White Ravens: 2000
Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 1
Asano, Atsuko (text)
Satō, Makiko (illus.)
Tokyo: Kyoiku Gageki, 1998. 360 p.
Willpower - Self-assurance - Talent - Baseball
Takumi, a talented baseball pitcher, is quite impressed with himself and no one else. He is interested in nothing else but baseball and his own opinions about it. His uncompromising attitude is often a problem for other people, especially his new friend, who as a baseball catcher would be an ideal partner. As time goes on, Takumi gradually gains more sensitivity for the feelings of other people. In the end he looks forward to taking part in the national school championships - not for the sake of winning, but for the sake of playing. This gripping novel gives insight into the psychological development of a strong-willed boy, alongside other figures who are given excellent characterization. (11+)
(39th Japanese Association of Writers for Children's Literature; 1999, Vol. 1: 35th Noma Award for Juvenile Literature; 1997)
Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 2
Chō, Shinta (text/illus.)
(Pontarō, the bouncing rubber-headed boy)
Tokyo: Doshinsha, 1998. 31 p.
A boy with a head like a rubber ball flies over hills and valleys, forests and meadows. He bumps into a mountain peak, bounces up again in an arch, hits the horn of a giant, and continues to bounce and bump all around the world. Like a basketball he flies over towering rainforest trees or - oops - down towards the needles of a hedgehog that turns on its back and catapults him with its paws. Chō Shinta's fantasy world is as free and richly imaginative as the children he portrays in his inimitably original visual language of brilliant colors and naive, flat shapes. (5+)
(4th Japanese Prize for Picture Books; 1999)
Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 3
Gomi, Tarō (text/illus.)
Koushi no haru
(The calf in springtime)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1999.  p.
Calf - Growth - Nature
This picture book is not an information book about baby animals, even though it describes the growth of a calf over a year's time. The book cover depicts an innocent little calf, which then on the last page finally has two little horns to show as evidence of its physical maturity. But what has happened in the meantime is not shown in the pictures. Instead, the seasonal changes of nature are shown in unique, sparing illustrations and a brief text. The calf is nonetheless present and the viewer senses that it is thriving. A magically suggestive picture book done in Tar Gomi's typically refreshingly graphic colors and simplified shapes. (7+)
Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 4
Hoshikawa, Hiroko (text/photos)
Bokutachi no Konnyaku sensei
(Our Mr. Marshmallow)
Tokyo: Shogakukan, 1998. (7th ed.)  p.
Handicap - Kindergarten - Care-giver
A physically handicapped man with cerebral paralysis works for ten years as a care-giver in a kindergarten. Because of his gentle nature and special abilities - such as painting, writing and paper folding with his toes - and despite of his handicap, he is a good teacher and playmate for the children, who see him quite realistically. Teacher and children profit from one another: the teacher endeavors to meet the continual challenges that children represent, and the children experience the natural spontaneity of a handicapped person. This documentary photographic picture book captures moments of kindergarten life marked by mutual respect. (6+)
(1st Japanese Prize for Picture Books; 1996)
Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 5
Itō, Hiroshi (text/illus.)
Nigiyaka na okeiko
(No end of hard tests)
Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 1999.  p.
(Gokigenna sutego ; 3)
Siblings - Jealousy - Love - Rivalry
A young girl is jealous of her eight-month old brother. Sometimes when he is a burden, she calls him »monkey« or »monster«. But at other times she can be just as proud of him as her girlfriend is of her dog. And so the two girls set up a competition to find out who has more special talents - baby or dog. Thus begins a series of hard tests, which the reader will find quite amusing. The sister proves, surprisingly enough, to be loving and devoted. The simple red-black-and-white pictures capture in sketchy outlines the mood of each situation. This is a thoroughly entertaining book with a humor that both adults and children will appreciate. (7+)
Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 6
Itō, Yū (text)
Ōta, Daihachi (illus.)
Oni no hashi
(A bridge to the other world)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1998. 344 p.
Japan - Demon - Afterlife - Underworld - Grief - Growing up
A young noble boy who is filled with guilt at the death of his sister looks down a well. Drawn by supernatural powers, he is pulled down into the well and lands on the shore of the river boundary to the realm of the dead. There is a vaulted bridge before him and horned demons approach him with menacing looks. Returning to the land of the living, he must deal with the conflict in himself and with his father and the demons. The author links the legend of Ono no Takamura (802-853), courtier, poet and scholar, to the problems of growing up in today's world. Life in the imperial city of Kyōto in the 9th century, with its popular beliefs in spirits and demons, and the Buddhist belief in the world beyond, give this fantasy novel an atmosphere of suspense, underpinned with excellent black-and-white Japanese style pictures. (12+)
Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 7
Konishi, Eiko (text/illus.)
(What a lovely meeting!)
Tokyo: Shikosha, 1998.  p.
Italy - City life - Dog - Search
While shopping in the city, a boy loses his dog at the marketplace. After a long search, they find each other on the hill over the city. They are both pleased to be together again. This picture book portrays the beauty of an old Tuscany town and its lively everyday life. The warm colors of the illustrations exude a sense of security. (3+) ☆
Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 8
Tsuki no fune
(The moon ship)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1998. 226 p.
Fear - Self-confidence - Friendship - Purpose - Courage
This adolescent novel is set in Tokyo in 1998 against a social background of shop-lifting, willing prostitution among high school girls, or the media's hyped up predictions about the end of the world after another earthquake. Three pupils and a young man, who has turned his back on daily life and loses himself involves in creating an ark-like space ship. These young people try to help one another overcome their anxieties about life, gain self-confidence, re-establish solid friendships - while still remaining ambivalent due to their sensitive nature. In this moving story, the author succeeds in giving her figures - and thus ultimately her readers - courage to go on living by showing that young people are capable of solving their own problems without the help of adults. (13+)
(36th Noma Award for Juvenile Literature; 1998)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 9
Ogawa, Mimei (text)
Takano, Reiko (illus.)
(The cow woman)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1999. 36 p.
(Nihon no dōwa meisakusen)
Japan - Death - Soul - Motherly love - Justice
For his efforts to give artistic shape to stories for children the author Mimei Ogawa (1882-1961) is called the patron of modern Japanese children's literature. »The cow woman« (first published in 1919) describes a deaf-mute mother who is given this title by the other villagers due to her physical size and gentle character. After her death, her soul is unable to rest because her young son is left all alone in wretched poverty. She appears in various guises to help and guide him. The literary speciality of Ogawa lies in expressing the Oriental religious philosophy symbolically, revealing the continuity of life. The decay of living things is not an absolute, as life takes on another form of expression, as in this example of motherly love. In mixed media technique, including copper-plate etchings, the artist interprets the mystical effects of the soul of the deceased mother in palpable, atmospheric illustrations, while also depicting the people and landscape of northern Japan. (10+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 10
Saragai, Tatsuya (text)
Hasegawa, Shūhei (illus.)
(Children of the »EE«-syndrome)
Tokyo: Komine Shoten, 1998. 159 p.
Teacher - Pupil - Conflict - School performance
In order to gain recognition for the best class of pupils, a teacher transforms his weaker pupils into gold fish and sells them at the market. In an elite school many pupils are found to suffer from the »Empty-Elite Syndrome« which is a bad conscience from not being ambitious enough. A practice teacher who is being bullied by his pupils gets unexpected help one day from his strong, but long-dead brother. Inspired by his sceptical views of the strict, performance-oriented school system in Japan, the author wrote these four spooky and phantastically absurd short stories. They are sure to keep the reader thinking long after reading. (11+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 11
Shingū, Susumu (illus.)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1999.  p.
(Nihon kessaku ehon shirīzu)
Pond - Water surface - Nature - Reflection
Deep underneath the clouds there lies a wee pond. But a closer look reveals a wonderful dramatic world of nature. The wind, the animals - both in and over the water's surface -, the rain drops, the glowing hot sun, the swimming leaves, and the star-strewn sky constantly cause the surface of the water to change its appearance. In the end the pond lies once again deep below the clouds, barely recognizable in the blue nighttime stillness. The question that Susumu Shingu asks at the beginning and the end of the book - »Can you see a little pond?« - could just as well be »Can you see the universe?« With all its expressiveness, the natural world lets us sense the cosmic greatness of the universe in this wordless picture book. (6+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 12
Tada, Satoshi (text/illus.)
(My friend the Beetle)
Tokyo: Kogumasha, 1999.  p.
Insect - Friendship - Habitat
One winter day a boy finds an insect larva in the woods. He takes it home and builds a »beetlehouse « of leaves and earth for it in his garden. In the summer it transforms into a splendid beetle as big as the boy himself. They become friends, eat watermelon together, play and take a bath together. The glorious days end, however, when the boy has to accept the fact that his home is not the proper habitat for a beetle. So he lets his friend fly back to the woods after he promises they will meet again. The author, who like most boys was fascinated by big beetles as a child, depicts his »beetle-dream« in warm, child-like naive pictures. (6+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 13
Terada, Shiori (text/illus.)
Higashi, Nana (transl.)
Muttan no umi
Tokyo: Kumon Shuppan, 1999. 32 p.
(Kumon no edōwa)
Japan - Mud-flats - Dehydration - Animal life - Environmental damage
In 1997, despite the protests of citizen action groups, a gigantic dyke was built up off the Isahaya Bay near Nagasaki. As a result, many species of animal life lost their habitat. This event led one school girl, then nine years old, to draw a picture book in which the little fish Mutusugor (Mudskipper), a rare and beloved fish in the bay, plays the leading role. This portrait of environmental destruction and the suffering and the hopes of the animals for a better future is impressively told in the words and images of a child. At the same time the young writer cleverly manages to inform the reader of the natural food-chain of the animals, which humans are ultimately dependent. The text is in Japanese and English. (6+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 14
Umeda, Shunsaku (text/illus.)
Umeda, Yoshiko (text/illus.)
14sai to Tautausan
(The fourteen-year old boy and Mr. Tautau)
Tokyo: Poplar-sha, 1999. (2nd ed.) 299 p.
School - Bullying - Truancy - Self-discovery - Old age
In their previous, prize-winning picture book (»Shiranpuri«, [»Ignore it!«]) the husband-wife writing team Umeda portray the inner conflicts of a boy who refuses to take part in school bullying. In this book the main character is the victim. The solution to the problem here involves going beyond the school setting and getting other people in the victim's surroundings involved - a strange old man named Tautau, the grandparents, a neighbor child, and the sea. They all play a significant role in the boy's healing process. In the colored wood-block pictures, the grainy texture supports the psychological state, the situation and the landscape, giving each scene its own unique depth. (13+)
Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2000 - 15
(The sunken ship of the wizard)
Jiangxi: 21-Shiji-Chubanshe, 1998. 5, 5, 171 p.
(Dahuanxiang-wenxue : Zhongguo-xiaoshuo)
Ancient prince - Qiang - Ship
Two thousand years ago a prince of the Qiang - an ancient tribe in western China - produces a large, many layered ship from a magic tree and calmly sinks it in the Three at the river bend in the unpopulated middle reaches of Yangtze River. 2000 years later the ship is discovered by a little girl called Hong and her cormorant. Laomu, a »psychologist « of the ancient and an expert in uncovering mysteries using emotional wisdom instead of mental knowledge and high-technology, befriends Hong and her cormorant and learns that they, as former servants of the prince, can travel back and forth in time. The ship is the soul of the prince, a wizard who has been sleeping under the river for 2000 years, and hence the proof that this ancient dynasty Qiang really existed. The story combines legends and historical facts perfectly and draws readers to a fantastic world which is full of poetic atmosphere, and sparks the imagination with unresolved mysteries. (12+)
Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2000 - 16
Bing, Bo (text)
Zhou, Xiang (illus.)
(The caterpillar's dream)
Hunan: Hunan-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe [et al.], 1997.  p.
Caterpillar - Music - Dream - Butterfly
An ugly caterpillar loves music and likes listening to the cricket's singing. The cricket always drives her away because the music is beautiful but the caterpillar is ugly. The caterpillar is so sad that she hides in a cocoon. She falls asleep while listening to the music and has a wonderful dream. When she wakes up she finds herself turned into a beautiful butterfly and her wings are full of pictures of the moon and stars. The cricket is enchanted by this fairy-like maiden. This is an »ugly duckling« story with a poetic narrative and dreamlike pastel illustrations against a delicate translucent blue background. (6+)
Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2000 - 17
Shen, Shixi (text)
Xiao, Aozi (illus.)
Jiangsu: Jiangsu-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 1998.  p.
Fox - Hunter - Greed - Revenge
A hunter catches a small red fox about two weeks old and puts it in a cage. In the evening mother fox comes to rescue her child but the cage is too solidly made. On the second day the mother fox sends a colorful pheasant to the hunter as an exchange - and again the third day. But the hunter keeps the baby fox as a ready source of income and adds one more lock to the cage. On the fourth day the hunter finds a dead mouse near the cage; on the fifth his roof has a hole; on the sixth all the hunter's cocks have lost their neck feathers. At last the hunter sets the baby fox free. This humorous story criticizes human greed and appreciates the wisdom of animals. This is a recurrent theme of the most important animal-story writer in China. (6+)
Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2000 - 18
Ye, Shengtao (text)
Xu, Dungu (illus.)
Hebei: Huashan-Wenyi-Chubanshe, 1997. 171 p.
Scarecrow - Metaphor - Intelligentsia
This is the first collection of 23 short stories which were written especially for children in China and first published in 1923. The most well-known - »Daocaoren« (The scarecrow) - describes a scarecrow standing in the field. He sees many tragic and unjust things happening around him and is pained because he can not do anything to change society. The scarecrow is regarded as a symbol of Chinese intellectuals in the 1920s. Though it also contains some beautiful romantic stories, this book was controversial. It was out-of-print for a long time, but the author revised it in 1986, when he was 92 years old, and finally included the stories in a compilation of his complete works. This reprint edition includes illustrations from the 1923 edition. (7+)
Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2000 - 19
Meng, Haoyan [et al.] (comp.)
Xiao Yu [et al.] (illus.)
(Birds singing everywhere. 100 Chinese classic poems collected for children)
Taibei: Xinyi-Jijin-Chubanshe, 1997. 116 p. (With 2 CDs and playing cards)
This volume of poetry is part of a set which includes two picture books (the companion book is called »Fish playing among lotus leaves«), three CDs that demonstrate the ways of singing classic poetry, and one »Guide and games« book. The compilers have consciously chosen three kinds of poems - pictorial poems, poems describing common human feelings and poems about children's everyday life - and provide after each a readable essay explaining its meaning. Each is accompanied by a striking ink-and-wash illustration. The publisher introduces splendid Chinese traditional arts to the young readers with modern multimedia. And the whole set of books strives to fulfill the Chinese saying: »Pictures in the poems and poetry in the paintings.« (6+)
Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2000 - 20
Cao, Junyan (text/illus.)
(The doubling bag)
Taibei: Xinyi-Jijin-Chubanshe, 1998. 27 p.
Greed - Cloning
The colorful doubling bag is a great treasure since it can make a duplicate of anything one puts in it. A greedy person steals this cloth-bag and gets into it. Behold! Two gluttons come out and they immediately begin fighting over the magic bag. The author has a gift for rendering his philosophy of life into simple but interesting stories. He uses different illustration techniques in each book. The stylized figures of this book resemble shadow-puppets and paper cuttings, traditional Chinese forms of art, so that the characters look stiff but appealing. In a note he explains that he wants to give children a wider visual and aesthetic experience. (6+)
Ghana (English) - 2000 - 21
Aidoo, Ama Ata
The girl who can and other stories
Legon, Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 1997 (repr. 1999). 146 p.
(Distr. excl. by African Books Collective, Oxford)
Everyday life/Ghana - Women's rights - Bravery
This is a collection of short stories dealing with women in different social and family situations in modern-day Ghana by a long-standing creative writer and teacher. In each story she adopts a different narrative style and covers themes ranging from an electoral victory, a young woman passing a pilot test, a mother struggling with common family crises while her husband spends his nights elsewhere, or a high-placed NGO founder reflecting on the meaning and practical implications of »global village.« These memorable stories celebrate the uprightness and self-consciousness of women in a world that favors men. They stand out as African writing through their fresh, real-life imagery and the natural voice of the narrators. (14+) ☆
Kenya (English) - 2000 - 22
Makotsi, Ruth L.
The boy who became a frog
Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers, 1999. 25 p.
(Sparrow readers; 18)
(Distr. excl. by African Books Collective, Oxford)
Folktale - Marriage - Man/Frog - Transformation - Good/Evil
Strong and boastful, Sudi and the beautiful orphaned Difna grow up in the same household. When they are old enough, each is sought after as a marriage partner, but they want only to marry each other.When Sudi refuses to marry the ugly daughter of the village medicine man, he is turned into a frog. But Difna waits for him and after the drowning death of the evil medicine man, good triumphs over evil. The elaborate twists of plot of this folktale make it enjoyable reading. (8+)
Nigeria (English) - 2000 - 23
A son among daughters
Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books, 1998. 41 p.
Father/Son - Self-assertion - Lost/Found - Adventure
Chijioke is the seventh child, and long-awaited only son of a happy, devoted couple, important members of the Okpo village. He takes after his kind and generous parents, but is also spoiled by them and his six sisters. His only fault is his obstinacy. This leads him to disobey and follow his hunter father into the woods one day. Soon lost, he experiences several adventures before he finally comes upon the cottage of a man-eating witch. After several attempts, he manages to run away from her and slowly work his way through the bush, back to his village. The incidents of this story are vividly told and hold the reader in suspense. (10+)
South Africa (English) - 2000 - 24
Brandt, Marianna (text)
Riet, Samantha van (illus.)
Bristow-Bovey, Darrel (transl.)
The mealie-cob doll
(Afrikaans orig. title: Die mieliestronkpop)
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1998. 36 p.
Birthday present - Wish - Disappointment - Art competition
Matilda's mother has not been selling enough hot corn-on-the-cob (mealies) at their street stall to be able to buy the frilly blue dress Matilda dreams of for her birthday. Instead, her grandmother sews her a very charming doll using an old corn cob that a customer presented to Matilda with the words »May it bring you happiness«. At school Matilda draws a striking portrait of her new doll - despite the scorn of some classmates - and wins first-prize in the art competition. With the considerable prize money she can buy the dress and gifts for others. This well-plotted and attractively illustrated tale depicts the universal feelings and challenges of childhood - desire, jealousy, rivalry and contentment. It is produced in a sturdy paperback edition. (8+)
Zimbabwe (English) - 2000 - 25
Makura, Tendai (text)
Pasirayi, Thomas (illus.)
The talking walking stick
Harare: Zimbabwe Publishing House, 1999. 13 p.
(Distr. excl. by African Books Collective, Oxford)
Folktale/Zimbabwe - Selfishness - Greed - Murder
When a family of four sets off by foot on a sixday journey to visit the mother's parents, father always eats the greatest part of their provisions. After five days they find a tree that yields only two figs, which the two children cajole from their mother. In a flash of temper the father kills her, and to keep this murder secret, he must commit one murder after the other. Arriving at the village, his walking stick continues to sing of his evil deeds and the villager elders punish the murderer. This story demonstrates that the truth will always come out. Though the simple black-and-white illustrations are of uneven quality, the story is well-written and the typography attractive. (8+)
Australia (English) - 2000 - 26
Base, Graeme (text/illus.)
The worst band in the universe
Melbourne: Viking/Penguin Books Australia, 1999.  p. + 1 CD
Music - Innovation - Power struggle - Banishment
The internationally known author-illustrator of numerous memorable and elaborately detailed picture books has taken yet another direction of storytelling and reader entertainment. With a CD of fascinating and lively rock music thats fit perfectly with the plot and theme of the text, Base offers his readers a contemporary, illustrated form of rock opera. The plot of this allegorical space fantasy is told in epic verse. It involves a young upstart musician who dares to improvise, is banned to another planet, forms a band with other renegades and finally confronts the (quite unmusical) Musical Inquisitor in a show-down. Fans of films like »Star Wars« will love the weird space creatures and space worlds depicted here in neon pastel double-page spreads, and all readers will enjoy the engaging story of a young hero. (8+)
Australia (English) - 2000 - 27
Sink or swim
South Fremantle: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1999. 200 p.
Homeless child - Crayfish - Adventure - Trust - Friendship - Growing up
A tough, street-wise teenager Brazza, on the run after the latest battering at home and living by stealing, encounters an old craggy fisherman on a remote seacoast who needs a deckhand and decides to take a gamble on the boy. In this fastpaced adventure story - full of vivid details about the dangers of sea, weather and equipment, of illnesses and accidents - the two of them gradually learn to trust each other, admit their need of each other, and become a team that can deal with the many challenges of small-boat pot fishing. Brazza begins to get help in reading and sets his aim on the exams for a fishing-boat skipper. The novel is a well-told gripping story of friendship and growth despite adversity. (11+)
Australia (English) - 2000 - 28
Angels passing by
Ringwood: Puffin/Penguin, 1999. 83 p.
Parents/Son - Bully - Self-assertion - Dog - Growing up
The only son of a fairly old, rather eccentric father and definitely non-assertive mother - and »brother« to a very spoiled dog -, twelve-year old Tom tells his own story of learning to deal teasing at his new school from bullies who call him a »loser«. He gradually learns to put his parent's own »loser« behavior into a perspective he can understand and accept. This involves taking a long trip to his mother's childhood home, only to find it very much changed and unromantic; his telling off the bullies; and his anonymous growing of a marijuana seed which his mother eventually discovers and innocently protects. This is a quiet, funny novel about growing up under rather normal circumstances and its thoughtful, brave hero will appeal to many readers. (10+)
Australia (English) - 2000 - 29
Ingpen, Robert (text/illus.)
Once upon a place. Paintings, drawings and notes on imaginary places
Port Melbourne: Lothian, 1999. 48 p.
Fantasy - Imagination - Journey
This is a companion work to »Fabulous places of myth« which Lothian Books published in 1998 with a text by Michael Cave to elucidate Robert Ingpen's imaginary visual journeys to Camelot, Atlantis, Valhalla and the Tower of Babel. The readers who share the artist's fascination with the places of the imagination will once again find much to savour in the exquisite pencil character sketches and elaborate watercolor paintings of Chaucer's pilgrims, Hamelin's Pied Piper or the hero's banquet at Tara. Ingpen's personalized text cites excerpts from the stories that fascinate him, and celebrates the powerful effect that stories can have on readers. (12+)
Australia (English) - 2000 - 30
Stony heart country
Ringwood: Penguin Books Australia, 1999. 208 p.
Economic rationality - Unemployment - Friendship - Compassion - Growing up
A widely-travelled upper-class teenager comes to live in a small town in western Victoria for three months where his father has taken the task of conducting an economic feasibility study of a local clothing factory having economic problems. As it is the sole major employer, the local residents cannot help feeling threatened. Aaron finds enemies, but also experiences important supportive friendships that help him ultimately to understand more about tolerance and about himself. Metzenthen uses a social background of economic turmoil and corporate ruthlessness quite purposefully. He skillfully develops strong character portraits and allows the reader to get quite close to Aaron's inner feelings and reflections. (14+)
Australia (English) - 2000 - 31
Overend, Jenni (text)
Vivas, Julie (illus.)
Sydney: ABC Books, 1999.  p.
Home birth - Siblings
The child narrator of this lovely picture book relates the events of a very special day in his family - the home birth of their newest member. In the double-page spreads done in Julie Vivas's characteristic style of warm pastel pencil drawings, each stage of preparation and actual birthing is described in realistic, through artistically simplified detail. The judicious use of white spaces and shifts in dominant color tones helps to convey the suspense, climax and happy, restful conclusion of a momentous event for all six family members. Some readers may shy away from the book's explicit detail, but this is a welcome alternative to information books that explain scientifically »where babies come from.« (6+)
Australia (English) - 2000 - 32
Wharton, Herb (text)
Hurley, Ron (illus.)
St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1999. 136 p.
Aborigines - Childhood memories - Growing up
This is the first young adult book by a notable writer of Aborigine and European descent whose main theme is his boyhood on the Warrego River in Queensland, 600 km west of Brisbane and many years as a drover (cattle or sheep driver). In this storyteller style of memoir Wharton looks back fondly at his strict upbringing by poor, illiterate but decent and caring parents and extended family members. Though he enjoyed school and loved the power of language, his education into life began already in his early teens as a drover; his lifelong curiosity and interest in learning supplied him with the wide range of stories that today fascinate his readers and listeners. This is a very readable, brilliantly-told tale of an rich, adventurous life. (12+)
India (English) - 2000 - 33
Chandran, Hira Nirodi (text)
Gaidhane, Shankar (illus.)
Hyderabad: Gul Mohar/Orient Longman, 1998. 160 p.
Countryside - Drought - City life - Runaway - House servant
Eleven-year old Chikka lives with his older married brother and helps with the rice-farming most of the time, though he still likes to run off and play with his friend or listen to the old neighbor man's stories. But when a drought makes it difficult for the family of four to make ends meet, Chikka impestuously runs away to Bangalore. With luck he finds a post as kitchen helper in a kind family and will be able to send some money back to his family each month. This simple story of a poor uneducated school boy who dreams of a better life and is willing to work and take risks, has likeable characters and an evenly paced plot of adventure and variety. First published abroad in 1962, it still has a fresh feeling and a positive outlook on life. (10+) ☆
India (English) - 2000 - 34
Iyengar, Gita (text)
Biswas, Pulak (illus.)
New Delhi: National Book Trust, 1998. 39 p.
(Nehru Bal Pustakalaya)
Moving house - Neighbor - Friendship - Ancestors - Time travel
When a boy and girl discover an old photograph album, a woman in one of the pictures begins to speak to them. As they turn each page new episodes in the lives of the boy's relatives come to life before their eyes. Suddenly they find themselves drawn into the photographs and following along with the children of past times, learning bits of India's social history. The attractive pen and wash illustrations capture highlights of their experiences. (10+)
Special Mention - India (English) - 2000 - 35
Ravishankar, Anushka (text)
Ramanathan, Rathna (illus.)
Anything but a grabooooooberry
Chennai: Tara Publ., 1998.  p.
Poetry/English - Daydream - Imagination - Nonsense
The green and red graphic illustrations of this book play with the words and ideas of a simple, melodic nonsense poem about »what I want to be.« Beehive is written letter for letter into a honey cone, the word elephant looks like one, the letters of the rocking chair move up and down. Both the poem and the highly imaginative play with shapes and forms are so enchanting that one wants go right back to the beginning. This recently founded publishing house is developing an ambitious program of well-designed books for all age groups. (4+)
Special Mention - India (English) - 2000 - 36
Sadykov, Turat (text)
Roy, Subir (illus.)
Singh, Varyam (transl.)
New Delhi: Children's Book Trust, 1998. 32 p.
(Transl. from Kirghiz)
Folk tale/Kirghizia - Hero
Late in life an old, rich man became father to a child. Shortly before the birth of the child who would be named Manas a wandering doctor and seer who was passing by fed the mother meat from an ancient animal that destined the child to have extraordinary powers. Even as a child he used his incredible strength to perform useful, heroic deeds that are still told today. This attractively illustrated booklet contains three tales that reveal the customs and traditions of the pre-dominantly Muslim, worldly open mountainous country of Kirghizia, which became an autonomous republic after nearly 130 years of Russian rulership. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - India (English) - 2000 - 37
Saxena, Ira (text)
Gayen, Prithvishwar (illus.)
The virus trap
New Delhi: Children's Book Trust, 1998. 144 p.
School - Computer software - Hacker - Theft - Detective
Anshuman attends a special school well-equipped with modern computer facilities where he and his two friends spend so much time that they are considered »geeks«. Computering is also the special bond between Anshuman and his adopted uncle Deepak, a computer company executive who develops network software. When it becomes clear that someone is trying to steal or sabotage Deepak's new systems software, Anshuman and others become the target of attacks. While tracking down the culprits, he realizes that he needs to expose the thief with the help of a computer virus. This is fast-paced, action-filled mystery story that is filled with the details and jargon of the computer world. The manuscript won first prize in a writer's competition by the Indian IBBY section. (12+)
New Zealand (English) - 2000 - 38
Dunedin: Longacre Press, 1999. 182 p.
Family conflict - Romantic love - Outsider - Intolerance - Vandalism - Murder
Sixteen-year old Michael has gone to several different schools and already learned to take risks in order to gain recognition from his peers. As he narrates the events of one school year we become acquainted with a wide cast of characters - parents, teachers, and pentacostal Christians - in his new town and school. The one who causes him to change his perspective on life is Lester, a motocycle-riding tramp who camps out in town. Gradually Michael tracks down details surrounding Lester's past and the town's hidden guilt. The unwinding of the mystery, set alongside Michael's attempts at romance and moral justice, makes a compelling story about coming of age. This is a promising debut novel by a young New Zealand teacher and writer. (14+)
New Zealand (English) - 2000 - 39
Cowley, Joy (text)
Bishop, Gavin (illus.)
The video shop sparrow
Wellington: Mallinson Rendel, 1999.  p.
Bird - Prisoner - Rescue - Nature - Indifference - Political power
Upon returning a video cassette to a shop that is closed for holidays, two boys sight a sparrow that has been accidentally locked inside. When their first efforts to have family, neighbors or friends open up the shop meet with indifference and fatalism regarding a single common bird, they take the problem to the small town's mayor who is holding a press conference. She immediately finds a solution and puts them all in the headlines. The very attractive, landscape-sized pen-and-wash illustrations are filled with details that enhance the text with irony and subtle clues. This apparently simple, realistic plot will appeal to children and also spark reflection about ecology and human values. (8+)
Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 2000 - 40
Holcroft, Anthony (text)
Preiss, Leah Palmer (illus.)
A visit to the orchards of heaven
Christchurch: Hazard Press, 1998. 76 p.
Fairy tale - Desire - Character - Justice - Contentment
This is a delightful collection of nine literary fairy tales narrated as only an experienced storyteller can do. There is magic and suspense in each plot, mostly set in realistic but different places around the world. In some tales the main character is a magician or witch; in others the hero - a child, a young husband, or old man - encounters a creature - a bird, a leprechan, or enchanted dancer - who uses supernatural powers for good or evil purposes. A common thread in these tales is the lesson of contentment. The heroes often experience the consequences of following temptation and impetuous desire and, in most tales, finally recognize the satisfaction to be had at home and in human companionship. Each tale is distinct enough in setting, cast of characters and unpredictability of plot to remain memorable. Illustrated only with singular, characteristic vignettes, these tales need only their words to create lively pictures in the mind of the reader or listener. (8+)
Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 2000 - 41
Mataira, Kāterina (text)
Huége de Serville, Sylvia (illus.)
Raglan: Ahura Enterprises, 1999. 31 p.
Father - Daughter - Separation - Dance - Imagination
Kereana and her mother experience terrible unhappiness when their father and husband leave them behind in New Zealand to work overseas. When Kereana takes up practicing Maori dances, the waiata-a-ringa, the pain in her heart begins to subside. Soon she enters school and learns the welcoming songs and dances of the kapa haka group, but still feels sad that her father never sees her. Her grandmother suggests that she could imagine her father in the audience and this helps Kereana become a very good performer. This read-aloud story about adjusting to separation is universally appealing, while the colorful pencil illustrations opposite each page of text provide an appealing view into a modern Maori childhood. (5+) ☆
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 42
London: Orchard, 1999. 248 p.
Foster child - Africa/England - Civil war - Growing up
A boy from a village in a civil-war torn East African country is given a home with a family in south London. As an eyewitness to the atrocious murder of his father, mother and younger sister, an accidental survivor, he wants nothing more than the chance to return to his country and return to life as a guerilla warrior and revenger. But the street life and rivalries in south London seem to hold certain parallels and keep Kaninda's mind flashing back to his previous life. This novel makes his traumas terribly palpable, showing the ugliness of war, and also the possibility of developing new bonds of friendship and gaining insight into the futility of fighting. Ashley draws lively characters and uses street dialect to make the story come alive. (14+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 43
Tell me no lies
London: Macmillan, 1999. 196 p.
Family secret - Mother/Child - Separation - Guilt
This engrossing narrative is composed of alternating chapters portraying the parallel lives of Gemma, an unpopular and difficult girl, and the newcomer and soon popular boy Mike. Because of her secret hobby of collecting newspaper photos of mothers - she believes her mother is dead - she recognizes Mike and finds old newspaper reports about how his mother allegedly murdered his father. When she blackmails him with this secret, a dangerous spiral of events is set in motion. Only a number of coincidences lead to unspoken truths in both of their situations come to light. This is a page-turning novel that compels sympathy for both protagonists and affirms the need for truth and honesty in family relationships. (10+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 44
Daly, Niki (text/illus.)
London: Lincoln, 1999.  p.
(Also publ. in New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999)
Mistake - Dressing up - Africa - Family life
A young South African girl gets so caught up in the excitement of preparations for a family wedding that she wraps herself up in her mother's newly bought material and parades around the township. Alas, it is soon dirty and torn and her mother terribly sad. But all turns out well when a photo of proudly parading »Kwela Jamela - African Queen« appears in the newspaper and she receives enough money to replace the material - with even enough left over for a second dress, too. The exuberant realistic double-spread watercolor illustrations that are Daly's trademark actually tell the charming story themselves. They present lively outdoor scenes and close family and neighborhood interaction in a rural community. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 45
Dare to be different. A celebration of freedom in association with Amnesty International
London: Bloomsbury, 1999. 75 p.
Difference - Freedom - Equality - Justice - Change
This attractively designed anthology contains 13 beautifully illustrated stories and poems by some of the leading writers and illustrators for children today which reflect the ideas and ideals by the human rights organization Amnesty International. Some stories are re-tellings or legends such as Pandora's box, or Daniel and the lions, or literary fairy tales such as Oscar Wilde's »The happy prince«. Other stories, such as Bernard Ashley's »Only a stone« or Susan Gates' »Butterflies and swimmers«, depict events in everyday life, in which children learn important lessons about the consequences of their actions. Poems by Langston Hughes and James Berry deal with freedom and equality. (8+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 46
Donaldson, Julia (text)
Scheffler, Axel (illus.)
London: Macmillan, 1999.  p.
Forest - Enemy - Monster - Self-assertion - Imagination - Surprise
Mouse has many potential enemies when he walks through the forest. By cleverly claiming to be meeting the ferocious and dreadful looking Gruffalo, the mouse scares off the fox, the owl, the snake with descriptions of this imaginary beast; but suddenly a real Gruffalo appears out of the blue and the mouse must use his wits once again. The clear and simple pictures of each episode are suitably stylized to help make this rhyming picture book a great read-aloud story about self-assertion. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 47
Doyle, Malachy (text)
Teckentrup, Britta (illus.)
Well, a crocodile can!
London: Lincoln, 1999.  p.
Comparison - Animals - Reading
In this charming fold-out and lift-the-flap picture book young children learn about the surprising, special features of a wide variety of animals - elephant, flea, camel, chameleon, gibbon, crocodile - that human beings do not have. In the final doublepage spread the special abilities of people to sing, write draw and read - with humorous self-reference to this very picture book - conclude the comparison. The bright, pastel line-and-wash drawings are filled with small details that round out the design of the book. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 48
Edwards, Becky (text)
Armitage, David (illus.)
My brother Sammy
London: Bloomsbury, 1999.  p.
Siblings - Differentness - Acceptance
In his first-person narrative of several lines overlayed on each double-page spread, a schoolage boy describes clearly his feelings of frustration and sadness about his younger, handicapped brother, Sammy, who cannot share in the same everyday activities and pleasures. At an angry climactic moment, the boy's perspective suddenly changes when his brother responds to him, and they begin to share moments of togetherness. This emotionally touching storyline is complemented by soft pastel watercolor illustrations that focus not on Sammy but on the narrator and his struggle to come to terms with his feelings and his own role as a special brother. (5+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 49
Wake up, World! A day in the life of children around the world
London: Lincoln in assoc. with Oxfam, 1999.  p.
(Also publ. in New York: Henry Holt, 1999)
Everyday life/Child - Comparison
This striking photographic picture album takes a world-wide view of how children live today. The wide diversity of life-style and comfort is set off against the commonality of their interests. The family life, school life, free time and dreams of eight children from eight different corners of the world - Australia, Vietnam, India, Russia, Ghana, United Kingdom, Brazil and the United States - are presented in double-page spreads. Excellent color photographs of the children's activities are accompanied by first-person quotations or informative statements. On the back fly-leaf a brief geo-social description of each country provides a wider contextual framework. (5+) ☆
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 50
London: Andersen Press, 1999. 152 p.
Bullying - Peer pressure - School trip - World War II - Normandy - Fascism
Danny looks and acts differently than others of his age, he likes classical music and can't play football. At his new school he is immediately the brunt of bullying by a group of boys led by a policeman's son and model pupil. Toby, the son of Danny's family friends, wants to be accepted by the other boys and goes along with their bullying. The situation reaches a crisis on a school trip to Normandy when Danny disappears; Toby fears he may have committed suicide and must deal with his feelings of guilt and helplessness. This is a very direct, powerful story about ordinary school children from middle-class families who go too far. The novel deals with powerlessness and maliciousness in a believable, incisive narrative. (12+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 51
Llandysul: Pont Books/Gomer Press, 1999. 115 p.
Family life - Romantic love - Disappointment
A novel about a boy's first, disappointing love relationship is a rare thing. The emotional impact of Iestyn's first sexual encounter with an older girl who is his sister's best friend is strong and painful. When he realizes that she only played around with him on a whim, on a dare, he is completely shattered. The author succeeds in giving a convincing portrait of an adolescent boy at a decisive time of life, depicting his confused feelings over this first failed relationship and his gradual recovery, against the backdrop of an uncertain and undecided future. The language and local scenery depict a believable working-class family in modernday Wales. (14+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 52
Wonders never cease!
London: Piccadilly Press, 1998. 139 p.
Bereavement - Career choice - Romantic love
Jason will be finishing school at sixteen but doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. He begins to find a sense of direction by getting involved in local community controversies and through his tentatively romantic friendship with a 23-year old single mother. In the end her young daughter becomes a welcome part of Jason's family, which still bereaves the leukemia death of Jason's sister. In this at times filmscript-like novel, the frequently alternating perspective on events is depicted in changing type-faces and graphic inserts of newpaper cuttings. Jason is a quite likeable protagonist and the various strands of the story about everyday life in ordinary, workingclass surroundings are engagingly told. (14+)
Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 53
Walker, David (text)
Rolph, Mic (illus.)
A leaf in time
London: Portland Press, 1999. 32 p.
(Making sense of science children's books)
Energy - Ecology
This paperback information book provides an understandable survey of our world's energy system in order to impress upon the reader the need for more careful use of our essential resources. Beginning with the production of oxygen by plants, the author - an emeritus professor of photosynthesis - describes in simple terms the biochemical principles of light energy. He describes the changes in our living habits that have led to excess use of energy and forecasts coming problems of energy usage in a compellingly manner. The colorful and diverse, at times gently humorous illustrations are oriented to reinforce the text. Refreshingly simple in layout and design, this book offers a sound introduction into an important topic. (10+)
Ireland (English) - 2000 - 54
Benny and Omar
Dublin: O'Brien Press, 1999. 237 p.
Moving house - Tunesia - Friendship - Orphan - Assistance
When his father changes jobs, Benny Shaw moves with his family from Ireland to Tunesia and begins school at a - to his mind, weird - progressive private school where his smart-alecky personality does not fit in. When Benny gets to know a young Tunesian orphan boy who lives in a shack outside the Westerners' compound, he becomes involved in adventures and dangers that have serious consequences for both of them. Colfer drives his plot with many techniques including Benny's wittily boyish humor as well as Omar's brand of English-via-TV-films. Colfer, himself a teacher who has worked in Arabian countries, has already written a sequel (»Benny and Babe«) set in western Ireland that will satisfy the fans of this bestselling novel. (10+)
Ireland (English) - 2000 - 55
Is anybody listening?
Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1999. 188 p.
Child abuse - Mystery - Social involvement - Telepathy
At first 17-year old Laura thinks someone is playing a joke on her, but as she hears the same voices increasingly often, she has to take their calls for help seriously - Sanjid, a young Indian boy held as a slave carpet weaver, and Rose, a Brazilian slum teenager. In a diary, Laura records incidents of magically linking up to each of them in her mind, while she becomes more and more shaken by the violence and dangers in their lives. Overly excited, she is admitted to hospital with an asthma attack and a young doctor helps her save Sanjid. Using magical realism, this compelling novel intertwines lives on different continents to awaken the readers' concern for child abuse. Addresses of international aid organizations are given in an appendix. (14+)
Canada (English) - 2000 - 56
Bedard, Michael (text)
Tait, Les (illus.)
The clay ladies
Toronto: Tundra Books/McClelland & Stewart, 1999.  p.
Childhood memories - Sculpture - Neighbor - Grandmother/Grandchild
A young child describes an overnight stay with his grandmother and the memories she shares with him of two important adult role models in her own childhood. Next door to her lived two unusual women sculptors in a large old house-cumstudio who always welcomed child visitors. The text tells how the women hold respect for children and nature, are able to heal wounded animals and give children the opportunity to appreciate beauty and details, and sense the satisfaction of shaping ideas from lumps of clay. The meticulously composed full-page picture scenes of each visit are shown on the opposite page and support the story beautifully. (8+)
Canada (English) - 2000 - 57
Khan, Rukhsana (text)
Gallinger, Patty (illus.)
Muslim child. A collection of short stories and poems
Toronto: Napoleon Publ., 1999. 69 p.
Muslims - Religious customs - Sayings
This collection of 21 entries - stories, poems, sayings and activities - offers children outside the Muslim world a very wide range of information at the story and the information level (in part, through extensive explanations in side-bars). The way that Muslim children learn to practice the beliefs of their ancestors are depicted in quite realistic narratives that show how their religion effects their daily lives and how they themselves grow in understanding. The reader will also gain much understanding for a culture that is still widely unfamiliar in many countries. (8+) ☆
Canada (English) - 2000 - 58
Leedahl, Shelley A. (text)
Slavin, Bill (illus.)
The bone talker
Red Deer: Red Deer Press, 1999.  p.
(Northern lights books for children)
Old age - Neighbor - Help - Time - Memories
This literary folk tale ends, in a surprising twist, as an homage to the wide prairie land of central Canada. It starts with the decline of an old woman who was so old that »she talked to her bones as if they were her children« and continues in a wry, lyrical style, telling of all the neighbor's efforts to keep her involved in life and all her stubborn refusals. But when a mere child offers her two scraps of cloth, she slowly finds a smile and begins to sew again. People from near and far bring her more pieces of cloth, each holding special family memories. The superb oil painting illustrations are filled with stylized characters representing Canada's immigrants. (8+)
Canada (English) - 2000 - 59
Marchand, Barbara (illus.)
Kou-Skelowh = We are the people. A trilogy of Okanagan legends.
Penticton: Theytus Books, 1999. 88 p.
Folktale/Canada/Okanagan - Origin of life - Names - Animal/Man
These three traditional legends of an Aboriginal tribe in British Columbia were first translated in the 1980s for educational use within the tribal setting. They tell how the chiefs of the Animal and Plant people prepared for the coming of a new people, mankind, by arranging for them to have food and songs; how before the coming of humans the Great Spirit gave all the animals names and their own unique tasks; and how a dream taught the turtle how to free all the animals from their slavery to the eagle. These animal fables make for lively storytelling and are impressive cultural documents of a deep respect for nature and natural processes. The stylized pen-and-ink wash illustrations reflect the spirit of the texts. (8+)
Canada (English) - 2000 - 60
Munsch, Robert N. (text)
Martchenko, Michael (illus.)
We share everything
Markham: Scholastic Canada, 1999.  p.
Kindergarten - Sharing - Gender roles
A six-year old boy and girl begin their first day at kindergarten with a power struggle over toys, books, and activities. Repeatedly, their teacher exhorts them to share everything. But when they take her quite literally and share - exchange - their clothes as well, they seem to have broken a terrible taboo. And all the children in the kindergarten agree that their teacher must change her way of seeing things! This is a delightful read-aloud picture book with a catchy refrain that captures the child-like spirit of play, spontaneity, and fun in both text and illustration. (5+)
Canada (English) - 2000 - 61
Trottier, Maxine (text)
Morin, Paul (illus.)
Toronto: Stoddart Kids, 1999.  p.
Childhood memories - Neighbor - Canada/History 1941-1942 - Japanese-Canadians - Internment
The first-person narrator recalls her own personal experience of losing a friend through the politics of war. While visiting her grandmother on the Pacific coast one summer, the girl befriends an older Japanese man who has a magnificent garden of stones, blue irises (flags) and, in the middle, a fish pond. Although Canadian born, Mr. Hiroshi is forced to give up all this and taken away to an internment camp. Soon new people move in and change the garden entirely, but the young girl manages to save some flowers and stones - as the start of a new garden that can grow better with time. This beautifully illustrated picture book contains a poignant story whose impact grows with re-reading; an excellent starting point for reflection and discussions. (8+) ☆
Canada (English) - 2000 - 62
Wallace, Mary (text/illus.)
The Inuksuk Book
Toronto: Greey de Pencier, 1999. 64 p.
Arctic - Inuit - Stone - Communication
This beautifully designed information book explains various aspects of the past and present life of the Inuit, the aborigines of Canada's arctic regions. While the well-written text draws upon many authoritative sources to give a wide and carefully selected array of details in twelve thematic chapters, the combination of various-sized color and black-and-white photographs on each page draw the reader into a fascinating world where human beings and nature interact at a very basic level. An inuksuk, a stone structure that communicates knowledge, plays an essential role in survival and in transmitting cultural values. Inuktitut symbols, words and sounds are clearly explained in an appendix. (10+) ☆
Canada (English) - 2000 - 63
Wyatt, Valerie (text)
Petričié, Dušan (illus.)
Earthlings inside and out. A space alien studies the human body
Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1999. 63 p.
Physiology - Anatomy
At first inspection upon his arrival space pilot Danoid from Planet Memo finds that Earthlings have built-in helmets, speakers, primary manipulatives, and outer coverings that are alive and growing. The book is structured as an entertaining but highly informative interview between Danoid and 10-year old Pete that describes the amazing features of our bodily functions and compares them with other possibilities. Each page is illustrated with a variety of humorous cartoon sketches and clear scientific displays. In each chapter there are easy-to-implement experiments, while an index facilitates later reference. The graphic design and high standard of illustration are perfect complements to an appealingly imaginative text. (8+)
Canada (English) - 2000 - 64
Ye, Ting-xing (text)
Langlois, Suzane (illus.)
Share the sky
Toronto: Annick Press, 1999.  p.
China - Prejudice - Canada/Immigrant - Difference - Kite
Fei-fei lives with her grandparents in a village in Asia while her parents establish a new life in North America. With her mind (and night-time dreams) filled with prejudices and reservations voiced by her relatives, Fei-fei is finally sent off to join her parents in a strange new city. To her great surprise and joy she finds children with similar interests and needs at her new school - and, best of all, the same love for kite-flying - a symbolic motif in this book. She is able to reassure her grandparents that they are living under the same sky. The illustrator employs a diversity of perspectives to convey feelings and impressions. The text is printed in boxed insets except on the very last page, when Fei-fei feels a part of her new surroundings. (5+) ☆
USA (English) - 2000 - 65
Andersen, Hans Christian (text)
Pinkney, Jerry (adapt./illus.)
The ugly duckling
New York: Morrow, 1999.  p.
Swan - Difference - Outsider
The distinguished prize-winning illustrator Jerry Pinkney offers beautiful, stunningly detailed watercolor illustrations of this well-known tale about loneliness and belonging. Pinkney draws upon both an English translation of the Andersen tales and Andrew Lang's well-known retelling, but adds his own touches. Notable is the artist's choice of text elements and their placement on each double-page spreads in which he often favors dramatic close-up portraits of the ducklings, swan and other significant protagonists. (4+)
USA (English) - 2000 - 66
New York: Greenwillow Books, 1999. 185 p.
Death - Family history - Self-assertion - Vermont/History 1910
Thirteen-year old Harriet and her mother had led a simple but close and happy life together only miles away from the farm where her long-dead father grew up. After her mother suddenly dies in an accident, her will states that Harriet is to live at the farm with her father's stern, sharp-tongued sister and her cuckold husband. Gradually the girl learns of the illnesses, deaths and disappointments of the older generation. This first-person narrative describes Harriet's and Aunt Sarah's struggles to adjust to each other, and it also succeeds notably in portraying Harriet's mourning, her maturing view of herself, her friendships with the people around her in the village and the farm, and the gentle pace of rural life of an earlier era. (12+)
USA (English) - 2000 - 67
Holt, Kimberly Willis
When Zachary Beaver came to town
New York: Holt, 1999. 227 p.
Texas - Friendship - Obesity - Marital problems - Vietnam War
A thirteen-year old boy describes the events of turbulent summer in his small Texan town in the early 1970s. The arrival and weeks-long stay of Zachary Beaver, »the fattest boy in the world«, in a trailer in a parking lot near the center of town, is a significant, though exceptional event in his life, but forms a cohesive thread around which many other happenings and excellently characterized relationships can be bound together. The flowing first-person narrative maintains a child's guileless view of events, but reveals his difficulties in dealing with emotional situations such as the extended absence of his mother and the war death of his best friend's older brother. The author quite believably captures a sense of small-town boyhood on the verge of adolescence. (10+)
USA (English) - 2000 - 68
Napoli, Donna Jo (text)
Tchen, Richard (text)
New York: Dutton, 1999. 197 p.
Rumpelstiltskin - Father/Daughter - Braggery
The well-known fairy tale of the small man who spins straw into gold is re-told here from the beginning - before the spinner got a rumpled leg and became alienated from his fellow men - to the end. The authors spin an elaborate plot filled with fine character studies - of the future queen, her drunk father, the greedy king, Rumpelstilskin and several others - to reveal how people respond to challenges in their lives, and how the long-reaching consequences of their acts affect a whole community. Greed and braggery play a decisive role and give shape to the plausible course of events. Readers will enjoy the suspense, the unexpected turns in plot, and reflecting upon the underlying social and moral issues. (12+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2000 - 69
Philip, Neil (ed.)
McCurdy, Michael (illus.)
War and the pity of war
New York: Clarion Books, 1998. 96 p.
Poetry/English - War - Heroism - Idealism
This anthology by a British writer and folklorist draws together a wide and well-chosen range of poems from all historical epochs. In a valuable introduction he points out his criteria and intentions. Because of the wisely limited number of entries, the reader can become absorbed in the subject matter without feeling inundated. The poems include translations from Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Ojibwa, Polish, and Russian. Most striking is the layout of each page. The large, solidly black sanserif typeface on stark white paper and generous linespacing please the eye, while the scratchboard illustrations and ornamental vignettes by the distinguished illustrator set an aesthetic accent. This is a highly commendable and very moving treatment of a perennial, tragic theme. (12+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2000 - 70
Silverman, Erica (text)
Gaber, Susan (illus.)
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999. 34 p.
Folktale/Jewish - Cinderella <motif> - Kindness - Wisdom
When Raisel's grandfather, a Talmudic scholar, dies, she must give up her learning and find work as the kitchen helper of a well-to-do rabbi in the town. In return for her kindness, a beggar woman grants her three wishes which she wisely uses to win the heart of the rabbi's son. First she attends a Purim party dressed as Queen Esther in order to meet him. But he must also use his wits to answer her clever riddle. The full-page pastel colors use a variety of perspectives to characterize persons and situations. This is a memorable, culturally centered re-telling of the Cinderella tale with an intelligent female protagonist. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2000 - 71
Wiesner, David (text/illus.)
New York: Clarion Books, 1999.  p.
School excursion - Cloud - Empire State Building - Innovation - Adventure - Friendship
This wordless picture book follows one boy's bizarre adventure with a playful, perhaps bored, but uncommonly persistent young cloud when they meet on the top of the Empire State Building. After a bit of playful teasing the cloud carries the boy off to the central cloud terminal of sector 7 (which designs and routes clouds off the eastern coast of North America) and soon has him shaking up the old, staid cloud designers with blueprint patterns of exotic fish. Wiesner uses panels of different sizes to portray the fast-paced events, and his visualization of the renegade young cloud is completely delightful. Fans of Wiesner's previous wordless fantasy picture books or of Raymond Brigg's »The Snowman« will be especially enchanted. (6+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2000 - 72
Wolf, Bernard (text/photos)
Cuba: After the revolution
New York: Dutton, 1999.  p.
Cuba - Family - Everyday life
Photojournalist Bernard Wolf prefaces his beautiful photo-essay about life in contemporary Cuba with a two page summary of Cuba's long and difficult political and economic history. This is, of course, essential to establishing the context of the problems of daily life in Cuba today and the lack of knowledge about Cuba in many countries of the world. Wolf focuses on one artistically talented family in the days around the New Year celebrations. One to three excellent, often candid photos per page, draw the viewer into family life, while the accompanying text comments on the social significance of those events. By going beyond the factual documentation, the photographer opens up the readers' hearts and minds to the life and customs of this politically isolated island country. (10+)
Austria (German) - 2000 - 73
Auer, Martin (text)
Wolfsgruber, Linda (illus.)
Warum der Hase lange Ohren hat
(Why hares have long ears)
Wien: Gabriel, 1999.  p.
Hare - Baby animal - Upbringing - Punishment
The baby hare cannot escape paternal punishments no matter what it does or how it behaves. Father is bound to pull his ears. Later when it is an adult and has long ears of its own, it will be time for the little hare of the next generation. That is why there are only hares with long ears in this world. Actually this story takes a rather fatalistic turn, but the child(-hare) doesn't seem to take it too hard. The colorful pictures do not engender any uproar, but simply illustrate the apparently inevitable course of things. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2000 - 74
Domenego, Hans (idea/coord.)
Baumann, Hans [et al.] (text)
Werwiewas. Das Lexikon für Kinder
(Who, how, what. The children's encyclopedia)
Wien: Jugend & Volk, 1998. 352 p.
»An encyclopedia for children between eight and twelve years of age and a bit above and below.« This claim is well-met in this considerably improved and expanded edition of an encyclopedia which has grown with the times. The number of terms has been highly increased, the content remains concise, length and layout are accessible, and it includes excellent visual materials and understandable references. A pleasant atmosphere is achieved with little side features such as quotes from school essays or short poems and word-plays in specially marked boxes. Short excerpts from books by children's book authors create a bridge to children's literature. This attractively designed and sturdy-bound book is guaranteed a long and useful life. Both young and old will profit from dipping into this mighty compendium of knowledge. (7+)
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2000 - 75
Grosche, Erwin (text)
Junge, Norman (illus.)
Wien: Gabriel, 2000. 32 p.
Sleep - Guard duty - Fear - Daydream
Tobias has nasty dreams - only the sleepwatcher can help. Grandma Gersdorfer can't fall asleep - and he helps her, too. And he can give warning not to fall asleep - at school, as soon as a teacher approaches a sleepy-head. Norman Junge's spaciously pictures of the bizarre figure of the sleepwatcher correspond to the dream of a benevolent helper for everyone who, unfortunately often at the wrong time, wants to sleep or cannot sleep. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2000 - 76
Das geheime Wissen der Pinguine; 4
(The secret knowledge of penguins; 4)
Wien: Jungbrunnen, 1999. 150 p.
Question - Paradox - Penguin
Penguins are probably so intelligent because they live on the South Pole - where things stand on their heads and follow their own laws. So, consequently, there can be no question that is too complicated for penguins (some would say none »too dumb«). They just turn the questions in and out and turn it on its head and are then sure to find a solution. Their spokesman is Mr. Humboldt Penguin, who is also prepared to travel around the world to get an answer. No paradox is too illogical for him, no slip of the tongue too ill-timed. This is the way to put together a thick compendium of (penguin's) know-ledge, and the reader must spin out the riddles to discover more about it. (10+)
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2000 - 77
Jung, Reinhardt (text)
Sönnichsen, Imke (illus.)
Das kleine Nein!
(That little No!)
Wien: Jungbrunnen, 1999.  p.
Stubbornness - Curiosity - Search for identity
That little No! is actually already quite big and can do everything by itself. But there is one thing it cannot do, namely say Yes! Even the good Nanunana has to explain and ask questions for a long time until there is no little No! left and finally a Yes! comes from its mouth. This humorous book is for all inquisitive children, big and little, who are not satisfied with quick explanations from adults. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2000 - 78
ABC für Großmütter
(An ABC for Grandmas)
Wien: Dachs-Verl., 1999. 125 p.
(Edition Christine Nöstlinger)
Dictionary/German - Grandmother
Grandmothers are very, very different, claims Christine Nöstlinger quite correctly. Thus, with a twinkle in her eye, she offers this dictionary of some of the episodes in her own grandmotherly existence that is open for further contributions. For example, take the chapter K - for »Klamotten« (clothing) - with grandmotherly duels in an »in« shop, and her subsequent commentary: »Heavens, Heavens, I won't say another word about that pretty grave-diggers cloak that I bought him… «. An entertaining compilation of risky habits found among grandmothers - and their children's children - and strategies for getting along with each other. (12+)
Germany (German) - 2000 - 79
Zorro. Im Jahr des Pferdes
(Zorro. In the year of the horse)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1999. 140 p.
Mother/Son - Handicap - Horseback riding - Therapy - Horse raising
By caring for and riding horses Kai gradually begins to overcome his fears and gain confidence in himself, his surroundings and the world at large. But this idyllic situation is in danger because the upkeep of horses is expensive. There are plans to sell trusty bay Zorro, Kai's horse, for horsemeat. Lea, a woman who is recuperating at the horse farm after her divorce and her mother's death, and still searching for her own identity, buys Zorro back for Kai. But this is not the whole plot. Between the lines the story tells about what happens around und within the protagonists, the ups and downs of living - with and without horses. A casual tone of voice, absorbing cast of characters and an unsentimental perspective toward fateful connections are the hallmarks of this exceptional (horse) book. (10+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2000 - 80
Nicht Chicago. Nicht hier
(Not Chicago. Not here)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1999. 120 p.
Friendship - Lie - Crime
Kirsten Boie describes here a case of »everyday crime« among school pupils. She deals openly with the main characters' conflict of choice between committing an offence and maintaining friendship by leaving the ending open and by not making use of authorial omniscience. Hence this novel is an example of a new trend in German children's and youth literature, in which authors for some time now have been writing novels that are less didactic and more literary and realityoriented. Thus, this genre oversteps more and more often the still generally accepted upon boundaries of children's literature, such as the provision of a positive ending. (14+)
Germany (German) - 2000 - 81
Der Wolf ist tot
(The wolf is dead)
München: tabu- Verl., 1998. 151 p.
Single father - Daughter - Sexual abuse - Murder
Cordula lives with her father in a new residential area of a small city. She often behaves jumpy and unpredictable. Her teachers and fellow pupils cannot know that she is being sexually abused by her father - who everyone considers to be »very nice.« But they do wonder why Cordula is never allowed to bring friends home. One day, as one of her girl friends drops around and finds only the father at home, a tragedy follows. The man tries to force himself upon the other girl. Cordula returns and kills him in the heat of the moment. This is a substantial novel, reserved in tone, and avoiding any straining for effect. (14+)
Germany (German) - 2000 - 82
Erlbruch, Wolf (text/illus.)
(In the night)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1999. 23 p.
Night - Imagination - Father/Son
This is a small book with a grand subject - the night as a dream world that is open only to children and readers. Fons doesn't want to go to sleep, he wants to take a nighttime stroll with Papa. As if deaf and blind, the stressed father stumbles through the streets with his son and doesn't notice Alice and the White Rabbit, King Kong, the tulip on rollerskates, the polar bear and many more strange and wonderous things that could possibly fit into his adult mind. A dream of a book by Wolf Erlbruch - who pulls all the stops of his artistic powers. (5+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2000 - 83
Frommlet, Wolfram (text)
Wagenbreth, Henning (illus.)
Mond und Morgenstern. Eine Geschichte aus Afrika
(Moon and Morning Star. A tale from Africa)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1999. 44 p.
Africa - Creation story
God created Moon and gave him Morning Star to be his wife. She gave birth to the plant kingdom. After two years she returned to the heavens and Moon was given Evening Star as his mate. And she gave birth to the animals and mankind. Then Moon hurt Evening Star and she gave birth to the animals of prey. Moon declared himself the king of the world, and his subjects removed him from his throne. Moon rose into the heavens and even today is still looking for Morning Star, his first beloved. This is an impressive picture book depicting an African creation myth. Large, brilliantly colored illustrations on earth-tone paper with linoleum cuts that are illustrated by the forms and shapes of African art. (10+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 84
Fühmann, Franz (text)
Herfurth, Egbert (illus.)
Der glückliche Ritter von Trinitat oder wie wird man Oberdiskutierer? Ein Puppenspiel in 4 Akten für Joachims sechs Puppen
(The happy knight of Trinitat or how to become the chief discusser. A puppet play in 4 acts for Joachim's six puppets)
Rostock: Hinstorff, 1999. 68 p.
Ideology - Knight - Dragon - Sultan - Ignorance - Happiness - Misuse of power
This short masterpiece for puppet theater is intended as a persiflage of all ideologies. In it Franz Fühmann criticizes the abuse of power, ignorance and narrow-mindedness. The cast include the Magician and the Dragon - as fairy tale elements; the Fat Woman - as slave and wife of the dragon; the knight - as the army; a Slave - as the worker; the Sultan - as the ruler of Trinitat. The watchword - as placard-style ideology. In short, the tale goes as follows: »What's this mean - to have a discus- sion?« asks the Dragon. The Knight answers »We state our opinions and I'm right.« The Slave hopes that the Dragon will eat the Sultan, so he can be freed. Instead, the Dragon becomes the Sultan's chief fire-spewing discusser on account of his obedience. The Sultan establishes as a watchword that the people are happy. (Who begs to differ, loses his head). In the end we learn that »this goes to show that it always turns out as it turns out because it turns out as it turns out. We call it history.« Egbert Herfurth's figurines form the suitably ironical staffage for this quite realistic material. But that is not meant to lead the reader into fatalism, but just its opposite. Nothing is in fact necessarily the way it is. (8+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 85
Grote, Wilfried (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverl., 1999. 111 p.
Father/Son - Unemployment - Solidarity - Consumer behavior
Oscar's father suddenly finds himself out of a job. Hence, Oscar can't have the mountain bike, but his father now has more time for him. All the family members agree to limit their desires. And so the bicycle is bought at a flea market and is not to be scorned, even though it is of course not »in« in the eyes of the other children. Suddenly Oscar's piano practice bothers the neighbors. The family moves to a less expensive apartment and the father makes the change from bus driver to taxi chauffeur while Oscar makes friends with a new girl. The burning issue of unemployment, the positive aspects of family solidarity and having a happy childhood even with less money is treated here in an unspectacular manner. The boxed pictures at the beginning of each chapter contribute to the overall cheerful atmosphere of this children's novel. (8+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 86
Heidenreich, Elke (text)
Pfarr, Bernd (illus.)
Sonst noch was
(Will that be all?)
München: Hanser, 1999. 44 p.
Stubbornness - Country life - Animal talk
City-girl Katharina wants to visit her uncle's farm to cure her chronic cough, but even more because of the animals. Her mother, Gertrud, gives her standard reply, »Will that be all?« But Katharina gets to go after all and already during the train ride she realizes that she can understand animal talk. This has a great effect at Uncle Hans's place and her stay is a great success. In a witty, worldlywise manner the author expresses her view of children's wishes and adult thoughts. Her text is supported by not quite realistically drawn protagonists in pastel colored, richly shaded pictures. (6+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 87
Heine, Helme (text/illus.)
München: Middelhauve, 1999.  p.
Devil - Joke - Disguise - Life-saving
The little devil Diabollo lives all alone in Hell's heating cellar, guarding the fire. Whenever he gets bored, he sets out to tease other people. But there is no recognition for his work. People only like the boring angels in white gowns who sing »Hallelujah« all day long. So he disguises himself (with wings and a white gown), but to no effect. They recognize him. Angry, he throws his pitchfork on the roof of a house and immediately starts a fire. Now is his great chance: for once he is not the devil but the fire-man. He is given a medal for his deed. And popular (though not as a devil). Helme Heine finds the appropriate visual background for the funny situational comedy of his story. (5+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 88
Melusine. Die Welt muß romantisch werden
(Melusine. The world needs to become romantic)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1999. 166 p.
Loneliness - Love - Failure
A young man moves to a new city and meets a fascinating, mysterious girl. They embark on a platonic friendship, and she does not allow him to get any closer to her. After some time they have no more contact, and neither of them knows of the other's yearning. And so it happens that he does not recognize her when they meet again. This is an imaginative parable about the impossibility of finding fulfilling love in real life. (16+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 89
Jacoby, Edmund (comp.)
Berner, Rotraut S. (illus.)
Dunkel war's, der Mond schien helle. Verse, Reime und Gedichte
(Light Moonshine in the darkest night. Verses and poems)
Hildesheim: Gerstenberg, 1999. 152 p.
Although poetry - even that for children - as everyone knows, is nearly impossible to translate, this book deserves mention in this international selection at least due to the exquisite aesthetics of its design and layout as well as the charm of the poems selected. None of the greatest, most humorous, most serious or most original German language poets have been left out of this anthology. The boundary between children's and »grownup « poetry becomes fluid here. Rotraut Susanne Berner is an artist whose small figures and forms contribute a visual as well as a substantial pendant to the poems. (3+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 90
Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1999. 174 p.
(KiWi ; 537)
School - Failure - Physical handicap - Autobiography
A 16-year old boy enters boarding school to improve his grades. He has minor physical handicaps that make his life there difficult. Events of everyday life, his relations with the others, his first sexual encounters and the accompanying insecurity and embarrassment are told by the first-person narrator in a very direct, but rather reserved and nonetheless cultivated youthful tone. The narrative voice is shaped by the mixture of youthful curiosity and the desparation of an intelligent adolescent in the throes of puberty - written by a youth of the same age - on the rocky path to adulthood. (14+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 91
Freiburg i. Br.: Kerle, 1999. 126 p.
School pupil - Suicide - Investigation - Youth crime
The leader of a school gang has broken away from the others after a series of petty crimes in order to avoid prosecution. The rest of the gang begins to blackmail and persecute his younger brother. But he refuses to betray the older brother, and instead commits suicide one day. Because these circumstances are clearly not to become public knowledge, the persistent interest and efforts of his fellow pupils are necessary before the guilty instigators of the suicide can be found. Step-by-step the author leads the reader through the investigation of an editor of the school paper to the true facts. In the reactions of those involved he shows how people, who should have known better and could have acted better, vehemently deny their guilt. (14+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 92
Maar, Paul (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
In einem tiefen, dunklen Wald...
(In a deep, dark forest...)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1999. 143 p.
Princess - Abduction - Monster - Rescue - Reward
A proud princess is absolutely set upon finding the bravest husband far and wide. So she stages an abduction by a monster without realizing that the monster itself is an enchanted prince. Unfortunately she is much too impatient to even listen carefully to the mumbling monster. In the course of events the creature is released from the spell but does not marry the princess because she is not only conceited, but also just plain dumb. Everyone else receives their just rewards for their heroic deeds. All in all a thoroughly happy picture story. (8+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 93
Mann, Erika (text)
Hallgarten, Richard (illus.)
Heißerer, Dirk (ed.)
Stoffel fliegt übers Meer
(Stoffel flies over the ocean)
München: Kirchheim, 1999. 128 p.
(Orig. ed. 1932 by Levy & Müller, Stuttgart)
Air ship - Stowaway - Family - Everyday life
Christoph (»Stoffel«) is only ten years old, but certainly not dumb. When his father and mother find themselves in an economic crisis and see no way to making ends meet, their son flies off in the school vacation as a stowaway on an airship bound for New York to visit his rich uncle and tell him of their financial disaster. Along the way he has the chance to save the passengers from a major catastrophe and soon his fame in the international press knows no limits. Erika Mann, Thomas Mann's oldest daughter, wrote this delightful story for her younger brothers and sisters. Her children's book were long - quite wrongly - overshadowed by her literary works for adults and cabaret revues. This story of the courageous little Stoffel and the details of his adventurous life and world still offer literary and entertainment value today. (8+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 94
Pacovská, Květa (text/illus.)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverl., 1999.  p.
Language - Arts and crafts - Playing - Fabled animal
In this intricately detailed paint-and-play crafts book the »Kritzelmännchen« (little scribbler) shapes, cuts out and paints a different fabled animal every day of the week - the redredhorn and checkered rhino, the dotdotdoter and the holeholeholer, and many other creatures. The viewer sees their origins in pages with stamped out shapes and pop-ups. In the end the child (and the parents) are called upon to play and to invent whatever they can with the materials available. Published in a ring-binder on stable cardboard, this is a lively first art book that encourages play, imagination and lively involvement. (5+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 95
Pawel, Henning (text)
Schulmeyer, Heribert (illus.)
Heiligabend im Himmel
(Christmas Eve in heaven)
Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1998. 62 p.
Christmas - Heaven - Angel - Animal love - Present
In the inner realms of heaven animals are forbidden. Even the Holy Father can only wish in vain for a little dog as house pet. But when a talking jackdaw loses his way and strays into the inner realm, God resorts to a trick and hides the invader near him. He finds an accomplice in the little rascal- angel Moische Birnbaum. In the end the two of them manage to have this unhappy rule revoked, ex cathedra so to speak. So the Holy Father gets his little doggie for Christmas. This is an engaging, ironical story about eternal laws in heaven and on earth. (6+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 96
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1999. 229 p.
Germany - Turkish child - Orphanage - Kidnap
The young illegitimate son of a Turkish worker and a German waitress has lived in an orphanage since his mother died. There he is found by his father, when he searches for his former girlfriend. He abducts the severely retarded boy to Turkey, to his home village, where the boy begins to flourish in the loving care of his grandparents and the rural surroundings. But the German bureaucracy demands to have the boy returned to Germany because there is no clear proof of paternity. Only through the decisive initiative of a young woman can the extradition be avoided. Based on an authentic case, this literary rendering depicts a wealth of ordinary difficulties that Turkish workers have in and with Germany and the disastrous situation of those who do not have enough influence to maintain their own rights. (14+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 97
Prinzessin Metaphysika. Eine fantastische Reise durch die Philosophie
(Princess Metaphysica: a fantasy journey through philosophy)
Hildesheim: Olms-Presse, 1999. 308 p.
Philosophy - Adventure
Although there have been a number of fictional works with philosophical and religion-based backgrounds published in the aftermath of J. Gaarder's »Sophie's World«, this work is exceptionally interesting. First of all, because it is witty, and furthermore, because it contains not only facts, but also riddles. The names of well-known philosophers and other geniuses have been clearly altered and their works paraphrased, accurately and humorfully. The three main protagonists - two young men and Princess Metaphysica - go searching for answers to existential questions in the land of Philosophica. Their paths separate and come together again, and, hence, the answers they have found differ in part. An absorbing book for young adults who take pleasure in using their minds. (16+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 98
Waluszek, Christian (text)
Matthies, Don-Oliver (illus.)
Die Insel des vollkommenen Glücks
(The island of perfect happiness)
Würzburg: Arena, 1999. 462 p.
Island - Happiness - Ocean travel - Love
The theme of this novel is the perversion of man's pursuit of happiness. It is set in the 19th century in an exclusive society dedicated to fun and leisure. A young English girl, Joana, sets off, disguised as a shipboy, on a sailing ship to search for her lover Tom, who had been taken away from her by force. Since then he has lived on a widely unknown island called »Isla Perfelicita« from which escape is impossible. It is governed by the uppermost commandment that everyone is to have »fun.« Joana and Tom manage to escape by swimming until they are picked up by an unknown sailing ship. The delightful interweaving of fates from today and the past keep the reader in suspense in this 400-page long story-within-a-story. (12+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 99
Henri Rousseau: Die schlafende Zigeunerin
(Henri Rousseau: The sleeping gypsy)
Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt-Taschenbuch-Verl., 1999. 125 p.
(rororo Rotfuchs ; 20975 : Rotfuchs- Kunstsachbuch : Mein Bild)
Rousseau, Henri - Naïve painting
The most famous representative of the naïve school of painting is surely the Frenchman Henri Rousseau. For older children and adolescents his clear, though not simplistic works could offer an easy access point to the world of fine arts. Solid, comprehensive research of the biographical and contemporary historical facts, illuminative visual documentation, and an attractive book design are the hallmarks of this series, that is a boon to the informational book market. This volume is just one representative title for many others in this excellent paperback series of art appreciation works. (12+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 100
Westphalen, Joseph von (text)
Devrome, Johan (illus.)
Wie man seine Eltern erzieht
(How to educate parents)
München: Hanser, 1999. 181 p.
Parents - Son - Upbringing - Role reversal
In this dictionary the adolescent offspring (who normally do not have parental rights of guardianship) will find a series of pragmatically defined concepts that will help him or her with parental upbringing. (Of course there may be some parents who do not need to be re-educated - they are already »cool«. Such readers won't be able to make use of the tips in this dictionary unless they make an effort to find other parents!) There are helpful entries for shy or over-adjusted readers and humorous entries for dealing with the hopefully »cool« parents and both kinds offer a welcome seasoning for the daily homelife. (10+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 101
Wiesner, Henning (text)
Mattei, Günter (illus.)
Im Garten der Tiere
(In the animal garden)
München: Heyne, 1998. 127 p.
(Collection Rolf Heyne)
Fifty opulent panels of illustrations and texts provide an overview of the kinds of animals that are frequently found in zoos and provide a survey of the history of their biological development and their way of life in nature. Extensive references and the presentation of the overall scope of the fundamental ideas of zoos are also an effort to legitimate the work of zoo, whose work is considered in the widest sense of the word to be animal protection, for the coming millennium. This book can be consulted and enjoyed over and over again by parents and children, not only before visiting the zoo. (8+)
Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 102
Chudožilov, Petr (text)
Čapek, Jindra (illus.)
Das Wunder von Jasina. Eine Weihnachtsgeschichte
(The miracle of Jasina. A Christmas story)
Aarau: Sauerländer, 1999. 53 p.
Ukraine - Nativity - Miracle - Christmas - Holy Family - Shelter
It is Christmas in a small, snowbound village in the Ukrainian mountains. A young stranger finds no one - neither rich nor poor - to take her in and let her warm up; no place to give birth to her child. Only old Giuseppe with the wooden leg is, like she, still out wandering through the cold dark night. He recognizes her situation and helps her. Then a Christmas miracle takes place. Giuseppe - Joseph - has his leg restored to health and the whole world passes by to honor the Christ child. This story is imbued with worldly wisdom and a love of mankind. The text and pictures acquaint young children with the miracle of Christmas in an unspectacular manner. (5+) ☆ ☼
Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 103
Lauf, Lilly, lauf!
(Run, Lilly, run!)
Zürich: Atrium-Verl., 1999. 319 p.
Germany - World War II - Friendship - Growing up
In the final year of the Second World War Lilly moves with her family away from the dangers of Hamburg to Mecklenburg in northeast Germany until the war comes to an end. She befriends Isa, a girl the same age, who lives in the local castle. The author vividly describes the day-to-day confusion of war-times, family conflicts, and the solitary actions of the girls when it is necessary to help a deserter. The protagonists just barely manage to survive the end of the war. And they have grown up. (12+)
Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 104
Kinskofer, Lotte (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
(The piano elf)
Zürich: Palazzo-Verl., 1999. 134 p.
Elf - Piano - Lost/Found - Trickery
Piano elves are quite indispensable to piano players, both young and old. Because of their miniature size they can live in a piano, feed off the music itself and prevent wrong notes. One day, as fate will have it, young Crescendo becomes separated from the rest of the clan. He is in desperate need of human assistance in order to find his own kind again. The search for a good ending is taken up by the piano student Daniela and her friends. The author gives her clan of piano elves the measured language of their times, 18th century, because one of her ancestors had served the great Johann Sebastian Bach. When used alongside the lingo of contemporary kids, the result is a splendid mixture of form and content. (8+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 105
Pausewang, Gudrun (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
Barfuß durch die große Stadt
(Barefoot through the big city)
Zürich: Nagel & Kimche, 1999. 153 p.
Moving house - Confusion - Dog - Death - Runaway - Returning home
David and his mother have moved house and he is alone in their new home. When he runs out of the flat in fright, the door slams behind him and he has to go off barefoot in search of his mother's workplace. On the way he has a long chain of experiences as he is sent on from one place to another. A strange dog joins him along the way. Due to David's carelessness, the dog is run over. At last he finds his mother again - but she will never be able to know about the wonderful dogfriend that he has lost. Realistic and unsentimenal, Gudrun Pausewang tells a lyrical tale for younger children. (7+) ☼
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 106
Carolina. Ein knapper Lebenslauf
(Carolina. A short biography)
Aarau: Sauerländer, 1999. 175 p.
Prague - Theater - First love - Separation
Carolina writes down her own autobiography and a sketch of her family history for her teacher. This gives the reader, quite incidentally, an insight into the effects of historical and political events on the lives of the citizens of Prague. The reader also accompanies Carolina through the ups and downs of her first great love affair while she and her boyfriend are involved in a school theater group. In this novel the author easily finds the right register to arouse sympathy for Carolina. With this hero she creates an interesting figure that young readers will be able to identify with. (14+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 107
Schroeder, Binette (text/illus.)
Gossau, Zürich: Nord-Süd-Verl., 1999.  p.
Play - Night - Storm - Fear - Egg - Bird - Bad luck/Misfortune - Surprise
In the woods Laura finds a real Humpty Dumpty to play with. One stormy night she goes out to protect him. In the morning she finds only his broken shell, but next to it, unexpectedly, there is a lovely bird of paradise. Delicate, pastel-colored pictures show the theme of a unshapely thing being transformed into a beautiful creature. Mysterious dark tones emphasize the fairy tale-like nature of the events. (4+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 108
Siegfried, Anita (text)
Binder, Hannes (illus.)
Kleine Schwester der Nacht
(Little sister of the night)
Zürich: Nagel & Kimche, 1999. 123 p.
Friendship - Older man - Night - Imagination
Lynn is curious about what goes on at nighttime but at the same time she fears its multitude of noises and eerie secrets. Nighttime is her common bond with Josef, who tends the roses by day and tinkers around on his motorcycle at night. He offers to take Lynn for a nighttime ride. This is a special compensation for Lynn, who struggles daily with her jealousy of Olga, the pretty, friendly Olga who owns incredibly beautiful red sandals - and everyone finds loveable. In the slow sequence of pictures and events this book tells of the child-like conflicts and yearnings of the early teenage years and offers a good solution for some of them. (10+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 109
Wolfsgruber, Linda (text/illus.)
Zürich: Bohem-Press, 1999.  p.
Child - Search for identity
For a change, a cuckoo egg is pushed out of the nest by the owner and the little thing must go off in search of its true identity. It tries crowing, meowing, bleating and more, but nothing is really fitting. Its search goes on for all its childhood. Finally the little one scratches its little beard and discovers that it only needs to swim in its egg shell toward land to find the right family at last. Bizarre pictures for a bizarre journey through life. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Ivory Coast (French) - 2000 - 110
Dans la cour des grands
(In the courtyard of the grown-ups)
Abidjan: CEDA [et al.], 1999. 86 p.
(Collection lire au présent)
Puberty - Self-determination - Sexuality
At the age of 17 one wants to be considered an adult and be free to make one's own experiences in all the areas that had once been taboo. That is Stella's situation. She lives in Abidjan. Until now she has obeyed her parents, but now she rebels. In her diary she writes out the anger of the difficult struggle to assert herself. She comes into conflict with herself when a school friend talks her into having a love affair. Stella is clever enough to know that she will need advice in any case. A frank talk with a gynecologist is fundamental in helping not to take this decision too lightly, but in accord with her inner feelings, which tell her to wait. The novel is accompanied by a questionanswer section that deepens the reading experience and makes the problems of puberty accessible to discussion. (15+)
Belgium (French) - 2000 - 111
Guettier, Bénédicte (text/illus.)
Le crocodile qui se prenait pour une fleur ...
(The crocodile who thought it was a flower ...)
Bruxelles: Casterman, 1999.  p.
A yellow crocodile languishes on its back, stretched across the pages of the picture book. Between its wide open jaws its tongue stands out like the piston of a flower. But its attempt to transform into a flower doesn't work. »Good day, Crocodile, « the other animals greet it. For them a crocodile is a crocodile. Hunger finally puts an end to the longing for a change of identity. A little bird that heads for the apparent flower falls prey to its mistake. The illustrator works with brilliant colors, strong black contours and cut-off figures at the edges of the pictures. Her dynamic intervention in the absurd scenes where the crocodile poses as a flower anticipate the ending - the jaws of a crocodile are meant for eating after all. (5+)
Belgium (French) - 2000 - 112
Ramos, Mario (text/illus.)
Paris/Bruxelles: École des Loisirs, 1999.  p.
Counting - Overcoming fear
Numbers and fears can be practiced in a merry manner if one follows the little hero of this book as he searches for his mother in all the rooms of the house, as many as the book has pages. The children's room is filled by a large rhinoceros. Two lions are occupying the toilet. In the parents' bedroom there are three giraffes, in the bathroom four crocodiles ensconced, etc. But it is not these wild beasts that cause our hero's face to be contorted with fear. It is the little spider that is crawling on the ceiling of the children's room. This explanation transforms terror into fun and another countdown into a jolly, easy to win test of courage. (2+)
France (French) - 2000 - 113
Barnaud, Jean-Marie (text)
Mellinette, Martine (illus.)
Le poète et la méchante humeur
(The poet and ill-humor)
LeChambon-sur-Lignon: Cheyne, 1999. 44 p.
(Poèmes pour grandir)
Poetry - Everyday life - Mood change
To begin the day in ill-humor is just as strenuous for the poet as for anyone else. In a casual tone he comments upon the banal stages of a day from getting up in the morning to riding in the car in the rain. Imperceptibly the ordinariness and triviality of things gain a scent, perceptions sharpen, a mood arises from the elements of a big city portrait. This record of moods is illustrated and accentuated with colored lines that run across the pages, at first dark then increasingly lighter. (12+)
France (French) - 2000 - 114
Haïti, la perle nue
(Haiti, the naked pearl)
Châteauneuf-le-Rouge: Vents d'ailleurs, 1999. 93 p.
Haiti - Ecology - Census
Haiti, once the richest colony in the world, is one of the prime examples of how ecological balance is being destroyed on this planet. Overexploitation of land, over-population, deforestation, poverty and political dictatorship have completely exhausted the resources of the so-called »Pearl of the Antilles«. This richly illustrated paperback awakens an appreciation for the interplay of history and environment, and calls for solidarity among the readers as residents of a common world. The documentation is clearly organized by sociopolitical themes and interspersed with folk tales that reveal amazing parallels to the topic just treated, despite being set at the level of myth and legend. (10+) ☆
France (French) - 2000 - 115
Battut, Éric (text/illus.)
Au pied de mon arbre
(At the foot of my tree)
Toulouse: Milan, 1999.  p.
Tree - Life
Over the course of many years a tree changes its face. For each season there are different games and festivities, rural scenes and moments of happiness in the lives of the people who visit it - whether for May Day dancing, a romantic tryst in the shade, or apple harvesting. As a motto for each scene on the full-paged, naïve-style tree pictures there is a line of poetry, accompanied by a small detail sketch. When leafing through all the pictures, certain parallels become meaningful - as time elapses for the tree over the course of a year, so it elapses in the life of a person. The poetic charm of this book will enchant both children and adults. (6+)
France (French) - 2000 - 116
Ma mère m'épuise
(My mother wears me out)
[Paris]: Hachette Jeunesse, 1999. 157 p.
(Le livre de poche ; 696 : Jeunesse : Senior)
Mother/Daughter - Racism - Protest action - Citizens' action
This story is written in a peppy style that reflects the busy daily life of a girl living alone with her mother. It covers everything from love life to community events. In a comical reversal of roles the daughter often plays the part of protector for her panic-stricken mother. When a new, rightwing oriented city administration tries to boycott the move of the library, where the mother is employed, the daughter feels it her duty to find a solution. She joins together with one of her classmates, who lets the xenophobic slogans found about town look ridiculous by making minor changes to them. He is the one who advises her to start up a citizen campaign for the library. (11+)
France (French) - 2000 - 117
(The trouble party)
Paris: Rageot, 1999. 151 p.
(Collection cascade : Pluriel)
Family conflict - Self-fulfillment - Puberty
Thirteen-year old Camille and 18-year old Laurent enjoy the undivided love of their divorced mother Anne up to the day that Anne's new friend, the painter Theo, moves in with them. Their family life, at first enrichened by Theo's presence, becomes increasingly complicated by his style of life and his demands for time alone with Anne. Told from Camille's perspective, the novel describes how the two teenagers resist Theo's influence on their lives and thus cast their mother into a dilemma. Dramatic arguments reveal the different points of view of the children and adults, making it clear that there is no brilliant solution for their common life. The novel has a correspondingly realistic ending - Laurent moves out on his own and Camille stays behind, more mature but still pessimistic. (12+)
France (French) - 2000 - 118
Blake, Stephanie (text/illus.)
Maman, pourquoi tu m'aimes?
(Mama, why do you love me?)
Paris: Albin Michel Jeunesse, 1999.  p.
New baby - Jealousy
The jealousy of older children toward newborn siblings who seem to monopolize the attention of their mother is a classical problem of childhood. This picture book heroine is stricken with just this affliction. Over and over again she devises new situations to prove to her mother how much better, more clever, and more loveable she, the reasonable child, is in comparison to that still so dumb infant. The droll, large-sized pictures take a disarmingly humorous view on her emotional sufferings and lead to a scene of tender intimacy in which the mother makes all further efforts superfluous by assuring the child that it is loved just for being itself. (2+)
France (French) - 2000 - 119
Bruel, Christian (text)
Claveloux, Nicole (illus.)
Paris: Être, 1999.  p.
One toy after the other is piled up on a wobbling tower that tilts from side to side, until it collapses with a great crash-boom. There are guaranteed to be delighted laughs of the small toddler when this page is reached at every new »reading« of this little book, whose illustrations have the colorful, haptic charm of baby toys. The text is spun further with each additional toy, synchronous to the tower, and helps the memory with its babbling sing-song. (2+)
France (French) - 2000 - 120
Daufresne, Michèle (text/illus.)
Coup de soleil
(A flash of sun)
Ivry-sur-Seine: Bilboquet, 1999.  p.
(Fables à tout vent)
Love - Appearance/Reality
Léon, the cricket, catches sight of the blue dragonfly at dawn and falls in love. But when it rains, its object of affection looks tattered and gray. What a liar the sun is, Léon decides in outrage. But still he cannot forget the dragonfly. Whether gray or blue it makes no difference in his love, if only he can find her again. The artistic quality of these illustrations exemplify the philosophical theme of being and appearance in mixed media technique using collages and watercolors that fuse together fantasy and realism. Fine gradations of color show the change from the vibrant light of a summer day to the drizzling gray of the rain shower. (4+)
France (French) - 2000 - 121
Destours, Christine (text/illus.)
(The Mister Propers)
Rodez: Éd. du Rouergue, 1999.  p.
Household - Cleanliness
The kind of miracles of orderliness and cleanliness that must be performed day for day in a turbulent household in order for family life to stay pleasant is demonstrated in the creative photographic collages of five busy cleaning elves. They are portrayed as the cut-off fingers of a rubber glove and rollick about in a setting composed of all the various materials that relate to cleaning: cleaning rags, pot scrubbers, sponges, dust mops, etc. The collages stimulate the child reader's sense of touch and smell and offer many funny ideas to turn cleaning into a sociable adventure. (4+)
France (French) - 2000 - 122
Donner, Chris (text)
Houdart, Emmanuelle (illus.)
Le fils de la sorcière et du loup
(The son of the witch and the wolf)
[Paris]: Grasset-Jeunesse, 1999.  p.
(Collection »Lecteurs en herbe«)
Darkness - Fear - Play
Pablo tries to be brave and fall asleep alone in the dark. But behind the bedroom window curtain there is a monster waiting to eat him. At the climatic peak of his terror, the story resolves into games and jokes. It is only his older brother who plays the boogey-man every evening when Pablo wants to fall asleep. The illustrations are reminiscent in style of Struwwelpeter and rely upon the fact that playing with fears can help to minimize them. Nonetheless the child has to fight a battle against these anxieties every night anew. (6+)
France (French) - 2000 - 123
À la vie, à la mort
(To life, to death)
[Paris]: Gallimard, 1999. 120 p.
(Page blanche ; 38)
World War I - World War II - Destiny
The two world wars and how they struck out against human destiny are the subject of these seven novellas. Each novella revolves around a single, individual life, how it unfolds, how it lives and what perspectives it holds for the future, even as the war begins to take its effect. Mercilessly, it sets its machines in motion, destroying hopes and torturing everyone, young and old, civilians as well as soldiers, who, in the worst of cases, face off as father and son on the supposedly opposing sides. The sober portrayal of the catastrophe leaves much room for the unspoken, letting the disastrous suffering become all the more tangible. (13+)
France (French) - 2000 - 124
Les mots ont des visages: elle
(The words have faces: she)
Paris: Autrement Jeunesse, 1999.  p.
Lettering - Picture - Graphic art
This charming play of typeface, pictogram and association is created with a minimum of effort, but much refinement on the alternating red-whiteblack pages of this handy square picture book. Each word is made up of the letters that form it and arranged in such a way that it can also be read as a picture. One is amused to find, for example, a girl's head and braids be shaped from the word »elle« (she). In contrast, a cowering person that looks like the first letter of the word for »abandoned « engenders sadness. Here the typeface becomes an appeal. It offers a kind of sensitivity training for dealing with today's endless flood of written characters and thoughtless use of words. (7+)
France (French) - 2000 - 125
[Paris]: Castor Poche Flammarion, 1999. 119 p.
(Castor poche ; 691 : Senior : Roman)
World War II - Jews/Persecution - Emigration - Palestine
The narrator Sarah looks back upon her childhood during the Second World War in France. She escapes the deportation that her Jewish family suffered through the courageous intervention of a farm family in Normandy that takes in her and her playmate. To avoid denunciation the children must take new names and religion. The end of the war brings new grief. Sarah is torn between the longing to find her missing parents and the fear of losing the »nest« provided by her guest parents. Her life story bears the mark of authenticity. Its large portion of suffering, the reader is comforted to know, lessens toward the end. Sarah's mother has survived and they find each other again in Palestine, the promised land. (11+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 126
Hoestlandt, Jo (text)
Novi, Nathalie (text/illus.)
Et les petites filles dansent ...
(And little girls go on dancing ...)
Paris: Syros Jeunesse [et al.], 1999.  p.
Dance - Joy of living - Freedom
Little girls just can't help but dance! And beneath their feet the earth begins to pulsate with the rhythm of the seasons. Their dance embodies the right to carefreeness, happiness and joy of living - even when elsewhere bombs and other catastrophes bring tears and death to other people, as shown in an inserted darker passage. When adults try to put a halt to this dance, the earth becomes paralyzed. It needs the joyfulness of little girls to keep on turning. The text, rhymed in merry-goround rhythm, accompanies the pictures that convey with color the twirling merry-go-round of little girls. (5+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 127
Malineau, Jean-Hugues (text)
Morin, Patrick (illus.)
»Ouek, Ouek«, au secours! Histoire du caneton Kouac
(»Quack, quack,« Help me! The story of duckling Kouac)
Paris: École des Loisirs, 1999. 29 p.
Riverlife - Duck - Survival
Spacious, richly detailed double-spread pictures show life on the riverside. Focal point of the book are the experiences and dangers for a duckling which has lost its family. There is an equal portion of animal story and information book. In the end two variant endings are offered. After a happy ending in a picture book sunset, there is a short supplementary explanation that this duckling would have had no chance for survival in the natural world. The adult who reads the book aloud can decide whether to give the child who cannot yet read alone this shocking piece of truth and prepare it for a different view of nature beyond the safe and sound animal story. (5+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 128
Peltier, François (text/illus.)
L'arche de Noé
Dauphin: Le Sablier Éd., 1997. 14 p.
This clearly printed text sticks closely to the Biblical version. The illustrations that are interspersed are mysteriously fragmentary, as if taken from an archeological find. They show animal motifs, such as the eyes of an owl, or a detail drawing of a stork, with outspread wings that seems to be awaiting the end of the flood at the top of each page. A wide, fold-out poster in the back cover of the book fits the fragments together into an overall, mosaic-like view of the ark. The swarming crowd of animals on the ark can be studied for quite a while before all the details, down to the human figures, are discerned. Thus there is an incentive to take up visual projection into the symbolism of this myth again and again. (6+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 129
Quinta, Philippe (text)
Schnell, Cécile (illus.)
L'arbre de Joachim
Bats: Utovie Jeunesse, 1999. 31 p.
Tree - Growth - Catastrophe - Tall tale
As part of their biology lesson pupils plant seeds of the most familiar types of trees. But Joachim's seed is of unknown origin. It explodes into a monstrous tree that brings the city to a halt, and finally ruins it. Olivier makes a wittily sarcastic record of all the details of this catastrophe in his diary, illustrating it with flowing sketches from unusual perspectives. The vividly concrete text and illustrations become so convincing that the unmasking of the chronicler Olivier as a fibber in the end is quite a surprise. The final diary entry is at once the beginning of a new tall tale. This time our friend Joachim will have to deal with a whole army of adders. (8+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 130
Serres, Alain [et al.] (text)
Le grand livre contre le racisme
(The big book against racism)
[Paris]: Rue du Monde, 1999. 115 p.
It is not genes that make people of different skin colours different, but rather traditions, religious practices and the everyday customs of the respective cultures. This is shown by a collective of renown authors in this substantial documentation for young adults, with its 120 photos. The focus unites historical and sociological viewpoints on slavery, holocaust, xenophobia, migration and marginalization in the past, with the banality of everyday life in our cities, in which behaviour toward those who are different is often easily and unconsciously diffamatory. The colored sketches by Zaü that are interspersed in the text expose the absurdity of behavioral clichés in humorous visual anecdotes. (9+) ☆
Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 131
Ventrillon, Brigitte (text)
Bloch, Serge (illus.)
La peur bleue d'Arthur. 17 questions-réponses pour savoir si tu es un champion de la sécurité à la maison.
(Arthur's frightful fears. 17 questions and answers to determine if you are a champion of home security)
[Paris]: Hatier, 1999.  p.
Household appliances - Danger - Prevention
How to feed the pet, how to correctly open a tin can or use a hair dryer or a microwave oven - all these things can be learned in this turbulent picture story of Arthur and his kitty. The illustrations are filled with vibrant action and childlike motion. They elaborate in a playful but incisive manner the dangers that may ensue with improper usage of household appliances. A question-andanswer quiz accompanies each scene, mixing together fun and learning. (5+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 132
Vilcoq, Marianne (text/illus.)
J'attends un petit frère
(I am expecting a brother)
Paris: École des Loisirs, 1999.  p.
Pregnancy - Sibling rivalry
Maud is sulking because she is supposed to get a little brother. Watching her mother's tummy getting fatter and fatter, she experiences all the phases of jealousy mixed with curiousity about what is happening inside. By lifting the flaps on each page, the reader sees inside mother's tummy, where the little brother is growing and moving about. Maud can listen and even feel how the baby gives her a signal. Sensitive, gentle and enlightening all at once, this book solves the crisis of a toddler. (3+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 133
Wabbes, Marie (text/illus.)
Petit Doux n'a pas peur
(Sweet little one, have no fear)
Paris: De La Martinière Jeunesse, 1998.  p.
Violence - Fear - Sexual abuse
Enlightenment and supportive help on this delicate subject are offered here in a discreet but unambiguous manner. The role play taking place between the big wolf (an adult) and the little bear (a child) is quite clear. It begins with caressing and ends with pushy advances and bodily harm. The range of colors in the spacious double-page spreads in pastel chalk begins with light orangered tones and increasingly darkens into brownblack- and-grey, in accordance with the change in the child's feelings - from peaceful playing and pleasure to disquiet and panic. An escape from this situation is in the end only the urgent appeal to talk openly and without fear about the evil deeds of the grownup. (3+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 134
Witschger, Anne-Laure (text/illus.)
Deux yeux, un nez, une bouche ...
(Two eyes, one nose, a mouth...)
[Montrouge]: Éd. Frimousse, .  p.
Sense organs - Body - Perception
The pleasure children have in exploring their own bodies is reflected in the colored drawings of this square little book. A vivacious creature, halfmouse, half-human, demonstrates how the world can be perceived with all the senses and parts of the body from the eyes to the belly-button and how daily life can be fun, even when such unloved tasks as going to the potty or being washed are required. (2+)
Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 135
La strada del guerriero
(The route of the warrior)
Casale Monferrato (AL): Piemme Junior, 1999. 280 p.
(Il battello a vapore / serie rossa / oro ; 6)
Adventure - Africa - Zulu - Twins - Superstition
Twins are born to the king of the Zulu people. Because this is believed a dreadful danger for the whole people, the witch doctor decides to sacrifice the first baby to avert the terrible misfortunes that could hit the Zulus. But the wet-nurse saves the baby's life giving him to a solitary warrior who wanders alone through the immense Savannah as his family and tribe were destroyed. After many years, the abandoned child, now a young man, reclaims his rightful throne. The story combines elements of anthropological and social realism to give an insight into the African culture. The author skillfully employs literary devices to propel the narrative; in his sensitive and illustrative style, he captures the shifting emotions with the perfect choice of perspective and an eye for details in the natural surroundings. (Premio Il Battello a Vapore, Città di Verbania; 1998) (12+)
Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 136
Carpi, Pinin (text/illus.)
La notte dei lupi
(The night of the wolves)
Trieste: Einaudi Ragazzi, 1999. 58 p.
([Einaudi Ragazzi / Storie e rime] ; 108)
Wolf - Fear - Night - Escape
Two children escape from the house of an old witch and orchard where they were being held captive and wander, cold and frightened, through a forest-like city. They are thoroughly confused by its tangle of narrow streets in the darkness of the night. Two wolves come to their help and carry them towards happiness. This is a gripping tale enriched by a colloquial voice and daring expressions made up of hyperboles, repetitions and emphases. Wonders and surprises of this modern fable allude to the violence present in modern-day childhood, the desolating sadness of many contemporary cities and suburbs. The writing is plain and straightforward with a wise use of fantasy. The author-illustrator superbly succeeds in connecting the witty text and pictures. (7+)
Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 137
Facchini, Vittoria (text/illus.)
Piselli e farfalline ... son piú belli i maschi o le bambine?
(Pea pods and butterflies ... Who's cuter - boys or girls?)
Firenze: Fatatrac, 1999.  p.
Sex - Love - Gender differences
The illustrator deals openly and clearly with sexual education. The originality lies in her way of responding to children's natural curiosity on »sex«; they are not really interested in »eggs« and »sperm«, but they want to know everything about the human body with its peculiarities and differences and, above all, about the meaning of love and why people fall in love. The ironic and tender drawings in lively colors are well-matched to the subject. The dynamic and vigorous marks of the pencil with a pressing rhythm are far from vulgar and the text far from the didactic intentions of other books. (5+)
Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 138
Lidia e i turchi
(Lidia and the Turks)
Milano: Mondadori, 1999. 100 p.
Girl/Kidnapping - Middle East - Growing up
Lidia is fourteen years old and lives happily with her family in a Russian provincial town, preoccupied with typical adolescent concerns. Her life suddenly changes when she is kidnapped by an unscrupulous man who takes her to a Turkish harem where her destiny appears to be worse than death. Her tenacious will and readiness to face the unknown helps her meet challenge of escaping. While the plot is full of unexpected encounters, the setting - a Middle-Eastern landscape with its sounds, smells and colors - is well depicted in the novel's modern fairy tale-like narrative. The author's debut novel for young adults skillfully employs literary devices to propel the narrative and capture the reader's interest. (14+)
Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 139
Gandolfi, Silvana (text)
Orecchia, Giulia (illus.)
La memoria dell'acqua
(The water's memory)
Firenze: Salani, 1999. 260 p.
(Gl'istrici ; 143)
Adventure - Maya - Legend - Myth
Nando lives in a modern city like many other young citizens, but he has something special: six toes on each foot. An Indian relative discloses to him that this is a sign of the »elected«. He is the only one to get in touch with the Maya civilization that is thought to have disappeared many centuries ago - where it still survives hidden in the cloudy mountains and protected by a river. The boy meets the inhabitants of the last Maya tribe. The author is a master story-teller who entertains and enlightens his reader with all the literary techniques of good fantasy. While the historical background is fascinating, the emotional involvement created by the narrative makes this book as absorbing as its predecessors. (12+)
Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 140
Masini, Beatrice (text)
Ceccoli, Nicoletta (illus.)
L'uomo della luna
(The moon man)
Milano: Ed. Arka, 1999.  p.
(Collana di perle)
Sleep - Fear - Fantasy - Dream - Magic - Moon
At the window Sofia is watching the man in the moon when he suddenly throws her a long rope and asks her to climb up to him in the sky. They fly on a winged horse till the sunrise, letting a handful of moon-colored dust fall on the earth. In the end Sofia goes back home and in her bedroom she waits for the mysterious rider to return when it is full moon again. This is a short tale characterized by lyrical style, which is enhanced by the illustrator's enchanting pencil drawings. The pictures' dreamlike atmosphere is reminiscent of a dust cast on children to help them overcome their nightmares and fears about sleep. (4+)
Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 141
Pallottino, Paola (text)
Ceccoli, Nicoletta (illus.)
Maria Moll Cappero
Firenze: Fatatrac, 1999. 46 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni ; 21 : Ottagono junior)
Fantasy - Travel - Self-knowledge
The passionate love story between Maria Moll Cappero, a princess-witch-fairy, and Conrad, a golden-violet snake, is told in a concise and balanced narrative. They meet butterflies and ants, which represent the starting point of Maria's interior exploring; she has experiences which turn themselves into feelings and emotions. The author's suggestive and evocative style of writing is strengthened by its lyricism. The dreamlike illustrations use varying perspectives and strong luminous colors to involve young readers in the protagonist's thoughts and feelings. This lyrical journey around the world reflects the wide diversity of people. (7+)
Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 142
Pitzorno, Bianca (text)
Ferrari, Antongionata (illus.)
A cavallo della scopa
(Riding on a broom)
Milano: Mondadori, 1999. 79 p.
([I sassolini / Per la terza elementare] ; 2)
Princess - Kidnap - Witch
The evil witch, Etrusca Cruscon, is unable to sleep except in her special bed with five mattresses made of the special feathers from an exotic bird, a »spiumaccione«. These birds live only in the garden of the king, who refuses to part with any of its feathers. So the witch kidnaps the princess Isotta to exchange her for the feathers she needs. But Isotta has a mind of her own and doesn't let herself be used for Etrusca Cruscon's blackmail scheme. This amusing story, told in a lively style, is accompanied by illustrations that underline the comic side of the tale. (6+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 143
Piumini, Roberto (text)
Ferrari, Antongionata (illus.)
Le ombre cinesi
(The Chinese shadows)
Casale Monferrato: Piemme Junior, 1999. 56 p.
(Il battello a vapore / Serie bianca / oro ; 7)
China - Legend - Shadow
In ancient China the emperor Qua Li Yen decides that his subjects should pay taxes according to the shadows their bodies cast on the imperial ground. This imperial greed is said to be the origin of many different things which "characterize" the Chinese still today: their stiff walking gait, their hair, the almond-shaped eyes, teint of skin, the Chinese shadow play and so on. The story is developed through humorous, exaggerated situations with serious undertones that entertain and touch the reader. This book's excellent layout and well-researched details offer fascinating historical insight into Imperial China. The pictures are done with a dynamic pencil and bright watercolors to create a lively atmosphere. Humorous use of light and space help convey multiple perspective. The book is very attractive and will capture readers and viewers of all ages. (5+) ☆
(Premio Nazionale d'Illustrazione Il Battello a Vapore, Città di Verbania; 1998)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 144
Roncaglia, Silvia (text)
Cerretti, Cristiana (illus.)
Isabella non ride più
(Isabella doesn't laugh anymore)
Roma: Città Nuova, 1999. 47 p.
(I colori del mondo)
Social differences - Play
The princess Isabella is a wild child who spends most of her time playing together with the groom's son, Furio. The king and the queen do not like his influence on their daughter and forbid her to see him. When she stops smiling, they do not understand the reason of this change. Only the company of Furio makes her happy again. This is a light, lively and well-balanced fairy tale-like story about family relations. Attractive illustrations with an unsual style of design are well-matched with the text's abundance of gaiety and irony. (5+)
Portugal (Portuguese) - 2000 - 145
Um fio de fumo nos confins do mar
(A spiral of smoke at the end of the sea)
Lisboa: Caminho, 1999. 151 p.
Family - Past - Search for identity
Sixteen-year old Mina spends much of her time in a television studio observing the taping of a wellknown talk-show in which the participants hope to find persons who have disappeared from their lives. Mina is also seeking a way to solve the mystery of her own family secret - a supposedly nobleborn grandmother. Once again, Alice Vieira focuses in this new story on one of her favorite topics: the history and the problems of a family and the place that each individual has within it. Again, she delivers most convincing psychological character portraits. In short flights of parody a mirror is held up to modern day social phenomena. (13+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2000 - 146
Gemală, Eugenia Doina (text)
Ruffu Manea, Lucia (illus.)
Legenede din ţinuturi dobrogene
(Legends from Dobrudja)
Piteşti: Carminis, 1998. 55 p.
(Legende populare româneşti)
This volume contains folk tales and legends from different parts of Dobrudja, a region of Romania's coastal strip on the Black Sea south of the Danube River. In a well-chosen mixture of literary folk tale and retellings of old tales one finds explanations for place names and learns secrets from the past. The balance between appearance and reality, between past and present is underlined by refreshing, expressive water-color illustrations. (7+)
Spain (Spanish) - 2000 - 147
Gallego García, Laura
(The end of the world)
Madrid: Ed. SM, 1999. 207 p.
(El barco de vapor / Serie oro roja ; 17)
Prophecy - End of the world - Prevention - Monk - Millennium
Visions of Doomsday were widespread at the turn of the century one thousand years ago. Wars, plagues, conquests, rampages are a continual threat to mankind when the young monk Michel saves a mysterious pergament manuscript from his burned down monastery in the year 997. It contains gloomy prophecies which anticipate the end of the world if the so-called three axes of the time wheel could not be fitted together. Only this would enable mankind to live another thousand years. In his battle against time the monk travels throughout Europe with the juggler Mattius. In her debut novel Laura Gallego García tells a story filled with adventure and fantasy whose vividness and fascination stem from the interweaving of profound historical detail. (12+)
(Premio El Barco de Vapor; 1999)
Spain (Spanish) - 2000 - 148
Mallorquí, César (text)
Vila Declòs, Jordi (illus.)
La cruz de ElDorado
(The Cross of El Dorado)
Barcelona: Edebé, 1999. 207 p.
(Periscopio ; 70)
Eldorado - Search - Greed - Game of chance <Motif>
In 1900 a thirteen-year old boy loses his father, a gambler and swindler, in a shipwreck on their journey to Colombia. Jaime struggles on alone. When he comes into the possession of a map that shows the way to the legendary »Cross of El Dorado« he undertakes an adventurous journey through Colombia, accompanied by three people - a taciturn Arab, a cunning adventuress and his reappeared father. Told from the perspective of the sometimes naïve, sometimes crafty young protagonist, a well-paced and gripping story develops around a cast of characters who entertain the reader with witty dialogues. And the moral of the story? Life is a game in which one either wins or loses. (12+)
(Premio Edebé de Literatura Juvenil; 1999)
Spain (Spanish) - 2000 - 149
La tienda de palabras
(The word shop)
Madrid: Ed. Siruela, 1999. 255 p.
(Las tres edades ; 68)
Shop - Language - Word-play
The history teacher Carlos finds himself in a peculiar kind of shop that offers none of the usual kind of wares, but only words. At each of his visits he delves ever deeper into the fascinating world of language: its history, disappeared or not yet invented words, the endless possibilities of fantastic word-games are presented to him. All this occurs not in a dry and theoretical manner, but imbedded in a story that encourages the readers' creativity. This title is yet another example of the internationally successful trend that began with J. Gaarder's »Sophie's world« to present abstract topics such as philosophy or mathematics within a narrative tale. (13+)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2000 - 150
Pascual, Emilio (text)
Serrano, Javier (illus.)
Días de Reyes Magos
(Three Kings' Days)
Madrid: Anaya, 1999. (2nd ed., rev.) 158 p.
Father/Son - Reading - Storytelling
As a result of family conflicts and his aversion against preparing for literature exams, the 16-year old first-person narrator decides to take some time out. During his »therapeutic absence« from normal life, a Madrid underground station becomes his 'school of life', and there he meets a blind man who acquaints him with the secrets of life and literature. The blind man, who in the end is killed by a subway-train, turns out in retrospect to have been his father, an actor, who had been leading a double life parallel to his family life for a long time. This intellectually challenging story is a kind of Entwicklungsroman in which the narrator looks back twenty years later at this episode in his life that helped him grow into adulthood. On the other hand the book is also a hymn to literature and the love of reading. Imbedded in the narrative are numerous literary quotations and excerpts as well as allusions to world classics such as »Don Quixote«, »Lazarillo de Tormes« or Ernesto Sábato's »Sobre héroes y tumbas«. (15+)
(Premio Lazarillo; 1998)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2000 - 151
Rubio, Gabriela (text/illus.)
Las fotos de Sara
(Photos of Sara)
Barcelona: Ed. Destino, 1999.  p.
Appearance - Dissatisfaction - Identity search
Actually Sara is quite satisfied with herself and doesn't give a darn about her appearance. There are more important things in life. But when she has her picture taken in a camera booth, she is suddenly plagued with doubts. Aren't the others much prettier than she is? Wouldn't it be nice to look different? A fairy fulfills her wish and causes confuses Sara's feelings for the rest of the day. In the end she is quite happy to be herself again. This story about wishing to be someone else is illustrated by Gabriela Rubio with very expressive, wild pictures. In the strong energetic brush strokes, the reader recognizes the personality and the imaginative powers of this willful, fantasy-loving protagonist. (7+)
(Premio Apel·les Mestres; 1998)
Spain (Catalan) - 2000 - 152
Ballester, Arnal (illus.)
No tinc paraules
(I have no words)
Valencia: Media Vaca, 1998.  p.
(Media Vaca ; 1)
Ship - Imaginary journey - Circus
With the very first volume of an ambitious new series of children's and young adult books the Media Vaca publishing house presents one of the most renown Spanish illustrators with a book that is additionally remarkable for the courage it took to complete it - for it is a book that goes against the expectations of the reader. Even through the pictures the loosely knit storyline about a dreamlike fantasy journey on an ocean liner is only vaguely understandable. Most of the pictures (in red, black and white - with red as a primary background color) are surrealistic circus scenes done in Ballester's extremely graphic style. Each one stands alone - with no immediate neighbor - autonomous. Thus the viewer can read each one in its own right, engaging in free association, fantasizing one's own story. (13+)
Spain (Catalan) - 2000 - 153
Canela, Montserrat (text)
Ioshi i la pluja
(Ioshi and the rain)
Barcelona: LaGalera [et al.], 1999. 46 p.
(Also published by: Barcelona: Cercle des Lectors)
Village - Grayness - Melancholy - Rain - Color - Joy of life
A gray, overcast sky lays over the village of Ioshi like the lid of a coffin. Colors are disappearing. Just as everyone begins to dispair of change, the blacksmith Xemor climbs up into the heavens to visit the ruler of the wind and storms. Vain and tempestuous, she only reluctantly admits that she has quite simply forgotten about the village of Ioshi. She sends down rain, all turns well. All except for the intrepid Xemor, whom she plays a colorful trick on. Max illustrates this fairy-tale like story in his own clear comic strip style. The scenes of Xemor's visit in heaven which are depicted entirely in grey are most fascinating with their dramatic piles and tunnels of clouds. Notable are also the meticulous layout and typography. (7+)
(Premi Hospital Sant Joan de Déu; 1998)
Spain (Catalan) - 2000 - 154
Carol, Núria (text)
Ferrer, Isidro (illus.)
En Cosme i el monstre Menjamots
(Cosme and the monster Wordmuncher)
Barcelona: Publ. de l'Abadia de Montserrat, 1999.  p.
(Llibres del sol i de la lluna ; 82 : Llibres de la lluna)
Letter <script> - Theft - Monster - Reading - Jealousy
»Not again!« Cosme is enraged. Each night he discovers that letters and even whole words have disappeared from his books. Refusing to put up with it any longer, he catches one of the culprits with a sticky trick: a curious-looking worm that has been forced by the monster Wordmuncher to go hunting for him. Cosme demands that he be led to the insatiable beast and manages to liberate all the abducted letters. High-quality, graphic style color illustrations accompany this simple fantasy tale. Some are quite abstract and form a delightful challenge to the imagination - not only for child readers. (7+)
Spain (Catalan) - 2000 - 155
Sierra i Fabra, Jordi (text)
Tubau, Victòria (illus.)
Les històries perdudes
(The lost tales)
Barcelona: Ed. Cruïlla, 1999. 109 p.
(El vaixell de vapor / [Sèrie vermella] ; 85)
Desert - Hermit - Misanthropy - Responsibility - Fate - Coincidence
Ashmayd has chosen a reclusive life in the desert because he wants nothing more to do with mankind. He is confronted with a dilemma when on two occasions he comes upon a person in the desert who would be lost without him. Each time he asks himself whether it would be right to help them without knowing if they are good or bad people. The basic story, which contains several shorter tales, is above all a reflection on basic philosophical issues about human existence: What is good, what is bad? What is individual responsibility? What is coincidence? Can one determine the fate of others? These questions are discussed in a clear, calm manner. (12+)
(Premi El Vaixell de Vapor; 1998)
Spain (Galician) - 2000 - 156
González, M. Lourenzo (text)
Animais de compañía
Pontevedra: Kalandraka, 1998.  p.
Listening - Misunderstanding - Imagination - Animal - Transformation
Using the idea of the children's game of »Telephone, « this picture book plays with the inexhaustible possibilities of wordplay by twisting syllables and words. In a village there is a rumor going around about some supposedly freaky animals that Señora Maria has brought back from a hike in the mountains. Everyone who hears about them imagines something different and pictures in his mind the most amazing creatures, though in reality the beasts are simple, harmless commonor- garden animals. The idea of cutting up and putting syllables back together again is matched in the typography of the lively color pictures: the illustrator uses the collage technique to visually interpret this rhymed text. (4+)
Spain (Galician) - 2000 - 157
Sánchez, Gloria (text)
López Domínguez, Xan (text/illus.)
O Grande Tronante
(The Great Thunderer)
Vigo: Ed. Xerais, 1998.  p.
Cloud - Wind - Ruler <political> - Treasure of Gold - Search - Pirate
Legendary stories are told about the Great Thunderer, a feared buccaneer who lives on a cloud in the sky hoarding a treasure of gold. Captain Ro and Tomcat Bo try to trick him out of the treasure but land instead in the scoundrel's stomach. There they would be stuck forever after if the Great Thunderer did not suddenly feel terrible stomach pains and unbearable flatulence.... This humorous tale is illustrated with unusual and very lively pictures. The figures, with their grotesque features and gestures, are portrayed against nearly monochromic, empty backgrounds; spindly, extenuated arms and legs stick out of baggy, puffed-out clothes. (4+)
Switzerland (French) - 2000 - 158
Zullo, Germano (text)
Marta et la bicyclette
(Martha and the bicycle)
Genève: Joie de Lire, 1999.  p.
Cow - Hobby - Bike racing
Martha is a very special cow. Her orange-colored hide makes her something better than the rest of her sort. She cultivates her difference with exotic hobbies such as bike racing. It makes no difference to her that a cow is not necessarily built for bikes. With persistence and many bruises, and despite considerable competition, she manages to take the tour victoriously. The illustrations reflect Martha's athletic career with exuberant madness. The perspectives are overextended and the grotesque exaggerations is played out to the fullest. (4+)
(BIB-Golden Apple; 1999)
Argentina (Spanish) - 2000 - 159
Mariño, Ricardo (text)
Elizalde, Marcelo (illus.)
Historia de Flechazo y la nube
(The story of Shooting Arrows and the cloud)
Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 1998. 39 p.
Indians - Water shortage - Archery - Cloud - Hole - Flooding
The young Flechazo (»Shooting Arrows«) is the best archer among his people. When their territory falls prey to a long drought, he shoots an arrow at a giant cloud in the sky, that refuses to rain. As a result, a single stream of water begins to fall unceasingly on the head of the boy. He nearly goes crazy with anger and shoots innumerable arrows into the sky. The cloud empties itself, flooding the whole region. Flechazo's people save themselves with a raft and form a new settlement on the shore of the sea that has been formed. The short text, illustrated in color in comic style, is full of orginal ideas and draws upon the motifs of the creation and flood legends. (6+) ☼
Argentina (Spanish) - 2000 - 160
Roldán, Gustavo (adapt.)
Nine, Carlos (illus.)
Cuentos del zorro
Buenos Aires: Ed. Sudamericana, 1999. 62 p.
Folk tale/Argentina - Fox
The fox is one of the most popular animal protagonists in literature and quite at home in the folk tales and the fables of many countries. He is usually associated with certain character traits - tricky and cunning, able to talk his way out of a scrape, but also often a victim of his own arrogance. Gustavo Roldán has gathered ten fox tales together and united them into a single episodic text. Since these tales are told in the Americas, the counterparts of the fox are not, as for example in Europe, the usual hare or wolf, but rather armadillo and puma. The stories are well-rounded, full of verbal wit and have a clear punch line, sure to give reading pleasure to young and old. (9+) ☼
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2000 - 161
Aleixo, Ricardo (text)
Miranda, Regina (illus.)
Quem faz o quê?
(Who does what?)
Belo Horizonte: Formato, 1999.  p.
In this poem Ricardo Aleixo unites a verb with a noun in each verse: »To look, that is with cats« or »To blow, that is with the wind,« etc. These minimalist sentences and the free play of associations are congenially extended in Regina Miranda's illustrations. Joined together merely through the consist glowing red background, these sparse pictures each show only a part of the whole. Eyes stand for the cats and signal seeing. A leaf stands for the autumn wind and signals blowing. This book is fascinating in its radical simplicity. By this limitation to only a few concepts and visual details, it invites the reader-viewers to exercise their imagination and mental facilities. (3+) ☼
Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 2000 - 162
A odalisca e o elefante
(The harem slave and the elephant)
São Paulo: Cia. das Letras, 1998. 100 p.
Harem - Elephant - Love - Freedom
In the palace of a smug Sultan, Laila is being prepared for her future role as a Harem wife whose only purpose is to please the eyes and heart of her master. It is Leila's ears that cause the Sultan's almost religious ecstasy and let him forget that Leila has quite peculiar habits. She prefers to retreat into a quiet tower and become engrossed in books or gaze at the caravans traveling out into the endless desert. When Leila is 15 years old she becomes enamored with a white elephant. Her un- wavering affection makes it clear to the jealous Sultan that love and the wish for freedom cannot be tamed. This unusual but quite natural story of unconditional love is told in an extraordinarily lyrical and yet unpretentious and flowing voice. The joyful, nearly weightless prose is laced with a finely ironical tone. (12+)
Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 2000 - 163
Lago, Angela (text/illus.)
São Paulo: Melhoramentos, 1999.  p.
This is yet another proof that there is no limit to the artistic ways of playing with the alphabet. The square book - small-sized with a sturdy cardboard cover and robust spiral binding - approaches its subject both through the text and the illustrations. On each of the bluish anthracite double spreads there is a challenging word riddle for a certain letter on the left side; the whole alphabet appears on the right side, in which several - depending upon the question - are portrayed as objects and figures. By opening up a flap, one finds the solution, supplemented by saucy, witty illustrations that are related in an imaginative way to the question and the letters - encouraging the reader's own creative impulses. (5+) ☼
Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 2000 - 164
Lembi, Eustáquio (text)
Mello, Roger (illus.)
Eu me lembro
Belo Horizonte (MG): Ed. Dimensão, 1997. 30 p.
(Coleção eu me lembro) (Coleção navegar)
Child - Everyday life - Memory
A young girl relates to the reader short anecdotes and episodes from her life. Like mosaic stones they fit together to form a whole to reveal the specialness of unspectacular, ordinary things. Written in a lyrical prose, this tall, narrow book is accompanied by full-paged color illustrations. The illustrator plays with color and soft, stylized shapes in an imaginative, surrealistic manner, overstepping the basic rules of accurate perspective. (10+)
Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 2000 - 165
Quintella, Ary (text)
Negro, Maurício (illus.)
São Paulo: Global Ed., 1998. 22 p.
(Coleção magias infantil)
Puberty/Male - First love - Cat
Fourteen-year old Beto gets a new housemate, a red tomcat named Alemão. He watches this very individualistic cat that gradually begins to adjust to its new surroundings and takes its first steps »outside«. The boy recognizes certain similarities between himself and the animal. Both of them are in a confusing phase of growing up and having their first experiences with the opposite sex. This short narrative is told in the first person from Beto's perspective, divided into 33, at times very short chapters of only a few lines, depicting single episodic situations that are linked together. This book for older readers is designed in the unusual format of an oversized picture book. (13+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2000 - 166
La venganza de la vaca
(The cow's revenge)
Bogotá: Grupo Ed. Norma, 1998. 114 p.
Cow - Unexplained phenomenon
A group of teenagers are involved in a series of mysterious misfortunes, each related to cows, which seem to be connected with a conspiracy or other inexplicable circumstances. Held together by an overall storyline, nine stories are told that draw upon an arsenal of horror and spooky stories and take on a bizarre note through the subject »cow.« The suspense stems from the fact that evil is not tangible, but rather in the heads of the protagonists, and always unavoidable. All in all, the individual stories are more successful than the outside story, that loses its effect somewhat by having a rational conclusion. (12+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2000 - 167
Coll, Ivar da (text/illus.)
¡No, no fui yo!
(No! It wasn't me!)
Santafé de Bogotá: Panamericana Ed., 1998. 38 p.
(Que pase el tren)
Excursion - Embarrassment - Friendship
In rhymed verses Ivar da Coll tells the story of three friends who take an excursion one sunny day to have a picnic in an idyllic meadow. Refreshed and with full stomachs, each of the three lets slip some fairly unpleasant noises on the journey home. This is, of course, most embarrassing and leads to resolute denials. The guilt is always passed off to some mysterious fabled beast - a rather unsettling idea that causes them to hurry home as fast as possible to crawl into their safe beds. Ivar da Coll illustrates his humorous story of the three animal friends with appealing colored drawings that give amusing renderings of each stage of this »uproarious« excursion. (3+)
Mexico (Spanish) - 2000 - 168
Rendón Ortiz, Gilberto (text)
Bohórquez, Rossana (illus.)
Los cuatro amigos de siempre
(Four friends for eternity)
México, D.F.: Ed. SM, 1999. 120 p.
([El barco de vapor / M / Serie naranja] ; 3)
ISBN 968-7791-82-9; 968-7791-76-4; 970-18-2367-2
Physical handicap - Physical activity - Friendship - Illness - Daydream - Grandmother/Grandson - Death
Manuel lives with his grandmother in a house in the country with a giant yard. It would be a paradise for a boy not tied to a wheelchair and sickly. In order to fulfill his longing for freedom and friendship, Manuel creates his own dream-world, that is drawn largely from his wide reading experience. There he finds the friends and experiences the adventures that are denied him in the real world. With Manuel himself as narrator, reality and fiction become interwoven. In his mind, the borders are shifting and both merge together to form a new reality. In spite of the sad conclusion, this emotional tale is carried by an optimistic tone. (10+)
(Premio El Barco de Vapor - México; 1998)
Mexico (Spanish) - 2000 - 169
Sastrías, Martha (text)
Nava Bouchaín, Francisco (illus.)
El sapo que no quería comer
(The toad who didn't want to eat)
México, D.F.: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1998.  p.
(Los especiales de A la orilla del viento)
Toad - Eating habits
The toad king has been invited to the spring festival of the turtle queen. All would be well if only the guest did not spurn every delicacy that is offered to him. The difficult riddle of what he would like to eat draws contributions from various specialists. Lamb, fish, toadstools? Perhaps fruit? No, none of these! His private physician must be summoned to explain what his master likes best of all: insects, insects, insects - morning, noon and night! Sketchy, fleeting, comic stripstyle drawings accompany this simple, clearly structured fairy tale-like story. They reflect the erratic mood of the toad king in particular in his facial play and gestures. (3+)
Venezuela (Spanish) - 2000 - 170
Faría, Rosana (illus.)
El adivino. Cuento popular
(The seer. A folk tale)
Maracay, estado Aragua: Playco Ed., 1998.  p.
Farmer - Social advancement - Trickery - Naïveté - Seer
In this traditional Latin American story a farmer declares that he is a seer and claims he can trace down things that have been lost. His bragging brings him into difficulties, but in a perfect pícaroon-like mixture of insolence, trickery, naïveté and luck that is common to the Hispanic storytelling tradition he even wins favor with the viceroy. Rosana Faría illustrates the humorous story with small black-and-white drawings and full-page color pictures done in soft, warm pastels. The exaggerated gestures and expressions capture well the different prototypical characters of this burlesque tale. (8+)
Venezuela (Spanish) - 2000 - 171
Urdaneta, Romer (reteller)
Rondón, Javier (illus.)
González Uliana, Jorge (transl.)
Kaarai el alcaraván. Literatura wayuu
(Kaarai the alcaraván bird. A Wayuu tale)
Caracas: Ed. Tinta, Papel y Vida, 1998. 35 p.
(Colección delfín : Serie indígenas)
(Text Spanish and Wayuu)
Wayuu/Myth - Sun - Light - Bird - Punishment
Throughout the world there are myths and tales that explain natural phenomenon in surprisingly simple and imaginative ways. Why, for example, does the Kaari - a bird found in Venezuela - have such long legs but is not able to fly? Because, according to the Wayuu tribe, it tried to steal the light of the sun god Ka'i. He pursued the bird, pulled on its legs and condemned it to spend its whole life earthbound. The publishing house Tinta, Papel y Vida has taken a special interest in making the language and cultures of the Venezuelan aborigines more familiar. Along with the illustrated Spanish version of the story, the original text is included in an appendix, as well as basic information about the Wayuu tribe. (6+)
Canada (French) - 2000 - 172
DO pour Dolorès
(DO for Dolores)
Montréal (Québec): Courte Échelle, 1999. 144 p.
(Roman+ ; 57)
Differences - Friendship - Puberty - Parents
The friendship between these two 14-year old girls is based on the phenomenon that opposites attract. Do is an adventuress, while Vero prefers to stay fairly inconspicuous. Their common bond is the love of novels. Curious about their differences, they get to know each other better, and Vero's personality, in particular, is enrichened as she finds new ways, like those of her friend, to develop herself. Both teenagers are faced with the challenge of finding a more mature, more autonomous relationship to their difficult fathers. The author, a well-known playwright, gives a suspenseful enactment of how Do unexpectedly disappears from Vero's life after her friendship has fulfilled its meaning. (12+)
Canada (French) - 2000 - 173
Gagnier, Hélène (text)
Gaudette, Christiane (illus.)
L'autre vie de Noël Bouchard
(The other life of Noël Bouchard)
Saint-Laurent (Québec): Tisseyre, 1998. 115 p.
(Collection papillon ; 62)
Adolescence - Handicap - Isolation - Daydream - Happiness
Mentally handicapped Noël leads a lonely and cowering life, ridiculed by all around him as the handy man on the neighbor's farm. He can only laugh and be happy by escaping into his daydreams, where he imagines himself as a carefree young child, playing with little elves. The narrative perspective renders Noël's inner life and lets the reader realistically experience the suffering that the uncaring behavior of other people can cause for someone handicapped. (9+)
Canada (French) - 2000 - 174
Lasser, Olivier (text)
Jorisch, Stéphane (illus.)
Charlotte et l'île du Destin. Une histoire
(Charlotte and the island of fate. A story)
Laval (Québec): Les 400 Coups, 1998.  p.
(Les grands albums)
Journey/Life - Dream/Reality - Time/Leisure
The idea for this story about a girl's adventurefilled journey - which starts in the realm of dreamy fantasy and moves into real space and time - came from the illustrator himself, and this explains the remarkable correspondence between text and pictures. The watercolor illustrations depict the secret of human life as a series of way-stations. Never losing her openness and simplicity, Charlotte absolves one island after the other where she experiences either confusion or confirmation. The large city, as a turning point in the journey, exerts both fascination and repulsion. This ambivalency is achieved through an imagery that gives our mechanized island-like planet the flair of a frenzied, raging magician's garden. (5+)
(Prix Littéraire du Gouverneur Général pour l'Illustration; 1999)
Canada (French) - 2000 - 175
Sarfati, Sonia (text)
Pellan, Alfred (illus.)
Le cueilleur d'histoires. Un conte
(The collector of stories. A story)
[Québec, Québec]: Musée du Québec, 1998. 44 p.
Art - Literature - Storytelling
The Quebecois painter Alfred Pellan (1906-1988) took his inspiration from Surrealism and Cubism. A unique element in his work is the »bestiary.« It consists of hundreds of fantasy animals, whose richness of form reflect the naive playfulness of the artist. They are drawn, made of collage, sculpted from painted stones and scrap materials, amorphous or four-footed, endowed with antennas, trunks or quills. Twenty of them were chosen by Sonia Sarfati to accompany an exhibition and made into a darkly mysterious story set in a time in the distant past. These creatures travel about and gather stories which would protect against fears and dangers. The graphic design of this book enhances the charm of this encounter between visual art and literature by fusing illustration and text into an artistic whole. (8+)
Canada (French) - 2000 - 176
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Germain, Philippe (illus.)
Alex, le petit joueur de hockey
(Alex, the little hockey player)
Saint-Lambert (Québec): Dominique et Compagnie, 1999. 32 p.
(À pas de loup : Niveau 3, je dévore les livres)
Hobby - Hockey - Wish
Alex thinks of nothing else but hockey. Even the smallest act of the day is steeped in it. While eating his muesli at breakfast he sets up a competition between the oat flakes. At the lunch table his forks dribble the carrots, and while doing his homework the pencils hit the eraser into the pencil kit for the 100th goal of the day. But unfortunately Alex doesn't have the right gear. His family ignores his requests, and so the champ has to help himself. An old pullover is worked over into a hockey tricot to give fuel to the illusion of being number one on the star team. Dynamic illustrations, large size print and a simple direct voice are the hallmark of this new series of books that match the imaginary world of beginning readers. (7+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 177
Aakeson, Kim Fupz (text)
Thau-Jensen, Cato (illus.)
Pigen der krøb
(The girl who shrunk)
[København]: Carlsen, 1998.  p.
Single child - Self-confidence
This story about a girl who must always be wellbehaved and never daring, who shrinks and hides in a mouse hole until she finally finds the courage to assert herself against the overpowering cat (who stands for the parents and other domineering individuals), is brief and not overly exciting. All the more exciting are the appealing pictures with strong, well-composed colors. The abnormally distorted figures that nonetheless fit the respective situations and emotional states, are reminiscent, to some degree, of the artist group »Kobra«, which is also to be found in Denmark. This makes for a very unusual picture book. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 178
Clausen, Jacob (text)
Brøgger, Lilian (illus.)
København: Forum, 1999. 159 p.
Nature encounter - Friendship
In the forest Alf encounters a mysterious girl named Edda, who lives in a tree house. He is fascinated by her nature-loving personality. He visits her frequently and finally stays with her all the time. Together they invent an adventure story in which they play that they are the only heros. In the end, after an helicopter search sets out to find him, he returns to his home. A longing to escape civilization and return to the elemental forces of nature, that can also lead to a loss of one's self and a sense of reality, forms the essence of this peculiar tale. (12+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 179
Hartmann, Nils (text)
Brøgger, Lilian (illus.)
Verden løber løbsk. Fra bilens barndom til rumalderen. Omkring 1875-2000
(The world goes crazy. From the birth of the car to the space age: World history 1875-2000)
København: Gyldendal, 1999. 66 p.
(Børnenes Verdenshistorie ; 4)
The fourth volume of this world history series for children gives a brief, apt portrait of the crazy, bloody century that is coming to an end. Children will find in this volume (and in the previous three volumes, each illustrated by different artists) a readable summary about the world in which they are living - in the appropriate and desired brevity. The careful choice of facts ensures that the reader never gets lost. By doing without the documentary and factual photos that are common in nonfiction books today, as well as any kind of - often rather ridiculous - narrative main characters used to guide children through the course of events, this volume acquires a unity, conciseness, and agreeable sobriety and employs a cautious dose of humour only where it is possible. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 180
Inuk, Lotte (text)
Gantriis, Ida (illus.)
[København]: Haase, 1999. 95 p.
Inspite of its external, rather jumbled and noncommittal appearance that promises merely light and more or less trivial reading matter, this book contains a story of unsuspected depth. The firstperson narrator, who is never named, tells of her friendship with her rather mysterious and thus quite fascinating new classmate, Katarina. The reader is caught up in the suspenseful story of how the initially hard-won friendship that then becomes filled with imaginative games, gradually turns into a devoted, childlike love relationship. Katarina takes on the role of the domineering leader who shows sympathy for her friend's strong emotions, and is not against being worshipped. That the beloved one disappears in the end is nearly inevitable in a story that is told entirely from the subjective point of view of the enamored girl. The superficial style of the illustrations is unfortunately mismatched to the story's tenor. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 181
Jordens skød. Raklos rejse; I
(Earth's womb. Raklo's journey, vol.1)
Århus: Modtryk, 1999. 219 p.
Yugoslavia - Circus - World War II
While Belgrade is being bombed from the air by the German Luftwaffe, the Circus Gloriosa flees to the countryside, taking along with them the 14- year old boy Raklo. During their odyssey the circus people experience the chaos and horrors of war, ending up finally in the ruins of post-war Germany. The circus, whose artists form an international menagerie of Serbs, Croats, Montenegrins, Greeks, gypsies and other nationalities, is an aptly chosen symbol for the multi-ethnic, everbickering status of south-east Europe - both then and now - but also a forum that gives hope for a peaceable co-existence. (14+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 182
Næsten. En lille bog om Ja & Nej
(Almost: a small book about yes and no)
København: Høst, 1999. 75 p.
The author, who works professionally with conscientious objectors to military service, has assembled a series of episodes and written brief texts that show how courageous individuals have had to say »yes« or »no« at the right moment and thereby made a difference to the course of event. The persons presented include Hans Christian Andersen, Mahatma Ghandi, Janusz Korczak, Desmond Tutu, Willy Brandt and many others. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 183
Lauridsen, Irma (text)
Hartmann, Susanna (illus.)
Leo finder en hund
(Leo finds a dog)
København: Alinea, 1999. 23 p.
Wish - Dog
Young Leo feels sorry for the dog tied up outside a local shop. He unties the leash, plays with the puppy and takes him home. His mother must explain to him why he behave unjustly, even though she understands his longing for a dog of his own. He then takes the dog back to its owner. All the titles in this series offer intentionally simple stories in order to help beginning readers and give them courage. The abundance of color illustrations are all equally simple and have the sole purpose of keeping the reader's interest, but are nonetheless not without artistry. (6+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 184
Madsen, Peter (text/illus.)
Historien ob Job
(The story of Job)
[København]: Danske Bibelselskab, 1999. 102 p.
Misfortune - Self-doubt - Religious doubts - Religious faith
The ability of this Danish comic artist to make Bible stories exciting and even convincing to those readers otherwise aloof to religion has already been proved in another volume about the life of Jesus and seems even stronger here. The story of Job is also a worthwhile theme, because Job's doubts about the world, about himself and about his God also give eloquent expression to the fears people have today. In gloomy, consistently large-sized pictures that take in the landscape and atmosphere, the modern-day reader can find his own self-doubts mirrored and understood, and in the end be strengthened and comforted. (14+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 185
Mørch-Hansen, Anne (ed.)
Men far... Historier om børn og fædre
(But Father... Stories about children and their fathers)
København: Høst, 1999. 112 p.
This anthology contains eleven stories by wellknown children's book authors, including Bent Haller, Bent Rasmussen and Kim Fupz Aakeson. The stories depict fathers and their children in all states of life - as widowers, tyrants, creatures to be admired or pitied, and cast light upon a species that is usually found rather on the shadowy sidelines of children's literature. (12+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 186
Petersen, Palle (text/photos)
Nuka bliver fanger
(Nuka becomes a hunter)
København, Valby: Borgen, 1999.  p.
Greenland/Everyday life - Hunting - Fishing
The everyday life of a twelve-year old boy is heavily influenced by the hunt and his traineeship to become a hunter. The reader learns to what extent this country, where winter lasts more than half the year, is dependent upon hunting and fishing. (10+) ☼
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 187
Reuter, Charlotte (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1999. 64 p.
Cat - Adventure
This first title in a new series is further evidence of the knack that Scandinavian children's books authors have for creating books for beginning readers between the ages of five and seven. These are easy to read and to understand, but manage to avoid ridiculous cuteness and thin jokes. Charlotte Reuter describes the first days in the life of cat baby Aja Dobbo without finesse, but with so much wit that any adult reading it aloud will also be entertained. Nearly surpassing the text are the colorful illustrations by the renown Dorte Karrebæk. While the cats' personalities are drawn in an acute persiflage, the mirror she holds up to her female contemporaries is even more revealing. In this case the cat owner, a self-confident woman, well over fifty, wears much too skimpy fashions, and unsparingly reveals the discrepancy between wanting to be young but being young no more. (5+) ☆ ☼
Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 188
Helakisa, Kaarina (adapt.)
Hieta, Heli (illus.)
(The princess's wings)
Helsinki: Otava, 1999. 32 p.
Self-identity - Independence
This surrealistic picture book, the debut work of a young illustrator, is an adaptation of an old fairy tale by the famous Finnish author Kaarina Helakisa (orig. publ. 1982) and this new edition offers a many-layered tale for princesses of all ages. When the princess gets wings, and thus the gift of flight, she throws away her shoes. In the universal language of fairytales this represents slipping out of the bonds of childhood and growing into an independent young woman. Hieta's painterly illustrations range from deep purple to sky blue to represent different views of flying and freedom. They go beyond the text to form their own mysterious world, reminiscent of medieval and renaissance art mixed with the surrealism of modern times. (7+)
(Finlandia Junior Award; 1999, Shortlist)
Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 189
Helsinki: Tammi, 1999. 149 p.
First love - Self-identity
This well-known Finnish author's latest novel describes an honest and moving love story and the trials and errors of growing-up. The very talented college-aged Mari is two years older than Jusa, a sensitive and shy teenager when they meet one spring. But little by little their friendship develops alongside their common interest in political affairs. In the fall Mari goes off to a school in Northern Finland, while Jusa becomes more active in student life. Each continues to mature and develop their own interests, and when they are reunited, they are able to face each other as human beings, ready for a deeper relationship. The novel is remarkable for its coherent plot and convincing character development. (14+)
(Finlandia Junior Award; 1999, 3rd prize)
Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 190
Suvi Kinos ja elämän eväät
(Suvi Kinos and the directives of life)
Porvoo: Söderström, 1999. 191 p.
Orphan - Uncle
The well-known children's and young adult writer Jukka Parkkinen continues the story of young Suvi Kinos who lives with her seven uncles. In two previous titles (Suvi Kinoksen seitsemän enoa, 1995; and Suvi Kinos ja puuttuva rengas, 1998) her childhood years and the efforts of the seven scientist uncles to bring her up are depicted with much hilarity and virtuosity. In this sequel Suvi goes off to school in Lapland and falls in love. At first she seeks personal fulfillment as an actress, but then begins studies in literature at the university. The novel is filled with intertextual references to the Finnish classic »Seven brothers« by Aleksis Kivi as well as fairy tales such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. (13+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 191
Sandman Lilius, Irmelin (text/illus.)
Sagor från Främlingsgatan
(Tales from Foreigners's Street)
Jyväskylä: Schildts Förlags Ab, 1999. 163 p.
(Swedish co-ed.: Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1999)
Helsinki/History 1942-1950 - Childhood memories
Some children like to read or listen to »true« childhood stories, and others don't, but adults are almost always fascinated by this topic. One becomes especially curious at the possibility of getting an authentic story, when the narrator happens to be the famous, now nearly classic Swedish- Finnish author of fantasy novels for children. These 18 short stories contain episodes from the war and post-war years in Helsingfors. Focal point is the family around which the stories unfold; the active heros are the author and her sister Heddi. And, as is to be expected from Irmelin Sandman Lilius, the stories shift without warning from the only just bearable reality of war into fantasy, only to return to everyday life again. If one were to compare Sandmann Lilius to the other two great Scandinavian writers of the post-war generation, with Astrid Lindgren, who often describes the real world as fantastic, and with Tove Jansson, who describes an entire fantasy world as real, then this author would seem to move very subtly between these two fixed stars. (10+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 192
Suhonen, Ville (text)
Louhi, Seppo (photos)
Poika ja ilves - Seikkailu erämaassa
(Tommy and the wildcat)
Helsinki: Otava, 1999. 49 p.
Lappland - Lynx - Friendship - Adventure
This debut work is the novelization of a successful family film released in 1998. An adventure story set in Lapland, it describes the friendship between Leevi, a lynx born and raised in the world's northernmost wildlife park in Northern Finland, and a 12-year old boy. Tommy promises to help his father, an animal biologist, to release the wildcat back into the wilderness, and develops strong feelings of affinity with the Leevi. The wilderness and landscape make a striking, exotic background in both book and film. An illustrated version of the story with numerous stills from the film is also available for younger readers. (5+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 193
Helsinki: Tammi, 1999. 263 p.
First love - Drug abuse - Bicycling - Abortion
This dramatic young adult novel about two fifteen- year olds is narrated by Mikael, a boy from a middle-class family who dreams of a career as a rock musician. His girlfriend Roosa is an orphan from a working class background. One fateful evening Mikael has a fight with his friends and takes a drug trip. A bicycle accident leads to his death, leaving Roosa behind with an unborn child that she doesn't want to keep. In the novel, Mikael follows the events after his death. When his parents and brother try to talk Roosa out of having an abortion because the child will be a memory of Mikael, the narrator wonders whose life is at stake and whom the baby really belongs to. (14+)
(Topelius Award; 1999)
Greenland (Danish/Inuit) - 2000 - 194
Heilmann, Pia Rosing (text)
Kreutzmann, Nina Spore (illus.)
Nuka asimi = Nukas sommer
[Nuuk]: Atuakkiorfik, 1998. 36 p.
(Text Inuit and Danish)
Greenland - Summer holiday
The summer holiday of an extended family living in Greenland is a vivid description for younger children. In easy words and pictures one learns that holiday time on the northern outskirts of Europe, with its fishery and seal-hunting, with smoke-drying, storytelling and nature experiences in thick pullovers, is considerably different than a holiday in over-filled camping areas in central Europe. (6+) ☼
Norway (Norwegian) - 2000 - 195
Sortland, Bjørn (text)
Elling, Lars (illus.)
24 i sekundet
(Twenty-four per second)
Oslo: Norske Samlaget, 1999.  p.
The highly individual picture books from this publishing house deserves special attention. The first joint production between Sortland and Elling (»Raudt, blått og litt gult«/»Red, blue and bit of yellow«) is in the meantime internationally known. In this third joint picture book, the reader is introduced to the mysterious world of film and it becomes even more mysterious when two children appear in the middle of famous films thanks to an enchanting gift from their uncle. In the painterly, magical pictures of Lars Elling, whose earlier works gave fascinating insight into painters and writers, there are actors and film scenes hidden which most children will not be able to decipher. But these are explained in the appendix, and will hopefully be recalled when young readers later view the original films. (10+)
Norway (Norwegian) - 2000 - 196
Røstbø Kausland, Ingvild (text)
Kristensen, Jens (illus.)
Oslo: Norske Samlaget, 1999. 28 p.
Loneliness - Rocking-horse - Transformation
During the day the main character of this book is left up to his own devices while his parents go to work. His only companion is his blue rockinghorse, with which he carries on conversations in his imagination. One day he sets his horse free by sawing off its hoofs and taking it out to the woods. With their heavily distorted perspective, the dark-toned painterly pictures give expression, in connection with the text, to the boy's loneliness and perhaps that of the reader who is experiencing or has had similar feelings, without being disheartening. The parents are generally absent from the pictures, though the father's vague profile is evident once, and at the end both parents are dis- tant shadows, while in the moonlight the child looks out toward the reader, happy that his loneliness is now over. The publisher has set about to preserve the Nynorsk language and with the support of the Norwegian Cultural Funding is able to produce books of high quality. (6+)
Norway (Norwegian) - 2000 - 197
Sande, Hans (text)
Düzakin, Akin (illus.)
(The gospel of the elephant)
[Oslo]: Gyldendal Tiden, 1999. 30 p.
Jesus Christ - Elephant - Miracle
»One evening Jesus bicycled down to the Sea of Galilee.« When a story begins in this way, one need not fear finding yet another Bible story cooked up for the 100th time for children's tastes. In this wholly made-up legend, Jesus is a young man who performs a miracle from time to time, loves elephants and the women of Canaan, but is generally rather dreamy and never reacts the way others expect him to. The Norwegian illustrator of Turkish descent, who has been known for rather glaring, high-contrast pictures up to now, selects softer colors and shapes in this picture book, without forsaking clarity and definition of expression. The child reader will find a new way to see the old, familiar figure of Jesus - but in no way a distorted one. (10+) ☆
Norway (Norwegian) - 2000 - 198
Viermyr, Marianne (text)
Kaardahl, Anders (illus.)
[Oslo]: Damm, 1999. 49 p.
Sister - Death - Grief - Puberty
This children's book deals with the various feelings of the heart: sadness, love between siblings, romantic love, fear. Evje must experience the death of her younger sister and cope with her own grief after the funeral. It helps her somewhat to feel the beginnings of erotic attraction to a boy. But fear crops up at the initial signs of the onset of puberty - pains in the nipples - and are only allayed after a visit to a doctor. These fundamental experiences of a young person are depicted in a simple narrative style, as the series »Leseløve« is designed for easy reading. But the diary-style entries are all the more poignant for it. (7+)
Norway (Norwegian) - 2000 - 199
Vik, Walter (text)
Granhaug, Silje (illus.)
[Oslo]: Cappelen, 1999. 44 p.
Police - Fear
This is a bizarre story about a small, timid police officer who transfers into the secret police force because of his non-visibility and chases down non-existent spies and crooks. Its particular charm is derived from the equally bizarre illustrations. Clearly drawing on certain styles of modern painting, Silje Granhaug achieves a stimulating, expressive visual structure by inserting fragments of garishly overpainted photos, that seem to be cutout of magazines. (8+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 200
Härstedt, Kent (text)
Lempinen, Erja (photos)
Mitt första år i riksdagen
(My first year in parliament)
Stockholm: LL-Förl., 1999. 89 p.
Swedish government - Member of Parliament
This publishing house produces picture books, information books and abridged literary texts for reluctant readers and adults that are striking for their meticulous design. The motto is that the disadvantaged deserve not the cheapest but the best! Here the reader learns about the duties and private state of mind of one member of the Swedish parliament from his own point of view. The social democrat Kent Härstedt finds just the right words to explain things to someone who is otherwise not interested in politics - and there are surely many such individuals. The over-proportionate number of photographs makes his working day most vivid and easily understood. (14+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 201
Palm, Anna-Karin (text)
Bengtsson, Anna (illus.)
(The winter of wild animals)
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1999.  p.
Stockholm - Winter
The winter that can transform the city with a blanket of snow is a strong stimulant to children's imaginations. This picture book addresses the excitement of the unusual and tells about the snow clouds that roll off the trees and roam through the city as snow-leopards on quiet, padded paws. The illustrator succeeds brilliantly in portraying the wintry gloominess (which is especially strong in Europe's northern regions), the coldness, and the dampened colors and tones in her expressive pictures, done predominantly in pale shades of blue, that are alternately contrasted with dampened violet or pink and then again warmer colors of domestic security. (5+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 202
Man kan inte säga allt
(One cannot tell everything)
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1999. 234 p.
Sister - Death - Sex murder - Youth - Violence
In a manner apparently typical for Pohl's style of writing, this novel begins with a catastrophe and has a shattering ending - the younger sister of the first-person narrator is found dead on the playground, victim of a sex murderer. While seeking to understand »why«, he attempts to reconstruct the events leading up to the crime and find the murder, independent of the police. Pohl doesn't take the easy course of portraying a perverted adult as the guilty one; instead it is two school pupils, and of foreign nationality at that. They meet their downfall in an appalling way, as there are adults behind them who pull the strings. Pohl uses dialogues and inner monologues in a fascinating and suspenseful manner to drive his plot. Even the inner state of the brother, who must realize that he cannot fully grasp what has happened, is described without obscuring anything with abstract insinuations. (15+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 203
Stalfelt, Pernilla (text/illus.)
(The book of death)
[Stockholm]: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1999.  p.
Death - Burial - Customs/Sweden
There have already been several picture books dealing with touchy subjects published by this author. This topic is perhaps the most touchy one yet. Is it right to caricature such a serious topic? Indeed, disrespectful cartoons of invalids, of the living and of the dead are accompanied by occasionally cheeky captions (for example, dealing with a possible life after death: »Imagine what it would be like to become a hotdog!!!«). But the whole undertaking aims at making it clear to children in an unsentimenal way that death is something natural and a part of life. At no time does the book poke fun at the worries and cares of the sick and the mourning. (6+) ☆
Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 204
Tidholm, Anna-Clara (text/illus.)
(Read a book)
[Stockholm]: Alfabeta, 1999.  p.
Books from Scandinavian countries, and most especially from Sweden are proof that one can make books for very small children that nonetheless avoid triviality and saccharinity in the pictures! The books for this age group by Tidholm, who is more known for her austere style, have clearly arranged pictures with bold but not garish or gaudy colors and distinct but not depreciative shapes. The brief story being told is simple, but - not simplistic - and will even be enjoyed by the adult who is reading aloud. (2+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 205
Wahl, Mats (text)
Ambrosiani, Björn (text)
Nordqvist, Sven (illus.)
Folket i Birka. På Vikingarnas tid
(The people of Birka. The age of the Vikings)
[Stockholm]: BonnierCarlsen, 1999. 96 p.
Birka - Haithabu - Vikings - Everyday life
The author-illustrator team of Wahl and Nordqvist seems to be continuing productively in the area of historical information books. Following upon their books about the sailing ship »Vasa« and trading history with China, this book delves into the life of the Vikings, an topic closer to home. Once again Wahl develops a story around the everyday life of a typical family, while Nordqvist makes use of his particular talent of blending historical exactness, realistic portrayal and caricature into a lively whole. The reader thus acquires insight into life in a past era that is by no way and means dry. (10+) ☆
Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 206
Wahldén, Christina Nord
Stockholm: Tiden, 1999. (2nd ed.) 126 p.
Compelled by her experiences as a police reporter, the author attempts in her first book to put into words the ghastly inevitabilty of events surrounding the ever more frequent rapes within school environs and the depressing results for the girls as victims, and thereby draw it out of a cloud of suppression. The report of one such rape by two guys after a school party and what follows in court and at school seems all the more oppressive due to its objectve tone in connection with the minute record of events. But precisely in this way it avoids any hint of sensationalism and helps to understand the psychological state of everyone involved - with the aim of better protecting young people from such human catastrophes by making them aware of the inhumanness of such acts. (14+)
Bulgaria (Bulgarian) - 2000 - 207
Stareva, Lilija (ed.)
Bočkov, Plamen (ed.)
Djavol, zmej, orisnici, mag'osnici, samovili, vampiri
(Devil, dragon, fatal sisters, magicians, evil fairies, vampires)
Sofija: Lista, 1998. 143 p.
(Detska folklorna enciklopedija ; 2)
This is the second of a two-volume encyclopedia. However, this work is not an encyclopedia in the traditional sense, but rather an anthology of Bulgarian folk tales organized by theme. It is gratifying to find interesting tales here that could not be found in other available anthologies. Both volumes have a modern design, but are still recognizably Bulgarian in origin. While the tales of this book deal with devils, dragons, evil fairies, and other literary figures, the first volume deals with astronomy, meteorology, animals and plants. (10+)
Bulgaria (Bulgarian) - 2000 - 208
Vesel, Anatol (text)
Vălkanov, Venelin (illus.)
Prikazki ot drevna Trakija
(Tales from ancient Thracia)
Veliko Tărnovo: AB Veliko Tărnovo, 1997. 26 p.
Fairy tales/Thracia - Fairy tales/Bulgaria
The Thracians, an Indo-European people, lived primarily in the Balkan region from ancient times until the early Middle Ages. In the course of history, this people became assimilated along with the Turkic Proto-Bulgarians into the Slavic tribes which migrated into this region. There are nearly no written historical documents preserved from the Thracians, but some legends and tales were passed down orally by the Bulgarians. This volume offers six stories about the Thracian ruler Thamyris, who wandered through the country as a singing minstrel after he was defeated, dethroned and blinded by an invader. (10+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2000 - 209
Doskočilová, Hana (text)
Filcík, Gabriel (illus.)
Když velcí byli kluci
(When the great were boys)
Praha: Amulet, 1999. 93 p.
Childhood/Biography - Famous persons
Much has been written about the life and achievements of famous persons. Children, of course, find it especially interesting to learn how these individuals spent their childhoods, and that is to be found in this work. Hana Doskočilová tells amusing tales from the childhood of famous men - from Christopher Columbus to Louis Armstrong. Richly illustrated with brightly, naïve-style pictures, the book contains entries on such wellknown figures as Edison, Cervantes, Bach, Darwin, the Czech educator Comenius, Chagall, Mozart, Pushkin, H.C. Andersen, Rembrandt, Einstein, Michelangelo, Schweitzer, the Bohemianborn French pantomime Jean-Baptiste-Gaspard Debureau, Jules Verne, Charlie Chaplin, Henry Ford, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Picasso. (9+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2000 - 210
Foglar, Jaroslav (text)
Čermák, Bohumír [et al.] (illus.)
Svorní gambusíni a jiné příběhy
(The concordant Gambusians)
Praha: Olympia, 1999. 320 p.
Boy scout troop
This compendium gathers together comic strip versions of tales of boy scout adventures written by the Czech author and Boy Scout Jaroslav Foglar between 1943 and 1999. About one-third were adapted and illustrated by Foglar himself and tell about the adventures that one Boy Scout troop experienced in Bohemia and abroad. Of particular interest are episodes by Foglar, as well as those done in the 1940s by Bohumír Čermák, Radomír Pleiner, Jan Fischer, Saša Dobrila and Václav Junek. (10+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2000 - 211
Kostkovaný ideály aneb breviář pro teenagery
Praha: Amulet, 1999. 82 p.
Poetry/Czech - Growing up
This anthology of Czech poetry - with an attractive graphic design reminiscent of the avant-garde of the 1960s - contains poems for young adults written by the children's writers Milena Lukešová (*1922), Jan Kašpar (*1950), Zdeněk Svěrák (*1936), Jiří Žáček (*1945), Jan Vodňanský (*1941), Jiří Dědeček (*1953), Jiří Suchý (*1931), und Václav Hrabě (1940-1965). The poems are written especially for adolescents and deal with their despair over the state of the adult world, over love and other problems that teenagers have with their lives and the world around them. (12+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2000 - 212
Stiborová, Věra (text)
Kabát, Václav (illus.)
My nic, my muzikanti
(We are musicians, we know nothing)
Praha: Albatros, 1999. 212 p.
Prague - Friendship - Prank - Music
This tales about three music-obsessed boys from the Moldavian harborside of Prague's city quarter Holešovice depict quite vividly everyday boyhood experiences, even though nothing special seems to happen. The trio get themselves into situations in which they must decide how to make the best of things. Both boys of today and their elders will be able to identify with their innocent pranks. The book is illustrated with witty, at times atmospheric black-and-white pencil drawings. (9+)
Lithuania (Lithuanian) - 2000 - 213
Landsbergis, Vytautas V. (text)
Kepežinskas, Rimvydas (illus.)
Obuolių pasakos. 26 dalyk liai
Vilnius: Vaga, 1999. 67 p.
Folk tales/Lithuania - Apple
This richly illustrated and especially attractive picture book style anthology contains 26 tales which deal with apples. Both the double-spread color illustrations and the black-and-white vignettes are executed in a witty, eccentric style, in which the apples are often endowed with their own anthropomorphic personalities. The final story is a tale about the end of the world, when the world is once again where it first began - with Adam, Eve, the snake and the apple. (7+)
Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 2000 - 214
Kotowska, Katarzyna (text/illus.)
Warszawa: Egmont, 1999.  p.
Adoption - Otherness - Love
This picture book is a tale about an adoption with a happy ending. A couple whose hope of having a child find that the colors are slowly disappearing from the world around them. Only after they have adopted a hedgehog-boy do the colors return. But there are problems for both parties. The parents are not sure if this prickly being is really »their« child, and the child needs time to get used to his new surroundings and new parents. But the greater the love of the parents and greater the trust of the child, the more he loses his prickly needles. This very sensitive, but completely unsentimental text is illustrated with highly stylized collages spaciously composed with unbroken colors that convey much feeling despite their affinity to constructivism. (4+)
Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 2000 - 215
Terakowska, Dorota (text)
Glinski, Jahoo (illus.)
Lustro pana Grymsa
(Mr. Gryms' mirror)
Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1998. 143 p.
Parallel world - Life force - Apathy - Savior - Red <color>
Dorota Terakowska's latest suspense-filled fantasy is concerned in essence with the immortality of the soul and the Great Conscience of the world. While searching for her dog, 13-year old Agata enters through a mirror into another world in which the people are strangely emotionless and apathetic and where everything seems to be gloomy and meaningless. In the course of her odyssey through this strange world Agata recognizes that its inhabitants have lost the color red and, thus, their life force. This is the very reason that someone had summoned the red-haired Agata to be their savior. (10+)
Russia (Russian) - 2000 - 216
Dauwalder, Valerija F. (text/illus.)
Feja Skazka. Izbrannye skazki dlja detej i vzroslych
(The fairy. Selected tales for children and adults)
Nižnij Novgorod: Izdat. Arnika, 1998. 126 p.
The well-known multitalented writer, musician and above all artist Valerija Dauwalder (b.1918) grew up in southern Russia and immigrated with her parents to Switzerland at the age of 16. In this volume she takes up the Russian tradition of the tale told in rhymed verse and offers retellings, on the one hand, using folk tale motifs in folkloristic style, and, on the other hand, creates literary fairy tales that follow the symbolist tradition. While her illustrations reveal an undeniable basing in the art nouveau tradition, they exhibit a broad range of influences from folklorist to avantgarde art. (7+)
Russia (Russian) - 2000 - 217
Jasnov, Michail D. (text)
Černoglazov, V. Ju. (illus.)
Žizn' zamečatel'nych zverej
(The life of famous animals)
Sankt-Peterburg: Obrazovanie-Kul'tura, 1999. 124 p.
(Serija žizn' zamečatel'nych...)
Animal/Biography - Famous figures
Among the famous figures of literature one finds not only humans, but also many animals. Michail D. Jasnov offers a portrait of some of these famed beasts, from the Classical era to the present. This illustrated volume includes, among others, Amaltheia, a nymph in the guise of a goat who was the nursing maid of Zeus in Greek mythology, Bukephalos, Alexander the Great's favorite horse, the war-faring elephants in the literature of classical antiquity, Akka från Kebnekajse, the wild goose in Selma Lagerlöfs story about Nils Holgersson, the television dolphin Flipper, and the tame wild boar Berta. In addition, the author describes the role that various animal species have played in the course of human history. (9+)
Russia (Russian) - 2000 - 218
Oster, Grigorij B. (text)
Burusov, Denis (illus.)
Moskva: Rosmǵn, 1999. 107 p.
(Nauka na vsju žizn')
Sweets - Health
This is the third volume in a series titled »Science for all your life« by Grigorij Oster, who is wellknown for his satirical children's books. He is one of the few Russian authors who have produced truly new books after the collapse of communism and the break-up of the Soviet Union. Designed in the format of a legal code, the books chapters are divided up into articles (§). The main purpose of the work is to outline the science of sweets, or Sweeteatology, how to ruin one's health with sweets as quickly as possible. But of course it also conveys all kinds of further information about the various types of sweets and candies. (7+)
Russia (Russian) - 2000 - 219
Voskobojnikov, Valerij M. (text)
Starostin, A. G. (illus.)
Žizn' zamečatel'nych detej
(The life of famous children)
Sankt-Peterburg: Obrazovanie-Kul'tura, 1997. 172 p.
(Serija žizn' zame atel'nych)
Childhood/Biography - Famous figures
The native St. Petersburg author describes the childhood of famous persons from ancient history, such as Alexander the Great, to the current day, such as the U.S. corporate computer billionaire Bill Gates. In some cases their future path was predictable, but in some cases they had a perfectly normal childhood. The wide range of figures includes the Persian philosopher, natural scientist and physician Avicenna (Ibn Sina), Isaac Newton, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the Russian general Alexander V. Suvorov, the Russian poet Michail J. Lermontov, Thomas Alva Edison, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, the Russian poet Marina Cvetaeva and Charlie Chaplin. (11+)
Slovenia (Slovenian) - 2000 - 220
Bogataj Ambrožič, Saša (text/illus.)
(The under-the-bed kobold)
Ljubljana: DZS, 1999.  p.
(Velikanček ; 7)
Sleep - Fear - Gnome - Sandman
When little Nika becomes so afraid of all the things that seem to have changed into spooky monsters that she cannot fall asleep, the underthe- bed kobold appears and tells her all about his own childhood. The little kobolds once were afraid to fall asleep, too, and so they were sent into the forest to visit the owl, who would give them courage. But the owl gave the little kobolds the task of visiting human children and taking away their fears of falling asleep. The humorous illustrations of this soothing read-aloud story convey the atmosphere of the moment through the background coloring. (4+)
Serbia and Montenegro (Serbian) - 2000 - 221
Maletié-Vrchovac, Gordana (text)
Bosnié, Dragan (illus.)
(A saving decision)
Beograd: Knjigoteka, 1999. 88 p.
Common things - Discard - Memories - Storytelling
In this book, that follows the tradition of Hans Christian Andersen and E.T.A. Hoffmann, common everyday objects that are no longer in use and have been taken up to the attic or taken refuge there by themselves tell each other the oft melancholic tales from their own lives. Their lives now are overcast with the omnipresent danger that the masters of the house may come up to the attic and discard those things that they can't stand to see anymore. Gordana Maleti writes in a nostalgiclyrical style that is nonetheless not the least stuffy. (6+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 2000 - 222
Minne, Brigitte (text)
Cneut, Carll (illus.)
(The wicked fairy)
Wielsbeke: Uitg. de Eenhoorn, 1999.  p.
Fairy - Witch
Rosemary has a fight with her mum. She slams the door and heads for the witches' wood, where it is all right to be dirty and naughty. There she makes very interesting friends, including witches who turn out not to be as wicked as everybody thinks. The illustrations in this book are sometimes more important than the text. At times the acrylics are broken up with pastel crayon and colored pencil for a playful effect. The psychological accuracy of the illustrations is fascinating, Rosemary is the hero who views her environment fearlessly and critically. In the end Rosemary, the witches and even mum are convinced that fairies are not always nice, and witches are not always wicked. Everybody wants to be a fairy sometimes and a witch other times. (5+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 2000 - 223
VanDaele, Henri (text)
Verplancke, Klaas (illus.)
Van de sneeuwman die niet smelten wou
(The snowman who didn't want to melt)
Averbode: Uitg. Altiora, 1999. 43 p.
Snowman - Spring
The snowman has been standing in the nice east wind all winter long. A big carrot for a nose, two pieces of coal as eyes, a hat, a red scarf, a pipe in his mouth and a broom in his hand. He is very happy with his existence and hopes things will never change. But one morning spring arrives, and the snowman is so impressed by her appearance that he has to cry and soon only his hat, scarf and broom are left on his place. Luckily for the scarecrow, these are just what he needs! In a very subtle manner Van Daele succeeds in elaborating on an abstract concept like transition using nondaily events and different views on reality. The smooth storytelling and the easy sentences make the book perfect for reading aloud. (6+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 2000 - 224
VanGenechten, Guido (text/illus.)
Muis ging eens op wandel
(When Mouse went for a walk)
Hasselt: Clavis, 1999.  p.
Ten animals take a walk, talking all the time. After a while Horse sees a carriage and decides to stay with it. He says goodbye and then there are only nine. As the rhymed story continues, when Cow sees a lovely meadow with juicy grass and stays behind, Pig jumps into a dirty quagmire, Dog finds a knuckle with some meat still on it, and the sea tempts Crab. In the end only sad little Mouse is left. But then he discovers all kinds of small animals hidden between the blades of grass. Soon a new row of animals sets off for a walk. This counting story is based on a well-known principle that lets children get involved in telling stories and also learn the characteristics of many animals. The colorful full-page illustrations show the animals from different angles. (4+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2000 - 225
Dam, Arend van
Mart en de liefde
(Mart and Maki)
Amsterdam: Uitg. Piramide, 1999. 143 p.
Japan - Friendship - First love
Mart, an 11-year old boy who lives in the lighthouse of a dull Dutch fishing village, is very excited when an enormous sailing ship called 'Love' enters the harbour. He meets the owners of the ship, Mister Shibuya and his daughter Maki, who came all the way from Japan and is so impressed by Maki that he wants to know everything about Japan. Fortunately there is an old man in the village, Mister Lodewijk who can tell Mart a lot about the history and culture of Japan after school. Mister Lodewijk's stories are sometimes rather long digressions from the main plot, but they also expand it. The author describes the customs and traditions of Japanese life in a playful way and captures the special feelings of an 11-year old boy. (10+) ☆
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2000 - 226
Dubelaar, Thea (text)
Spee, Gitte (illus.)
Nanseli, waar ren je heen?
(Nanseli, where are you running to?)
Amsterdam: Ploegsma, 1999. 46 p.
Siblings - Baby
Never before has Nanseli run home this fast from school. She crosses the street without looking and is almost hit by a car. She doesn't stop to watch the pelicans by the sea like she usually does and she doesn't even visit Uncle Jonas who always has such wonderful stories to tell. And Grandma Fado has to go shopping on her own today. Nanseli has a new brother and she is so curious to see him! The author succeeds in creating a very special feeling of thrill and expectation in the hurrying figure of Nanseli. The story takes place in an exotic country, as evident in the details, but the theme of the story is universal. The somewhat sober illustrations fit the simple, but striking story. (5+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2000 - 227
Kromhout, Rindert (text)
Haeringen, Annemarie van (illus.)
Wat staat daar?
(What is written there?)
Amsterdam: Leopold, 1999.  p.
Reading - Alphabet
Ape receives a letter, but cannot read it. So he goes to his friend Billy Goat. Billy Goat is just learning how to read, but so far he has only learned the words 'moon' and 'goat'. So, in the letter he only recognises his own name. Together they walk to Guinea Pig, who knows the words 'moon', 'rose' and his own name. He only recognises Guinea Pig in the letter. After they've asked several other animals (all in alphabetical order) for help, they finally come to Party Animal, who turned out to be the sender of the letter - a dinner party invitation to all his friends. Kromhout succeeds in writing a cumulative without falling into the trap of dull repetition. The detailed and humorous illustrations complement the story very well. (6+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2000 - 228
Leeuwen, Joke van (text/illus.)
Een sok met streepjes. Leren lezen met plaatjes
(The red-white striped sock)
Tilburg: Zwijsen, 1999.  p.
(Moet je mij zien : Lezen : 4 en 5 jaar)
Lost/Found - Search
A young child has lost its sock. Bear, rabbit, doll, tiger and some other friends help their friend to look for it. They find a lot of things: a little box, a fork, a mug, a shoe, but no sock. After some time a mouse enters the scene wearing a remarkable bonnet. The bonnet turns out to be the red-andwhite striped sock they have been looking for so long. But mouse is only willing to give up his bonnet if he gets something else in return. The concept of this book is not new: about forty words are replaced by illustrations, pictograms. Van Leeuwen, however, knows how to give the well-structured story depth through the illustrations which show more than just the main plot. Didactic notes on awakening literacy are included. (6+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2000 - 229
Nolet, Beatrijs (text)
Jagtenberg, Yvonne (illus.)
(Do not enter!)
Houten: Van Holkema & Warendorf, 1999. 70 p.
Invention - Fantasy
Vink likes to tinker but one day her invention goes wrong and her TV screen begins to let things through - in both directions. It's possible to grab the delicious candy during the adverts but also find a football land in the living room during an important game. People start to panic everywhere: some suspect aliens, others the beginning of a governmental crisis. Although the sign on Vink's door says »Do not enter!«, she has to tell her mum at last and together they comfort the viewers by explaining it was just a small technical mistake. Nolet's fast-paced story is uncomplicated but suspenseful. Between the lines the author satirizes soccer, television, and politics without lapsing into overbearing social criticism. (9+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2000 - 230
Schubert, Ingrid (text/illus.)
Schubert, Dieter (text/illus.)
Dat komt er nou van ...
(Now you see what happened ...)
Rotterdam: Lemniscaat, 1999.  p.
Animals - Education - Leaving the nest
One morning Bear discovers three orphaned eggs. He decides to hatch them together with his friend Hedgehog. When they hatch, Bear and Hedgehog are very surprised to find ducklings inside. Bear and Hedgehog do their very best to please the little ducklings. They protect them as well as they can, but sometimes they have problems educating them. It gets even worse when they have to let their 'children' go when they literally spread their wings. This is all beautifully presented in detailed, colorful pictures, which fit the text perfectly and give it an extra dimension. This is a well-written story, also for (young) parents, and is well suited for reading aloud time after time. (4+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2000 - 231
En met Anna?
(What about Anna?)
Amsterdam: Querido, 1999. 216 p.
Death - Grief - Family - Bosnia/Civil War
Anna is 16 years old and has already lost two brothers. In 1994 Jonas died of AIDS and in 1997 her brother Michael was reported missing in Bosnia, supposedly killed when his landrover hit a land mine. One day, however, Anne receives a letter from Hugo, a friend of both her brothers. He has met Michael's girlfriend and believes there is a possibility that her brother is still alive. Anna is completely confused. She sets out to get more information and in the end meets Marta, Michael's girlfriend, and their little son. Jan Simoen describes beautifully how Anna copes with the sparse information. He accelerates the pace of the plot until all pieces of the puzzle are put aright. The author has a brilliant way of developing the story from different points of view, making this a very moving and honest youth novel. (12+)
Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 232
Duka, Mania (text)
Malekos, Andreas (photos)
Henas angelos mia phora ... Taxidi stis byzantines toichographies tēs Kypru
(Once there was an angel ... A journey to the Byzantine frescoes of Cyprus)
[Athēna]: Adam, [1997?].  p.
(This book was published by the Cypriot Leventis Foundation in cooperation with the Greek publishing house Adam.)
Cyprus - Byzantine fresco - Life of Jesus
The various events in the life of Jesus - from the annunciation of Maria to Ascension Day is presented in this picture book using Byzantine frescoes. An index in the appendix describes the origin and current location, thus offering the readers the opportunity to discover some of the Byzantine treasures of Cyprus for themselves. (8+)
Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 233
Aphēste ton sticho na sas parē ap' to cheri. Poiēmata gia mikra kai megala paidia
(Let the verse take you by the hand. Poems for children of all ages)
Leukōsia: Montis, 1993. 56p.
Cyprus's national poet, Kōstas Montēs, offers a further collection of poetry in which he consciously avoids dealing with ordinary and trite topics. The complete edition of his works has been made available at last through the generous support of the A.G. Leventis Foundation. (7+)
Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 234
Orontē-Siantu, Theodōra (text/illus.)
A. Diamantēs. To taxidi tēs mikrēs rozus
(A. Diamantēs. The journey of the little gnarled branch)
Leukōsia: Orontē-Siantu, 1996.  p.
(Paichnidi stis aules tōn dēmiurgōn mas)
Diamantēs, Adamantios - Painting
This is the first volume of a new series in which the author and artist introduces children to the works of one of the most important painters of Cyprus, Adamantios Diamantēs (1900-1994). Using several of his most characteristic works, she spins a story around the painter and his work, in which the simple people of the island and the division of Cyprus often play a role. (8+)
Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 235
Bratits, Karolos (text)
Mytaras, Dēmētrēs (illus.)
Saranta hellēnika kochylia
(Forty Greek mussels)
Athēna: Kastaniōtēs, 1998. 89 p. (with 1 CD: Mytaras, Aristeides: Ho echos to bythu)
Sea - Mussels
The author, who is known for his underwater photographs, offers children and adults easy-tounderstand information about the mysterious life of mussels in such a way that it can be called to mind during the next walk at the sea. The carefully designed book offers information for further investigation and browsing. The well-known artist contributes impressive pictures, while the music by the young musician Mytaras Aristeidēs offers a multimedial experience, that brings the ocean to mind. This is not a dry information book, but demonstrates a love and respect for the wonders of nature in an aesthetically pleasing manner. (8+)
Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 236
Kynēgu-Phlampura, Maria (text)
Berberidēs, Nikos (illus.)
Laïka musika organa tu kosmu
(Folk music instruments of the world)
Nea Smyrnē: Akritas, 1998. 103 p. (mit 1 Spielplan + 1 CD)
Folk music - Musical instrument
Drawing on her long-time experience as a music teacher and instructor of music teachers, the author offers children information about various musical instruments in a lively manner. Beginning with the instruments of Greek folk music, the drawings by the young illustrator Nikos Berberides document the great diversity of instruments in the world. This is an activity book that will capture the interest of the young reader, while the music cassette provides selected examples of music it describes. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 237
Mamalinka, Maria (text)
Papanikolau, Kōstas (illus.)
Hē phidogennētē basilopula kai alla paramythia
(The king's daughter who was born of a snake and other tales)
Athēna: Bibliopōleion tēs »Hestias«, 1998. 77 p.
The well-known young author (b. 1960) narrates four literary folk tales in which the main characters are able to decide consciously which path to take to reach their goals and achieve new maturity. In this carefully edited edition with expressive illustrations by Kōstas Papanikolau both text and picture are notable for their clarity. (6+)
Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 238
Minasian, Kuēn (reteller)
Paramythia apo tēn Armenia. Mia stagona meli apo tēn Armenikē logotechnia
(Tales from Armenia)
Athēna: Apopeira, 1998. 159 p.
(Tu kosmu ta paramythia ; 15)
This volume in the meticulously edited series »Tales from around the world« is the first time a selection of the most widely known Armenian tales has been published in Greek. It endeavors to give a re-telling of those tales that have been passed down orally for generations in Greece, in order to make them available to a greater Greekspeaking audience. The second-generation Greekborn editor is herself Armenian. The illustrations, which are to be found in the National Pinakothek Yerevan, are a congenial enhancement. The book includes exact notes of written and oral sources, other secondary literature and an index of the painters whose works are included. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 239
Ta megala paputsia
(The big shoes)
Athēna: Patakēs, 1998. 123 p.
([Synchronē logotechnia gia paidia kai gia neus / Syllogē peristeria] ; 72)
Unemployment - Detective - Fantasy/Reality
The well-known Cypriot children's book writer Kika Poulcheriou writes a humorous tale about ten-year old Aris who tries to come to terms with his father's sudden unemployment by retreating into an imaginary world of fantasy. He hopes to prove that his father is innocent of the accusations that led to his dismissal, and believes that he can recognize the true culprit on the big shoes he wears. (10+)
Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 240
Prosklēsē se geuma
(An inviation to dinner)
Athēna: Kaleidoskopio, 1997. 57 p.
(Stus dromus tu Byzantiu ; 1)
In this first and exquisitely illustrated volume of the projected series »In Byzantine Streets« the Byzantine eating habits become an introduction to the geographical and climactic prerequisites as well as the historical patterns of agriculture and trade, included the relationships between town and country, food and religion. The text draws upon original legal documents, religious texts and travel journals. A map and chronology complete this very well-prepared volume, which is illustrated with original prints of Byzantine art from major art collections. (6+) ☆
Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 241
Tribizas, Eugenios (text)
Kunturēs, Michalēs (illus.)
Phrikantela hē magissa pu misuse ta kalanta
(The witch Phrikantela, who hated happy songs)
Athēna: Ammos, 1998.  p.
Christmas/Greece/Cyprus - Witch - Song
In his usual humorous style of story telling that is filled with word-play, the internationally known Greek author Eugene Trivizas (i.e. Eugenios Tribizas) describes the life of the witch Phrikantela. She cannot stand the merry songs that children sing during their parades before the Christmas and New Year holidays and tries to transform the children in order to silence them. She captures their voices in balloons and hoards them in her castle, but the children find a way to free them. Afterwards Phrikantela begins to enjoy the children's singing and becomes a friendly, happy witch. A triangle, a typical instrument of children's parades in Greece, and the text and music of common songs from different areas of Greece are included with the book. (4+)
Hungary (Hungarian) - 2000 - 242
Budapest: Magyar Könyvklub, 1999. 344 p.
Austro-Hungarian Empire - Castle (1200-1999)
This is an alphabetical presentation of 93 fortresses and castles of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Introduced with short tales, anecdotes, legends, followed by explanations of their names, these portraits conclude with a tour of the outline of each castle. In this way one receives extensive information about the old mysterious castles that still spark the curiosity and imagination today. This volume complements the book »Talking fortresses « that was published last year by the same author. (10+)
Hungary (Hungarian) - 2000 - 243
Csukás, István (text)
Cakó, Ferenc (illus.)
Mirr Murr nyomoz Budapesten
(Mirr Murr takes a ramble through Budapest)
Budapest: Városháza, 1998. 47 p.
(Az én Budapestem)
Budapest - Travel guide
Mirr Murr the tomcat seeks out his friends in Budapest and surroundings. During his excursion he discovers many interesting facts, figures and useful things about the city and its history. In contrast to the bright caricatural, yellow-striped cat, the city scenes are done in gently colored naturalistic style. The city guide will awaken the curiosity not only of children to undertake an exploration of this beautiful capital city on the Danube. (7+)
Special Mention - Hungary (Hungarian) - 2000 - 244
Katona Imre (ed.)
Vida, Gyözö (illus.)
A Zöldszakállú király
(The king with the green beard)
Budapest: Móra, 1999. 125 p.
This book in the series »Mora's golden books« claims to draw upon the entire range of Hungarian folktales. Although these are re-tellings, one can sense the originality of this story-telling folk in each story. The excellent illustrations by the graphic artist Vida Gyözö are done in the style of the old »picture broadsheets« and use elements of Hungarian folk art. This underlines the expressiveness of the tales. (7+)
Iran (Persian) - 2000 - 245
Fāntasī-i šalgam wa 'aql
(The fantasy of turnip and reason)
Tihrān: Kitāb-i Maryam (wābasta bi Našr-i Markaz), 1998 (= 1377 h.š.). 39 p.
(In Arabic letters)
Imagination - Snowman - Wordplay
A young girl is quite excited about playing in the snow. In her imagination she builds a snowman who longs to have a brain and use his mind. Then the girl tries to teach him two terms, but at first she confuses two similarly sounding words - the Persian terms for »turnip« and »mind«. This misunderstanding is the starting point of a very imaginative, humorous-naive story. (7+)
Iran (Persian) - 2000 - 246
Yūsufī, Nāsir (adapt.)
Zamānī, Mihrān (illus.)
(The girl with the half-moon on her forehead)
Tihrān: Našr-i Ufuq, 1997 (= 1376 h.š.). 23 p.
(In Arabic letters)
Beauty - Envy
This is a re-telling of an old and still very popular Persian folk tale whose origins can no longer be traced completely. A young girl with glowing beauty is treated poorly by her step-mother and half-sisters. As a reward for her good deeds an old sorceress places a shining half-moon on her forehead that emphasizes her beauty even more. The stylized illustrations make use of a richly ornamental, decorative style in subtle, pastel tones. Both the background and the predominant tones are warm brown. (4+)
Jordan (Arabic) - 2000 - 247
Naǧǧār, Taġrīd 'Ārif an (text)
'Ābd-as-sāhib, Lamyā' (illus.)
'Ammān: as-Salwā, 1998. 23 p.
(In Arabic letters)
Stranger - Stereotypes - Prejudice - Fear - Xenophobia
Hasan encounters a monster called »Gul« (»maneater «) that is feared by the whole village. When Hasan tries to speak with him, he learns that Gul himself is afraid of the boy and, in fact, of all people who have two eyes instead of one and who - worst of all - like to eat »Guls.« Thus he discovers that people and this strange creature share the same fears and prejudices although they only know each other by hearsay. In the end the »monster« becomes Hasan's friend and helps the village inhabitants with their work.This argument against fear of the unknown and maintaining prejudices about being different is accompanied by easily understandable color illustrations. (5+) ☆
Turkey (Turkish) - 2000 - 248
Akçagüner, Zeliha (text)
Bozkurt, Gözde (illus.)
2150 yılına yolculuk
(Travel in the year 2150)
Cağaloğlu / İstanbul: Bu Yayınevi, 1999. 140 p.
(Dünyal2lar ve ilginç konuklar )
Extraterrestrial intelligence - Earth - Visitor - Environmental consciousness
The second part of this multi-part story deals with the visit of two teenage extraterrestrials who come to modern day earth from two different periods of time in the future (2150 and 2500 A.D.). They make observations of life on our planet, especially the relationship between modern day youth and nature. Finding it to be quite positive, they take their knowledge back to their planets as an important message. Packed into a science fiction tale the author makes an appeal to youthful readers to pay attention to their environment and treat it responsibly. (11+)
Turkey (Turkish) - 2000 - 249
Kaya, İsmail (text/illus.)
Uçmak İsteyen kaplumbağa
(The turtle who wanted to fly)
Kızılay/Ankara: Kök Yayıncılık, 1997. 27 p.
Turtle - Boredom - Flying
A little turtle finds the company of its fellow turtles boring. Instead of crawling around with them, it would much rather fly around in the sky with the butterflies. Yet despite every possible effort, its attempts at flying are unsuccessful. And when the little turtle gets into trouble, it turns out to be good to have other turtles around to help after all. This animal fable is accompanied by atmospheric illustrations in soft pastel colors. (4+)
Turkey (Turkish) - 2000 - 250
Turan, Nuran (text)
Demircan, Serdar (illus.)
Ankara: Türkiye İş Bankası, 1998. 109 p.
(Türkiye İş Bankas2 Kültür Yay2nlar2 / Genel yay2n ; 374) (Türkiye İş Bankas2 Kültür Yay2nlar2 / Genel yay2n / Çocuk dizisi ; 58)
Summer holiday - Island - Friendship
Six teenagers are spending their summer holidays on an island in the Mediterranean Sea. They go swimming, diving and play games - and each of them tells his or her own life story as well as stories from books they have read. When the holidays come to an end, their friendships are continued by letter. The author connects the everyday life of teenagers growing up in modern times with ancient kernels of wisdom that are still valid today. (11+)