreu
(Ostelinda. I come from everywhere)
Barcelona: Galera, 1998. 31 p.
(LaGalera jo vinc de ... ; 1)
This book is one title in the exemplary information book series („I come from..."), in which texts and abundant photographs offer a useful first glimpse into the life and customs of different countries - as seen through the eyes of a child who lives there and tells of his own everyday life. A notable feature of this book is that the girl belongs to the Roma, a people who are at home in many countries and are often marginalized and stigmatized. This book deserves praise in particular for showing clearly that Ostelinda is above all a child like any other. (7+) ☆ ☼
Spain (Catalan) - 1999 - 165
Barcelona: Ed. de la Magrana, 1997. 107 p.
(L'esparver jove ; 2)
Adolescence - Everyday life - Growing up - First love - Diary
During his summer holiday fourteen-year old Daniel writes in his diary, because he enjoys writing and because he wants hold on to his experiences for himself (and others). Daniel tells about typical occurences in the daily life of an adolescent: family, first love, get togethers and minor adventures that are part of growing up. This is done energetically in an humorous, entertaining manner. The book is strongly autobiographical, since the author is only sixteen-years old. He writes realistically and plausibly, and manages to avoid resorting to so-called »teenage jargon.« (12+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1999 - 166
Martingay, Claude (text)
Cardinaux, Xavier (illus.)
Genève: Joie de Lire, 1998. 22 p.
(Dialogues avec grand-père)
Grandfather/Grandchild - Love - Imagination
Grandfather is sitting in his chair. His little grandchild insists, »Teach me how to fish!« »First you must sit still for a long time next to the river until it begins to talk to you,« the grandfather answers, because it will then be possible for the young child to tell about his river, the words becoming like living fish that the grandfather can catch and eat. This short, gentle intercourse is accompanied by illustrations in shining gold-tone reflections of light and color, as segments taken from the several meters high abstract triptych by the Genevan painter Xavier Cardinaux. They encompass the patterns in both the carpet and grandfather's chair in the room, interwoven with the changes tones of a sun-flooded river. It awakens the association with the dreamy look of a child with half-closed eyes, drifting off into a fantasy world. (5+)
Argentina (Spanish) - 1999 - 167
Buenos Aires: Ed. Sudamericana, 1998. 198 p.
(Imaginario (Primera Sudamericana))
Large city - Crime - Violence
Badly beaten up and seriously injured, Agustín tells his life story from a hospital bed. After the death of his father during Argentina's military dictatorship, he grew up first with near strangers in a poor quarter of Buenos Aires until he learned to fend for himself. He gives a realistic account of his life there: personal conflicts, social conflicts in the neighborhood, violence, drugs, police intervention, but also solidarity among individuals. In this tale, which has elements of a crime novel, the narrative switches skillfully between the flashbacks of the first-person narrator, Augustín, and the events in the hospital as told by his roommate. (13+)
Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 1999 - 168
Wolf, Ema (text)
Sanzol, Jorge (illus.)
Pollos de campo
Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 1997. 150 p.
(Infantil - juvenil)
Circus - Circus artists - Odyssey (Journey)
Big Rita, Lithe Mimí, the Magician Jesús and the Bear (who, one never knows, is perhaps human after all) are in a terrible quandary. The other members of their circus troupe have moved on to the next engagement without them. That wouldn't be much of a problem if only one of the four could only remember where it is. When the 13-year old circus acrobat Pedro suddenly turns up in their rickety old circus wagon, they begin an adventure-filled odyssey through the Argentine province searching for their colleagues and Pedro's missing brothers. In the course of their travels, during which they earn their keep with impromptu performances, the five highly individualistic characters encounter a large number of no less unique people. Ema Wolf's story burst full of amusing ideas and scenes. As already proven in previous children's books, her sense for absurd and screwy situations and rich imagery are successfully united here in this highly entertaining book. (12+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 1999 - 169
Göbel, Anna (illus.)
Os dez amigos no campo
(The ten friends in the countryside)
Belo Horizonte: Formato, 1998.  p.
Counting - Arithmetic - Laughing - Friendship
On a green meadow under a blue sky boys and girls begin to frolic about, first one, then two, and finally nine. They play merrily and laugh about themselves silly, apparently without any reason. The fun, however, comes to an abrupt end when the tenth one appears and drives the wild gathering apart with a badsmelly joke. This thin, small-sized picture book introduces the numbers one to ten and simple arithmetic (adding and subtracting) in a persuasively simple and enjoyable manner. Anna Göbel's figures are grotesque caricatures in a motley of colors and use expressions and gestures that will make the reader-viewer laugh. (4+)
(A second book on this theme is titled: Os dez amigos no lago)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 1999 - 170
Rua do Sol
Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Nova Fronteira, 1997. 184 p.
Brazil (Northeast) 1910s - Small town
The place is northeastern Brazil at the beginning of this century. The story focusses on Paulinho, who lives with his parents and brothers and sisters in a small provincial town. The narrative describes the everyday life of the family as well as their friends and neighbors. The experiences of the children, the awakening sexuality of the teenagers, the worries of the adults, their joys, sorrows and moments of mourning, such as when the mother dies. All in all, the book conveys a very dense, atmospheric panorama that allows the reader an exact, empathetic view of the figures, their lives and feelings. (13+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 1999 - 171
Reyes, Yolanda (text)
Cuéllar, Olga (illus.)
Aguiar, Luiz Antonio (trad.)
Sobral, Marisa (trad.)
Um amor grande demais
(A love too great)
São Paulo: FTD, 1997. 29 p.
(Coleção histórias de colégio)
First love - Longing - Shyness - Speechlessness
Mauricio is 15 years old, tall and thin as a beanpole and quite inhibited around other kids. When he falls head over heels in love - »with all his soul and body« - his entire life is dedicated to only one goal: Juanita. But he doesn't know what he should say to her. In his mind he goes over the words over and over again, but when it comes to the test, he fails. Thanks to unexpected help, he finally delivers his message, but Juanita has a mind of her own.... The Colombian author narrates this story about the feelings and fears, that overcome someone who is in love, with ease and no embellishments. Although quite slight and heavily illustrated, this is a story for not quite so young children. (9+) ☼
Brazil (Portuguese) - 1999 - 172
Sisto, Celso (text)
Porque na casa não tinha chão
(Because my home had no floor)
Belo Horizonte: Dimensão, 1997.  p.
(O menino e o Poeta)
Family - Growing up - Freedom
This is one of five books in a series of texts by Celso Sisto. In sparse, poetic prose the author supplies us with a slightly cryptic text whose meaning only gradually becomes fully understood. It is the story of a boy's process of splitting away from his family and his search for freedom and independence. The individual family members are described visually as living on different »continents«, but in the end the family is a »country« and the protagonist is living »abroad.« As accompaniment to the text Lula has created unusual illustrations foil and scratchboard technique. Restless and wild, they reflect the intense psyche of the adolescent. (10+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 1999 - 173
Vieira, Isabel (text)
Navarro, Décio (illus.)
Conta com a gente
(You can count on me, you can count on us)
São Paulo: FTD, 1997. 181 p.
(Coleção um olhar para dentro)
In fourteen chapters that fit together like a patchwork quilt this book depicts life of a middle-class family with typical problems such as marriage crisis, divorce and the parent's search for new partners. Isabel Vieira challenges the classical models of marriage, family and family bonds. As an alternative she favors an open form of the concept that corresponds with the new, heterogeneous forms of life-style in western industrial countries. Family is not a matter of blood relations, but of who you can trust absolutely and who in turn can count on you. The narrative is written in a youthful style of speech. (13+)
Chile (Spanish) - 1999 - 174
Balcells, Jacqueline (text)
Jullian, Andrés (illus.)
El Mar de las Maravillas
(The Sea of Marvels)
Santiago de Chile [et al.]: Bello, 1997. 172 p.
(Editorial Andrés Bello ; 158 : Nivel 3)
The author has located the »Sea of Marvels« in the Pacific Ocean - a magical piece of ocean consisting of archipelagos and individual islands. The seven stories in this volume revolve around just these places - which will be found on no map. The island Omega, for example, which is waiting to become uninhabited, so that it too, like its sisters before it, can sink back into the ocean; or the island that fell in love with a human being and gives expression to its (obviously not merely) human feeling in a quite unique »language«. In her stories, Jacqueline Balcells combines elements of fairy tales, legends, and myths with the phantastic to form mysterious tales that reflect upon basic human concerns. (11+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 1999 - 175
Román, Celso (text)
El imperio de las cinco lunas
(The kingdom of the five moons)
Bogotá: Ed. Norma, 1998. 346 p.
(Colección torre de papel : Torre amarilla)
Fratricidal war - Good/Evil
The fantasy world which is presented in this novel bears strong resemblance to the reality of contemporary world in Latin America. The plot draws upon the legend of the five moons which prophecize the war between the fraternal countries of the tapirs and the pecaris and the ascendancy of the spider and snake kingdoms. The story focusses on a hero whose powers have been endowed by the animals, each represented by one moon. On his journey through the kingdom of evil he is confronted with difficulties that shape his character and allows the author to cast light on the values and problems facing Colombian society today. This is an initiation novel with a circular narrative structure that renews the meaning of traditional legends. (11+) ☆
(Premio Latinoamericano de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil Norma - Fundalectura, 1998)
Mexico (Spanish) - 1999 - 176
Bautista, Ana Gabriela (text)
Coupry, Claudine (illus.)
Cómo escalar un pastel
(How to climb a cake)
México, D.F.: Ed. Petra / Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1997.  p.
ISBN 970-18-0647-6; 968-36-5389-8
Cake - Mountain climbing - Nonsense
How do you climb a cake? Actually it is no different than climbing a mountain, except that one needs to ness of cakes steeped in alcohol, and also be aware that anti-meringue boots are best suited for the job. Ana Bautista and Claudine Coupry have »baked« a colorful, baroquely playful picture book. The ingredients are: a crazy nonsense idea that invites the reader to continue fantasizing; bold, double-spread pictures in glowing, creamy colors on a rough, wallpaper-like background; and an imaginative typography that renders the short text quite inventively. (6+)
Mexico (Spanish) - 1999 - 177
Jorajuria, David (text)
Jara, Maru (illus.)
El gato palomero
(The pigeon cat)
México, D.F.: Ed. Corunda, 1998. 23 p.
(Mis segundas letras)
(Coed. with Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes)
ISBN 970-7444-38-X; 970-18-1581-5
Cat - Pigeon - Flying - Power of will - Self-confidence
Is it insanity, naivity, trickery or pure mischief when a cat climbs up the bell tower and stubbornly insists that it is - admittedly a somewhat unusual - pigeon. The pigeons are most amused, but also find it irritating when the cat refuses under any conditions to leave their tower. When she is challenged to demonstrate her powers of flight, the impossible becomes real. Rather clumsily, but quite genuinely, the cat flatters about and thus manages to lay claim to her right to join the pigeons. This engaging story about will power and belief in the impossible is complemented by stylized illustrations in brilliant colors. (4+)
(Premio FILIJ de Cuento para Niños, 1997)
Mexico (Spanish) - 1999 - 178
Montes, Graciela (text)
Legnazzi, Claudia (illus.)
La venganza de la trenza
(The revenge of the plait)
México, D.F.: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1997. 29 p.
(A la orilla del viento ; 89)
Hair - Plait
»Ema has a simple name, but difficult hair...« is the first line of this entertaining story. Ema hates plaits, especially those that her mother braids everytime after she works through Ema's hair with a comb that for Ema seems like a crocodile that moves through a river full of rocky knots. Fortunately someone comes along to save her and make sure that Ema forgets all that trouble and laughs again - flashing more teeth than any real crocodile. Using her well-known humorous style of narration, the Argentine author tells a very funny, fast-paced story. The caricature-like drawings underscore the dynamic flow of the text. (7+) ☼
Mexico (Spanish) - 1999 - 179
Sandoval, Jaime Alfonso
El Club de la Salamandra
(The Salamander Club)
México, D.F.: Ed. SM / Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1998. 223 p.
([Gran Angular] / M] ; 6)
ISBN 968-7791-43-8; 970-18-1055-4
Science - Philosophy of science - Fanaticism - Expedition - Submarine
Completely by chance Rudolph Green - a fifteen-year old boy who already teaches at the university and speaks eleven languages - finds himself in an adventure involving »anti-scientistis.« A mysterious message that he finds in a can of tomatoes in New Guinea takes him first to Rome and then later to unfathomable ocean caves. There he gets to know more about the »antiscience,« a conglomeration of theory and knowledge developed by a secret society which has been persecuted by traditional scientists for centuries. Humor, irony, love, a bit of science and a strong dose of lunacy are the main ingredients of this amusing adventure story. (12+)
(Premio Gran Angular, 1997 - México)
Mexico (Spanish) - 1999 - 180
Serrano, Francisco (comp./preface)
24 poetas latinoamericanos
(Twenty-four Latin American poets)
México, D.F.: CIDCLI, 1997. 254 p.
Eleven publishers have collaborated in the »Coedición Latinoamericana« to produce anthologies of Latin American stories, fairy tales, legends, etc. for young adult and adult readers. Through such co-editions it is possible to produce large printings of ambitious projects at comparatively low prices. Each volume in the now fourteen volume series is prepared by one publishing house. The coordination of this ex- emplary form of cooperation lays in the hands of CERLALC, an instituion which promotes literature and book production throughout Latin America. This volume represents an excellent and wide selection of Latin American poetry. (13+) ☆
Venezuela (Spanish) - 1999 - 181
Krahn, Fernando (text/illus.)
Bernardo y Canelo
(Bernardo and Canelo <proper names>)
Caracas: Ed. Ekaré, 1998.  p.
(El jardín de los niños)
Circus - Performance artists - Dog - Friendship
Bernardo and his little dog Canelo return home very impressed from a circus performance. While Bernardo has his mother sew him a costume and begins to practice juggling enthusiastically, though rather unsuccessfully, Canelo begins his training in secret. When he disappears one day without a trace, the intensive search ends finally at the circus with a happy reunion. Fernando Krahn tells this story step by step in easily understandable pictures that would be clear even without the brief text. The black-and-white illustrations have flat overlays in the basic colors of red, yellow and light blue in the style of the 1950s. This makes for a bright and cheery tale. (3+)
Venezuela (Spanish) - 1999 - 182
Lima, Chely (text)
Rodríguez, Juan (illus.)
El cerdito que amaba el Ballet
(The piglet who loved ballet)
Caracas: Monte Ávila Ed. Latinoamericana, 1998. 33 p.
(Primera dimensión : Serie dorada)
Pig - Ballet - Career wish - Self-fulfillment
A piglet worships a prima ballerina and hopes with all its heart to become a ballerina, too. Although the family declares it insane, the piglet tries to enroll in the dance academy but finally has to accept that it has not got the right constitution. In order to be near the adored dancer, there is an alternative. Piglet chooses to become an accomplished photographer of dance. The Cuban author tells the story of someone who does not give up easily, and demonstrates much empathy for the determined protagonist. Brisk, cartoon-like color sketches accompany this witty story. (5+)
(Premio Internacional de Literatura Infantil »Juan Rulfo«, 1996)
Canada (French) - 1999 - 183
Lenain, Thierry (text)
Poulin, Stéphane (illus.)
Laval (Québec): Les 400 Coups, 1997.  p.
(Grimac ; 5)
Penis - Competition - Love
Who can pee the farthest, who has the largest penis? The boys in Martin's school class seem to consider this the main question in life. It soon takes on significance for him, too, when loud-mouthed Adrien announces just such a contest to win the favor of Anais, the prettiest girl in the class, whom Adrien secretly has a crush on. Anais makes her own decision. She paints a red heart for the shy, clumsy boy. The illustrations give riotous commentary using crazy perspectives and bizarre exaggerations of the contest and the dramatic love scene. (6+)
Canada (French) - 1999 - 184
La ligne de trappe
(The trapper's trail)
Montréal (Québec): Hurtubise HMH, 1998. 173 p.
(Collection Atout ; 21 : Aventure)
Canada - Wilderness - Airplane crash - Survival
The author is an expert on the wilderness of Northern Canada and writes an apparently authentic story of the desparate struggle for survival of four people whose plane crashed hundreds of kilometers from the next human settlement. The narrator is a Mestize. His view of things discloses the shrewd and humbling recognition of man's precarious roll in the wilderness, based on practical experience. According to his scale of values as an Indian the fundamental elements which are valid for human existence are none other than: life, love and death. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1999 - 185
La musique des choses
(The music of things)
Montréal (Québec): Courte Échelle, 1998. 150 p.
(Roman+ ; 52)
Puberty - Musical talent - Self-discovery
A sixteen-year old boy, son of highly respected professional musicians and himself musically talented, is caught up in a crisis of identity. Searching to find his own way in life, he begins to doubt his artistic talent. The unexpected encounter with his previously unknown grandparents helps to correct the image of his deceased father that had been conveyed by his mother. He learns to enjoy the company of his peers and appreciate their points of difference. Growing in maturity, he recognizes that his talent lies in music. The sensitively constructed psychological perspective of a young man's problems conveys to its readers an insight into the at once precarious and protective interconnectedness of human relationships within a community. (13+)
Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1999 - 186
Simard, Rémy (text)
Pratt, Pierre (illus.)
North York, Ont.: Annick Press, 1998.  p.
The many storytellers in the town are quite annoyed with the little man who calls himself »Mr. Onceuponatime «. As soon as the magical introductory phrase used by every storyteller is spoken, he suddenly appears and announces, »You called me!« To preserve the peace, they lock him up and then finally rebaptise him with the name »The End.« From now he appears, politely donning his hat, at the end of every story. And so it is possible to keep this little man, the amusingly grotesque personification of storytelling, under control. This tall-tale from a pre-television age is illustrated in the style of colorful woodcuts with black outlines. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1999 - 187
København: Høst & Søn, 1998. 213 p.
Single father - Daughter - Jealousy
The author, who is already well-known and been rewarded with prizes for her young adult novels, takes the theme of a daughter's love for her divorced father and jealousy of his new girl friend once again for the reader audience of 14 to 15 year olds, treating it in such a way as to treat young adult concerns seriously. This is also the intention behind the publisher's »Victoria Serie,« which makes an effort to avoid the reputation of a juvenile novel in the choice of authors and book design. (14+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1999 - 188
Gade, Marianne (text)
Brøgger, Lilian (illus.)
Ida og den røde tråd
(Ida and the red yarn)
København: Gyldendal, 1998.  p.
Mother/Daughter - Cold weather - Pullover
Because she is terribly cold, Ida follows a red yarn and asks all the animals and people she meets along the way how to protect herself from the cold. But none of the advice helps, until she reaches the end of the yarn and finds the pullover her mother has knitted for her. The slightly caricaturist illustrations within changing frames help keep a pleasant balance between modernism and a decorativeness that will appeal to children. (5+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1999 - 189
Juncker, Beth (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
København: Forum, 1998. 143 p.
Grandfather/Grandson - Single mother
Seven-year old Victor, who lives alone with his mother, has to go and stay for a time with his grandfather, who was once a sailor. Victor is rather afraid of what will happen, but his grandfather succeeds in winning him over with unusual and spontaneous ideas. Victor experiences an adult world, enriched with his own and his grandfather's imagination. The reader will eagerly follow the story, in particular because of the exceptionally original, caricature-like illustrations, which with their classic style of closed lines fit the book very well. (10+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1999 - 190
Nielsen, Bent B. (text)
Bourgeat, Lene (illus.)
Lussing eller sveder
(Boxed ears or detention)
København: Alinea, 1998. 46 p.
Denmark/History 1950-1960 - School
The usual routines of school days in Denmark during the 1950s are depicted here for reading beginners and reluctant readers. As briefly as possible the book encourages not only reading skills but also an appreciation of history and is cleverly supplemented by realistic, high-quality drawings. The series »Læs dansk« (Read Danish) is available in three levels of difficulty as indicated with a color scheme. (7+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1999 - 191
Flere historier om Alfa, Beo, Ditte og lille Edel
(More stories of Alfa, Beo, Ditte and little Edel)
København: Høst & Søn, 1998. 140 p.
Family - Poverty - Philosophy of life
Their mother is dead, their father has disappeared - the deserted children have to live from remnants of meat and endure torments at school. And yet they do not lose their couragous outlook on life and manage to get by. This second successful book about these four children brings the reader into contact with social problems without painting everything black. (10+) ☼
Finland (Finnish) - 1999 - 192
Helakisa, Kaarina (text)
Castren, Taru (illus.)
Aapelus. Aakkosloruja ja hassuja satuja
(Aapelus. Alphabet nursery rhymes and crazy fairy tales)
Helsinki: Kolibri, 1998. 53 p.
Alphabet - Nursery rhyme - Nonsense
Kaarina Helakisa (1946-1998) is a famous Finnish author who has received several prizes for her life's work. A virtuos with words, Helakisa modernized the nursery rhyme tradition in Finland. She also uses nonsense in her modern fairytales. The innovation in this picture book is to hide the letters of the alphabet in the colourful and humorous illustrations and let the child discover them by himself. (5+)
Finland (Finnish) - 1999 - 193
Hurme, Taru (text/illus.)
Heinävä, Auli (text/illus.)
Mummo ja Viivi vanhassa Tallinnassa
(Grandmother and Viivi in old Tallinn)
Helsinki: Lasten Keskus, 1998. 40 p.
Grandmother/Granddaughter - Tallinn/Tour guide
This book offers a tour of the old architecture of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The trip is Viivi's birthday present from her grandmother and they both enjoy becoming familiar with Middle Age buildings and towers. The book can serve as a travel guide for children. The writers and illustrators are architects and they have supplemented the narrative with the special vocabulary in an appendix. The atmosphere of the old city exudes from the story and the nostalgic illustrations. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 1999 - 194
Kouros, Alexis (text)
Reichstein, Alexander (illus.)
Helsinki: Lasten Keskus, 1997. 120 p.
Search for identity - Personality development
Alexsis Kouros, an Iranian living in Finland, won the premier children's literature prize »Finlandia Junior« in 1997 for this title. The story tells about a little penguin who by chance is born in an albatross' nest. Of course he wants to learn to fly like the others. Pursuing one of the classic themes of children's literature, »Who am I? Where do I come from?«, Kouros explores the question of identity and foreignness and shows that there are different ways to see the problem. Alexander Reichstein's mixed media photos give his own interpretation of the story. It can be the bedrock which gives safety, carrying both the past and the future, but also opens up the possibility for a new life. (10+)
Special Mention - Finland (French) - 1999 - 195
Laulajainen, Leena (text)
Hakkarainen, Anna-Liisa (illus.)
Kultamarja ja metsän salaisuudet
(Kultamarja and the secrets of the forest)
Helsinki: Tammi, 1998. 32 p.
Boy/Girl - Coldness - Adventure - Friendship
This mythical fantasy book won the »Finlandia Junior« prize in 1998. It is a fascinating modern fairy tale of friendship between Kultamarja and Reidar, who try to save their village from coldness of the blue horse. This story is based on Finnish motifs of forest, darkness and coldness. The illustrator Hakkarainen tells her story in naive pictures which are colorful, bright and full of secrets. (7+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 1999 - 196
Levanto, Marjatta (text)
Vuori, Julia (illus.)
Nykytaide suurin piirtein
(All about modern art, sort of)
Helsinki: Otava, 1998. 80 p.
This information book introduces the young reader to modern art through a chronological overview of the most important periods and major works of the modern art. The author and illustrator describe how an artist approaches, among other things, a human being, the world, harmony, dreams, thoughts, the past and memories. Their personal voices and well-chosen examples form an interesting dialogue on art. The illustrator Julia Vuori also contributes to the dialogue in a humorous way with her own fantastic animal illustrations. (10+)
Special Mention - Finland (French) - 1999 - 197
Majaluoma, Markus (text/illus.)
Olavi ja Aapo. Merten urhot
(Olavi and Aapo. Heroes of the sea)
Helsinki: Tammi, 1998. 28 p.
Ocean - Dream - Ship travel - Adventure
Markus Majaluoma is an original Finnish illustrator who tells fantasy stories about two small boys in this new picture book series. Their exciting journey through the ocean starts when the boys fall asleep. Majaluoma uses a light and harmonious palette of colors. His illustrations are expressive and slightly grotesque, but also let the child reader feel that he is being taken care of. (4+)
Special Mention - Finland (French) - 1999 - 198
Nopola, Sinikka (text)
Nopola, Tiina (text)
Toivonen, Sami (illus.)
Havukainen, Aino (illus.)
Risto Räppääjä ja kauhea makkara
(Risto Räppääjä and the horrifying sausage)
Helsinki: Tammi, 1998. 96 p.
Aunt/Nephew - Adventure - Parody
The sisters Sinikka and Tiina Nopola are wellknown Finnish children's fiction writers. Their stories are often parodies on adults and their everyday life. Risto Räppääjä is the hero of this new fiction series. In this second fantastic story, their search for a green pepper sausage leads Risto and his aunt on a great adventure to Budapest. Their journey is filled with absurd and comical happenings. Modern style illustrations interpret the text in an ironical spirit with an emotional touch and would lend themselves well to animation. (6+)
Special Mention - Finland (French) - 1999 - 199
Karri ja öiset valot
(Karri and the night lights)
Helsinki: Tammi, 1998. 137 p.
Boy/Girl - Friendship - Divorce - Single father - Narcotics - Tolerance
This young adult novel is one of a new detective series. Karri is a teenage boy who has just moved from the country to a large city after his parent's divorce. Karri meets a girl, Kirsikka, who often avoids going home to her alcoholic parents. Karri, sensitive and caring, takes an interest in Kirsikka and they become best friends. The suspenseful plot finds a happy end when Karri and Kirsikka help to expose a drug dealers' ring in their neighborhood. (12+)
Iceland (Icelandic) - 1999 - 200
Guðrún Hannesdóttir (text/illus.)
Kerling vill hafa nokkuð fyrir snúð sinn
(The old woman wants payment for her spinning whorl)
Reykjavík: Forlagið, 1998.  p.
Iceland/Folktale - Greed
A variation of the folktale about the fisher and his wife is retold here in picturebook format. The fisher's wife looses the golden wharve on her spindle and suspects that a spirit named Kiðhús has taken it. The fisher must instead bring her other things - first a cow, then a trough for the grits. When finally she gets a ladder and climbs up to heaven, together with her husband, in order to bring Maria the left-over grits, the ladder falls down. This book exemplifies the efforts that are being made in Iceland, among a fairly small audience, to awaken an interest in reading through attractive books. (6+)
Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 201
Ambjørnsen, Ingvar (text)
Dybvig, Per (illus.)
Arven etter Onkel Rin-Tin-Tei
(Oncle Rin-Tin-Tin's legacy)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelens Forlag, 1998. 92 p.
Poverty - Inheritance - Guesthouse
A dog and a cat live in abject poverty, barely surviving, in a diplapidated house. Then the dog inherits a guesthouse that is in even worse condition. This is the story about what happens when they renovate the house and begin to take in guests. But it is not the simple story that makes the book interesting, but rather the ironic, funny style of narration that adults will also enjoy reading aloud. Most unusual are the high-quality illustrations: black-and-white drawings full of anarchic unrest and confusion, modern sassy animal caricatures lacking any sugariness, that will not please an old spinster, but surely any child. (8+)
Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 202
(Gusts of waves)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1998. 157 p.
Puberty - Love - Jealousy
In this first novel the author is most successful - perhaps because she is herself not far removed from this age group, being born in 1976 - in giving a convincing portrait of the states of elation and devastation in the life of a girl just entering puberty as she is torn between the outright erotically motivated admiration for an older girlfriend and the incipient interest for a boy, complete with the unavoidable feelings of jealousy which must arise out of this constellation. (13+)
Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 203
Hentig, Urd von (illus.)
Hva er det for noe? Gåter fra Norge
(What is it? Riddles from Norway)
Oslo: Kulturbro Forlag, 1997.  p.
Norway - Riddles
The Kulturbro (»Bridge of Cultures«) Publishing House is making an admirable effort to help integrate children of foreigners into their new Norwegian homeland. In this picture book young readers whose native tongues are Croatian, Persian, Vietnamese or Somali will find Norwegian riddles and answers along with the answers in their own languages. Accessible but artistic illustrations in attractive, but not gaudily colorful watercolors against a purple background enhance its appeal to children. In the illustrative style of the German-born artist one finds traces of her study travels in other parts of the world as well as elements of expressionism. (6+) ☆ ☼
Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 204
Lillevik, Linda (text)
Stirvik, Kjell Ove (photos)
Klart jeg kan!
(Sure I can do that!)
Bergen: Eide, 1998. 44 p.
Downs Syndrom - Everyday life
Although there are now several good children's books about handicaps, this one is especially cheery and attractively designed. In very lively, thoughtfully composed and organized photographs the reader can follow the tranquil events of a day in the life of a young girl named Kristine - how she washes in the morning, goes to the potty, is taken to kindergarten and then visits the aquarium and swimming pool with her parents. (5+)
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 205
Sandemosse, Iben (text/illus.)
Hva med meg, da?
(What about me?)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelens Forlag, 1998.  p.
Falling in love - Insecurity
The self-doubts of a young boy in love could hardly be portrayed more concisely than the artist does in these few pictures. By using a make-believe animal as protagonist instead of a human figure, with all its limitations, she turns the eternal problem of successful flirting into a universal one. The boys dissatisfaction with his looks and his helpless attempts to elicit attention by changing his appearance are depicted in impressively uncompromising and quite witty pictures set against a white background. Only when he offers his heart (a touching, old-fashioned figure of speech that still holds true) does he find his love reciprocated. It is high time that the books by this original illustrator become known outside of Norway! (10+) ☼
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 206
Svalheim, Peter (text)
Moursund, Gry (illus.)
(The heavenly cow Kua)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelens Forlag, 1998.  p.
Cow - Friendship - Sun - Wish - Horse - Transformation
Kua the cow can no longer bear staying in the barn all winter because she misses her friend, the sun, so much. So she moves into the horse stables. There she is advised to quit dreaming and make her dream come true. So the next day Kua rides off with the horse-loving young girl Ingunn and flies toward the sun. And when her overflowing udder gives painful reminder of her true cow nature, she lets her milk rain down upon earth, directly into people's mouths and jugs. Then Kua is content to return to the other cows, who are now grazing in the meadows. This idyllic story is told in quite non-idyllic, bizarrely comical pictures whose strong colors and distorted shapes cleverly draw on upon stylistic elements of modern painting. (7+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 1999 - 207
(The steel castle)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1998. 114 p.
Ocean - Environmental pollution
Martin's father and older brother, both fishers, fail to return one day from their fishing. During his search for them, Martin finds himself near a steel factory, an enormous facility that is poisoning the ocean and holding Martin's father and brother, among others, captive to work. With the help of magical powers Martin is able to destroy the factory's computer-run control system and free the prisoners. This novel is one of the few attempts to sensitize children to environmental problems by means of a suspenseful, fantastic plot. (12+) ☼
Sweden (Swedish) - 1999 - 208
Lagercrantz, Rose (text)
Lagercrantz, Rebecka (illus.)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1998. 51 p.
Siblings - Babysitting
A well-behaved brother is good at taking care of his little sister, but sometimes he would like to have his freedom. Two of his girlfriends, who relieve him of his duties, discover that this is no easy task. Rose Lagercrantz proves again in this slim volume her considerable knack for telling simple, ordinary events in an original and realistic manner. The story is not at all limited to the main plot, but depicts, along the way, many things that make it interesting for beginning readers. An important part of the book are the gouache illustrations with strong colors that courageously fight against the grey tones of daily life routines and in their seemingly eyewitness-like involvement in the events have a certain naivety that works especially authentic. (8+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 1999 - 209
Änglar i hissen
(The angels in the elevator)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1998. 143 p.
Death - Afterlife
When his mother goes through heavy labor, David - who is not allowed to be with her - is hardly able to deal with the suspense and is own fears. With an elevator that is suddenly in his garden, he escapes into a fantastic world, a world of the dead. There he finds angels, a forest overseer, who seem to be in a clinch with one another, and people asleep under the trees. David meets a schoolmate who has died and attempts to escape with her. Like Eurydices, she is forbidden to return to earth. Only David finds he way home; in the meantime his mother has given birth to a baby girl, who is given the name of the dead girl. Within this fantastic tale questions are brought up that encourage deeper reflection. (12+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 1999 - 210
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1998. 54 p.
Nilsson's four stories about love bear the gentle scent of melancholy and wistfulness that often pervades books by Scandinavian authors. Even with a touch of eccentricity, these follow in the Swedish literary tradition. The publishing house Bonnier Carlsen has started a series of small paperbacks called »Signal« that offers young adults high-quality stories by the most well-known Swedish children's and young adult authors. The uniform, nearly abstract, but still colorfully vivid covers help avoid the stigma of »teenager books.« Aside from Nilsson, stories by Inger Edelfeldt, Maria Gripe and Cannie Möller have appeared so far in this series. (14+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 1999 - 211
Opatowsky-Wahlberg, Osnát (text)
Persson Malm, Maivor (illus.)
Prinsessan och månen
(The princess and the moon)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1998.  p.
Child/Adult - Thinking - Differences
This little story of a sick princess who wishes that her father give her the moon in order to get well again makes is so very clear that children think in different ways than adults. The little girl accepts a little golden ball as the moon because it matches her own image. All her father's fears that the sight of the moon still glowing in the sky could make her fall ill again are of nought, because she is certain that the moon can grow back again. Only the court jester (as in other stories, too) is in a position to intermediate between the child and adult styles of thinking. In her first book, the illustrator, like Fam Ekman, takes up the highly stilized forms used before 1945 (such as by Legér), giving the pictures an emphatically graphic appearance, without sacrificing the liveliness of the caricatured figures. (6+)
Albania (Albanian) - 1999 - 212
Mos më zgjoni. Poezi
(Don't wake me. Poems)
Lezhë: Kuvendi, 1997. 68 p.
Albania/Poetry - Albania 1990s
In her subtly phrased poems which deal with many aspects of life, but above all with the political changes in Albania in the 1990s, Besiana Avdyli speaks especially to youthful readers. (13+)
Albania (Albanian) - 1999 - 213
Meksi, Mira (text)
Planetthi i ngrirë
(The little icy planet)
Elbasan: Onufri, 1997. 98 p.
Liberation - Science fiction
This latest fantasy novel by the young Albanian writer Mira Meksi focusses on a small planet which is completely covered with ice. Together its human and animal inhabitants fight to free it from ice and reunite with the mother planet. (7+)
Bosnia-Herzegovina - 1999 - 214
Dubočanin, Alija Hasagič (text)
Ibrahimpašič, Mirza (illus.)
Sarajevo: Sarajevo-Publishing, 1998. 23 p.
(Lastavica ; Slikovnice , 1)
Sarajevo/Civil war 1992-1995 - Everyday life - Dog - Postman
This picture book with almost fotorealistic illustrations depicts the horrors of war as experienced by Dina, a young girl in Sarajevo, a city engulfed in fear, loneliness, black-outs and grenade attacks. One night something scratches at the door. It is Jenny, the dog of Dina's aunt carrying a letter. Even though it contains not only good news, it brightens up the lives of Dina and her mother. But Jenny was injured on the way to Dina's house and finally dies from its wounds. In her nightmares, Dina often re-lives Jenny's journey through the war-torn night. This is the start of a new picture book series by the successor of the renowned Bosnian publishing house Veselin Masleša. (6+) ☆
Bulgaria (Bulgarian) - 1999 - 215
Mirčev, Krasimir (text)
Paunov, Viktor (illus.)
Vampiri - Gunduraci - Zmej
(Vampires - Centaurs - Dragons)
Sofija: Panorama, 1998. 48 p.
Balkans - Ghost - Spirit
Ghosts may be found everywhere, but in popular beliefs in the Balkans there is an especially great diversity of such creatures which reside somewhere between this world and the next. This is a systematic account of good and evil spirits - from the good house dragon which sleeps under the doorstep and protects the house, to giants, dwarfs, dragons of various sizes and shapes, nixies, fairies, wind and weather spirits, werwolves, witches, centaurs, vampires and even frightening apparitions which are unknown in the western world. This book is richly illustrated with stunning pictures in mixed media. (10+) ☆
Croatia (Croatian) - 1999 - 216
Gardaš, Anto (text)
Prstec, Željko (illus.)
Zagreb: Znaje, 1998. 159 p.
The writings of Croatia's popular children's and young adult author Anto Gardaš (*1938) contain both realistic and fantastic elements and the makes use of both myths and science fiction. In Croatia his thrilling children's adventure novels which deal with ecology and environmental protection are especially popular. In this book he tries his hand at folktales, drawing on the themes, style and psychological background of southern Slavic folktale traditions. Once again he succeeds in building up tension in the plot and lacing his text with a delicate irony. (9+)
Croatia (Croatian) - 1999 - 217
Marijanovič, Stanislav (text/illus.)
Kučna čudovišta. Ilustrirani priručnik
(A manual of house monsters)
Zagreb: Sipar, 1997. 34 p.
Monster - Everyday life
In this picture book by the internationally based publishing house Siphano the author and illustrator describes with dry humor the peculiar characteristics of those monster-like creatures which are responsible for the mishaps that occur in everyday life, such as Snifferufus, Instantania, Tantrumella, Dr. Misplace, Morgenpanik. The cheerfully bizarre pictures portrait shed light on the forms of misbehavior that make family difficult for both children and parents. (6+)
(Brit. ed.: Siphano Picture Books, 1998)
Croatia (Croatian) - 1999 - 218
Mihokovié-Kumrié, Nada (text)
Cukrov, Kristina (illus.)
Zagreb: Znanje, 1997. 155 p.
(Hit Junior ; 69 : Kolo 12)
Love - Lying - Illegitimate child - Rural life - City life
This engrossing and very literary young adult novel deals with love and the lies, both great and small, but above all with the way people deal with each other and often cause unhappiness for each other, often due to pride or for lack of self-esteem. The author (*1951) depicts rural and city life and makes charming use of dialect in the dialogues, not only to convey local color but also as a significant factor in the narrative structure. (12+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 1999 - 219
Šťatstný, Karel (text)
Bejček, Vladimír (text)
Hudec, Karel (text)
Hloušek, Petr [et al.] (illus.)
Svǵt zvířat IV. Ptáci 1
(The world of animals IV. Birds 1)
Praha: Albatros, 1998. 143 p.
This is one volume in an excellent new project »The world of animals« by the publishing house Albatros. Each entry (arranged by classes, orders, genuses and species) is short, concise and easy to understand while give detailed information about physical constitution and the way of life of animals. The illustrations (by Petr Hloušek, Jan Hošek, Jan Maget, Pavel Procházka and Viera Postníková) are scientifically precise, while at the same time aesthetically appealing. The wellstructured interaction of text and illustration will appeal to readers of any age and is most suitable for translation in other countries. (8+)
Latvia (Latvian) - 1999 - 220
Mānuš, Leksa (text)
Rūdevičs, Kārlis (illus.)
Romani Čhib Ābeca
Rīga: Sprīdītis, 1997. 93 p.
Roma - Alphabet book
The texts and illustrations of this exemplary ABC book of the gypsies' language depicts the strongly traditional way of life of the Roma in eastern Europe. (5+) ☆
Russia (Russian) - 1999 - 221
Budur, Natal'ja (ed.)
Chryčeva, Tat'jana (design)
Ionajtis, Ol'ga (illus.)
Moskva: Kontrakt, 1997. 414 p.
Russia/Customs and traditions - Christmas
Ever since the fall of Communism there has been considerable effort to present religious themes. While there are hardly any new writings to be found, texts by pre-revolutionary authors and from other European countries are being re-published. This especially attractive book begins with the Christmas story as told in the Book of Luke, and is followed by texts about the birth of Jesus and Christmas celebrations by Russian authors such as Vladimir Nabokov, Aleksandr Blok, Ivan Bunin, Fëdor Dostoevskij, Fëdor Tjutčev, Aleksandr Puškin, Vasilij Žukovskij, Afanasij Fetan, as well as translated pieces by Otfried Preussler, Hans Christian Andersen, Selma Lagerlöf, Elsa Beskow, Viktor Rydberg, Astrid Lindgren und Alf Prøysen, and Christmas tales from England and France. In addition this extensive treasury offers information about food and customs common at the Christmas season in Russia. (8+) ☆
Slovakia (Slovak) - 1999 - 222
Pavlovič, Jozef (text)
Kellenberger, Martin (illus.)
(Hunting for letters <wordplay>)
Martin: Vydavateľstvo Matice slovenskej, 1997. 86 p.
In this richly illustrated volume the author tells witty stories based on words and letters. In particular the reader is encouraged to discover words which are contained, in one way or another, in other words. Corresponding examples (in translation) would be: bounce/ ounce - teacher/tea - testament/amen - pleasure/sure. Often it is a case of wordplay and double-entendre. Martin Kellenberger's amusing illustrations not only give a graphic reflection of these word games, but also take them a step further. (6+)
Slovenia (Slovenian) - 1999 - 223
Pavček, Tone (text)
Gatnik, Kostja (illus.)
Majnice. Fulaste pesmi
(Catkins. Whacky poems)
Ljubljana: Založba Mladika, 1997. 83 p.
Love - Poetry
Tone Pavček's love poetry, written especially with male teenagers in mind, make use of their generation's cool style and jargon but still reveal an emotional depth. The author takes the coolness and airs of young people quite seriously, but also gives an ironic touch to his portraits of this kind of self-posturing. The excellent illustrations by Kostja Gatnik incorporate elements of caricature and graffiti with a simplicity that fits well with the style of the poems. (12+)
Slovenia (Slovenian) - 1999 - 224
Miklova zala. Povest iz turških časov
(Mikel's daughter Zalika. A story from Turkish period)
Ljubljana: DZS, 1997. 122 p.
(Zbirka Zgodovinsko klasje)
Slovenia/History 1470-1620 - Turkish wars
(see cat. no. 225)
Slovenia (Slovenian) - 1999 - 225
Ljubljana: DZS, 1997. 127 p.
(Zbirka Zgodovinsko klasje)
Slovenia/History 680-830 - Lombards - Migration - Avars
Both of these historical novels deal with events in early Slovenia. Ilka Vašte draws a picture of the first settlements in the western parts of its current territory in the late 7th and early 8th century, describing the conflicts with other tribes (Lombards) and invasions by the Avars based on historical sources. First published in 1923, the book was very topical then because the Slovenians living in Italy were experiencing increasing pressure from the Italian fascists. The novel »Miklova zala« by Jakob Sket first appeared in 1884 in a magazine and deals with the invasion of the Turks in Slovenia between 1470 and 1620. Although the Slovenians did not have to live as long under Turkish rule as other southern Slavic peoples, these 150 years still represent a sense of threat in the Slovenian consciousness. Sket also draws upon historical and traditional literary sources but writes in a more free, fictitious style than Vašte. Ever since Slovenia became independent, popular interest in the historical roots of its population has continued to grow. In the European context, the history of this region of southeastern Europe - though often neglected - deserves more attention. (12+) ☆
Belgium (Dutch) - 1999 - 226
Van den Heede, Sylvia (text)
Thé, Tjong-Khing (illus.)
Vos en Haas
(Fox and Hare)
Tielt: Lannoo, 1998. 140 p.
Tolerance - Friendship
Fox and Hare live together in a hole. Fox especially likes a lot of food (which can be seen by his rather fat belly) and Hare takes care of the household. Owl, their neighbor, takes care of a chick that he hatched himself. The stories around these four figures can be read separately, but also constitute a whole. They are arranged in a chronological order and follow the seasons; in terms of reading proficiency, the texts become increasingly difficult, so the book can grow with the reader. The stories are very well written, have functional repetitions and nice puns. The design invites beginning readers and the many, colored illustrations characterize the animals very nicely, clearly giving the book additional value. (6+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 1999 - 227
Vandewoude, Katrien (text)
Cate, Marijke ten (illus.)
Duizend madeliefjes voor Saar
(Thousand daisies for Saar)
Hasselt: Clavis, 1998. 53 p.
Mental handicap - Friendship
Six year-old Linde helps her neighbor, Saar, with endless patience, because Saar cannot do the most essential and simple things like dressing herself, singing, talking and eating properly. One day, Saar has to go to a special education and only comes home at the weekends. However, they remain close friends. Each of the twelve short chapters tells an adventure of Linde and Saar. The relationship between the two friends is described with much insight. Linde can barely accept that Saar will always remain behind mentally and that living in a boarding school for special education is a lot better for her. The pencil illustrations in soft pastel shades, link up very well with the somewhat sad undertone of the story. (6+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1999 - 228
Busser, Marianne (text)
Schröder, Ron (illus.)
Liselotje gaat kamperen
(Liselotje goes camping)
Houten: Van Holkema & Warendorf, 1998. 27 p.
Camping - Stubbornness - Fear
When the holidays arrive, Liselotje proposes a camping trip to her mother, the queen. At the camping site a big tent is pitched. The king, however, stubbornly demands to have a very small tent all for himself. At night the king hears all kinds of noises and becomes more and more afraid. Finally, the small tent is placed at the front of the big tent. A new addition to the series of adventures with the little princess Liselotje and her father, the king, who is often childish and stubborn. In itself, the story is simple, but because of a sparkling rhyme and excellent elaboration of the characters, Busser and Schröder succeed in creating a beautiful read-aloud story. The elegant, action-filled illustrations add considerably to the reading (and viewing) pleasure. (3+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1999 - 229
Kuiper, Nannie (text)
Hopman, Philip (illus.)
(The summer dictionary)
Amsterdam: Piramide, 1998. 34 p.
Seasons - Adventure
This is one of a series of four books, in which the four seasons are discussed in relationship to the adventures of Sofie and Maarten. In each one, scenes are sketched that allow the explanation of certain words. Every explanation of a word can be read separately, but all the explanations together form the adventures of the two pre-school children as well. Kuiper doesn't shrink from using difficult words and incorporates them logically into the story, explaining them in a simple manner. The illustrations of Philip Hopman are rich in detail and invite to repeated viewing pleasure. (4+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1999 - 230
Kuyper, Sjoerd (text)
Haeringen, Annemarie van (illus.)
Amsterdam: Leopold, 1998. 28 p.
Pelican - Secret - Lost child
Everybody asks Malmok the pelican about the storm, but he keeps his beak closed. Even when they try to get Malmok talking by offering him all kinds of delicious things. Finally, when a women comes to the pelicans, looking for her son who is lost in the storm, he reluctantly opens his beak and the little boy that Malmok had picked up during the storm can be returned to his mother. In this touching and fairly original story the author uses the continuous building of tension followed by an anticlimax starting with »...but Malmok...«. In particular the illustrations make the book special. Van Hearingen is able to sketch the situation with a few, well-chosen lines and the illustrations are one continuous movement of tension from the beginning to the end. The colors are subdued, but therefore especially convincing. (4+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1999 - 231
Meinderts, Koos (text)
Fienieg, Annette (illus.)
Hoe Sjoerd in een hond veranderde
(The way Sjoerd changed into a dog)
Tilburg: Zwijsen, 1998. 47 p.
Parent/Child - Child abuse - Boy/Dog - Transformation
Sjoerds parents definitely agree on one thing: children only exist to be able to draw child support or to earn some extra money, for example, through sport competitions. But Sjoerd is not good at anything. The only useful thing he does from his parents' point of view is run the entire household almost singlehanded. Sjoerd is very unhappy and would preferably be a dog. Then suddenly this wish comes true and everything changes drastically. An absurd story in which characters have extreme opposite characteristics. The parents are extremely bad and Sjoerd (a kind of male Cinderella) is extremely nice. The narrator is clearly present in the story and sometimes addresses the readers directly, involving them in the story even more. (8+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1999 - 232
Oomen, Francine (text/illus.)
Amsterdam: Van Goor, 1998. 28 p.
Anger - Tolerance - Co-existence
The mother of Sammie, the rabbit, is angry at him, but Sammie does not understand why. That makes Sammie angry, too, and, without further reason, he starts teasing his friends. And his friends don't put up it. Little by little everybody is angry at everybody and nobody knows exactly why. The simple story is unfolded very nicely in the form of an accumulation of occurrences on the theme of 'arguing and making up' and lends itself perfectly to exploring together with pre-school children. The full-page, colorful illustrations definitely appeal to the viewer, fit in with the story seamlessly and add an extra dimension to the story. (3+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1999 - 233
Veldkamp, Tjibbe (text)
Hopman, Philip (illus.)
Rotterdam: Lemniscaat, 1998. 26 p.
Orphanage - Play
The twenty-two orphans of the orphanage know how to play readily with everything they find, or enjoy doing nothing and going about their own business. But one day, a new, sincerely concerned director arrives and makes the orphans go to bed right away. They are bored and together they dress up as a huge elephant. The director cannot find her wards and - together with the elephant - she starts looking for them. In an inventive manner it is made clear that adults should not interfere with children and that an exaggerated concern and too much protection is not good for them. The well-composed text and highly detailed illustrations are matched to one another magnificently. (4+)
The Netherlands (Frisian) - 1999 - 234
Weg, Jant van der (comp.)
Poiesz, Karin (illus.)
Fan hantsjeklap en sukerbak
(On clapping hands and pat-a-cake)
Leeuwarden: Afuk, 1998. 96 p.
In this beautifully designed book, the editor presents familiar and less familiar Frisian nursery rhymes in their original version. Some of the rhymes are provided with a simple musical notation. The illustrations interpret the rhymes in their own way. An introduction explains the arrangement of the rhymes in the book. The book is published as a jubilee edition in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the foundation »It Fryske Berneboek«, which is devoted to promoting Frisian children's and youth literature. (0+)
South Africa (English) - 1999 - 235
Vos, Philip de (text)
Grobler, Piet (illus.)
Karnaval van die diere.
(Carnival of the animals)
Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau, 1998. 32 p.
Music - Animals
Very original and sparkling short sketches based on the famous piece of music »Carnival of the Animals« of Camille Saint-Saëns. The lion, the cock, the hinny, the turtle, and many more animals, but also the nasty piano player and fossils are briefly typified. Finally, they all come together in the big finale. The artist Piet Grobler made a splendid illustration for every animal (and of course, also for the nasty pianist), where he freely handles the interpretations of the text. In all respects, the book is a very successful picture art book, that will fascinate readers and viewers of all ages. (8+)
Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 236
Alphabētari tēs Kypru
(An alphabet of Cyprus)
Athēna: Kaleidoskopio, 1997. 119 p.
Cyprus/History - Culture - Archaeology - Art - Political history
Using the alphabet to give form to the book, the history, rich culture, customs and everyday life of Cyprus are made vivid and accessible for readers of all ages. Writings ranging from the classical period to modern times document the eventful history of an island which has often been occupied during its history, but is still largely unknown beyond its borders. Short, pithy texts, enrichened with excellent, attractively designed illustrative matter have been chosen by experts for this excellent introduction to Cyprus that invites repeated browsing. A chronology of historical events rounds out this compact handbook of a country which will soon become a member of the European Union. It may be hoped that this new publishing house continues to present such meticulously edited books. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 237
Basileiu-Maninēs, Dēmētrēs (text)
Dugalē, Paschalē (illus.)
Stis pēges tēs historias: Megas Alexandros
(Alexander the Great V. 1-5)
Nea Smyrnē: Ekd. Akritas, 1997. 122 p.; 127 p.; 129 p.; 128 p.; 133 p.
ISBN 960-328-079-8; 960-328-080-1; 960-328-081-x; 960-328-082-8; 960-328-083-6
Alexander the Great
Demetres Manines, who is well-known for his translations from Ancient Greek, introduces children to the life of Alexander the Great through original texts from the antiquity. In particular he draws upon the writings of Arrianos, Plutarch and Ruphos without making any additional comments, thereby also encouraging the young reader to delve into the original writings by Alexander's contemporaries. The descriptive texts are translated word-for-word, and only the overly lengthy passages were carefully abridged without interrupting the flow of the story. (8+)
Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 238
Chatzē, Giolanta (text)
Aigyptos. Hoi hellēnes zōgraphoi tu Phagium
(Egypt. The Greek painters of Al-Faiyūm)
Athēna: Ammos, 1998.  p.
Egypt/Art history 30 B.C. - Al-Faiyūm - Greek portrait painting
Beginning with a general introduction into Egyptian history and culture, with special emphasis on the Hellenistic Period, twelve portraits from this period, which have been splendidly preserved due to the dry climate, are presented and explained in a superlative manner. The reader learns how the clothing and jewelry of the naturalistically portrayed persons give indication of their social rank and about the painting techniques used. The editor, Euphrosyne Doxiade, a painter herself, has been working in this field for many years and has published the only internationally known scholarly work on these portraits. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 239
Kalerante, Euangelia (text)
Tsekura, Charis (illus.)
Me ton Elytē stēn Hellada
(With Elytis in Greece)
Athēna: Peribolaki, 1997.  p.
Elytis, Odysseas - Poetry/Greek
This is a highly successful attempt to present children the poetry of Odysseas Elytis, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1979. The author accomplishes the nearly impossible task of re-telling the themes, motifs and rhythms of his poetry without losing the vivid language and originality of his work, which draws on folk tradition. The illustrations are also modelled on the poet's works and harmonize well with the text. (8+)
Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 240
Kapantaē, Ismēnē (text)
Desphiniōtu, Melina (illus.)
Sto krypho scholeio
(In the underground school)
Athēna: Potamos, 1997.  p.
Greece/Turkish occupation 1453-1821 - Resistance - Child - Everyday life - Rural life
This picture book puts an end to the myth originated in the 19th century about the clandestine Greek schooling which was said to have existed during the Turkish period of occupation (1453-1821). Beginning with a famous painting on this theme by Nikolaos Gyzes, the author allows two children come to life and take the reader on a tour of the everyday life of the rural society during the period of occupation. The children are fascinated not only by their early morning walk to school, but also by the story of Odysseus which they learn there and later tell to their uncle, a Klephtes, a Greek nationalist living in the mountains. The pictures by the young illustrator, Melina Desphiniotu (*1962) have a fascinating power of expression and hold promise for future children's books. (5+)
Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 241
Muntes, Matthaios (text)
Kordēs, Giōrgos (illus.)
Histories apo tē Biblo. Palaia Diathēkē
(Stories from the Bible)
Athēna: Kastaniōtēs, 1998. 140 p.
(Neanikē bibliothēkē ; 192)
Old Testament - New Testament - Children's Bible
Stories from the Old and the New Testament are re-told here in two volumes by the highly esteemed Byzaninist Matthaios Muntes and fill a significant gap in the Greek children's literature. Both volumes are greatly enriched by the illustrations of the well-known icon painter Giōrgos Kordēs (*1956). (9+)
Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 242
Psilakēs, Nikos (text)
Papadēmētriu, Angelo (illus.)
(The gods of Crete)
Hērakleion: Karmanōr, [1998?]. 117 p.
(Mythologia / Nikos Psilakēs)
Crete/Mythology - Crete/Sculptures
In this re-telling of the Greek mythology, the journalist and writer Nikos Psilakēs gives a highly vivid narration of the legends of the ancient gods of Crete. A particularly noteworthy feature of the book is its illustration with photos of sculptures which were created especially for this project, making this an nonpareil bibliophilic edition . (6+) ☆
Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 243
Attikē. Mia oikologikē periēgēsē sto parelthon kai to mellon
(Attika. An ecological tour through the past and future)
Athēna: Sabbalas, 1996. 271 p.
(Anoiktes epistēmes ; 11)
Attika (Greece) - Ecology
This is just one title in a series of information books for young adults which offers well-founded treatments on an astonishly wide selection of themes, ranging from topics such as earthquakes, the universe and cosmology, to the values of ancient Greek civilization. This volume, prepared by a writer with a strong commitment to ecology and a clear, concise style of writing, deals with the history of Attika and its multi-faceted ecological situation in historical and contemporary contexts. The reader becomes acquainted with scholarly writing while acquiring a clear overview of the topic, which is also documented in an extensive bibliography. (14+)
Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 244
Skiadaresē, Maria E. (text)
Zarkada, Marilē (illus.)
Ho thēsauros tu Asprogenē
Athēna: Patakēs, 1998.  p.
Island - Individualism - Consumerism - Homecoming
Fed up with life in the big city, a man returns to his home on an island, only to find it thoroughly changed. No longer does one find the old folk gathering at the central square, there is no bread to be found at the bakery, no fishermen in their boats. The only familiar figure still remaining from once-told stories seems to be the beard of the pirate Asprogenes (»Whitebeard«) and this helps the story's hero to re-introduce happiness and a sense of community among the inhabitants of the island. (5+)
Hungary (Hungarian) - 1999 - 245
Bálint, Ágnes (text)
Várnai, György (illus.)
Frakk, a macskák réme
(Frakk, the cat's terror)
Budapest: Morá, 1998. (2nd ed.) 84 p.
Cat - Dog - Animosity - Friendship
Two fat, over-fed and spoiled cats are kept on the move by Frakk the dog. After many problematic encounters and adventures they become friends, proving that even the greatest enemies establish a friendship if only they take time to get to know each other. This sensitive story is told with much humor and accompanied by fitting black-and-white illustrations in the style of the 1950s. (10+)
Hungary (Hungarian) - 1999 - 246
Vígh, Anita (text)
Sajdik, Ferenc (illus.)
A kacsalábon forgó kiscirke
(The pink chicken with a duck leg)
Budapest: Móra, 1998.  p.
Difference - Tolerance
A pink chicken with three legs sets - not only - the other chickens to thinking. With his pleasant, helpful and tolerant manner and his third leg, Porcogo, the pink chicken, is even able to save a human life and is crowned king of the chicken yard in the end. The fairly serious topic of differentness is packed into a witty, enjoyable animal story with wry humor and accompanied by small, expressive and humorous color illustrations. (6+)
Iran (Persian) - 1999 - 247
Mīrkīyānī, Muhammad (text)
Huramīnažād, Āytā (illus.)
Tihrān: Kānūn-i Parwariš-i Fikrī-i Kūdakān wa Nūǧawānān, 1997 (= 1376 h.š.).  p.
Pigeon breeding - Obedience - Freedom
When a pigeon is no longer willing to demonstrate its flying abilities, its impatient owner begins to treat it harshly. Fearing for its own well-being, it follows the breeder's wishes and is once again spoiled with better bird feed. But one day the bird lets an ordinary street pigeon talk it into escaping. It joins its fellow pigeons, who live a poor, but free and independent life. At first the pigeon has difficulties adapting to its new circumstances, before becoming convinced of their benefits. This parable about corruptibility and convenience and the value of freedom, which is preferable to life in a golden cage, is illustrated with pictures in subdued tones of blue, yellow and brown. (6+)
Special Mention - Iran (Persian) - 1999 - 248
Murādī Kirmānī, Hūšang
(The sweet jam)
Tihrān: Intišārāt-i Muʻīn, 1998 (= 1376 h.š.). 92 p.
(In Arabic letters)
Indifference - Persistence - Civil courage
Evidently no one feels concerned that the jar tops of one jam and marmalade producer do not screw on tightly. Not only because of this technical defect, but also incensed at the apathy of fellow citizens, a twelve-year old pupil decides to sue the production company even against his mother's will. The company makes an investigation, corrects the production error and rewards the boy for his civic involvement. This entertaining story takes issue with the indifference of so many people who find it easier to accept bad or inadequate conditions out of pure laziness and ignorance or for fear of causing trouble for themselves. (12+)
Special Mention - Iran (Persian) - 1999 - 249
Šaʻbānī, Asadallāh (text)
Husrawī, Nasrīn (illus.)
Pūlak-i māh. Maǧmūʻa-i ši'ar
(The moon's scale)
Tihrān: Kānūn-i Parwariš-i Fikrī-i Kūdakān wa Nūǧawānān, 1996 (= 1375 h.š.).  p.
(In Arabic letters)
This is an illustrated selection of ten poems for children by Asadallāh Ša'bānī. Each poem is accompanied by a full-page, dreamy color illustration. (6+)
Turkey (Turkish) - 1999 - 250
Akal, Aytül (text)
Delibaş Yetkin, Ayla (illus.)
İp bacaklı uzaylı çocuk
(The tall, thin boy from outer space)
Levent, Istanbul: Uçanbalık, 1997. 16 p.
([Aytül Akal'dan masallar dizisi / Çikolata masalları] ; 1)
Candy - Nutrition - Cockaigne (Fool's paradise)
A little girl would rather eat nothing but sweets and drives her mother to despair when all her attempts fail to make healthy foods appeal to her daughter. Then all of a sudden a tall, thin stranger appears who takes the little girl away to his home in outer space where everything is made of sweets. Soon she is fed up with all these foods. She wants only to return home and never hear the word »sweets« again. Not unlike the Greek legend of King Midas, whose greed caused everything to be turned to gold, or the landscape of a fool's paradise, this uncomplicated, illustrated story playfully deals with the theme of excess and saturation. (4+)
Turkey (Turkish) - 1999 - 251
Gürmen, Aysel (text)
Demirtaş, Sibel (illus.)
Levent-İstanbul: Uçanbalık, 1997. 75 p.
(Gürmen, Aysel: Selen'in öyküleri ; 4)
(Gülen öyküler dizisi)
Turkey/Everyday life - Travel
Four-year old Selen takes a holiday trip with her family through her own native country of Turkey. Their experiences are described from her point of view - car travel, a ride on a ship, visits to the cities and a walk in a forest. Selen's child-like questions about her country or about topics such as nature and environmental pollution are answered by her older sister. Through the entertaining narration of everyday situations - such as playing at the seashore or taking part in a wedding celebration - the young reader is given a vivid picture of modern life in Turkey. (6+) ☼