White Ravens: 2002
Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 1
Chiba, Mikio (text)
Wu, Jianhua (i.e. Ū, Jenhoa) (illus.)
(The old woman with the long tongue)
Tokyo : Shogakukan, 2001.  p
(Chihiro Bijutsukan korekushon ehon ; 5)
Mountain – Deforestation – Environmental destruction – Afforestation – Demon – Folktale
In this book, a little-known folktale from Northern Japan was rewritten along the lines of current environmental consciousness. Deep in the mountains, the old woman with the long tongue and the horned giant spend their time frightening away village people who have lost their way. When less and less people go into the mountains, the two demons wonder what has happened and walk down to the village. Along their way they notice the environmental damage caused by deforestation. Everybody suffers from the consequences, even the dragon of the lake, who intends to take revenge on the people. The demons manage to calm him down and take him to a safe place. To the people they suggest a proper afforestation of the area. Wu Jianhua interprets this modernised folktale with his artistically imaginative and dynamic pictures in Chinese style. (5+) ☼
Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 2
Hatachi, Yoshiko (text)
Sano, Yōko (illus.)
Mata sugu ni aeru kara
(As we will soon be able to see again ... )
Tokyo : Dainippon Tosho, 2000. 105 p.
Everyday life – Self-reflection – Children's poetry
Many things can be discovered in one's everday life; a fact that inspired poetess Yoshiko Hatachi to ask for the meaning behind it, look deep inside, and remember precious or lost moments. Nature is strongly familiar to her: Pheasant's Eyes bring her dead mother's words back to her, blossoms on the plum tree remind her of her grandmother. She associates grass struggling against the wind with viability and dry hay with calmness. Yet, there are also some inanimate objects that evoke emotions or past memories: the sign near the road, for example, that always stays in the same place, itself unsure of which way to go. The tender, simple, and honest words of poetry will move young readers. Blackand- white illustrations accompanying the text are losely scattered across the pages. (12+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 3
Itō, Yū (text)
Æta, Daihachi (illus.)
En no matsubara
(The pine grove of rage)
Tokyo : Fukuinkan Shoten, 2001. 405 p.
Boy – Prince – Unborn – Ghost – Soul – Rage – Curse – Release
This novel is set in the golden age of Japan's courtly culture between the ninth and twelfth century, when people still strongly believed in the existence of ghosts and demons. The young crown prince suffers because of a vengeful ghost that tortures him at night. One day, at the imperial palace, he meets fourteen-year-old servant Otowa and the two boys become friends. To release the prince from the ghost's curse, Otowa enters the pine grove near the palace, where the angry souls of the dead dwell. Years ago, because of the rules of succession, the unborn child of the emperor, originally conceived as a princess, was manipulated by a monk's magic powers and the male prince was born instead. Now, both souls finally become reconciled and are released from the curse. The aesthetic, traditional cover-illustration, conveying the eerie atmosphere of the story, and the other pictures, illustrating the aristocratic way of life at that time, form an authentic frame for this fantastic historical novel. (13+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 4
Matsutani, Miyoko (text)
Toyota, Kazuhiko (illus.)
(Roll, roll, roll … apples are rolling around)
Tokyo : Doshinsha, 2001.  p.
(Akachan no oishii hon)
Girl – Apple
A small girl hears an apple tree cry because it is full of apples that nobody wants to eat. When the girl climbs up the tree and shakes the branches, all the apples fall to the ground and roll away – but where to? Suddenly, she feels very lonely. Where are all the apples gone? In this picture book, drawn in a plain, naïve, and clear style, small children can get involved in the girl's adventure; in the end, the protagonist feels delighted that she has a wonderful delicious red apple for herself. Miyoko Matsutani tells this story in a brief yet melodious style which touches children's minds and clearly shows the girl's compassion for the sad tree. Adults reading this tale to children will enjoy the language and interpret the story in their own way. (2+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 5
Murakami, Yasunari (text/illus.)
(The blue hermit crab)
Tokyo : Tokuma Shoten, 2001.  p.
Sea – Diving – Fear – Courage – Marine fauna
A boy with diving goggles and a snorkel hesitates to jump into the water. Yet, when he finds a sea shell and holds it close to his ear, he hears the voice of the sea inviting him in. Immediately, his fear of the water gives way to curiosity. Led by an octopus, he dives to the bottom of the sea, where fabulous creatures dwell. After the octopus has accompanied the boy back to the surface, it says goodbye and jokingly sends out a cloud of black ink. On this summer evening, the sky is aglow with a goldenorange light. Composing his pictures in a varying selection of colours, the nature-loving artist makes shades of blue the dominant background colour. It adequately transports the emotions of this humorous yet poetic picture book, painted in a spacious manner on large-format pages. (5+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 6
Oikawa, Kazuo (text)
Nakamura, Etsuko (illus.)
Namida no kohaku no nazo
(The mystery of the tear-shaped amber)
Tokyo : Iwasaki Shoten, 2000. 181 p.
(Bungaku no izumi ; 8)
Grandmother – Granddaughter – Search – Parents – Origins – Social bonds
Fifty-five years after the end of the war, Grandmother, who lost her parents when she was eleven, and her granddaughter Misaki travel to a coastal region in the north of Japan searching for her family's roots. The only keepsake reminding her of her mother is a piece of amber that has belonged to her family for generations. It is said to originate from this region and might help to shed light on a part of her parent's life completely unknown to her. The two women are eagerly supported in their arduous search by the village people. Misaki begins to feel more and more sympathy for her grandmother and comes to understand the old woman's longing for her parents. Powerful human relations and worship of the ancestors are evident throughout the impressive story. (12+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 7
Satō, Satoru (text)
Tanaka, Kiyo (illus.)
(Acorns, gather together!)
Tokyo : Akane Shobo, 2001. 76 p.
(Wakuwaku yōnen dōwa ; 1)
Girl – Acorns – Football – Imagination – Creativity
It is sometimes quite difficult to find books of high literary quality for beginning readers that correspond to the reading ability and competence of the target group. This appealingly illustrated book about a girl who wants to make her own picture book and, therefore, has to invent a story first, meets these demands. The author manages to communicate the fact that imagination is the source of creativity; he describes how the girl within her daily routine uses some acorns she collected in the park to spin a story. Each of her steps can be traced by the readers and is told by renowned children's book author Satoru SatÇ, in a short and exciting story with fantasy elements. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 8
Takayama, Yūya (text)
Okamoto, Jun (illus.)
Ojīsan to boku no mitsubachi
(The bee of my grandfather and me)
Tokyo : Poplar-sha, 2001. 47 p.
Grandfather – Grandson – Bee – Sympathy – Death – Grief
Ten-year-old Takuo is a little afraid of his grandfather and rather tries to avoid him. The first hours he really spends with him, which are also the last, are when he visits him in hospital. Secretly smuggling in grandfather's favourite food, honey, is a nice little adventure for Takuo, because then a bee always flies in by the window and grandad lets it share the honey without getting stung. The more new sides Takuo discovers to his grandad, the more sympathy he feels for him. In a short pithy text, written from the young protagonist's point of view, the author describes how the boy's feelings slowly change from a child's aversion into deep love, and how, in the end, the boy grieves for the sad loss. (9+) ☼
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 9
Takeshita, Fumiko (text)
Kondō, Rie (illus.)
Tsukiyo ni irasshai
(Invitation to the moonlit night)
Tokyo : Kinno Hoshisha, 2000. 126 p.
Moon – Girl – Imagination
This »casket of treasures« contains four separate sympathetic moon-tales for girls. Their protagonists are Miyu and her mother, who love the moon and know that it enables them to turn their everyday life into happy moments. Once, they are allowed to wear a small silvery brooch that should actually be up in the sky as the moon crescent. One night, when the moon is full, a cat is saved and Miyu becomes friends with a boy from her class whom she did not like before. Another time, the girl dreams about going on a balloon journey to take a closer look at the moon. And in the last story, she meets a woman who dyes the moonlight several different colours. Tender atmospheric pictures accompany the amusing fantastic tales. (9+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 10
Tatematsu, Wahei (text)
Yokomatsu, Momoko (illus.)
Tanbo no inochi
(Life in the paddy fields)
Tokyo : Kumon Shuppan, 2001. 32 p.
Farmer – Rice-growing – Nature – Vitality – Professional conscience
A winter landscape covered in snow forms the overture to this book, leading to the life-story of an old couple. Because of the migration to the cities, they are the last rice farmers in this area. In the following scene, the old couple come onstage as ballet dancers dancing together in the spotlight: this metaphoric picture expresses the old people's love for their profession and can also be interpreted as a plea for the importance of nature. The natural power of the rice plant lends them vitality and makes them cope with many a problem in their everyday life. The well-known author describes the couple's busy life and their detailed knowledge about rice-growing in a literary style. All the events are staged in a theatre-like manner by the artist's colourful and partly mosaic abstract pictures. This is an innovative picture book. (9+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 11
Tomiyasu, Yōko (text)
Hirose, Gen (illus.)
Sora e tsuzuku shinwa
(The Sky Myth)
Tokyo : Kaiseisha, 2000. 285 p.
God of Nature – Identity crisis – Assistance – Girl – Local geography and history
When pupil Satoko accidentally touches an old document about local history in the school library, a slightly withered old man with a snow-white cloudy beard suddenly appears before her. He woke up because the holy tree worshipped for centuries, inside which he had silently dwelled for almost a hundred years, was cut down. As local god of this village he lost his identity because the village had completely changed. To help him, Satoko now eagerly studies her community's history and, eventually, she restores the saint's nature and position. This tragicomical tale is strongly rooted in popular belief. The time of Japan's modernisation when basic primary and secondary schools were founded all over the country provides the background for this story. (11+) ☆
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 12
Tonda Kikitori Ehon Seisaku Jikkō Iinkai (text)
Okajima, Reiko (illus.)
Yubikiri genman : Ume-bāchan no hanashi
(Promised! : the story of old Ms. Ume)
Osaka : Kaiho Shuppansha, 2000.  p.
Japan/1920-1935 – Minority – Old woman – Childhood memories – Social background – Discrimination
The cheerful illustrations of this book, picturing the childhood memories of an old woman from an underprivileged social class, are drawn in bright colours in the style of popular commercial art. Instead of relating the old woman's misery, they are intended as a proof for the vitality of the so-called Burakumin, a group of people who have been excluded from the Japanese society for centuries because of their social background. The flexibility of the picture book as a medium is evident in this work published by a team of committed people who are striving to shed light on old people's experiences and keep them alive. This topic, hardly ever tackled before, the unusual form of expression in pictures and words alike, and the additional information provided in the appendix will spark off further discussion. (9+) ☼
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 13
Toyoshima, Yoshio (text)
Nagahama, Masako (illus.)
Emirian no tabi
Tokyo : Ginkasha, 2000. 132 p.
(Toyoshima Yoshio dōwa sakuhinshū; 2)
Adventure – Secret – Cleverness – Courage – Open-mindedness
The liberal novelist Yoshio Toyoshima (1890-1955) also left several timeless stories for children and teenagers, which are now being reissued after a long time. This volume contains »Emirian no tabi« (1932) and »Shiro Kuro monogatari« (»The story of the black and the white cats«, 1938). Emirian, an orphan, wanders around the East and the West as an entertainer. He meets robbers, a bat and a hermit, an old woman and the god of death, and many others. With his cleverness and open-mindedness, the boy faces dangers and solves many conflicts. The second tale, a detective story about cats, tackles the secret of an antique dealer. An atmosphere of freedom and cheerfulness is evident in both stories. The text is accompanied by detailed blackand- white illustrations. (12+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 14
Yabe, Mitsunori (text/illus.)
Tokyo : Kogumasha, 2001.  p.
Father – Daughter – Hippopotamus – Security – Image of the father – Imagination
The small girl is so delighted about the big hippo and its baby in the zoo, that on their way home all people look to her like hippos. As soon as she arrives at home, she wants to copy the two great animals she just watched. A bedsheet is spread out as the pool, and then she forces her father, who would rather have a rest, to »swim« around with her, climbing on his back, on his belly, etc. For small children, the boundaries between reality and fantasy often blur. They are perfectly happy as long as they can live out their own fantasies and enjoy themselves. The author's simple naïve drawings convey the playing girl's huge pleasure and enthusiasm, as well as the feeling of security provided by her father. (2+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 15
Yoshihashi, Michio (text)
Satake, Miho (illus.)
Ryū to maihime
(The dragon and the dancer)
Tokyo : Kodansha, 2000. 325 p.
Japan/630-792 – Embassy <China> – Boy – Going to Sea – Future expectation – Fate
In the year 777, the Japanese imperial government once again sends ambassadors to China. Fourteenyear- old Komaro, who accompanies the court physician as his servant, intends to stay there and study medicine. In Changan, the capital of the Tang-empire, he meets Kojō, the daughter of a former Japanese ambassador. Yet, fate intervenes, and talented and ambitious Komaro's plans for his future fail. Back in Japan, he loses his position at court and, thus, starts a new life with Kojō caring for people's health. The dangerous crossing, the hustle and bustle in the Chinese capital, the conspiracies at court, etc., are based on sound research and described in a lively style full of details. The surprising outcome of this historical novel is particularly impresssive. (13+) ☆
Republic of China (Chinese) - 2002 - 16
(A boy named Gen Niao)
Shenyang : Chunfeng-Wenyi-Chubanshe, 1999. 217 p.
Boy – Hunting – Adventure – Girl – Coming of age
It is the first time for 14-year-old Gen Niao to go hunting on his own. He shoots down a white hawk and finds a message tied to its leg. »I am Zi Yan. I was lost in a deep gorge. Help!« Yet, when Gen Niao asks the villagers about this gorge, nobody seems to know anything. One night, Gen Niao dreams about Zi Yan. He sees the gorge, full of lilies and lined by cliffs on both sides. Determined to find her, Gen Niao sets out on a long and dangerous journey on which he suffers hunger, illness, and fear and often struggles for survival. Eventually, his dream comes true. Using the pattern of an adventure story, the author makes his protagonist undergo several trials and perfom heroic deeds. By the end of the journey, the boy has turned into a strong young man. (12+)
Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2002 - 17
(3, Tian Tang Street)
Nanjing : Jiangsu-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 2001. 226 p.
Cowardice – Friendship – Violence – Self-affirmation – Reconciliation – Everyday life
This book is the latest novel of Qin Wenjun, a wellknown and much-loved author in China. She began writing for children in 1981 and so far more than 3 million copies of her books have been published in China. »Nan-sheng-Jia-Li« (»Jia Li in Junior High«), »Shi-liu-sui-shaonu« (»A 16 year old girl«) and »Gu-nu-julebu« (»The Orphan Girls Club«), among others, have been awarded prizes for children's literature and in 1996 she won the Italian International Mondello Special Prize. Moreover, many of her books have been adapted for films and TV series. Her works always keep the balance between quality and popularity. Like many of her other novels, the poignant narrative of this book does not look for the spectacular but focuses on the joys and sorrows of everyday life. Family, school, friendship, and emotional problems of Lang Lang and his friends are in the centre of these vividly told stories. The subtle description of their feelings, told with a deep understanding makes the book a remarkable read. (10+)
Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2002 - 18
Zhang, Zhilu (text)
Ai, Di (illus.)
Beijing : Beijing-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 2001. 266 p.
Death – Mystery – Computer
There are strange things happening in a middle school: Lu Yu changes his name and behaves as if he was a completely different boy. His father, a famous specialist in brain surgery, suddenly dies at a gas explosion in their kitchen and mysterious pictures of ladybirds turn up in the collars of Lu Yu's classmates. Sang Wei, the main protagonist of the book, is fascinated by the events and sets out to solve the mystery. As an established screenwriter, the author knows quite well how to catch and hold the attention of young readers. Concentrating on speed, excitement, and imagination, the author has written a well-paced, edgy science fiction story about high-tech computer crimes in a simple and clear style. (10+)
Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2002 - 19
Zheng, Chunhua (text)
Shen, Fan (illus.)
Kong, Binglei (illus.)
(The male kindergarten teacher)
Beijing : Beijing-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 2001. 95 p.
Kindergarten – Teacher – Everyday life
Brother Ou Yang is a male kindergarten teacher. Every child loves him, because he is so different from the female teachers. He is extremely tall and strong and can easily lift the children with his huge hands. He tells them funny stories, teaches them how to have a sand-bath, and how to fight against bad guys. Yet, when a frog suddenly jumps out of a box, he is as scared as a little child. Now it is the children who surround him and calm him down. In this charming picture book, which is part of a new series called »Stories of Big Head Son's Mama« and written especially for kindergarten children, text and illustration form a perfect unity. The author's most famous book »Da-tou-erzi-he-xiao-toubaba « (»Big Head Son and Little Head Dad«) has been adapted for a TV series. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2002 - 20
(A girl's diary)
Beijing : Zuojia-Chubanshe, 2000. 367 p.
Girl – Diary – Family – School – Everyday life – Coming of age
The author of this book has a daughter in grade 6 of elementary school. In this vividly written diary she narrates events of her daughter's busy and colourful daily life. Readers dive into the girl's world, they meet her classmates, experience her feelings, and share her secrets and troubles. They witness the girl's surprise when she feels the changes of her body for the first time and see her grow into a young woman. The girl's graduation from elementary school eventually marks the end of her childhood. Full of love and understanding, the author carefully records even minor details and includes witty remarks and real-life dialogue. Thus she allows the reader to share the pains and pleasures of growing up. (8+)
Nigeria (English) - 2002 - 21
Oyefeso, Kolap (reteller)
Modder, Rosalie-Ann (illus.)
The goddess of the kitchen and other stories : folktales from Africa
Ibadan [et al.] : Spectrum Books, 2000. 64 p.
This small book contains a collection of twenty traditional African folktales, many of them about indigenous animals, selected by Nigerian author Kolapo Oyefeso. In order to allow children to quickly grasp the message of the short moralistic tales, he rewrote them in simple English. This collection stands out because of its beautiful illustrations. Painted by the author's wife in bright colours, the illustrations, resembling traditional African paintings, picture typical landscapes and animals, people and their everyday life. Thus, this book also introduces non-African readers to the country's nature and culture. (4+) ☆
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 22
Base, Graeme (text/illus.)
Ringwood, Victoria [et al.] : Viking, 2001.  p.
Animals – Seasons – Wildlife – Counting
Famous Australian illustrator Graeme Base has created yet another ingenious picture book. His delightful mixture of counting book, puzzle book, story, and information book, »The Waterhole«, offers children of all ages something to enjoy. The colourful doublespreads invite readers to examine different landscapes, each one typical of a particular continent or region and its wildlife. Yet, while various animals gather on the pages for a drink, the waterhole in the middle slowly dries up. So, in the end, the animals are forced to leave; they return, however, as soon as the rains start pouring down announcing the end of the dry season. The simple storyline is interspersed with humourous sidecomments from the animal »protagonists«. And with its additional animals depicted in the tiny page borders, which can also be spotted melting into the landscapes of the main picture, this stunning book provides readers with new delights every time they return to it. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 23
Carmody, Isobelle (text)
Woolman, Steven (illus.)
Port Melbourne, Victoria: Lothian Books, 2001. 46 p.
Imaginary travel – Dream – Other World – Outsider – Love
Ken, an avid comic collector, also likes to draw his own comics. His new story, however, suddenly gets out of control: He is summoned to his fantasy world by dream magic and asked to help his heroine fight against an evil sorceress. The only person who can save him is Alyssa, a girl from his class. Together they manage to bring both stories – the imagined one and their own – to a happy ending. In this unusual mixture of fantasy novel and comic, where reality and dream are hard to tell apart, text and illustrations are closely intertwined; even the colour of the paper changes from cream symbolizing the »real« world, where Ken is in control, to black with white print when he is plunged into dangerous adventures in his fantasy world. (12+)
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 24
A new kind of dreaming
St Lucia, Queensland : Univ. of Queensland Press, 2001. 229 p.
(UQP young adult fiction)
Juvenile delinquency – Social integration – Outsider – Friendship – Murder
After having been arrested for car theft, 17-yearold Jamie is sent to Port Barren, a small desert town, to live in isolated care. At first, his plans are to quietly serve his two-year sentence with as little fuss as possible. Yet, from the moment of his arrival, he feels ill at ease. The children at his new school carefully keep their distance, the social worker seems to be afraid of something, the local police officer, Butcher, tries to arrest him without proper reason, and Jamie keeps hearing a girl's voice in his head. Made suspicious by the strange events, the boy starts to ask questions about the town's past; all of a sudden, the easy-going narrative of the beginning picks up speed and does not release its grip on the reader until the very last page. (14+)
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 25
The crowded beach
North Melbourne, Vic. : Spinifex Press, 2001. 218 p.
(Young adult fiction)
Domestic violence – Father – Alcoholism – Murder – Coping with fear – Everyday life
This sequel to Laurene Kelly's highly praised first novel »I started Crying Monday«, sensitively and convincingly describes the turmoil of feelings the two protagonists are struggling with. After their mother and younger siblings are killed in a family tragedy, Julie and her brother Toby are forced to move to their aunt's place in Sydney and start anew. Whereas Julie tries to adjust to the hectic city life as quickly as possible and forget about the past, Toby desperately misses his friends and the relaxed country-living. Both of them have to cope with their fear of the violent father, fight their loneliness, and deal with the normal burdens of teenage life. Yet, at the end of this novel with its quiet and very subtle descriptions of the protagonists' insecurity and sudden mood changes, Julie looks at her life with new optimism. (12+)
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 26
Feeling sorry for Celia
Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia, 2000. 262 p.
(Pan : Fiction)
Friendship – Divorce – Sexual relationship – Disappearance – Suicide attempt
Elizabeth's life is a chaos. Her mother is hardly ever at home but leaves messages for her everywhere, her father refuses to introduce her to his new wife and son, her best friend Celia disappears yet again and leaves Elizabeth worrying about her, and, to make matters worse, the boy she is in love with falls for her best friend. If it wasn't for her new penfriend Christina, Elizabeth might even take the advice of the Association of Teenagers and hide away in the fridge forever. This hilarious novel in »real« and imaginary letters and notes, written in a witty and ironic style, makes the readers laugh out loud on every page. But beneath the funny surface some serious issues, such as divorce and suicide, are also tackled. (12+)
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 27
Russell, Elaine (text/illus.)
A is for aunty
Sydney, NSW : ABC Books, 2001.  p.
(1. publ. 2000)
ISBN 0-7333-0729-9; 0-7333-0872-4
Australia – Aborigines – Everyday life
The letters in this unusual ABC book cleverly serve as an impulse triggering off Russell's memories of her life as a child in an Aboriginal mission. She recalls happy moments, such as a billycart race with her brothers and friends, and tells about daily routines at the mission. A closer look at her powerful pictures, painted with bright acrylic and gouache in naïve style, also reveals her being one of the few fair-skinned Aborigines; as she mentions in the short biographical sketch included in the back of the book, these children were often taken away from their families by the white government at that time. An additional treat for the readers is the book's dustjacket, which can be unfolded to a large format and put up on the wall as a poster. (4+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 28
Willow tree and Olive
Sydney, NSW : Hodder Headline Australia, 2001. 260 p.
(A sceptre book)
Immigration – Outsider – Sexual abuse – Friendship
Born in Australia as the child of Greek parents, Olive sometimes feels torn between two worlds. One day, triggered by a lecture Olive attends at school, suppressed memories of some past event suddenly surface and cause a mental breakdown. Step by step, through Olive's letters to her psychologist and her poems and thoughts, the reader discovers that she was raped at the age of five. In order to recover and face the past, she travels to Greece for a few months. This time, her bond with nature and Greek culture and tradition enable her to leave the past behind and look towards a new future. The powerful and moving story is told in fragments of poetry and prose that the reader has to piece together as Olive slowly starts healing. (14+)
India (English) - 2002 - 29
Agarwal, Deepa (text)
Roy, Atanu (illus.)
What's right, what's wrong
New Delhi : Save the Children, 2001. 44 p.
Children's rights – Education – Child labour – Poverty – Hunger – Violence
The six stories in this small booklet all describe the everday life of poor children in India, with each of the children fighting against a particular problem. The topics touched on range from a boy's struggle for better education, to a family's close escape from a devastating flood, and a girl's frustration and fear when her little baby sister is killed after birth, simply because she is a girl. Written in a simple language, the stories, aimed at readers from 8 to 14, clearly suggest how improvements may be achieved. Small boxes at the end of each story do not only contain additional facts and information about the particular problem embedded in the narrative, but also ask the reader to question the treatment of children in poor countries like India. (8+)
India (English) - 2002 - 30
Dutta, Arup Kumar (text)
Basu, Suddhasattwa (illus.)
The counterfeit treasure
New Delhi [et al.] : Scholastic, 2001. 172 p.
India/Meghalaya – Counterfeit money – Adventure – Village community – Trust
Travelling to Meghalaya (a beautiful Indian region near Bangladesh) with their father, twelve-year-old Paloma and her brother Arnab stumble into an exciting adventure. Soon after their arrival, they befriend Yuri, a local girl, and together they secretly start exploring a cave nearby. When they discover that a gang of counterfeit printers has hidden away their treasure there, events get out of control; still, the children are saved and return home as »heroes«. Arup Kumar Dutta not only tells a vivacious and gripping detective story, he also acquaints the readers with the life and different cultures in a rural region of India. The detailed landscape descriptions will certainly arouse the readers' interest in the country. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - India (English) - 2002 - 31
Wolf, Gita (text)
Rao, Sirish (text)
Ramanathan, Rathna (illus.)
Ladha, Rachana (illus. concept)
In the dark
Chennai, India : Tara Publ., 2000.  p.
Fairytale – Perspective
In this witty version of a well-known traditional Sufi folktale (folktales with a similar plot also exist in other countries) five men bump into a huge and very strange object on their way home one pitch dark night. Since each of them has his own opinion about what he has encountered (a wall, an octopus, a bugle, etc.), the stubborn men soon start quarrelling. Only the next morning, when the sun rises and reveals the object's true identity, do they become aware that neither of them had adequately named it – even if neither of them was wrong, either. This small square book is a handcrafted treasure with simple, two-colour pictures printed in silkscreen technique. Each picture depicts only that part of the mysterious object, which perfectly matches the respective person's description; thus, it leaves the readers as puzzled as the protagonists. The pictures and the short calligraphic text, written on handmade paper, and the small bag in which this book is sold, make it a special treat for children and book collectors alike. (4+) ☼
New Zealand (English) - 2002 - 32
Dunedin, New Zealand : Longacre Press, 2001. 173 p.
Outsider – School trip – Friendship – Earthquake – Survival – Murder – Revenge
When Marko wakes up in a psychiatric ward, he cannot remember what happened to him during the last few days. One thing he is sure of, though, is that the doctor is going to kill him if he does not strike first. Marko's descriptions of his present confinement, as well as of the coast-to-coast adventure- schooltrip and the earthquake leading to his situation, are told in alternating chapters with different typography and tense. Step by step, he relates a story of murder and disaster which seems too appaling to be true. Left to judge for themselves whether they can trust the first-person narration, the readers are inevitably drawn into the gripping thriller, the outcome of which is still uncertain at the end. (14+)
New Zealand (English) - 2002 - 33
Tipene, Tim (text)
Campbell, Henry (illus.)
Taming the taniwha
Wellington : Huia, 2001.  p.
School – Bullying – Friendship – Maori
If it wasn't for James, the class bully, Tama would love going to school. His mother, aunt, and uncle come up with various suggestions how to »tame« this monster. Yet, neither telling the teacher nor trying to fight the bully seems a good idea. So when his grandfather suggests being friendly and inviting James to Tama's home, he considers this a crazy idea. To his great surprise, however, the frightening green monster slowly turns into an amiable boy – literally and visually. In Campbell's bright acrylic pictures many harmless objects assume the shape or colour of the terrifying taniwha and thus clearly mirror Tama's fear. Accordingly, as soon as Tama and James have become friends, the frightening shapes disappear. (5+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 34
Noughts & Crosses
London [et al.] : Doubleday, 2001. 446 p.
Class society – Discrimination – Justice – Terrorism – Love
Sephy and Callum have always been best friends; but their friendship and growing love is threatened in this fictional class society. Being a Cross, Sephy, the daughter of an ambitious and ruthless politician, leads a comfortable life, whereas Callum's family are noughts, second class citizens, who have hardly any rights. When Callum and three other nought teenagers are accepted into Sephy's high school as a test case, hostilities break out and she suddenly finds herself forced to take sides. Confronted with hatred and prejudices from both noughts and Crosses, Sephy's naïve view of the world changes rapidly. In the end, when Callum's fight for justice fails and Sephy is left with their unborn child, she sets her hopes on a better future. Through the reversal of traditional roles – the ruling Crosses are black while the suppressed noughts are white – this thought-provoking novel of racism, discrimination and love encourages the readers to challenge traditional conventions. (14+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 35
Blake, Quentin (text/illus.)
Tell me a picture
London : National Gallery Co., 2001. [ca. 120] p.
Arts – Artist – Painting – Museum
In 1999, while Quentin Blake was Britain's first Children's Laureate, he initiated an unusual exhibition in London's National Gallery. He selected 26 paintings by famous artists and well-known illustrators and arranged them on the museum walls (at a child's eye-level) in alphabetical order from Avercamp to Lisbeth Zwerger. On the walls between all these art works, he painted crowds of children looking at the pictures and added their comments. The children's typical straightforward remarks invited Gallery visitors to express their own spontaneous feelings about the paintings. This book »recreates« the exhibition, adding suggestions of how to use the book and giving further information about the artists and their pictures in a short appendix. (6+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 36
Doyle, Malachy (text)
Hess, Paul (illus.)
Hungry! Hungry! Hungry!
London : Andersen Press, 2000.  p.
Boy – Monster – Goblin – Eating – Fear
The two protagonists of this humorous picture book, a small boy and a »grisly, ghastly goblin« are certainly having a weird conversation reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood's talking to the wolf. The large-format colourful illustrations depict the scenes from unusual angles, zoom in on the ugly green goblin and out again, and follow the monster chasing the boy through all of the rooms of his cozy home; thus, they highlight the child's growing uneasiness and fear about being eaten. The monster's repetitive chant »Hungry! Hungry! Hungry! «, set in huge letters printed in bold type, further increases the tension – until it is suddenly resolved into a completely unexpected and highly amusing twist. (4+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 37
Journey to the River Sea
London [et al.] : Macmillan Children's Books, 2001. 296 p.
Orphan – Amazonas/1910 – Indians/Brazil – Adventure
Two years after her parents' death, Maia's guardian has finally managed to dig up some distant relatives. Therefore, Maia suddenly finds herself whisked away from her safe girls' school in London and put onto a ship heading for the Amazonas jungle. Her excitement and curiosity, however, are soon smothered. Arrogant and greedy Mrs. Carter and her mean, envious twin daughters make Maia's life miserable. Nevertheless, when Maia befriends an Indian boy and helps him escape from two dreadful »head-hunters«, the long-awaited adventures finally begin. Set in the 1910s, the engaging novel easily transports readers back in time. The humorous language and the slightly ironic characterisation, make this gripping adventure story an entertaining read. (10+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 38
Kelly, Mij (text)
Jay, Alison (illus.)
William and the night-train
London : Hodder Children's Books, 2000.  p
ISBN 0-340-73308-x; 0-340-73250-4
Boy – Sleep – Waking up
Everybody aboard the night-train is sleeping – except wide-awake William. He is so anxious to get to tomorrow as quickly as possible that he squirms and kicks and runs around waiting for the train to take off. Kelly's short lines of text and Jay's characteristic vibrant pictures brimming with funny details perfectly capture William's excitement and restlessness. Painted in rich warm colours, an absurd accumulation of people, animals, and objects are crowded together inside the train, such as a boxer in leopard-trousers, an elephant with two monkeys on its back, and a huge ice-cream cone. Children will eagerly follow William around the train, and maybe, just like William, they may finally fall asleep. (3+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 39
The kite rider
Oxford [et al.] : Oxford Univ. Press, 2001. 212 p.
China/13th century – Mongols – Rebellion – Father – Death – Obedience – Circus
Twelve-year old Hayou grows up in a society based on strict obedience and respect towards the elders – values he never dares to question. But after his father's death life becomes extremely difficult. Joining the Jade Circus as its new attraction – he rides a kite among the clouds – offers him a chance to escape from his problems, travel the country, and earn his own money. In this engaging novel, McCaughrean convincingly describes the hero's feelings and adventures, making the readers experience life in 13th century China through the eyes of a young boy who is constantly exploited by his greedy uncle and learns, step by step, that it is always better to rely on your own judgement than to blindly obey other people. (12+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 40
London [et al.] : Corgi Books, 2001. 271 p.
England – India/Punjab – Multicultural society – Family – Traditional education – Conflict
Manjiit, or Manny as he calls himself, was born in Leicester into a strictly traditional Punjabi family. His father, a proud man with a lot of racial prejudice, expects his sons to honour the old family traditions and, if necessary, he will use force to make them obey. But Manny wants more from life than an arranged marriage at seventeen and a future set out for him by his parents. His anger and frustration are easily shared by the readers as they follow Manny's fight to free himself from family expectations and live his own life – even if this means a complete break with his family. Although the teenage slang seems strained at times, the author's fresh style and the quick pace of the narration make this a strong first novel. (14+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 41
Spates, Tracy V.
Picture the world : children's art around the globe
London : Milet, 2001. 63 p.
Children's art – Cultural diversity – Everyday life
This large-format book does not only contain fascinating examples of children's art, it actually takes the reader on an informative journey around the world, visiting eight different countries. In each chapter, several pictures created by children of the respective country are presented. In addition, a small map, photographs of people, buildings, animals, etc., as well as examples of local folk art offer a brief introduction to the countries with small units of text providing further insights. Each section ends with a suggestion for an interesting arts activity for children to try out. This is a truly innovative and enjoyable way of looking at cultural diversity around the globe and enhancing children's creativity. (6+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 42
Tadjo, Véronique (ed./illus.)
Talking drums : a selection of poems from Africa South of the Sahara
London : Black, 2000. 96 p.
ISBN 0-7136-5815-0; 0-7136-5397-3
Sub-Saharan Africa – Poetry – Animals – Independence
»Talking Drums« is a vivid collection of traditional and contemporary African poetry beautifully illustrated by Véronique Tadjo. Her black ink drawings, reminiscent of traditional African paintings, perfectly complement the short moving verses. Arranged in seven chapters entitled Our Universe, The Animal Kingdom, Love and Celebrations, People, Death, Pride and Defiance, and The Changing Times, this collection tells the story of Africa, its creation and history, its people and their fight for independence, from an African point of view. The authors' love for their countries can easily be perceived in each text. A map of Africa and a glossary of African words are added for further information. (8+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 43
Ward, Helen (text)
Anderson, Wayne (illus.)
The tin forest
Dorking, Surrey : Templar Publ., 2001.  p.
Loneliness – Dream – Happiness
»There was once a wide, windswept place, near nowhere and close to forgotten, that was filled with all the things that no one wanted.« The old man living in this sad grey place dreams of turning it into a beautiful tropical forest. Step by step, he creates a jungle of tin trees, flowers, and animals, and – because he never stops dreaming – his dearest wish finally comes true. Ward's quiet and poetic text is perfectly complemented by Anderson's stunning colour-pencil drawings. The monochrome illustrations at the beginning ingeniously depict the garbage heap's icy greyness and the tin forest's artificiality. With the arrival of the first two real birds, however, the setting is slowly transformed into a colourful garden of joy and happiness. (4+) ☼
Ireland (English) - 2002 - 44
Dunbar, Robert (ed.)
Skimming : [fiction from top Irish writers]
Dublin : O'Brien Press, 2001. 155 p.
Ireland – Everyday life
»Skimming« is a rich and powerful anthology of short stories written by some of the most important contemporary Irish authors for children, such as Siobhán Parkinson, Eoin Colfer, and Mark O'Sullivan. Each of the stories has its own strong voice and distinct style and touches on a different theme. Topics range from the amusing attempts of a father to remove a spider from his daughter's bedroom (making the whole holiday home collapse on his head) to the moving account of a shy young boy who befriends an old tramp and defends him when a teenage gang attack the old man. Despite its diversity, however, the collection forms a cohesive whole by portraying children and teenagers who are trying to cope with their lives in a sometimes hostile world ruled by adults. (10+) ☼
Ireland (English) - 2002 - 45
Breaking the silence
Dublin : Wolfhound Press, 2001. 165 p.
(Young adult fiction)
Sexual abuse – Friendship – Fear – Feeling of guilt
In this powerful, engaging novel for young adults, the author approaches a topic that is still considered a taboo: the sexual abuse of boys. At the age of thirteen, now seventeen-year-old Declan was abused by a group of older boys from his basketball team. When they also rape his best friend Doc three years later, who dies shortly afterwards in a car crash, Declan is overwhelmed by feelings of guilt. The author sympathetically describes the protagonist's desperate attempts to regain control of his life; he portrays the boy's panic whenever he meets his tormentors, and makes the readers share his physical and psychological pain. With the help of two new friends, Declan eventually summons the courage to face his past. (14+)
Canada (English) - 2002 - 46
Kositsky, Lynne (text)
Lightburn, Ron (illus.)
Matthews, Sharon (illus.)
Rachel : a mighty big imagining
Toronto, Ontario [et al.] : Penguin Books, 2001. XI, 64 p.
(Our Canadian girl) (Juvenile fiction)
Nova Scotia/1783 – Slavery – Emancipation – Gender role
The story of ten-year-old Rachel is one of four in a new series of Canadian historical fiction. Aimed at young girls, the series features strong heroines in various historical settings. Black-and-white-illustrations, a historical map of Canada, and a timeline add to the retro-Victorian make-up. Rachel has fled slavery and come to Nova Scotia to be free. As she experiences poverty and prejudice, her family's love and an Indian girl's friendship, she understands that freedom exists above all in the mind. Kositsky draws a compelling portrait of one of the lesser-known chapters of Canadian history that will inspire girls to read on. They will find related information and activities at the supporting website www.ourcanadiangirl.ca. (8+)
Canada (English) - 2002 - 47
Ruurs, Margriet (text)
Bonder, Dianna (illus.)
A pacific alphabet
Vancouver [et al.] : Whitecap Books, 2001.  p.
In recent years, many Canadian children's books have explored their country's mountains, prairies, and northern regions from A to Z. This quirky picture ABC-book takes you on a rollicking journey along the Pacific coast. Ruurs' alliteration-packed verses overflow with the rich fauna and flaura while Bonder's bright, capricious pictures brim with deliciously absurd imagination and humour. Odd, delightfully grotesque characters populate the pages. Children will rejoice at the rich sounds of the verse and love to plunge into the pages to identify many hidden objects that start with each letter. (6+)
Canada (English) - 2002 - 48
Sheppard, Mary C.
Seven for a secret
Toronto, Ontario [et al.] : Douglas & McIntyre, 2001. 189 p.
(A Groundwood book)
ISBN 0-88899-437-0; 0-88899-438-9
Coming of age – Gender role
Women's lives in Cook's Cave, Newfoundland, long followed the same course: school until age 14, pregnancy, marriage to a fisherman, children, housework, trouble with a drinking husband or loss of a beloved husband in a storm. In 1960, things are changing: Melinda, Rebecca and Kate, cousins and best friends, are promising and very different young women. That summer they have to make decisions which will determine their futures somewhere between tradition and emancipation. Melinda's authentic, saucy voice lends this firstperson narrative freshness and gives a vivid portrait of three Newfoundland-generations. (14+)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 49
Toronto, Ontario : HarperCollins, 2001. 168 p.
(Young adult fiction)
Coming of age – Imagination – The Evil – Reality/Fantasy
»You are on the cusp […] between boy and man, the dreaming and the reality«. That's what Abram Harsich, an uncanny stranger who mesmerises a little Saskatchewan prairie town, explains to Robert. The eleven-year-old still possesses the deep intuitive understanding of a child which allows him to unravel the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of his little brother. But he equally has the strength to confront Harsich, who steals children to collect their »dust« – their souls. In this intellectually and emotionally engaging novel, Slade masterfully explores this realm of transition in which the boundaries between reality and fantasy blur. He draws on elements from horror tales and science fiction, fantasy and coming-of-age stories. Action-packed and yet full of reflexion, Slade's writing brims with dazzling imagery and literary references ranging from the Bible to science fiction. This is a thrilling page-turner of high literary quality. (12+)
(Governor General's Award; 2001)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 50
Swanson, Diane (text)
Clark, Warren (illus.)
Nibbling on Einstein's brain : the good, the bad & the bogus in science
Toronto [et al.] : Annick Press, 2001. 104 p.
ISBN 1-55037-686-1; 1-55037-687-x
Science – Fraud in science – Scientific literacy
Science determines many choices we make and the way we understand the world. However, not everything that looks like science is reliable. It is difficult to distinguish between sound science that is based on proper research and phony science that is false or misleading. That is why this book advocating scientific literacy is particularly welcome. It doesn't give answers but shows what questions to ask. It doesn't accumulate facts but demonstrates how to evaluate them. It's a guide to critical thinking, teaching awareness of media and mind traps. Swanson's accessible writing, Clark's zany illustrations and the effective layout make this book – complete with assignments, index, glossary, and references – an enjoyable interactive read. (12+)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 51
Calgary, Alberta : Red Deer Press, 2001. 208 p.
Emotional trauma – Guilt – Friendship
Fragmented memories trouble Dani's mind as she regains consciousness in Riverwood Psychiatric Clinic. Distant ones of her loving mother, haunting ones of her father, and powerful ones of the »Game« she and her sister Kelly used to play – a game of Good against Evil which holds the key to her emotional trauma. With the help of Doctor Thurber and new friends, Dani can finally confront it. Toten effectively explores various narrative techniques to convey the psychological complexity of guilt, angst, craving for love and acceptance: nonlinear unfolding of the plot, shifting points-ofview, inclusion of letters and interviews. In short: a stirring, well-crafted novel. (16+)
(Governor General's Award; 2001, Finalist)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 52
Watt, Mélanie (text/illus.)
Leon the chameleon
Toronto, ON [et al.] : Kids Can Press, 2001.  p.
Difference – Colour – Loneliness
Leon the chameleon is different from all the other chameleons. On a green leaf, he turns red, on yellow sand, he turns purple, and in the blue pond, he turns orange. No wonder Leon feels lonely! Apart from illustrating the principles of complementary colours in a strikingly original way (the book started off as a university project on colour theory), Leon himself learns an important lesson: What makes him different is also what makes him special. Watt's vibrant acrylic and black ink illustrations perfectly capture Leon's moods and strongly bring the message of acceptance and self-confidence across. (4+) ☆
USA (English) - 2002 - 53
Allen, Scott (text)
Pickering, Jimmy (illus.)
Los Angeles, CA : Smallfellow Press, 2001.  p.
Pumpkin – Imagination – Halloween
Do you really think a pumpkin is only for eating? Or would you only use it for carving a lantern on 31st October? Then it is high time you consulted this delighting picture book which offers heaps of congenial ideas of how to put this versatile vegetable to use. From a boat rowed by black cats, to arachnid apartments, or a witch's cauldron, a pumpkin always comes in handy the author says, inviting readers to create their own pumpkininventions. The crazy suggestions, put forth in (sometimes slightly jerky) rhymed verse, are accompanied by equally crazy full- and double-page illustrations in which the colours black and orange dominate – as is certainly apt for a scene set around Halloween. This is a highly entertaining book of nonsense! (4+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 54
A step from heaven
Asheville, NC : Front Street, 2001. 156 p.
America – Immigration – Alcoholism – Poverty – Coming of age – Multicultural society
When four-year-old Young Ju's family emigrate from Korea to America, she firmly believes they are going to heaven. Soon, however, she comes to realize that life in this foreign country is going to be all but »heavenly«. She is torn between her desire to assimilate and to obey her father who is determined to strictly hold on to Korean traditions. The short chapters, written in a powerful authentic language, give a compelling portrait of the family's struggle against poverty and disappointments, especially against the father's growing despair and violent alcoholism. Despite the family's bitter loss when the father finally leaves them to return to Korea, the engaging novel ends on a hopeful note with the mother and brother buying their own home and Young Ju looking forward to studying. An Na's moving narration inevitably draws the readers into her story and makes them share the protagonist's painful growth from a shy and fearful little girl into a confident young woman. (12+) ☆
(Michael L. Printz Award; 2002)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 55
Deans, Sis Boulos
Racing the past
New York, NY : Holt, 2001. 151 p.
Father – Son – Alcoholism – Violence – Death – Bullying – Running
At first, running all the way to school and back each day is simply a way of avoiding school bully Bugsie's attacks. Yet, one day Ricky realizes that running also helps him to cope with his own problems. A mixture of present thoughts and past memories welling up inside the boy provide a deep insight into the family's extremely painful life. Through his running, Ricky starts fighting the memories of his dead father's alcoholic rages and regular beatings which still haunt him and his younger brother Matt. The engaging emotional narration also reveals that he is fed up with being the town's scapegoat for anything bad that happens. So when he finally manages to race the schoolbus, he wins in more than just one way. (10+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 56
New York : Scholastic Press, 2001. 161 p.
Vermont/1924 – Racism – KuKluxKlan – Everyday life
In 1924, when the KuKluxKlan settles down in a small Vermont village, hatred suddenly spreads among formerly friendly neighbours. The father of little Esther, a Jewish girl, is shot at, the well belonging to the Sutters, an Afro-American family, is only just saved from poisoning, and law-abiding citizens are turned into criminals. Award-winning author Karen Hesse makes eleven ordinary village people voice their secret feelings in a uniquely convincing and touching language. Written in free verse, the short texts illuminate the events from different angles and implicitly comment on each other. The small black-and-white photographs of the protagonists at the beginning of the book lend authenticity to the short novel. (10+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 57
Hoose, Phillip M.
We were there, too! : young people in US history
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001. VII, 264 p.
(Melanie Kroupa books)
America <USA>/1492-2000 – Development – Young people
There is certainly no shortage of books about American heroes who have contributed to the history of the USA since its discovery more than 500 years ago. Hardly any of these books, though, mention the role that young people played in it or honours their amazing achievements. Hoose now comes to their rescue. In chronologically arranged chapters, each with its own introduction, this extraordinary book brings to life the boys who sailed with Columbus, the Cherokee girl who developed a written language for her people, or the »newsies« (small boys and girls selling newspapers on the streets) whose strike almost brought down the big publishers. Black-and-white photographs, maps, and memorabilia accompany the well-written, informative text. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 58
Everything on a waffle
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001. 149 p.
Orphan – Foster home
Deep in her heart, eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp simply knows that her parents have not drowned in that terrible typhoon. In a uniquely confident voice, the orphan herself talks about life with old mothball-scented Miss Perfidy, who usually leaves the room in the middle of Primrose's sentences, and about her new home with adventure-loving Uncle Jack. Luckily enough, there is always Miss Bowzer at her small restaurant, The Girl on the Red Swing, where everything is served on a waffle. She lends an open ear to all of Primrose's problems and offers advice as well as a number of delicious recipes. Canadian author Polly Horvath's lovable heroine, and all the other eccentric characters, will win over the readers of this magnificent novel in no time at all. (10+) ☼
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 59
Janeczko, Paul B. (select.)
Raschka, Chris (illus.)
A poke in the i : [a collection of concrete poems]
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2001. 35 p.
This hilarious anthology presents a selection of concrete poems from the last four decades ranging from simple to complex ones, from a single word to longer texts, from nonsensical lines to serious and thought-provoking poetry. The poems are arranged on a new page each and are perfectly complemented by Chris Raschka's stunning illustrations. His vivid collages of rich watercolours, ink, and patterned paper torn into different shapes, lend freshness to the poems, often adding new meanings to them or giving them an unexpected twist. Pictures and poems alike will inspire young (as well as older) readers to play with the language and let their imagination lead them to new horizons. (8+) ☼
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 60
Scieszka, Jon (text)
Smith, Lane (illus.)
Baloney (Henry P.)
New York, NY [et al.] : Viking, 2001.  p.
School – Being late – Excuse – Imagination
Although Henry P. Baloney obviously lives on some foreign planet, he is faced with a very common human problem: He desperately needs a believable excuse for being late for his class. The cheeky little green lad, however, quickly comes up with such an absurd and confusing story that his stern-looking teacher cannot but marvel at his imagination. The numerous weird-sounding expressions taken from 13 different languages (such as Finnish, Swahili, or Esperanto) as well as the imaginative mixed-media illustrations, which depict an alien world in varying formats, further add to the tale's crazy and funny atmosphere. (6+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 61
Turner, Sandy (illus.)
New York, NY [et al.] : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2001.  p.
Christmas – Santa Claus – Invisibility – Dog
As its name suggests, the Silent Night is supposed to be peaceful and quiet. The small white dog in this picture book without text, however, furiously tries to make the sleeping family notice a particularly brazen »burglar«. Unfortunately, the intruder in his bright red cloak is invisible to everyone but the dog. This barking security guard gets so carried away by its own agitation that one double-page is completely covered in barks. Sandy Turner's turbulent sketchy black charcoal drawings on a creamcoloured background ingeniously depict the dog's desperate attempts to corner the enemy (the dog is often drawn in various positions within the same cartoon-like picture) and the family's wordless astonishment at their pet's incomprehensible behaviour. Simply hilarious! (3+) ☼
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 62
Waldman, Neil (text/illus.)
They came from the Bronx : how the buffalo were saved from extinction
Honesdale, Pa. : Boyds Mills Press, 2001.  p.
Indians/USA – Buffalo – Extinction – White settlers – Wildlife conservation
This impressive large-format picture book opens with an elderly Comanche woman; while sitting on an Oklahoma hilltop with her small grandson in 1907, she recalls her people's former way of life, the importance of the buffalo, and the animal's near extinction by the Whites. On every other page, her narration is interrupted by a second story commemorating the efforts of a group of Wildlife Conservationists to bring the American bison back from the brink of extinction. In order to achieve their aims, they ship a herd of buffalos from the Bronx Zoo to the plains of Oklahoma. The unusual earth-colour illustrations in the style of old handcoloured photographs graphically unite both stories while lending historical authenticity to the informative and engaging text. (4+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 63
Wiesner, David (text/illus.)
The three pigs
New York : Clarion Books, 2001.  p.
Fairytale – Pig – Wolf – Adventure
Everybody knows the story of the three little pigs. In this hilarious new version of the classic fairy tale, however, when the big bad wolf arrives to blow down the houses and swallow the poor little chaps, a big surprise awaits him. The pigs have jumped out of their own story onto the dazzling white pages of the book. They fold the page with the puzzled wolf into a paper plane, and embark on new adventures. David Wiesner's ingenious illustrations show the cartoon-like pigs suddenly turn into »real-life« ones. They grow fur, climb into different traditional stories, liberate new friends on their way, and ultimately control their own fate. The discrepancy between the well-known text and the illustrations, which picture an altogether different story, reveals the author's humorous play with conventions. (4+)
(Randolph Caldecott Medal; 2002)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 64
Wolff, Virginia Euwer
New York, NY [et al.] : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2001. 264 p.
School – Friendship – Coming of age – Love – Lower social class
In this powerful and riveting sequel to »Make Lemonade «, Verna La Vaughn ponders over all of life's absurdities and obstacles, wondering why life at fifteen can't be as easy as it used to be when she was a little girl. Her best friends, Myrtle and Annie, have recently joined some dubious religious club, the boy she is in love with turns out to be gay, her mother has to work hard to save money for LaVaughn's future at college, while she herself isn't quite sure yet whether going to Grammar-Build-Up classes is really worth slipping away from her familiar background. In this touching novel Wolff uses the unusual form of free verse, lending an immediacy to the girl's inner feelings and doubts which the readers easily understand. (14+)
(Michael L. Printz Award Honour Book; 2002)
Austria (German) - 2002 - 65
Achternbusch, Herbert (text/illus.)
Weitra : Publ. P No. 1, Bibliothek der Provinz, .  p.
Small girl – Carp – Lifesaving – Imagination – Anthropomorphism
There are two central questions implicitly discussed in this unusual picture book: What are the limits of awareness for both humans and animals and how do these two species communicate with each other? For the two carps living in the pond in front of Naomi's house the »concept of the world« at first naturally ends at the surface of the water. One day, though, three-year-old Naomi saves the life of one of the carps, who dutifully expresses his thanks. The small girl immediately tells her parents about it. Unlike Naomi's mother, a teacher, her poetry- writing father does not consider talking carps astonishing. In only a few lines of text and blue-ink brushwork the author gives us his firm opinion about children, poets, carps, and teachers. (7+) ☼
Austria (German) - 2002 - 66
Auer, Martin (text)
Wolfsgruber, Linda (illus.)
St. Pölten [et al.] : NP, 2001.  p.
Devil – Wings – Loss – Search
Luzi, the son of great Lucifer, wants to bring back the large, wonderfully white angelic wings his father lost long ago. He starts his search on the earth's surface and tries out all the different materials he comes across – without success, of course. Then Angela, a small angel, turns up and persuades him to play hopscotch (in German called »Himmel und Hölle« / »Heaven and Hell«). They jump around hopping from square to square with all the tricks of the trade, and that is how Luzi finds a solution to his father's problem: »If you can't fly, at least you can jump«, he tells him. Father Lucifer smiles. Around the devils' family idyll, the small and big protagonists move on a diabolically red background, around the secular world, they move on a scenery dominated by earthen and heavenly colours. In this picture book, heaven and hell become reconciled. (5+)
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2002 - 67
Auer, Martin (text)
Wolfsgruber, Linda (illus.)
Weitra : Publ. P No. 1, Bibliothek der Provinz, 2001.  p.
Princess – Example – Imitation – Dependence
Because of their psychological dependence on others, the protagonists of this picture book act very weirdly. A high-ranking person does something impertinent and immediately everybody imitates that behaviour in some form: When the proud princess refuses to blow her nose, the prince does not want to comb his hair anymore, the king stops washing himself, the magician tears his clothes, etc. etc. And in the end, to make matters worse, the fool even intends to let himself be eaten by the crocodile – only because of the other people's foolishness. Luckily enough, the story ends happily for both the fool and the crocodile. The various mixedmedia collages, are set off against a uniform background resembling a table on which all the protagonists meet. The text is partly hand-written, partly printed. The arrangement of text and pictures, full of sudden breaks and leaps, underscores the absurdity of the action. Despite its serious background, this interactive book also invites its readers to play. (Cut-out dolls are included) (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2002 - 68
Janisch, Heinz (text)
Bansch, Helga (illus.)
Es gibt so Tage ...
(There are those days ...)
Wien : Jungbrunnen, 2001.  p.
Girl – Everyday life – Imagination – Mood
There are certain days ... when the world seems all topsy-turvy. Maybe, one should indeed think about Merike's interpretation of reality as presented in the creative and lively pictures: Isn't it true that sometimes everybody seems to walk on stilts or stand on their heads (at least inwardly)? Doesn't the city really seem like a huge jungle at times? And, on the bright side, doesn't everyone get a kiss once in a while? Doesn't everybody feel the need to lean on somebody, to stare into the air, or to show a special trick to someone? On those days ... when she rather stays in bed, Merike invents her own stories. This book offers its readers almost endless possibilities for dreaming on and on. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2002 - 69
Der unterbrochene Ton
(The interrupted sound)
Wien [et al.] : Jungbrunnen, 2001. 270 p.
Vienna/1938-1939 – Upper classes – Jews – Family – Daughter – National Socialism – Persecution of the Jews – Emigration
This is a story told in flashbacks: In 1947, while travelling to her father who emigrated overseas, Clara remembers the life-threatening incidents of 1938 and 1939 and the momentous changes to her daily life in Vienna during her childhood. In the course of these events, a well-guarded family secret could not be kept any longer: to protect her children, Clara's non-Jewish mother reveals that the father of Clara and her siblings, a friend of the family, is »Aryan«. Their deeply-loved Jewish dad is not the natural father. The children do not understand their parents' actions anymore. Yet, such family matters fade into the background in the face of the real-life horrors. This is a moving novel based on an authentic story and written with a profound knowledge of historical details. (12+)
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2002 - 70
Kretschmann, Moidi (illus.)
St. Pölten [et al.] : NP, 2001.  p.
Scarecrow – Raven – Uselessness – Loneliness – Fear – Friendship – Age
Clara feels very lonely – until, one day, a raven comes along, who tells her about the whole wide world. As Clara is afraid of the dark – a very embarrassing thing for a scarecrow – she asks the raven to stay with her. The urbane bird, however, intends to fetch her the moon from the sky to light up the night. Yet, since Clara would definitely prefer her new friend's company, she is not really disappointed when his big plan fails. Clara names the raven, who has never had a name before, Jakob and they stay together. The illustrations with their large white spaces make Clara's loneliness evident and picture two slightly dishevelled but happy friends. (6+)
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2002 - 71
Wien : Dachs-Verl., 2001. 139 p.
Friendship – Drug abuse – Coming of age
Elena and her brother get on very well. Therefore, his invitation to join him and his girlfriend Susette on a trip to Amsterdam sounds very attractive to Elena, even if she does not have a particularly good relationship with Susette, a spoiled young woman. Of course, she doesn't have any idea that Susette is a drug addict and intends to abuse her for smuggeling drugs. After a while, the young woman's psychological situation becomes more and more desperate; eventually, she freezes to death in the mountains, intoxicated with alcohol and drugs. Elena sees and shares her brother's despair. Due to these events, she matures and grows into a responsible young woman. In an unspectacular style, the author convincingly relates the conflicts of young people from different social backgrounds. (14+)
Germany (German) - 2002 - 72
Bauer, Jutta (text/illus.)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2001.  p.
Grandfather – Grandson – Guardian angel
Grandfather tells his grandson about his life, not knowing that he also talks about his guardian angel: whenever he was in danger, the guardian angel was on the spot and often received a bop on the nose due to grandfather's mishaps. At the end of the book, the old man dies, leaving his angelic protector to the boy. The special appeal of this picture book lies in the tension between text and pictures. While the words only describe the surface of the old man's life, which seems fairly straightforward, the coloured pen-and-ink drawings dive to a deeper level and show the essential contribution of the angel – depicted as a light-blue airy creature – to several dicey situations. A lot of humour is evident in this book, as well as a view of reality which leaves readers room enough to think and fantasize. (4+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2002 - 73
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (coll./illus.)
Apfel, Nuss und Schneeballschlacht : das große Winter-Weihnachtsbuch ; Geschichten, Lieder und Gedichte
(Apple, nut, and snowball fight : the big winterchristmas- book ; stories, songs, and poems)
Hildesheim : Gerstenberg, 2001. 144 p.
Christmas – Winter season – Song – Poetry – Stories
This is a book for the whole family to read, sing, and look at. In secular and Christian texts about Christmas and wintertime, in old and in new poems, text and illustration perfectly complement each other to fulfil their task: They make people contemplate and anticipate this special time of year. The illustrations always vary according to the selected texts and the artist's imagination: The reader will find any variation imaginable from fullpage episodes to playful vignettes. The doors are open for young and old alike to enjoy themselves, play or even spin a yarn. (4+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2002 - 74
Blaich, Ute (text)
Litty, Julie (illus.)
Gossau [et al.] : Neugebauer, 2001.  p.
Winter – Christmas – Forest animals
It's Christmas Eve. The animals in the forest are hungry and cold because of the snow and ice, but – wasn't there some noise? The tawny owl overlooks a small mouse and instead starts telling them about The White Ravens 2002 - © Internationale Jugendbibliothek the birth of Jesus and about that new thing his birth brought to the world: love. Humans are sly, violent, and hungry for power; and the animals know that. But this night a man and his little daughter bring a load of things to eat to the forest animals. And the next day? Everything will be back to normal again, of course. Yet, for the last 2000 years the star has kept shining for those who wanted to see it. Particularly appealing in this quiet picture book are the tender watercolour paintings perfectly drawn in a naturalistic style. (5+)
Germany (German) - 2002 - 75
Blume, Bruno (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Ein richtig schöner Tag
(A really nice day)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2001.  p.
Family – Daily routine – Planning – Day trip – Obstacles
The family want to have a lovely day in their garden on the outskirts of the city. But in the morning daddy rather sleeps a little longer, baby needs yet another clean nappy, the washing machine suddenly stops working, and the chatty neighbours cause further delays. Therefore, it is almost dark when the family, a little out of breath, finally arrive at their garden. Still everybody keeps hoping that the next time they will all stick to the timetable without a problem. They are not even angry with each other although nothing went right today. Tomorrow everything will surely be different. The lively and humorous illustrations do show the parents stressed out and in a hurry; but on the other hand, they also point out that children get fun out of every situation, if only you let them. (7+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2002 - 76
Boie, Kirsten (text)
Göbel, Dorothea (illus.)
Der durch den Spiegel kommt
(The person who comes through the mirror)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2001. 236 p.
Girl – Mirror – Other World – Rabbit – The Evil – Rescue – Adventure
A small, average girl – as she considers herself – is given the task of saving the Land-on-the-Other- Side from »Evil«, with her own courage as the only weapon. The first-person narrator travels into a parallel universe through a mysterious mirror and encounters several adventures that nobody at home understands, let alone believes in. It seems that the talking rabbit, her companion, has simply chosen the wrong person – instead of her, someone else should have been selected as the »Brave Fighter«. Nevertheless, she completes her task successfully. This clever mirror-tale, inspired by »Alice's Adventures in Wonderland«, does not remain on the fantasy level; it also invites readers to summon up courage for the challenges of their own daily lives. (10+)
Germany (German) - 2002 - 77
Dijk, Lutz van (text)
Schlicht, Renate (illus.)
Die Geschichte der Juden
(The history of the Jews)
Frankfurt [et al.] : Campus-Verl., 2001. 206 p.
Since 1948, when Palestine was partly settled by Jews without the inhabitants' consent, each generation grows up in an atmosphere of mutual hostility towards their neighbours. Even observers from outside often lack the necessary information to fully understand the events going on. Taking »personal stories« of people from different times and countries as an example, the author tries to contribute to the understanding of recent and historical problems: In the face of present conflicts, he provides information instead of ideologies. Without too much simplification, this book offers a comprehensible overview of the Jewish history. Numerous colour illustrations liven up the difficult topic. (12+) ☆
Germany (German) - 2002 - 78
Dörrie, Doris (text)
Kaergel, Julia (illus.)
Wo ist Lotte?
(Where is Lotte?)
Ravensburg : Ravensburger Buchverl., 2001.  p.
Imagination – Invisibility
Lotte is forced to eat some brawn, at least a tiny little bit, even if she doesn't like it. Finally, she manages to swallow some but afterwards she definitely needs a rest on the red sofa. When she wakes up again she can hear everything her mother and aunt are saying – but she herself has turned invisible. Could that be because of the brawn? In the following days, whenever Lotte closes her eyes she „melts into“ her surroundings – the lawn, the curtains, the wallpaper. The adults, however, who really don't know anything, refuse to believe her, even though they keep searching for her everywhere. Despite all this, mother and daughter do not quarrel because the mother simply plays along. And that's how it should be according to this light-hearted book and its unconventional colourful pictures which sometimes display a distorted perspective. (5+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2002 - 79
Egli, Werner J.
Blues für Lilly
(Blues for Lilly)
München : Bertelsmann, 2001. 218 p.
Texas – Young man – Grandparents – Segregation – Teenage love – Reunion – Death
When Brad's grandmother dies, he is by her side. It is clear to him that her last glance at him once again tells of the love of her life: J.B. Swift. The most famous Blues musician of his time, he was beaten up because of Brad's grandmother, his white girlfriend, by other whites; in the heat of the moment, Swift shot one of the attackers and had to spend the following fifty years in prison. The teenage boy follows his beloved grandmother's stories and reunites the two elderly people for a short time. In an utterly convincing narration, the author demonstrates how the extraordinary life of an old person provides the young protagonist with values that he also needs for his own life. (12+)
Germany (German) - 2002 - 80
Der geschärfte Blick : sieben Journalistinnen und ihre Lebensgeschichte
(A keen eye : seven women journalists and their life-stories)
Weinheim : Beltz & Gelberg, 2001. 352 p.
Women journalists – Biography
These are the biographies of famous female journalists of the twentieth century: two Americans, a Czech, an Italian, and three Germans, who followed their professional dream, often suffering personal loss of wealth, security, and their private life. In her description, the author, who is a journalist herself, includes information about the respective time and displays a profound knowledge of and sympathy for the women and their work. She presents these women as role models, even for beginning journalists today. Nowadays, the overwhelming abundance of ways to gather information often makes orientation difficult. Therefore, it is essential to read about important forerunners and their values and way of thinking. (16+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 81
Hacke, Axel (text)
Sowa, Michael (illus.)
Ein Bär namens Sonntag
(A bear called Sunday)
München : Kunstmann, 2001. 29 p.
Boy – Teddybear – Dream – Change of roles – Empathy – Understanding
The first-person narrator remembers: when he was a small boy he owned a quiet little teddybear he had named Sunday. They did everything together, although the teddybear just kept silently staring straight ahead – how boring. One day, the boy wanted to know for sure: he fed him milk and honey – but the bear still stared in silence, and the boy's mother put him into the washing machine. Since he didn't have his teddy with him when he went to bed, the sad boy dreamed that he, a little human boy, travelled to bear country where he became the new toy for the bear children. Nobody heard or understood him; and his new owner, a small bear, just wanted to do everything together with him; but at least for the (toy-)boy this did not work well. A biting story told in a harmless way with apparently naïve pictures, which nevertheless show the futile attempts at communication and convey the disaster of not being understood. Text, pictures, and overall design certainly make this book a favourite. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 82
Haucke, Gert (text)
Treskatis, Barbara (illus.)
Mein allerbester Freund
(My very best friend)
Berlin : Aufbau-Verl., 2001.  p.
Dog – Playmate – Human being – Communication
Schoko [i.e. »Chocolate«] has a family of humans (Lisa prepares his food and Paul throws sticks for him) and four very best dog-friends, each of them with an individual personality: Maxi is the smallest of them. Sometimes Schoko has to let him win a game because otherwise he wouldn't want to play anymore. Together with Tarzan, Schoko loves to tug at the ball on the rope. Karlemann, the biggest of his friends, cannot run very fast, and Püppi, the white female pitbull, is afraid of everything. She needs someone to protect her. And then there is Lena, the human puppy – but, to be honest, Schoko could easily do without her. All in all, for someone like Schoko, he leads a perfect life. Large naturalistic colour-chalk drawings and a concise text clearly prove the author's detailed knowledge of and sympathy for a dog's soul. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 83
Die Schmuggler von Rotzkalitz
(The smugglers of Rotzkalitz)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2001. 148 p.
Boy – Outsider – Smuggler – Holidays – Detective – Adventure
In order to cure his bronchitis, Bautz Beranek spent most of his holidays during the past few years in Rotzkalitz visiting his uncle, the head of the border guards. Unfortunately, however, he is so different from all the local children, that he doesn't have a single friend there. One day, a foreigner and his teenage son arrive at the border village – and this starts off a story of friendship, full of rapid events, with the secret and successful hunt for smugglers at its core. Bautz Beranek has a splendid time. But now this time is long past and the good old times of smuggeling are over. This amusing novel for young readers contains a lot of picaresque humour and wisdom. (8+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 84
Johansen, Hanna (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Sei doch mal still
(Please be quiet now)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2001.  p.
Listening – Noise – Silence
Two children discover silence and its different sounds – the fly at the window, the rain at the window pane, the bird in the tree. The boy is the noisy one while the girl urges him to be quiet and listen. Exact repetitions of their respective lines lend rhythm and structure to the text and increase the excitement that slowly but surely also catches the young boy's attention. The pictures are full of life and speed; yet, due to their earth-like colours, they still emanate a sense of calm matching the new and surprisingly quiet sounds children can experience within their immediate surroundings without major preparations or stress. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 85
Joop, Florentine (text/illus.)
Don Igitti und die Bellkartoffel
(Don Igitti and the barking potato)
Hamburg : Ed. Riesenrad, 2001.  p.
Man – Love – Dog – Anthropomorphism – Circus
Mr. Schulz, alias Don Igitti (i.e. »Don Yucky« – because he puts too much gel in his hair) is in love with vain Ms. Keller but his love is unrequited. He intends to win her over with the help of his small dog Holger whom he has inherited from his rich aunt Casimira. Yet, everything turns out differently: the plump dog is unaware of being a dog; he knows how to cook spaghetti and how to play with a hulahoop. So fate takes its course: at a visit to the circus Holger becomes the star of the arena and, as a result, Don Igitti takes poodle trainer Donna Infernella for his wife instead of Ms. Keller. The large-format pictures show a cheerful mixture of realistic scenes and vivacious caricature-like absurdities. (6+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 86
[Ravensburg] : Ravensburger Buchverl., 2001. 314 p.
(Ravensburger junge Reihe)
Jerusalem – Frederic II <Emperor>/1229-1230 – Crowning – Knight – Attempt at assassination – Prevention – Masquerade – Bedouin
In 1230, Frederic II, King of Sicily, is crowned German emperor in Jerusalem, the fiercely disputed holy city of Christians and Muslims. A young Frankonian knight, whose mother was Arabic, is instructed to protect the emperor from an attempted assassination. He can only carry out this order with the help of a young Bedouin's knowledge and fighting sksills. When he discovers that this Bedouin guard is in fact a woman, he is quite shocked at first. Yet soon he realizes that they are both fighting for the same side. They manage to save Frederic. The young people's love, however, will not last. This historical novel, with its topical problems, is a fascinating read. It shows people of different cultures that are entangled in a completely futile religious fight. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 87
Moost, Nele (text)
Bücker, Jutta (illus.)
Stuttgart [et al.] : Thienemann, 2000.  p.
Dog – Anthropomorphism – Friendship – Faithlessness – Loneliness – Reconciliation – Imagination – Growing up
This is one of the world's oldest stories: one with a happy end. Big Dog and Small Dog are two friends who perfectly complement each other: Big Dog can do more things than Small Dog but in return Small Dog always tells Big Dog stories about the mysterious Moondog. One day, however, a third dog appears and suddenly Small Dog feels very lonely. But now is the time for Moondog to take action. Even though his former friend indeed needs Small Dog again very soon, Moondog is there for him whenever he calls him. This is a comforting book and one that encourages the readers to recall the power of imagination. Full-page illustrations express the protagonists' inner feelings through the dogs' gestures and facial expressions and show the infinite realm of the fantasy world, without getting lost in details. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 88
Weinheim : Beltz & Gelberg, 2001. 324 p.
World War II/1943-1944 – Poland – Hungary – Persecution of the Jews – Deportation – Mother – Daughter – Search
From 1943 to 1944 Hanna Mai, a doctor, flees with her two daughters from East Poland across the Hungarian border to escape deportation by the Germans. On the way, Malka, the younger of the two girls, falls ill and has to stay behind at some well-meaning farmers'. But soon Malka's own odyssee starts. She comes into various ghettos and hospitals and develops unexpected strategies for survival. With the help of many ordinary people, her mother eventually manages to find Malka again. The girl's disturbing and unforgettable experiences form the novel's central theme. The author writes in a clear, informative, almost distant style. The positive outcome of the odyssee at least provides a happy end to all the horrors. (12+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 89
Hinter dem Bahnhof liegt das Meer
(Behind the station lies the sea)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2001. 92 p.
Homeless – Child – Guardian angel – Business sense
A shy nine-year-old boy, who has to fend for himself, befriends a homeless man. They both dream of living by the seaside. For the time being, however, they have to scrounge their basic needs. On their way, they meet a benefactor who requests some kind of payment in return for her offerings. Thus, the boy ends up selling his guardian angel – and immediately the problems start: He falls ill and loses all his optimism. But again the »good fairy« comes to his rescue and, in the end, everybody gets what they are longing for. Although conceived as a realistic story, the book also contains fairy-tale elements which soften the cruelty of fate and offer some hope. With only a few stylistic devices and a lot of sympathy for her protagonists, the author draws vivacious characters. Her upbeat humour and non-linear narration easily capture the reader's imagination. (10+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 90
Schröder-Köpf, Doris (ed.)
Brodersen, Inge (ed.)
Blau, Aljoscha (illus.)
Der Kanzler wohnt im Swimmingpool oder Wie Politik gemacht wird
(The Chancellor lives in the swimming pool. Or: How to make politics)
Frankfurt [et al.] : Campus-Verl., 2001. 220 p.
Germany – Political System – Anthology
This highly interesting book deals with 26 different topics in short but informative chapters. The authors take children's helplessness with political expressions and their meanings into account and ask questions like: What are parliamentary allowances? What is a cabinet? What makes a person a European citizen? Readers will learn something about the characteristics of different constitutions as well as about virtual finance ministers. Famous people from film, radio, and television, from arts, sciences, and politics have put their pen to paper and created an amazing book: The easygoing texts, interspersed with witty comments and underlined with important facts, are a pleasure to read. Imaginative and unconventional full-page illustrations accompany the texts and increase the reader's delight. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 91
Das visuelle Lexikon der Umwelt
(The visual encyclopaedia of the environment)
Hildesheim : Gerstenberg, 2001. 447 p.
(Gerstenbergs visuelle Enzyklopädie)
Environment – Ecology
This encyclopaedia contains a rich variety of pictures and elaborate texts, written in a comprehensible style. The objective presentation of the topics, which is nevertheless differentiated and committed, enables readers to look at the information provided with a critical mind. The chapters are connected with each other through an excellent system of references and cross-references. They deal with the (development and structure of the) »Earth«, »Life« (and living space), »Food«, »Everyday Life«, and, of course, »Energy«, »Industry«, and »Traffic«, while the final chapter is entitled »Prevention and Aftercare«. Thanks to this extensive conception, this encyclopaedia will be a clear, reliable, longlasting reference work in the area of ecology and environmental sciences. (10+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 92
Spanier, Ariane (text/illus.)
Der schlaue Kuckucksvater
(Clever Father Cuckoo)
[Leipzig] : Leipziger Kinderbuchverlag, 2001.  p.
Father – Daughter – Power – Laziness – Exploitation – Escape
Both symbolically and from a human viewpoint, cuckoos in general do not have a particularly good reputation in the animal world. In this book it is even worse than usual: A cuckoo father employs his twelve daughters as housemaids while he himself doesn't lift a finger. Suddenly, one day, all of the girls leave their home – except the most lethargic one. From now on, the father, whether he likes it or not, has to do all the work himself and, moreover, also wait on the only child left with him. This serves him right, the readers might say. This is a funny book in small format with clay-coloured pastel- paintings and angrily frowning cuckoo daughters. (4+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 93
Stiekel, Bettina (ed.)
Kinder fragen, Nobelpreisträger antworten
(Children ask questions, Nobel Prize winners answer)
München : Heyne, 2001. 198 p.
Life – Existence
Children have many essential questions on their minds. Famous contemporary Nobel Prize winners – who were awarded the prize in physics, chemistry, economics, literature, or medicine, as well as alternative thinking and commitment for world peace – answer them. Questions start with: Why do we have to go to school?, Why can't I live exclusively on French Fries?, Why are boys different from girls? and finally lead to the one question these people should really know how to answer: How do I win the Nobel Prize? As shown here, complicated issues can be explained to children without distorting the facts through oversimplification. The more than twenty contributions to this commendable book make a worthwhile and humorous read and provide a cheerful introduction to sciences in general. (8+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 94
Strittmatter, Erwin (text)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Der Weihnachtsmann in der Lumpenkiste
(Father Christmas in the box of rags)
Berlin : Aufbau-Verl., 2001. 31 p.
Christmas – Father Christmas – Village – Traditions – Trick
In former times, Knecht Ruprecht (a helper to St. Nicholas well-known and feared by German children) was quite an unruly fellow. Thus, to diminish her children's fears during Advent, the mother of this story's narrator invents the kind and diligent Father Christmas working away in the attic. The children are allowed to leave some food for him there every day. Yet, when the fellow doesn't even reject dead mice, it becomes fairly obvious that it is rather the family cat who's up in the attic. Eventually, the polite protagonist informs his mother that Father Christmas has given birth to some kittens. Klaus Ensikat shows the illogical events, the secrets and the embarrassing moments during the Advent Season. Details of a village life and its old traditions come to life in his subtle and ironical pictures. (8+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 95
Wagner, Klaudia (text)
Stoebe, Susann (illus.)
Ein Hund für Oma Malwina
(A dog for Granny Malwina)
Oldenburg : Lappan, 2001.  p.
Old age – Loneliness – Coping – Shortsightedness – Animal home – Dog – Lion
Since Granny Malwina feels lonely, she gets herself a dog from the animal home. Because of her shortsightedness, however, she doesn't notice that she has accidentally taken a lion, who retired from the circus. True, this fellow is not dangerous anymore, but still he causes quite a riot when strolling through the town on his own. Luckily enough, Granny Malwina and a crowd of children manage to save him from being »exiled«. Listening to the text and watching the turbulent pictures, readers will easily recognise the old lady's great sense of humour and her cleverness in dealing with everything. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 96
Wenzel, Angela (text/select. of illus.)
Die Kunst der Illusion : ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst!
(The art of illusion : I see something that you don't see)
München [et al.] : Prestel, 2001. 29 p.
Optical illusion – Painting – Arts
The play with optical illusion has a longstanding tradition among artists: Painters and graphic artists from the seventeenth century to this day have dealt with this topic in endless variation. Whether the focus is on the two-dimensional representation of three-dimensional objects, on optical illusions created in inlays, or on central perspective and its alienation and distortion; whether the artists paint simple pictures with hidden objects to search for, or surrealist interpretations of the visible world: The observer is always encouraged to use his or her imagination to solve the puzzles and to find ways of identifying the (supposedly) portrayed objects inside the pictures. This book, which shows the joys of optical games in a historical overview, is already suitable for small children. (6+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 97
Wunderlich, Gert (text)
Herfurth, Egbert (illus.)
Von Affe bis Zebra : das andere Tieralphabet
(From Ape to Zebra : the different Animal-Alphabet)
München [et al.] : Prestel, 2001. 29 p.
Animals – Typography
In this ABC-book the world of animals as well as – on a symbolic level – the human world are presented in a slightly ironic way: The monkeys are staring at the cages just as curiously and foolishly as humans at the zoo, the donkey dresses up as a schoolteacher, the greedy wolverine's cuttlery consists of a double fork and a double spoon on the same handle. On a white background clearly outlined animals, often exaggerated in a caricaturelike manner, correspond to a variety of types and letters and their appearance in print. For older readers the development and characteristics of those letters and typefaces are explained in an appendix. Thus, despite its simplicity, the book offers a serious introduction to the world of reading and the great diversity of typography. (5+)
Switzerland (German) - 2002 - 98
Das magische Licht
(The magic light)
Zürich : Nagel & Kimche, 2001. 181 p.
Initiation – Self-affirmation – Other World – Dream
Gabriele and Set, a boy from an imaginary time, meet in the »Mirror-World«, the legendary world of Erinn (today called Ireland). Set was sent to Erinn by his people to stand his first major test; Gabriele, who has a poster of Erinn on her bedroom wall, was confined to bed by an illness not long ago. Both children meet their second self, a mirror image expressing the children's mind and soul. They undergo ritual tests and have to prove themselves against characters from the Irish world of fairies and legends. For both children the exciting action comes to an end in their respective times. The story is narrated in an unspectacular but thoughtful manner. (10+)
Switzerland (German) - 2002 - 99
Eggermann, Vera (text)
Huwyler, Max (illus.)
Dackel und Dogge
(Dachshund and Great Dane)
Gümligen : Zytglogge-Verl. Bern, 2001.  p.
Dog – Breed of dog – Height – Appearance – Prejudice – Tolerance
At a dog show, the Great Dane thinks »That can't be a dog!« when seeing the dachshund; »That isn't a dog« the dachshund thinks of the Great Dane. Nevertheless, both of them win a prize: for the most beautiful dachshund and the most beautiful Great Dane respectively. Others win prizes for the most beautiful poodle, St. Bernard, etc. … When they sniff each other they realize: hmm, they all smell like dogs. They go »Whoof!« and »Yap!« and then the show is over and they all pull their masters and mistresses homewards. Without explicitly talking about it, this book promotes the mutual understanding warning the readers not to give in to prejudice based on external appearances. Coloured pencil drawings illustrate the message of this profound story. (5+) ☼
Switzerland (German) - 2002 - 100
Gmehling, Will (text)
Grolik, Markus (illus.)
Der Yeti in Berlin
(The Yeti in Berlin)
Aarau [et al.] : Sauerländer, 2001. 145 p.
The Himalayas – Berlin – Snowman – Humans – Cultural conflict – Identity crisis – Magic
The world's only Yeti loves his life in the Himalayas and enjoys every single day. One day, however, he learns that the humans in the big cities claim he doesn't exist. He goes on a long journey to dispel this silly rumour. When he comes to Berlin, he sees a lot, experiences ways of life completely foreign to him, meets friendly people – but still no one believes in the Yeti's existence. After a while, even he himself doesn't understand his former life anymore. Only when he tells a blind boy about the Yeti – pretending it is merely a dream – he recovers his old self again and finds his way back to the Himalayas. This is an extremely interesting story with several thought-provoking twists from both the humans' and the Yeti's point of view. (8+)
Switzerland (German) - 2002 - 101
Kilaka, John (text/illus.)
Ulrich, Anna Katharina (adapt.)
Hatz, Christine (trad.)
Zürich : Atlantis Verl. Pro Juventute, 2001. 28 p.
Animals – Community – Dog – Petty theft – Punishment – Reconciliation
DOG is the villain who tries to steal food from the animal family, even though everybody had allowed him to eat to his heart's content. But now, he is caught and punished – and this is what makes the story particularly interesting for non-African readers: After DOG has served his punishment (he had to plant a huge field), the animals forgive him. They do not insist on treating him as their enemy any longer. The large-format pictures, painted by a new artist from Tanzania, are also quite unusual: Despite the cartoon-like style, the pictures clearly express the artist's profound knowledge of naïve African art and indigenous animals. Brilliant colours and African patterns on the animals' clothes demonstrate his deep joy of life. This original edition is a translation from Swahili. (4+)
Switzerland (German) - 2002 - 102
Kinskofer, Lotte (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
Der Tag, an dem Marie ein Ungeheuer war
(The day when Mary was a monster)
Zürich : Bajazzo-Verl., 2001.  p.
Girl – Appearance – Perception by others – Self-perception – Language – Self-confidence
Today, Marie's day goes completely wrong: In kindergarten, the other children tell her she has huge feet, a fat belly, and a nose like a potato; at home, her brother calls her hands paws, and the boy next door calls her mouth a trap. With all these expressions turning parts of her body into strange and monsterous objects, Marie hardly dares to move anymore and her mother finds her in deep despair. She assures her daughter that she shouldn't take everything literally. With the help of a mirror and a lot of loving motherly care she finally manages to comfort Marie. Simple line-drawings on a background of rich colours show the reader how Marie changes from a girl into a monster and back again. A cut-out sheet for the readers to play with and gain confidence completes this comforting tale. (4+) ☼
Switzerland (German) - 2002 - 103
Kipling, Rudyard (text)
Zwerger, Lisbeth (illus.)
Harranth, Rolf (transl.)
Wie das Kamel zu seinem Höcker kam
(How the camel got its hump)
Gossau, Zürich [et al.] : Neugebauer, 2001.  p.
Camel – Stubbornness – Laziness – Vanity – Punishment
It is a well-known story: In the beginning of time, the camel's prominent characteristics were stubbornness, laziness, and (above all) vanity. The animals' supreme ruler, the Djin in charge of All Deserts, appealed to the camel's conscience – but in vain. »Humph« the camel said, but it said it once too often: A large hump of fat was magically attached to its body. Now that the camel did not need any food for weeks, it was forced to work hard and long. The delicate watercolour paintings lend persuasive power to this new translation of the classic tale: Rarely have readers encountered a camel as arrogant, or a stressed out master who inflicts the necessary punishment to the camel as gracefully. Ornamental vignettes perfectly round off the book's beautiful design. (5+)
Switzerland (German) - 2002 - 104
Müller, Jörg (text/illus.)
Das Buch im Buch im Buch
(The book inside the book inside the book)
Aarau [et al.] : Sauerländer, 2001.  p.
Child – Book – Game – Optical illusion – Fantasy – Reality – Threedimensional picture – Infinity – Magic
Full of curiosity, a small girl walks into the mysterious space inside a book by following the vanishing point which perspectively narrows into a shining point of light. At its centre she meets a helpless painter who paints the very same subject over and over again in endless repetition. Using the simple sentence »Infinity stops right here« the girl breaks the vicious circle and liberates the painter. Afterwards, she goes back to reality, picture by picture, with the aid of a pair of 3-D-glasses. The real book also offers these glasses to its readers to show them the way into the book and back out of it. In his large full-page pictures the author plays a fascinating and confusing game with the imagination of his readers. (8+)
Switzerland (German) - 2002 - 105
Vettiger, Susanne (text)
Marti-Pichard, Audrey (illus.)
Das große Glück in der kleinen Schachtel
(The great happiness in the little box)
Zürich : Verl. Pro Juventute, 2000. 75 p.
Raven – Cow – Social inequality – Lovesickness – Separation
For evenings like this one, when she can't fall asleep, Carla has thought up something: she keeps stories in small boxes. Tonight, she tells her teddy the love story of Victor, the raven, and Charlotte, the cow. Inevitably – the two unequal lovers cannot live happily ever after. In the end, Charlotte has to relinquish Victor, who marries »within his own class«, a female raven. The plot, however, does not focus on the tragic side of the relationship; it rather dwells on the wonderful and happy time the protagonists enjoyed despite the resistance from society. Large, sometimes full-page illustrations show the unequal lovers in a distorted way, illustrating their happiness and their sadness with a fine sense of humour. (6+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2002 - 106
Waechter, Friedrich Karl (text/illus.)
Steinhauers Fuß : ein Märchen
(The stonemason's foot : a fairy tale)
Zürich : Diogenes, 2001. 57 p.
Princess – Worker – Social inequality – Love – Test – Self-affirmation
This is a fairytale about the fortunate love between a princess and a simple stonemason who defeats Death to win her over. Both the king, who had planned to sacrifice the young man, and Death, who only gets the challenger's foot, feel they have been deceived. Yet, even military force cannot separate the two lovers again. The cut-off foot thoroughly kicks and tramples the soldiers and then voluntarily grows back unto its owner's leg. Life triumphs over death. Linocuts, in the style of Art Nouveau and Art Déco, demonstrate the dramatical events with a lot of artistic verve. Short and powerful sentences and dialogues correspond to the rhythm of the pictures. The overall design – heavy chamoix-coloured paper, almost full-page illustrations with units of text harmoniously placed on the pages – will have a great impact on the reader. (10+)
Ghana (French) - 2002 - 107
Pinguilly, Yves (text)
Seck, Sarang (text)
Koenig, Florence (illus.)
Le garçon qui mouillait les poules
(The boy who made the chickens wet)
Conakry : Éd. Ganndal, 2001. 23 p.
Chicken – River – Coming of age – Fairytale
As a baby, Diidi was »touched« by the river Néré, a sign that he is under the river's protection. The small boy grows up well-behaved and imitates all of his mothers gestures, until, one day, the other children and the village shamans make fun of him. Diidi immediately stops copying his mother. As an adult, he even leaves his village to search for the origin of water. The boy's tale clearly shows the negative influence social pressure may have on a person's maturation. The figurative language brings situations from African culture to life for small readers. Three-colour collages in orange, black, and white depict how Diidi finds his own way and lend additional expressiveness to this tale. (6+)
Ivory Coast (French) - 2002 - 108
Agueh, Urbain Jean-Claude (text)
J'x Folio (= Féllix Agossa)
Abidjan : Nouvelles Éd. Ivoiriennes [et al.], 2001. 23 p.
Morning – Dawn – Nature – Africa – Experience of nature
A soft melody wakes Sedjro. Where does it come from? Full of curiosity, the boy wanders through the village at daybreak, discovering its beauty, until he finally finds the bird that woke him up. The lyrical text is a hymn to nature. With all his senses, the boy absorbs the beauty around him: The trees, shining with dew, the tempting scent of ripe fruits, the feelings of freshness, the colourful flowers – everything is a true pleasure for the child. The emotional full-page illustrations, which capture the transitory morning impressions in scenes of natural abundance, lend this small volume a special quality. (2+)
Special Mention - Morocco (French) - 2002 - 109
Bousquet, Charlotte (text)
Lahrech, Noureddine (illus.)
Le défi de Zaïna
(A challenge for Zaïna)
Hay Riad, Rabat : Ed. Yomad, 2001. 151 p.
Morocco – Female teenager – Riding horse – Patriarchy – Social criticism – Emancipation
For three years, Zaïna and her horse Ijouane have participated in horse races. Together they have earned some fame. As the first female jockey in a patriarchal society, however, the orphan girl frequently meets with ridicule and envy. One day, a fire endangers the life of Ijouane. Despite her guardian's disapproval and that of Tarik, who wants to marry her, Zaïna gets her horse back on its feet and continues to work with it. In Marakesh, a last challenge awaits the two friends at the »Los Atlas Fuegos«, a group of trick riders: They ask them to jump through a burning loop. The relationship between Zaïna, who immediately arouses the readers' affections, and her horse will certainly appeal to animal lovers. Full of courage, the girl faces all the difficulties and commits herself wholeheartedly to her profession. This exciting, but also critical novel denounces the faults of a patriarchal society which discriminates against women. (9+) ☆
Belgium (French) - 2002 - 110
Gutman, Claude (text)
Bloch, Serge (illus.)
(The occupied school)
[Bruxelles et al.] : Casterman, 2001. 27 p.
(Histoires Casterman ; 181 : Six & plus : Vive la grande école)
School – Strike – Solidarity
Marie and her fellow pupils are quite astonished when their teacher Georgette furiously storms into the classroom. In the teachers' room, however, Marius overheard what had happened and informs the children: Georgette's class shall be closed. Parents, teachers, and pupils unite and put up resistance against this plan. They decide to occupy the school building and go on strike. Day after day, Marie describes these events and the reactions following them. The famous author, who has written all the books of this series, again delights readers with this new story. The funny mischievous text is told from the children's point of view whose powerful imagination grotesquely distorts reality. Colourful illustrations in the style of Sempé intensify the humour of this short tale. (7+)
Belgium (French) - 2002 - 111
Louis, Joos (illus.)
C'est un papa
(That's a daddy)
Bruxelles; Paris: École des Loisirs, 2001. 28 p.
Bears – Parental image – Separation – Father – Child
One year ago, Father Bear left his family. Now he lives apart from his children and has just fallen in love with Anita. Today, just like every Friday, he cleans his house because his children are coming for the weekend. While tidying up, all sorts of toughts spring to his mind: He deeply regrets not being able to spend more time with his children. Moreover, he asks himself how he could explain to them that love doesn't always stay forever, but that he is not a monster. This story is told from the point of view of the adult who has left the family. Reading this book, children will learn that sometimes even parents are not sure about their decisions. Warm pastel-coloured pictures illustrate the everyday life in Father Bear's home and alleviate the painful reality. (5+)
France (French) - 2002 - 112
Aprile, Thierry (text)
Place, François (illus.)
Sur les traces de ... Aladdin
(On the trail of ... Aladdin)
Paris : Gallimard Jeunesse, 2001. 125 p.
(Sur les traces de ...)
Islam – Aladdin – Coming of age – Arabian Nights – Fairytale
This popular fairytale from the »Arabian Nights« delineates how, with the help of a magic lamp and his own courage and cleverness, Aladdin, the son of a poor tailor, manages to marry the Sultan's daughter. The mixture of a fictitous initiation tale and real information, of myths and historical documents, makes this an exceptional book. Each chapter is followed by a two-page appendix, informing the readers about the Arab-Muslim civilisation: It covers its political organisation at those times, speaks of the importance of the Arab scholars and of religion, and concludes with information about women's life style. Coloured illustrations by the well-known French artist complement the wonderful deeds of Aladdin narrated in this small-format, (and in more than one sense of the word) shining book. (12+) ☆
France (French) - 2002 - 113
Bernard, Fred (text)
Roca, François (illus.)
Jeanne et le Mokélé
(Jeanne and the Mokélé)
Paris : Albin Michel Jeunesse, 2001.  p.
Africa/1920 – Natural scientist – Expedition – Adventure
Jeanne Picquigny misses her father, a scientist, who disappeared somewhere in Africa when she was a child. Therefore, at twenty-one, she decides to go searching for him. Together with a guide, who is quite arrogant at first, she defies the dangers of the savannah and discovers her father's secret: For years, he has been following and filming a rare Brontosaurus. The adventure's tragic outcome at least saves the worshipped animal from the nosy public. This is a picture book full of suspense that invites the readers to explore Africa in the 1920s. Naturalistic pictures in different shades of sepia immediately catch the reader's attention. The poetic telegram-like text provides the calm background voice. (7+)
France (French) - 2002 - 114
Blake, Stéphanie (text/illus.)
La fille qui voulait être un garçon
(The girl who wanted to be a boy)
Paris : École des Loisirs, 2001. 38 p.
Death – Loss of the mother – Father – Daughter – Communication – Self-discovery
Ten-year-old Gretchen has lost her mother and now lives with her father and her six brothers. As she has noticed that her father seems only happy when playing football with his sons, she tries to behave like a boy. Yet, neither as tomboy, nor as »proper« girl with make-up and lipstick, does she get any attention from her father. When, above all, he makes fun of her, she runs away to her mother's grave. This short tale, written in simple language, demonstrates how the death of a beloved person can cause communication problems and even an identity crisis. The austere black-and-white illustrations emphasise the father's despair and the daughter's pain, until the end when they are finally reconciled. (7+)
France (French) - 2002 - 115
Le destin de Linus Hoppe
(Linus Hoppe's fate)
Paris : Bayard Jeunesse, 2001. 264 p.
Coming of age – Friendship – Family – Social integration – Social order – Fate
Linus' world is divided into strictly separate hierarchical spheres. Only if Linus passes the big exam, in which the »Great Disposer« determines his IQ, will he be able to reach a leading position later. But Linus cannot get used to this social system. He and his friend Chem, an informatics genius, start searching for a way to make his fate take a different course. The plot of this multilayered science fiction novel is told in a thrilling style. The author convincingly presents the protagonist's psychological development, starting with thoughtfulness and leading to non-conformist behaviour, and, eventually, to a new life independent from his family. This novel persuasively encourages the readers to question social conventions. (11+)
France (French) - 2002 - 116
Charpentier, Olivier (illus.)
La poésie médiévale : petite anthologie
(Medieval Poetry : a small anthology)
[Paris] : Mango Jeunesse, 2001.  p.
(Collection »Il suffit de passer le pont« : Album Dada)
Poetry – Middle Ages
This selection of nineteen poems, translated into modern French, allows readers to explore the rich poetic heritage of the Middle Ages, such as »Chansons de toile« and »Chant d'amour« (i.e. love poems by women to their adored and vice versa) or the ballads by Villon. This poetry, which deals with timeless topics, offers a whole gamut of styles: It is sometimes crude or cunning, sometimes satirical or lyrical. Two pages in this largeformat book's appendix introduce the readers to the various genres and make them familiar with the respective authors. Remarkable, highly artistic woodcuts in black, dark red, and blue, which appear almost frightening, transport the readers back into former times and convey the mentality of people in those days. (12+)
France (French) - 2002 - 117
De l'Europe à l'Euro
(From Europe to the Euro)
Paris : Milan, 2001. 32 p.
(Les essentiels Milan Junior ; 16 : Société)
Europe – Currency
The preparations for the introduction of the Euro, the common European currency, were recently among the most important issues discussed. Magali Clausener-Petit, a journalist who also writes articles for youth magazines, describes in simple words how Europe's institutions work, what aims they pursue, and what difficulties they face, when developing a common European industrial law. The text is written in a clear, colourful, and exciting language. A map of Europe and a glossary complement the basic information; a bibliography and a selection of Internet pages invite readers to further research. The author also introduces the first successful European projects, such as the exchange of pupils and students. With this book, she strives to increase European awareness. (10+)
France (French) - 2002 - 118
Comte, Hubert (text)
Arthus-Bertrand, Yann (photos)
Giraudon, David (illus.)
La terre racontée aux enfants
(The earth described for children)
Paris : De La Martinière Jeunesse, 2001.  p.
Journey around the world – Environmental awareness
After the great success of »La Terre vue du ciel« (»The earth seen from the sky«), travel photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand has now published a book for children. Following the footsteps of Nils Holgerson, he travelled around the world. His large-format aerial colour-photographs are of extraordinary quality and illustrate the world's great diversity. Small maps next to the pictures help identify the respective places. Watercolour paintings depicting children in their local dress accompany the photographs. At the same time, short comments make readers aware of the destruction of the ecological balance caused by people's careless behaviour. The beautiful pictures effectively get this book's message across: If we want to protect our environment, we have to remain alert. (8+) ☆
France (French) - 2002 - 119
Dedieu (i.e. Thierry Dedieu) (text/illus.)
Paris : Seuil Jeunesse, 2001.  p.
Clown – Social integration – Child – Illness – Joy – Laughter – Friendship
In this book, the author deals very tactfully with a delicate topic: Clown Pippo is forced to retire but he cannot get used to the idea that he won't be able to make people happy anymore. Finally, he finds a new job at a children's hospital where all the children love him; only Doug, ill with leukemia, refuses to laugh. When Pippo himself falls ill, a role reversal takes place: Now it is the boy who tries to make the clown laugh. They become close friends and, from now on, they work together. In this story, friendship and laughter help defeat an illness. Expressive pictures show the clown's changing feelings with large spaces coloured in dark red, black, or white highlighting the actions. The dramatic intensity of this large-format book is attenuated by its caricaturesque style. (8+)
France (French) - 2002 - 120
Douzou, Olivier (text/illus.)
Rodez : Éd. du Rouergue, 2001.  p.
Ogre – Boy – Hugeness – Relativism – Game
An ogre lies on the floor sleeping. He is so tall that he does not even fit on a single page. Thus, his body is drawn in several pieces: Shoes, legs, torso up to the mouth; all these bodyparts can be discovered on a separate page. Small arrows beside the body always make the reader turn to the following page until, suddenly, a big surprise happens. The ogre turns out to be nothing but a harmless boy, half asleep, observed and presented to the reader from an ant's perspective. Everything is relative, indeed! The small picture book in square format plays with typography. Superlatives printed in bold capitals are used to describe the ogre's size and the graphic pictures further emphasize its hugeness. Thanks to the light colours, though, the »monster« never appears too threatening. (2+)
France (French) - 2002 - 121
Estèbe, Jean-Luc (text)
Bachelier, Benjamin (illus.)
Fils de voleur
(Son of a thief)
Paris : Nathan, 2000. 132 p.
(Lune noire ; 36 : Policier)
Family – Friendship – Theft – Father – Son
Between relaxing games and homework for school Gabriel leads an almost normal life. Still, he really misses his father, whose postcards cannot compensate for his absence. One day, the boy notices a shadow, which closely resembles his father, sneaking into the garden shed. The following day, Gabriel and Julie, the girl from next door, find a suitcase full of jewels inside the shed. Could his father be a thief? This humorous and entertaining detective story is written from the point of view of a child who suffers from an unstable family situation. The funny story is full of suspense and imaginative games; nevertheless, it also touches on some serious issues. »Fils de voleur« is Jean-Luc Estèbe's first novel. (10+)
France (French) - 2002 - 122
Fabbri, Robert (text)
Lenglet, Maud (illus.)
En avant l'enfanfare!
(Come on, infan(t)fare! <word play>)
Chaillé-sous-les-Ormeaux : Le Dé Bleu, 2001. 47 p.
(Le farfadet bleu)
Celebration – Circus – School – Everyday life
It is not a coincidence that some of the poems in this volume are dedicated to the famous French poet Jacques Prévert. They deal with motifs and topics which frequently appear in Prévert's works, such as celebrations, school life, childhood, and (especially) animals. Even physical phenomena (e.g. how water evaporates) are made into poems here. Some texts, like »La chanson de Dracula« (»Dracula's song«), are variations of well-known songs turned into counting-out rhymes. Others show the world of objects, animated in a very imaginative way. The tone of the narration is always humorous. The book presents a varied mixture of puns and word creations and handles the topics in a playful manner. Colourful collages aptly complement the text. (11+)
France (French) - 2002 - 123
Fauroux, Catherine (text)
Legendre, Patricia (illus.)
Dytik, l'ogre de la mare
(Dytik, the ogre in the pond)
Paris : École des Loisirs, 2001. 28 p.
Pond – Carnivore – Water beetles
A meadow in spring ... a pond in its middle ... a bank completely overgrown ... As if watching through a zoom, we dive into the mysterious world of the water animals. Between tadpoles, dragonflies, and pond skaters, we approach the terrifying green water beetle, personified as a man-eating monster. Poetic pictures intensify the magic of the shimmering water and show us the secrets of a beetle's life right up to its beautiful transformation in summer. A double-page appendix contains interesting information about the pond and its inhabitants. It provides readers with scientific facts about nature, creating a remarkable contrast to the fairytale characteristics of the fascinating blue-green aquatint pictures and the personified beetle, Dytik. (9+)
France (French) - 2002 - 124
Gay-Para, Praline (text)
Saillard, Rémi (illus.)
Le pou et la puce
(Louse and flea)
Paris : Didier Jeunesse, 2001.  p.
(À petits petons)
Louse – Flea – Solidarity – Sympathy
A sudden gust of wind disturbs the cosy breakfast of flea and louse, carrying the louse high into the air and letting it fall on the hot kitchen stove. But the wind also unleashes another chain of events: The window bangs, the door creaks, the wheelbarrow rolls up to the tree which drops its leaves. The sounds travel on and on like a wave until the one who caused the disturbance sorts everything out. The author's creativity is evident in the poetic onomatopoeia and the almost dadaist typography which expresses sounds, speed, and drama. Caricaturesque pictures in clear colours, resembling wood-cuts, lend power to this traditional and very popular chain tale. (2+)
France (French) - 2002 - 125
La vie des enfants au siècle des lumières
(The life of children in the age of Enlightenment)
Paris : Éd. du Sorbier, 2001. 45 p.
Child – Everyday life – France/1680-1790
In various chapters, adequately entitled with clear headings, this book narrates the life of children from different social backgrounds in France during the eighteenth century. Child birth, food, family life, education, working conditions, games, and celebrations are portrayed. Informative texts alternate with fictitious and real children's biographies. All of them are convincing and allow for an individual and lively introduction to the topic. The author draws an exciting picture of the past and easily succeeds in arousing the readers' interest. Several contemporary illustrations, most of them discovered in the French National Library, complete the text. A very detailed glossary is added at the end of the book. (9+)
France (French) - 2002 - 126
Hassaan, Ali Ahmed (text/illus.)
Musa, Patricia (transl.)
Le rêve du papillon
(The butterfly's dream)
Orange : Grandir, 2000.  p.
(Original text Arab)
Butterflies – Weakness – Power – Freedom – Cleverness – Folktale
The terrifying Zoumba is the undisputed king of the animals until the day when he loses his eyes in the pond while drinking from it. His subjects pretend to be willing to help, but instead they humiliate him to take revenge for his strict reign. Only the weakest animal, the butterfly, seizes the opportunity to buy himself freedom and safety. Zoumba gets his eyes back. Since that time, colourful eyes decorate the butterflies' wings. This story demonstrates how easy it is to reverse the balance of power. Abstract dreamlike colour-illustrations confirm the statement of this political as well as philosophical folktale. (5+)
France (French) - 2002 - 127
Louis, Alain (text)
Pommier, Maurice (illus.)
Les châteaux forts
Paris : Hachette Jeunesse, 2000. 32 p.
(3D explorateur ; 1)
Castle – Building – Europe – Middle Ages/500-1500
From the wooden watch-tower to the medieval fortress, this detailed non-fiction book chronologically traces the history of fortifications built in Western Europe. Exhaustive texts categorise the buildings according to the respective periods and show how the inhabitants led attacks or defended themselves against their enemies. A variety of illustrations and historical paintings accompany the text and supply additional information. An accurate two-page glossary at the end explains the technical terms in a comprehensible language. Moreover, the book holds another treat: With the help of the enclosed 3-D-glasses, some of the illustrations appear three-dimensional. All in all, this is an informative book that allows children to explore the medieval world of knights and castles in a playful way. (8+)
France (French) - 2002 - 128
Le goût de la mangue
(The taste of a mango)
Paris : Magnier, 2001. 214 p.
Madagascar/1950 – Independence movement – Coming of age – First love
This novel is set in Madagascar in the 1950s, when this island was still a French colony. Fifteen-year-old Anna is not happy among all the priviledged French boys. In her boarding school in Tana, though, she has some very good friends. One day, she meets Léon, a Malagasy boy, who introduces her to his country's traditions. Unfortunately, the independence movement and the hatred between their families threaten the teenagers' love. Anna is pictured as a curious and humorous teenage girl who slowly realises the complexity of the world around her. Through her eyes, the readers discover the civilisation of Madagascar and its colonial society. With a lot of sensitivity, this gripping novel describes the feelings of the young protagonists. (13+) ☆
France (French) - 2002 - 129
Molènes, Thalie de (text)
Sochard, Frédéric (illus.)
17 contes du bouddhisme
(Seventeen Buddhist tales)
[Paris] : Castor Poche Flammarion, 2000. 99 p.
(Castor poche ; 775 : Senior : Contes)
Folktales – Zen Buddhism
When her son withdrew to Tibet for three years, Thalie de Molènes, who had already written several novels for young adults, spent a lot of time reading and collecting information about Buddhism, a religion that was fairly unfamiliar to her up to this moment. She selected seventeen tales from the collection »500 folktales and fables by the Chinese Tripitaka« and rewrote them. Unlike folktales of the European tradition, these tales do not only provide general words of wisdom, they also offer a first insight into the Buddhist religion. The appendix contains a glossary as well as a short description of Buddhism and its historical development, inviting readers to take a closer look at this topic. (11+) ☆
Special Mention - France (French) - 2002 - 130
Serres, Alain (text)
Le premier livre de toutes nos couleurs
(The first book of all our colours)
[Paris]: Rue du Monde, 2001. 91 p.
(Les premiers livres)
International understanding – Tolerance – Solidarity – Racism
»Your chocolate is African, your numbers are Arabic, and your letters are Latin ...« In 2001, the International Year against Racism, these words by the author convey a message of tolerance and solidarity. In eleven chapters, the book presents the world's great variety. The author points out some of the violent events of the past, such as driving out the Red Indians, the slave trade in Africa, the persecution of the Jews. He then moves on to current problems in the world, mentioning the immigrants' difficulties of integration, among many others. Additional information is presented in small, coloured boxes. Black-and-white photographs, pictures in bright colours, historic illustrations, and the overall design of the book illustrate the world's colourfulness and its diversity. The author's words address the child readers directly and, by offering various activities for them to try out, he inspires them to think independently. (5+) ☆
Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 131
Bordiglioni, Stefano (text)
Monaldini, Mauro (illus.)
Trieste : Einaudi Ragazzi, 2001. 86 p.
(Einaudi Ragazzi : Storie e rime ; 141)
School – Pupil – Species – Animals
Can a school-class be compared with a small zoo? In this book, Stefano Bordiglioni, a teacher in real life, pretends to be a behavioural scientist who classifies the »small animals« in a witty mock- Latin. He names various species, such as the cicada-girl (Puella La La), the kangaroo-boy (Hop Hop), the old-goat-boy (Puer Dongiovannis), and the particularly strange Puer WWF. This animal show is extremely entertaining, and, at the same time, fairly realistic. The language perfectly matches the seemingly serious tone of the narration. The lively illustrations fit in well with the text and complement it to make the story a delightful read also for younger children. And for teachers, it will prove useful, too ...! (9+)
Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 132
Campana, Susanna (text/illus.)
Falsini, Camilla (text/illus.)
Napoli : I Colori del Mondo [et al.], 2001.  p.
Venice – Carnival – Commedia dell'Arte – Fancy dress – Masks
This book features the figures of the Commedia dell'Arte, which are still characteristic for the Italian carnival. In a few words, each of them introduces his or her own character and mentions the (many) weaknesses or (few) strengths. Costumes and colours resemble those of the original character cast, yet, at the same time, the figures themselves are presented in an attractively and imaginatively distorted way. They powerfully spread themselves across the pages, just as loud disrespectful fellows should, who are used to entertaining the common people in the streets as well as the aristocrats in the theatres with their jokes and pranks. Short and useful instructions about how to make the costumes and the stage decorations, complement the book. (8+)
Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 133
Cantone, Anna-Laura (text/illus.)
Una storia ingarbugliata
(An intricate story)
Milano : Fabbri, 2001.  p.
Hair – Forgetfulness
Matilde is completely absent-minded. In order to remember all the different tasks she has to attend to, she decides to make one knot for each task into her flowing red hair. But immediately, birds mistake Matilde's head for an ideal nesting place. Luckily enough, the hair cutter finds the perfect solution to this problem by giving the girl the best haircut ever. Now the birds can build their nests in the cut-off hair and Matilde's mother gets her an electronic organiser. Everything's fine – at least as long as the batteries of the organiser keep working. Matilde's story is accompanied by witty and fanciful, grotesque twopage illustrations. A characteristic feature of this book is the use of different types of paper, newspaper cuttings, and photographs of everyday objects, which are turned into brilliant collages. (5+)
Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 134
Cavalli, Ennio (text)
Maggioni, Federico (illus.)
Se nascevo gabbiano ... era peggio : (mezzo mondo visto da un bambino)
(If I had been born a seagull ... that would be worse : half the world seen by a child)
Milano : Feltrinelli, 2001. 171 p.
(Feltrinelli kids : Sbuk ; 47)
Boy – Everyday life – Observation
Clever thoughts about places, dinosaurs, pizzas, octopuses, mythology, nudism, etc. are gathered in this book, each of them spread out over a few pages and balanced by small suggestive black-ink drawings. The young and curious first-person narrator notices that the world is full of interesting objects worth thinking about. You may discover them while travelling – on a holiday trip with your pesky parents – or even at home: e.g. single words or a glass of chocolate spread. Some of the boy's thoughts are fairly profound: »Maybe there would be no more wars if all the adjectives that can accompany the word ›hate‹ disappeared.« The readers who follow his direct, narrative language suddenly look at life from a different perspective. (10+)
Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 135
Costa, Nicoletta (text/illus.)
Giulio Coniglio : storie per un anno
(Giulio Rabbit : stories for a whole year)
Modena : Panini, 2001.  p.
Animals – Child – Everyday life – Friendship
Giulio Rabbit and his motley crowd of friends – mouse Tommaso, fox Walter, goose Caterina – encounter the big small adventures of everyday life. Young children will easily empathise with the stories and find simple explanations for their own wishes and fears. Giulio learns not to be deceived by the fox; he learns how to swim and asks the doctor to cure his cold. He meets reindeer Renata, who is a member of staff working for Father Christmas, and the book ends happily with a shining Christmas tree. This illustrator's characteristic stroke, as careful and lively as usual, both captures and delights readers. The perfect balance between drawings and colours makes this book a treat for the eyes. (3+)
Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 136
Storia di Iqbal
San Dorligo della Valle (Trieste) : Ed. EL, 2001. 155 p.
(Ex libris ; 96)
Pakistan – Child labour – Slavery – Rebellion
This is a fast-paced story, full of hope, tragical, and entertaining at once. It denounces one of the worst plagues of our time, namely child slave labour. These children are forced to help their poor parents pay off their (sometimes ridiculously low) debts. The story in this book recalls a real incident in Pakistan. Fatima, the fictitious narrator, describes the brave uprising of a small group of children against their brutal employer and their escape from a horribly violent and ignorant existence. Eleven-year-old Iqbal Masih, the leader of this rebellion, was murdered in spring 1995 at the age of thirteen. He became the symbol for this fight. (12+) ☆
Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 137
Ancora un giorno : Milano 1945
(One more day : Milano 1945)
Milano : Mondadori, 2001. 103 p.
(Storie d'Italia ; 5)
Italy/1945 – World War II – Child – Everyday life
It is easy to guess that this short tale does not contain many fictional elements. In 1945, life in Milano was adventurous enough as to render further imagination superfluous. Four boys live their »normal« lives during World War II. Striving to understand the events, they observe the adults and try to help wherever possible in order to feel more mature. Bomb attacks, the Black Market, spies, scarcity of food: Using a surprisingly light and comprehensible language, this book transports readers back into the horrible past, which is also the sad present for many children today. A short historical summary at the end explains the historical events of that time. Different periods of Italian history are tackled in other books published in the same series. (10+)
Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 138
Garilli, Alessia (text)
Cantone, Anna Laura (illus.)
Papavero con sorpresa
(A poppy with a surprise)
Milano : Ed. Arka, 2001.  p.
(Collana di Perle)
Parent – Child – Creativity
If you do not have enough money to buy Mama a bunch of flowers, you can dig out a poppy instead and carry it home in a flowerpot. Yet, how inconvenient, if a cricket hides inside the flower and keeps the neighbours awake for hours. But so what! Marta faces such problems with intelligence and a cheerful composure. Soon afterwards she presents her Daddy with a water lily. What a lovely idea – except for this frog ... In this humorous and beautifully illustrated book, the artist's preference for playing with distorted forms and perspectives is clearly visible. Also characteristic for her work is the way in which mood changes are mirrored in the lively facial expressions of the amiable characters who are presented in an overly caricaturesque manner. (4+)
Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 139
Giraldo, Maria Loretta (text)
Bertelle, Nicoletta (illus.)
Un nuovo amico di Anna
(A new friend for Anna)
Cinisello Balsamo : San Paolo, 2001.  p.
(Jam : Le mele rosse ; 2) (San Paolo junior)
Immigration – Multicultural society
In this book, with its large block capitals on almost square pages accompanied by multi-coloured illustrations, Anna narrates a simple story that might happen anywhere in the world: A boy with dark skin joins her class. He comes from a foreign country. How many interesting tales about Africa, his homeland, Emmanuel could tell them! In order to do so, however, he has to learn Italian first. For the time being, the friendly glances and warm smiles of his new classmates help him calm down and get used to his new life. Anna imagines that, if she had to move to Africa, her freckles and red hair would look extremely weird to the people there. Immediately she realises how much richer their lives are going to be with their unusual new friend. (6+) ☆
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 140
Milano : Fabbri, 2001. 172 p.
Northern Italy/19th century – Village – Poverty – Hunger – Uncle – Boy – Test – Friendship
This book is yet another proof of Mino Milani's great narrative skill. The story is set in Northern Italy in the middle of the nineteenth century. Jacopo, a shy and frightened melancholic boy from a poor family with many children, is sent to another village by his parents to live with his sinister and mean uncle. He suffers hunger, works very hard, and meets many strangers who are not always friendly towards him. One day, Jacopo and some other boys have to travel down the river Ticino to bring several boats to the town of Pavia. This is an acid test for Jacopo which eventually gains him recognition and, moreover, makes him find work and a new friend, Veronica. The eventful, exciting plot is told in a quiet voice full of emotion. The language is fluent and elaborate, the presentation of the characters impressive, and the description of the landscapes full of poetic power. In the epilogue, Antonio Faeti praises the book's immense ethical power – and rightly so! (10+)
(Premio di Letteratura per Ragazzi »Insula Romana« ; 2001)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 141
Nava, Emanuela (text)
Nascimbeni, Barbara (illus.)
La tigre con le scarpe da ginnastica
(The tiger with the gymnastics shoes)
Milano : Salani, 2001. 63 p.
(I criceti ; 71)
Italy – Boy – Indian child – Friendship – Multicultural society – Storytelling
How do you manage to squeeze stories about skunks, the sun and the moon, headless women, green tigers, magicians, young monkies, Snow White, and Christopher Columbus into a book of just 63 pages? It's easy. You just let two children meet in the park of a city that is teeming with cars and commercials and let them tell stories. Marco, son of Italian parents, and Khurshid, son of Indian parents, become friends and exchange tales from their respective home countries which they re-create individually while telling them. Even if this sounds easy, it requires great skill to tell stories that are as refreshing and imaginative as the ones which Emanuela Nava narrates in this small booklet. Her text is supported by simple and friendly pen-andink drawings. (7+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 142
Roncaglia, Silvia (text)
Cerretti, Cristiana (illus.)
Aiuto, arrivano le amiche della mamma!
(Help! Mama's friends are coming)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2001.  p.
Manners – Aversion
Mama's friends are a real pest. Whenever they come for a visit, Mama comes up with a lot of absurd ideas, such as tidying up the bedrooms, behaving (and even dressing) like small princes, etc. Sara and Luca would love to play cannibals and throw the ladies into a huge cooking pot. Instead, they get sticky kisses and are asked silly questions. At least, Mama's friends always bring loads of caramels and other sweets. Anyway, Sara firmly promises herself that she will behave differently when she is an adult. Cristiana Cerretti has provided witty and lively illustrations for this story. The first and foremost characteristics are their expressive forms and colours. Their dynamic and vivacity are further increased by the hand-written text in block print. (8+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 143
Stoppa, Alfredo (text)
Cimatoribus, Alessandra (illus.)
Di tanto in tanto tondo tondo
(Once in a while, as round as a ball)
Pordenone : Ed. C'era una volta, 2001.  p.
Father Christmas – Big city – Hectic – Art of living
Who is this little round man who glances at the sky waiting for the snow that doesn't fall? Quite obviously, he is one of those fake Fathers Christmas whom the big department stores like to hire. In any case, he is a weird fellow: He doesn't even own a car! He loves to feel comfortable and lives in a multi-coloured house with many books and a lovely garden among all the dull grey houses of the hectic and noisy city. We can easily imagine the things he doesn't like and would (probably) agree with him. The ingenious, atmospheric pictures with their unconventional perspectives and details will impress readers with their exquisite range of colours. For a while, they let the readers become immersed in this tale of an outsider in our fastmoving time. (8+)
Portugal (Portuguese) - 2002 - 144
Couto, Mia (text)
Wojciechowska, Danuta (illus.)
O gato e o escuro
(The cat and the darkness)
Lisboa : Caminho, 2001.  p.
Cat – Night – Imagination – Disobedience
The fur of Pintalgato, a young, tigered tomcat, changes over night into a black coat darker than the gloomiest night. His curiosity is responsible for this transformation; why had he ignored his mother's warning to get nowhere near the »light that leads to the other side« on his nightly roams? The encounter with the darkness has made him dark, too. In the end, it becomes clear that darkness – the realm to which we attribute our fears – needs the same amount of loving attention as Pintalgato receives from his mother. With the poetic, symbolic text of this colourfully illustrated book, the wellknown author from Mozambique enters the stage of children's literature. (8+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2002 - 145
Djuvara, Neagu (text)
Olteanu, Radu (illus.)
Bucan, Simona (illus.)
Cum s-a născut poporul român?
(How the Romanian people came into existence)
Bucure.ti : Humanitas, 2001. 66 p.
(Humanitas junior : Istorie & legendã)
The history of Romania is full of changes. Its culture and people are a mirror of all the different influences that determined the development and characteristics of this country. The book portrays these events within the larger context of European history. Archeological and linguistic examples, as well as elements from old legends, alternate with historical facts and liven up the text. This fact and the accompanying illustrations make the book an interesting and entertaining read for children, teenagers, and adults alike. (10+)
Spain (Spanish) - 2002 - 146
Ballesteros, Xosé (text/transl.)
Olmos, Roger (illus.)
Pontevedra : Kalandraka, 2000.  p.
(Libros para soñar)
(Orig. text Galician)
Wolf – Little Red Riding Hood – Trick <fun> – Fear
This parody of Little Red Riding Hood drastically illustrates the risks of unbridled gluttony. The heroine, wearing a cap in the shape of a giant strawberry, has a sweet (but also rather vicious) tooth and raids »Uncle Wolf's« food basket while trying to outwit the old fellow by exchanging the goodies with donkey droppings and tepid water. A bad conscience and fear follow, but too late: In the dark of the night, the angry wolf comes down the chimney. The story's grotesque humour and its unrelentingly rising tension are congenially captured by the double-spread illustrations. They are funny, wild, vivid, and excessive. Rich colours, daring perspectives, and the play with light and shadow heighten the dynamic effect. (5+)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2002 - 147
Grimm, Jacob (text)
Grimm, Wilhelm (text)
Hidalgo, Herrín (select.)
Dumas, Oliveiro (illus.)
Gálvez, Pedro (transl.)
El señor Korbes y otros cuentos de Grimm
(Mr. Korbes and other Grimm tales)
Valencia : Media Vaca, 2001. 155 p.
(Media vaca ; 9)
Do you know the fairytale of Mister Korbes? Never heard of it? Then pick up this anthology of rather unknown treasures from the Grimm fairytales, and get to meet an artist who has illustrated these tales in an exceptionally witty, unconventional way. Oliveiro Dumas' furious mix of caricaturesque drawings, irreverent cartoons, and daring collage elements brings out the often neglected subversive, hardly childlike, gruesome side of the truly »Grimm« texts. Take a close look to discover all those bizarre details, hidden visual puns, and clever allusions – you're sure to appreciate, for example, the monstrous eruption of »Sweet porridge« in the shape of a mushroom cloud or Augusto Pinochet in the role of the evil one in »The peasant and the devil«. A few years ago, the publishing house Media Vaca started producing a small, fine series with new and newly discovered texts, high-quality illustrations, and aesthetic, bibliophile design. Buy, read, and hold on to it! (6+)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2002 - 148
Juan, José Luis de
Recordando a Lampe
(Memories of Lampe)
Madrid : Ed. SM, 2001. 203 p.
(Gran angular ; 216)
Kant, Immanuel – Prussia/1800
In February 1802, the philosopher Immanuel Kant dismissed his domestic Martin Lampe, who had served him for almost 40 years. Using this event as his point of departure, the author, well-known for his adult fiction, has created a highly entertaining novel, ingeniously intertwining fact and fiction. The story follows the further fate of Lampe, who had endured his eccentric master for decades; embittered by his dismissal, he now nourishes feelings of vengeance against his successor. Apart from developing a gripping plot, the novel offers a vivid portrait of life in Kant's hometown, Königsberg, Eastern Prussia, some 200 years ago. (14+)
(Premio Gran Angular ; 2000)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2002 - 149
Martín Garzo, Gustavo (text)
Gabán, Jesús (illus.)
Una miga de pan
Madrid : Ed. Siruela, 2000. 126 p.
(Las tres edades ; 77)
Animals – Dog – Love – Hate – Will to live
Little puppy Tana is just over a few weeks old when her mother dies. »Life is hard«, her mother admits, but she trusts in the intelligence of her pup; she knows that on the night of her birth, a fox »infected « Tana with that cleverness still sparkling in her eyes. Following this sad but beautiful and touching beginning, a tale full of unsuspected turns unfolds – a literary surprise packet somewhere between fable and fairytale. It is a story about the conflict between love and hate and about humans, who fight for one or the other side. Keeping in line with the previous books by the well-known author, the narrative is powerful and emotional. (12+)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2002 - 150
Moure Trenor, Gonzalo (text)
Martín Godoy, Fernando (illus.)
Zaragoza : Edelvives, 2001. 93 p.
(Ala delta ; 244 : Serie verde)
Sinti and Roma – Gypsies – Ethnic minority – Social outcast – Father – Son
Maíto, ten-year-old son of a gypsy-family, lives with his parents and siblings in poor conditions on the outskirts of a small town. When his father Elías is taken to prison for a crime he never committed, an unusual communication begins: Maíto draws and sends pictures to the prison, while his illiterate father answers with similar »visual letters«. A dialogue without words unfolds, sustained by mutual affection and the longing for freedom. Related with great empathy, this father-son story has found an unusual and expressive way to open a new perspective on the troublesome relations between majority populations and their disdained minorities. (10+)
(Premio Ala Delta ; 2001)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2002 - 151
Nesquens, Daniel (text)
Arguilé, Elisa (illus.)
Hasta (casi) 100 bichos
([Almost] 100 beasts)
Madrid : Anaya, 2001. 207 p.
This highly amusing and imaginative bestiary features almost 100 entries in alphabetical order. The literary Noah's Ark is populated by a beastly lot of peculiar and unexpected species: Just when the animals start looking familiar, puns, surreal connotations and nonsense distort them. It may even happen that new species make their appearance among »normal« animals like the pig, the snail, or the whale – as is the case for the screwdriver. This delightful book is sure to captivate its readers with its spirited, light-hearted, and playful language. The small-format illustrations in different shades of brown at the beginning of each story perfectly complement this bestial collection of curious creatures. (14+)
Spain (Basque) - 2002 - 152
Landa, Mariasun (text)
Urberuaga, Emilio (illus.)
(An elephant with a bird's heart)
Bilbo : Anaya Haritza, 2001. 70 p.
(Liburu zopa ; 14)
Elephants – Teacher – Character – Individuality
A teacher sends a lively report to a friend about her experiences in Africa. Attracted by an advert in the paper »Elephant-News«, she now teaches a herd of jungle giants. Even though the project can hardly be said to be crowned by success, it nevertheless teaches the teacher a surprising lesson: At first sight, elephants may look alike; they are, however, endowed with highly individual characters: with tiger-, ant-, and monkey-hearts, or even, like the charming elephant lady Kikunga, with a bird's heart. The story, brimming with imagination and pleasant absurdity, is accompanied by watercoloured line-drawings that underscore the peculiar humour of the text. (6+)
Spain (Catalan) - 2002 - 153
Alapont, Pasqual (text)
Molinero, David (illus.)
(The black sheep)
Barcelona : Edebé, 2001. 136 p.
(Periscopi ; 54)
Family – Tradition – Independence – Self-realisation
Reportedly, it isn't easy to rebel against long-standing family traditions. Nevertheless, that is what seventeen-year-old Hermògenes does, when he decides to become an archaeologist instead of going into the medical profession. He studies History and jobs part-time as a baby-sitter when the parents' stop to give him financial support. His determination to pursue his goal, as well as the relationship to the child he baby-sits and its mother are the foundations for Hermògenes' self-assertion and self-realisation. The author relates the protagonist's process of emancipation and reaching maturity with humour and ease. His concise rendering of character is excellent and reveals deep psychological insight. (14+)
(Premio Edebé de Literatura Juvenil ; 2001)
Spain (Catalan) - 2002 - 154
Comella, Maria Àngels
Bon dia, senyor Tàpies!
(Hello, Mr. Tápies!)
Barcelona : Serres, 2001.  p.
Tàpies, Antoni – Arts
Because this book presents only a well-dosed number of facts about the life and work of the Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies, it can be considered to be more of a picture book than a non-fiction title. Eulàlia, a curious, art-loving cartoon-girl and great fan of Tàpies, takes us on a little journey through his paintings, sculptures, and objects. She approaches the works of art with her naturalness and presents them to the reader from her own perspective. She, in turn, is amused, surprised, or perplexed by the individual works. Thanks to the happy choice of the child's perspective (seemingly) granting immediate access to Tàpies' work, this attractive and inspiring book may succeed in breaking down the barriers between children and the »Great Masters« of Modern Art. (7+)
Spain (Catalan) - 2002 - 155
Duran, Teresa (text)
Rubio, Gabriela (illus.)
Secrets de la selva fosca
(Secrets of the dark forest)
Barcelona : Ed. Cruïlla, 2001. 60 p.
([El vaixell de vapor / Sèrie blanca] ; 35)
City – Metropolis – Everyday life – Imagination – Jungle
In this original story, the powers of a child's imagination transform the hustle and bustle of a big city into a marvellous adventure. Miguel, the protagonist, pictures himself and his parents surviving the dangers and surprises of a unique jungle. He is impressed that his father rides a four-wheel stallion to the palace every day, where he creates mountains of delicious cakes. And he admires his mother, who, every morning, tames a sub-terranean irondragon that winds its way through the underworld. The short, entertaining text is accompanied by many colour illustrations that creatively explore the gap between reality and imagination. (6+)
Spain (Galician) - 2002 - 156
Aleixandre, Marilar (text)
Enríquez, Lázaro (illus.)
Paxaros de papel
Vigo : Xerais, 2001.  p.
Birds – Dream – Imagination – Diversity – Difference
A fantastic world awaits Rodrigo when, one night (in a dream?), he flies to Caibarién. The island, a happy counter-world, is populated by an infinite variety of birds glistening in all colours imaginable. The birds, however, are not happy in their paradise. They, too, want to go out into the world to see and experience something new and different, such as grey things, black things, or cities. The boy takes the birds on a journey through his reality, which in turn seems fascinating to them. The special charm of this book about the appeal of the exotic and the desire for diversity lies in the partly surreal and symbolic pictures. They glow with suggestive colours and invite readers to dream and to invent their own stories. (6+)
Spain (Galician) - 2002 - 157
Moreno, María Victoria
Guedellas de seda e liño
(Curls of silk)
Vigo : Galaxia, 1999. 172 p.
(Costa oeste ; 26)
Family – Family conflict – Class society
This novel in the style of a family saga unfolds in fictive, yet typical and well observed settings along the Galician coast. The narrative is centred on an old and respected aristocratic family; for generations, they have played a priviledged role in the region while living practically cut off from the rest of society. Despite all the pomp and ceremony, they cannot longer maintain the pretence; the family witnesses its own irredeemable decline. With beautiful, plain words, the author draws the portrait of a hermetic society still under the spell of days gone by and cruelly confronted with the realities of a changing world. (15+)
Spain (Galician) - 2002 - 158
Sánchez, Gloria (text)
Fra, Irene (illus.)
Chinto e Tom
(Chinto and Tom <proper names>)
Madrid : SM, 2001. 78 p.
(O barco de vapor : Serie azul ; 15)
Friendship – Imagination – Creativity
Chinto and Tom – brothers, friends, or possibly even a couple – have inherited a bed and a piece of land in an idyllic area. With great enthusiasm, they start building a cosy home, in which they plan to live together in peace and harmony. Once the new home is built, they realise the bed doesn't fit through the door. Because the bed is indispensable – but, unfortunately, cannot be taken apart – inventiveness is called for ... The story, told with a great deal of sympathy for the protagonists, is full of imaginative, absurd, and surreal ideas, lending the book vitality and lightheartedness. The simple, humorous, and, at the same time, poetic language adds another wonderful touch. (8+) ☼
(Premio Lazarillo ; 2000)
Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 2002 - 159
Le temps des mots à voix basse
(The time of the quiet words)
Genève : La Joie de Lire, 2001. 71 p.
Friendship – Persecution of the Jews
The grown-up first-person narrator of this short tale remembers his childhood: Among two boys and their fathers a close friendship evolves. The fathers enjoy sitting in their garden, laughing together, drinking a glass of wine, and writing poems. Nothing seems to threaten their happiness. Yet, all of a sudden, an unfamiliar and brutal voice drowns out the sounds and voices of their formerly peaceful world. Without understanding anything, the child is forced to witness the gradual breakdown of his familiar surroundings. Why, for example, is his friend suddenly not allowed to go to school anymore? Readers immediately recognise the terrors of Nazism. Written from a point of view which lends particular emphasis to the threatening sounds, the vivid language pictures the horrible events descending upon the boy. Thus, a poetic text is created which looks at a well-known topic from a different angle and prevents readers from forgetting these horrors. (14+) ☆
Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2002 - 160
Los días del Venado : la saga de los confines
(The days of the stag : epic of the lands at the end of the world)
Buenos Aires [et al.] : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2001. (3. ed.) 322 p.
The Good – The Evil – Freedom – Cultural conflict – America/Conquest
This gripping fantasy narrates the clash of two worlds and cultures. Following a prophecy of their Holy Scriptures, the people of the »Fertile Lands« await the arrival of representatives of the »Ancient Lands«. Contrary to what they expected, however, these do not come with peaceful intentions but as conquerors who want to destroy anything foreign to them. The invaders, led by the »Son of Death«, threaten to be the victors in a terrible battle – had it not been for a warrior who sacrifices himself for the freedom of the »Fertile Lands«. The author creates settings, characters, and plots with a great deal of imagination and skill, so that the reader is inextricably drawn into this fictional world. Many allusions also make this a novel about the discovery and conquest of the Americas, told from the point of view – in real history – of the vanquished. (14+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2002 - 161
Azevedo, Ricardo (text/illus.)
Histórias de bobos, bocós, burraldos e paspalhões
(Stories about fools, imbeciles, donkeys, and simpletons)
Porto Alegre : Projeto Ed., 2001. 63 p.
Folktales/Brazil – Luck – Lucky devil
This book presents four tales from Brazilian folklore. The author preserves the original nature of the tales with his skilful and entertaining style; at the same time, he creates his own, contemporary version by incorporating new elements and motifs from other fairy- and folktales. The uniting element of the tales are the protagonists, who all suffer from a remarkable lack of intelligence: »daft heroes«, who fail in their tasks, create havoc and confusion but end up winning the big game without much of their own doing. Black-and-white illustrations reminiscent of silhouettes harmonise very well with the text. (10+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2002 - 162
Braz, Júlio Emílio (adapt.)
Dansa, Salmo (illus.)
São Paulo : FTD, 2001. 109 p.
(Série no meio do caminho)
In recent years, Brazilian children's literature has increasingly returned to those roots of Brazil that link them with the Indian aborigines and the history and culture of Africa. The present book assembles eight African tales: myths and fairytales about the basic questions and secrets of life – one of which is death. Retold in a style suitable for contemporary, young readers, they nevertheless preserve the character of African folklore and the immediacy of orally transmitted literature. Fascinating black-and-white illustrations, effectively exploring the effects of light and shadows, complement the vivid and gripping narrative. (10+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2002 - 163
Coelho, Raquel (text/illus.)
A arte da animação
(The art of the cartoon film)
Belo Horizonte - MG : Formato, 2000. 43 p. + supplement
(No caminho das artes)
Cartoon film – Trick film
This non-fiction book introduces children to an exciting topic in an attractive and lively way. With the help of innovative, vivid illustrations obviously indebted to the visual language of audio-visual media, the author explains the techniques, possibilities, and secrets of her trade. The pictures and the simple text make this popular topic accessible to children. The book is complemented by a didactic supplement primarily designed for educators; it offers ideas for activities inviting the children to experiment themselves with the basics and techniques of the art of cartoon-film-making. (9+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2002 - 164
Hetzel, Bia (text)
Jardim, Felipe (illus.)
Sonkin, Flora (illus.)
Rio de Janeiro : Manati, 2000.  p.
Human – Character – Pig
Human characteristics and behaviour are often associated with certain animals. This picture book takes up the idea in a witty and entertaining way: It explores the so-called »pig-spirit« that, once it takes hold of us, can determine our gestures and words. Bad mood, violence, rage – all those »base« feelings and instincts slumbering deep down in our human soul can be awakened by the pig-spirit. The rhymed verse, which makes fun of »piggish situations «, resounds with natural musicality and lends itself wonderfully to reading out loud. The expressive, brightly coloured illustrations, which suitably complement the text, reflect the unruliness and highlight the comic side of the subject. (6+) ☼
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2002 - 165
Lima, Ricardo da Cunha (text)
Calvi, Gian (illus.)
De cabeça pra baixo
(Head down, feet up in the air)
São Paulo : Companhia das Letrinhas, 2000. 55 p.
Children's poetry – Writing poetry – Nonsense
An air-balloon that's scared of heights, a vacuum cleaner that's allergic to dust, a flying lettuce: Ricardo da Cunha Lima's poems teem with comic absurdities. The poet juggles around with ideas and words and creatively explores the playful, spontaneous side of language. His poems break rules and mix up the normal order of things to open new windows onto the world and change the way we ordinarily see things. The colour-illustrations take up that playful mode. They, too, turn the world upside-down – head down, feet up in the air – and kindle the imagination of young readers. This is not merely an anthology of poems; it is also a book about the art of writing poetry, encouraging children to try their hand at rhythms and rhymes. (7+)
Chile (Spanish) - 2002 - 166
Parra, Marco Antonio de la
El año de la ballena
(The year of the whale)
Santiago de Chile [et al.] : Alfaguara, 2001. 128 p.
Family conflict – Parents – Child – Divorce – Coming of age – First love – Uncle – Friendship
Ismael has the impression of being shipwrecked: In the »year of the whale«, as he calls it, everything in and around him threatens to sink. His family breaks up. His mother is depressed, and he is estranged from his father who has fallen in love with another woman. Ismael finds an understanding friend in Uncle Juan, a non-conformist individualist and book-maniac, who initiates him to the world of books. His sister helps him confront the difficulties of the family and deal with the turmoil of growing up. With empathy and great earnestness, the first-person narrative describes the coming of age of an alert and sensitive adolescent, who reflects on a decisive year of his life. (14+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2002 - 167
Repún, Graciela (adapt.)
Weiss, Mónica (illus.)
(Legends from Argentina)
Bogotá [et al.] : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2001. 126 p.
(Colección torre de papel : Torre azul)
16 myths and legends of indigenous peoples from Argentina, from the north of the country all the way to the Tierra del Fuego, were rewritten for this slender volume. Like in many texts of this genre, these tales follow man's inclination to explain the origins of natural phenomena or animals as, for example, the constellation of the Southern Cross or various birds. The language is restrained and almost sparse – and it is from this very restriction that the text derives its intensity and poetic impact. The timeless quality of orally transmitted poetry is preserved, still its age is palpable; at the same time, the author has found her own convincing style suitable to pass on the timeless tales of the elders to the young readers of today's generation. (9+)
Mexico (Spanish) - 2002 - 168
Comotto (= Agustín Comotto) (text/illus.)
Siete millones de escarabajos
(Seven million beetles)
México, D.F. : Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2001.  p.
(Los especiales de A la orilla del viento)
Beetle – Birthday – Family
What happens when seven million beetles decide to embark on a great, dangerous journey over the seas to congratulate their beloved cousin Marcelo on his birthday? That's what this picture book tells us with wit and a twinkle-in-the-eye sideswipe at the sometimes overwhelming sympathy of the »dear family«. With great originality and spirit, Comotto creates a busy million-bustling-beetlesworld. His sketchy, edgy, scrawly, and caricaturesque lines bring to life a repulsive, creepy, yet equally fascinating character cast. Limiting himself to the tones of black, grey and white, he courageously goes against the conventional aesthetics of picture books. (4+)
(Premio A la orilla del viento ; 2000 ; Libro ilustrado)
Mexico (Spanish) - 2002 - 169
Gedovius, Juan (illus.)
Morado al cubo
(Sticking to the dice)
México, D.F. : Alfaguara, 2000.  p.
Dice – Chance
When you open this book, you will be faced with a bunch of bizarre and prehistoric-looking gnomes, giants, and dinosaurs: furry and bristly ones, greenskinned and wrinkly ones, teeny-weeny and massive creatures. By chance, a dice happens to be thrown into this world. It starts poking the giant's foot, then it happily thrives in a flower-pot-like deformity on the gnome's head, serves as dragon food, and finally ends up with the angry giant again, who originally wanted to get rid of it. This simple circular tale without words fully focuses on the characters, only adding a few minor details. The illustrations powerfully strike the imagination because they leave ample room for the readers' own crazy ideas and mental experiments. (4+)
Mexico (Spanish) - 2002 - 170
Jaeger Cordero, Silvia
El huevo azul
(The blue egg)
Monterrey, Nuevo León : Ed. Castillo, 2000. 119 p.
(Castillo de la lectura) (Serie verde)
Tyrant – Power – Dream – Prophecy
Even though timeless like a fairytale, this story is undoubtedly inspired by the myths of the Aztecs, the ancestors of today's Mexicans. The mighty governor Tutul impels his subjects to acknowledge him as their absolute ruler and insists on being henceforth addressed by all – even his omnipresent Ara – as »King Tutul«. At the peak of his power, Tutul dreams a mysterious dream. Instead of announcing his fortune, as anticipated, this dream, which in truth is an ancient prophecy, predicts the fall of the despot. The poetic, figurative language and the humorous narrative of this story make this an entertaining read even for younger readers. (7+)
(Premio de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil »Castillo de la Lectura«)
Venezuela (Spanish) - 2002 - 171
Garmendia, Salvador (text)
Faría, Rosana (illus.)
El turpial que vivió dos veces
(The trupial <yellow-breasted oriole> that lived twice)
Maracay, estado Aragua : Playco Ed., .  p.
Birds – Trupial – Freedom – Protection of animals
This picture book relates the simple and touching story of a colourful trupial, which is taken into captivity and regains freedom. Told from the bird's point of view, the retrospective narrative focuses on the change of the boy, who shoots the bird down from a tree with a sling, puts it in a cage, and finally, of his own free will, releases it. The delicate double-spread colour illustrations, partly on white, partly on brown paper, perfectly capture the story's changing settings and shifting moods. Narrowing their focus from the vast Venezuelan savannah to the confined space of the dark cage and widening it again for the final scenes out in the open nature, they visualise the book's message in an attractive and convincing way. (6+)
Canada (French) - 2002 - 172
Beauchemin, Jean-François (text)
Mangeau, Marc (illus.)
Mon père est une chaise
(My father is a chair)
Montréal (Québec): Québec Amérique Jeunesse, 2001. 155 p.
Father – Son – Loss – Separation – Single-parent child
Instead of the usual appraisals you will find a warning on the book's back cover: »I might as well tell you right away, dear reader, the story I have written for you is not pretty.« And indeed, what 11-year-old Anatole has to go through in three days of triumph, anguish and turmoil is pretty ugly. When his father tumbles down the freshly polished stairs, Anatole seizes the chance to start a new, meaningful life. But finally, reality catches up with him. Despite the disturbing plot, Beauchemin creates a quirky and lovable character whose quest for love against all odds infuses this unconventional novel with warmth and humour. (12+)
Canada (French) - 2002 - 173
Bletton, Marie (text)
Borduas, Paul-Émile (illus.)
Le petit canoë
Saint-Laurent (Québec) : Les 400 coups, 2001.  p.
(Petites histoires de l'art)
Arts – Abstract art – Canoe - Imagination
This picture book introduces a promising series exploring the narrative and imaginative potential of art. Bletton's choice of an abstract, untitled painting by the avant-garde Québec artist Borduas may surprise. But the story of the little canoe lost on the planet Borduas demonstrates the inspiring power of imagination and captures the experimental playfulness of Borduas' work. Children will enjoy discovering the strange creatures that come to life in the midst of changing shapes and colours. The book calls for an adult to take children on this enchanting journey of art appreciation. (5+) ☼
Canada (French) - 2002 - 174
La valise du mort
(The dead man's suitcase)
[Montréal] : Hurtubise HMH, 2001. 154 p.
(Collection Atout ; 52 ; Policier)
Detective – Mystery
Chabin, prolific writer with a keen sense of setting and a fondness for teenage anti-heroes, adds yet another gripping murder mystery to his well established universe of detective stories. In a series of cleverly plotted and well-paced incidents, Marcus Arbuckle gets entangled in a mysterious crime: He accidentally kills his father, knocks down a stranger, steals a car, only to be threatened and hunted in turn – and all that because of a black suitcase of unknown content. Adopting Marcus' limited perspective, Chabin outwits the reader and leads him on false tracks. This is perfect entertainment full of suspense and refreshing humour. (11+)
Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2002 - 175
Les mémoires interdites
(The forbidden memories)
Hull (Québec) : Éd. Vents d'Ouest, 2001. 205 p.
(Roman ado ; 34 : Drame)
Memory – Identity – Creativity – Plagiarism
Grégoire wants to be a writer. His imagination and talent seem phenomenal until a big scandal at the young writers' competition reveals that he possesses an infallible memory instead: Word by word he had reproduced Saint Exupéry's »The Little Prince« without realising it! Accused of plagiarism and knowing that his ideas are no longer his, Grégoire has to confront the darker sides of memory before he can painfully regain his threatened identity and liberate his imagination. In her first novel, published in the award-winning »Roman ado« series, Lamontagne masterfully renders the characters and the setting. Taking up the French literary tradition of reflections on memory, she shows how identity and creativity are at the very core of it. References to literary works and insights into the workings of memory will inspire the read- ers to explore the realms of literature and science on their own. (12+)
(Governor General's Award ; 2001 ; Shortlist)
Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2002 - 176
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Favreau, Marie-Claude (illus.)
La petite fille qui ne souriait plus
(The little girl who no longer smiled)
Saint-Laurent (Québec): Soulières Éd., 2001. 50 p.
(Ma petite vache a mal aux pattes ; 29)
This little book has the courage to address one of the greatest taboos of children's literature: child abuse. Nathalie is oppressed by a terrible secret. The man who causes her anxiety has told her no one would love her anymore once they knew the truth. All she can do is long for a soap that cleans people's inside. Finally, an observant art teacher discovers Nathalie's secret and helps her confront it. Tibo's sensitive, simple style and Favreau's sketchy yet gentle illustrations set this book apart from purely issue-oriented problem novels. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 177
Bluitgen, Kåre (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
Karlslunde : Agertoft, 2001.  p.
Lover – Voyage – Obstacle
By rewriting old stories by the Danish author Ludvig Holberg for a modern book – a method that has already been employed successfully with the underground travels of Nils Klim – Bluitgen makes a classic tale accessible and interesting to young readers today. The story of the salesman Peder Paars who against all odds finally reaches his lover on board a ship, is bound to grab young readers' attention, especially because of its crude style of narration. Moreover, readers will be even more fascinated by Dorte Karrebæk's newly designed drastic full-colour illustrations that thwart many conventional expectations. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 178
Flansmose, Julie (text/illus.)
En af den slags dage
(One of these peculiar days)
[København] : Haase, 2001.  p.
Child – Bad mood
When a boy gets out of bed with the wrong foot, then one disaster follows another all day long: The breakfast milk has turned sour, his parents are in a bad mood, and so are the teachers, the classmates, and, above all, the protagonist himself. An everyday situation, yet captured in unusual and original pictures. In her first picture book, the young artist strives to increase the distorted qualities of her characters by employing elements typical of contemporary art, such as collages, expressionistic spacing, series of the same drawings, and pieces of tape placed across the pictures. Together, all these elements do not allow the readers to be drawn into the picture but make them examine the two-dimensional illustrations with some emotional distance. (7+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 179
Gammelgaard, Per (text)
Ranheimsæter, Jon (illus.)
[København] : Gyldendal, 2000.  p.
From A to Z, all through the alphabet, both people and animals have or do something they do not want to have or do. Their truly favourite activities or objects, however, always lead to the following letter of the alphabet. This absurd ABC-book starts with an ape and an orange (Danish: »apelsin«) and returns to the orange after the last letter. Although Jon Ranheimsæter is one of Denmark's most original caricaturists he is not well-known abroad. Thanks to his drawings every page holds some bizarre surprises for the reader. (8+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 180
Jørgensen, Bent (text)
Helweg, Pernille Kløvedal (illus.)
Sex - hvad er meningen? : kønslivets naturhistorie
(Sexuality – What's the meaning behind it? : the natural history of sexual life)
København : Høst & Søn, 2001. 140 p.
Sexuality – Animals
In this book, a topic which by itself already arouses a lot of interest is presented by the former director of the Copenhagen Zoo with profound knowledge and an abundance of details. Nature's creativity alone would make this book a read far from monotonous; the fact that it is written in a perceptive and witty style renders it all the more enjoyable to its readers. Without a doubt, this book is a further example of the importance that is attributed to sexuality and eroticism in Scandinavian children's and youth literature. Moreover, it is typical for the Scandinavian ingenuity in dealing with this topic. In accordance with the humorous text, the illustrator does not use embarrassingly detailed pictures but rather turns to etchings complementing the text in a less serious manner. (14+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 181
Mogensen, Jan (text/illus.)
Sulliman Ahmed Beduins eventyr
(The adventures of the Bedouin Sulliman Ahmed)
[Bagsværd] : Carlsen, 2001.  p.
International understanding – Hospitality
An average Danish family on holiday in the desert needs help to get their car started again. The old Bedouin Sulliman Ahmed helps them with his camel and invites the whole family into his tent afterwards. Later, the family is back home, everything was wonderful. Suddenly, Ahmed and his camel knock on the door of the Danish home; a most unwelcome surprise for the parents who have invited some guests for this evening; and besides …. The children, however, are delighted to see their old friend again and ask him to stay. He is the centre of attention at the party and they all fraternise with each other. Back home in the desert, Ahmed looks at his photographs, smiling, and thinks: Allah is great. Using friendly and uncomplicated pictures, Mogensen tells a story that today still remains a dream, although an amiable one. You have to start with the children if you want the world to become a better place – that's what Jella Lepman, founder of the International Youth Library, said. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 182
Rostrup, Anders (text)
Kjærgaard, Anna Margarethe (illus.)
Børges bedste bryster
(The most beautiful breasts for Børge)
København : Høst & Søn, 2001.  p.
Child – Curiosity – Female breasts
Børge, a small boy, plays with his mother's breasts, which he considers the most beautiful breasts in the world. Yet, when his father heedlessly tells him that the world is full of wonderful breasts and that he only needs to reach out for them, young Børge takes this literally. Accordingly, he soon gets into embarrassing situations with several ladies. This enables the illustrator to present a conglomeration of most unusual shapes in her first picture book, including those of two men. Apart from providing information about the facts of life, this book also explains to children in a witty way why they cannot do whatever they please without considering other people's feelings. (5+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 183
Rostrup, Anders (text)
Riis, Claus (illus.)
(The Brormand Brothers)
[København] : Forum, 2001. 86 p.
(Zik zak zoom)
Siblings – Brotherly love – Everyday life
First-person narrator Stig often feels embarrassed about his seven-year-old brother. The little lad's behaviour is inappropriate and not quite childlike, especially when he presents his »You-know-what« to everybody and even pulls down his trousers at the royal palace. Nevertheless, Stig's love for his little brother remains strong because the small boy proves to be surprisingly sensitive when Stig picks up his first girlfriend. The funny stories, with their exaggerated caricatures perfectly matching the overall style, allow the readers to gain an insight into a rather unusual family – even for modern Denmark – consisting of a mother, two children, and two fathers. Hardly less unusual is the demanding series of books among which this title is published, aimed at rousing the readers' interest in literature. (7+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 184
Helakisa, Kaarina (text)
Hieta, Heli (illus.)
Mies joka halusi nähdä koko maailman
(The man who wanted to see the whole world)
Helsinki : Otava, 2001.  p.
Life – Dream – World trip
With this interpretation of a story from Kaarina Helakisa's fairtyale collection »Lasilinna« (»The castle of glass«, 1986), young illustrator Heli Hieta gives a new view of travelling. A very curious man dreams of seeing the whole world. He finds out all schedules and makes plans, but after a while he worries that he might never have enough time to visit all the places he wants to go to. At first, the globe he sees in his dreams seems huge, but little by little it gets smaller. And so do his dreams. In the end, he realises that he does not need to travel to all the places to notice that there is a difference between his dreams and reality. Hieta's surrealistic and harmonious colour illustrations leave room for the imagination. They also entice readers to think about life and time. (7+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 185
Juvonen, Riikka (text/illus.)
(The singing wolf)
Helsinki : Lasten Keskus, 2001.  p.
Outsider – Tolerance
Author and illustrator Riikka Juvonen has a long career in children's literature. Her new picture book tells the story of the wolf cub Kultasilmä (Golden Eye), who tries hard to learn to howl like the other wolves. Yet, to everybody's astonishment and dismay, he sings like a bird. This extraordinary quality makes him an outsider. He is driven away to the cold forest where he learns to perform magical tricks. Very soon, he is accepted back to the pack and becomes the hero of the forest. Juvonen deals with problematic topics, such as difference and tolerance, and shows how everybody's life may be enriched and full of happiness. The accompanying illustrations are sensitive and show a lot of sympathy for the lively characters who have strong personalities. (4+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 186
Kokko, Yrjö (text)
Segercrantz, Kristina (illus.)
Pessi ja Illusia : satu
(Pessi and Illusia <Proper names>)
Porvoo : Söderström, 2001. 240 p.
The Good – The Evil – Friendship – Love – Tolerance
This fantasy novel, which describes the friendship and love between a troll and an elf, was written while the author was on the frontline in 1944. It can be read as an allegory of war. War problems are mirrored in the relationship between pessimis- tic troll Pessi and optimistic elf Illusia, who comes from the land of the rainbow. The central topic is the relationship between nature and humans, as well as that between children and the war. This newly-illustrated edition raises the problem of the dialectic of Good and Evil, of weak and strong, by resorting to the law of nature, where the stronger beings always dominate the weak ones. This problem is still of importance today and will continue to be so. Illustrator Kristina Segercrantz lends a personal touch and spirit to the story and its characters. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 187
(The adventurer of the desert)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2001. 100 p.
Wallin, Georg August – Arabia/1843 – Expedition
In this youth novel, children read about the voyage of Finnish explorer Georg August Wallin (1811- 1853), who was world-famous for his expeditions to the Arab countries. Wallin, an anthropologist and scientist, collected the knowledge of the Arabic life, language, and culture. This novel employs a mixture of facts and fiction to recall the first dangerous voyage Wallin embarked on in 1843. Mikkanen's exotic and exciting story describes the valuable hand-made old book that Wallin searches for and wants to bring home with him. To carry out his plan, he joins a caravan and rides through the desert. During the hard and dangerous voyage the explorer suffers under the heat and survives several robberies. (8+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 188
Poutanen, Kira (text)
(The wonderful sea)
Helsinki : Otava, 2001. 185 p.
This first book by Kira Poutanen, a young Finnish actress and translator living in Paris, deals with the difficult topic of anorexia. Julia, an anorectic teenager, simply wants to be perfect. She competes with her classmates for the greatest success at school and hides her femininity inside a painfully skinny body. Exhausting exercises and gymnastics are part of her everyday routine. By meticulously observing her own body and closely controlling the amount of food she eats, Julia is inevitably drawn into the dangerous spheres of her illness. Poutanen describes Julia's inner world and thoughts in the form of a diary written in a deeply metaphorical language. (13+)
(Finland Junior Prize ; 2001)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 189
Timonen, Eija (text)
Kurkinen, Maileena (illus.)
Riimurasia : tarinoita noidista, peikoista ja muista oudista olioista
(The box of stories : tales about witches, trolls, and other strange creatures)
Helsinki : Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2001. 111 p.
(Totta ja tarua)
Eija Timonen has collected and rewritten a number of Finnish folktales, in particular tales concerning popular beliefs. This box of tales contains exciting stories about strange creatures, such as trolls, treasure- seekers, ghosts, witches, and giants. These characters are typical stereotypes appearing in many Finnish tales of belief. A particularly common motif among these tales is that of the »switched baby« when a child is stolen by a troll, who in return leaves his own child with the human family. The colourful illlustrations by Maileena Kurkinen are filled with warmth and grotesque humour. (7+)
Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 190
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2001. 143 p.
Egner, Thorbjørn – Autobiography
Two of Thorbjørn Egner's book are particularly well-known internationally: »Karius og Baktus« (»Karius and Baktus«, 1949) and »Folk og rövere i Kardemomme by« (»The singing town«, 1955). This beautifully designed autobiography will provide those readers, who would like to learn more about the person who wrote these modern classics, with some interesting information. The lovely selection of Egner's own illustrations through the decades makes the book all the more enjoyable to look at. Moreover, readers who carefully study the bibliography of Egner's books, will discover how many more books the author has written and illustrated beside the two about dental hygiene and the town of Kardemomme. (12+)
Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 191
Iversen, Anniken Telnes
Metamorfoser eller det store spillet
(Metamorphoses or The Big Game)
[Oslo] : Damm, 2001. 286 p.
Literature – Game
When reading an advert for a pen friend, Lena becomes interested in a boy who introduces himself with a Kafka-quotation. In his first letter, the boy called Bjørnar asks Lena to help him solve a literary puzzle that his uncle has put on the Internet. The two teenagers soon become pen pals and later even a real friendship develops between them. They complete the game successfully and win a journey to America. In this book, the author cleverly tries to stimulate the readers' interest in literature with the help of an exciting story; the use of »hand-written« passages and computer screens livens up the book's typography. (12+)
Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 192
Så lenge alltid varer
(As long as everything exists)
Oslo : Det Norske Samlaget, 2001. 95 p.
Youth – First love – Jealousy – Fulfilment
The typical problems of teenage love described in this book, such as shyness, courtship, jealousy, and finally the fulfilment of one's dreams, may be all too common topics in contemporary young adult literature. Finn Øglænd, however, by now an experienced author of youth literature, chooses a form that convincingly conveys a message despite its hackneyed topic. He lets his protagonist relate the events in a mixture of diary and monologue, yet not as eloquently as an author in disguise. Instead, the boy clearly reveals his taciturnity and clumsiness towards his stronger and more popular class mates. Nevertheless, he is an acute observer and convinces through his honesty. (14+) ☼
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 193
Sande, Hans (text)
Nordberg, Harald (illus.)
[Oslo] : Gyldendal Tiden, 2001.  p.
Persecution – Rescue – Ungratefulness – Hubris – Arrogance – Punishment – Peace – Striving for peace
One day, a group of people living in a coastal region is attacked by foreign soldiers. The people manage to escape but they suffer from hunger and thirst, until some huge birds show them the way to a paradise-like place in the mountains. The feeling of gratefulness, however, doesn't last very long; soon enough, some leaders start going their separate ways. When they discover a nest with the huge birds' eggs, they ruthlessly steel them. As a consequence, the birds take revenge and destroy the paradise completely. Only a girl, who had learned the birds' language and worshipped them, is saved by one of them and taken to a distant land. In a simple, fairytale-like manner, this book explains how hubris causes disturbance. It thus makes a positive contribution to a peaceful education for children today. Nordberg's illustrations, in earlier books characterised by their naïve style, have reached a new level: Painted in intensive and unusual colours, they have great symbolic power. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 194
Sortland, Bjørn (text)
Bredesen, Trond (illus.)
(The Venitian mystery)
Oslo : Aschehoug, 2000. 123 p.
Venice – Modern art – Theft
A Norwegian tourist family spends the carnival time in Venice. Inside the Guggenheim Museum, the children witness the theft of a famous Picasso painting. As they have met the suspected thieves earlier at their hotel, the children are able to assist in solving the case – not without getting themselves into dangerous situations. With this book, Sortland, who has already published several books about art, starts a new series intended to make art more attractive and interesting for children by presenting information hidden inside an exciting story – quite a remarkable attempt. (10+) ☼
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 195
Wolf, Oystein Wingaard (text)
Nyka, Justyna (illus.)
De dødes sirkus
(Circus of the dead)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2001.  p.
Birthday – Circus – Fantasy
Fantastic tales in general do not need to be logical; neither does this one, in which a boy on his birthday meets some kind of oriental ghost at the Brighton beach. He leads the boy to a bizarre circus where a performance for the dead people commences. In the end, inevitably, the boy wakes from his weird dream. Yet, the story itself is not really that important; it only provides readers with words for the peculiar graphic game developing before their eyes: An unreal world is elaborately sketched and glued together from bits of coloured paper and old prints. The style has its origins in a different time and place; it is connected with Max Ernst and Polish experimental illustration of the sixties, as the illustrator's name and the few Polish words in the pictures reveal. (6+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 196
Bergqvist, Karin (text)
Lundberg, Fredrik (text)
Lundqvist, Ulf (illus.)
(The book about bacteria)
Stockholm : Natur och Kultur, 2001. 59 p.
Books about big animals or small and cuddly ones are easy to make because you can flaunt magnificent colour-photographs and illustrations. Information books about bacteria, on the other hand, are extremely rare – especially those for children. Therefore, anyone planning such a book needs to be able to write in an exciting style – something which the authors of this book are particularly good at. They rely on the facts' own potential for attracting the readers' attention rather than dressing them up in neat little stories. At some point, however, the bacteria themselves get a chance to speak. The illustrator of this book does not attempt to portray the bacteria »realistically«. Instead, he creates differently shaped monsters that wander the pages and offer diverting optical breaks from the text. (10+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 197
Buregren, Sassa (text/illus.)
(The Democracy Handbook)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2001. 47 p.
The author of this book presents the abstract topic of democracy in an easily comprehensible and entertaining way. He takes a child of a fictitious family as a starting point and voices the demands this child might possibly have towards society (e.g. »The youth club should be open till the evening«). With the aid of simple examples, the author then demonstrates which »institutions« (e.g. family, town council, government) are responsible for what kind of matter. In a second step, he shows ways leading to the fulfilment of these goals. At the end, the author introduces several people who have fought for human rights and democracy: Mahatma Ghandi, Iqbal Masih, the carpet weaving boy who was assassinated, Anne Frank, Astrid Lindgren, and others. The simple yet informative illustrations further add to these qualities of the book. (8+) ☆
Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 198
Corneliusson, Marie (text)
Porat, Anna von (text)
Glave, Lotta (illus.)
Så funkar ekonomi : en första upplagsbok
(This is how the economic system works : a first reference book)
[Stockholm] : BonnierCarlsen, 2001. 79 p.
Economy – Monetary economics
This book provides children with basic information about money, monetary economics, family income, government revenue, speculation on the stockmarket, and similar topics. The text is written in a very concise style, forcing the authors to express themselves accurately. This fact makes the book an interesting read, easy to understand. Economic relations are explained with the help of simple examples. This book does not rely on photographs of money and the like; instead, it trusts in the effect of a uniform, slightly caricaturesque style of illustrations rendered in rich colours. High quality books about such topics are hard to find. (10+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 199
Hammar, Johanna (illus.)
[Stockholm] : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2001.  p.
The style of Johanna Hammar's first two books for toddlers, »Åka« (»Driving«) and »Leka« (»Playing «), resembles that of the Dutch artist Dick Bruna. Like Bruna's books, they meet the demands of educationalists from around 1900 who stated that clear outlines and homogeneous colours were the most suitable for small children. Despite the similarities, this artist can be distinguished from Bruna by her use of more »elegant« outlines and a wider range of colours. Nevertheless, the pictures, full of information, are just as easy to recognise and leave as strong an impression as those of the Dutch artist. (2+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 200
Jaensson, Håkan (text)
Grähs, Gunna (illus.)
Rita ensam hemma
(Rita home alone)
[Stockholm] : Alfabeta Bokförl., 2001.  p.
Child – Loneliness – Drawing – Fear – Coping with fear
A small girl, alone at home waiting for her father, draws her own picture book. In this storybook, she projects her own fears onto another girl, wandering about in a city and being exposed to increasingly threatening dangers; finally, the father comes home and ensures that the story ends happily. Instead of cultivating an expressive style, as she did in her earlier books, Gunna Grähs, one of Sweden's most original illustrators, lets this story begin in a fictional reality drawn in naturalistic style. When the readers enter Rita's own book, the child protagonist's drawings closely resemble the artist's usual bizarre pictures, distorting and parodying her style. The book concludes with a happy end showing another naturalistic picture of father and daughter. (5+)
Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 201
Kadefors, Sara (text)
Wirsén, Stina (illus.)
Långlördag i city
(A long Saturday evening in the city)
[Stockholm] : BonnierCarlsen, 2001. 94 p.
Parents – Separation – Child – Protest
Klara, the child of separated parents, living with her quarrelsome mother who is preoccupied with her own problems, feels that she is the victim in her parents' fight against each other. The provocative desire for an expensive bike, which she finally steals in a fit of desperation and defiance, makes her parents see reason again. They cover up for Klara's deed by inventing an extremely unlikely story of a different theft in order to diminish the bike dealer's mistrust, and, as a result, the family is reunited. In this modern and often painfully realistic »Lottie-and-Lisa«-story (Erich Kästner) even impossible events and absurd situations are described in an exceptionally sparkling and amusing manner. One example for this is the family episode at the junk-food hut, making the book a pleasure to read – in spite of its serious topic. (10+) ☼
Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 202
(The fire riddle)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2001. 210 p.
Africa – Girl – Handicap – Poverty
Sofia, a girl who has lost her legs when stepping on a landmine (as Mankell told in the first volume of this trilogy called »Eldens hemlighet« – »The fire mystery«) has by now accepted her new life without legs and struggles to earn her living by sewing things. Her work is much appreciated by her customers. But now she is fifteen and the thought of being loved by someone is completely inconceivable to her. Therefore, the first date with a boy, her »moon-boy«, seems but a dream to her. Yet, slowly she realises that she is strong enough to survive and that other people may not lead easier lives even if they still have two legs: Her sister Rosa, for example, is slowly dying of AIDS. The book's central topic, poverty, and the problems resulting from it are brought out particularly well in Mankell's narration. (12+)
Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 203
(The school trip)
Stockholm : Natur och Kultur, 2001. 156 p.
School trip – Coming of age – Estrangement
A class of twelve- and thirteen-year-old teenagers, including some immigrant children, go on a last school trip together before they separate to leave for secondary school. In this book, the author, whose »Tsatsiki«-books about a young boy with a Greek father were a great success, relates how the teenagers slowly start drifting apart now that they are about to go separate ways. She convincingly portrays each of the 21 pupils and thus accurately describes teenagers' feelings in a European country towards the end of the twentieth century. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 204
Sidenbladh, Cecilia (text)
Nygren, Tord (illus.)
(The castle is burning)
[Bromma] : Opal, 2001.  p.
Stockholm/1697– Royal castle – Fire disaster
This book is one of several well-made picture books about history published within the last few years (another interesting title for example was illustrated by Sven Nordqvist). They are supposed to acquaint children with historical events and settings in an entertaining way. The widely known burning of the Stockholm castle in the times of Karl XII enabled the rebuilding of the castle by Nicolaus Tessin. The renowned illustrator Nygren draws an account of these events from a kitchen maid's point of view, whose father (a man of German origin) is one of the royal cooks. Nygren's realistic drawings show the fictitious characters as individuals and therefore easily take the reader back to a life 300 years ago. (8+)
Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 205
Trenter, Laura (text)
Kovanen, Erika (illus.)
Gräv efter spår
(Dig for traces!)
Stockholm : Alfabeta, 2001. 52 p.
Scandinavia – Archeology – Introduction
With its precise text, which is fairly detailed without being boring, and its powerful almost caricature- like illustrations, this non-fiction book clearly stands out from those naturalistic, sterile books, which are still flooding the international market. Despite their individual unusual style, the illustrations cannot be considered to be less informative than those in mainstream non-fiction books; they concentrate on the essential information. The texts do not only convey interesting facts but also include exciting and tempting recipes, such as: How to cook an un-plucked chicken in a coat of clay à la Stone Age. Parents will certainly be delighted at the results that can be expected from their children's cooking excursions. (8+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2002 - 206
Doskočilová, Hana (text)
Filcík, Gabriel (illus.)
O Mamě Romě a romském Pámbíčkovi : dvanáct romských přikázání, jak je svým dětem vypravují romské maminky
(About the Roma mother and the Roma God : twelve stories as Romany mothers tell them to their children)
Praha : Amulet, 2001. 70 p.
Folktales/Romany – Biblical stories
In her retellings of Romany folktales, Hana Doskoèilová vividly describes the lifestyle and way of thinking of the Roma people, their idea of God and the world. Many stories refer back to the Bible and illustrate the particularly human image of God created by this people. It is easy to see that the tales were collected from a culture in which the tradition of oral story-telling is still alive. Various motifs from tales of different nations as well as from classic mythology are borrowed, some elements are added, some removed, and thus, with a kind of ingenious disrespectfulness, something new is created. (6+) ☆
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2002 - 207
Hevier, Daniel (text)
Brukner, Josef (transl.)
(The land of GURD)
(Slovakian orig. title: Krajina AGORD)
Praha : Amulet, 2001. 56 p.
Drugs – Other World – Drug abuse
With this literary fairy tale, Daniel Hevier has created a book that introduces younger children to the problematic topic of drug abuse. Lucia wants to escape her boring life and longs for adventures. When the talking tree invites her to a journey through the land of Gurd (i.e. »drug« spelled backwards), she accepts and strolls through time and space without actually moving from her place. The land with its talking plants and singing stones enchants her, the scent of the magic flower makes her fly, and she leaves all her worries behind. Soon enough, however, she discovers the other side of the coin: She meets a desperate boy who has become the flower's slave, hunting for its scent in vain. In the end, Lucia leaves the land of Gurd, and thus defeats the Evil. The surrealistic collages aptly illustrate this book. (8+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2002 - 208
Šiktanc, Karel (text)
Skála, František (illus.)
O dobré a o zlé moci
(Of the good and the bad powers)
Praha : Albatros, 2000. 183 p.
(Klub mladých čtenářů)
Myths – Fairytales
In this book, Karel Šiktanc resorts to Slavic mythology. In a clear and rich language he narrates seven fairytales, leading us into a fantastic world full of adventures. Within these stories, the heroes have to fight against evil men, evil powers, and an unfavourable fate for their love, justice, and honour. Mysterious powers, such as the Master of the Forest, the Master of the Fire, and the Queen of the Storm, intervene in the course of events. The romantic watercolour paintings by František Skála seem like windows opening into the fantasy worlds of these fairytales. (6+)
Latvia (Latvian) - 2002 - 209
Skrīvele, Kristīne (text)
Tabaka, Maija (illus.)
Latviešu tautas brīnumpasakas
Rīgā : Zvaigzne ABC, 1998. 191 p.
In this collection of Latvian folktales, readers will rediscover motifs they are familiar with from the fairytales by the Grimm Brothers or from fairytales of various other nations. The Latvian people, however, have undoubtedly left their special mark on these tales by setting them in regions near the Baltic sea. The book is illustrated in a traditional style and convinces with its beautiful design. (5+)
Mongolia (English) - 2002 - 210
Dašdondog, Žambyn (text/photos)
Oyunbayar, Namsrain (transl.)
Ulaanbaatar : Golden Tale Partnership of Children's Books, 2001. 32 p.
(Transl. from Mongolian)
Mongolia – Animals – Sculpture – Legends
Inspired by the animal stone sculptures of Terelj, created through erosion, the well-known Mongolian children's book author Žambyn Dašdondog wrote several legends. They are based on Mongolian folktales and have rat, lizard, snake, jumping mouse, hedgehog, badger, marmot, fox, and wolf as their protagonists. All the legends deal with the contact between animals and humans. In many cases, the characteristics of these animals differ considerably from the ones attributed to them in European fables and fairytales. (8+)
Russia (Russian) - 2002 - 211
Oster, Grigorij (text)
Silina, E. (illus.)
(School of horrors)
[Moskva] : Izdat. Astrel' [et al.], 2001. 87 p.
ISBN 5-271-01359-6; 5-17-003807-0
School – Horror – Humour
In this picture-book-like volume, Grigorij Oster uses his typical dry humour to tell stories about occultism, ghosts, and monsters. They are set in schools and are somehow connected to the syllabus. Despite the fairly modern form of narration, the tales frequently take turns like Romantic fairytales. E. Silina's illustrations, reminiscent of pictures by British illustrator Ralph Steadman, nicely correspond both to the spine-chilling topic and to Grigorij Oster's black humour. (10+)
Slovakia (Slovak) - 2002 - 212
Lenčová, Božena (text)
Piačka, Igor (illus.)
Jaskyňa dávnych predkov
(Our ancestors' cave)
Martin : Matica Slovenská, 1999. 89 p.
Fairytales – Cave
This volume contains a selection of seven literary fairytales in which caves play a special role. In the story »Jaskyňa dávnych predkov« (»The small people's cave«), raiding nomadic gangs attack a small village. Despite their fear of subterranean places and their inhabitants, the village people seek refuge in a cave. Supported by dwarfs, who live in their own world below the earth's surface, they manage to survive the winter. Because of the surrealistic style and the mixed-media collages, Igor Piačka's illustrations perfectly mirror the stories' mystical atmosphere. (6+)
Slovakia (Slovak) - 2002 - 213
Marec, Anton (text)
Uchnár, Peter (illus.)
Hnali sa veky nad hradbami
(Centuries passed by the old walls)
Martin : Matica Slovenská, 2000. 191 p.
Hungary – Slovakia – Free city – Legends
In this book, Anton Marec, a popular Slovakian author of legends and folktales, deals with the phenomenon of cities which were self-governing in the Middle Ages (today situated within the borders of Slovakia). Within the context of exciting tales and legends, accompanied by information about the history of each of these cities, the author also offers an introduction to Slovakian history in general. Moreover, the volume contains reproductions of historic engravings for each of the cities. Peter Uchnár's imaginative graphics add to the book's beautiful overall design. (10+)
Slovakia (Slovak) - 2002 - 214
Mokoš, Jozef (text)
Èisárik, Peter (illus.)
Vkladná knižka rozprávok a básničiek : rozprávkovanie o tebe, pre teba, s tebou
(Treasure of fairytales and poems : tales about you, for you, and with you)
[Bratislava] : Vydavatelśtvo Spolku Slovenských Spisovatelóv, 2000. 60 p.
Child – Environment – Everyday life
In his funny poems, free verse tales, and sensitive stories, Jozef Mokoš covers topics that are particularly interesting and relevant for children. He deals with a child's fear, a baby's birth, tells stories about the sea, about flying, analyses why a cock doesn't lay eggs, speaks about a circus, an umbrella, and a latchkey child. The poems and texts are perfectly complemented by Peter Èisárik's surrealistic pictures. (4+)
Slovakia (Slovak) - 2002 - 215
Bratislava : Vyd. Spolku Slovenských Spisovatelóv, 2000. 102 p.
Slovakia – Socialism – Religion – Duplicity – Coming of age – Mother – Illness – Death
In this novel for teenagers, Vincent Šikula (born 1936) ventures to reappraise the socialist past of Slovakia. Gabriela's father teaches Marxist- Leninist aesthetics and presents himself as a convinced atheist, in public and to his family. Yet, once Gabriela overhears him praying to God. The father's duplicity and the psychological pressure he puts on her, as well as her mother's illness, are a heavy burden for Gabriela. On the other hand, these events also lead her to seek confrontation and make her grow mentally. In small episodes, written from various perspectives, the author convincingly describes the fears and problems of a young person growing up and her analysis of the hypocritical adult world. The fact that this novel is set in an undemocratic society makes matters even more complicated for the teenage protagonist. (12+)
Slovenia (Slovenian) - 2002 - 216
Vandot, Josip (text)
Rozman Roza, Andrej (adapt.)
Èoh, Zvonko (illus.)
Kekec in Bedanec
(Kekec and Bedanec <proper names>)
Ljubljana : Založba Mladinska Knjiga, 2001.  p.
(Zbirka Cicibanov vrtiljak) (Velike slikanice)
Shepherd – Child – Giant – Threat – Rescue
Originally published between 1924 and 1936, the stories about the clever and helpful shepherd boy Kekec by Josip Vandot (1883-1940) have become children's classics in Slovenia and former Yugoslavia. In these tales, set in a realistic environment and containing adventurous and fantastic elements, the author proves that it pays out to be helpful and kind to one's neighbours. In this particular story, Kekec dupes the evil giant Bedanec and, by saving his life, finally forces him to promise to leave this region. For the first time, the publishing house Mladinska Knjiga has now published one of the Kekec-tales as a picture book. The attractive illustrations, drawn in a mixed style resembling Romantic and naïve paintings, take the readers into the Slovenian mountains. (5+)
Slovenia (Slovenian) - 2002 - 217
Zupan, Vitomil (text)
Stupica, Marija Lucija (illus.)
Plašček za Barbaro
(A coat for Barbara)
Ljubljana : Prešernova Družba, 1999.  p.
(Prešernova koledarska zbirka)
Coat – Walking – Search – Girl – Finding
This picture book tells the bizarre story of a coat, travelling around on its own, frightened and lonely. No-one wants to take it, neither the tramp, nor the dog, not even the noble lady. A tomcat offers its help, but the coat is too much afraid to trust the cat. After the coat is almost run over by a car, it stands at the side of the road desperately whining, when suddenly a girl comes by. As it had always been her dearest wish to own such a beautiful coat, she eventually takes it with her. The slightly mel- ancholic pictures in shades of green and red, drawn by internationally renowned artist Marija Lucija Stupica, perfectly complement the story. (3+)
Ukrania (Ukrainian) - 2002 - 218
Andersen, Hans Christian (text)
Jerko, Vladyslav (illus.)
Ivanenko, O. (transl.)
(The Snow Queen)
(Orig. Danish title: Snedronningen)
Kyïv : A-ba-ba-ha-la-ma-ha, 2000. 30 p.
The Good – The Evil – Rescue – Journey – Dreamland – Fairytale
With this book, the small but hard-working Ukranian publishing house A-ba-ba-ha-la-ma-ha presents a new version of Andersen's »Snow Queen« with a particularly beautiful design and print. Small pictures, half as wide as the text, and ornamented capital letters enliven the text. The special appeal of the full- and double-page illustrations lies in the fineness of their lines and in the infinite number of details depicted. The expressive and moving illustrations correspond very well to the message of Andersen's fairytale. (5+)
Ukrania (Ukrainian) - 2002 - 219
Chymyè, Heorhij (text)
Savèenko, Serhij (illus.)
Pesyk ta joho misjačni druzi
(The dog and his friends at the moon)
Kyïv : A-ba-ba-ha-la-ma-ha, 2000.  p.
Animals – Moon - Journey – Anthropomorphism – Friendship
A dog, a tomcat, a cock, and a rabbit are planning a trip to the moon. Since the dog is the cleverest of them all, he is supposed to stay at home and guard the house. Without his friends, however, time seems to stretch endlessly before the dog. He feels quite sad – but then, before long, his friends return. The book's lively pictures with their glowing colours are particularly appealing to small children. Design and printing of this book, as of many other books by Aba- ba-ha-la-ma-ha, are of high quality. (3+)
Ukrania (Ukrainian) - 2002 - 220
Vinhranovs'kyj, Mykola (text)
Lavro, Kost' (illus.)
Kozak Petro Mamaryha
(The Cossack Petro Mamaryha)
Kyïv : A-ba-ba-ha-la-ma-ha, 2001.  p.
Cossacks – Tartars – Horse – Fight – Trick
This picture book relates the legend of the Cossack Petro Mamaryha, who had to hide from the Tartars in a lake in the steppe. Only the cleverness of his horse Hyvor saved him. The illustrations by Kost' Lavro are rendered in bright colours and are similar in style to Central Asian art. Apart from the title story, this book also includes several animal poems by Mykola Vinhranovs'kyj. (4+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 2002 - 221
Dreesen, Jaak (text)
Moons, Sofie (illus.)
Een man voor mama
(A husband for mama)
Averbode : Uitg. Altiora, 2001. 48 p.
Family relations – Single-parent family
The father of Maus and Vegge has gone to sea with his accordeon and never come back. Their mother Dolorosa has been very sad ever since. As the brothers think that things can't go on like this, they start looking for a new husband for their mother. After some failed attempts they find Felix, who is a reader like their mother. The two get along very well. This is a romantic story of sorrow and desire in an extremely sober style in which there is not one word too many. The melodious names and the number 7 have magic and symbolic power, which the poetic songs accentuate even more. (8+)
Special Mention - Belgium (Dutch) - 2002 - 222
Tock, Annelies (text)
Talsma, Nynke (illus.)
Varen naar de overkant
(Ferry to the other side)
Tielt : Lannoo, 2001. 55 p.
Death – Grandfather – Granddaughter – Friendship
The ferryman is old and there won't be any work left for him when the bridge is built. Together with his granddaughter Raja he wants to listen to the singing of the river one last time. When grandfather dies, Raja is left behind, and when her boyfriend threatens to leave her, too, she is fed up with life. But then, suddenly, there is a man who wants to be ferried across and a woman with herbs who wants to get back to bring her medicine to a patient. Raja becomes a ferry-woman and takes over the duty of her grandfather. At the centre of this beautifully and sensitively written story is Raja's desperation after her grandfather's death. She is tormented by self-doubts and only this dramatic moment helps her regain faith in herself and in life. (9+)
Special Mention - Belgium (Dutch) - 2002 - 223
Brouwers, Peter (text)
Cate, Marijke ten (illus.)
Hasselt : Clavis, 2001.  p.
Love – Marriage – Hare
Hare Freek is different from other hares. He doesn't like carrots and has a cold in winter. One day he goes to live in the forest. There he meets a squirrel and immediately falls in love with her. A year later they get married. In this simple story the illustrations are particularly important. Marijke ten Cate succeeds in giving the animals something human, in a personal way, without overcoating it with too much sugar. This book's characteristic feature is the contrast between the animals and the overwhelmingly huge trees – an effect which is reinforced by contrasting techniques. (5+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2002 - 224
Biemans, Ienne (text)
Heymans, Margriet (illus.)
Met mijn rechteroog dicht, mijn linkeroog open
(With my right eye closed, my left eye open)
Amsterdam : Leopold, 2001. 37 p.
The source of inspiration of the lullabies in this book is amazement. The rhymes often have a nonsensical slant or use jumpy associations that are sometimes caused by the rhyme, but more often by an unpredictable meaning of certain words. The atmosphere in most of the rhymes is magical and therefore reminiscent of fairytales. Ienne Biemans frequently conjures up dark feelings that are also common in fairytales, like loneliness and fear, and at the same time she evokes very familiar feelings. The playful and magical illustrations are a fascinating supplement to the rhymes. (4+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2002 - 225
De Preter, Gerda (text)
Weve, Sylvia (illus.)
Een koffertje voor opa
(A suitcase for grandpa)
Amsterdam [et al.] : Querido, 2001. 112 p.
Grandparents – Grandson – Addition to the family – Siblings – Death
Since the birth of his sister, Arne gets little attention from his parents. He comes up with a lot of reasons why they should swap his sister for the little poodle of his classmate for example, but he can't convince his parents. He becomes friends with Fleur, who likes to get as little attention as possible from her ever-arguing parents. With his grandparents, Arne has a tender relationship, especially when it turns out that his grandfather is incurably ill and will die soon. The funny, poetic, and sometimes sad scenes describe the boy's life, whose imagination is very vivid and highly associative. (6+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2002 - 226
Dijkstra, Lida (i.e. Lida Dykstra) (reteller)
Wachten op Apollo
(Waiting for Apollo)
Rotterdam : Lemniscaat, 2001. 120 p.
(First publ. in Frisian: Wolken fan wol. Ljouwert : Bornmeer, 2000)
Ovid/Metamorphoses – Mythology/Greek
In this book, the author retells six »Metamorphoses« by Ovid using a double frame. Waiting for the oracle of Delphi, the crow Cornix tells a shepherd's boy about her own metamorphosis and that of Arachne. Human characteristics, such as greed, jealousy, and recklessness, are central themes. With the metamorphosis of the shepherd's boy into the god Apollo – Cornix sees him flying by after his visit to the oracle – the book has an open ending. The author displays great eloquence with the animated dialogues, the modern diction, the pithy narrative style, and the extremely fast pace of the events. The distinct, humorous rendering of character is modern and recognisable for young readers. Like Arachne spun her luminous yarn out of clouds of wool, Lida Dykstra knows how to weave different stories into a new unity, accessible to young and old. (10+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2002 - 227
Huiberts, Gerrie (text)
Straaten, Harmen van (illus.)
Piraat op straat
(Pirate on the street)
Baarn : Fontein, 2001. 41 p.
Pirate – Adventure
Pim quarrels with his know-it-all brother Bastiaan and searches for a pirate who might be able to teach him a lesson. He finds a mermaid who is waiting for her pirate. When the pirate turns up, he appears to be a real boozer, but Pim fails to notice that at all. The pirate writes a letter for Pim inviting him to join the pirate on his adventurous journey. When Bastiaan reads this letter he is very impressed and subdued and their argument is over soon. In this story, the child's fantasy world is presented very well. Bastiaan's realism is finally defeated by his brother's imagination. The exaggerated pictures perfectly illustrate the contrast between children and adults. (7+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2002 - 228
Jagtenberg, Yvonne (text/illus.)
Een bijzondere dag
(A special day)
Amsterdam : Hillen [et al.], 2001.  p.
School – First school day – Pre-schooler
Arno has to go to school for the first time and is quite afraid of it. At school he hardly dares to do anything. But then his teacher has an idea: Arno is allowed to play the wolf and a girl can play Little Red Riding Hood. With a wolf's head Arno isn't afraid anymore and the first school day turns into a very special experience. This is a very well-organised and elaborated story about a very familiar topic. The illustrations are like collages, in which the figures are coloured with grease pencil, felt-tip pen and coloured pencil. The full-page illustrations add an extra dimension to the story. (4+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2002 - 229
Kromhout, Rindert (text)
Haeringen, Annemarie van (illus.)
Beesten in het nieuws
(Animals in the news)
Tilburg : Zwijsen [et al.], 2001. 54 p.
Ben's mother has run away, and his father is always busy with his pet shop, although there are only few customers. As Ben often feels lonely, he writes stories and publishes them in his own journal that he distributes in his neighbourhood. When he starts a series with short stories about animals (snakes who eat mice, a spider who tickles a child) in his journal, a lot of customers suddenly show up in his father's shop. Rindert Kromhout tells a wellstructured story, with a well-crafted plot and lots of humour. The illustrations fit seamlessly to the story and are very funny, especially when picturing the animals. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2002 - 230
Vlugt, Simone van der (text)
Wolf, Alex de (illus.)
Bastiaan komt eraan
(Bastiaan is coming)
Houten: Van Holkema & Warendorf, 2001. 88 p.
School – Pre-schooler
Bastiaan is not allowed to go to school yet. In the course of the book, however, he celebrates his fourth birthday and finally makes the big changeover from home to school. Among the little everyday things of life, which are being told, Bastiaan's wish to be a big boy pops up again and again, while at the same time it is evident that he still needs the security and closeness to his mother. The dialogues speed up the story and Bastiaan's utterances are often very humorous. The illustrations appropriately depict the story and show a lot of details. The colours are well-chosen and perfectly reflect the atmosphere of the story. (6+)
The Netherlands (Frisian) - 2002 - 231
Boer, Helena de [et al.] (text/illus.)
Trije protters op in prikje : [ferhaaltsjes foar pjutten en grutten]
(Three starlings on a sprig)
Ljouwert : Afûk, 2001.  p.
(Aksjeboek foar bern ; 15)
This fairytale-like stack story contains tales and poems for toddlers and pre-schoolers about simple events: stomping your boots in the rain, going for a swim with your dog, or a flowerpot falling on your dog's head. The stories and poems by different authors from Friesland give an impression of the rich children's literature of this part of Holland. The illustrations are also of Frisian origin and show a variety of different techniques in their use of colour and in the way they interpret the stories and poems. (4+)
Albania (Albanian) - 2002 - 232
Canosinaj, Viktor (text)
Çela, Arben (illus.)
Tiranë : Andersen, 2000. 233 p.
(Biblioteka e fëmijëve dhe të rinjve)
Mother – Daughter – Death – Father – Alcoholism – Friendship
In his new novel, Viktor Canosinaj, who won the Albanian Youth Literature Award in 1996, describes the life of thirteen-year-old Meriyll. After her mother's death, she has to take care of her younger siblings and organise the housekeeping. When, on top of everything, her father loses his job, he falls into deep despair and starts drinking. The family hardly know how to survive and her new role often asks too much of Meriyll. She only just manages to escape being kidnapped and taken to Greece where she would have been sold into prostitution, while her brother joins a gang of children. Only with the aid and love of her friend and classmate Sidrit, does Meriyll finally find a way back to normality for herself and her family. (12+)
Greece (Greek) - 2002 - 233
Hēliopulos, Bangelēs (text)
Barbarusē, Lēda (illus.)
Trigōnopsarulēs enantion Megalu Karcharia
(Little fish against giant shark)
Athēna : Patakēs, 2000.  p.
Sea – Courage – Friendship
Hell is loose in these originally illustrated depths of the sea. Because of his popularity, the courageous and environmentally conscious Trigonopsarules (»triangle fish«) is a thorn in the flesh of the merciless giant shark. Dreaded by all, he wants to pierce the secret of his rival's success and invites him to dinner. Equipped with a tricky tie, the clever little fish accepts the invitation. The shark's attack proves to be fatal: The jealous giant loses all his teeth and, on top of that, all his friends. Only the bold Trigonopsarules stays to feed him planctonsoup and strives for his re-integration into society. Together, the award-winning author and the wellknown graphic artist have created a beautiful picture book for children. (6+)
Greece (Greek) - 2002 - 234
Phrankulē, Phōteinē (text)
Tsaknia, Euē (illus.)
To miso pithari
(Half a jug)
Athēna : Hellēnika Grammata, 2000. 32 p.
(Seira: Histories gia paidia)
Greek history – Love of one's country – International understanding
The renowned educationalist Phōteinē Phrankulē masterfully tells the superbly illustrated story of Eleni and her beloved grandfather, who brings the people, nature and the past of her native Lesbos close to her. He teaches her to preserve memories like dispersed and broken pieces of antique pottery. After his death, Eleni keeps coming back to these sights of her childhood as a grown-up woman to be true to his legacy. For everything tells of the ancestors' labour and sweat but also of the miseries of the refugees from both countries: Here is Lesbos, there is Asia-Minor, the former Greek home, and in between, the silver, starry strip of the Aegean Sea. Surely, the other half of the collected pottery must lie on the opposite, Turkish coast. (9+) ☆
Greece (Greek) - 2002 - 235
Kalogeropulu, Xenia (text)
Misuras, Tasos (illus.)
(The slave boy)
Athēna : Kedros, 2000. 68 p.
Duty – Fulfilment – Faithfulness – Love
Once upon a time there was a prince who parted on a quest for the beautiful princess with the blue rose. On this long and dangerous journey, he was accompanied by his older brother, illegitimate son of the king and a slave. The princess fell in love with the slave-boy but married the prince. The loyal slave continued to serve his brother without saying a word of his secret love until, one day, he was accused of an attempted murder on the prince. Actress Xenia Kalogeropulu, well experienced in children's theatre, has brilliantly adapted this fascinating folktale from Simi for the stage and produced a wonderfully illustrated play. (10+)
Greece (Greek) - 2002 - 236
Kamaratu-Giallusē, Eirēnē (text)
Phasianos, Alekos (illus.)
To dentro tēs eutychias
(The tree of happiness)
Athēna : Ekd. Periplus, 2000. 27 p.
The great contemporary painter Alekos Phasianos has masterfully transposed this wonderful story of the search for happiness into pictures. The greedy fruit trees suffer terribly from their status symbol, necklaces of fruit-pits, until, one day, a search for the tree of happiness is undertaken. The long and arduous journey finally leads to the desired tree of happiness, which generously offers its fruits to the hovering, singing birds. The good news soon spread among the selfish trees, and soon their lives are radically changed by the newly experienced joys of giving. (8+)
Greece (Greek) - 2002 - 237
Oneira kai gelia
(Dreams and laughter)
Athēna : Kastaniōtēs, 1999. 170 p.
Puberty – Media
Using colloquial language interspersed with English expressions, a puberty-plagued teenager talks about everyday life and the usual troubles with family and school. Torn between hip clothing, profound thoughts, and diffuse dreams about his future, rather shy with the opposite sex, he is nevertheless courageous enough to save the life of a minister's son. He becomes a media-star, and suddenly, his life changes. The author, known through her novels, articles, and translations, engulfs the readers with her amusing style. She raises her hero, who lives in a cold, technology- and media-dominated world, to a representative of today's teenagers and traces his way into adulthood with great sympathy. (13+)
Greece (Greek) - 2002 - 238
Papadiamantēs, Alexandros (text)
Pulos, Kōstas (adapt.)
Sbetlin (i.e. Vasilev Svetlin) (illus.)
(Man of many questions)
Athēna : Papadopulos, 2001.  p.
(Seira »Ta Hellēnika«)
Simple life – Human fate
The book is set in 1870: Alexis Kaloskeris, an experienced fisherman and head of a family, has a hard time earning his daily bread. When the law prescribes a substitute captain, Kaloskeris is devastated. To survive, he invents Jannis Pantarotas and is often forced to bribe the officials with little delicacies. But when two thieves steal his boat – and therewith the basis of his livelihood – he promises never again to break maritime law. The love of nature and of his home-country characterise the entire works of Alexandros Papadiamantēs (1851- 1911), no doubt the most prominent Greek author. His heroes are the »Misérables« of his times: the simple, poor people, deeply marked by their bitter experiences of life. (10+)
Greece (Greek) - 2002 - 239
Sakka-Nikolakopulu, Nannina (text)
Kalantzakēs, Dēmētrēs (illus.)
Milōn ho Krotōniatēs
(Milo of Kroton)
Athēna : Phytrakēs, 2001. 116 p.
Ancient Greece – Olympic spirit – Sports
This brilliant historical novel, illustrated with marvellous vase paintings, is set in the glorious times of Magna Graecia. It conjures up the Olympic spirit that united the Greeks in peace and reminded them of their common origin, language, and religion. Milo, one of the greatest athletes of Antiquity, was born around 552 BC; at the age of 16, he took part in the 61st Olympic Games. He was Olympic victor six times and also won several other sports games in Greece. At the 67th Olympic Games in 512 BC, legendary Milo was defeated by his best student. Trainer of athletes, follower of Pythagoras, deeply religious and much admired, he continued his life striving for the reconciliation of his home-town and Sybaris. (13+)
Hungary (Greek) - 2002 - 240
Békes, Pál (text)
Rényi, Krisztina (illus.)
Budapest : Móra, 2001. 112 p.
Forest – Danger – Fear – Coping with fear – Friendship
Frightened goblin Felőlény is the hero of this book. Together with other unusual creatures he lives peacefully in a charming forest until, one day, it is invaded by some gigantic monsters. Félőlény manages to overcome his fear and, thanks to his bravery, the forest world and the world of his friends are restored. This proves that even those who seem to be weak can accomplish great things when they summon all their courage. You will only be able to live happily if you fight your fears – this is the lesson Félőlény has learned from his adventures. Delicate black-and-white drawings accompany this fairytale-like story for children. (7+)
Hungary (Greek) - 2002 - 241
Kamarás, István (text)
Szalma, Edit (illus.)
Apuapu és a leleplezett rakoncaficánka
(Daddydaddy and the rascal unmasked)
Budapest : Ciceró-Könyvkiadó, 2001. 107 p.
Divorce – Single mother – Father – Son
In Hungary it is also fairly common for children to live with a single parent. Nevertheless, this topic has not been discussed openly and honestly in children's literature so far. With a lot of humour and suspense, Kamarás István does exactly that in his children's novel »Apuapu«. In the manner of a Bildungsroman, the story delineates the maturation of eleven-year-old Peter, who desperately tries to get his father back after his parents' divorce. Step by step, the boy learns to accept the new situation, his stepfather, and the new family. The true-to-life story is written in a language easy to understand and includes many lively dialogues. (10+)
Iran (Persian) - 2002 - 242
Mitl-i dasthā-i mādaram : mağmū‘a-i dastān
(Like my mother's hands)
Tihrān : Našr-i Ufuq, 2001 (= 1380 h.š.). 63 p.
Iran – Youth – Everyday life – Love – Drug abuse
This volume contains three realistic stories which discuss everyday experiences, as well as dreams and wishes of teenagers in Iran. Unusual, at least in the context of Iranian youth literature, is the openmindedness evident in the text and the willingness to deal with difficult topics. One tale, for example, tackles the abuse of drugs, a theme which is an unpleasant and topical problem in Iran, too. The protagonist of the title story, on the other hand, is a pupil at the beginning of puberty who does not get along with his mother, nor with the world in general. He falls in love with his teacher, of all people, simply because she gives him the attention he needs but does not receive from others. The stories are told in a realistic, sometimes almost sober language. (12+)
Iran (Persian) - 2002 - 243
Ha'if, Bahram (text/illus.)
(The discussion of the colours)
Tihrān : Kānūn-i Parwariš-i Fikrī-i Kūdakān wa Nauğawānān, 2000 (= 1379 h.š.). 24 p.
Colour – Loneliness – Dialogue – Joy
In a simple and comprehensible style, the author tells a symbolic tale about loneliness and how it can be overcome if people approach each other and communicate. He praises the dialogue as a unifying force which helps to form communities. This tale's protagonists are the basic colours. They all live alone, isolated from each other, because each of them only speaks its own language. Therefore, the world remains monochrome and monotonous. Only when they start to communicate and mix with each other, does the world turn into a cheerful vivacious place. The well-known Iranian artist has created suggestive illustrations, painted in soft, glowing colours, that accompany the concise text. (10+)
Iran (Persian) - 2002 - 244
Ğādūgarān-i sarzamīn-i bīsāya
(The wizards from the land without shadows)
Tihrān : Kitābhā-i Banafša, 1999 (= 1376 h.š.). (2 vols.) 167 p.; 188 p.
(Rumān-i nauğawānān ; 18,  and )
ISBN 964-417-272-8; 964-417-273-6
Boy – Magic – Apprentice
The worldwide success of Harry Potter and the resulting boom of fantasy literature have also influenced the Iranian children's literature scene, as is evident from this two-volume novel. Twelve-yearold Rana, who lives with his grandmother, desperately wants to attend a magical school. Together with his friends he starts an apprenticeship as a wizard. After finishing it, they set off on a long journey around the magic world, on which they solve many problems and encounter several adventures. This gripping and entertaining novel, which also borrows some motifs from Lewis Carroll's »Alice's Adventures in Wonderland«, successfully connects the realistic world and the fairytale-like world of fantasy. (12+)
Iran (Persian) - 2002 - 245
Duẖtar-i čūbī : 12 afsāna az Turkamān Ṣahrā
(The wooden girl : twelve Turkmen folktales)
Tihrān : Kitābhā-i Banafša, 2000 (= 1379 h.š.). 120 p.
(Afsānahā ; 5)
The Turkmen people are a powerful ethnic minority in Iran. This ancient nomadic people, with its own culture and language, possesses a rich variety of folktales, handed down orally. For this volume, the author has collected twelve well-known folktales and retold them in Persian. They often focus on magic and the transformation of animals into human beings. And so does the tale, »The wooden girl«, which has lent its title to this collection: Against his father's will, the son of a fisherman frees a golden fish. In return for this favour, the fish promises to help him one day – in the form of a young man – when the boy is in a difficult situation. (10+)
Iran (Persian) - 2002 - 246
Raḥmāndūst, Muṣṭafā (text)
Hudayi, ‘Alī (illus.)
(Nuhudi is born)
Tihrān : Šabāwīz, 2001 (= 1380 h.š.).  p.
Fairytale – Wish for a child
This popular Persian fairytale has some similarities with the Grimm Brothers' »Der Däumling« (»Tom Thumb«). A childless couple has long been wishing for a child but without success so far. One day, while cooking chick pea soup, the woman once again utters her dearest wish: She pleads for a child and be it as small as a chick pea – and all of a sudden her wish is granted. A small boy, the size of a chick pea, shouts at her: »Here I am. I am your son!« Humorous full-page colour illustrations, which make each of the fairy tale's steps easily understandable to small children, accompany the text. (4+)
Iran (Persian) - 2002 - 247
Šāhābādī, Hamīd Riḍā (text)
Iqbālī, Parwīz (illus.)
Afsāna-i tīrandāz-i ğawān
(The legend of the young archer)
Tihrān : Kānūn-i Parwariš-i Fikrī-i Kūdakān wa Nauğawānān, 2000 (= 1379 h.š.). 40 p.
Legend – Archer – Apprentice – Perfection – Ambition – Modesty
At an archer's contest, young Ra‘d is so fascinated, that he immediately starts an apprenticeship with a wise old master archer. After three years, he perfectly masters the bow. Without any effort, he would be able to win an important competition, but suddenly his ambition vanishes and the possible triumph seems trivial to him. Therefore, he stops the contest and leaves the victory to his opponent. Maturity and the ability to concentrate, qualities he learned from his master, matter more to him than fame. With this interesting literary legend about the assessment of human values, the author offers an insight into the old oriental world. Traditional Iranian illustrations perfectly complement the text. (10+)
Turkey (Turkish) - 2002 - 248
Çınaroǧlu, Ayla (text)
Delioǧlu, Mustafa (illus.)
(The voice of spring)
Levent [et al.] : Uçanbalık, 1999.  p.
(Tembel Fare Tini dizisi ; 3)
Mouse – Loneliness – Spring
Tini, a small mouse, is a couch potato indeed. Since she always stays at home, she doesn't have any friends and, therefore, she feels lonely and listless. But constant dripping wears away the stone: Her uncle keeps telling her stories that always start with the same words (»Once upon a time, there was a beautiful spring day …«). Her mother tells her a special tale reminding her over and over again that she was born in spring. Slowly but surely her curiosity gains the upper hand and the lazy little mouse eventually crawls out of her hole. She explores the spring garden with its bewitching colours, sounds, and smells. Colourful illustrations accompany this animal story, told in a very humorous voice. (4+)
Turkey (Turkish) - 2002 - 249
Gürmen, Aysel (text)
Ceylan, Saadet (illus.)
(Kipirik, the rabbit)
Levent [et al.] : Uçanbalık Yayıncılık, 2000.  p.
Rabbit – Forest – Parents – Death – Feeling of guilt – Fairy
Young rabbit Kipirik feels very happy in his family. There is absolutely no reason for him to complain; if only life wasn't so boring sometimes. That is why, one day, he sets off on an adventurous expedition together with a butterfly. When he arrives back home, he is shocked to find that his whole family is dead. Dreadfully sad, he blames himself for their death. Luckily enough, a good fairy manages to comfort him and chase away his feelings of guilt, helping him to cope with the loss of his parents. Using simple words and pictures, this book succeeds in explaining the difficult topic of death and loss of relatives to small children. (5+)
Turkey (Turkish) - 2002 - 250
Neydim, Necdet (text)
Kökçüoğlu, Sedef (illus.)
İstanbul : BU Yayınevi, 2001. 79 p.
School – Family
This volume contains seven short stories about the everyday life of Turkish teenagers. The tales focus on events, problems, and questions which preoccupy young people in their family and school life. Although the stories are written in a very entertaining style, critical topics are not omitted. Among other issues, the book deals with the question of how economic problems (or rather poverty) influence the family life and may possibly lead to problems at school. In his true-to-life stories, the author employs a sensitive and realistic language. (12+)