White Ravens: 2003
Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 1
Fukuda, Iwao (text/illus.)
Natsu no wasuremono
(What the summer left behind)
Tokyo : Bunken Shuppan, 2001. 48 p.
(Bunken no sōsaku edōwa)
Grandson – Grandfather – Death – Traditions – Mourning – Memory – Love
Years ago, when he was still a toddler, Masaru was very attached to his grandfather. Since he started going to school, however, he prefers playing outside near the river with his friends. One summer day, Grandfather suddenly dies. For the first time, Masaru witnesses the wake, the funeral, and the customs and traditions held for the dead. When everything is over, Masaru, whom the loss has made more sensitive, realises that his grandmother, in her quiet and deep grief, has unconsciously adopted her late husband’s habits. She gives Masaru the grandfather’s straw hat, which the boy takes with him to play. With accurate observation, text and illustrations describe the relationship between grandfather and grandson as well as the emotions of the bereaved family in a very realistic way. (7+)
Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 2
Hattori, Yukio (text)
Ichinoseki, Kei (illus.)
Ehon Yume no Edo kabuki
(The picture book of the wonderful Kabuki-Theatre in Edo)
Tokyo : Iwanami Shoten, 2001. 56 p.
Japan/1603-1868 – Theatre – Kabuki
The Kabuki-Theatre, founded at the beginning of the 17century, is one of the traditional Japanese artforms which combines acting, dancing, and music in a unique way. Theatre-expert Yukio Hattori and comic-book artist Kei Ichinoseki have created an extraordinary picture book which resembles a visual encyclopaedia with carefully selected comments. A young apprentice introduces the readers to the magnificent world of the Kabuki. The technique used in the theatre and the building with the busy theatre staff and the enthusiastic audience enjoying the performance are depicted in exterior and interior views in detailed full-page illustrations. Thanks to the ingenious composition of the pictures and the (typically Japanese) bird’s eye view, these elements come alive for the readers. (12+) ☆
Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 3
Higuchi, Michiko (text/illus.)
(One sheet of origami paper)
Tokyo : Kogumasha, 2002.  p.
Origami – Imagination – Creativity
This origami picture book for small children has an excellent didactic structure. »If you fold the paper once, ...« – this sentence, always invites the children to imitate very simple origami-patterns and invent a story to go with it: a door, various animals, a field, vegetables, etc. One pattern after the other is formed from only a few basic geometric shapes such as a triangle or a rectangle. The series of pictures are put in a special sequence so that they tell a story. The brief accompanying texts are meant for adults reading to their children. With their repetitive words and sentences, they inspire children to repeat them or join in reading them. Forms, colours, and language are easy to remember and seem full of harmony. (2+)
Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 4
Ikegawa, Keiko (text)
Murakami, Tsutomu (illus.)
Hanasaki-mura no nandemo takushī
(The village-of-blossoms taxi for all occasions)
Maisaka : Hikumano Shuppan, 2001. 39 p.
Old age – Badger – Metamorphosis – Wedding – Assistance – Literary fairytale
Badger and marten are the main animal protagonists, apart from fox, starring in many Japanese folktales as creatures who are able to transform themselves. As they are still popular today, literary fairytales about these animals can frequently be found. This tale is about some badgers who like taking on human form to get married; for this, however, they need the help of real human beings. The comical scenes in which the slightly naïve and helpless badgers and a kindhearted old couple act together, are drawn delicately and humorously by Tsutomu Murakami in his inimitable original style with reduced colours. (10+)
Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 5
Inoue, Yōsuke (text/illus.)
Tokyo : Shogakukan, 2001.  p.
(Ohisama no hon)
Boy – Brush – Animals – Way home – Winter
A boy hurries home carrying a brush on his back which he had bought at the grocer’s. On his way home, he is assisted by a snail and a toad who provide faster »transportation«. After some exciting events, he finally reaches the tree that is supposed to be his home. With his brush, he comfortably hangs from a branch like a little bagworm moth inside his bag woven from leaves and tiny twigs and gets some rest. Yōsuke Inoue, the author of many nonsense picture books, illustrates this absurd tale in a very expressive way with his individual sketchy style using earthy colours. (3+)
Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 6
Iwase, Jōko (text)
Kitami, Yōko (illus.)
Kiniro no zō
(The golden elephant)
Tokyo : Kaiseisha, 2001. 182 p.
Girl – Everyday life – Emotion
This book contains six complete short stories, which tell scenes from twelve-year-old Hana’s life after school. The stifling banality of everyday life is turned into a highly literary matter when the author links it with Hana’s chaotic emotions. There are many vividly written episodes: The girl’s hallucinations and existential fear while watching the evening sunset, her falling in love with her brother’s friend, her crazy attempts at becoming more beautiful, her meeting a child in the supermarket, Hana’s and her friend’s attempt to run away, the behaviour towards a strange neighbour, etc. Particularly convincing is the clearly outlined picture the author draws of the protagonist. (14+)
Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 7
Matsui, Tadashi (text)
Sai, Kō (= Cai Gao) (illus.)
(The earthly paradise)
Tokyo : Fukuinkan Shoten, 2002.  p.
China – Earthly paradise – Peace – Wealth
Since ancient times, »Tōgenkyō«, or »Tao Hua Yuan« in Chinese, has been a well-known synonym for paradise in East Asian cultures, popular in traditional painting, amongst other fields. As his country was continuously shattered by wars, the famous Chinese poet Tao Yaumin (365-427 AD) expressed his longing for peace in a tale about a wonderful, secret place full of peach blossoms where men lived a simple and peaceful life close to nature. In her pictures, painted in traditional style, Cai Gao (= Sai, Kō), one of the most important contemporary Chinese illustrators, shows how a fisherman rows upstream, deeper and deeper into a mountain valley, until he reaches this utopian place. Yet, after his return home, he will never be able to find the place again. (6+) ☆
Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 8
Nagai, Ruriko (text)
Hirano, Tetsuo (illus.)
Moichido aou ne
(Let’s meet once again!)
Tokyo : Dainippon Tosho, 2002. 140 p.
(Kodomo no hon Dainippon Tosho)
Girl – Friend – Death – Ghost – Badger – Rebirth – Assistance – Saving
Aki, Asahi’s best friend, is killed in a car crash by a hit-and-run driver. After this shock, injured Asahi suffers from speechlessness and does not dare to leave the house. Dead Aki frequently appears to her as a ghost because she herself cannot yet comprehend her sudden death. Even though Asahi loved her friend very much, these eerie apparitions always frighten her. A strange talking badger wants to help the girl. He becomes the family pet and is very concerned about Asahi’s health. Together, the badger and the girl try to help the dead friend’s soul find peace. This touching story describes the girl’s death and the healing of her surviving friend in an entertaining and sometimes even cheerfully absurd manner. (9+)
Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 9
Okii, Chiyoko (text)
Ishikura, Kinji (illus.)
Sora yuku fune
(Boats to heaven)
Tokyo : Komine Shoten, 2002. 167 p.
(Bungaku no mori)
Inland sea – Change – Memory – Environmental damage – World War II – Japan/1944-2001
Setonaikai, the large inland sea in south-west Japan with its more than 300 islands, has always been an important waterway and a perfect living space for humans and animals because of its mild climate. Eight short stories reveal the region’s painful changes after the Second World War, caused by military use and industrialisation, which led to the destruction of the ecosystem. Against this background, the author recalls the islanders’ lives and the once unique beauty of the region, with the real world sometimes turning into a fairytale-like fantastic one. Readers will be deeply moved by the poetic texts and the quiet protest against war and environmental destruction. (14+) ☆ ☼
(42nd Japanese Association of Writers for Children Prize; 2002)
Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 10
Shibata, Katsumo (text)
Satake, Miho (illus.)
Tokyo : Akane Shobō, 2002. 317 p.
Japan/700-800 – Time-travelling – Princess – Love
A magic gourd creates a connection to ancient times and thus also to the literature of the Heian age. Holding this bottle in her hands, Saki travels through time right into the 8century, where – as princess of the Shōmu Tennos – she is drawn into an intricate love story with palace servant Fuwamaro. This traditional Japanese tale of love can be found in the chapter called »a legend from Takeshiba« from »Sarashina nikki«, a diary by Sugawara no Takasue no musume from the 11century. The partly cheerful, partly melancholy novel is characterised by a clever narrative structure and the depiction of the heroine in two different time levels. To modern teenagers, it offers a successful possibility of approaching old literature. (14+) ☆
Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 11
Shinozaki, Mitsuo (text/illus.)
Okāsan boku dekita yo
(Mother, I can do it!)
Tokyo : Shikosha, 2001.  p.
Whales – Young animals – Practise – Success – Happiness
The little whale-child wants to be able to blow fountains of water just like its parents. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it seems and the child has to try again and again and again. One moonlit night, however, the little whale manages to spray water high into the night sky which is covered with millions of stars. The fountain sparkles like the stars and the moon and when it finally turns into the shape of a huge whale, the little one is very proud of himself. The child’s eagerness and happiness about having achieved something great, are reflected in poetic pictures with few colours and almost without text in a childlike manner. (3+)
Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 12
Takadono, Hōko (text)
Iino, Kazuyoshi (illus.)
Shinshi to Obake-shi
(The gentleman and Mr. Ghost)
Tokyo : Froebel-kan, 2002. (3rd ed.) 76 p.
(Monogatari no mori)
Man – Lifestyle – Correctness – Ghost – Double – Friendship – Change of roles
Mr. Serious is an excessively correct and serious person. Therefore, his colleagues consider him to be unapproachable. In an old house surrounded by skyscrapers, he lives according to his meticulous schedule. Suddenly, a house ghost, who looks exactly like him, appears to »stir the stiff air inside the house«. From now on, the two of them spend their time together disrupting the orderliness of Mr. Serious, who thus discovers a different side of life. They even exchange roles: Mr. Serious stays at home enjoying the hours of leisure, while Mr. Ghost goes to work and – with his relaxed behaviour – manages to improve his double’s stiff reputation. The expressive pictures support this ironic yet amiable story. (12+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 13
Tatematsu, Wahei (text)
Yokomatsu, Momoko (illus.)
Kawa no inochi
(The river’s life)
Tokyo : Kumon Shuppan, 2002. 32 p.
Boy – River – Experience of nature – Summer – Holidays – Childhood
This is the third book created through the ideal collaboration of author Wahei Tatematsu and his daughter Momoko Yokomatsu. It focuses on the irretrievable pleasures of childhood spent in harmony with nature. Two eleven-year-old schoolfriends have decided to accomplish great things at the river near their homes before they start secondary school. One of them wants to catch a huge carp, the other one aims for a big silver-shimmering dragonfly. A third classmate joins them to learn how to fish. First, however, they need to fathom out the many secrets that the river holds, although it is familiar to them. They practise swimming and diving, and watch the behaviour of the animals. Thus, their last holidays in primary school are packed with intensive experiences of nature. The illustrator interprets single elements of the poetic text in the pictures – such as the boys, fish, and dragonflies, the flowing and gurgling, glittering water, the sky, and the riverbed – in elaborate shapes and pictures them in a vigorous mixture of colours. (10+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 14
Tokyo Kodomo Toshokan (ed.)
Ōkoso, Reiko (illus.)
Vaino to hakuchō hime
(Vaino and the swan princess)
Tokyo : Tokyo Kodomo Toshokan, 2002. 169 p.
(Aizōban ohanashi no rōsoku ; 6)
Fairytale – Storytelling
For the past 30 years, Tokyo Kodomo Toshokan (the Tokyo Children’s Library) has done its best to continuously offer storytelling sessions to children and adults. Kyōko Matsuoka (the library’s director) is in charge of these sessions, during which numerous fairytales from all over the world, as well as children’s verses and stories are recited – all adapted particularly for this purpose. From the variety of materials, the editors selected those stories which have proved to be particularly good and suitable, and published them as a collector’s edition. Thanks to the careful adaptation and the lovingly created design, all of the six volumes so far published are not only suitable to be used by librarians, teachers, or educators for similar storytelling events; they can just as well be bought as a wonderful home-reading for children and adults alike. (9+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 15
Tomiyasu, Yōko (text)
Okabe, Rika (illus.)
Mujina tanteikyoku : Yami ni kieta otoko
(Detective Agency Badger : The man who disappeared in the dark)
Tokyo : Doshinsha, 2001. 207 p.
(Mujina tanteikyoku shirīzu) (Shirīzu Jīn dokidoki)
Lizard – Assistance – Promise – Metamorphosis – Detective
A guest who suddenly disappears, a woman who claims to be his sister, a burned cello case, a strange smell, traces of water, and a small temple near the lake – all this is circumstantial evidence. The detective nicknamed »Badger«, who specalises in extremely peculiar cases with demons and ghosts, and his young neighbour Genta are asked to solve a seven-year-old case still unsolved at a rich family’s home in the countryside. In this detective novel for children, set in the present, people and animals (in this case a lizard) are combined in a way typical for the Japanese world of legends and folktales. The volumes of the series »Detective Agency Badger« are well written and very original. They offer readers a lot of fun. (10+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 16
Tsuchiya, Fujio (text/illus.)
Tsumiki tsunde motto tsunde
(With building bricks higher and higher )
Tokyo : Tokuma Shoten, 2002.  p.
Building bricks – Fun
Once again, the author manages to create an amusing and fast-paced picture book focusing on children’s everyday life. His ideas, smartly and energetically turned into words and pictures, are always surprisingly original. In this book, a boy gets so carried away while building a tower with his toy bricks, that he cannot stop anymore. He puts brick on brick on brick until his tower and he himself reach up into space. Suddenly he becomes aware of his audacity and almost tumbles back down to earth but, luckily enough, an astronaut saves him from this precarious situation. The inhabitants of the foreign star recognise the boy’s impressive building skills and shower him with praise. Thanks to the masterly composed dynamic illustrations, the reader gets swept away by the terrific speed of the building game. (5+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 17
Yoshimoto, Naoshirō (text)
Shinozaki, Mitsuo (illus.)
Nemuri o nakushita kodomotachi
(The restless children)
Tokyo : Poplar-sha, 2002. (2nd ed.) 215 p.
(For boys and girls ; 20)
Water spirit – Death – Soul – Friendship – Redemption – Buddhism – Afterlife – Common belief
As his mother is getting married again, Ryōta starts a new life at his grandfather’s in a remote mountain village. At the cemetery, his school teacher and the village priest tell him about the fate of six local children who unfortunately died very young. While fishing alone at the river, the boy meets some Kappa, humanlike green water spirits, which he only knows from fairytales and legends. In this book, however, the author does not describe the Kappa as real water spirits like those common in Japanese folk culture, but as unhappy souls who can be released from their fate through Ryōta’s friendship. The reader is also given some information about rituals for the dead and the afterlife as believed in by Buddhists. (12+) ☆
Republic of China (Chinese) - 2003 - 18
Taibei : Xinyi-Jijin-Chubanshe (Hsin-yi Foundation), 2000. (3rd ed.)  p.
Error – Time pressure – Clock
Mr. Hasty lives in a tree village where all the inhabitants are little animals and monsters. One afternoon, while all the neighbours are dressing up for a theatre visit in the evening, Mr. Hasty takes a nap. Suddenly, he wakes up remembering that he has to play the leading part at the theatre tonight. Hastily, he gets changed and hurries out of the door. Time is running out. Nevertheless, he just manages to reach the theatre in time. Yet, in all his hurry, he has forgotten that he was supposed to play his role tomorrow, not tonight. Thanks to the short text, the readers’ attention is directed towards the colourful, comic-like illustrations which focus on the topic of time and haste. The two moveable hands of the clock inside the picture book help teaching children how to tell the time. (4+)
Republic of China (Chinese) - 2003 - 19
Xu, Linghui (Hsu, Ling-hui) (text)
Jiang, Binru (Chiang, Pin-ju) (illus.)
(Little White and Little Grey)
Taibei : Qingling-Guoji-Chuban-Gufen (Children Publications), 2001. 31 p.
Heron – Nightingale – Survival – Environmental damage
This picture book tells the tale of two bird friends, one a white heron (native to Taiwan), the other one a nightingale. Starting from the forest, they take off at different times of day to search for food. Day after day, it becomes more and more difficult to find something to eat. The forests disappear. Where once was their home, the air is now polluted and birds are falling ill. In the end, however, the two friends hope to find a new home. The fate of the two birds cleverly directs the attention of child readers towards environmental problems. The author deals with the topic of environmental destruction, which is taken up in only a few Chinese children’s books, and presents it in an informative story suitable for children. (7+)
Republic of China (Chinese) - 2003 - 20
Zhu, Xiufang (Chu, Hsiu-fang) (text)
Cheng, Liya (Chn, Li-ya) (illus.)
(Let’s go to Dihua-Street and do our New Year’s shopping)
Taibei : Qingling-Guoji-Chuban-Gufen (Children Publications), 2001. 31 p.
Taipei – Chinese New Year – Market – Street – Shopping – Architecture
This non-fiction picture book shows how a grandfather and his grandson do their New Year’s shopping on Dihua-Street. The two of them introduce the oldest market street of Taiwan’s capital Taipei to the readers. A large number of goods that are important for the Chinese New Year celebration are listed and presented here: Chinese herbs, dried fruits, fish, nuts, fabrics, and ironmongery. The 140-year-old street was created through trade between the Chinese mainland and the island of Taiwan. In those times, a lot of foreign tradesmen did business there, too. With the help of detailed, realistic pictures, the illustrator shows several houses from various different styles and epochs. (6+) ☆
Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2003 - 21
Kim, Jae-Hong (text/illus.)
(The children from the Dong river)
Seoul : Gilbut Orini, 2001.  p.
River – Nature discovery – Imagination
At the banks of the Dong river, little Sun-I and her big brother Dong-I are impatiently waiting for their mother who has gone to the market. The two children spend an exciting day at the river because the girl – thanks to her imagination – sees nature and the river’s surroundings in her own special way. She recognises animals and other creatures on rocks and in the reflections in the river, she talks to them and asks them about her mother’s whereabouts. After a long day of waiting, the children happily greet their mother on her return. In this imaginative picture book, the readers are enabled to discover creatures hidden in natural objects and can thus appreciate nature’s beauty at the Korean river Dong watching it through a child’s eyes. (4+)
Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2003 - 22
Park, Kyung-Jin (text/illus.)
(When spring comes)
Seoul : Gilbut Orini, 2001.  p.
Fox – Bear – Friendship – Separation – Hibernation – Seasons of the year – Insight
Little bear and little fox are the best of friends. In the autumn forest, the two of them are having a lot of fun together. Even though winter is approaching and little bear should prepare for his hibernation, the fox wants to go on playing with him and therefore distracts him with loads of funny games. Yet, when the two friends manage to save a frog from freezing to death, little fox finally realises that hibernation is vital for his friend. They promise each other to meet again in spring. In this atmospheric picture book, the author uses the seasons of the year to symbolically describe the maturation process of children who slowly grow up: Saying goodbye and meeting again are seen as natural parts of human life. (4+) ☆ ☼
Kenya (English) - 2003 - 23
The Salem Mystery
Nairobi [et al.] : East African Educational Publ., 2001. 135 p.
(Secondary readers ; 13)
Woman – Murder – Teenage boy – Investigation
On his way home after an ordinary day, Kahiu is arrested by two ill-tempered police officers and has to accompany them on their beat. Suddenly, they stumble upon the site of a brutal murder. Out of curiosity, the boy and his best friend Opiyo start investigating the mysterious case on their own and are drawn into an intricate mystery-solving adventure putting their own life at risk more than once. This exciting detective story is one in a series of »Secondary Readers« aimed at students in lower secondary school. It conveys an authentic atmosphere of life in a Kenyan town and is nicely rounded off by simple black-and-white drawings. (12+)
Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 2003 - 24
Gordon, Marguerite (ed.)
Madiba magic : Nelson Mandela’s favourite stories for children
Cape Town : Tafelberg, 2002. 140 p.
Africa – Folktale – Anthology
This beautifully produced anthology contains 32 stories from South Africa and other African countries. A few of the tales are new stories written in the style of traditional folktales, while most of them are ancient folktales which have undergone several changes through the centuries and are presented here either in their orally transmitted form or as retellings by various authors. Each of the magical short tales is accompanied by a magnificent full-page illustration, painted by well-known children’s book artists as well as by some talented new illustrators, and by one or two beautiful small black-and-white vignettes created by Teresa Williams. A short one-sentence-introduction preceding each tale and an appendix at the back of the book give additional information about the importance of the tale’s theme or protagonist and its popularity and about the tales’ illustrators and authors or retellers. This folktale treasure chest will delight young and old readers alike. (4+) ☆ ☼
Australia (English) - 2003 - 25
Barlow, Maisie (Yarrcali) (text)
Anning, Michael (Boiyool) (illus.)
Jirrbal : rainforest dreamtime stories
Broome, Western Australia : Magabala Books Aborig. Corp., 2002. 59 p.
Australia/North Queensland – Aborigines – Everyday life – Fable
The Jirrbal people of Ravenshoe in North Queensland belong to an Aboriginal tribe whose lifestyle was influenced by the rainforest region in which they lived. Sadly, their rich storytelling tradition almost died out with the arrival of white settlers. For this book, published by a small publisher who promotes the works of indigenous people, Jirrbal elder Maisie Barlow selected four typical moral fables. The ancient dreamtime stories tell of Jirrbal life, introducing important traditional values to modern- day children. The simple tales are accompanied by Michael Anning’s delightful colour-pencil illustrations. A two-page English/Jirrbal dictionary and the author’s childhood memories provide an interesting insight into Jirrbal culture. (4+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 26
Cree, Laura Murray
Awesome! : Australian art for contemporary kids
St Leonards, Sydney, NSW : Craftsman House, 2002. 128 p
Australia – Modern Art
Modern art is sometimes difficult to access. Pejorative remarks from adults like »My Kids could do better than that!« are fairly common. Children, however, with their boundless imagination, are usually more inclined to discover the interesting ideas lying behind seemingly simple artefacts. In short, informative texts, Laura Murray Cree presents 55 outstanding Australian artists by introducing child readers to one of their typical works. Paintings, photographs, sculptures, and installations are carefully selected and show the immense variety of ideas and projects that contemporary artists realise. The attractive full-page reproductions of the works, as well as the appealing mixture of basic information, short quotations, and interesting texts, make this book an entertaining read for everybody. To all those who are anxious to find out more, an appendix gives some additional facts about the artists and offers suggestions for further reading. (8+) ☼
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 27
Crew, Gary (text)
McBride, Marc (illus.)
Sydney, NSW : Hodder Children’s Books Australia, 2002.  p.
Curiosity – Inventor – Immortality – Eos and Tithonus
After Old Ridley has died, Joachim finally gets the chance to inspect his wondrous, castle-like home which he had secretly been spying on for years. The strange neighbour, who was rumoured to be a mad inventor, had always lived a reclusive life. Full of admiration, the boy wanders through the empty house, up to the attic – and there, a dubious surprise awaits him. Inspired by the ancient Greek myth of the Goddess Eos who fell in love with Tithonus, a mortal youth, this mysterious tale ponders on a man’s desperate search for immortality. The eerie atmosphere of Gary Crew’s magical text is ingeniously captured in Marc McBride’s amazing fantastical illustrations teeming with bizarre details. (10+)
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 28
When you wake and find me gone
Camberwell, Victoria [et al.] : Penguin Books, 2002. 424 p.
Australia – Mother – Daughter – Secret – Ireland – Irish Republican Army – Father
When her older sister Leonie is seriously injured in a car accident, Kit has no idea that her whole life is about to be turned upside down: Yet, suddenly she learns that her sister is in fact her mother and that her father was some Irishman involved in political underground activites in Belfast. Leaving her secure Australian country home, the fairly naïve twenty-year-old girl travels to Ireland on a quest for her parents’ secret and steps into a world of violence and political extremism. The readers of this thought-provoking young adult novel follow Kit on her painful journey of (self-)discovery and learn a lot about Ireland’s recent past and the conflicts still troubling the country. A truly fascinating and insightful read. (14+) ☆
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 29
The slightly true story of Cedar B. Hartley (who planned to live an unusual life)
Crows Nest, NSW : Allen & Unwin, 2002. 226 p.
Girl – Everyday life – Friendship – Brother – Running away – Acrobatics
In this light-hearted novel, author Martine Murray has her twelve-year-old heroine, named after a tree by her then-hippie mother, talking about daily life in a small Australian town. While chatting on about her friends and »enemies«, her quirky neighbours, her run-away brother Barnaby who keeps sending peculiar postcards, and her friend Kite, an acrobatic »bird-person«, Cedar B. Hartley reveals some truths about love, life, and herself. Her witty straightforward first-person narration, intertwined with poetic images, immediately wins over the readers’ hearts and makes this an impressive debut novel. The tiny black-and-white line drawings accentuate the cheerful atmosphere of the text. (12+)
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 30
Tan, Shaun (text/illus.)
The red tree
South Melbourne, Victoria : Lothian, 2001.  p.
Sadness – Depression
Everybody knows that feeling when a »day begins with nothing to look forward to and things go from bad to worse«. In Shaun Tan’s moving picture book, a little red-haired girl is almost overwhelmed by her feeling of loneliness and isolation, and she simply cannot see a meaning to her life. At the end of the day, however, quite unexpectedly, a ray of hope is finding its way into her heart. The multiaward- winning illustrator’s detailed, surrealistic mixed-media collages in mainly dark colours capture the girl’s despair in a unique way. The sparse text blends in perfectly with the breathtaking pictures, leaving ample space for the readers to find their own interpretation of this quiet story. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 31
Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia, 2002. 386 p.
(Pan : Fiction)
Friendship – Quest – Happiness – Fate
In his new novel, highly acclaimed Australian author Markus Zusak, weaves a fascinating mixture of humour, irony, suspension, violence, and sex (or rather the fervent wish for it), into a gripping narrative which is sure to hold every reader under its spell. After having »accidentally« foiled a bank robbery, 19-year-old cab driver Ed Kennedy’s life takes an unexpected turn. Mysterious messages scribbled on playing cards arrive at his house: three addresses, three names, etc. Although Ed does not have a clue what he is supposed to make of this, he starts off on a quest delivering »messages« to these people which deeply influence their lives as well as his own. This unusual crossover novel will appeal to teenagers and adults alike. (16+)
India (English) - 2003 - 32
Sen Gupta, Subhadra (text)
Guha, Tapas (illus.)
A clown for Tenali Rama
New Delhi; New York [et al.] : Scholastic, 2002. 108 p.
India/1510-1530 – Time travel – Temple dancing – Stone Carving
One afternoon, while selling coconut water and little stone carvings to passing tourists, fourteen-yearold Basava and his younger sister Sivakka suddenly find themselves magically transported back into the beginning of the 16century when Hampi, their small home village, was the famous city of Vijayanagar ruled by great King Krishnadeva Raya. During the next few days, the two teenagers meet many interesting people, explore fascinating temples and palaces, and take part in the bustling city life. This engaging time travel adventure makes the splendour of a long forgotten era come alive and tells children a lot about Indian customs and traditions as well as about the everyday life in those times. (10+) ☆
New Zealand (English) - 2003 - 33
Right where it hurts
Wellington, New Zealand : Mallinson Rendel, 2002. 132 p.
Teenager – School – Pressure – Selfmutilation – Friendship
When Slade meets Mallory on the first day at his new school, he immediately dislikes her for impersonating everything he hates about snobby rich people. Yet, not long after, he gets to know the shy and insecure girl hiding behind a mask of conceitedness and superiority and realises that she desperately needs help. Slowly crumbling under the immense pressure her successful parents put on her, Mallory punishes herself for her »failures« by cutting or burning her arms until, one day, it is almost too late. In his disturbing young adult novel, written in a cool and cheeky authentic teenage voice, wellknown writer David Hill points out the dangers of parental pressure and also attacks the »ideal world« of upper-class families. (14+)
New Zealand (English) - 2003 - 34
Spider : a novel
Dunedin, New Zealand : Longacre Press, 2002. 245 p.
Mother – Son – Teenager – Coming of Age – Friendship – Piano Competition
Matthew »Spider« Trent is seventeen, long, lean, and lanky, and has just been voted Number Ten on a teen magazine’s list. Now it is time for a new challenge – such as the big piano competition. But has he got what it takes? And does he really want to spend his future as a great pianist? These are questions that neither his two best buddies nor his secretly adored Moana can answer for him. In a stream-of-consciousness-like authentic first person narrative, the teenage hero pours out his heart. The insight which William Taylor gives his readers into the world of music, the description of the strong mother-son relationship, and his unusually open approach to the sex industry, makes this a thoughtprovoking yet funny coming of age novel. (14+)
Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 35
Agard, John (ed.)
Nichols, Grace (ed.)
Various illustrators (illus.)
Under the moon & over the sea : a collection of Caribbean poems
London [et al.] : Walker Books, 2002. 77 p.
Poetry – Anthology
This colourful collection of poetry introduces its readers to the exotic Caribbean world. Divided into five different parts, the book tells about everydaylife on a Caribbean island, conjures up the magic atmosphere of storytelling by the fireside, makes the mouths water with texts about typical food and drinks, and compares stories from within the land with impressions of those who have left for faraway countries. Each chapter is superbly illustrated by a different artist using a variety of style and techniques: subtle collages, watercolour illustrations with a folkloric touch, comic-like pictures, and naïve style paintings. In their unique way, all the illustrators convey the picture of a colourful and sunny place with a rich cultural tradition. (8+) ☆
Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 36
London [et al.] : Young Picador, 2002. 232 p.
Mother – Daughter – Anorexia
Carmen’s career-oriented mother Maria has always been on some diet or other, yet doesn’t acknowledge that she has a serious eating problem. On the contrary: With her constant nagging and patronising, she even manages to make Carmen believe herself to be a fat teenager. All of a sudden, she brings her daughter to her hometown Birmingham for a fresh start, whisking her far away from the soothing influence of her stepfather. A vicious circle of starving, eating in secret, and throwing up begins. Set in a typically British middle class environment, this disturbing teenage novel explores the complex chain of cause and effect in a dieting obsession from an unusual angle. In this case, it is the mother who is highly anorexic rather than her teenage daughter. (12+)
Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 37
London : Livewire, 2002. 181 p.
Stepfather – Domestic violence – Secrecy – Escape
Briony cannot remember exactly when it started, but slowly matters are getting out of hand and she is afraid that her increasingly violent stepfather may go too far one day. While she tries to keep her family life secret from her school friends, her increasing fear for her mother almost overwhelms her. This stirring novel focuses on the all too common issue of domestic violence. Through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Briony, the readers witness her stepfather’s frequent outbursts of fury and her mother’s blind excuses, which leave the girl helpless and desperate. On the publishers website at www.the-womens-press.com readers interested in the topic can find useful information as well as links to help organisations. (14+)
Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 38
Frome, Somerset : Chicken House, 2003. 220 p.
Son – Father – Alcoholism – Accident – Friendship – Betrayal
Told in retrospective, the witty and ironic, highly reflective matter-of-fact first-person narrative traces the events of one week in the life of Martyn Pig – »Martyn with a Y, Pig with an I and one G« – who leads a monotonous existence next to his alcoholic father. Although his Dad uses him as servant, cleaning maid, and pinchball, the boy never meant to kill him. And he didn’t – not intentionally anyway; it was simply a silly accident. Yet, despite his clever plans, getting rid of the body is not as easy as it always seems in detective novels. And when everything finally seems to work out well, there is a nasty surprise looming in the dark. This puzzling and sinister yet deadly funny debut novel contains many unexpected twists. (14+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 39
Child, Lauren (text/illus.)
Who’s afraid of the big bad book?
London : Hodder Children’s Books, 2002.  p.
Boy – Fairytale – Adventure – Escape
In this follow-up to the successful Beware of the Storybook Wolves, bookworm Herb accidentally falls into his big book of fairy tales one night and is immediately confronted by an enraged little Goldilocks who screams blue murder at the intruder. Herb quickly takes to his heels and finally finds himself in a huge hall where the queen and king are angrily discussing the annoying absence of Prince Charming. When they spot Herb, the little culprit responsible for all the mischief, they set off chasing him. At the last minute, he manages to escape back to his room and »spends the rest of the night putting the storybook back to rights«. The wild illustrations, full of details and rendered in Lauren Child’s trademark collage-style – sketchy ink drawings, photographs, and fabric samples slotted together – are combined with different size typefaces which ingeniously depict the story’s twists and turns. An intriguing and imaginative picture book for readers of all ages. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 40
Duffy, Carol Ann (text)
Stewart, Joel (illus.)
London [et al.] : Macmillan Children’s Books, 2002.  p.
ISBN 0-333-96063-7. - 0-333-96064-5
Farm animals – Everyday life – Underwater world
In her first picture book, award-winning poet Carol Ann Duffy tells a whimsical surreal tale about farm animals living a quiet life under the sea. The musical, rhymed verses are perfectly complemented by Joel Stewart’s exquisite illustrations in rich colours. Fluffy white sheep in »new-washed fleece« are calmly floating through the mysteriously green water feeding on seaweed while, on another page, a bright yellow octopus energetically waves violin, trumpet, and saxophone beating the time for the farm horse and the dolphin waltzing away in the distance. At the end of the day, »the creatures there fall fast asleep«. This imaginative bedtime book will easily carry its readers into the magical depths of the sea. (4+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 41
London : Orion Children’s Books, 2002. 186 p.
(A Dolphin paperback)
Stepfather – Violence – Escape – Mother – Son – Racism
Ever since Danny and his mother Cathy moved in with Chris a few years ago, life has been hell. The overly jealous and possessive man watched their every move and frequently beat them up as punishment for some small »disobedience«. One night, they finally escape. Yet, when they arrive at his grandparents’ house it seems like the black boy and his white mother have got out of the frying pan into the fire: In this small Northern England town, a group of racist teenagers do their best to prove how unwelcome Danny is in the neighbourhood. The gripping narrative unfolds in short sequences written from the various protagonists’ points-of-view and immediately draws readers in. This is a fastpaced, thought-provoking novel about violence and racism. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 42
Across the nightingale floor : tales of the Otori, Book One.
London [et al.]: Macmillan, 2002. 294 p.
Adolescent – Family – Murder – Revenge – Loyalty – Love – Fate
Sixteen-year-old Takeo, who was raised among »the Hidden«, a peaceful religious people, witnesses his family and the whole village being slaughtered by cruel soldiers. The boy is saved and adopted by kind Lord Otori and is taught everything a future lord must know, including the history of the different clans and the art of sword-fighting. Under the guidance of a mysterious teacher, he slowly discovers his supernatural skills which mark him as a member of »the Tribe« and will determine his future life. Set in an imaginary feudal country, which resembles medieval Japan and its customs and traditions, this gripping and powerful novel (the first book of a trilogy) tells a passionate tale of loyalty, honour, love and revenge. (14+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 43
Patten, Brian (text)
Riddell, Chris (illus.)
The story giant
London : Collins, 2002. 222 p.
Giant – Storytelling – Children – Saviour – Folktale
For centuries, the story giant has been collecting all the stories from around the world. To try and find the only tale that is still missing from his collection, the giant summons four children from the four corners of the world to his remote moorland castle. As they share all the tales from their different cultures, he becomes weaker and weaker... Into this magical frame story, Brian Patten weaves more than fifty tales ranging from Aesop’s fables, Arabian folktales, and Japanese legends, to Aboriginal myths and Celtic fairytales. This colourful mixture written in a quiet and engaging style, is accompanied by Chris Riddell’s humorous caricaturelike ink drawings, ingeniously depicting the quirky storyteller and his various protagonists. (8+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 44
London : Scholastic Children’s Books, 2002. 293 p.
City – Fight for Survival – Adventure – Quest – War – Class society
In this thrilling futuristic fantasy adventure, cities are roaming the vast barren plains of planet earth on huge platforms. According to their principle of Municipal Darwinism, the larger »traction cities« feast on weaker ones to survive, and Tom, a third class Historian’s apprentice who has lived on London all his life, is convinced that this is just as life is supposed to be. However, when he meets scarfaced revengeful Hester, gets pushed off his home onto the bare earth, has to flee dubious slave traders, and learns of a nasty plot to kill thousands of people, his life and thinking are turned upside down. In this fast-paced debut novel, Philip Reeve creates a gripping fantasy adventure and – at the same time – addresses some serious issues such as class society, violence, and war. (11+)
(Nestlé Smarties Book Prize; 2002)
Special Mention - Ireland (English) - 2003 - 45
A – Z and back again : a little bit of this and a wee bit of that!
Ballintogher : Kids’ Own Publ. Partnership, 2002.  p.
(A kids’ own book for young children)
Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, a small publishing house in Ireland, promotes the creative skills of children as writers and artists through various projects. One of their aims is to make the culture of »Travellers«, Ireland’s nomadic people, visible to others. For this outstanding example of children’s creativity reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s famous pop-art works, a group of children from two different schools have worked together with their families in a series of workshops. Using sponges, potatoes, and other everyday objects for different types of prints, they created the letters from A to Z and drew a few accompanying objects starting with each letter. With the help of photocopies, they decided on the final layout and design of the largeformat brochure. For the photo-gallery on the book’s endpages, they worked with digital photographs and computer. With the guiding assistance of an adult artist, they have thus created a fascinatingly colourful alphabet book. (2+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Ireland (English) - 2003 - 46
Dublin : O’Brien Press, 2002. 141 p.
Parents – Divorce – Son – Anger – Self-confidence
Gyr, named after the gyrfalcon, a protected bird of prey, loves roaming the countryside of his family’s new home on a hill outside a small Irish village. Yet, when he learns that his parents are thinking about getting divorced and that his father will be staying in London, he is outraged and feels utterly lonely. Suddenly, an enchanting stranger enters his life: By introducing the boy to his world and the warriors of ancient Ireland, Finn MacCumhail (a well-known Irish legendary hero) slowly lets Gyr find his own path in life. In this engaging children’s novel, where the real and fantasy worlds naturally blend into each other, the boy’s quest for love and self-confidence is told in a convincing third-person narrative with a magical touch. (10+)
Canada (English) - 2003 - 47
Edwards, Wallace (text/illus.)
Toronto, Ontario [et al.] : Kids Can Press, 2002.  p.
Alphabet – Animals
Truth often lies in paradox – as, for example, in the fact that the rigid structure of the alphabet continuously seems to inspire unconventional ABC-books. In his first book for children, Edwards unites an exotic menagerie of »alphabeasts« in a mansion lavishly decorated with elaborate tapestries, intricate carpets and extravagant draperies. Each letter features an unpredictable guest in an incongruous setting engaged in an even more unexpected activity. This surreal feast for the eyes will fascinate young and old and lead to reflections on the uncanny boundaries between wilderness and civilisation. (6+)
Canada (English) - 2003 - 48
Victoria, BC [et al.] : Orca Book Publ., 2002. 264 p.
Scapegoatism – Peer pressure – Friendship
A tribute to Robert Cormier’s »Chocolate War«, this tense novel explores the destructive dynamics of peer pressure and scapegoatism: At the beginning of the new school-year, fifteen-year-old Sally Hanson learns that she is the so-called »winner« of the reputed lottery set up by the Shadow Council – a student body terrorising the entire high school. Victim of the Council and shunned by all the students, Sally tries to face the darker side of human nature without losing faith in herself or her friends. Trust in her brother and in the powers of music help her to stay true to herself. Goobie’s keen sense of observation shows in her poignant psychological analysis and in the resourcefulness of her striking imagery. (12+)
Canada (English) - 2003 - 49
Search of the moon king’s daughter : a novel
Toronto, Ontario [et al.] : Tundra Books, 2002. 309 p.
Sister – Brother – Poverty – Child labour – Class society – England/1830-1836
This gripping novel draws a shockingly realistic portrait of the appalling living conditions of the poor in comparison with the safe and comfortable life of the upper classes in 19century England. After her father’s death, Emmaline, her mother Cat, and her deaf baby brother are thrown out of their small country cottage and forced to move to a nearby mill town where, one day, Cat has her hand smashed in a terrible factory accident. To get hold of laudanum, the pain-killing drug, the girl’s desperate mother eventually sells the small boy into servitude as a chimney sweep. Emmaline, now 15, immediately sets off to find and save her brother and encounters a lot of cruelty but also kindness, hope, and even a small miracle. (14+)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2003 - 50
Hana’s suitcase : a true story
Toronto, Ontario : Second Story Press, 2002. 111 p.
(The Holocaust remembrance series for young readers)
ISBN 1-896764-55-x; 1-896764-61-4
Holocaust – Persecution of the Jews – Quest – Holocaust Education – Japan/Canada
Fumiko Ishioka, director of the Tokyo Holocaust Center, felt that the best way to teach children about the past is to show them physical objects that tell the story of the people connected to them. When a suitcase with the only information »Hana Brady, May 16, 1931, Waisenkind (orphan)« arrives in Japan from the Auschwitz Museum in the year 2000, the quest for Hana’s story begins. This inspiring and deeply moving documentary brings together the three stories of Fumiko’s and the Japanese childrens‘ detective work, of Hana’s childhood in former Czechoslovakia, her deportation to Theresienstadt and her murder in Auschwitz, and finally that of her brother, who survived the Holocaust and came to Canada with nothing but the family photo album to keep the memory of Hana alive. This way, the Holocaust does not appear like a distant chapter of German history but rather like an event of universal impact, which teaches today’s generation to work towards peace, tolerance, and understanding. (10+) ☆
(Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award 2002)
(CD of original CBC radio documentary available upon request)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2003 - 51
Park, Janie Jaehyun (retelling/illus.)
The tiger and the dried persimmon : a Korean folktale
Toronto [et al.] : Douglas & McIntyre, 2002.  p.
Folktale – Tiger – Courage
A persimmon is a fruit given to children in East Asian countries as a sweet treat. But, luckily, the great tiger – powerfully rendered in the illustrations – does not know that. When he comes to a farm house to devour the ox, he hears the »growling« sounds of a little baby who seems to fear nothing – neither wolf, nor bear, nor tiger – except for dried persimmon. The tiger’s misinterpretation results in a wonderful comedy of errors with many an unexpected turn, skilfully reflected in the changing perspectives of the swirling, dynamic pictures. These vibrant and highly expressive illustrations are inspired by the ancient tradition of Korean art and effectively bring this retelling of the Korean folktale to life. (5+)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2003 - 52
Yee, Paul (text)
Chan, Harvey (illus.)
Dead man’s gold and other stories
Toronto [et al.] : Douglas & McIntyre, 2002. 112 p.
(A Groundwood book)
Chinese immigrants – Ghost stories
In ten original stories, Paul Yee masterfully conjures up the past of Chinese immigrants who came to the New World to make a living but were haunted by the people, traditions, and values of their old home country. Lovers cruelly separated by immigration laws, strict fathers, and poor peddlers unable to adapt to the New World return as ghosts so that their fates will not be forgotten. Told in the popular form of ghost stories, they provide a link between traditional Chinese folklore and modern North American short stories, and create a powerful »New World Mythology«. The award-winning illustrator takes up the strong images of the texts and heightens their intensity in eerie and evocative plates which add to the bibliophile nature of this thoroughly designed book. (16+)
(Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award 2002)
USA (English) - 2003 - 53
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. 150 p.
(Frances Foster books)
Adoption – Sister – Brother – Holidays – Island – Loon
No-one in their right mind would give their child such a stupid name; and Dillon Dillon is sure his own parents are no exception. So why on earth did they do it? His tenth birthday seems to be just the right moment to finally ask for the truth – a truth that changes Dillon’s life forever. In this unspectacular, tender novel, award-winning picture book author Kate Banks makes the readers share the adopted boy’s inner thoughts and confused feelings. They accompany him to the small lake island where he becomes friends with two nesting loons, and witness his slow healing process: Seeing his own fate mirrored in that of the orphaned baby loon, the boy eventually comes to accept his adoption and regains his grip on life. (10+)
USA (English) - 2003 - 54
Collins, Ross (text/illus.)
New York, NY : Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2002.  p.
Boy – Sleep – Disturbance – Fictitious characters
It is night-time and little Ben is dozing off when the Sandman pops in through the window. Yet, before he can complete his good night song, bossy Tooth Fairy interrupts him, followed by two Ghosts, the Thing-Under-the-Bed, and – last but not least – Santa Claus. Loudly arguing about who is to have a go at the little boy first, this motley crew creates such mighty havoc that, eventually, Ben himself throws them out to get some sleep. The exuberant cartoon-like illustrations, depicting the chaotic scenes from various angles, zooming in and out, perfectly complement the witty text. Acclaimed Scottish illustrator Ross Collins has created a hilarious bedtime book which is sure to reduce children’s night fears to giggles and laughter. (4+) ☼
USA (English) - 2003 - 55
Gray, Margaret (text)
Cecil, Randy (illus.)
The ugly princess and the wise fool
New York : Henry Holt, 2002. 167 p.
Princess – Beauty – Ugliness – Friendship – Wisdom – Fairytale – Parody
When Princess Rose is born, the whole kingdom of Couscous is in a state of shock: She is not excessively beautiful, as any princess simply must be. No. She is not even remotely pretty. Despite this, everyone adores the friendly buck-toothed girl. One day, however, handsome (and empty-headed) prince Parsley passes the castle looking for a bride – and suddenly Rose longs for beauty... In this hilarious debut novel, Margaret Gray employs a variety of metafictional remarks and absurd exaggerations to create a parody on fairy tale conventions which will make readers laugh out loud. Even if the moral is clear right from the start, the funny text and the comical black-and-white illustrations provide an entertaining read from beginning to end. (8+) ☼
USA (English) - 2003 - 56
Grifalconi, Ann (text)
Nelson, Kadir (illus.)
The village that vanished
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 2002. [40 ] p.
Africa – Village – Slave trade – Threat – Trick – Escape
Written in the style of a traditional African tale narrated by an old storyteller, this touching story celebrates the courageous behaviour and quick thinking of a small Yao girl and her mother. When cruel slave traders approach their tiny village, Njemile and her young daughter Abikanile persuade the neighbours to wipe out all traces of the village and flee deep into the forest. Thanks to the girl’s trust in the ancestral spirits, they escape successfully. The eloquent and expressive prose text, is enhanced by fascinating illustrations: Detailed pencil and oil drawings coloured mainly in warm shades of brown, green, and orange, beautifully capture the atmosphere, the colourful flora, and the rich fabrics worn by the African women. (6+) ☆
USA (English) - 2003 - 57
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. 292 p.
(A Borzoi book)
ISBN 0-375-82181-3; 0-375-92181-8
Moving house – School – Bullying – Runaway boy – Burrowing owl – Protection – Environment
Roy’s family has just moved again – this time to flat and boring Coconut Grove in Florida. As the new kid he is easy prey for Dana Matherson, the thick-headed school bully. Life seems miserable. But when, thanks to Dana, he spots a mysterious barefooted boy running away from the school bus, follows him, and becomes friends with the runaway’s stepsister, Roy is in for a lifetime adventure. Carl Hiaasen’s first novel for young readers features a motley crew of characters who team up to save the dens of some tiny burrowing owls from destruction. During their fight against the greedy manager of a pancake chain, the engaging story builds up suspense and takes some comic twists, before it is resolved in a slapstick denouement. This delicious comedy is sure to be a hoot. (11+)
USA (English) - 2003 - 58
Howitt, Mary (original text)
DiTerlizzi, Tony (illus.)
The spider and the fly
New York [et al.] : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2002.  p.
Fly – Spider – Trick
The famous old cautionary tale of the deceitful spider who talks the naïve little fly into entering his parlor and then turns her into a delicious spiderdinner is still very popular today. In this version, Tony DiTerlizzi’s superb pictures add another spooky layer to this story. The black-and-silver gouache and graphite illustrations, reminiscent of classic Hollywood horror movies from the 1920s and 1930s, show a delicate young upper-class ladyfly who is easily deceived by the gentleman-like manners of the cunning spider. The gruesome details depicted inside the spider flat further increase the tension of the tale. As a humorous twist, the cruel villain is even granted a »last word« in the book, justifying his behaviour. (6+) ☼
USA (English) - 2003 - 59
Nolen, Jerdine (text)
Catrow, David (illus.)
San Diego [et al.] : Harcourt, 2002.  p.
Boy – Plant – Taking care – Friendship – Family member
»Caring for plants in this program will give you more benefits than you could ever imagine« says Mortimer’s science teacher at school. Yet even he could not have anticipated the drastic changes that Plantcilia (nicknamed »Plantzilla« by the students) undergoes when the third-grader takes the plant home over the summer holidays. As Mortimer showers it with love and attention, Plantzilla grows rapidly and uncontrollably, slowly turning into some human-like creature. A series of letters from happy Mortimer and his increasingly worried mother report the plant’s unusual behaviour. They are surrounded by exuberant double-spread watercolour illustrations which add a caricaturesque touch to the funny and absurd story. (5+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2003 - 60
The same stuff as stars
New York : Clarion Books, 2002. 242 p.
Sister – Brother – Neglected children – Family relations – Self-confidence
Andersen-award-winning writer Katherine Paterson has created yet another moving children’s novel which explores problematic family bonds and underlines the importance of friendship and self-confidence. With her beloved father in prison and her mother too preoccupied with herself to care much about anything, Angel Morgan has always looked after her little brother Bernie. Still, when Verna suddenly dumps her two children at the house of their frail great-grandmother in rural Vermont and simply disappears, the eleven-yearold girl almost despairs. Slowly, however, she befriends the village librarian and the mysterious »star man« who both help her to keep her makeshift family together and persuade her not to give up on her dreams. In this engaging story, told in a strong down-to-earth voice, little Angel masters her life with admirable perseverance and optimism boldly facing every catastrophe that comes her way. (10+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2003 - 61
Rodrigue, George (text/illus.)
Goldstone, Bruce (text)
Why is blue dog blue? : a tale of colors
New York, NY : Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2001. [40 ] p.
Rodrigue, George / Blue Dog – Modern Art – Colours
George Rodrigue is a well-known American artist whose various paintings of Blue Dog have captured the hearts of many people around the world for more than 20 years. In this picture book, he ventures to explain to his obviously puzzled audience, why Blue Dog – in spite of its name – does not always have to be blue. Depending on the painter’s associations while working, the dog can actually be any colour imaginable: e.g. »mustard«, if Rodrigue happens to feel like eating a hot dog, or »tan« when he goes to the beach. The imaginative design of the book, with its unconventional typesetting, and the surprising answer at the end, offer readers an exciting peep into the world of modern art. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2003 - 62
Steig, William (text)
Agee, John (illus.)
Potch & Polly
New York : Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002.  p.
Falling in love – Courting – Accident
When Potch meets Polly at a masquerade ball, he falls head over heels in love with her. Unfortunately, however, all his imaginative undertakings to win her heart, misfire and end in disaster. Just as a broken heart seems inevitable, the clever trick of a clown-faced guardian angel manages to bring the two lovebirds together. Award-winning author William Steig and renowned illustrator John Agee team up to create a hilarious picture book which is sure to delight readers of all ages. The fast-paced story with its sitcom humour, perfectly complemented by the sketchy, comic-like illustrations, makes readers immediately empathise with accident- prone Potch and anxiously hope for his successful courting of the outraged Polly. (4+) ☼
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2003 - 63
Tayac, Gabrielle (text)
Harrington, John (photogr.)
Meet Naiche : a native boy from the Chesapeake Bay area
Hillsboro, Oregon : Beyond Words Pub., 2002. 48 p.
(My world: Young Native Americans today)
USA – Native Americans – Traditions – Boy – Everyday life
This non-fiction book is the first in a series called My World: Young Native Americans Today, which aims at bringing the life of present-day American Indians closer to the readers by introducing one particular child in each volume. Here, readers get /USA to know Naiche, a boy whose parents belong to the Piscataway and Apache people. He chats about his everyday life which proves to be very similar to that of other American children. Nevertheless, he is very proud of the cultural traditions peculiar to his family’s ancestors. Various colour photographs accompanied by detailed annotations illustrate the casual text. A few black-and-white drawings and photographs as well as a short appendix provide cultural and historical background information. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2003 - 64
Wilson, Sarah (text)
Cameron, Chad (illus.)
George Hogglesberry, grade school alien
Berkeley, Calif. [et al.] : Tricycle Press, 2002.  p.
Boy – Alien – Outsider – Fitting in – Happiness
George, the new kid from planet Frollop II, tries very hard to fit in – even though this is somewhat difficult: Quite involuntarily, he keeps changing into different objects, walks across the ceiling, or floats in midair. When the preparations for the school fall play begin, all his classmates – including George himself – are afraid he is going to mess things up. The charming story, written in a simple, matter-of-fact style with a lot of dry humour, is combined with brightly coloured collage illustrations, depicting the strange little blue boy with his stuck-on nose in all sorts of crazy situations. They easily transport George’s anxiety and his desperate attempts at behaving like a »normal« child – as well as his happiness in the end. (4+)
Austria (German) - 2003 - 65
Böck, Margit [et al.] (ed.)
(The adventure of journalism)
Wien : Dachs-Verl., 2002. 190 p.
Journalism – Media
The endpapers of this book already hint at its basic intention: It wants to inform its readers. Various tables and diagrams offer an overview of many journalistic facts worth knowing about. The text covers the history of journalism, introduces famous representatives, talks about outstanding events, as well as the role of journalism in modern media, includes a glossary – and many more aspects. Not least for novice journalists and young people interested in the topic, this book gives a basic introduction to the subject. The clear layout of the book visually rounds off the writing of this attractive and excellent book. (12+)
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 66
Dahimène, Adelheid (text)
Stöllinger, Heide (illus.)
St. Pölten [et al.] : NP-Buchverl., 2002.  p.
Donkey – Partnership – Silver wedding anniversary – Forgetfulness – Argument – Stubbornness – Reconciliation
The old donkey and his wife behave like all typical donkeys – that is they stubbornly stop in the middle of the road each time they have to cross a street. Because they love each other so dearly and embrace often, each of them has developed a special bodily feature: He has a bump on his neck while her neck is dented. Yet, despite all this, when the donkey-husband forgets their silver wedding anniversary, the donkey-wife feels really hurt and runs off – and he lets her go. In their stubbornness, both are certain that they will easily find another partner with an equally comfortable bump / dent. But, of course, there is no other partner for either of them within the whole animal realm. How happy both of them are, when they finally get together again – in the desert – where the camels lovingly intertwine their humps; only one camel remains alone and therefore has to cuddle up in the (humped) dunes. This is a cheerful book about quarrels, stubbornness, and reconciliation, and about the reliability of belonging together. The donkeys, presented by the illustrator not quite true to life, certainly carry some human characteristics. (6+)
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 67
Janisch, Heinz (text)
Jung, Barbara (illus.)
Wenn Anna Angst hat
(When Anna is afraid)
Wien [et al.] : Jungbrunnen, 2002.  p.
Falling asleep – Fear – Coping with fear – Imagination
Anna is a clever young girl. She is absolutely sure that the great giant, for example, never sleeps – and him she calls whenever she is afraid. She has quite a few of such mighty friends: the 33 knights of the nutshells, the green spinning-dragon, the flying feather, the magnetic mountain, and – last but not least – herself. After all, she can always tell herself »Anna is not afraid at all«. And then she falls asleep. (But the great giant doesn’t sleep, because he guards her.) Full-page pictures and clear, rich colours invite readers to dive into the world of these fantastic creatures, who want to support small girls like Anna. (3+) ☼
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 68
Männer, Wolfgang (text/illus.)
Almhofer, Edith (ed.)
Ap & Daun <nonsense pun>
Gumpoldskirchen [et al.] : Dea-Verl., 2001.  p.
Nonsense – Children’s verse
You can – and you should – turn this funny book around and around. The encyclopaedic descriptions below the illustrations always refer to the same picture, but seen from two different sides: The detective with his hat becomes a man with a cigar, the admiral suddenly looks like a wide-grinning mouth, the number 9 is turned into 6. Extracts from the German dictionary Duden in typewritten letters are used as explanations for the pictures. In addition, there is a rhyming couplet for the different versions of each picture. This is a book for children who love to fiddle about. Together with their parents they will enjoy the fun hidden in the book’s language and picture puzzles. (8+)
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 69
Schreiber-Wicke, Edith (text)
Habinger, Renate (illus.)
St. Pölten [et al.] : Niederösterr. Pressehaus, 2002. 45 p.
Dental hygiene – Humour
It is extremely difficult to persuade the young protagonist of this amusing lesson in dental hygiene that her mother is right. From her own experience she knows, after all, that not EVERYBODY clean their teeth! Even if the whole world – people, animals, and fictional creatures alike – may be interested in it, her friends Egon and Helene are definitely not. No more discussion. That is why the fast dialogue between mother and daughter leads to nothing. Yet, believe it or not: It is her two small friends who, of all people, finally manage to pave the way for the strawberry taste toothpaste with their wide-mouthed carious grin. Witty ideas in text and pictures help to ease the tensions regarding this delicate topic. (4+)
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 70
Sulzenbacher, Gudrun (text)
Ochsenreiter, Augustin (photogr.)
Altes Handwerk und ländliches Leben
(Traditional trades and rural life)
Wien [et al.] : Folio-Verl., 2002. 64 p.
Trade – Rural life
This highly informative photo documentary, with its excellent text and design, shows scenes from working- and everyday-life untouched by the speed of modern-day electronics. Quite a few of the old skilled trades have survived up to this day because they are still needed and practised in rural areas. Other trades, such as burning oil, treating flax, cheese-making, and quill embroidery sound unfamiliar to us today. Not least, these traditional skills are part of the history of European cultures and of our general education. In words and pictures, the final chapter called »How to cure suffering« humorously completes our ideas about how barbers and surgeons used to cure diseases in former times. Luckily enough, these instruments and tinctures are not in keeping with the times anymore. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 71
Gegen den Strom : Zivilcourage und Widerstand im Dritten Reich
(Against the current : courage and resistance in Nazi Germany)
Wien : Ueberreuter, 2002. 175 p.
Germany – Austria – National Socialism – Persecution of the Jews – Resistance – Courage
This young adult book about the extermination of the Jews under the rule of the National Socialists is the first not to focus exclusively on people in Germany. In Austria, too, courageous outsiders offered resistance to the terror-regime. The book honours those, who have not yet been in the limelight of public attention. Many of these lesser-known heroes have paid with their lives for showing a humane attitude. Yet, even the lives of those who were able to save themselves, were continuously threatened. After 1945, some of the survivors reported the past events as contemporary witnesses. Moreover, the author critically examines the position of the respective states after the end of the war towards these courageous people. A bibliography rounds off the informative documentary volume. (14+) ☆
Germany (German) - 2003 - 72
Baltscheit, Martin (text/illus.)
Hokus Pokus, Sala Bim und die Zauberprüfung
(Hokus Pokus (Abracadabra), Sala Bim (Hey Presto) and the wizards’ exam)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl., 2002. 74 p.
Hare – Duck – Friendship – Magic – Failure – Zest for Life
Young hare Hokus Pokus and duckling Sala Bim form quite an unusual friendship for life and even decide to do without the (secretly adored) girls. If needs be, they will magically conjure up a hareduck- girl in their magic school. There, however, they share the fate of many other pupils before them: The head-sorcerer needs to intervene to prevent a disaster. Now, both of them know that a real sorcerer feels bewitched by reality but does not himself try to bewitch reality. They have found a new friend, the enchanting dragonfly Sim, and they can tell a great story about their adventure. All this is almost magic in itself. Comic-like figures in earthen colours accompany the story, which is told with an amused little wink. (5+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 73
Bittner, Wolfgang (text)
Kirchberg, Ursula (illus.)
Der Kaiser und das Känguru
(The emperor and the kangaroo)
Oldenburg : Lappan, 2002.  p.
Kangaroo – Emperor – Wish – Fulfilment
One day, the emperor feels like visiting the memorial of one of his great victorious ancestors. In its direct surroundings, however, lives the kangaroo with his loved ones. With curiosity, the head of the family watches the strange mixed crowd approaching. Within a second, the kangaroo appears before the emperor, who – in his affable way – considers him to be the gardener. The animal, not at a loss for words, immediately sees his chance and asks for a telephone box and a connection to the main water supply. A courtier’s objection is overruled – this audience was quite a success for the kangaroo family. Large wax-crayon pictures on brown paper humorously and ironically show how stupid and self-satisfied the great ones are, compared to the clever joie-de-vivre of the other creatures. (6+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 74
Blume, Bruno (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Mitten in der Nacht
(In the middle of the night)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl., 2002.  p.
Night – Nightmare – Fall asleep – Fear – Courage
When a small boy’s fear of the evil night creatures grows bigger than the creatures themselves – then the danger is warded off: The giants looming in the dark are suddenly faced with this fear, an immensely powerful opponent, and quickly run away. The small boy can go back to sleep and dream of beautiful things. In a humorous way and with few linguistic devices, the nightly fears of children are demystified in this book. Their irrationality becomes graspable – even if the children have to endure them first before the sweet dreams can finally get through. The dreadfulness of the fierce night creatures is clearly visible in the pictures – as well as their complete disappearance. This comforting book helps children to fall asleep happily. (4+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 75
Boie, Kirsten (text)
Waechter, Philip (illus.)
Josef Schaf will auch einen Menschen
(Joseph Sheep wants to have a human pet, too)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2002.  p.
Man – Keeping of pets – Topsy-turvy world
The world turned topsy-turvy: Animals keep human pets. Not everybody is in favour of this, though. Father and Mother Sheep for example are not, even if their little son Joseph faithfully promises to clean the cage and play with the tiny human. Nevertheless, Joseph’s birthday is near and so the Sheep-parents relent. But what a chaos, when Purzel, the small person, escapes from his cage one day. All the animals call him, search for him, and eventually find him. Before small Purzel goes to sleep, Joseph Sheep gives him a treat, of course, and cuddles him fondly – that’s the way an animal should treat his human pet. Many (seemingly) naïve pictures complement the sarcastic-ironic text. (8+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2003 - 76
Budde, Nadia (text/illus.)
Kurz nach sechs kommt die Echs
(Just after six the lizard comes) [nonsense rhyme)
Wuppertal : Hammer, 2002.  p.
Lizard – Daily routine – Dream – Wish – Wishfulfilment – Children’s poetry
Just like all the other working animals around him, the small lizard has a fixed daily routine and a secure income. And yet, at night, he dreams of a red convertible, a faithful small pet, blonde wavy hair, and some other extraordinary things. The next morning, he only just manages to catch his bus to work, but – what a surprise... Is it real or is it a dream? He himself sits behind the steering wheel and takes all the other passengers to the land where the wishes come from. The comic-like, caricaturelike pictures of the animal working routine and the tedious city life finally lead into the lizards’ paradise: Nature, wildlife, and millions of flies and insects to feed on. The courage to dream is obviously all you need. (5+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2003 - 77
Dahimène, Adelheid (text)
Stöllinger, Heide (illus.)
Der Schatten vom Hans
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2002.  p.
Shadow – Loss – Finding again – Game
Shadows, too, have a history: In the beginning, when there was still a lot of space, it was easy for the shadows. Today, however, they need to live in a world packed with loads of competitors: Humans, animals, houses, trees, cars, ... they all cast shadows. Thus, it is not unusual if one of the shadows wants to break free from its »caster« and discover the world on its own – Hans’ shadow for example. Yet, Shadow-Hans doesn’t know that as a mere shadow he is completely lost; he is going to shrink and disappear. Eventually, he regrets his decision and returns. And the »real« Hans can once again project shadow-plays onto the wall – because afterwards he sleeps much better. In this book, a traditional literary topic is presented to children in witty language and pictures. (6+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 78
Damm, Antje (text/illus.)
Frag mich! : 108 Fragen an Kinder, um miteinander ins Gespräch zu kommen
(Ask me! : 108 questions to children in order to start a conversation)
Frankfurt am Main : Moritz-Verl., 2002. 220 p.
Child – Everyday life – Question
The subtitle to this imaginative picture book reads: »108 questions to children in order to start a conversation «. Let’s have a look at the pages »Is there something to eat that you don’t like?« – On the right side, there is a picture of a mother and her daughter sitting in front of a bowl of spinach and sausages. Or the pages entitled: »Whom did you teach something?« – The photograph shows a small child ardently drawing pictures on a slate, while a big teddy bear is watching. Thus, using various illustrative techniques and forms of questions, a universe of different topics is touched on, offering an inexhaustible amount of material for telling stories. This book for children and parents is full of possibilities undreamt of. (3+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2003 - 79
Fühmann, Franz (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Anna genannt Humpelhexe
(Anna, called Limping Witch)
Rostock : Hinstorff, 2002. 39 p.
Witch – Disability – Identity – Competition – Winner – Topsy-turvy world
Small witch Anna’s legs are not the same length. Since she is angry about being teased by the other witch children, she turns her disability into a special gift: with her longer leg, she runs faster than everybody else, with the short one she walks slower. When she learns to walk on her hands, too, she creates an upside-down world where the weak are able to defeat the strong. Franz Fühmann’s fable was originally published in 1981 in his book Märchen auf Bestellung (»Custom-made folktales «). Using literature as a protective cloak, the author managed to (covertly) criticise his time and the society in the German Democratic Republic without exposing himself to danger. Jacky Gleich has now created new illustrations – large, bizarre pictures – for this story. (6+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 80
Geißler, Peter (text)
Kunert, Almud (illus.)
Ich kenn mich schon gut aus!
(I know quite a lot already!)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2002.  p.
Toddler – Imagination – Reality – Self-confidence – Perception
When the hero of this book lists all the things he knows, one is reminded of somebody whistling in a dark wood: He knows about »things«, the mirror, sticks, trousers, paths, and so on... And he also knows Mummy, of course. Excessive, full-page pictures comment on his story: everything is chaotic. Mythical creatures dominate the scene, the small child himself looks fairly bizarre and wanders around with a dragon that resembles a bathtub. There is a lot to discover in these pictures – and probably a lot to tell, too. The short, yet effective text written in verse invites readers to play (language) games. A book for children and their parents. (5+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 81
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (text)
Kindermann, Barbara (retelling)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Berlin : Kindermann, 2002.  p.
(Weltliteratur für Kinder ; 10)
Magic – Love – Youth – Old age – Death – Good/Evil – God/Devil
Doctor Heinrich Faust, the most archetypal German brooder – fastidious, disgruntled, disputed – is dragged out of his corner of classic literature, which today is unfortunately considered very oldfashioned. Quotations of verses from the most famous parts of Goethe’s text are highlighted between dense prose passages. It is quite a challenge to make such a highly complex artistic literary and philosophic work come alive for children on just a few pages. The effort is supported and substantiated by Klaus Ensikat’s elaborate pictures. The story’s protagonists walk around the medieval town scenery dressed in historical clothes – yet, at the table inside the cellar of Auerbach in the town of Leipzig, a modern punk with green hair is seated as well. This illustrated journey through the centuries hints at the timelessness of classic literature. (8+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2003 - 82
Fundamentalismus : Absage an die Moderne
(Fundamentalism : Modernity rejected)
München : Elefanten Press, 2002. 127 p.
(Edition »Ich klage an!«)
Fundamentalism – Internationality – Religion – Science – Politics
With a successful combination of fictional stories and profound non-fictional information, the author of this book, who has been living in Germany since 1976, shows the meaning of fundamentalist thinking and its effects on religion, science, politics, and the everyday life of people. Israel, Palestine, and Iran are the focus of interest for the events retold here. The main priority of this book, however, is to explain the basic meaning of the term »fundamentalism «. It aims at analysing the various different meanings of the word and its narrow use in, mostly journalistic, reports. The fate of specific people, told here as fictitious stories, yet true in a historic context, make readers aware of how explosive this topic is. (14+) ☆
Germany (German) - 2003 - 83
Heidelbach, Nikolaus (text/illus.)
Die dreizehnte Fee
(The thirteenth fairy)
Weinheim : Beltz & Gelberg, 2002.  p.
School – Reading – Fairytale – Dream – Imagination
After the children have listened to the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty at school and learned about the revenge of the thirteenth fairy, they all have frightening dreams of curses and magic that night. Only one boy dreams a pleasant dream – about his teacher. The next day, by coincidence, his fantastic tale is the thirteenth, so the teacher would be the thirteenth fairy – and a very nice one. »Teacher’s pet!« all the other children shout. Is this book a general demonstration of sympathy for teachers? After all, in the middle of these dreamt-up horrormagicians, the teacher seems to be really trustworthy and ordinary in a comfortable way. »A fairy tale for teachers«, that’s what Nikolaus Heidelbach calls his imaginative and unconventional picture book. (7+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2003 - 84
Heine, Helme (text/illus.)
München : Middelhauve, 2001.  p.
Body/Soul – Guardian angel
Professor Head, Rosi Heart, and Dick Belly are the members of »the club«. Their job is to make sure that people feel fine from womb to tomb. The professor notes down thoughts, Rosi takes care of matters of the heart, and Dick is responsible for physical health. Whenever they start quarrelling with each other, things become a little topsy-turvy; but, luckily enough, they get along most of the time and fulfil their respective duties. Helme Heine imagines a convincing model to describe how the human body and soul work, and creates just the perfect pictures to go with it, humorously explaining all the details. (5+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 85
Kamm, Katja (illus.)
Wuppertal : Hammer, 2002.  p.
Perception – Seeing – Colour – Disappearing
Colours and perception are the topic of this textless story, that confronts the protagonists – and maybe some smaller kids, too – with a number of puzzling situations: Who can see me when my clothes blend into the background? How can I become visible again? Whom or what do I myself fail to see because of optical illusions? What kind of dangers are caused by inaccurate perceptions? In a pitchblack night, a black cyclist crashes into a black tree – only his colourful bike is visible. The faces of a group of nuns in purple dresses hover on a purple background until they reach the »safe« red surroundings. This game of pictures and colours offers a lot of new insights. (4+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 86
Karau, Martin (text)
Wehner, Katja (illus.)
Berlin : Aufbau-Verl., 2002.  p.
Girl – Princess – Idol – Monster – Imaginary journey – Return home
Elli loves princesses of any kind; she draws and paints them with dedication. Yet, one day, a completely different creature turns up on her paper: ugly, horrible, and rebellious. Together, Elli and the Beast fly to faraway countries and get up to such mischievous deeds that the sultan puts them in the dungeon. Back from her (imaginary) journey, Elli lets herself be pampered by her unsuspecting mother. This is the story of a fairly lonely child – but one who is very imaginative and not too wellbehaved. The text uses the stylistic figure of understatement. The pictures of this unlikely pair, drawn with clear outlines, are set against a light-coloured background in an unspectacular way. (6+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2003 - 87
Könneke, Ole (text/illus.)
Der große böse Bill
(Big bad Bill)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2002.  Bl.
Malice – Strength – Abuse of power – Trick – Change of awareness
Bill – big, bad, and very strong – really frightens the whole city. That is why the people endure his bad jokes and ignore all his pranks. Accidentally however, the children discover that Bill only tries to fight the superiority of his parents with his malicious behaviour – their pictures hang above his bed. Now, the children come up with an idea: Walking on stilts and disguised with masks they make »the parents« appear before Bill in a threatening and warning demeanour; at the same time, the children themselves, whom Bill usually loves to torment, come to his assistance. Peace is declared and, from now on, Bill is very nice – but only to the children. Ole Könneke’s comic-like illustrations and the laconic-ironic text are hilarious. (6+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 88
Kriegel, Volker (text/illus.)
Erwin mit der Tröte
(Erwin and his trumpet)
Frankfurt am Main : Eichborn, 2002. 59 p.
Jungle – Coati – Music band – Star worship
»Unlike other small bears, coati (nasua nasua) are extremely sociable animals who try to keep contact with the members of their group by continuous whistling and warbling.« (read more at: www.zoo.ch) Erwin is no exception. With his snout, he loves playing all kinds of music, whether it is serious or easy-listening music, assisted by the wonderful band called »The Jungle Kings«. Back at Sansibar after a completely unexpected and brilliant, yet nerve-wrecking, success as a solo superstar at La Scala in Milan, Erwin and his band go on a concert tour as »Erwin & the Magic Music Circus«. In this book, Volker Kriegel – author, illustrator, and musician – combines the artistic worlds familiar to him in pictures and text: Musically well-informed and instructive, and ironic in a sympathetic way. Sequels welcome! (6+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 89
Krockow, Christian von
Eine Frage der Ehre : Stauffenberg und das Hitler-Attentat vom 20. Juli 1944
(A question of honour : Stauffenberg and the attempt on Hitler’s life on July 20, 1944)
Berlin : Rowohlt, 2002. 199 p.
(Bücher für die nächste Generation)
Germany/1933-1945 – Schenk von Stauffenberg, Claus – Resistance movement
The childhood and youth of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg reveals a lot: He had a broad artistic education, belonged to the circle around the poet Stefan George, and his enthusiasm for aristocratic values in the best traditional sense influenced the life and thoughts of this young man. In later years, his active resistance against Hitler can be seen as the grown-up’s desperate attempt to prevent Germany’s political, intellectual, and physical destruction. The author does not present himself to the readers as an omniscient narrator but rather as a well-informed and concerned contemporary witness who is also searching for answers. This adds convincing authenticity to the book and inspires further reflection. (14+) ☆
Germany (German) - 2003 - 90
Lembcke, Marjaleena (text)
Opel-Götz, Susann (illus.)
Die Geschichte von Tapani, vom Fernfahrer Frisch und der roten Ente
(The story of Tapani, lorry-driver Frisch, and the red duck)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2002. 61 p.
Wooden toy – Lucky charm – Wish – Fulfilment
More than anything in the world, Tapani wants to join the football team; but Jukka, the captain, striker, and top scorer, just doesn’t like him. Therefore, Tapani resorts to a trick: He invents a rich, kidnapped man and plans to rescue him in return for a huge reward. A small red wooden duck, washed up on the sea shore, carried this message around its neck. In reality, the duck has experienced quite a different fate: A lorry-driver had sent it off in the midst of a life crisis. Nevertheless, Tapani’s life changes for the better. Soon, he is one of the team-members; and the duck-carver becomes happy, too. This story of small matters and big effects is as simple as it is convincing, and encourages readers to believe in the improbable. (8+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 91
Rieckhoff, Sibylle (text/illus.)
Rieckhoff, Jürgen (text/illus.)
Roberta und ich
(Roberta and I)
Hildesheim : Gerstenberg, 2002.  p.
Love of animals – Keeping of pets – Sheep
Roberta is a sheep that the young narrator of this unusual animal story adopts as her cuddly pet. Even if a real sheep in the flat does cause a couple of problems, everything in this small domestic world revolves around the child’s well-being – at least until sheep Roberta starts feeling homesick for her flock. She is allowed to return to the green meadow and Robert takes her place in the house. He is made of fabric and can be cleaned in the washing machine. Still, one day – there is no doubt about this – the child will sit on the grass again and look longingly at a real cow... The authors present this original and amusing story with a lot of wit, delicate strokes and pastel colours. (5+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 92
Flucht durch den Winter
(Escaping through the winter)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2002. 198 p.
Germany/1944-1945 – Forced labourer – Escape
During the last months of World War II, 14-yearold Ännchen Schwalbe lives with farmers in North Germany. The forced labourers who had been brought to Germany from countries occupied by the Germans are to be transported to a death camp soon. The girl takes pity on Sergej, a young Russian, and decides to escape with him. During their odyssey, the young people witness the terrible end of the war and its ravages. They even kill in order not to be killed. In April 1945, they are both rescued by the Allied Forces. This gripping realistic novel, which is based on authentic tales of people involved, convinces through the absence of sentimentality and pathos. Still, the readers can experience the horrible events very closely. (14+) ☆
Germany (German) - 2003 - 93
Tetzner, Lisa (text)
Ten Doornkaat, Hans (adapt.)
Binder, Hannes (illus.)
Die Schwarzen Brüder : Roman in Bildern
(The black brothers : a novel-cum-comic-strip)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2002. 142 p.
Italy/19century – Poverty – Children trade – Child labour – Chimney sweep – Exploitation
The married writers Kurt Kläber (a.k.a. Kurt Held) and Lisa Tetzner, renowned for their social criticism, were inspired to write this modern classic by a story in an old newspaper clipping about the (sufferings of the) »spazzacamini« in Milan at the turn of the century. The text tells how poor farmers from Ticino (Switzerland) sold their young sons into Italy as chimney sweeps, in order to save their families. Only few of them ever returned. This new edition illustrated in mezzotint technique offers a mixture of picture-story and condensed version of the original novel. Some parts of the plot, which had originally been told in minute details, are presented exclusively through series of black-andwhite pictures with only a few words of text. This is a fascinating new form of novel-cum-comicstrip. (12+)
Germany (German) - 2003 - 94
Waberer, Keto von
Berlin : Berlin-Verl., 2002. 167 p.
Sister – Family – Social role – Childhood memories
The older sister has already been dead for five years, when her younger sister starts remembering their childhood, the closeness between them, and how they were separated in their youth. She tells of many happy moments, but also of small, frightening emotional tragedies that plunge each family member into loneliness and give them a feeling of being misunderstood as they are not able to help each other. The author creates a picture full of the inevitable influences affecting each person within the family bonds, caused more or less accidentally or by fate. This is an extremely unsentimental, lucid, and gripping literary text based on an autobiographic background. (16+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2003 - 95
Meine Schwester Sara
(My sister Sara)
Augsburg : Maro-Verl., 2002. 257 p.
South Africa – Apartheid – German Girl – Jews – Adoption – Antisemitism – Outsider
A Jewish girl is born in a concentration camp in Germany and loses her parents there. After 1945, she is adopted by a South African Boer family. At that time, there is widespread antisemitism in South Africa, and a naïve believe that the political situation and actions in Germany were legitimate. This makes the girl a blameless outsider within the family community, without her being able to understand the reasons because she has been kept in the dark about her background. A few years later, the South African policy of apartheid drives the young student to join a political underground organisation. She is killed in the Soweto Rebellion of 1976. As a journalist, the author – who herself emigrated to South Africa in 1936 – is familiar with the political development in her adopted home country. Following many authentic fates, she tells this family history in a differentiating, gripping, and unsentimental way, against the historical backdrop of decisive political events of the 20th century. (14+) ☆
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2003 - 96
Dieda oder das fremde Kind
(That girl, or: the strange child)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2002. 158 p.
Austria/1945 – Village – Motherless child – Stepmother – Stepsister
A village in Austria at the end of the Second World War: A seven-year-old girl lives with the family of her stepmother but stubbornly rebels against this new situation. Her real mother died of a brain tumour and, all too frequently, the girl blames herself for it. Her feeling of not being welcome is so strong that she calls herself »that girl« and does not respond to her real name anymore. Eventually, her stepsister is born – and this new, innocent member of the family finally reaches through the numbness of the lonely child. Using only a few hints, Renate Welsh perfectly manages to evoke a historically authentic atmosphere, in the turmoil of which a child has to try and cope with her own great sorrow. (8+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2003 - 97
Wittkamp, Frantz (text)
Wittkamp, Julia (illus.)
Wo ist Mama?
(Where is mum?)
Hamburg : Ellermann, 2002.  p.
Getting lost – Longing for the mother – Searching – Finding again
Simple, clear pictures and verses: Little Bear has lost his way while in town and is now searching for Mother Bear. She could be anywhere – at the baker’s, the butcher’s, the ice-cream man’s, the flower shop, or simply talking to a couple of friends. The small bear is desperate ... but wait... there she comes walking down the street with her big hat and the shopping bag. »The sun is shining. The air is warm. And mother takes him in her arm(s).« At the beginning of the book, the word »scheint« (shining) had gloomily rhymed with »weint« (crying)! This square little book is as handy as it is comforting for anxious little children. (4+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2003 - 98
Würmli, Marcus (text)
Ring, Werner (illus.)
Der Kinder-Brockhaus – Tiere
(The Brockhaus Children’s Encyclopaedia – Animals)
Mannheim [et al.] : Brockhaus, 2003. 300 p.
A clear structure plus the reliable preparation of data are characteristic for the texts and pictures in this comprehensive animal encyclopaedia. Starting with the local fauna of the various habitats – house, garden, meadow, forest, etc. – the reports cover more and more distant regions and parts of the world. Through this method, the readers learn about the similarities and differences between familiar animals living close by and exotic ones far away. Every animal is described in a kind of »wanted« poster-form; special information boxes give some additional facts, and quiz questions make the reading more fun. This is a weighty introduction to the universe of zoology, a book to devour and consult for reference purposes. (7+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2003 - 99
»Jedes Sandkorn ist ein Buchstabe« : die Lebensgeschichte des Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
(»Each grain of sand is a letter« : The life of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg)
Weinheim [et al.] : Beltz & Gelberg, 2002. 338 p.
Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 – 1799), a pastor’s son who later became a scientist, was far ahead of the linear way of thinking of his time. Much earlier than others, he discovered new and unexpected connections between physical and chemical processes. At the age of only twenty-five, he was offered a post as professor for Mathematics at the University of Göttingen. Being quite unconventional in his life and ideas, he attached himself twice to women who were a lot younger than him. With the help of his »Sudelbücher« (Scribble books), the most famous collection of German aphorisms, Arnulf Zitelmann presents Lichtenberg as private person, philosopher, sceptic, and mocker. This biography, based on Lichtenberg’s letters and other writings, meticulously analyses his life and works. (16+)
Switzerland (German) - 2003 - 100
Dörrie, Doris (text)
Kaergel, Julia (illus.)
Zürich : Diogenes, 2002.  p.
Girl – Disguise – Cunning plan – Identity – Mischief – Confession
Just for today, Mimi is not Mimi Mueller, but Anna Anders (i.e. Anna Different). With a good disguise, this is easy to pretend – provided that her parents join in the game. And they do! The reason for all this is that Mimi – in her role as Anna – needs to confess that she has been up to some mischief: She has painted a large picture on the bed sheet … and the Muellers promise not to let on to Mimi that Anna has told on her. Anna leaves and returns as Mimi Mueller, obviously relieved, into the loving arms of her parents. In slightly surreal, large-format pictures, a white rabbit (could it be Harvey?) accompanies the girl’s disguises and mental experiments – and the reader certainly wishes, that such clever parents, who are willing to play this kind of game, really existed. (6+)
Switzerland (German) - 2003 - 101
Elschner, Géraldine (text)
Schwarz, Lieselotte (illus.)
Gossau, Zürich [et al.] : Neugebauer, 2002.  p.
Star – Starfish – Departure – Return
From the sky, a small star looks into space. How beautiful everything looks out there! Every night, the moon tells him about the earth, the ocean,… One day, the star is allowed to come down from the sky. Turned into a starfish, he meets wonderful plants and animals, and goes on a long journey following the sea current. Months and years go by, until the starfish eventually feels the urge to return home. Only his prickly shell remains on a rock near the sea. A child picks it up. This is a story of departure and return – events which also shape the life of a (human) child. Round, clearly defined forms in rich watercolours create a lively yet quiet atmosphere for the pictures. (4+)
Switzerland (German) - 2003 - 102
Garcia López, Brigitta (text/illus.)
Streuli, Felix (photogr.)
Flieg, Flengel flieg!
(Fly, Flangel fly!)
Zürich : Verl. Pro Juventute, 2002.  p.
Guardian angel – Eating – Invisibility
Every child has his or her own guardian angel called Flangel. In general, they are invisible – yet, when they become visible they also succumb to earthly temptations and addictions. Thomas’ flangel, for example, can’t resist chocolate. As he gains more and more weight, flying around soon becomes too exhausting for him. That is why flangels rather stay invisible, because then they can remain flawless. A new creative technique which is popular and familiar to the readers from animated films – using photographs of figures made from wax or modelling clay – adds a refreshing optical impression to this light-hearted (dream-)book. (5+)
Switzerland (German) - 2003 - 103
Hächler, Bruno (text)
Müller, Birte (illus.)
Gossau, Zürich [et al.] : Neugebauer, 2002.  p.
Raven – Child – Winter – Angel – Bad temper – Zest for life
In a large tree, two bad-tempered ravens loudly complain about the cold winter. Below, children play »snow-angel«: They let themselves fall backwards into the snow and spread their arms like angels’ wings. A third raven tries to copy them after the children have left. A delicate snow-wing-print remains. The following day, the children are astonished – and high up in the tree, they see a white snow-covered »raven-angel« cawing happily. This unspectacular, touching tale shows how the individual perspective on life can change everything: Either you regard the snow as a cold enemy or you turn it into an angel. Bright creamy colours in a glittering snowy landscape confirm this cheerful aspect of the cold season. (5+)
Switzerland (German) - 2003 - 104
Jaekel, Helmut (text)
Koppers, Theresia (illus.)
Hinter dem Berg
(Behind the mountain)
Zürich : Bajazzo-Verl., 2002.  p.
Village – Enemy – Lie – Prejudice
Two remote villages in the mountains: On winter evenings the inhabitants tell many a tale, mostly about the strange (in-)human creatures on the other side. And the people over there do exactly the same. Things would remain this way forever, if it wasn’t for the children: Pius and Emilia here and Pia and Emil over there. One day, they decide to work their way through the mountains (of prejudice). After an initial shock when the four of them unexpectedly meet each other, everything turns out well. Finally, people can tell each other the true stories, the ones that make them happy and bring them together. Slightly distorted adult figures, carrying some features of allegorical monsters, are cured by the children’s courage and naivety. (6+)
Switzerland (German) - 2003 - 105
Junaković, Svjetlan (text/illus.)
Heufemann, Danielle (transl.)
Zürich : Bohem-Press, 2002.  p.
Circus – Animals – Circus performing – Help – Zest for life
A circus where the animals themselves organise the whole performance is something special indeed. An atmosphere of independence, zest for life, and sheer pleasure can be felt in the colourful pictures with their many flaps to lift. Each of them hides a surprise: The artistic performance depicted is continued differently than might be expected at first glance. The elephant seems to dance weightlessly on the tightrope – but only because his stablemates keep him in the air with a large belt. The rhinoceros seems to fall off the trapeze – but no, he is safely caught. This lift-the-flap picture book enables children to feel as if they were in the arena themselves, among all the courageous and cheerful animals. (4+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2003 - 106
Waechter, F. K. (text/illus.)
Zürich : Diogenes, 2002.  p.
Creation – Man – Creativity
This marvellous large-format book with its fulland double-page pictures is certainly appropriate for the great idea which it is about. The brief text gives all the basic information: A small male creature (who wears a top hat as a sign of his dignity but looks fairly ruffled otherwise) experiences the creation of the world as his own personal accomplishment. His way of going about is quite unconventional and certainly nothing to boast about; but in the end, there is a small female creature beside him, and the whole (old and new) world with plants and animals – where do they all come from? In a whisper, the girl explains the »where« and »why« to him. Waechter shows in his pictures – mainly delicately coloured drawings projected onto a number of very different backgrounds – that every little boy imagines himself as the Creator. But only with a strengthening refreshment, handed to him by the girl, is the male world-creator fit, or – as Waechter’s version rather implies – forced, to perform great deeds. Both a subversive and a loving-ironic-realistic view. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2003 - 107
Weninger, Brigitte (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
Tobi und der Zankapfel
(obi and the bone [here: apple] of contentio)
Zürich : Verl. Pro Juventute, 2002.  p.
Parents – Child – Quarrel – Victim – Talk – Game
Without the nice apple-pie-baking neighbour, Tobi would certainly despair because of his ever-quarrelling parents. But Mrs. Puntigam knows that when there is an argument, both parties usually want to be right, at least partly, and somehow they are – just as an apple may have two different sides, a green one and a red one. In between there is the core, just as Tobi between his parents. He will have to explain it to Mum and Dad. The puzzle-like pictures, with their ever-changing imaginative dispersion of graphic and printed parts, clearly show the chaotic state of mind of the family members. Apart from that, the topic of »quarrelling« is analysed in an extra folder from various points of view and can be experienced by children and adults together through various games which are suggested there. (6+)
Ivory Coast (French) - 2003 - 108
Dick, Gina (text)
Teki, Ernest (illus.)
Un drôle de bienfaiteur
(A strange benefactor)
Abidjan : CEDA [et al.], 2002. 71 p.
(Collection lire au présent)
ISBN 2-86394-436-3. - 2-89428-578-7
Abundance of children – Poverty – Slave trade – Child labour
When his father is visited by an old acquaintance, Mamadi does not yet know that his life will change abruptly. The ten-year-old boy lives with his parents and many siblings in poverty in a village in Mali. Pretending that he wants to help the family, the father’s »friend« takes the boy with him to Ivory Coast. There, Mamadi and many other »stolen « children, have to work in a diamond mine under inhumane conditions. Eventually however, the boy manages to escape. This story makes readers aware of a serious problem in Western Africa, namely the cross-border criminal slave trade in which ten thousands of children are locked up, beaten, and exploited. (12+)
Ivory Coast (French) - 2003 - 109
Tadjo, Véronique (text/illus.)
Masque, raconte-moi …
(Mask, tell me...)
Abidjan : Nouv. Ed. Ivoiriennes [et al.], 2002. 23 p.
(Collection le Caméléon vert)
ISBN 2-8412-9833-7. - 2-84487-141-0
Mask – Perspective – Imagination
Véronique Tadjo wants to offer African children points of reference for their own culture, so that they can recognise themselves in the texts they read and learn to identify the cultural richness of their region. In Masque, raconte-moi... she resumes the topic of her first picture book (Le seigneur de la danse, 1993): an African mask. In this book, it takes on several shapes before a child’s eyes. In the child’s imagination, the mask turns into an antelope, a crocodile, a wart hog, a bird, and a chameleon. With her short, allegorical text and the imaginative illustrations, the author manages to keep the mask’s secret hidden and all the young readers can try to discover it for themselves. (4+) ☆
Belgium (French) - 2003 - 110
Crowther, Kitty (text/illus.)
Scritch scratch dip clapote! <onomatopoeic expression>
Paris ; Bruxelles : École des Loisirs, 2002. 32 p.
Fear – Noise – Father
Whether big or small – at least once, everyone has been afraid alone in bed at night. And, surely, everyone has heard some scary noise then. In a humorous and affectionate way, the author shows how a frog-family deals with this problem: As soon as the frog-child has crawled into its bed, the room gets crowded with ghosts and monsters. There is nothing left to do but join the parents in their bed. However, when not only little frog is scared by the night-noises, but his father hears the eerie scritch scratch dip clapote, too, both of them manage to comfort each other and become calm again. The simple colour-pencil illustrations and the short text lead young readers into the watery world of the frogs, which is however very close to their own daily life. (4+)
Belgium (French) - 2003 - 111
Jamin, Virginie (text/illus.)
Dans les yeux d’Henriette
(In Henriette’s eyes)
Tournai : Casterman, 2002.  p.
(Les albums duculot)
Old woman – Storytelling – Boy – Successor
Henriette is ancient, tall as a giant, full of zest for life and of stories she likes to tell. Armand is a small boy, lonely and sad. In the Parisian park Jardin de Luxembourg they meet and become close friends. Henriette tells stories and Armand listens. Day after day, page after page, Henriette grows smaller and Armand, nourished by her tales, grows bigger and bigger – until the old woman disappears completely and the boy starts telling crazy, funny, and lively tales himself. The large-format illustrations with their pastel shades mirror the lightheartedness of the book’s stories. The interaction between large coloured areas and the delicately drawn people, animals, and objects, successfully translate the story’s symbolism of Big and Small. (5+)
France (French/German) - 2003 - 112
Abbis-Chacé, Claire [et al.] (ed.)
Saillard, Rémi (illus.)
Les plus belles comptines allemandes
(The most beautiful German counting-out rhymes)
Paris : Didier Jeunesse, 2002. 57 p. + CD
(Les petits cousins)
Finger games – Counting-out rhymes – Songs
The intention of this volume – the third in a series called Petits cousins (Little cousins) – is to open up ways of learning a foreign language to toddlers. It focuses on the German language offering a representative collection of finger games, lullabies, counting-out rhymes, songs for dancing and playing, and other popular children’s songs. To enable children to easily grasp the meaning of the songs, each German title is placed next to a French one with a similar topic. Colourful illustrations accurately interpret the content and make the respective texts more accessible. The extensive pedagogic appendix and the accompanying CD nicely round off this perfect approach to German-French cross-border understanding. (2+) ☆
(Prix Octogones / Catégorie »Comptine-Poesie«; 2002)
France (French) - 2003 - 113
Begag, Azouz (text)
Claverie, Jean (illus.)
Le théorème de Mamadou
[Paris] : Seuil Jeunesse, 2002.  p.
School – Learning – Age – Transience
»The expressions to educate and to nourish oneself are synonymous.« This statement by his new teacher makes Mamadou think of his old and frail grandparents who are both illiterate and whose memory deteriorates. The old couple, who had to start working as children and are not even able to speak French properly, did not get the chance to read books and use other people’s stories to enrich their own lives. However, when Mamadou concludes that it is useless to go to school because you forget everything anyway, the teacher answers with a »practical« and at the same time very poetical remark. The range of the profound and humorous text that surprises the readers and sets them thinking is perfectly expressed through the softly coloured, partly sketched drawings. (8+) ☆
France (French) - 2003 - 114
Bernos, Clotilde (text)
Novi, Nathalie (illus.)
[Paris] : Rue du Monde, 2002.  p.
Daydreams – Grandfather – Granddaughter – Contentedness
What if I were the queen of England, a horrible old witch, an Egyptian crocodile, a rich emir, or even ruler of the whole world? This picture book presents eight imaginative scenarios which play with this well-known topic. Surprisingly touching is the second part of the book, when the creator of these day-dreams reveals his own identity: It is Ming, an old Chinese man, who cherishes his life and shares some quiet, yet intensive moments of happiness with his granddaughter Nam. The contentedness of the old man, who would never want to swap his destiny with anyone else, is expertly expressed in the bright – and at the same time warm – colours of the illustrations. (6+)
France (French) - 2003 - 115
Brun-Cosme, Nadine (text)
Backès, Michel (illus.)
C’est mon papa!
(It’s my Daddy)
Paris : École des Loisirs, 2002.  p.
Mother – Daughter – Bad temper – Rejection
Anna, the little fox, comes home cheerfully after school. Yet – what is she supposed to do when her mother is in a foul mood and says No to every thing? No TV, no sweets, no friends. Eventually, the father comes home and she jumps into his arms. From that moment on, she says No to everything her mother wants to do for her: »No, not you! Tonight, it’s my Daddy who does it.« But then, Anna cannot fall asleep... With simple yet striking words, this picture book for young readers sheds light on a typical father-mother-child-relationship. The illustrations depict the fox family in bright colours with black outlines. Playing with light and shadow, they convey an atmosphere of family cosiness and security. (2+)
France (French) - 2003 - 116
Tête de molaire
Arles : Actes Sud Junior, 2002. 75 p.
(Cactus Junior) (Ados)
Teenage girl – Handicap – Grandmother – Illness – Separation
»Molar-Head«, that’s what fourteen-year-old Nelly is called because of her deformed head, caused by a forceps delivery. The handicapped girl tells about her father who left her mother ten years ago, about her mother’s death and that of her dog who had been her father’s last present and the only memory left of him. Now, only Nelly and her grandmother remain. They live together in poor circumstances, yet have a very close relationship. One day, grandmother is forced to take Nelly to her father, and life changes dramatically. The strength of this short novel lies in its narrative point of view. The firstperson narrator describes the events with a lot of black humour and self-ironic sarcasm, which perfectly mirrors her grief, her sadness, and finally her despair. (12+)
France (French) - 2003 - 117
Gillot, Laurence (text)
Sibiril, Véronique (text)
Tschiegg, Anne-Sophie (illus.)
Avec votre mère, c’est plus pareil
(With your mother, nothing is as it used to be)
Paris : De La Martinière Jeunesse, 2002. 103 p.
Teenager – Mother – Conflict
Oxygène, a non-fiction series for teenagers, deals with questions arising at the beginning of puberty. It may well be that teenagers suddenly don’t know anymore whether they love or hate their mother. They might want to distinguish themselves from her, yet still need her as a trustworthy protector. In order to explain the ambiguous emotions and the violent and irrational reactions, the book at first analyses the mother-child-relationship from the beginning to the age of puberty. The third part of this clearly structured book, that is accompanied by imaginative, colourful pictures, serves as manual for teenagers’ potential urgent problems. The topic is adequately illustrated with examples, e.g. a mother who suffers from depressions. (11+)
France (French) - 2003 - 118
Paris : Bayard Jeunesse, 2002. 44 p.
(Ariol ; 1) (Bayard Poche)
Friendship – Spare time – Humour
Ariol, the dreamy little donkey, doesn’t like getting up and going to school even though he meets all his friends there: Ramono, the pig boy, Bategaille, the horse boy, and especially, Petula, the cow girl, whom Ariol secretly adores. The first volume of this comic series tells short everyday stories focusing on the affectionately drawn little animal-boy Ariol. Readers watch as the hero plays tennis against himself, all the while commenting on the match and his victory, and as he afterwards sings a song for his beloved Petula in her absence. These stories do not have a complicated plot yet are told in a sensitive way with some quiet humour and in a language full of ironic allusions. The readers follow Ariol in all his pleasures and anxieties. (6+)
France (French) - 2003 - 119
Sa majesté des clones
(Lord of the clones)
[Paris] : Mango Jeunesse, 2002. 225 p.
(Autres mondes ; 12)
Earth – Extra-terrestrial intelligence – War – Cloning
This gripping novel, set in the 25century, combines adventure story, Robinsonade and science fiction and voices its opposition against violence in the tradition of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. The earth’s inhabitants are fighting a 100-year war against the Arachnoids, extra-terrestrial spider-creatures. Some children from the school-station »Mentor « take refuge from a particularly brutal attack in a spaceship which gets smashed to pieces on a remote planet. The surviving children have to learn to cope in a hostile environment. Tensions between them are rising when they discover a mysterious machine, with which human cells can be cloned, in the wreck of an Arachno-spaceship. (10+) ☆
France (French) - 2003 - 120
Labbé, Brigitte (text)
Puech, Michel (text)
Azam, Jacques (illus.)
La violence et la non-violence
(Violence and Non-Violence)
Toulouse : Milan, 2002. 39 p.
(Les goûters philo)
Violence – Non-violence
How quickly can violence arise? How can you break the vicious circle of violence? This book – just like the other non-fiction titles of the series Les goûters philo (The taste of Philosophy) – focuses on an important everyday phenomenon and presents it in a way accessible to children. The authors explain both physical and psychological violence and their mechanisms. Taking simple examples from daily life and using an argumentation which is easy to understand due to its question-and-answer concept, they try to make children think and offer them some solutions – as far as this is possible. In this thin yet informative volume, a difficult problem is treated skillfully and explained, not least because of its humorous illustrations, in an entertaining way. (8+)
France (French) - 2003 - 121
Lacor, Agnès (text)
Scratchy, Lili (illus.)
L’histoire peu ordinaire de monsieur Tichaut
(The unusual story of Mister Tichaut)
[Paris] : Thierry Magnier, 2002. 61 p.
Life story – Hairdresser – Loneliness – Luck
How on earth could Mr. and Ms. Tichaut call their son Léonard? If your name is Léonard Tichaut (artichaud means »artichoke«), you are constantly teased by the other children and become an outsider. Thanks to Juliette de la Chevillette, another lonely child with ugly glasses but a splendid head of hair, Léonard does not only find love but also discovers his love for hair-styling. This humorous and, at the same time, amiable depiction of a hairdresser’s life delights its readers because of the subtly comical, linguistically perfect text and the illustrations rendered in collage technique, with photographs of everyday appliances inserted into partly stylised naïve, partly sketched pictures. (8+)
France (French) - 2003 - 122
La Roche Saint-André, Anne de (text)
Ventrillon, Brigitte (text)
Moncomble, Gérard (text)
Alemagna, Beatrice (illus.)
C’est trop cher : pourquoi la pauvreté
(It’s too expensive : why poverty exists)
Paris : Éd. Autrement, 2002. 47 p.
(Série Société ; 8) (Autrement junior)
Poverty – Unemployment – Homelessness – Dignity – Law
Poverty concerns all of us. In one’s own family, at school, on the streets – everyone has either experienced poverty directly or witnessed it in some form. This non-fiction book offers definitions and lists causes for poverty and some means of fighting it, such as help organisations and amendments to laws. With its glossary and list of addresses, the book is also a helpful manual. Two special features form a reader-friendly addition to the documentation: first the pictures, partly illustrating concrete examples, partly metaphorical, and second an introductory tale, in which a boy hides his family’s poverty caused by his father’s unemployment, from other children. Thus, the term poverty is put into a readily understandable context for children. (9+)
France (French) - 2003 - 123
Mahringer, Marita (text)
Battut, Eric (illus.)
La petite tache rouge
(The little red spot)
Mont-près-Chambord : Bilboquet, 2002.  p.
Spot – Colour – Journey
A small red spot sets out to discover the world and its colours. The little creature, who has some human characteristics, wanders through green hills, the icy white North, a red meadow of flowers, and a yellow desert. After he has refreshed himself in the cool deep-blue waters, he returns to the multicoloured land of the spots. The colours of the fullpage illustrations and the small additional drawings on the text pages, are presented in a variety of shades with a wide brushstroke, interrupted by small, delicately added animals such as fish, birds, or dragonflies. With its black background and cheerful colours, the spot’s home country, which he so boldly and curiously leaves, conveys an atmosphere of peacefulness and security. (5+)
France (French) - 2003 - 124
Mettler, René (text/illus.)
La nature au fil de l’eau
(Water : an expedition through nature)
[Paris] : Gallimard Jeunesse, 2002.  p.
Water – Watercourse – Fauna – Flora
After La Nature au fil des mois (Nature: an expedition through the year) and La Nature au fil des heures (Day and Night: an expedition through nature), René Mettler completes his non-fiction series with the analysis of the world’s most important raw material: water. In the large-format pictures with flaps to lift, the illustrator draws a very accurate and comprehensible account of the water’s course from its source to its mouth where it flows into the ocean. Along the way, next to the springlike brook, the summerly river, the autumn lake, and the sea shore in winter, readers discover a rich fauna and flora which is explained in detail in each of the twelve chapters. The literary journey through the beautiful water scenery invites everybody to verify their newly acquired knowledge in the open countryside. (7+)
(Prix Octogones / Catégorie Prix Graphique; 2002)
France (French) - 2003 - 125
153 jours en hiver
(153 days in winter)
[Paris] : Flammarion, 2002. 171 p.
(Castor poche ; 858 : Aventure)
Mongolia – Grandfather – Granddaughter – Cold – Snow – Eagle – Taming
»Writing and reading are wonderful ways of travelling, « says the author of this young adult novel set in Mongolia. Young Galshan calculates that she will have to stay with her grandfather in the middle of the steppe for 153 days, while her pregnant mother is confined to bed. The girl hardly knows her stubborn grandfather who is rooted in old traditions and dislikes modern-day society. Thus, she has a hard time getting used to his harsh, bitterly cold, and lonely life. While training an eagle, however, the two of them slowly get closer and begin to understand each other’s worlds. This exciting adventurous journey leads the readers into a region where people still have to listen to the voice of nature in order to survive. (12+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2003 - 126
Pommaux, Yvan (text/illus.)
Avant la télé
(Before television existed)
Paris : École des Loisirs, 2002. 44 p.
World War II / Post-war period – France/1953 – Childhood – Everyday life
In 1953, computers, shopping centres, and plastic toys did not yet exist, and television sets and cars were very rare. The story of Alain, an eight-year-old boy from Vichy, shows the readers what a child’s life in a French post-war city might have been like. The realistic and fully detailed illustrations and the text, which doesn’t idealise anything but is still full of humour, mirror the typical everyday life situations in those times: There is no bathroom in his parents’ flat, inistead they share a communal toilet on the staircase; at school, children write on slates and are punished severely for pranks; the children’s games still focuse on the war, and the visits to the cinema used to be a fascinating all-evening event for the young protagonist and his parents. The nostalgic flashback to the 1950s, concluding in our times with Alain being a grandfather, tells so much more to children about the lives of their grandparents than many a history book ever will. (7+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2003 - 127
Rapaport, Gilles (text/illus.)
10 petits soldats
(10 little soldiers)
[Paris] : Circonflexe, 2002.  p.
Soldier – Order – War – Pacifism
Smiling and with a flower pinned to their guns, 10 little soldiers go to war »to defend ... I can’t remember what it was.« Yet, one is growing fat, another one gets lost while picking mushrooms, and thus, one after the other vanishes until only one soldier is left. He takes off his uniform, puts down his gun, and leaves. This large-format picture book is an adaptation of a popular children’s song. It uses an abundance of oppositions: The cheerful atmosphere of the song is in sharp contrast to the topic of war, the tall mighty queen is opposed to the little soldiers, the huge black hats and guns of the soldiers contrast with their tiny bodies. The illustrations’ black colour evokes an impression of wildness and dominates everything. Moreover, it underlines the futility and perversity of war. (8+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2003 - 128
Rouaud, Jean (text)
Nascimbene, Yan (Illus.)
La belle au lézard dans son cadre doré
(The beauty with the lizard in her golden frame)
Paris : Albin Michel, 2002. 30 p.
Writer – Disappointment – Love – Portrait – Love story
A writer, disappointed with love, merely looks at the outside world from his desk and can only write love stories with unhappy endings. Yet, one day, a woman finally makes eyes at him again: It is the »beauty with the lizard«, a portrait in a gold frame on display in a second hand shop. Award-winning author Jean Rouaud’s text fascinates through its ironic play with fiction and reality and the clever change of narrative perspectives between an omniscient narrator (»our author«) and the interior monologue of the protagonist. The full- and half-page illustrations which show only small details of the plot, leave readers enough room to create their own picture of what is real and what isn’t in this story. (10+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2003 - 129
Satrapi, Marjane (text/illus.)
Paris : Nathan, 2002.  p.
Girl – Earthquake – Confusion – Dragon – Earth – Environmental awareness
Once upon a time, there was a colourful land with many happy inhabitants, until, one day, an earthquake puts everything upside down and nothing is as it used to be. Only little Mathilde, who had been rope-skipping and had therefore not touched the earth, remains »undisturbed«. That is why the King sends her to dragon Ajdar who heats the interior of the earth with his fire. Having finally arrived at the dragon’s after a long journey, Mathilde learns about the earthquake’s cause: On the surface of the earth, machines had drilled such deep holes that they hurt the dragon’s spine. The vivid colours of the imaginative illustrations and the fairytale-like, partly rhymed text form a parable that aims at making children more aware of a responsible treatment of planet earth. (5+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2003 - 130
Sazonoff, Zazie (text/illus.)
Chapotat, Fred (photogr.)
Mots de tête
Rodez : Éd. du Rouergue, 2002.  p.
Words – Head – Pun – Meaning
What can you do when your head is filled with words and neither your teacher, nor your parents, or your friends want to hear them? Don’t let them discourage you! Just continue your expedition and go searching for words so far unknown: Terms of endearment, important words, or even cruel words. When you have finally collected so many words that your head is about to burst, there is only one thing that will help you feel as light as a feather again – your exercise book. The graphics perfectly depict the situation of the little, comic-like hero drawn in black ink. He moves around in collages with the text woven into photographs of everyday things, into paper scraps from magazines, into books, and people’s portraits. (4+)
(Prix Octogones, Catégorie Tout-petits; 2002)
Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 131
Bisutti, Donatella (ed.)
L’albero delle parole : grandi poeti di tutto il mondo per i bambini
(The word tree : great poets from all over the world for children)
Milano : Feltrinelli, 2002. 259 p.
(Feltrinelli kids : Sbuk ; 61)
Poetry – Children – Emotions – Nature
Can children understand the great poets of the 20century? According to this book they can, because they are active and unpredictable readers. The author presents 73 Italian and foreign poets and 138 poems connected by an invisible thread which creates an original text, based on the free associations and the emotional involvement of young readers. There are whimsical narrative poems followed by humorous texts (from Prévert to Queneau) and lyric poetry by various poets (Lawrence, Brecht, Emily Dickinson). This fascinating and varied anthology offers a moment of enjoyment, emotion, play, and dreams for everybody. (8+)
Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 132
Detti, Ermanno (text)
Innocenti, Roberto (illus.)
Leda e il mago
(Leda and the wizard)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2002. 85 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni ; 36)
Italy/1945 – World War II – Girl – Mystery – Adventure
In this book, the dramatic events of the Partisan struggle in Italy during World War II are seen through the eyes of ten-year-old Leda. She is lively and curious and one day she meets a mysterious, disturbing man who calls himself the Wizard. Who is he really? The mystery unfolds little by little along with the story, set in the hills of the Maremma, in Tuscany, where the author spent his childhood. The narration is intense and lively, the dialogue is rich, expressing a mixture of everyday worries, fears, and joys. The volume contains extraordinary and highly emotive plates by Roberto Innocenti. (11+)
Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 133
Ghebreigziabiher, Alessandro (text)
Ferraro, Alessandro (illus.)
Roma : Ed. Lapis, 2002.  p.
Contrasts – Diversity – Meeting – Interculturality
The author was born somewhere between Italy and Africa, between two different colours, two different cultures. The illustrated picture book, full of strong colours, tells the story of Sunset, the son of Darkness and Light. Sunset realises that he does not belong to either of the two worlds, being »too dark for the whites and too pale for the blacks«. Fear and suspicion of those who are different is far too common, but – despite this – the encounter is possible, as in the case of the sun and the moon dancing together on the beach. The book is a simple and poetic invitation to an encounter between different cultures. (6+) ☆
Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 134
Luciani, Domenica (text)
Luciani, Roberto (illus.)
Roba dell’altro mondo
(Things from another world)
Milano : Feltrinelli, 2002. 277 p.
(Feltrinelli kids : Sbuk ; 49)
Teenagers – Afterlife – Humour
Is it possible to be humorous about death and afterlife? In the case of Domenica Luciani’s latest book the answer is yes: a fast-paced adventure, full of witty remarks, sudden turns of events, and highly amusing situations. The narrator is Felice – a lighthearted thirteen-year-old boy, always in a joking mood – who suddenly dies. But a new life begins for this »newly dead« in the afterlife: With the help of two friendly and extravagant uncles of his, he discovers new powers and new occasions of enjoyment. The book’s narrative style is rippling and irreverent and the language is direct, using everyday expressions of today’s teenagers. (10+)
Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 135
Masini, Beatrice (text)
Cantone, Anna Laura (illus.)
Una sposa buffa, buffissima, bellissima
(A funny, very funny, beautiful bride)
Milano : Ed. Arka, 2002.  p.
(Collana di perle)
Dresses – Wedding ceremony – Surprises
This is the lively and simple story about the wedding of a tireless and creative dressmaker, a specialist in wedding dresses – Filomena – and Ferruccio, a shy and clumsy mechanic, who has declared his love to her. And so Filomena designs her own wedding dress; yet, some complications arise that put the wedding at risk. The ceremony is described in an extraordinary way, both by the text and the overflowing illustrations by Anna Laura Cantone, which take up the whole page with a patchwork of ideas and various materials: clippings, photographs, labels, cloths and handwritings. A book that will conquer children (and grown-ups). (5+)
Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 136
Mignone, Sebastiano Ruiz (text)
Ferrari, Antongionata (illus.)
Il ritorno di Babbo Natale
(The return of Santa Claus)
Novara : Interlinea, 2002. 29 p.
(Le rane piccole ; 13) (Junior)
Italy/1860 – Child – Mystery – Santa Claus
This book is based on a clever trick. Italy, 1860: General Garibaldi – the hero of the Italian struggle for independence – is fighting for the freedom of Southern Italy. In the little, secluded village of San Nicola, a curious and enterprising little boy called Nicola detects strange movements and the presence of a stranger with a long white beard wearing a red gown. Could he be Santa Claus? As if he was playing an important game, Nicola tries to solve the mystery and at the end he is certain: He had recognised that man with a beard who had left him a bag of sweets. It really was Santa Claus. (7+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 137
Nanetti, Angela (text)
Ovani, Germano (illus.)
L’uomo che coltivava le comete
(The man who grew comets)
San Dorligo della Valle (Trieste) : Ed. EL, 2002. 130 p.
Child – Dreams – Comets – Father
This slightly romantic and poetic story of a search for identity, set vaguely in the East, recalls stories by Singer. Arno, the main character, is a ten-year-old boy who lives in a small village with his young mother Myriam and his little brother. He has a dream: he would like to know who his father is. Why does the village baker show such a deep interest in his family? Who is that old man with a mysterious past who lives in the woods and says that he grows comets? And where is his father? To find the answers and to see comets being born, it is necessary to learn to be patient. But as the old man says: »We cannot do without dreams, because only dreams give a meaning to life«. In this lovely, sweet story, rich in magic realism and illustrated by Germano Ovani with fascinating delicacy, Angela Nanetti shows how good she is at reading children’s hearts. (10+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 138
Not, Sara (illus.)
Il viaggio in Italia di Valentina
(Valentina’s journey in Italy)
Casale Monferrato (AL) : Piemme Junior, 2002. 287 p.
(Il battello a vapore / Serie Valentina)
Girl – Everyday life – Travelling
This book is part of a successful series created by Angelo Petrosino, a writer and teacher who is able to listen to children and loves telling stories. Valentina is a fast growing ten-year-old girl, lively and exuberant, with a strong desire to live life to the full. She undertakes a journey throughout Italy in the company of Stefi, a friend of hers, who is a writer. Her holiday turns out to be surprisingly eventful and Valentina describes it in the first person in a simple and fluent style, seasoned with a pinch of humour. A general map and insets about the regions of Italy are enclosed in the volume. (8+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 139
Piumini, Roberto (text/illus.)
Castelli, Lucia (text/illus.)
Caviezel, Giovanni (text/illus.)
Un secolo di bambini : racconti del Novecento.
(A century of children : stories from the 20century)
Roma : Ed. Riuniti, 2001. 94 p.
Children – Everyday life – History 1900-2000
Is it possible to describe the 20Century from the point of view of children? This book fulfils this task in an original way, starting with a nursery rhyme followed by ten light and sagacious stories – one for each decade of the century. The leading character of each story is a child who moves and acts in his/her own little world and each story is set against a different background: steamboats full of emigrants, World War I, the Fascist parades, the reconstruction after World War II, the unrest of 1968. But there are also Mickey Mouse, the »panettone« (the Italian Christmas cake), the first TV sets, the Fiat 600, Yuri Gagarin, Barbie doll, the Italian National Soccer Team, mobile phones and the Euro. Even for children, time is a mixture of dreams, disappointments and hopes. (9+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 140
Sotto il banco
(Under the desk)
Milano : Fabbri, 2002. 123 p.
Teenager – School – Secret – Growing up
This book is dedicated »to the girls on the mailing list« and has a subtitle: »We all have some secrets, deep down«. Under the school desk, there is a bit of everything: a sandwich, an apple, history, or anonymous notes. Well in touch with their world, the author has collected 30 short – some very short – stories of teenagers coming to grips with their pals and the adults. These short accounts of everyday life, set in school, at home, on the bus, or in the world of the Internet, give a gently humorous description of the teenagers of today and draw attention to their eagerness and their fear of growing up, their exciting discovery of love, their dreams, and their desires. (14+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 141
Various authors (text)
Biasetton, Francesca (illus.)
Modena : Panini, 2002.  p.
Alphabet – Game – Words
This is a rather special book generated by an idea and a play by Giorgio Scaramuzzino. It is a tribute to the magic of words: Just as in a children’s game, the letters of the alphabet come to life and, combined, they become words, sounds, and images. With its 25 short stories, composed by Italian writers specifically for this purpose both for children and grown-ups, the volume re-creates the charm of old-fashioned spelling books. Every story – one for each letter of the alphabet – is accompanied by illustrations, pictures, drawings, and clippings, like a fascinating ever-changing puzzle. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 142
Quel giorno pioveva
(It was raining that day)
Milano : Mondadori, 2002. 64 p.
(Shorts ; 41)
Italy/1974 – Everyday life – Girl – Bomb
Camilla is 14 and when she is with her friends she talks about songs, boyfriends and school tests. On that rainy day, though, having missed the bus, she is late for school and almost without realising it, she finds herself in a large square in the middle of a crowd of demonstrating workers with red flags. Suddenly a blast, blood everywhere, terror: Camilla becomes a witness of a highly dramatic event. A tragic day in Italian history, May 28, 1974, when a bomb exploded in Brescia, during a popular demonstration: a terrible bloodshed, the perpetrators of which remain unpunished. It is the highly emotional story, narrated in the first person, of a teenager who is growing up. (12+)
Portugal (Portuguese) - 2003 - 143
Mésseder, João Pedro (text)
Letria, André (illus.)
Timor Lorosa’e – a ilha do sol nascente
(East Timor – Island of the rising sun)
Porto : Ambar, 2001.  p.
East Timor – Independence movement
The struggle for national independence of the people of East Timor has come to a happy conclusion with the state’s international recognition in 2002. To familiarise children with this chapter of contemporary history, the author and illustrator have chosen the classical genre of the picture book. The sparse, simple text relates the facts in a calm tone not unlike that of fairytales or legends. This creates a special tension, which can also be sensed in the relations between text and image. The large-format pictures in warm colours show details with symbolic connotations. They seem strangely motionless and thus gain an emblematic character. A fascinating, very unusual book. (6+) ☆ ☼
Romania (Romanian) - 2003 - 144
Andreica, Lacrima (text)
Taban, Teofil (illus.)
Dino-Rino şi amicii săi : întâmplări glumeţe pentru minţi isteţe
(Dino-Rino and his friends : funny adventures for clever heads)
Mediaş : Ed. Samuel, 2001. 76 p.
Rhinoceros – Childhood – Friendship
Small rhinoceros Dino-Rino spends his childhood in the Forest of Adventures where he finds a lot of friends, has problems at school, learns to cope with lies and betrayal and to have respect for other children and adults. As an adolescent, he leaves his familiar surroundings to stand his ground in the adults’ world. The cheerful stories are accompanied by coloured cartoon-like illustrations. (6+)
Romania (Romany/Romanian) - 2003 - 145
Etveş, Francisca Ioana (ed.)
Ursu, Maria (transl.)
Poveşti şi basme romani
(Stories and fairytales from the Romany people)
Cluj-Napoca : Todescu, 2001. 111 p.
(Bilingual text Romany / Romanian)
Romania – Romany people – Fairytales – Stories
This collection contains 13 amusing stories and fairytales from the Romany oral storytelling tradition featuring witches, dragons, Death and the Devil. Love and friendship, as well as cunning and cleverness characterise the lives of these people, who are often confronted with contempt and suppression in a hostile environment, but still manage to master their lives. In »Zurinka«, Tsar Ivan falls in love with a beautiful Romany girl and would even resign from his throne to share his life with her. In »Axelandra and the miracle of love«, a Romany girl manages to find her happiness against all adversities. And »Pischta« outwits Death by selling him his shadow. Sparing yet expressive black-and-white illustrations underline the texts’ messages. (7+) ☆
Spain (Spanish) - 2003 - 146
Huye de mí, rubio
(Run from me, towhead)
Zaragoza : Edelvives, 2002. 201 p.
(Colección Alandar ; 3)
Central America – Guerillas – Military – Civil war – Kidnapping
For his holidays, Ismael travels to Central America with his father, who works there for a multi-national company. When the 15-year-old boy is kidnapped and taken to a guerilla camp in the rain forest, he suddenly sees himself confronted with the violence reigning in the civil war-torn country. Faced with this extreme situation, Ismael grows more mature and develops a different perception of his problems with his family and his life in the European consumer society. The first-person-narrator relates his experiences with realism and in a direct, humorous, sometimes sarcastic colloquial tone. This narrative approach makes for a convincingly authentic psychological portrait of a boy seeking orientation. (14+)
Spain (Spanish) - 2003 - 147
Ferrer, Vicente (ed.)
Diccionario ilustrado »Mis primeras ochenta mil palabras« que contiene las palabras favoritas de 231 artistas de 20 países ...
(The illustrated dictionary »My first 80,000 words«, containing the favourite words of 231 artists from 20 countries)
Valencia : Media Vaca, 2002. 273 p.
(Media vaca ; 11)
Dictionary – Encyclopaedia
231 artists from 20 countries were invited to illustrate a word of their choice; they were free to associate but limited to only two colours. Furthermore, they were asked to take their favourite definition from a dictionary or encyclopaedia. The result is highly original and inspiring: On the one hand, the dictionary unites words as disparate as »no«, »hunting horn«, »insomnia«, or »whisper«, and therefore presents a multi-facetted mirror of the artists‘ individual preferences. On the other hand, it is an exciting compendium demonstrating the rich diversity of the international art of illustrating. A superb, varied enjoyment for young and adult readers! (10+) ☼
Spain (Spanish) - 2003 - 148
Gallego García, Laura
La leyenda del Rey Errante
(The legend of the Wandering King)
Madrid : Ed. SM, 2002. 215 p.
(El barco de vapor : Serie roja ; 143)
Arabia – Prince – Poets’ competition – Envy – Adventure
Walid, a young Arab prince, is defeated three times in a poet’s championship by a simple, uneducated carpet weaver. Overwhelmed by his thirst for revenge, he has to go into exile. He lives with Bedouins in the desert and works as rich merchant’s secretary in Damascus. The suspenseful novel combines many elements and devices of traditional oriental narratives, while the nuanced psychological portrayal of the characters adds a modern and realistic touch. Despite the geographical and cultural distance of the subject, the reader is quickly captured by the imaginative plot and by the poetic language. (12+)
(Premio El Barco de Vapor ; 2002)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2003 - 149
Pérez Escrivá, Victoria (text/illus.)
Antes, cuando Venecia no existía
(In former times, when Venice did not yet exist)
Madrid : Anaya, 2002. 181 p.
Short stories – Ultra-short stories – Nonsense
An aphorism by the German author Johann Christoph Lichtenberg serves as a preface to this book: »Many people only read because it saves them from being forced to think.« Well, with this beautifully designed book’s 70 short and ultra-short stories, you will hardly be able to avoid thinking, as they are bubbling over with original ideas, witty language, subtle irony, and brilliantly absurd nonsense. This is all the more astonishing, as they focus on ordinary topics which are ever so popular in children’s books, e.g. animals, giants, curses, love, fear, etc. Victoria Pérez Escrivá uses this kind of fairly unspectacular »building bricks« to create something extraordinary. A lot of the texts discuss the possibilities of storytelling itself, which are boundless – as long as you have the necessary imagination and talent to spin a yarn. Excellent children’s books offer pleasure and knowledge to young and old readers alike, in different ways. This volume is a very good example for that. (8+) ☼
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2003 - 150
Plaza, José María (text)
Pérez, Laura (illus.)
En septiembre llegó el desastre
(The disaster started in September)
Barcelona : Edebé, 2002. 164 p.
(Periscopio ; 96)
Puberty – Search for identity – Group – Outsider
13-year-old Fran is shocked and confused when he sees his school friends returning from their summer holidays with lower voices, peach fuzz, and some centimetres taller than him. Because they are suddenly interested in girls while he still prefers to play football, he is terrified by the thought of becoming an outsider. The fast paced novel follows Fran, who – in his desperate urge for recognition – increasingly entangles himself in a self-wrought net of white lies. The author relates the experiences and emotions of boys on the threshold between childhood and adolescence, plagued by insecurity and complexes, with realism and many comic situations and punch-lines. (13+)
Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2003 - 151
Ventura, Antonio (text)
Morales, Judit (illus.)
Gòdia, Adrià (illus.)
La mirada de Pablo
Madrid : Ed. Siruela, 2002. 134 p.
(Las tres edades ; 93)
Boy – Everyday life – Siblings – Mother/Child
In 31 short chapters, this novella presents episodes of the life of nine-year-old Pablo, who experiences a time of insecurities and changes. The father no longer lives with the family, his sister Clara suffers from a disease of the lungs, and the mother has many worries. To make matters worse, they have moved and the boy has to get used to a new life in a small apartment in the big city. In a clear, subdued, calm tone and great sensitivity, Antonio Ventura depicts ordinary everyday life things and situations of a childhood dating back a few decades. It is his almost tender, poetical eye for seemingly insignificant details, which makes this book attractive to children and adults alike. (9+)
Spain (Basque) - 2003 - 152
Zubizarreta, Patxi (text)
Kruz Igerabide, Juan (text)
Odriozola, Elena (illus.)
Paularen zazpi gauak
(Seven nights with Paula)
Sondika : Giltza-Edebé, 2002. 126 p.
(Tukan ; 35)
Hospital – Storytelling
Paula has to go to the hospital. During the seven nights of her stay there, the girl’s sick room turns into a popular meeting place where cooks, nurses, patients, and doctors come together to tell each other stories, adventures, and riddles. Every night, someone new joins the group: The stories, all centered around friendship, love, and companionship, are continued and complemented with new details. The authors have successfully combined the short stories and the narrative frame to create a very readable book. The readers will be delighted to join in the circle of unconventional storytellers in their unexpectedl setting. (9+)
Spain (Catalan) - 2003 - 153
Desclot, Miquel (text)
Rifà, Fina (illus.)
Més música, mestre!
(More music, master!)
Barcelona : La Galera, 2001. 77 p.
(LaGalera grumets ; 124)
Music – Musical instrument
This anthology of poems resounds with music, or: with sounds and noises produced by musical instruments. Beginning with the organ, the trumpet and accordeon and ending with the lyre, twenty instruments introduce themselves in short, rhymed self-presentations, which relate the characteristics and sounds of each instrument. This results in humorous and »human« or anthropomorphised portraits complemented by amusing anecdotes from the world of music. Miquel Desclot’s poems have a light, playful character. Rich in puns, ambiguities, tongue-twisters and onomatopoeias, this literary lyrical concert will inspire the reader to join in the art of rhyming. (8+)
(Premio Nacional de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil; 2002)
Spain (Catalan) - 2003 - 154
Una altra guerra per a Ney
(Another war for Ney)
Barcelona : Ed. Cruïlla, 2002. 176 p.
(Gran Angular ; 125)
Napoleonic Wars – Ney, Michel – USA/1819 – Slavery – Liberty – Equality
South Carolina, 1819. In a small town, the school teacher Stuart Ney leads an unobtrusive and reclusive life. When he is forced to reveal his real identity – he is none other than Michel Ney, Duke of Elchingen, one of Napoleon’s marshals during the Russian Campaign – he is eyed and revered like an exotic creature. A severe conflict arises when Ney wants to educate a black slave and thereby confronts the laws of the state with the French ideals of Liberty and Equality. Masterfully interweaving historical facts and fiction, Mata gives an authentic panoramic view of the times and a compelling portrait of a fascinating personality, whose death in 1815 by shooting from a firing squad in Paris was time and again put into question. (13+)
Spain (Galician) - 2003 - 155
Alonso, Fran (text)
Vicente, Manuel G. (photogr.)
A casa da duna
(The house in the dunes)
Vigo : Ed. Xerais de Galicia, 2002. 48 p.
Sea – Protection of the environment – Friendship – Dream
Little Alba lives in a small house by the vast sea. Every day, she goes outside to meet the ever changing nature which always has new surprises in store for her and her friend, the tom-cat Bicos. The author, well known for his poetry, has transposed the experiences of the child into a lyrical text, which perfectly harmonises with the expressive, dreamy photographs. A world full of fantastical references is reflected in the depicted things of the real world. The book, published shortly before the accident of the oil-tanker near the Galician coast, is also a call for the protection of the fragile nature, so that the sea will not suddenly, one day, be »the colour of bats«. (6+)
Spain (Galician) - 2003 - 156
Fernández, Ana María (text)
Cobas, Xosé (illus.)
Amar e outros verbos
(To love and other verbs)
A Coruña : Ed. Everest, 2002. 59 p.
(Punto de Encontro)
Love – Justice – Memory
This anthology presents 24 poems in free verse. Taking their lead from different verbs, they explore fundamental themes of human existance: to love, grow up, grow old, die, travel etc. From the first page onwards, the texts are characterised by a restrained, reflective tone. The author often uses the pronoun »we« to suggest the universality of all human experiences; with the direct address (»you«), she seeks a dialogue and exchange with the reader. The book is an ode to life as well as a reflection of themes like sadness, injustice, or social responsibility. The accompanying illustrations resonate with the tender tone of the poems. (12+)
(Premio Lazarillo; 2001)
Spain (Galician) - 2003 - 157
Sánchez, Miriam (text)
Fernández, Federico (illus.)
¿Onde perdeu Lúa a risa?
(Where has Lúa lost her laughter?)
Pontevedra : Kalandraka, 2001.  p.
Animals – Laughter – Quest
One day, Lúa’s laughter disappears. Her brother Daniel sets out to search for it and asks various animals along the way for advice. In vain, until he finally finds the key to the lost laughter in form of a feather belonging to a wise owl, who sees the world from above and knows the secrets of the night. The sparse, rhythmic text, perfectly suited for reading-out-loud, is beautifully illustrated. The expressive full-spread pictures interpret the story with great imagination and fascinate with their radiant, nuanced colour spectrum. Equally remarkable is the use of pasty colours, which add a variety of different textures to the pictures. (5+)
(Premio Nacional de Ilustración; 2002)
Switzerland (French) - 2003 - 158
Bouchane, Marie (text)
Kroug, Simon (illus.)
Les rêves d’Angèle Molinot
(The dreams of Angèle Molinot)
Genève : Joie de Lire, 2002.  p.
(Collection les versatiles)
Grandmother – Grandfather – Daydream – Contentedness
This is the story of the narrator’s grandparents who live a quiet and peaceful life together filled with love. Yet, while Grandfather is rather concerned about having his button sewn on again, Grandmother looses herself in daydreams. »I want to see the ocean again. Before falling asleep, I often see myself standing on an opera stage. And if I had a feather boa...« The illustrations, radiating calmness and contentment, are drawn in shades of cream and brown and show the old couple at their daily routine, at work in the garden or inside the house, or at their morning toilet. The great gap between the quiet pictures and the text, which presents the old lady’s bold dreams, creates an amiable poetical aura. The picture book’s last sentence provides an excellent conclusion: »And you, what are you dreaming of?« (6+)
Switzerland (French) - 2003 - 159
Huelin, Michel (text/illus.)
Pas permis ou l’art de suivre ses idées
(Not allowed or: The art of following one’s own ideas)
Genève : Éd. Quiquandquoi [et al.], 2001.  p.
(Collection Art y es-tu?)
Prohibition – Proverb – Freedom of art
In this art book for children, published in the series called Art y es-tu? (Art, are you there?), proverbs that express well-known prohibitions and warnings such as »Ne demande pas la lune« (Don’t reach for the stars), are artistically interpreted through computerised images. Each of the 16 colourful doublepage illustrations is treated as one »level« – just as in a computer game – and subtitled with a warning. The interpretations of the sayings – such as »Ne te perds pas« (Don’t get on the wrong track), presented by a track of bread crumbs – do not only contain the literal meaning of the demand. They also include some always astonishing playful poetical quality, which eventually encourages readers to find their own way. (6+)
Argentina (Spanish) - 2003 - 160
Andruetto, María Teresa (text)
Nine, Lucas (illus.)
La mujer vampiro
Buenos Aires : Ed. Sudamericana, 2001. 62 p.
(Cuentámerica) (Primera Sudamericana)
Horror tale – Fear
For the six stories of this anthology, María Teresa Andruetto has explored the treasures of the oral storytelling tradition and presented elements of old horror tales in new forms. Supernatural beings, ogres, vampires, and humans transformed as animals, do not live in the remote past but right here and now in our own, normal everyday world. The stories are told in a succint, sober, and literary language. The horror doesn’t make a grand and grotesque entry but approaches quietly and with cunning: The reader is unsettled by small, unpretentious gaps in the narrative behind which one can only suspect a different, uncanny reality. (10+)
Argentina (Spanish) - 2003 - 161
Walsh, María Elena (text)
Ink, Lancman (illus.)
Hotel Pioho’s Palace
(Hotel Louse’s Palace)
Buenos Aires : Alfaguara, 2002. 166 p.
Metropolis – Adventure – Fantasy
Dalila spends a few days in a small, quite colourful hotel in Buenos Aires with her uncle. They have hardly put down their bags before the girl is drawn into many a strange adventure. In one, for example, she finds herself in a grotto under the city with the slightly batty descendants of pirates, who were stranded there 200 years ago. Whether it’s Greta, the Swedish backpack tourist, or Manuelita, the talking turtle: All characters of this story are unique individualists. With great linguistic skill and wit, the author weaves ever new ideas into the rather crazy plot which takes a lot of unexpected turns. The reader follows the daring turns with delight and is fascinated by how easily the boundaries between reality and fantasy are transgressed. (10+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2003 - 162
Andrade, Carlos Drummond de (text)
Drummond, Mauricio Graña (ed.)
Drummond, Pedro Augusto Graña (ed.)
Quando é dia de futebol
Rio de Janeiro : Ed. Record, 2002. 271 p.
Brazil – Football
One comes across many texts about football in the works of author Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1987). Some of these texts, including so far unpublished ones, are assembled in this anthology: poems, reports, stories, and newspaper articles – timeless or written for specific occasions, such as the World Championships. Even without being a fan and knowing Brazilian football inside out, one reads these thoughts about sport, society, and life with great delight. The national sport No. 1, which plays a primordial role in everyday life, in human relations, and even in politics, grants revealing insights into this football-crazy country. (13+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2003 - 163
Falcão, Adriana (text)
Lollo, José Carlos (illus.)
Luna Clara & Apolo Onze
São Paulo : Salamandra, 2002. 327 p.
Adolescence – Travel – Adventure
Young author and script writer Adriana Falcão entangles the characters of her novel in a suspenseful, fantastical plot. The two young protagonists, Luna Clara (Clear Moon) und Apolo Onze (Apollo Eleven), encounter different people in just as different settings and fall from one adventure into the next. It’s mostly due to director Chance, who weaves together the strands and decides whether people meet or miss each other. The novel, characterised by a figurative, innovative language, takes the reader on a tour through a different, magical world, which reflects the feelings of many adolescents: such as insecurity, instability, and revolt. (12+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2003 - 164
Machado de Assis, Joaquim Maria (text)
Cruz, Nelson (illus.)
Conto de escola
(A school story)
São Paulo : Cosac & Naify, 2002. 28 p.
School – Truthfulness – Venality – Lie
The text of this book was written by Machado de Assis (1839-1908), one of the best known Brazilian storytellers. Taking an everyday situation during a school class as a starting point – a child receives a coin for allowing his mate to copy off of him – fundamental human questions are exemplified: fear, seducing, venality, truthfulness, and lying. Nelson Cruz, nominated as Brazil’s candidate for the Andersen Award in 2002, lends expression to the characters’ feelings with his vibrant pictures. His illustrations, painted in his characteristic, dynamic style, bring the old Rio de Janeiro with its colonial buildings and narrow, steep streets back to live again. (7+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2003 - 165
Neves, André (text/illus.)
Sebastiana e Severina
(Sebastiana and Severina)
São Paulo : Difusão Cultural do Livro, 2002. 39 p.
Friendship – Love – Envy – Jealousy
This story, which takes up elements of the popular culture of North-Eastern Brazil, contains clearly lyrical as well as tragic elements: a blend particularly typical for this region. Two good friends, who make lace together for a religious festival, turn into enemies because they fall in love with the same young man. Their attempts to make up again lead to adventurous and fantastical events. In the text and in the original mixed-media illustrations, the young author and illustrator has successfully transposed themes and motives of Brazilian folklore to a form in keeping with the times. The highly figurative language idiom of the people living in the arid North-East of Brazil can clearly be perceived in the verses and the pictures. (5+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2003 - 166
Queirós, Bartolomeu Campos (text)
Cafiero, Mário (illus.)
Menino de Belém
(The boy from Belém)
São Paulo : Moderna, 2003. 32 p.
Child – Everyday life – Child labour – River
The author tells about the life of a rowing boy in the city of Belém in lyrical prose. The readers learn about the tough everyday life of working children, but at the same time, a touch of magic can be sensed in this work on the water just as in the river itself and in the surrounding nature. The reader and onlooker discovers the stream, which plays such a fundamental role for city Belém, the fruits, ships, humans, living quarters, and typical foods of Northern Brazil. One is enchanted by the imagination of child, who cannot read the alphabet, but instead knows how to read the seasons and water currants. The light illustrations add a lively impression of the characteristic colours and pictures of the tropical region. (7+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2003 - 167
Vilela, Luiz (text)
Spínola, Cláudio (illus.)
Histórias de bichos
São Paulo : Ed. do Brasil, 2002. 80 p.
Man – Animal
In seven stories about animals, the well-known contemporary Brazilian author relates appealing examples of the manifold relations between man and animal. The engaging texts provoke the reader to think about issues such as reason, love, or human vanities. The story of a mother and a son, for example, who bring up a puppy against the will of the father, convincingly describes how the hardhearted father gradually changes thanks to the presence of the animal. In another story, a boy who chases a bird is suddenly confronted with unexpected doubts and feelings of guilt when seeing the dead animal. Brown-and-white, sketchy prints accompany the texts. (8+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2003 - 168
São Paulo : Melhoramentos, 2002. 40 p.
Family – Grandfather – Grandchild – Dying – Death
This story is about family relationships. It is centered around the close ties between a grandfather and his granddaughter and explores various themes: the view of life held by young and old people, memories of times gone by, and the question frequently asked by children about why we have to die and lose loved ones. The book gives no easy answers. The author approaches the question with great understanding for and insight into children’s experience without using the word »Death« even once. Because no clear-cut answers are given, there is enough room for children to find their own explanations. The illustrations reflect the dreams, doubts, and discoveries of the little girl protagonist. (5+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2003 - 169
Bogotá : Ed. Norma, 2002. 88 p.
Egypt – Pharaoh – Wisdom – Storytelling
A pharaoh sends his eight sons out into all corners of his territory with the mission to find out wherein the strength of his people lies. The sons return from their travels, during which they have studied ancient writings and consulted wise scribes, with stories of love, hatred, courage, or envy. The pharaoh understands that the real strength does not reside in the single person, but that it is rooted in the sum of memories, stories, and experiences of all the people. Lilia Lardone narrates the brief framing story and the eight example-like tales in a symbolic, archaic- sounding language. Her unusual, lyrical tone transports the reader into a world long gone. (12+)
Mexico (Spanish) - 2003 - 170
México, D.F. : Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2002.  p.
(Los especiales de A la orilla del viento)
Mother – Daughter – Authoritarian education – Mother’s love – Balloon
»One day, Camilla’s wish came true. Her mother turned into a balloon and didn’t shout at her anymore.« Until the end of this simple, yet refined picture book, it is not clear whether this transformation really happens. It may be only wishful thinking by the girl who avoids her mother’s verbal attacks in this way. The red balloon resembles all that Camila wants her mother to be: It does not shout, she likes it, and she has a lot of fun with it. »Well,« Camilla finally sums up »you can’t have everything.« The witty illustrations – sketchy, cartoon-like drawings combined with red, yellow, and green backgrounds – perfectly capture the little girl’s emotions. (5+)
Venezuela (Spanish) - 2003 - 171
Martínez, Rocío (text/illus.)
Matías dibuja el sol
(Matías draws the sun)
Caracas : Ed. Ekaré, 2002.  p.
(El jardín de los niños)
Artist – Art – Preference – Interpretation – Artistic Dispute
This is the third title of a series with stories about Matías, a mole with great talent and passion for art. In this volume, the artist wants to draw the sun. It takes several attempts before he is happy with his work – only to find out that his friends, goose, frog, and hamster, prefer the neglected »rejects« over his own favourite picture. That’s what art is all about: Everybody associates different memories and emotions with it: where one sees an egg, another sees the moon’s reflection, and a third an entry to a cave. The cheerful, brightly coloured picture book clearly teaches children in a sympathetic and simple way that art is always subject to dispute. (4+)
Venezuela (Spanish) - 2003 - 172
Rodríguez, Lucho (text/illus.)
ABZoo : abecedario zoológico
(ABZoo : a zoological alphabet)
Maracay, estado Aragua : Playco Ed., 2001.  p.
(Los mejores de Playco)
Animals – Alphabet
ABC-books are a particularly popular genre in children’s literature, and among them, animalalphabets undoubtedly form one of the favourite group. In this example, it is not so much the brief, informative texts, but rather the illustrations and the overall design which make this book stand out. For each letter of the alphabet, a wild animal is introduced: quetzal, tapir, wapiti, fox, and other animals from five continents. The characteristic physiognomy of every animal is appropriately depicted in a stylised form by the artist, who masterly works with simple shapes and pure colours. Small blackand- white vignettes and an aesthetic typography visually round off this beautiful book published in an unusual portrait format. (4+)
Canada (French) - 2003 - 173
Croteau, Marie-Danielle (text)
St-Aubin, Bruno (illus.)
Mais qui sont les Hoo?
(But who are the Hoos?)
Montréal (Québec) : Courte échelle, 2002. 62 p.
(Premier roman ; 127)
Neighbour – Chinese – Prejudice – Tolerance
The Hoos, Fred’s new neighbours, are a family of ten. All the family members climb out of the removal van with a chair on their heads, and, with the same chairs still on their heads, they come out of the house again. Since foreign behaviour often remains incomprehensible and lack of understanding frequently leads to rejection, Fred and his friend Gus, who are full of prejudice, make fun of the Hoos. As a consequence, their teacher decides to »punish« them: They have to get to know the Chinese family. Soon, they realise that the Chinese neighbours do not eat cats, and they learn that the family are famous artists. Full of wit, very entertaining, and easy to read, this humorous children’s novel teaches the message of being tolerant and unprejudiced. (7+) ☆
Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 174
Desjardins, Richard (ed.)
Les plus beaux poèmes des enfants du Québec
(The most beautiful poems of children from Québec)
Montréal, Québec : L’ Hexagone/VLB éditeur, 2002. 175 p.
Poetry – Children
This illustrated volume of poems for young and old, written and drawn by children, is the result of a large literature competition with the motto: »À vos plumes, les poètes!« (Grab your quills, poets!). About 650 Québecois school classes with roughly 17,000 pupils between the age of eight and twelve have followed the call. A high-quality jury chose 86 poems and illustrations which mirror the wide variety of topics children tackle nowadays. It becomes clear that the word »fun generation«, a term frequently used in Western countries today, does not apply to these children at all. In addition to typically Canadian titles, such as »Snow«, and topics generally popular with children, such as »My favourite animals«, this anthology contains several poems about important issues: friendship, love, peace, tolerance,... The book’s design expresses the wealth of the children’s poetry and imagination in an admirable way. (8+)
Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 175
Le cheval d’Isabelle
Hull (Québec) : Vents d’Ouest, 2002. 145 p.
(Collection Girouette ; 5 : Aventure)
Teenage girl – Horse riding – Summer camp – Horse – Legend – Indigenous people
Finally, the holidays have begun and fourteen-yearold Isabelle can visit her beloved summer riding camp again. Yet, this year, an unusual adventure awaits her: One night, Isabelle sees a large white horse that obviously beckons the girl to ride off with it. Later, she learns that the animal has been appearing to horse-loving girls for generations. The horse’s secret, the source of which is the love of an indigenous couple, goes back to a war between France and England in 1759 and its consequences for a village of indigenous people that existed in the region at that time. In this novel, two worlds are brought together in an interesting way: Dream and reality, past and present, the fantastic and the believable. (9+)
Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 176
Une tonne de patates!
(Tons of potatoes!)
Montréal (Québec) : Hurtubise HMH, 2002. 87 p.
Canada/1939-1948 – Boy – Poverty – School
This children’s novel, which tells the story of an eleven-year-old boy living in Quebec between 1939 and 1948, makes a time come alive that seems to be a very distant past in present-day Canada. The effects of the world economic crisis in 1929 and of the Second World War, such as poverty, hunger, migration to the cities, child labour, etc., form its historical context. Samuel has to drop out of school to help his father with the farm work. Still, the family is not able to maintain the farm and, soon, they have to fend for themselves in Montreal. Despite the unfavourable situation, Samuel – eager to learn – manages to finish his school education. As a notary, he can later even help his family to leave their poor life behind. (9+)
Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 177
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Melanson, Luc (illus.)
Le grand voyage de Monsieur
(The great journey of Mister)
Saint-Lambert (Québec) : Dominique et Compagnie, 2001.  p.
ISBN 2-89512-189-3. – 2-89512-191-5
Death – Mourning – Journey
Filled with grief after the death of his child, a man leaves his home behind and goes on a journey. He lets himself drift along, his decisions influenced by coincidences. When his train stops at the sea, he crosses the ocean on a passenger ship. Thus, the man travels the world, strolls along the streets, spends some pleasant time with people who invite him into their homes. At the end of the world, he meets a child who has lost his parents in a war. Hand in hand, they try to overcome their grief. The text, reduced to the essential words, and the clear, yet discreet illustrations manage to present the loss of a loved person, the grief, and the loneliness in a sensitive way, suitable for children. (4+) ☆ ☼
(Governor General’s Award; 2002)
Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 178
Aakeson, Kim Fupz (text)
Thau-Jensen, Cato (illus.)
Drengen der lå i sin seng, mens hans far og damefrisøren så på
(The boy who lay in his bed while his father and the ladies’ hairdresser were watching)
København : Gyldendal, 2001.  p.
Mother – Death – Son – Grief
The young protagonist doesn’t want to accept his father’s new wife. Therefore, in his dreams, the boy regularly meets his dead mother, but each time her image grows more unreal and unapproachable. When he wakes up from a long unconsciousnesslike sleep, he is astonished to see that his father and stepmother have been very worried about him. Slowly, he realises that he needs to trust other people, too. Aakeson, whose talent for telling amusing novels is well known, describes the seriousness and grief of children with great sensitivity – yet, with quite a tinge of eccentricism. The text is perfectly complemented by Thau-Jensen’s pictures: Their strongly coloured style follows the traditions of the 1950s, which are still vividly alive in Scandinavia. (8+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 179
Gyldenkærne, Nanna (ed.)
Landet Længere Væk og andre ord og billeder : 73 danske illustratorer tegner til korte tekster for børn
(The land »Farther away« and other words and pictures: 73 Danish illustrators draw pictures to accompany short texts for children)
København : Høst & Søn, 2002. 153 p.
Denmark – Children’s book – Illustration – Short stories – Anthology
73 Danish illustrators have created one picture each to accompany 73 ultra-short stories written by 44 authors. These pictures makes this anthology an impressive compendium of contemporary Danish children’s book illustration, which features various important artists such as Dorte Karrebæk, Jon Ranheimsæter, and Cato Thau-Jensen. The idea for the book was initiated by the illustrators’ group belonging to the Danish writers’ association. The anthology gives an overview of children’s book illustration, yet is also interesting for children themselves, who are the most important audience for the illustrations. Some of the stories are as extraordinarily short as the following one: »One day, a bird was born who spoke English, German, and French fluently. However, as he couldn’t restrain himself from uttering swear words in all three languages, he was slain.« They may well inspire children to put their own ideas to paper. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 180
Kevin Kujon og andre fortællinger
(Kevin Kujon and other tales)
København : Høst & Søn, 2002. 111 p.
Children – Everyday life – Short stories
In his new collection of short stories, renowned children’s book author Bent Haller deals with the darker sides of childhood, even including suicide and fear of death. The texts tackle questions of vital importance which children have to cope with quite often on their own. Despite the serious topics, however, Haller’s sense of absurd humour still pervades the tales. Apart from that, the stories frequently offer happy and surprising solutions to the problems. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 181
Jensen, Jørn (text)
Raagaard, Kirsten (illus.)
København : Forum, 2002.  p.
Pets – Hunger
All alone, little Hannibal is sitting in the kitchen. One after the other, various pets crawl through the catflap asking the boy for some food. Hannibal feeds them all and, eventually, he himself eats something, too. The simple yet original idea of this story can already be understood by very young children. Thanks to its illustrations, which may be slightly naïve but show definitely no traces of the sickly sweetness of typical books for toddlers, and thanks to its unpretentiously written letters, this story becomes an unconventional book for small children. More books like this one would certainly be welcome in other countries, too. (3+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 182
Lauridsen, Irma (text)
Ranheimsæter, Jon (illus.)
Den klonede dreng
(The cloned boy)
København : Alinea, 2002. 51 p.
(Læs dansk gys)
Cloning – Double
Young Robert discovers a second boy who looks exactly like him. Robert doesn’t manage to question him, but it seems that he is trying to play Robert’s role: He plays football pretending to be Robert, for example, even if he plays very badly. When Robert finally manages to follow the boy, he ends up at the solitary house of a former trainee teacher. It turns out that this man had plucked one of Robert’s hairs and thus created an identical copy of him. Since the clone is extremely stupid, the teacher plans to sell Robert to a childless couple in America and let the clone remain – but, of course, everything is resolved in a happy ending. This adventurous tale, easily accessible to children with reading problems, is written in a captivating style and accompanied by matching illustrations. (7+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 183
Tordenskjolds tempo : træghed og triumf på træskibenes tid
(Tordenskjold’s speed: Lethargy and triumph from the times of the wooden ships)
Frederiksberg : Branner og Korch, 2002. 129 p.
Nordic War <1700-1721> – Sea battle
In European countries, many books deal with historical topics. Yet, in Scandinavian countries, this kind of literature seems to be even more popular. The North’s relatively late self-awareness may be one of the reasons why Scandinavians are particularly proud of their more than one-thousand-yearold history and their own mythology. This book about Admiral Tordenskjold and the battle at the Swedish Dynekil Fjord in 1716 during the second Nordic War, is written in this tradition. The readers do not only learn about the course of the battle and its background, but also read many technical details about a war at sea. Books like this one offer an inspiring read and, at the same time, create an awareness for historical events. (12+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 184
Inuk og Ivik i det gamle Grønland
(Inuk and Ivik in old Greenland)
København : Borgen, 2002.  p.
Greenland – Everyday life – Tradition
Theoretically, Danish people do not need to travel to foreign countries in order to discover »exotic« lands because Greenland is an (autonomous) part of their country. Nevertheless, since this island is not exactly on their doorstep, only few Danish children will actually know it. For both, the children who are already a little familiar with Greenland and those who are not, this book is a very interesting introduction to a fascinating cold world. The story follows Inuk, a young boy, and the girl Ivik, as they set out together with some adults to see and try out how their ancestors used to live a hundred or more years ago. Among other things, they will see the oldest drawing of Greenlanders, a historical earth-hut, a kayak in motion, and sleigh dogs, of course. (6+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 185
Steffensen, Anette [et al.] (ed.)
Hjertevirus : kærlighed på tværs
(Heart-virus: muddled love)
København : Festival for Børn og Unge, 2002. 174 p.
Adolescence – Love – Disappointment – Short stories – Anthology
In twelve stories, this anthology tells of the numerous disappointments and the unfulfilled desire that teenagers have to deal with when they take the risk of falling in love. Popular and lesser-known Danish authors describe the difficulties of human relationships in a much more honest way than many a carefully constructed teenage novel. Moreover, a short comic strip successfully expresses many teenagers’ helplessness in coping with their everyday life. At the end of the book, a few young people themselves relate their own disappointing experiences. This volume is the result of a reading promotion event, namely the youth festival »Den gode historie« (The good story). (12+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 186
(The chain of the feather)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2002. 240 p.
Girl – Hawk – Adventure
Hannele Huovi has had a great career as a writer for children and young adults. In this teenage novel, which was awarded the Topelius Prize and is also interesting for adults, Huovi tells a mythical adventure in which shamanism plays an important role. A young girl possesses some strange power over birds. One day, she touches a hawk who gets extremely angry with her. The bird pecks the girl’s eyes out and she turns blind. As punishment, the two are tied together with the »chain of the feather«. Their adventures start when they set out to find a witch who will be able to break the chain. This exciting and adventurous tale is written in a highly symbolical and touching language. (14+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 187
Kunnas, Mauri (text/illus.)
Kunnas, Tarja (text/illus.)
Seitsemän koira veljestä : koiramainen versio Aleksis Kiven romaanista »Seitsemän veljestä«
(Seven dog brothers)
Helsinki : Otava, 2002. 93 p.
Kivi, Aleksis / Seitsemän veljestä – Parody – Siblings – Escape from civilisation – Character development
Mauri Kunnas is one of the most inventive caricaturists in Finland; his picture stories for children are a treasure trove of ideas and, slowly but surely, they are also gaining popularity outside Finnish borders (in Germany and Japan, for example). His parodies of classic stories provide the illustrator with topics from which he can create new ideas. Moreover, the popularity of the classics also enables him to entertain child and adult readers alike with allusions and features they might recognise from the originals. Transferring Aleksis Kivi’s work Seitsemän veljestä (Seven brothers) into an anthropomorphised dog-world, yet maintaining the basic elements of the novel’s plot, he introduces his readers to this famous first work of Finnish national literature in an easily accessible but by no means superficial way. Moreover, paper and printing quality of this book are exquisite. (10+) ☼
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 188
Mäkinen, Kirsti (adapt.)
Surojegin, Pikko-Liisa (illus.)
Suomen lasten Kalevala
(The Kalevala [= Finnish national epic] for Finnish children)
Helsinki : Otava, 2002. 183 p.
Elias Lönnrot / Kalevala – Adaptation
With the prose retelling for children of the Finnish national epic, the publishers present a particularly generously and carefully printed book, which everybody will enjoy taking in their hands. Quotations from the original rhymed text by Elias Lönnrot are scattered among the chapters, so that the poetic style of the original epic can be recognised. The illustrations, some rendered as modest marginal drawings and others spread over two pages, are drawn in black and white or in subdued colours. They are close in style to naturalistic paintings and mainly underline the elegant aura of this book. (10+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 189
Ei ole minulle suvannot! : romaani Aino Kallaksen nuoruudesta
(There is no still water for me!)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2002. 269 p.
Kallas, Aino / Biography
This historico-cultural book tells about the youth of famous Finnish writer Aino Kallas (1878-1956) and the Finnish Golden Age during the 19century. Aino was brought up in a family with a lot of books, so that she always knew she wanted to become a well-known writer. This biography focuses on topics such as Aino’s education, her first love, or her graduation party. Since the story is narrated from the point of view of Aino’s nurse, issues of social class seep into the story. Moreover, Mikkanen deals with the ancient questions of whether women have to choose between career and marriage, and whether they are allowed to have a desire for love. The fascinating book is based on Aino Kallas’ diaries and her other works such as her memoirs and letters. (13+)
(Finlandia Junior Award; 2002)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 190
Savolainen, Salla (text/illus.)
Kuudennen kerroksen Maikki
(Maikki from the sixth floor)
Helsinki : Söderström, 2002.  p.
Child – Moving house
One of the latest talents on the Finnish illustration scene is Salla Savolainen, whose style strongly resembles the Swedish tradition of humorous illustration. Her funny texts are complemented by equally amusing pictures, and readers can easily identify with the caricatures drawn by the artist. In her latest book, Savolainen tells the story of a little girl, Maikki, who just moved to a new flat. In the new, modern surroundings, life seems suddenly quite different and scary. The characters are depicted in both a realistic and a very humorous way. For this picture book, the artist, who frequently changes her style and techniques, uses watercolours on wood. She admirably succeeds in animating the shades and in creating a sense of harmony and pleasure. (4+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 191
Vuoristo, Teppo (text)
Mildeberg, Jüri (illus.)
Hemppa ja Eläinten Unioni
(Hemppa and the Animals’ Union)
Helsinki : Lasten Keskus, 2002.  p.
ISBN 951-627-415-3. – 951-96773-6-4
Animals / Humans – Friendship – European Union
This artistic picture book for teenagers deals with motifs such as friendship and the relationship between animals and human beings. The animals at the zoo have founded a union and Hemppa, the gorilla, is its newest member. He is very flexible and can easily change his identity if necessary. Since the zoo is currently being renovated, the union members want to achieve an improvement of the animals’ living conditions. Vuoristo tells an allegoric story about the European Union set in an animal community. Estonian artist Mildeberg’s illustrations are drawn in a surrealistic and naïve style in harmonious colours. The illustrator’s simple human characters bear a close resemblance to traditional Russian works of art. (13+)
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2003 - 192
Da solen gikk ned
(When the sun disappeared)
Oslo : Cappelen, 2002.  p.
Sun – Disappearance – Coldness – Hopelessness
This tale describes an apocalyptic situation: One day, the sun sets and does not rise again. The people in town and at the beach watch the pale red ball disappear below the horizon and start shivering. Due to their strong abstraction, Ekman’s graphic illustrations automatically create a distancing atmosphere, and underline the fatal effects of the slowly increasing coldness on the people’s mood. Pale shades of blue and violet and a faded red convey the feeling of hopelessness that the people and animals, who are exposed to the cold, experience. Eventually, the bird Phoenix manages to tear the sun from its lethargy. It slowly returns to its work. Some hope is restored as the barometer rises again – even though there are still no warm colours to confirm this happy ending. Maybe, this is a warning to people on earth not to attempt to influence nature. (6+)
Norway (Norwegian) - 2003 - 193
Pedersen, Hæge Follegg
Veit du hvem jeg er?
(Do you know who I am?)
Oslo : Cappelen, 2002. 158 p.
Youth home – Foundling
This multi-protagonist story introduces its readers to the world of a youth home where all the teenagers are somehow »damaged«: Aleksander’s father is in prison, Tale’s mother is an alcoholic, Moses, the first-person narrator, is a foundling, discovered on a lady’s toilet. Their lives are presented with fine discrimination; they do quarrel sometimes but they regard the home as their safe island and do not want to have anything to do with their ruined families. Only Moses, not willing to accept the anonymity of his past, starts searching for the truth. Although, near the end, some thriller-like suspense is added to the story, the book is first of all a very impressive contemporary picture of »stranded« teenagers. (12+)
Norway (Norwegian) - 2003 - 194
12 ting som må gjerast rett før verda går under
(Twelve things that have to be put straight before the end of the world)
Oslo : Aschehoug, 2001. 151 p.
Girl – Personality development – Love
Thirteen-year-old Therese has made up her mind about the twelve most important things she absolutely needs to get done before she dies or before the world ends. There are some problems in this world which are a great burden to her: She has an older sister who is disabled and her parents talk about splitting up. Still, the main preoccupation for Therese are her feelings for Jan. Even though Sortland keeps up his typical dry humour in this story, in which the language is as carefully composed as in his other books, this one is much more serious. In a clever and understanding way, the girl reflects on the things that are important in life. The author, well known for his bizarre picture book texts, also proves to be an empathetic writer for girls. (12+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2003 - 195
Hellsing, Lennart (text)
Nygren, Tord (illus.)
(The magic ring)
Stockholm : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2002.  p.
Children’s poetry – Language game
Lennart Hellsing and Astrid Lindgren both wore the crown of Swedish children’s literature after the Second World War. Now, Lennart has to continue on this path alone. The more than eighty-year-old writer is still a very productive poet for children. His poems, rich in sound and carrying original, sometimes bizarre ideas, are an exciting read. They meet children’s pleasures for playing with language, but never attempt to toady to children by imitating their style of speaking. One of Hellsing’s »trademarks« is the choice of high-quality illustrators for his books. Tord Nygren is an old hand at illustration, and his delicate figures and landscapes are perfect for this gathering of fairytale-like characters from the Swedish folk tradition. (8+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2003 - 196
Lagercrantz, Rose (text)
Lagercrantz, Rebecka (illus.)
(The moonlight doll)
Stockholm : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2002. 52 p.
(Sparvens roliga läseböcker)
Child – Illness – Doll – Friendship
A lonely and dreamy boy buys a mysterious Japanese doll. A sick girl in the neighbourhood longs for just this doll and receives it. She secretly talks to it on Christmas Eve, and the doll helps her to get well again. Rebecka Lagercrantz has added simple, empathetic, and attractive illustrations to her mother’s story. She perfectly captures the child-characters’ innermost moods with her naïve style and strong gouache colours on coloured papers. With just a few details, she evokes a typical Swedish room or a typical street in Stockholm. The doll’s portrait is wonderfully set off against the baby blue paper. This decorative kind of art is inspiring – especially for both children and adults. (6+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2003 - 197
Langer, Joakim (text)
Trokenheim, Martin (illus.)
Kapten Kalle på de sju haven
(Captain Kalle on the seven seas)
Stockholm : Forum, 2002. 150 p.
Pettersson, Carl Emil (1875-1937) – Lindgren, Astrid / Pippi Longstocking
Shortly before her death, Astrid Lindgren allegedly admitted that there was a real-life role model for Pippi Longstocking’s father Efraim: Carl Pettersson. He went off to sea when he was twelve, and – after a few years – reached New Guinea in the South Seas where he dealt with copra. After having been shipwrecked in 1904, he safely arrived on a small island, received a warm welcome, married Sindu, the chief’s daughter, with whom he had eight children, and was later himself appointed chief by the native inhabitants. The author turns this biography into a short, adventure story which all admirers of Astrid Lindgren should know. (8+) ☆ ☼
Sweden (Swedish) - 2003 - 198
Westergren, Ebbe (text)
Nygren, Tord (illus.)
Tillbaka till Medeltiden
(Back to the Middle Ages)
Stockholm : BonnierCarlsen, 2002. 88 p.
Kalmar / Sweden – Everyday life – Kalmar Union / 1397
With the publication of this book featuring pictures by Tord Nygren, the publishing house continues its very appealing series of richly illustrated books about historical topics. Nygren is experienced in depicting historical costumes and building techniques and manages to convey a vivid picture of those times. Ebbe Westergren deals with the topic »Middle Ages« by taking the everyday life in the Swedish town Kalmar in 1397 as an example; that year, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark were united under a single monarch in the Kalmar Union. (8+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2003 - 199
Kincl, Jaromír (text)
Kudrnová, Milada (illus.)
Heřmánek a Mařinka : o bylinkové apatyce v pohádkovém světě
(Hermann and Marina : the plant pharmacy in the land of fairytales)
Praha : Albatros, 2000. 48 p.
Medicinal herbs – Fairytale
Crossing nine balks and nine brooks, you will reach the plant pharmacy in the land of fairytales. Every day, another fairytale hero comes to Hermann and Marina to ask for their help. The giant’s wounds are treated with ribwort, the princess is given peppermint tea to bring back her appetite, the water sprite receives an ointment of sweet clover against his rheumatism, will-o’-the-wisp Julia’s swollen feet are bathed in a mustardseed decoction, and the witch’s contusions are treated with a compress of comfrey. These fairytales show smaller children that many illnesses can also be cured with natural remedies. The traditional pictures clearly illustrate what the medicinal plants look like. (5+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2003 - 200
Stoličný, Peter (text)
Raudenský, Martin (illus.)
Hloupý Honza v síti
(The silly billy in the net)
Praha : Amulet, 2002. 126 p.
Since the separation of Czechoslovakia, the Slovakian writer and director Peter Stoli?ný lives and works in Brno (Czech Republic) where he occupies himself with media culture in the art process. According to his opinion, it is necessary to bring modern information technology and the tradtional world of fairytales together to support reading promotion from a different side. Starting from there, it only took a small step to create this book where characters from traditional fairytales encounter computers and other electronic devices in a humorous way. In this story, the silly billy, who usually saves princesses, kills dragons, and outwits evil powers, manages to use a computer. It was Peter Stoli?ný’s particular intention, to address even those children who have had little contact with electronics so far. (8+)
Latvia (Latvian) - 2003 - 201
Kušnere, Inta (ed.)
Okonova, Gita (illus.)
(Soon it will be Christmas)
Rīga : Jumava, 2001. 135 p.
Christmas – Customs – Folklore
This inventive anthology with its witty-cheerful black-and-white drawings and six full-page colour illustrations contains Christmas verses and games from traditional Latvian folklore, fairytales and poems about Christmas by various Latvian authors, as well as traditional and modern Latvian Christmas songs. Apart from that, the book introduces cultural customs and traditions for celebrating Christmas, the beginning of the new year, and the winter solstice from many other countries all around the world. (6+)
Latvia (Latvian) - 2003 - 202
SkrastiÃa, Ilze (text)
Petraškevičs, Juris (illus.)
Neparastie Rīdzinieki : animācijas filma »Neparastie Rīdzinieki« bildītēs
(Unusual inhabitants of Riga : pictures from the animated film »Unusual inhabitants of Riga«)
Rīga : Neputns, 2001. [40 ] p.
This picture-story was adapted from an animated film produced on the occasion of the 800anniversary celebrations of the Latvian capital Riga. The lively pictures painted in strong colours tell adventurous stories of people, animals, and mythical creatures who live in the streets and houses, up on the rooftops, and in the underground realms of this beautiful historic port situated at the Baltic Sea. (4+)
Lithuania (Lithuanian) - 2003 - 203
Adomaitytǵ, Gintarǵ (text)
Repšys, Andrius (illus.)
(The house of the dragonflies))
Vilnius : Agora, 2001. 93 p.
Generation conflict – Equality – Gender role
In her first book, which is written in a lyrical and sensitive language and could be called a feminist detective story, journalist Gintarǵ Adomaitytǵ tells the story of fifteen-year-old Miglǵ, her mother, and her aunt. The subtle graphics accompanying the text and the overall book design were created by Andrius Repšys, the son of the famous Lithuanian book artist Petras Repšys. (14+)
Lithuania (Lithuanian) - 2003 - 204
Skučaitǵ, Ramutǵ (text)
Račinskaitǵ, Jūratǵ (illus.)
Takelis iš naujo
(On the road again)
Vilnius : Lietuvos Rašytojų S?jungos Leidykla, 2001. 173 p.
Both text and graphic design of this book are very appealing »collages«. The book contains new (original) and old poems and short texts in prose by the popular poetess Ramutǵ Skucaitǵ, in which she describes the facts that determine childhood and also reconsiders her own childhood memories. The sensitive texts appeal to children as well as adults. They are illustrated with old photographs and delicate collages made from pressed plants. The book was awarded a price in the book art competition in Vilnius and won the award of the best designed book of the Baltic states; in addition, it was selected as the most beautiful children’s book of 2001 by the Lithuanian IBBY-Section. (6+)
Lithuania (Lithuanian) - 2003 - 205
Vainilaitis, Martynas (text)
Žviliuvienǵ, Irena (illus.)
Žviliūtǵ, Živilǵ (illus.)
(An owl’s song)
Vilnius : Leidykla »Žara«, 2001. 90 p.
Love – Fate
Fairytales in verse form are a genre typical for Eastern Europe. This ballad-like retelling of a Lithuanian folktale was written by the modern »classical« author Martynas Vainilaitis (*1933). The lovers Adas and Vaiva cannot come together because Vaiva has been promised to the devil and the witch Clara desires Adas. Vainilaitis has created an original work of art, while still maintaining the motifs, images, and structure of the traditional folktale. Famous Lithuanian artist Irena Žviliuvienǵ and her daughter Živilǵ Žviliūtǵ have teamed up to create fantastical illustrations. With their naivety, the pictures underline the fairytale’s mystical quality. (10+)
Poland (Polish) - 2003 - 206
Beszczyńska, Zofia (text)
Żelewska, Agnieszka (illus.)
Bajki o rzeczach i nierzeczach
(Fairytales about things and non-things)
Gdańsk : Czarny Kot, 2002. 101 p.
(Książki szczęśliwego dzieciństwa)
Everyday life – Fairytales
Zofia Beszczy?ska is particularly famous for her poems for children and adults; her fairytales, however, are undoubtedly just as noteworthy. Reading this volume’s fairytales, which often feature everyday objects as well as ordinary people and animals, is definitely a lot of fun. The stories vibrate with a strong child-like imagination and even for a person acquainted with literature and fairytales, it is hardly possible to anticipate their endings. The fascinating tales deal with lost secrets, objects wishing to be something else, and a princess who is kidnapped by a black knight. The book was awarded in the Polish competition »Book of the Year« in 2002. (3+)
Russia (Russian) - 2003 - 207
Judin, Georgij N. (text/illus.)
Smirennyj voin : istoričeskaja povest’ o svjatom Georgii Pobedonosce
(The humble warrior : historical tale about the victorious St. George)
Moskva : Russkīj Mīr, 2002. 206 p.
George <patron saint>
In this book, the author, already well known during the times of the Soviet Union, tells the impressive tale of the life, adventures, and miracles that the still popular dragonslayer George is said to have achieved. Decorated by the author himself with vignettes, ornaments, and impressive historic paintings, the book was published on the occasion of the deliverance of a St. George relic from the Holy Land to Moscow by its patriarch Aleksij II. Thus, it is also one of many signs that the church in Russia after the fall of communism is gaining strength. (9+)
Russia (Russian) - 2003 - 208
Minaev, Boris D.
Moskva : Zacharov, 2001. 251 p.
Moscow/1960-1980 – Childhood – Youth
In sometimes cheerful, sometimes sad stories told in first-person narrative, Boris Minaev reconstructs the childhood of a girl in Moscow during the 1960s and 1970s – at home, on the streets, among friends, relatives, and classmates. The author sets himself high demands: He claims to recall everything we encountered as children, particularly the happy moments and the things that influenced us. To remember the past is something that every person has to do in order to link past, present, and future and be able to cope with one’s life. The black-and-white photographs by various photographers draw a clear and yet poetic picture of the life in the Soviet Union. (12+) ☆
Serbia and Montenegro (Serbian) - 2003 - 209
Princ Humorabi od Plusopotamije
(Prince Humorabi of Plusopotamia)
Nova Pazova : Bonart, 2001. 473 p.
Poverty – Rescue – Journey – Adventure
In his satirical fantasy novel, Ivan Balenović links fairytale-like elements with a plot set in the present. Even if not all of the satirical allusions might be recognisable for every reader, there is still a lot to discover. The eponymous hero himself is an allusion to Babylon’s tyrant Hammurabi. Yet, Prince Humorabi is an unspoiled eleven-year-old boy. When his kingdom encounters some difficulties, his counsellors recall objects from the past which had been lucky charms, such as tiger beans and bronze windows, and Humorabi sets out on a search for them accompanied by his friend Tasel and by Urma, a girl looking for her parents. During their travels, the children face many adventures and undergo a maturation process. Eventually, they find the requested objects and the novel ends. The continuation in our times, however, seems predestined. (10+)
Slovakia (Slovak) - 2003 - 210
Zemaníková, Zuzana (text)
Moravčíková, Dana (illus.)
Ponitrianske povesti a povrávky
(Legends and tall tales from the Nitra region)
Martin : Matica Slovenská, 2001. 181 p.
Slovakia / Nitra – Legend
This beautifully designed volume, impressively and atmospherically illustrated with blue-greencoloured graphics, features a variety of fairly different works from folklore tradition. They are all set in the Nitra region (Western Slovakia) – the region near the river Nitra and the capital of Greater Moravia (9century) of the same name. The first part focuses on the conversion to Christianity under Prince Svätopluk and the resistance against it. The legends of the second part tell of fights against the Tartars, of disputes with the Czech and Hungarian rulers, and of the wars against the Turks. The following parts include local legends about water sprites and other mythological creatures, folktales, and cheerful tall tales. (10+)
Slovenia (Slovenian) - 2003 - 211
Muck, Desa (text)
Čamagajevac, Sebastijan (illus.)
(Alone at home)
Ljubljana : Mladinska Knjiga, 2001. 219 p.
(Knjižnica Sinjega galeba ; 307)
Teenager – Party – Love – Kidnapping
The new novel of Desa Muck, a very popular author in Slovenia, describes four days in the life of fifteen-yearold Laura. They are full of dreams and plans, accidental complications of unusual events, activities, analyses, insights, and surprising turns. When Laura stays at home alone during the weekend, her schoolfriends suddenly turn up celebrating a party with alcohol and the usual kissing and grabbing. As if all this wasn’t enough, some robbers kidnap Laura. What a relief, that everything is back to normal when Laura’s parents return. Once the readers dive into the plot, they will hardly be able to tear themselves away from it because of its breathtaking speed and many entanglements. (11+)
Slovenia (Slovenian) - 2003 - 212
Osojnik, Mojca (text/illus.)
Hiša, ki bi rada imela sonce
(The house that wanted to have some sun)
Ljubljana : Mladinska Knjiga, 2001.  p.
House – Town – Shadow – Sun
This inventive picture book tells the story of an old uninhabited little house that is surrounded by the big houses casting their shadows on it. Thus, it never even sees the sun. The little house ponders over the sun’s appearance and its nature. When one day a family moves into the little house, it is renovated, brought back to life, and in many different ways, it finally learns about the sun. In the impressive collages and the gouache paintings in strong colours, the Slovenian capital Ljubljana can be recognised. (3+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 2003 - 213
De Kockere, Geert (text)
Fossey, Koen (illus.)
(Noah <proper name>)
Wielsbeke : De Eenhoorn, 2002. [40 ] p.
Flood – Noah
This book presents in a unique way a story of the Flood and adds a philosophical dimension to the biblical story. Noah calls on several characters to take a place in his boat in order to survive the Flood. He does not want to house animals in his boat but instead the characteristics of human beings, like Gaiety, Fear, and Stubbornness or Doubt. One after the other, the personified characteristics refuse his offer and claim that they will survive the Flood on their own. There is an open end to the book, and we will never know whether they really did. In the full-page colour-illustrations, the artist uses collage-techniques and unusual materials like linen, beetroot, brushes, stone, but also a glove and beater. The story, whose anonymous teller claims to have come to know it via oral tradition, is literary, poetic, and peppered with humour. (10+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 2003 - 214
(The disappearing book)
Tielt : Lannoo, 2000. 103 p.
Tease – Revenge
Because Mercander is constantly being teased at school and his parents do not listen to him, he walks away. In an old ruin (a dilapidated domain) he finds a mysterious book from the 18century which houses a curse. Whenever he rips out a page from the book (for example the items trees, cattle, or insects), all sorts of things disappear in the real world. That is his way to take revenge on everyone who has teased him. In Bavonië panic breaks out and only Tim, whose father is writing a book about the history of the domain, can bring salvation. This is an exciting book, in which three different story lines (the story of Mercador’s running away, Tom’s adventures, and the history of the domain) fluently intertwine. The story plays in a ficticious land that nevertheless appears very realistic. The set-up of the book is clearly structured and the characters live up to their promise very well. (10+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 2003 - 215
Slabbynck, Peter (text)
Verplancke, Klaas (illus.)
Het huis in het midden van de straat
(The house in the middle of the street)
Leuven : Davidsfonds/Infodok, 2002.  p.
It seems to be another usual morning when the houses in the street are waking up. Until they discover something strange: At night, one of the houses has moved to the middle of the street. The other houses do not like this at all and think of all sorts of ways to chase it away. They even want to set fire to the house, but, in fact, nobody dares to do anything. Finally, it turns out that the house can be driven off. This unique book features photos from collages, in which, among others, pieces from magazines, cardboard, matches and chalk are being incorporated. Text and illustrations form an organic entity on each page. The illustrations are extremely original and sometimes even form a story of their own. (8+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 2003 - 216
Vendel, Edward van de (text)
Vervaeke, Geert (illus.)
Pup en kit
Wielsbeke : De Eenhoorn, 2002. 62 p.
Dog – Cat – Contact
Pup the dog and Kit the cat arrive at the same time at the house of their new owner. Of course, they have to get used to him, but also, and that is more difficult, to each other. Together, they do all kinds of foolish things, like taking a bath, going on a boat trip, trying to walk on the ice and many more. Although Pup and Kit do not always agree, they become very good friends. A beautiful, simple, sensitive and heart-warming story, in which the cat and dog come across very lifelike. The book is meant for beginning readers. The author, despite the limits regarding reading techniques, has succeeded in writing a loveable story that will captivate the young reader from cover to cover. (6+) ☼
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2003 - 217
Dudok de Wit, Michael (text/illus.)
Vader en dochter
(Father and daughter)
Amsterdam : Leopold, 2002.  p.
Father – Daughter – Homesickness – Death
A little girl cycles with her father over a dike. After a while, they say goodbye to each other and the father rows away in a boat. The little girl grows up, marries, and has children. When she is old, she returns to the place where her father has disappeared. She chooses this place to die there herself and then meets her father again. Vanishing by boat into the horizon is a metaphor for the death or loss of a dear one. The theme has been detailed very well and gains extra strength from the gloomy colours and the rough pictorial composition based on animated cartoons. The minimal use of text, combined with big jumps in time within the story gives the reader the possibility for self-interpretation. For the young reader some guidance will be necessary. (7+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2003 - 218
Fontein, Elsbeth (text/illus.)
Kareltje Knor neemt een duik!
(Kareltje Knor takes a dip!)
Amsterdam : Zirkoon Uitg., 2002.  p.
Pig – Fun – Swimming
The little pig Kareltje Knor wants to learn how to swim and asks frog, duck, and turtle to help him. Because they all swim in a different way, they start to fight and Kareltje Knor falls into the water. Luckily, the pig remains afloat, but he is carried away by the current. His friends try to help unanimously. Falling down a little waterfall he ends up in a quagmire where his little brothers are happily rooting in the mud. This is the third part of a series of playful picture books about a cheerful pig. The stories are simple, but the successful combination of text and illustrations clearly gives the books extra value. Toddlers and pre-school children, who like to go and investigate, will easily identify with the story. (3+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2003 - 219
Grobler, Piet (text/illus.)
Niskos, L.M. (transl.)
Eén slokje, Kikker
(Take a sip, Kikker)
Rotterdam : Lemniscaat, 2002.  p.
(Engl. parallel edition exists)
Thirst – Animals
It is very warm and all the animals try to get some refreshment. Thirsty Frog takes a sip from a little puddle. It tastes so good that he keeps on drinking and finishes one puddle after the other. Frog is so thirsty that he drinks up all the water everywhere, except the water of the sea, which is too salty. The other animals on the savannah are very angry about this and try to get the water out of frog again, without success. Finally, the eels tickle Frog and the water comes rushing out of his mouth. This beautiful picture book has whimsical, stylised drawings that are full of motion. Grobler’s sublime savannah animals cavort through the creamy pink pages with tremendous charm. Many details make it a book to view again and again. (4+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2003 - 220
Jagtenberg, Yvonne (text/illus.)
Amsterdam : Hillen [et al.], 2002.  p.
Rabbit – Searchtrip
Arno wants to draw his rabbit, but the rabbit does not want to pose and runs away. Arno searches everywhere and asks many people whether they might have seen his rabbit. When he finally finds him, he decides to go home without him, because rabbits actually need to be free. However, his rabbit follows him and lies down on a pillow at home. Now Arno can make his drawing. This is a beautiful picture book with full-page illustrations, partially in collage- technique and partially chalk-drawings, often only half coloured. The text is simple and relates only the most essential. (3+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2003 - 221
Olthuis, Theo (text)
Boer, Kees de (illus.)
Een steen zweeft over water
(A stone wanders over water)
Amsterdam : Ploegsma, 2002. 48 p.
This is a book of 35 poems which, according to the author, has taken shape in the contact with children and their own poems. Subjects are daily events and nature, but also big themes like being in love and death. The poems are short and accessible and tell their stories with apparent simplicity. Traditional rhyme schemes are not being used, but in spite of that, the poems have a smoothly running metre. The black-and-grey illustrations accompanying the poems are playful: sometimes a little cryptic and sometimes representing the story literally, at other times, the illustrator represents his own interpretation of the poem. A beautiful and well-balanced volume, that stimulates readers to philosophise. (9+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2003 - 222
Remmerts de Vries, Daan
Amsterdam [et al.] : Querido, 2002. 87 p.
Gang of youths – Magic
In the village where Robbie Nathan lives, there’s little to do during the summer holidays. That’s the reason why he looks out for adventure to give meaning to his life as leader of a group of youngsters. At the graveyard, they dig up an old brown skull. Through the days, Robbie fights with everybody because he is so overbearing, but when he is lonely and realises what he has done, he repents. He does not need the skull to which he attributed magic forces anymore. In this remarkable and extremely well written novel, the reader is addressed directly by the main character. The reader will find Robbie variably sympathetic but sometimes also extremely arrogant and irritating when he once more humiliates his friends. The story is well structured and fascinates from cover to cover. (10+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2003 - 223
Zwigtman , Floortje
(A pack of wolves)
Baarn : Fontein, 2002. 512 p.
Violence – Good/Evil – Coming of age
Old Ion tells a secret. At the end of 1900 when he was a boy, he and two of his friends joined a gang of robbers, consisting of young Romanian farmers. One day, they end up in an old monastery on the island of Snagov, where strange powers rule and lead to discord and eventually to murder. This is a cleverly constructed historical novel combining various framing stories, narrators, times, cultures and religions. For example, reports of two princes from the 15century Valachia, a mysterious correspondence, and historical chronicles have been included. Fact and fiction often intertwine. A magisterial epic about Good and Evil, cyclical history and coming of age. (14+)
The Netherlands (Frisian) - 2003 - 224
Boer, Helena de (text/illus.)
In lytse poppe
(A little baby)
Ljouwert [Leeuwarden] : Afûk, 2002.  p.
Addition to the family
When some animals find a bird’s nest with little eggs in it, a discussion arises between the four friends about how animals are born. One of them says that young animals are being brought by the stork, the other says they grow up in a kale and another one believes all animals crawl out of an egg. During this discussion, they hear a rabbit calling for doctor Owl because her baby is being born. Now they know how animals are being born. This is an informative picture book about the Bear Baloe, who is well known by all children in Fryslân (Frisia). The colourful and somewhat cartoon- like illustrations complement the simple text very well. (4+)
The Netherlands (Frisian) - 2003 - 225
Peanstra, Auck (text)
Poiesz, Karin (illus.)
Ljouwert [Leeuwarden] : Afûk, 2002. 87 p.
This book presents twenty humorous, familiar read-aloud-stories about the adventures of Jaap and his sister Femke. Femke puts jam in her hair because Jaap says it is gel. When mother catches them putting their fingers in the sugar bowl, they henceforth may only eat sweets. First that is fantastic, but at the end of the day it turns out badly. They paint the dog’s nails and Jaap tries to make toasted sandwiches with the iron. That is the way Jaap and Femke play unfamiliar tricks. These well set-up stories are perfect for reading aloud but also suitable to be read by children themselves because of the simple language and a clear typeface. The somewhat caricature-like illustrations suit the stories well. (7+)
South Africa (Afrikaans) - 2003 - 226
Daly, Niki (text/illus.)
Rode, Linda (transl.)
(What’s cooking, Jamela?)
Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2001.  p.
Christmas – Chicken
Together with her mother, Jamela buys a chicken for Christmas. However, Jamela gets attached to the chicken, which she has named »Kersfees« (Christmas). When Jamela comes home from the Christmas play, a woman has come to her house to slaughter the chicken. Jamela runs away with the chicken. When her mother finds them, Jamela succeeds to convince her to prepare something else for the feast. This touching story is illustrated with many details giving an extra dimension to the text. The characters are pictured very lifelike and the whole book represents very well the way how Christmas is prepared and celebrated in South Africa. (5+)
Albania (Albanian) - 2003 - 227
Vreto, Shpresa [et al.] (ed.)
Tiranë : Shtëpia Botuese »Andersen«, 1999. 184 p.
(Letërsi ballkanike për fëmije)
Balkan States / Fairytales
This volume containing popular as well as lesser known folktales and literary fairytales of the Balkans, was published by the Albanian IBBY Section. The editors have collected numerous examples which mirror the richness of the literature from this historically important and diverse cultural region. The book includes tales from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey. The black-and-white illustrations accompanying the texts are rendered in different techniques by various Albanian artists. (5+)
Greece (Greek) - 2003 - 228
Barella, Angelikē (text)
Barbarusē, Lēda (illus.)
Deka santuits me histories
(Ten sandwiches with stories)
Athēna : Psychogios, 2002. 116p.
Everyday life – Tradition
In this book, a collection of ten humorous stories is offered as an unusual »bookish snack«! Each story is accompanied by two texts, one at the beginning and one at the end. In these texts, the writer explains what happened before each story was written and what followed after it was finished, thus presenting it like a »sandwich«. At the same time, she allows the young readers to discover the secrets of her work. A variety of themes drawn from everyday life, tradition, or personal experiences, form an amusing book, which touches on family relations, migrants’ problems, new technologies, and imagination. (9+)
Greece (Greek) - 2003 - 229
Hēliopulos, Bangelēs (text)
Kelemendrō, Hellē (illus.)
Ho Phōkos nomize oti ēthele na koimatai me parea
(Phōkos thought he wanted to sleep with company)
Athēna : Patakēs, 2002.  p.
(Phōkos ; 3)
Fear – Sleep – Dream
Phōkos, a young seal, thinks he needs his parents’ company to sleep well. He insists so much, that his parents finally let him sleep in their bed, but they move to his bedroom. Then father and mother find out that they have children’s dreams, while Phōkos has the dreams of adults. Now, Phōkos is the one who wants to convince his parents to sleep in their own bedroom, because he wants his dreams back! This charming and cheerful small book is one of a threebook series with a constantly distressed and worried Phōkos as its protagonist. In the other two books, Phōkos thinks (a) that he is ill, and (b) that he hates school. (4+)
Greece (Greek) - 2003 - 230
He sphentona tu Dabid
Athēna : Patakēs, 2002. 211 p.
(Synchronē logotechnia gia paidia kai gia neus : Syllogē peristeria ; 100)
Dictatorship – Resistance – Elementary School – Censorship
In the years of the Greek junta (1967-1974), a young teacher dares to talk about the differences between dictatorship and democracy. The children see how moved she is and decide to start their own resistance. They order weapons from Father Christmas, especially a »secret« weapon. The father of two pupils starts corresponding with a cousin of his, owner of a toy factory in a neighbouring country. Since the correspondence is under surveillance, the dictators believe it is about an actual conspiracy. So they send the army to the border. On the day the toys are expected, the lorries are searched. There are no weapons, only toys, and instead of a »secret« weapon, only a sling is found. The junta is ridiculed. David has defeated Goliath once more. (9+)
(Greek State Prize for Children’s Literature; 2001)
Greece (Greek) - 2003 - 231
Kontoleōn, Manos Dēmētriu (text)
Mendrinu, Anna (illus.)
Paramythia apo topus tēs Aphrikēs
(Folktales from Africa)
Athēna : Patakēs, 2002. 35 p.
(He yphēlios tōn paramythiōn ; 2)
Africa/Folktale – Wisdom – Imagination
This is the second volume of the series »He yphēlios tōn paramythiōn« (The universe of fairytales), aiming to give young readers the opportunity to get to know far-away places through the tales of their people. So, in this volume, children can read about the adventures of a man who put fire on the top of a mountain (Ethiopia); hear a potato talking (Guinea); learn why the frog lost its tail (Tanzania); be informed about why people follow the moon’s lifestyle and not that of a banana (Madagascar); meet children who were born on a fig tree (Kenya); and listen to a hunter talking to his flute (Nigeria). These traditional African tales are retold in a fascinating way and illustrated by an experienced artist. (7+)
Greece (Greek) - 2003 - 232
Mpulōtēs, Chrēstos (text)
Kunturēs, Michalēs (illus.)
Ho kalos magos Lelumplin metakomizei stēn Athēna
(The good wizard Lelumplin moves to Athens)
Athēna : Minōas, 2002. 34 p.
Wizard – Environment – Athens
A good wizard, named Lelumplin, arrives in Athens riding a flying stove to change many things in the city: Transform every useless object into a toy; enlarge the places where children can play; give all the children a flying balloon made of chewing-gum and take them on a trip over the islands. Moreover, he plans to set all the statues of the museums free for a night walk; invite all the world’s wizards and many famous fairytale heroes to a crazy party – and a lot more. He succeeds in all his efforts but one: He cannot change the minds of some grown-ups who dislike his achievements. So he remains on a cloud over Athens trying to find a magic recipe and make the imagination of those stubborn people grow, before moving to another city for similar reasons. (7+)
Greece (Greek) - 2003 - 233
To chthes tu erōta
Athēna : Patakēs, 2001. 297 p.
(Synchronē logotechnia gia neus : Syllogē parusies ; 31)
First love – Dictatorship – Resistance
This is a love story born in the late 1960s, under the military dictatorship in Greece. A stranger arrives on the island where 13-year-old Maria lives with her family. Why did he come? Why is he hiding? What is this precious load he is carrying? During her effort to answer these questions, the young heroine falls in love with the newcomer. He is a junta-fighter and has a dangerous mission to fulfill. Maria helps him as much as she can. When the mission is over, the stranger leaves the island secretly. His departure drives Maria to despair. But years later, when democracy has been restored, he comes back and the love story ends happily. This fascinating novel won the 2002 „Diabazō» magazine annual award for young adult literature. (12+)
Greece (Greek) - 2003 - 234
Ta terata tu lophu
(Monsters on the hill)
Athēna : Patakēs, 2002. 161 p.
(Synchronē logotechnia gia paidia kai gia neus : Syllogē peristeria ; 104)
Racism – Xenophobia – Neo-Nazism
Twelve-year-old Olga sees something she had never imagined. She meets real life monsters, who hate, fight, and even kill anyone who is a »stranger« or different: A group of young Neo- Nazi racists attack refugees and the children of immigrant workers. Olga and her family show true understanding for those people, and thus become targets of the racists. On the eve of a wedding, Olga falls into the Neo-Nazis’ hands and lives through an adventure, which puts her life at risk. A breathtaking novel depicting with realism the phenomenon of racism and Neo-Nazism, which, although not on a large scale, tends to grow nowadays in Greece, too. The young protagonist experiences a nightmare that shows her the meaning of savagery, but also of courage and daring. (10+)
Greece (Greek) - 2003 - 235
Oneira apo metaxi
(Dreams made of silk)
Athēna : Patakēs, 2002. 193 p.
(Synchronē logotechnia gia paidia kai gia neus : Syllogē kyknoi ; 51)
Family conflict – Divorce – Puberty
On an Aegean island, the Kapsalēs family (a busy father, a beautiful mother of Danish origin, an adolescent daughter, a younger son and a grandmother) live their everyday life quietly, until the arrival of a stranger. Paolo Pinneli comes unexpectedly to give back an ancient »article« stolen by his father during the Italian occupation of the island in World War II. Pinelli’s arrival rekindles long-buried animosities and threatens the family’s unity. Eventually, the family breaks apart. Diana, the teenage heroine, describes her mother’s departure with Pinelli, the effect this act has on her life and her own journey toward self-awareness and understanding of others. This powerful novel successfully deals with contemporary problems and anxieties of young people. (10+)
Greece (Greek) - 2003 - 236
Tribizas, Eugenios (text)
West, Stephen (illus.)
Hē teleutaia maurē gata
(The last black cat)
Athēna : Hellēnika Grammata, 2001. 367 p.
Racism – Exclusion – Extermination
On an imaginary island, some superstitious people believe that black cats bring bad luck. After severe persecutions and horrible atrocities, all black cats are killed and only one, the protagonist of the story, remains alive. However, through a miracle, this cat manages to bring back his friends and founds a new family. The persecutioners are punished and peace returns. Yet, in the end, the protagonist fears that people will soon forget the terrible things that happened. Rich in imagination, language, and ideas, this novel with an animal protagonist brings forward the problem of racism in a vivid, tragic and at the same time humorous way. Skillfully written, this book soon became a bestseller not only for children but for adults as well. (10+)
Greece (Greek) - 2003 - 237
Hē Konstantina kai oi arachnes tēs
(Konstantina and her spiders)
Athēna : Kedros, 2002. 240 p.
Family conflict – Divorce – Drug addiction
Konstantina lives in Germany with her parents. When they decide to get divorced, she is driven to despair. To help her face the situation, the parents send the girl to Greece to live with her granny. Yet, there the situation gets only worse because Granny cannot understand Konstantina’s problems and anxieties. She only thinks and talks of her past, especially the years of the Second World War and her part in the Greek Resistance against the Nazis. Thus Konstantina becomes an easy victim to a bad acquaintance, who pulls her into drug addiction. She ends up stealing her granny’s stamp collection to get money for the drugs. Her return to normal life proves to be extremely difficult and can only be achieved with the support of her family. (12+)
Hungary (Hungarian) - 2003 - 238
Nógrádi, Gábor (text)
Cakó, Ferenc (illus.)
Az anyu én vagyok
(I am the mother)
Budapest : Presskontakt Bt., 2002. 181 p.
Girl – Family – Metamorphosis – Roles
Ten-year-old Emese’s grandfather has successfully transformed the family cat into a dog which chases the family dog, now turned into a cat, up an apple tree. As a next step, granddad would like to try out his scientific success with a human subject. Football- fan Emese would love to be transformed into David Beckham, but since he is not available, she agrees to exchange bodies with her mother for half an hour. After a few misfortunate accidents, this half hour stretches into two days with a lot of funny adventures, in the course of which mother and daughter get to know and understand each other much better. A humorous and exciting children’s novel with simple black-and-white illustrations. (10+)
Special Mention - Hungary (Hungarian) - 2003 - 239
Szoboszlai, Margit (ed.)
Fodor, Anikó (illus.)
A Víziló, Sziporka és Bamba Géza
(The hippo, Sparky, and Géza-fool)
Budapest : Ab Ovo, 2001. 191 p.
Fairytales – Poetry – Short stories
24 contemporary Hungarian authors tell stories for children. Their fairy tales, stories, and poems focus on problems, adventures, and the daily life of children, and present them in a slightly mythical style typical for traditional storytellers. In Éva Janikovszky’s A fairy tale for TV-Teddy for example, a boy tells a tale to the TV-Teddy, who normally presents the goodnight stories. In Ball of the Snow Queen, Békés Pál makes the Old Year and the New Year fight against each other symbolising the fight between past and future. This anthology is a particularly appealing example for the development of Hungarian children’s literature which has so far not been considered as really »high« literature and thus only received minor attention. The authors’ contributions reveal a new emphasis on children’s literature which is also underlined by the volume’s high quality. Vignettes, rendered in three colours, perfectly complement the text and make this book a very enjoyable read. (5+)
Special Mention - Hungary (Hungarian) - 2003 - 240
Zalán, Tibor (text)
Kovács, Péter (illus.)
Hi-Szen, a guruló madár
(Hi-Szen [i.e. Oh’Yes], the rolling bird)
Budapest : Móra, 2002. 129 p.
(Az én könyvtáram)
Bird – Adventure
Hi-Szen, a small grey mythical creature with a red feather, travels through the world and encounters many adventures: He tames sharks and lions, conquers the giant snake, and becomes friends with a dinosaur. The little bird-like hero, who can neither fly nor roll around, is a skilful storyteller. He tells of all the important things in life: Love and friendship, pride and modesty, sufferings and happiness. The grippingly and fluently told tales of this book make for a truly delightful read. (7+)
Egypt (Arabic) - 2003 - 241
Šarūnī, Ya‘qūb aš- (text)
Tūni, Hilmī at- (illus.)
Aǧmal al-hikāyāt aš-ša‘bīya
(The best traditional fairytales)
Al- Qāhira : Dār aš-Šurūq, 2001. 84 p.
This anthology features six traditional fairytales adapted for younger and older children. Of special interest for non-Arab readers are not only the imaginative, suspenseful stories but also the fact that one repeatedly comes across elements familiar from fairytales of other cultures – take, for example, the fairytale Hadaya Fayruz, in which a sorceress grants a childless couple their wish for a baby and in which the king’s son, changed into a dog by a bad spell is saved by the love of a young woman who accepts to marry him. The large-format book is illustrated by many colourful, decorative pictures, which present a highly successful blend of Arabian traditions and modern graphic art. (10+)
Iran (Persian) - 2003 - 242
Daryānīyān, Sulmāz (text/illus.)
šāyad ism-i man ...
(Maybe, my name ...)
Tihrān : Haud-i Nuqra, 2001 (= 1380 h.š.).  p.
Children’s poetry – Child – Everyday life
This book’s simple poems for children deal with questions concerning the life of Iranian children. Expressed and answered from a young girl’s first person point-of-view, they address social and moral issues which children come across in their everyday life. Poverty, for example, is presented through the encounter with a girl sitting on the street with her empty bowl. Very unusual and original – not only for the literary production in Iran – is the graphic design of the book: Fine line-drawings on brownish paper, evoking the impression of quick sketches in a notebook, accompany the text in an admirable manner. (8+)
Iran (Persian) - 2003 - 243
Farāmarz Ibn-Hudādād Arraǧānī (original text)
Fatāhī, Husain (adapt.)
Tihrān : Intišāarāat-i Qadyānī, 2000 (= 1379 h.š.). 220 p., 157 p.
(Qissahā-i dīlnišīn-i adab-i pārsī ; ...) (Nasl-i imrūz)
Prince – Princess – Adventure – Rescue
This adolescent novel in two volumes is a excellent adaptation of the well-known Persian classic about the hero Samak Ayyar, which dates back all the way to the 12th century. Samak Ayyar serves the prince Hūršīd šāh, who falls in love with the daughter of the Chinese Emperor. When the prince sets out to save his beloved from various dangers, Samak Ayyar is at his side as a loyal consultant, who controls the situation from the background. The adventure story narrates the varied episodes and wonderful events of the travels in a gripping and entertaining way. At the same time, the reader will gain deep insight into life in medieval Orient. (12+)
Iran (Persian) - 2003 - 244
Murādī Kirmānī, Hūšang
Tanūr wa dāstānhā-i dīgar
(The bread and other tales)
Tihrān : Intišārāt-i Mu ‘īn-Parwīn, 2001 (= 1380 h.š.). 156 p.
Country living – Village – Tradition – Modernity
In the 16 tales of this volume, the author describes life in the Iranian countryside. Written in a realistic and impressive voice, these everyday-life stories present the unity and uniformity, the traditions, and the restricted view of the village people; yet, at the same time, they show the younger people’s wishes and attempts at breaking the traditional rules and changing them. One tale, for example, is about Mariam, who lives in poverty with her family in a remote village. When her mother is taken ill and has to be treated in town, Mariam asks a neighbour to explain to her how to bake bread. By asking someone outside the family for help, she wilfully breaks one of the village’s unwritten laws for very pragmatic and human reasons. (12+)
Iran (Persian) - 2003 - 245
Salīmī, Mustafā (text)
Banī Asadi, Muhammad ‘Alī (illus.)
Tihrān : Kānūn-i Parwariš-i, 2002 (= 1381 h.š.).  p.
Boy – Football – Betrayal – Conscience – Career
Naser is about twelve years old and the successful goalkeeper of his football team. One evening, just before an important final match, Ashgar, a member of the opposing football team, pays him a surprise visit. If Naser ensures that the members of the other team leave the field as winners, he promises to make sure that the boy can join the famous club. Not wanting to betray his own team, Naser is thrown into a terrible moral conflict. He feels torn between his conscience and the wish to get one of the rare and popular positions with the opposing team. This gripping tale shows how, eventually, the boy’s faithfulness and love for his friends win over his ambition. (10+)
Iran (Persian) - 2003 - 246
Yūsufī, Muhammad Ridā (text)
Mumbīnī, Farzana (illus.)
Duhtarī mutiwalid mīšawad
(Born as a girl)
Tihrān : Šabāwīz, 2001 (= 1380 h.š.). 166 p.
Girl – Gender role – Prejudice – Assertiveness
This story is written from a very small girl’s pointof- view. As the third daughter, she is not welcome in the family. She is given the name Farokh, which can be used for boys and girls alike. Farokh, who senses her father’s rejection, tries to win his love by adopting a behaviour deemed typical for a boy – but in vain. Father and grandfather absolutely want to have a son and heir to keep the family tradition alive. The author describes this serious problem in a humorous language. With simple sympathetic sentences, he points out the little protagonist’s feelings and thoughts. (10+)
Israel (Hebrew) - 2003 - 247
Šālēw, Mē’îr (text)
Abul‘afyā, Yosi (illus.)
had- Dodā Mi-kal
Tēl Āviv : Am Ovēd, 2000.  p.
Child – Girl – Everyday life – Gender roles
This story, written in rhymes, tells the tale of Michal, a little girl who loves to romp about and to get up to mischief; in general, she behaves like a typical boy is said to behave. Michal simply is Michal – until, one day, she is forced into wearing a dress and asked to finally start behaving like a proper girl. When one of her relatives gets married and has two children, Michal takes on the role of »aunt« and cares for the two boys in a motherly manner. At night, however, she still dreams about her wild past. The book, accompanied by several coloured illustrations, humorously challenges traditional gender roles. (6+)
Israel (Hebrew) - 2003 - 248
Ham- Me-kaššēfā mē-rehôv Melčet 3
(The witch of Melzet Street No. 3)
Yerûšālayim : Keter, 2000. 124 p.
Boy – Magic – Witch – Love
With a lot of sympathy and understanding, this book tells the story of Assaf’s love for his classmate Lianne. Shy Assaf has always kept his feelings to himself. Since he is afraid that Lianne might reject him, the boy asks his old neighbour Pnina, whom he secretly suspects to be a 300-yearold witch, to brew a magical love-potion for him. Yet, Pnina warns him against using such a drink, because, as a young woman, she herself had lost her husband because of this. In the end, Assaf manages to find Pnina’s long-lost husband and to win Lianne’s heart – without any magic powers. Told in retrospect from Assaf’s point-of-view, the book explains in a very entertaining way, that matters of love cannot be influenced (by magic). (12+)
Turkey (Turkish) - 2003 - 249
Akak, Aytül (text)
Delioǧlu, Mustafa (illus.)
(My father shall not hear it)
Levent-İstanbul: Uçanbalık Yayınları, 2002. 63 p.
(Okumayı seviyorum dizisi)
Everyday life – School
The author of this volume tells eight stories about the life of primary school children in Turkey. The stories focus on everday and yet important questions and topics, which most children think about during their daily lives, such as why children have to go to school, or how children are »made«. The simple tales closely reflect a child’s way of experiencing the world. They are suitable for reading aloud or to be read on their own by primary school children. (6+)
Turkey (Turkish) - 2003 - 250
Gerçekle büyümek, düşlerle yürümek
(Growing up with the truth)
İstanbul : BU Yayinevi, 2000. 188 p.
Girl – Poverty – Ambition – Success – Social advancement
In this novel, a young girl tells about her arguments with her family, relatives, and friends about whether she can be allowed to make her own choices. The family lives in humble conditions in the city of Istanbul. Despite her parents’ resistance, lack of understanding, and the fact that they do not have any money to buy the schoolbooks, the girl attends secondary school. After a few failed attempts, she finally passes the entrance exam to university and starts studying to become a doctor. The story of this strong-willed young woman is told in an absorbing narrative. (12+)