White Ravens: 2004
Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 1
Seishun haiku o yomu
(Adolescence in haikus)
Tokyo : Iwanami Shoten, 2003. XIV, 180 p.
(Iwanami junia shinsho ; 447)
Poetry – Haiku – Youth
A haiku is a poem consisting of three verses with 5-7-5 syllables respectively, which captures the emotional experience of a single moment. Using 60 poems about topics that are suitable for teenagers, such as friendship, love, school life, etc. the author describes the essence and appeal of haikus. Half of the poems were written by pupils, the other half by teachers and well-known contemporary authors. With his sensitive interpretation of the selected works, explaining the seasonal word and the basic rule for each poem, the author introduces haiku poetry to readers and encourages them to write their own. This book is also of interest to readers outside Japan, all the more so as haikus are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 2
Hasegawa, Setsuko (text)
Kanaida, Etsuko (illus.)
Ningyō no tabidachi
(The dolls’ farewell)
Tokyo : Fukuinkan Shoten, 2003. 206 p.
Home country – Childhood memory – Imagination – This world / Next world
As a child, the author of this book lived in a little town in the Sanin region close to the Japanese Sea. There she learned about many old traditions and regional customs; she witnessed humanity and sad fates. Setsuko Hasegawa weaves mystic and religious elements into her memories and combines them with an impressive description of the surroundings. Thus she creates five unique short stories of high literary quality. The title story, for example, tells of a few broken old dolls, which are placed under a tree on the temple ground by their former owners to soothe their souls. Before the eyes of the protagonist, the dolls disappear into the tree hollow, in which lies the sea Nirwana. In all the stories, wondrous events befall the little heroine, but also some painful ones. The exquisite and aesthetic illustrations highlight the mixture of realistic and fantastic elements in the stories and help readers from other cultural backgrounds to acquire a better understanding of the foreign subject. (13+) ☆
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 3
Hasegawa, Shūichi [et al.] (ed.)
Shashin de miru haiku saijiki – Juniaban
(Glossary for haiku-poetry with photographs for adolescents)
Tokyo : Komine Shoten, 2003. 71, 79, 79, 71, 87, 87, 87 p. (Vol. 1 and 2: Haru [Spring]; Vol. 3 and 4: Natsu [Summer], Vol. 5: Aki [Autumn]; Vol. 6: Fuyu [Wint
Poetry – Haiku – Nature – Season – Symbolism
According to traditional rules, a haiku has to include one word that refers to a season. This lavish seven-volume work gathers about 3,200 of the so-called »seasonal words«, which are introduced in 4,800 haikus by well-known haiku-poets. Detailed information is given about the words’ symbolism and background, which – thanks to the large number of photographs – is easy to understand and lends an encyclopaedic quality to the books. In the appendix, readers will discover some facts about the invention and development of this Japanese form of poetry, about poets, rules, topics, and modes of expression, methods of writing haikus, and their creative reception abroad. This is an informative and inspiring work not only for pupils and teachers, but also for students and haiku-lovers worldwide. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 4
Hino, Kazunari (text)
Saitō, Takao (illus.)
Kaeru no Heike monogatari
(The frogs and the cat : a story inspired by »Heike monogatari«)
Tokyo : Fukuinkan Shoten, 2002.  p.
(Nihon kessaku ehon shirīzu)
War epic – Frog – Tomcat – Power struggle
In a 7-5-syllable metre, an old toad recites the epic of the rise and fall of the Heike-clan to the frog children. A few chapters from this war tale from the 13century, retold in a parodying manner, are turned into an imaginative picture book. The frogs, the Genji-clan, use a trick to defeat the tomcat, the Heike-clan. The battle is depicted in an elaborate style reminiscent of that in historical paintings: The medieval armour of the frog army consists of petals, thorns, nut shells, and stems of grass and their leaders are riding on grasshoppers. This original book is designed in the manner of emaki (old picture scrolls) and painted in a decorative painting style characteristic for Japan. (5+) ☼
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 5
Matsutani, Miyoko (text)
Segawa, Yasuo (illus.)
Bōsama no ki
(The blind minstrel’s tree)
Tokyo : Froebel-kan, 2002. 38 p.
(Nihon mukashibanashi ; 4)
Blind person – Minstrel – Tree – Miracle – Mercy – Gratefulness – Folk tale
This new edition of an earlier series is a treasure trove for lovers of Japanese folk tales and picture books. The stories are written in a melodious language and in a narrative style peculiar to folk tales. The illustrations, reminiscent of old brush drawings with a folkloristic touch, were painted by the internationally acclaimed and award-winning artist Yasuo Segawa. Volume four displays elements of illustrations from the Tanrokubon (block books), popular in the 17century. It tells the story of the gratefulness of a drowned blind minstrel whose corpse was discovered and buried by a ferryman: A wondrous tree grows from the grave and gives pleasure to the village people. (6+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 6
Mogami, Ippei (text)
Chō, Shinta (illus.)
Otōsan no ki
(The father’s tree)
Tokyo : Kyoiku Gageki, 2003.  p.
Father – Death – Grief – Friend – Compassion
This book tells the story of the everyday life of two friends. The father of the first-person narrator’s friend had once found a wounded owl that his son kept as a pet. »Over there, far away on a mountain top, stands an old tree in which some owls have their nests,« the father once said. When he dies, the friend releases his owl. Now, he wants to see his father’s tree himself and, therefore, the two boys climb up overgrown paths. The sensitive narrator shares his friend’s sense of loss and grief for the father. The empathetic text, also suitable for reading aloud, doesn’t really need any illustrations; nevertheless, the pictures – although they restrict themselves to few colours and sometimes only hint at the portrayed objects – lead the readers directly into the boys’ emotional world. (7+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 7
Murakami, Yasunari (text/illus.)
Yama no ofuro
(Welcome to my winterland : the hot springs in the mountains)
Tokyo : Tokuma Shoten, 2003.  p.
Child – Forest animals – Thermal springs – Winter
Two children go cross-country skiing and come across a little mouse whom they save from freezing to death. Once recovered, the mouse leads them to a secret place with hot springs where the animals of the forest enjoy the warm water. This delightful view in the midst of the snow-covered mountains makes the two children step into the springs and join the animals for a bath. Natureloving artist Yasunari Murakami frequently chooses »nature« as the topic for his illustrations. This time, he makes his readers experience a »steaming« natural paradise in his witty pictures. He presents a snowy landscape, painted in white alternating with warm colours, that radiates with a refreshing and cheerful atmosphere. (3+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 8
Nagita, Keiko (text)
Air = Ea
Tokyo : Kin no Hoshisha, 2003. 236 p.
Teenage girl – Parents – Love – Self esteem – Departure – First love – Self awareness
At first glance, it seems as if 14-year-old Ea (Air), daughter of successful parents and pupil at an elitist private school, lacks nothing while in fact she desperately lacks self-esteem and longs to be loved by her parents. Running away from home, the girl ends up in a flat where teenagers with family conflicts can stay for a while. It is a temporary state that might end with self-destructive criminality or lead back into the desired family life. When Ea falls in love for the first time, she realises that loving others can fill the emptiness in one’s own life. Despite the gloomy topic, the transparent and light-hearted language of the text creates a graceful atmosphere. This book underlines the importance of a happy family life. (14+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 9
Nakagawa, Naomi (text)
Murakami, Yutaka (illus.)
Minasoko no hitsugi
(Coffins at the bottom of the lake)
Tokyo : Kumon Shuppan, 2002. 335 p.
Japan/1150-1202 – Priest – Artificial lake
While repairing the dam of the Sayama-ike, the oldest artificial lake in Japan, workers come across some stone coffins of noblemen from the era of the hill graves (4to 7century). During some earlier repairs in the 12century, commanded by the audacious priest Chōgen, these had been inserted into the dam as water channels. Using these facts as a historical backdrop, the author describes the life of the orphan boy Komatsu, who continuously struggles to survive. Komatsu meets with the Chōgen and other people and is fascinated by the symbolic meaning of fire. These experiences motivate him to fight for the artificial lake in his home region. Later in life, he decides to travel to China and learn the craft of porcelain. Descriptions of a variety of historical events let this era come alive. (13+) ☆
(43rd Japanese Association of Writers for Children Prize; 2003)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 10
Nishimaki, Kayako (text/illus.)
(Good morning, Syllables!)
Tokyo : Kogumasha, 2003.  p.
Syllable – Piglet – Playing – Alphabet
Kayako Nishimaki, whose books perfectly meet the interests and emotions of toddlers, offers a new type of ABC book created exclusively from embroideries and applications. One sunny morning, the piglet triplets jump out of their beds and start playing outside where they are soon joined by a mouse and a mole. The funny scenes and the rhythmical text written in the Japanese Hiraganasyllable- signs, vividly portray the cheerful world of children. The second volume, Bokutachi ichiban sukina mono (That’s what we like best), which uses the same method to teach numbers from one to ten, is also well worth mentioning. Counting-out rhymes, for example, illustrate how the triplets celebrate their fourth birthday. Both books create a warm and comforting atmosphere. (3+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 11
Okada, Jun (text/illus.)
Ryū taiji no kishi ni naru hōhō
(How to become a dragon-slaying knight)
Tokyo : Kaiseisha, 2003. 109 p.
Actor – Dragon – Knight – Fight – Future – Wish
Yasuo accidentally left all his things at school. In the evening, when he goes there together with his classmate Yūki to fetch them, an actor in knight’s armour who claims to be a dragon slayer is standing in their classroom. Suddenly, a real dragon appears and a fierce fight ensues in which the children become involved. This unbelievable event does not only strengthen the friendship between Yasuo and Yūki, it also deeply influences their future lives: Yasuo becomes an author and Yūki an actress. This entertaining school story with fantasy elements contains two messages, namely to have dreams for one’s future and to strive to make them come true. (11+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 12
Sonoda, Hisako (text)
Maruki, Toshi (illus.)
Inochi no hana
(The flowers of life)
Osaka : Kaihō Shuppansha, 2003.  p.
Japan/1800 – Minority – Origin – Discrimination – Injustice – Arbitrariness
In 1800, the inhabitants of a small village, which today is situated in the urban area of Fukuoka, suffer an incredible injustice. A drunken Samurai who pesters the people around him is beaten up by five citizens. In order to save the face of the Samurai-class, the culprits have to be found and receive capital punishment. Completely arbitrarily, the officials force the Burakumin, a socially less privileged minority, to hand over five men, otherwise all their houses will be burned down. On the basis of the temple’s death register and the orally transmitted stories, the committed author and the well-known illustrator have reconstructed this event very convincingly and denounce injustice and discrimination in powerful pictures. (12+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 13
Suzuki, Yukie (text)
Suezaki, Shigeki (illus.)
Yūhigaoka no San
(Sun, the dog from the hill of the evening sun)
Maisaka : Hikumano Shuppan, 2003. 36 p.
Dog – Family – Farm – Everyday life – Seasons
The favourite place of a farmer’s boy is a hill from where he watches the evening sun glide down over the mountains. One day, he finds a small dog there, and although he already has various pets at home, he is allowed to keep it. The dog is an amiable addition to the family and its lively character makes the sick grandmother regain some energy. The boy is therefore terribly sad when the little dog suddenly disappears. Yet, in spring, it is back again bringing its puppies with it and the farm is once more filled with joy. The author’s positive outlook on life is expressed in her depiction of the tea farmers’ daily life. Even if the people and their behaviour are portrayed in a somewhat sketchy way, they still illustrate the change of the seasons and the daily scenes with sufficient detail. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 14
Taniuchi, Kōta (text/illus.)
(What’s the way like?)
Tokyo : Shikosha, 2003.  p.
Path – Road – Countryside – Season
Paths we think we know repeatedly show us new faces depending on the time of day, the season, and the mood of the person who walks along it. And what might the road look like behind the next bend or that hill over there? The picture book artist Kōta Taniuchi, who today lives in France, invites his readers to join him for a walk along paths he has once taken: through green fields of wheat, through the rain in the city, along the beach in summer, through the forest in autumn, and towards the trees covered with hoar frost in winter. He expresses his impressions in quiet naïve poetic pictures with few words, leaving plenty of room for the audience to listen to their own feelings and imagination. (3+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 15
Tomiyasu, Yōko (text)
Kajiyama, Toshio (illus.)
(Mogaribue, the winter wind)
Tokyo : Akane Shobo, 2002.  p.
(Akane shin ehon shirīzu ; 14)
Wind – Winter – Child – Fear
In haiku poetry, »Mogaribue« is one of the words that symbolise winter. It describes the piercing sound made by a freezing wind blowing across fences, through trees, etc. In the countryside, a small boy wanders off to fly his kite. The sound of the grass and bamboo trees swaying in the strong wind frightens him. When, suddenly, he hears voices and spots a giant tiger in the sky looking like a winter ghost and soldiers who chase it, the boy can no longer stand the menacing, spooky atmosphere and runs home. Accompanied by a gripping and lyrical text, Toshio Kajiyama’s pictures, drawn in his own characteristic style of dots and brush lines, imaginatively illustrate an everyday natural phenomenon. (5+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 16
Uchida, Rintarō (text)
Furiya, Nana (illus.)
(Thank you, my friend)
Tokyo : Kaiseisha, 2003. 31 p.
(»Oretachi, tomodachi!« ehon shirīzu ; 6)
Friendship – Sea – Fishing – Failure
The friendship between Fox and Wolf, who are very different in character, is fairly exciting. In a humorous way, this series of picture books called Friends, which was started in 1998, describes the difficulties of true friendship in various aspects. Even when the friends are happy together, envy, boasting, or quarrels creep in. But in the end tolerance, compassion, and common sense prevail. Because of the high quality of this series, the (didactic) message is not too obvious. Instead, priority is given to the originality apparent in the vibrant pictures with their delightful details. In volume six of the series, Wolf boasts that he will catch a giant tuna for his friend, but he fails miserably; luckily enough, Fox is quite generous. (5+)
Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 17
Yoshimura, Keiko (text)
Tajima, Yukihiko (illus.)
Nanashi no Gonbe-san
(The nameless people)
Tokyo : Doshinsha, 2003. 40 p.
Disability – Family – Air raid – World War II
War casts a shadow over the life of physically handicapped Momoko. The air raids occur more and more often, her grandfather, usually a very caring person, becomes angrier and angrier, and due to her handicap, she is not allowed to start school. Deeply disappointed, Momoko protests, yet only the neighbouring boys try to comfort her. One day, bombs rain down on the city. The wheelchair with Momoko in it suddenly rolls through the flames, the boys run with her through the sea of fire. Thousands of people perish in the flames. And what about Momoko and the boys? With few words and many expressive pictures from the little girl’s perspective, this picture book manages to convey a convincing portrait of the horrors of war to child readers. (7+) ☆
Republic of China (Chinese) - 2004 - 18
Chang, Xingang (text)
Shi, Xiaojie (illus.)
Shanghai : Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 2002. 234 p.
Child – Growing up
In this gripping novel, award-winning author Xingang Chang tells the story of 10-year-old Feng and his dog Neite who live a happy-go-lucky way of life in Shanghai. By sheer accident, the boy learns that he is different from his classmates and that he comes from a complicated background. By now, he should actually be 18 years old but he has lost part of his memory and has repeated the same class at school for the past eight years. When he discovers that, eight years ago, he was sentenced to turning into a person who would no longer grow, he sets out to recover his and Naite’s original age. Along the way, Feng and Neite experience many unexpected adventures until they can finally start a normal life again. (12+)
Republic of China (Chinese) - 2004 - 19
Mei, Zihan (text)
Zhao, Xiaoyin (illus.)
Nüer-de-gushi : (Quanji)
(The story of a daughter)
Shanghai : Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 2003. 315 p.
Father – Daughter
The author of this novel, a university professor of children’s literature, tells stories about his daughter and her everyday life. In the first part of the book, he tells the story of his daughter from the father’s perspective. The second part narrates the same story but this time from the daughter’s perspective. Every anecdote mirrors the experiences of both father and child. Because of the amusing events and the humorous language, reading this novel about growing up, a process that is both joyful and painful, will arouse laughter and tears. (12+)
Republic of China (Taiwan) (Chinese) - 2004 - 20
Peng, Yi (text)
Cai, Jiyu (illus.)
(Father Monster, Monster Father)
Taibei : Xiaolu-Wenhua-Shiye-Gufen-Youxiangongsi, 2002. 91 p.
(Xiaolu-Ertong-Chengzhang-Xiaoshuo ; GF 13)
Father – Son – Death – Grief
On Shuihai’s sixth birthday, his mother receives the message that his father has died in an accident. The little boy is absolutely devastated and thinks about him all the time. One day, lonesome Shuihai finds a monster in his bathtub that bears a strong resemblance to his father because of the tender look in its eyes. Apart from that, the monster is fond of tickling Shuihai with its beard, one of Shuihai’s father’s favourite jokes. Last but not least, the creature enjoys singing a song while taking a shower – exactly like his father, the »bathtub singer«! Very skilfully, the author combines real and fantasy elements and expresses the boy’s grief and longing in comprehensible pictures. (8+)
Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2004 - 21
Sin, Tong-jun (text/illus.)
Chihachŏl ŭn tallyŏ onda
(The underground train arrives)
Seoul : Ch obang, 2003.  p.
Seoul – Underground – Train station
People who want to take an underground train, simply walk down the stairs to the station, buy a ticket, pass the gate, and wait for their train on the platform. Many different people travel by underground and the scenes are usually alike in all the big cities. In this book, Sin Tong-jun uses a very original, direct, and attractive collage-technique to illustrate the hustle and bustle at the underground stations in Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea. The various passengers look so alive that the reader almost seems to hear them talking. The stations, tunnels, bridges, the river, and the view of the city are shown elaborately, with several pictograms, train schedules, and Korean, Chinese, and Latin characters ingeniously woven into the pictures. This lively, graphically designed picture book is an excellent inspiration for children to develop their own creativity. (4+)
Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2004 - 22
Yi, Hyŏn-sun (text)
Ch'oe, Ŭn-mi (illus.)
Sim Ch ŏng ka
Seoul : Ch obang, 2003.  p. + 1 CD
ISBN 89-90614-05-8. - 89-90614-03-1
Folk tale – Daughter – Father – Self-sacrifice – Miraculous cure – Music – Theatre
Shimchong believes that only an offering in the temple can cure her father of his blindness. Since she is very poor, she sells her life to some sailors who sacrifice young girls to placate the sea. The sea-king, however, spares her life and eventually, her father can see again. This folk tale about a virtuous girl is created in the 400-year-old Korean performance art of P’ansori, in which only one person speaks and sings in alternation with a drummer. The characters in this book, borrowed from the traditional Korean mask-dance, act in stylised poses without a background. Just like a P’ansori singer who fills the stage with his performance alone, the figures fill the large-format pages of this book. (4+) ☆ ☼
South Africa (English) - 2004 - 23
Schermbrucker, Reviva (text/illus.)
Conradie, Wayne (photogr.)
They were wrong!
Lansdowne : Early Learning Resource Unit, 2003.  p.
South Africa – Child – Everyday life – Prejudice – Multicultural society
This small picture book is published by the Antibias Project of ELRU – the Early Learning Rescource Unit, a small organisation which aims at improving the lives of South African children. It addresses common prejudices against foreign people and unfamiliar situations in an amusing child-friendly way. In a mixture of brightly-coloured bold paintings expressing the unfounded speculations and colour-photographs depicting actual real-life scenes, the author shows how a young boy is not intimidated by the ridiculous warnings from some of his friends but rather sets out to discover the truth for himself. This committed booklet encourages its readers to be openminded and think critically. (4+) ☆
Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 2004 - 24
Cape Town : Tafelberg, 2002. 159 p.
Grandfather – Quarrel – Reconciliation – Friendship – Colonialism – Slavery – Rebellion – Freedom – South Africa/1900
When Jedro is punished for getting into a fight with the class bully and sent to stay a few days at his granddad’s place in the countryside, the boy is prepared for a dead-boring weekend. How was he to know that the old man would suddenly conjure up an exciting tale that was to have a profound impact on Jedro’s life? Embedded in a moving frame story, the author offers young readers the gripping account of the life of a courageous black boy who decides to fight against slavery and unjust laws passed by the white government in 19century South Africa. Narrated in a direct and engaging style, the tale about Koot’s rebellion and his struggle against three banes prophesied to him by an old medicine woman immediately captivates the (fictional and real-life) audience. At the end, children will reluctantly surface from an enthralling read that also offers some insight into the life of black people in South Africa a century ago, their ancient culture, and the power of storytelling. (12+) ☆
Tanzania (English) - 2004 - 25
Bgoya, Walter (text)
Steinberg-Mund, Christine (illus.)
The story of the crow and the frog
Dar es Salaam : Mkuki na Nyota Publ., .  p.
Crow – Frog – Race – Deception
In this small square picture book, Walter Bgoya presents a variation of the motif about the race between a hare and a hedgehog well-known worldwide through the Grimm brothers’ folk tale collections. This time, it is a young crow who proudly thinks himself superior to an old frog and challenges the amphibian to a race. Thanks to a little frog girl’s clever plan, however, the crow is taught a lesson and forthwith both species respect each other. The short text is accompanied by humorous colour-pencil drawings. The bustling pictures nicely illustrate how an utterly astonished and confused crow is eventually defeated by a group of slyly grinning, jumpy little frogs. (4+)
Australia (English) - 2004 - 26
Grant, Joan (text)
Curtis, Neil (illus.)
Cat and Fish
South Melbourne, Victoria : Lothian, 2003.  p.
Differentness – Friendship – Tolerance
Normally, cats and fish belong to different worlds. Yet, when this book’s two protagonists meet, they immediately become close friends and venture out together. After a while, Fish starts feeling homesick for the sea. Since Cat does not seem too enthusiastic about living under water, they simply decide to settle at the shore where both worlds meet and to await their next adventure. This poetic story of two unlikely friends is beautifully expressed in Escheresque black-and-white illustrations. The dream-like pictures with their varied patterns, rendered in pen-and-ink technique, offer readers a humorous and imaginative interpretation of the enchanting text. (3+) ☆
Australia (English) - 2004 - 27
King, Stephen Michael (text/illus.)
Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat
Crows Nest, NSW : Allen & Unwin, 2003.  p.
Girl – Talent – Imagination – Self-confidence – Differentness
Milli, an exceptionally creative and skilled girl, lives in a village where people are only interested in practical, useful things and therefore do not appreciate her special talent. To please them, shy Milli works as an ordinary shoemaker until one day, Jack and the Dancing Cat arrive. The two unusual wandering minstrels entice her imagination and give her the courage to pursue her dreams. Vivid watercolours with fine black outlines, reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s pictures, accompany the humorous text and perfectly capture the beauty of the whimsical shapes Milli creates out of discarded everyday objects. This lighthearted tale easily persuades readers to believe in their imagination – and in themselves. (4+) ☆
Australia (English) - 2004 - 28
Lawson, Sue (text)
Magerl, Caroline (illus.)
My Gran’s different
South Melbourne, Victoria : Lothian, 2003.  p.
Grandmother – Grandson – Alzheimer’s Disease
Charlie is aware that his grandmother is different from those of his friends and classmates. She doesn’t bake cakes or sell flowers, she doesn’t knit scratchy jumpers or travel all around Australia, nor does she visit football matches or work in the garden. All she ever does is sit in her rocking chair and stare out of the window – because »she can’t remember who she is.« Nevertheless, the young boy completely accepts her as she is and clearly doesn’t love her any less for it. The delicate washy watercolours in subdued tones and the sparse text written in a quiet, repetitive style create a moving story of a child’s love for his grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. This courageous picture book is a true gem for young and old readers alike – which may also spark off discussions about and provide understanding for a serious problem. (4+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2004 - 29
Malbunka, Mary (text/illus.)
When I was little, like you
Crows Nest, Australia : Allen & Unwin, 2003.  p.
Australia/1960s – Aboriginals – Mission settlement – Childhood
In 2000, students and members of staff at Papunya School got together to create the award-winning Papunya School Book of Country and History. Now, one of them, Aboriginal artist Mary Malbunka, returns to tell readers about her own childhood at Papunya. In a simple and engaging style, interspersed with Luritja expressions – Mary’s mother tongue – she recalls arriving at the government settlement as a five-year-old. She shares memories of everyday life at the settlement such as going to school, searching for sugarbag (i.e. wild honey), climbing trees, and listening to the stories of the elders. Her short tale is accompanied by colourful acrylic and watercolour pictures, carried out both in traditional and in European styles of art, that conjure up a lively picture of an Aboriginal childhood in the 1960s. The short appendix includes a note on the various Aboriginal languages, a short explanation of the language of symbols used in many traditional pictures, and a Luritja-English glossary. _ (6+) ☆
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2004 - 30
The spirit of Barrumbi
Norwood, SA : Omnibus Books, 2003. 213 p.
Aboriginals – Whites – Intercultural education
In this sequel to her highly praised first novel The Barrumbi Kids, Leonie Norrington describes everyday life in a small Aboriginal community and discusses the conflicts children have to come to terms with if they live in two different cultures at once. The inhabitants of Long Hole still cherish their traditional culture and are taught to respect the ways of the elders. Even though Dale and his parents and siblings have lived there for many years and are regarded as kin by Tomias’ family, tensions between the Aboriginals and the white family suddenly rise when Dale’s headstrong older brother Sean stupidly breaks one of the elders’ important rules and thus almost causes a catastrophe. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2004 - 31
The Marowack Two
Camberwell, Victoria [et al.] : Penguin Books, 2003. 250 p.
Search for identity – Fear – Friendship – Environmental destruction – Resistance
Every time Kira is struck by lightning – 14 times so far – she wakes up in a different hospital bed with no memory of her previous life. To escape this mysterious and terrifying curse, mother and daughter move to Marowack, a small goldmining town in the middle of nowhere, supposedly free of thunderstorms. When the small village forest is in danger of falling prey to greedy politicians, Kira joins forces with 17-year-old Hector and the two troubled outsiders get entangled in a web of political intrigues. Told from alternating points of view, this fast-paced powerful novel traces the story of two scared and angry teenagers who desperately try to come to grips with life’s challenges while they are struggling with their fragile love-hate relationship. (14+)
Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2004 - 32
Fitzroy, Vic. : Black Dog Books, 2003. 346 p.
China – Dragon – Slavery – Escape – Journey – Danger – Search for identity
When a brutal dragon hunter suddenly appears at the secluded imperial palace and threatens to kill the last imperial dragon, young slave girl Ping spontaneously helps the threatened creature escape. This marks the beginning of a long, perilous journey across the country to mysterious Ocean during which Ping slowly learns to accept her new duty as true dragonkeeper and to trust in her inner strength. Set in ancient China at the time of the Han dynasty, this engaging fantasy novel about friendship and betrayal portrays the metamorphosis of the shy insecure protagonist into a courageous trustworthy young woman. The powerful narrative with its traditional fantasy elements immediately captures the readers’ imagination and does not release them until the very end. (12+)
India (English) - 2004 - 33
Ravishankar, Anushka (text)
Pieper, Christiane (illus.)
Alphabets are amazing animals
[Chennai] : Tara Publ., 2003.  p.
Alphabet – Nonsense
Alphabet books still are one of the most popular picture book types because they offer countless possibilities to authors and illustrators. In this square volume, Indian writer Anushka Ravishankar delivers hilarious alliterating nonsense phrases for each of the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet. From »Anteaters Adore Arithmetic« and »Odd Otters Order Only Onions« to »Zebras Zoom Zig-Zag«, the author has her animal protagonists perform the most unusual and absurd tasks. Christiane Pieper’s vibrant partly cartoonlike illustrations, drawn in black-and-white plus one changing colour, present a crazy menagerie of animals romping about happily on the various double-spread pages. A truly delightful ABC not only for beginning readers. (3+) ☼
India (English) - 2004 - 34
Sen Gupta, Subhadra
Jodh Bai : diary of a Rajput princess
New Delhi; New York [et al.] : Scholastic, 2003. 106 p.
India/1561-1562 – Mughal Empire – Princess – Arranged marriage – Fictional diary
This new instalment in the popular series of historical diaries is set in the middle of the 16century in Northern India. The book describes the everyday life of 14-year-old princess Jodh Bai, daughter of the king of Amber. The amiable and open-minded girl chats about various aspects of life such as daily routines and special festivities, education and political decisions, love and intrigues. Moreover, she relates her fears and worries when she suddenly learns that she is soon to be married to the powerful young Mughal king Akbar. Using a blend of factual and fictional events and characters, the author makes a distant period of Indian history come alive for teenage readers. An informative appendix adds some interesting background information. (12+) ☆
India (English) - 2004 - 35
Swaminathan, Kalpana (text)
Sen, Anita (illus.)
New Delhi [et al.] : Puffin Books, 2003. 194 p.
Dog – Extra-sensory perception – Friendship – Animals/Humans – Threat – Adventure
Normally, Jaldi would just frolic about with her three brothers and enjoy life. Instead, because of her special powers, the little pup is destined for an important ‘job’. Together with her street-wise uncle Musafir and a bunch of new friends, she roams the city streets of Bombay trying to track down the villainous duo JB and BB, who threaten the Bombay Stray’s carefree life. Narrated in the first person from a naive little dog’s point of view, this highly entertaining detective story not only offers a hilarious read but also confronts readers with an unusual view of the world – last but not least because the proud and clever dogs feel they are ultimately superior to human beings, who simply »don’t have much understanding.« (10+)
New Zealand (English) - 2004 - 36
Jones, V. M.
Juggling with mandarins
Auckland : HarperCollins, 2003. 255 p.
Father – Son – Expectations – Disappointment – Ambition – Climbing
In her second children’s novel, the award-winning author carefully portrays a young boy’s struggle against the overpowering influence of his ambitious father. The first-person narrator Pip (named after a Charles Dickens character by his mother) knows he is different from his older brother Nick, an ace footballer. As much as Pip would like to win his father’s respect, he abhors his competitive attitude towards sport. This summer, the quiet boy sets himself a new goal: He learns how to juggle. With great determination, he manages to juggle not only a few mandarins but also, metaphorically, his emotions, relationships, and life’s ups and downs. In the end, he also finds the strength to confront and make peace with his father. (11+)
Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 37
Blake, Quentin (text/illus.)
Mrs Armitage, queen of the road
London : Cape, 2003.  p.
(A Tom Maschler book)
Woman – Dog – Car – Creativity
In 1987, resourceful Mrs Armitage and her trustworthy dog Breakspear made their first appearance in a book, adorning an ordinary bike with thousands of useful objects until it resembled something like a fairground-spaceship. After a short holiday trip to the sea (1997), the vivacious lady is now back on the road. This time she takes a fairly bumpy ride in her latest acquisition: Every time a part of the rusty old car falls off, she simply takes it to the scrapheap musing »Who needs it?« In the end, the remaining chassis decorated with some odd bits and pieces serves as an ace vehicle for the »queen of the road« and her canine partner. As usual, Quentin Blake’s ingenious watercolour illustrations need no more than a few lines and sketchy fields of colour to capture the vigour and vibrancy of this nonsensical story. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 38
Browne, Anthony (text/illus.)
The shape game
[London] : Doubleday, 2003.  p.
Family – Art gallery – Looking at art – Imagination
Award-winning illustrator Anthony Browne has created an ingenious picture book that tells the (autobiographical?) story of a family’s first visit to the famous Tate Gallery in London. There, the initially reluctant family members – as well as the readers of this book – soon discover how much fun looking at art can be. The humorous watercolour illustrations are drawn in the artist’s characteristic, slightly surreal style with an abundance of funny details. By placing the chubby protagonists into settings identical to those of a number of paintings by various artists, Browne offers unconventional interpretations of these paintings and hints at striking parallels between reality and art. The short conversational text inspires children to let their imagination roam. (4+)
Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 39
Deacon, Alexis (text/illus.)
London [et al.] : Hutchinson, 2003.  p.
Extraterrestrial being – Earth – Loneliness – Friendship
Beegu, a small yellow being with long soft ears and three eyes, crashes her spaceship on planet earth. She walks around looking for a friend but is met with indifference or contempt by the adults (and things) she approaches for help. Only a group of children in the playground immediately accept her and give her a warm welcome. In his first picture book, the young British author-illustrator makes the readers see their home planet through the eyes of a stranded alien. Told in a subdued matter-of-fact style, this partly funny partly sad tale of loneliness and friendship (which does end happily for Beegu) comes alive in large format illustrations in warm colours and with a nostalgic touch. (4+) ☆
Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 40
The tears of the salamander
London : Macmillan Children’s Books, 2003. 233 p.
Orphan – Uncle – Fire – Magic – Music – Family feud – Good/Evil – Italy/Middle Ages
Peter Dickinson is one of the most popular British fantasy authors for children. In this riveting novel about a young boy’s destiny involving magic, music, fire, and salamanders, he takes his readers into medieval Italy. After his parents and brother have perished in a terrible fire, 12-year-old Alfredo is whisked away from his familiar life as cathedral choir boy by his uncle whom he only knows by name. At the ancient ancestral home on top of mount Etna on the island of Sicily, mysterious and taciturn Uncle Giorgio teaches him a few things about his family, the masters of the mountain, and their magical powers. When the boy finally discovers the old man’s true character, it is almost too late to save himself and the village people. (12+)
Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 41
Ering, Timothy Basil (text/illus.)
The story of Frog Belly Rat Bone
London [et al.] : Walker Books, 2003.  p.
Boy – Treasure – Hope – Robbers – Protection – Forgiveness
»In a dull, grey, endless place called Cementland ...« a spindly creature in a bright red and white shirt digs through a junk heap searching for treasure. After a promising discovery, followed by some disappointments, a mean robbery, and a clever solution, the boy is eventually rewarded for his patience: The depressingly dull and lifeless scene from the beginning of the book has turned into a garden of Eden bursting with colourful flowers and plants – and the boy has found some new friends. This imaginative story with handlettered text is carried out in outstanding, vibrant illustrations that combine cartoon-like elements and cinematic techniques (e.g. close-ups etc.) with crazy landscapes inhabited by fantastical creatures to create a truly delightful read. (3+) ☼
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 42
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
Oxford : Fickling, 2003. 271 p.
Teenager – Asperger’s Syndrome – Murder – Dog
»5 red cars mean that it is going to be a Super Good Day. And 4 yellow cars in a row mean that it is going to be a Black Day (...).« That is how life works for 15-year-old Christopher who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. While maths and sciences are child’s play for the boy with his photographic memory, humans and their emotions are all Greek to him. Therefore, when he finds the neighbour’s dog Wellington murdered with a garden fork and sets out to solve the mystery, his neat everyday order is threateningly disturbed and he pushes himself right towards his own boundaries. Written in an utterly convincing voice, the straightforward and perfectly logical narration, interspersed with the odd mathematical discourse, carries readers into the ‘foreign land’ of a highly intelligent boy whose behavioural difficulties can pose severe problems in everday-life situations. This amusing and at the same time sad and extremely touching story certainly challenges a number of prejudices against autistic people. _ (13+)
(Whitbread Book Award; 2003; Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize; 2003)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 43
Frome, Somerset : Chicken House, 2003. 320 p.
Boy – Illness – Parallel world – Adventure – Quest
While standing on the Continental Divide in Costa Rica with one foot on the Atlantic and one on the Pacific side of the watershed, 13-year-old Felix, who suffers from a life-threatening illness, suddenly passes out. When he comes round again, he finds himself in a strange upside-down world, where creatures like »brittlehorns« (unicorns) and »fire-breathers« (dragons) exist, but humans are regarded as mythical. With the help of Betony, an unruly »tangle-child« (elf), and the »brazzle« (griffin) Ironclaw, the boy plunges into a dangerous quest searching for a cure for his illness and the way back into the real world. This entertaining fantasy adventure draws young readers into a fascinating parallel universe and offers an exciting and enjoyable read. (11+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 44
Said, S. F. (text)
McKean, Dave (illus.)
Oxford [et al.] : David Fickling Books, 2003. 254 p.
Cat – Family – Outsider – Danger – Rescue – Friendship – Adventure
All his life, Varjak Paw was treated with contempt and ridicule by his brothers, and even his parents are convinced that he isn’t a proper Mesopotamian Blue. But when a mysterious tall man and his two killer cats threaten the proud feline family’s comfortable life-style in the Duchess’s grand house, the small kitten ventures into the unknown outside world, faces cruel cat gangs, learns about the »Way« – a number of secret survival skills – and finds true friends who help him defeat the enemy. This gripping, fast-paced novel about a lonely outsider’s adventurous quest for his identity is accompanied by angular black-and-white drawings that ingeniously capture the story’s tense atmosphere. (10+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 45
Steer, Dugald A. (ed.)
Dr. Ernest Drake’s dragonology : the complete book of dragons
Dorking, Surrey : Templar, 2003.  p.
Dragons – Encyclopaedia
This lavishly produced volume claims to be a facsimile edition of a book originally published in 1896. In a pseudo-serious scientific style, it compares the different types of dragons that exist world-wide, discusses their behaviour, life cycle, habitats, and history, and informs readers how to go about taming and flying these huge beasts. In addition, the appendix offers spells and charms that might come in handy when encountering a dragon. The exquisite cover design, the colourful detailed illustrations, drawings, diagrams, flaps to lift and charts, as well as specimens of dragon skin and samples of dragondust make this book a real treasure for young would-be dragon hunters. (8+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 46
When Isla meets Luke meets Isla
London : Bloomsbury, 2003. 159 p.
Teenager – Friendship – First love – Sister – Death – Grief
Isla doesn’t want to leave Scotland and start all over again in a small South England town where her new classmates pretend they cannot understand her accent. Luke is generally bored with school life and hates his father for abandoning the family. The quick-tempered girl and the quiet boy are immediately attracted to each other, quickly become friends, and have a whale of a time together, until, one day, an accident turns their lives upside down. Told alternatingly in Isla’s slightly sarcastic distinctly Scottish voice and Luke’s analytic yet dryly humorous language, this witty and touching debut novel convincingly describes the ups and downs of teenage life burdened with difficult relationships and the devastating loss of a little sister. (12+)
Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 47
Umansky, Kaye (text)
Mould, Chris (illus.)
Meet the Weirds
Edinburgh : Barrington Stoke, 2003. 77 p.
Family – Neighbour – Differentness – Disapproval – Friendship
Sometimes, books for beginning readers can seem a bit dull. With Kaye Umansky’s ‘weird’ little tale, however, you needn’t worry about this at all. Already from the cover illustration and the title, readers will sense that the Weirds are anything but an ordinary family. When the stuntwomanmother, the inventor-father, and their offspring move into Number 17 Tidy Street, Mrs. Prim and her equally prim husband are immediately suspicious about the new neighbours. Nevertheless, their son Pinchton soon realises that life next door has a lot of funny surprises in store. This hilarious tale full of dry humour and its utterly comical illustrations will have small and big readers shrieking with laughter. (8+)
Ireland (English) - 2004 - 48
Wings over Delft
Dublin : O’Brien Press, 2003. 189 p.
(The Louise trilogy ; 1)
Teenager – Love / Duty – Social class – Painting – Netherlands/1654
The rumours of her engagement to Reynier, an old childhood companion, come as an extremely unpleasant surprise to Louise, daughter of a wealthy Dutch potter. The educated, intelligent girl feels she is used as a pawn in a business deal. Reluctantly, she agrees to have her portrait painted by a well-known artist. In his studio, where the fascinating world of painting enchants her, she meets a soulmate and finally falls in love with him. Through its mixture of historical and fictiEnglish Language tious characters, the novel, which is the first volume of a trilogy spanning three centuries (loosely connected by the portrait of Louise), offers a compelling read and an interesting glimpse into the life in a Dutch village 350 years ago. (12+)
Canada (English) - 2004 - 49
Dinn, Philip (adapt.)
Jones, Andy (adapt.)
Cohen, Elly (illus.)
Peg Bearskin : a traditional Newfoundland tale
St. John’s NL : Running the Goat, 2003.  p.
Folktale – Newfoundland – Longing for child – Ugliness – Love
Read the text and you will hear the authentic voice of a local Newfoundland storyteller; take a closer look at the text and you will see true love for the art of bookmaking: Every single letter has been handset and each paragraph’s place on the page carefully considered. This unique tangibility of voice and type creates a strong sense of place, while the tale of Peg Bearskin itself makes ample use of universal narrative patterns: There are three daughters, three quests, and three husbands. But Peg is a ferociously ugly and thoroughly unconventional heroine who makes sure that the happy end holds a humorous surprise in store. Cohen’s stark black-and-white linocuts reveal the darker side of this traditional folk tale. (6+)
Canada (English/Cree) - 2004 - 50
Highway, Tomson (text)
Deines, Brian (illus.)
Fox on the Ice = Mahkesís mískwamíhk e - cípatapít
Toronto, ON : HarperCollins, 2003.  p.
Cree Indians – Nature – Family – Community
This bilingual picture book is the third in the Songs of the North trilogy. Each volume is centred on one animal – the caribou, the dragonfly, and the fox respectively – and relates one little outdoor adventure of the two Cree brothers Joe and Cody and their dog. The narrative in English and Cree focuses less on plot than on tone and atmosphere. It evokes the vastness of the far North, the beauty of the Manitoba landscape, the happiness of the family, and the simple joys of living in harmony with nature. Deines’s sparkling illustrations perfectly capture the majesty of the Great North and almost seem to reflect the boys’ tinkling laughter. (5+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2004 - 51
Major, Kevin (text)
Blackwood, David (illus.)
Ann and Seamus
Toronto : Douglas & McIntyre, 2003. 109 p.
(A Groundwood book)
Shipwreck – Newfoundland/1828 – Epic poem – Heroism – Love – Steadfastness
On May 29, 1828, the Despatch, an Irish immigrant ship, runs aground off the shore of Newfoundland. »These are the barest facts. They tell us nothing of the misery and pain.« Oh, but Kevin Major and David Blackwood certainly do, and how! They also tell us about courage, hope, and love. Thanks to young Ann Harvey’s steadfastness, more than 160 lives could be saved from »the hellish clutches of Isle aux Morts.« Adopting the form of a narrative poem, Major creates a dramatic contrast between intimate lyrical passages reflecting the aspirations of the two protagonists and the powerful epic scenes describing the plight and rescue of the shipwrecked. Blackwell’s haunting blue and grey prints vividly reflect all shifts in tone and voice. The generous text layout amplifies the epic rhythm and reinforces the impression that one is reading a timeless tale of love and courage. (12+)
(Governor General’s Award; 2003; Shortlist)
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2004 - 52
Sadlier, Rosemary (text)
Wang, Qi-Jun (illus.)
The kids book of Black Canadian history
Toronto ON : Kids Can Press, 2003. 56 p.
Black Canadians – Canada/1628–2000
This non-fiction title tells an important story seldom told: the history of Black Canadians. From the first Black slave to arrive in New France in 1628 to the Black singers, artists, and politicians of today, this book offers informative double-pages on key periods, people, or events: the Underground Railroad, the participation of Black soldiers in various wars and revolutions, the Jamaican Maroons, etc. Short personality profiles and »did-you-know boxes« with intriguing bits of information arouse the reader’s curiosity. A section titled »Prejudice and Racism« reminds us that the best way to fight these two evils is to learn more about each other. In this sense, this book makes a true contribution to tolerance. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2004 - 53
Schwartz, Virginia Frances
Markham, Ontario : Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2003. 268 p.
Kwakiutl Indians – Coming of age – Twins – Salmon – Sacrifice – Atonement
This powerful historical novel about Kwakiutl Indians from the Northwest Coast of Canada has strong mythic resonances. Set in the 15century, it weaves together the story of three adolescents on the brink of adulthood and a Kwakiutl transformation myth. The destiny of 11-year-old Nana and her twin brother Nanolatch is clearly set out before them. According to the Way, the boy will succeed his father as chief of the tribe while Nana will be married off. But thanks to Noh, a slave girl and shaman’s daughter, the two discover that they have to find their own way by listening to the world of the Spirits. Changing the point-of-view between the three protagonists, Schwartz creates a fascinating blend of ancient Indian legends and a modern coming-of-age novel. (12+) ☆
USA (English) - 2004 - 54
New York : Clarion Books, 2003. 218 p.
Girl – Friendship – Family life – Poverty – Abuse – Alcoholism – Kentucky – USA/1960s
In her remarkable first novel for children, Kentucky- born author Shutta Crum conjures up the authentic atmosphere of a small country town in her home state in the 1960s. During the summer holidays, Jessie and her best friend Robert usually roam about, doing what they please. But this time, the resourceful 12-year-old girl not only wants to find out who her father is, she also has to invent a plan of how to raise money for Robert’s desperately needed new glasses. Yet, despite her noble intentions, the quick-tempered heroine seems to stumble from one disaster into another. The fresh and direct first-person narrative paints a vivid picture of an endearing girl’s eventful summer between reassuring family bonds and threatening attacks from outside. (10+)
USA (English) - 2004 - 55
DiCamillo, Kate (text)
Ering, Timothy Basil (illus.)
The tale of Despereaux : being the story of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread
Cambridge, MA : Candlewick Press, 2003. 267 p.
Mouse – Love – Princess – Servant – Rat – Revenge – Adventure – Search for identity
In this fairytale-like novel, renowned author Kate DiCamillo tells a story about love and hate, revenge and forgiveness, light and darkness, starring three very different outsiders. Despereaux, a tiny mouse with a passion for music and literature, falls in love with beautiful Princess Pea and is punished by the mouse council for it. Chiaroscuro, who unlike his fellow rats is fascinated by light, wants to take revenge on the princess for destroying his dreams. And Miggery Sow, a poor dim-witted servant girl, longs to become a princess herself. Guided through the captivating tale by the omniscient narrator, the readers dive into a hair-raising adventure and witness how the protagonists’ lives become intertwined through the rat’s cunning plan. (9+)
(Newbery Medal; 2004)
USA (English) - 2004 - 56
Florian, Douglas (text/illus.)
Bow wow meow meow : it’s rhyming cats and dogs
San Diego [et al.] : Harcourt, 2003. 47 p.
Poetry – Cats – Dogs
After his latest success with Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs (Harcourt, 2001), which was termed »toadally terrific« by Kirkus Reviews, Douglas Florian has created yet another hilarious collection of animal poems. This time he focuses exclusively on the all-time favourite pets, dogs and cats (plus their feral relatives). In 21 original poems accompanied by as many delightful full-page watercolour illustrations, he unmasks the characteristic features or habits of »scent-sational« bloodhounds, shaggy sheepdogs, and »fur-ocious« lions and has his audience chuckling all the way through. Whether pet-lovers or not, readers of all ages will enjoy this imaginative and playful homage to »man’s (and woman’s) best friends«. (3+) ☼
USA (English) - 2004 - 57
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. 116 p.
(Frances Foster books)
Teenager – Family problems – Place of refuge
Keesha, Stephie, Jason, Dontay, Carmen, Harris, and Katie have one thing in common: They feel as if their lives were falling apart. Luckily enough, Joe’s house offers the desperate teenagers a safe refuge while they struggle with life’s problems and try to sort things out somehow. In this stunning first novel written entirely in verse, each of the protagonists gets their say – as do some of the adults involved. To express the different perspectives, Helen Frost resorts to two traditional poetic forms, the sestina and the sonnet, with each of the poems written in its own distinct voice in a style reading almost like prose. This fascinating collection of subtly interconnected poems weaves together the depressing stories of seven young people. (14+)
USA (English) - 2004 - 58
Gaiman, Neil (text)
McKean, Dave (illus.)
The wolves in the walls
New York : HarperCollins, 2003.  p.
ISBN 0-380-97827-x. - 0-06-053087-1
Humans – Wolves – Threat – Resistance
After the success of his children’s book Coraline, Neil Gaiman has once again teamed up with illustrator Dave McKean for a scary tale for young readers. In this innovative mixture between picture book and graphic novel, the gripping text, its playful layout, and the distorted computer-generated pictures perfectly complement each other to conjure up a story with an eerie atmosphere. Everybody keeps telling Lucy that »if the wolves come out of the walls, it’s all over.« So the moment this actually happens, the family bolt down the stairs and grudgingly set up camp in their own garden, listening to the frightening romp inside their house. Lucy, however, quietly creeps back inside and devises a strategy about how to turn the tables on the beastly intruders. (6+)
USA (English) - 2004 - 59
Giff, Patricia Reilly
New York : Wendy Lamb Books, 2003. 158 p.
ISBN 0-385-32658-0. - 0-385-90095-3
Ireland/1845 – Potato famine – Poverty – Family – Emigration
Nory is the last one to leave. Just like her family and that of her best friend Sean, she intends to walk all the way to distant Galway and board a ship to America trying to escape the hunger and desperation caused by rotting potato crops in 19century Ireland. Told in chapters alternating between Nory’s and Sean’s perspectives, this compelling sequel to Nory Ryan’s Song describes the two teenagers’ separate, deadly exhausting and dangerous journey to the port as well as their fate on board the crowded vessel where they eventually meet again. Both have to suffer hunger and violence, sickness and cruelty. The two narratives paint an authentic picture of the terrible sufferings people had to endure, making that era come alive for teenage readers. (14+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2004 - 60
Hoffman, Alice (text)
Mahurin, Matt (illus.)
New York : Scholastic Press, 2003. 116 p.
Girl – Family – Catastrophe – Loss – Surviving – Grief – Sister – Difference
One day, the nearby city is completely destroyed by a terrifying catastrophe, and 15-year-old Green at once loses her family, her future, and the world as she knows it. Cutting off all her emotions in her struggle to survive, the formerly shy and introverted girl turns into Ash, a tough creature who wears a thorn-studded leather jacket and boots with sharp nails to protect herself from physical and emotional attacks. Written in an exceptionally beautiful poetic style, this quiet novel traces the slow healing process of a teenage girl lost in desperation as she tries to recover her grip on life. The readers are inevitably drawn into the touching first-person narrative and share the grief and loneliness of the protagonist as she eventually accepts her fate and allows some feeling of hope into her heart again. The delicate white-and-green illustrations at the beginning of each chapter perfectly match the slightly mystical tone of the text and make this book a true gem. (14+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2004 - 61
McDermott, Gerald (text/illus.)
New York : Dutton Children’s Books, 2003.  p.
Creation of the Earth
Using handmade mulberry-bark paper from Japan, award-winning illustrator Gerald McDermott retells the creation of the Earth in fascinating pictures. The sparse text is written as a first person account of the events with the words printed in various colours mirroring those of the illustrations. Thus text and pictures are not conceived as separate entities but rather blend into a harmonious whole. The large format gesso-and-fabricpaintings, which radiate with a mythical atmosphere, start as dark, monochrome, roughly textured surfaces. As the Creator adds various elements to his new creation, the pictures quickly fill up until they are brimming with colourful plants and creatures who inhabit the earth. (4+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2004 - 62
New York : Knopf, 2003. 509 p.
(Inheritance trilogy ; 1) (A Borzoi book)
ISBN 0-375-82668-8. - 0-375-92668-2
(Originally publ. in different form by Paolini International, 2002)
Adolescent – Dragon – Coming of age – Threat – Escape – Fight – Good/Evil
When Eragon, while hunting in a dark mountain range, stumbles across a mysterious blue stone, which turns out to be a dragon egg, he has no idea that his whole life is about to change dramatically. Equipped with an ancient sword and accompanied by his dragon and an old storyteller, Eragon is forced to flee his quiet farmboy life and is plunged into a dangerous quest for magic and power, identity and destiny, Good and Evil. Young author Christopher Paolini started writing his epic fantasy at the age of only 15 and is now working on the second volume of the trilogy. He sends his protagonists on blood-curdling adventures through a convincing alternative world, inhabited by a rich tapestry of characters that not only fantasy lovers will devour immediately. (14+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2004 - 63
Potter, Ellen (text)
Reynolds, Peter H. (illus.)
New York : Philomel Books, 2003. 155 p.
Girl – Loneliness – Brother – Grief – Adventure
Another move, another flat, another anonymous apartment building, that’s certainly not what Olivia needs right now. Someone who shares her troubles and drives away her loneliness would be much more along her line. As she meets some of her weird new neighbours (a ghost, a would-be psychic, a former princess, etc.) she slides into the most bizarre adventures. Eventually, she even finds a way to break down the wall of sadness between her father and herself, which they had built English Language /USA German Language up after her beloved brother Christopher’s death. In this entertaining debut novel, Ellen Potter cleverly weaves real and imaginary elements together to create a hilarious yet touching story about an amiable heroine and an unlikely bunch of characters. (10+)
Special Mention - USA (English) - 2004 - 64
Smith, Hope Anita (text)
Evans, Shane W. (illus.)
The way a door closes
New York : H. Holt, 2003. 52 p.
African American family – Father – Unemployment – Leaving – Anger – Forgiveness
Everything used to be perfect for C.J. and his younger brother and sister – until the day when his father, depressed about having lost his job, suddenly walks out on the family. Almost like a photo album, the 34 beautiful poems offer short glimpses into the life of a close-knit African American family and are supported by powerful realistic oil paintings in bright colours on a white background. Narrated in a poetic and direct language from the 13- year-old protagonist’s point of view, the moving texts make the readers empathise with C.J.’s fear, frustration, and anger as he tries to come to terms with the family falling apart – and share his hope and relief when the father finally returns. (12+)
Austria (German) - 2004 - 65
Anger-Schmidt, Gerda (text)
Habinger, Renate (illus.)
Neun nackte Nilpferddamen : aller Unsinn macht Spaß
(Nine naked hippo ladies : nonsense is fun)
St. Pölten [et al.] : NP, 2003. 128 p.
Alphabet – Poetry – Riddle – Nonsense
This ABC-book promises many diverse discoveries – and it really keeps them. With the letters from A to Z on the right-hand margin, it looks like an address book. The pages offer a multitude of verses, pictures, riddles, puns, and sayings for each and every reader to think, smile, or laugh about. Since it might prove a little too difficult for beginning readers on their own, adults should jump at this opportunity and join in the puzzle-solving-fun with their children. In this entertaining compendium, the whole world between heaven and earth is spread out before the reader. (5+) ☼
Austria (German) - 2004 - 66
Daphne Wildermuth : die Tochter des Jakobiners
(Daphne Wildermuth : the Jacobin’s daughter)
Wien : Ueberreuter, 2003. 275 p.
Girl – Actress – Choice of career – Wish – Germany/1793
Daphne’s mother has died, her father sympathises with the French Jacobins and the heart’s desire of the selfconfident girl is to become an actress. Her mother’s relatives take her away from the liberal-minded, pro- French Palatinate and bring her to the courtly city of Weimar. In a painful process, Daphne experiences the narrowness of the Saxonian provincial town and its inhabitants’ attitude towards life, which is characterised by conformism and hierarchical thinking. To follow her dream, the girl escapes and joins a group of travelling actors. Although the group breaks up, Daphne is lucky: Her father enables her to start an apprenticeship as an actress in Weimar. This informative story of an early female emancipation is set up against an authentic historical background. (12+)
Austria (German) - 2004 - 67
Poznanski, Ursula (text)
Rassmus, Jens (illus.)
(Jungle of letters)
Wien : Dachs, 2003.  p.
Alphabet – Animals – Puzzle
A tornado in the jungle whirls around the animals: Almost every one of them loses a letter from its name which hangs high up in the trees now. Luckily enough, little monkey and ara get together and start looking for the owners of the respective letters: the NU (now) turns back into a GNU (gnu), the LANGE (long one) into a SCHLANGE (snake), the LEDERMAUS (leather mouse) into a FLEDERMAUS (bat). Even two completely different personalities like AL and AL, i.e. AAL (eel) and WAL (whale), can calmly swim away now free of worries. This cheerful letterpuzzle- book with pastel-coloured pictures scattered throughout the text, tells a logical and exciting story for pre-school children. (4+)
Austria (German) - 2004 - 68
Vogel, Sibylle (text/illus.)
Hugo allein daheim
(Hugo home alone)
Wien : Picus-Verl., 2003.  p.
Family – Dog – Keeping a pet – Loneliness – Mischief
Even the most devoted of dogs is confused when the family drives away and leaves him alone at home. Well, he says to himself, then it is probably my duty to guard the house. On the other hand, he is now free to do everything he pleases: raid the fridge, invite friends, chase the chicken, tease the cat, etc. Unfortunately, however, all of this becomes boring very quickly when no one gets angry about the mischief or fills up the fridge again. Eventually, the postman delivers the relieving message: The family is coming back home. This is a colourful and amusing book about an extremely sensible and cooperative guard dog. (4+)
Austria (German) - 2004 - 69
Zauleck, Franz (text/illus.)
Olga mit dem Gummipropeller : eine Geschichte mit Bildern
(Olga with the rubber propeller : a story with pictures)
Wien [et al.] : Verl. Jungbrunnen, 2002.  p.
Literary fairy tale – Cow – Colour – Identity – Outsider – Community – Wish – Differentness
A white cow gives birth to a black calf. This would not have been a problem, had not all the cows in this country been white. Therefore, the little calf wants to be white, too. It goes on a journey and a fairy grants its wish – yet suddenly it comes to a country where all the cows are black. Now, little calf wants to return home, but when it travels through another region it meets a purple cow – a poor outsider. Only one wish will help: All cows shall have different patterns – and that’s the way it still is (almost) everywhere until today. The artist depicts the calf’s adventurous journey to itself in mixed-media illustrations. By dressing the cows in differently coloured clothes, he takes the topic of identity and otherness to another (human) level. (5+)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 70
Abmeier, Armin [et al.] (ed.)
Müller, Thomas M. (illus.)
Lebens-Mittel : was Kinder brauchen
(Food / Means of life ‹pun›) : what children need)
Frankfurt am Main [et al.] : Büchergilde Gutenberg, 2003.  p. + 1 poster
(Die tollen Hefte ; 22)
ISBN 3-7632-6022-6. 3-936482-22-0
Child – Wish – Humour – Poetry – Ultra-short story
»What children need« – that’s the subtitle of this small encyclopaedic compendium of poems and stories by famous German-speaking authors and poets which all focus on children’s interests, wishes, and basic needs. Thus, the texts cover topics such as »water«, »tree«, »bed«, »family«, »something sweet«, etc. The colourful, imaginative illustrations add unexpected aspects and connotations to various terms in an interpretative way. The booklet is published on the occasion of the German UNICEF section’s 50th anniversary (with a poster enclosed and with a slightly nonsensical glossary) and can be savoured by child and adult readers of all ages. (8+) ☆ ☼
Germany (German) - 2004 - 71
Bauer, Jutta (ed./illus.)
Ich sitze hier im Abendlicht : Briefe für die ganze Familie
(I’m sitting in the evening light : letters for the whole family)
Hildesheim : Gerstenberg, 2003. 168 p.
This beautifully illustrated book is a large-format collection of letters throughout the centuries – most of them about children, childhood, and family life, but travel-, love-, and ordinary letters are also included; serious ones and funny ones, many from well-known, others from unknown people. In the age of e-mail and text messages, it is the editor and illustrator’s intention to remind people of the genre ‘letter’ as written and illustrated testimonies on paper and to show how many treasures from this genre have survived. Various lives and fates open up before the readers’ eyes. The fast modern world almost disappears behind them. A book for children and their parents. (8+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2004 - 72
Drvenkar, Zoran (text)
Könnecke, Ole (illus.)
Du schon wieder
(It’s you again)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2003.  p.
Height – Outsider – Friendship – Quarrel – Reconciliation – Journey
Tiny Fredo and beanpole Rocky both do not fit into the norm, let alone into school. Therefore, they set out into the big wide world. The small guy becomes a cook for small portions, the tall guy turns into »muscle man«. When they meet again, they start working on a joint project: First of all, they take part in a »dwarf-throwing« tournament – and the invincible team wins, of course, and becomes infinitely famous. But then they fight about which of them is more important – and once again go their separate ways. In the end however, they help each other in a life-threatening situation and finally stay together for good. In this amusing but at the same time profound book, the text and the comic-strip-like black-and-white illustrations are placed on separate pages, so that readers can follow them both individually. This lends an additional charme to both the written and the drawn story. (7+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2004 - 73
Funke, Cornelia (text/illus.)
Hamburg : Dressler, 2003. 573 p.
Fictitious person – Reading – Coming alive – Magic – Danger – Good/Evil – Fight – Girl – Single father – Missing the mother
Meggie’s father, a single parent, is a bookbinder – »book doctor« she calls him. One day, Dustfinger, a dubious stranger, who calls her father »Silvertongue«, warns him about a powerful pursuer called Capricorn who would do everything to get his hands on one of the father’s books. The girl has no idea that the protagonists of this old story entitled Tintenherz (Inkheart) are all bandits who came alive one day through her father’s special skill of making fictitious characters come into the real world by reading their story aloud. At the same moment, Meggie’s mother in turn disappeared without a trace. Father, daughter, and book-loving aunt Elinor have to survive frightening adventures before the fictitious scoundrels vanish and Meggie’s mother can finally return. A gripping novel about the power of imagination and spoken words. (12+)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 74
Mama ist gegangen : Roman für Kinder
(Mummy has left : a novel for children)
Weinheim [et al.] : Beltz & Gelberg, 2003. 145 p.
Mother – Death – Family – Grief
Ulla’s family could not be happier: Her father works at home as a sculptor, her beloved mother, a film director and centre of the family, is a beautiful woman who simply laughs away problems and sadness; and her two older brothers serve as examples for the girl. One day, however, her mother falls ill and dies soon after. Now, the strong family relationships prove vital: The father and siblings manage to support each other and fight depressive moods together. The author writes in an unsentimental way and carefully hints at the long process of coping with grief, showing how each family member finds their own way of going on with life. The touching novel makes readers share the fateful rift in the little girl’s childhood continuum. (8+)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 75
Janßen, Ulrich (text)
Steuernagel, Ulla (text)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Die Kinder-Uni : Forscher erklären die Rätsel der Welt
(The Children’s University : scientists and scholars explain the world’s mysteries)
München : Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2003. 223 p.
Knowledge – School – University – Sciences
Today’s pupils are the students of tomorrow. This was reason enough for Tübingen University to initiate a lecture series for children only, about themes and topics that children’s heads and hearts are preoccupied with: dinosaurs, volcanoes, jokes, poverty, death, wealth, and other topics. Renowned palaeontologists, cultural scientists, economists, and teachers from many other faculties have proven themselves with »easy answers to the most difficult questions in the world«. This volume was put together from the lectures, text and layout are convincing and arouse the readers’ curiosity. Last but not least, the pictures by Klaus Ensikat, Germany’s »uncrowned king of book illustration« (quote from the publisher), will also delight grown-up readers. (10+)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 76
Kemmler, Melanie (text/illus.)
Der hölzerne Mann
(The wooden man)
Berlin : Aufbau-Verl., 2003.  p.
Wooden doll – Playing – Toy – Chain reaction
A mysterious, still, but not really peaceful world – set up in a box – is created here. A wooden (toy) man guards a wooden forester, a little toy mouse, and the (toy) dog and cat who are obviously quite lively. The dog bites the cat’s tail, the wooden forester arrests the dog, the wooden man in turn arrests the wooden forester and the dog and locks them all (including the cat) into his wooden house. The person responsible for all this can only be the small, but in this setting fairly powerful, person whose shadow appears in the last picture, hovering above the arrangement as ‘eminence grise’. Static pictures with broad areas of earthy colours, lend a surreal dynamic to this story. (4+)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 77
Kuhl, Anke (text/illus.)
Cowboy will nicht reiten
(Cowboy doesn’t want to ride)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2003.  p.
Cowboy – Riding – Fear – Horse – Relationship – Trust
This book tells the story of a cowboy who – not befitting his profession – is afraid of horses and is miraculously cured of his fears: It is his fate that, one day, he accidentally ends up on the back of a horse. A crazy ride across hills and valleys ensues – for days and nights because the poor man doesn’t know how to stop the horse. Eventually, he dozes off completely exhausted and without a saddle underneath him. When he starts snoring, the horse finally hears something like »Brrrr!« and immediately, just like its rider, it falls into a deep sleep. After waking up, the relaxed cowboy realises: Well, not all horses are bad, there are exceptions! A wonderful parody on riders’ fears with the cartoon-like pictures slightly reminiscent of Lucky Luke – and a lot of fun. (6+)
(Troisdorfer Bilderbuchpreis; 2003)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 78
In Afrika war er nie : Roman
(He has never been to Africa : a novel)
München [et al.] : Nagel & Kimche, 2003. 105 p.
Boy – Father – Missing the father – Motor bike – Waiting – Love – Return
One day, Juhani’s father drove away on his Harley Davidson and disappeared without a trace. The boy assumes he is in Africa. Six long years of waiting – and suddenly a Harley Davidson again appears in the village. But Juhani’s new search ends in disappointment: His father lived in the neighbouring village most of the time, has alcohol problems, and had to sell his motor bike because he was short of money. Nevertheless, for the boy a lot has changed in the past few years. A shy first love for an equally shy girl is more important now. Soberly and with a lot of wit, this story describes a boy’s difficult process of growing up in a provincial environment. (8+)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 79
Mebs, Gudrun (text)
Rudelius, Wolfgang (illus.)
Herr Leo und sein Michael
(Mr. Leo and his Michael)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2003. 90 p.
Grandfather – Grandson – Dog – Relationship
Mr. Leo thinks he has reached an age when everybody should have a grandson. Unfortunately, the lack of grandchildren, once established, cannot be fixed – unless of course you try to re-define the notion of »grandson«: If, for example you encounter a fat furry something in the park one day that does not budge from your side – could not this creature pass as grandson »Michael«? True, he has completely different habits and needs from granddad Leo and he has four paws. But he is so cute that Granddad can neither chase him away nor forget him. Granddad and »Michael« are happy and Granddad has found a new meaning to his life. In a slightly ironic yet sympathetic way, the author describes the (mis)doings and adventures of this unlikely couple. (6+)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 80
Mülbe, Wolfheinrich von der (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Die Zauberlaterne : Roman
(The magic lantern : a novel)
Frankfurt am Main [et al.] : Büchergilde Gutenberg, 2003. 475 p.
Literary fairy tale – Knight – Adventure – Magic – Task – Proving oneself – Love
His mother’s carping about his un-knightly deeds drives young Kunibert out into the world where a spectacular adventure awaits him. The lovesick knight receives orders from the royal father of his beloved to go on a quest for a magic shaving kit that a fairy once created and that is said to turn shaving into a pleasure. Annoyingly enough, the single parts of this kit are scattered around the world. This particularly attractive new edition of an almost forgotten novel is a serious and at the same time humorous description of a journey through the terrestrial and subterranean world. With its new full-page illustrations accompanied by small vignettes, this treasure will give pleasure to young and old readers alike. (10+)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 81
Und was mach ich? : oder Der Traum vom Fliegen
(And what do I do? : or The dream of flying)
Ravensburg : Ravensburger Buchverl., 2003. 278 p.
(Ravensburger junge Reihe)
Siblings – Choice of profession – Loneliness – Accident – Drug abuse – Independence
Nele, daughter of a hard-working middle-class family, tells of her mother’s possessive attitude towards herself and her two brothers. To escape, the adolescent girl finds herself a secret hiding-place in an abandoned building and befriends the homeless people close by. Her brother Tobias’ longing for freedom leaves him with gambling debts, and he finally ends up in prison for drug abuse. The younger brother, Sascha, simply leaves home without an explanation. One day, he dies in an accident. This summer, in her »owl’s nest« (that’s what she calls her temporary dwelling) Nele grows up. With empathy for all the characters, the author describes their conflict-ridden family life and shows, with a great deal of commitment, how difficult it can be to find a way out of apparently hopeless situations. (12+)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 82
Lieber wütend als traurig : die Lebensgeschichte der Ulrike Marie Meinhof
(Rather angry than sad : the life of Ulrike Marie Meinhof)
Weinheim [et al.] : Beltz & Gelberg, 2003. 328 p.
Meinhof, Ulrike Marie – Biography – Terrorism – Germany/1934-1976
Ulrike Meinhof is a symbol of left-wing radical terrorism in Germany in the 1970s. This extensive and detailed biography attempts to take a look at all the facets of this woman and the process of her development: her interests in aesthetics and literature and her charitable efforts for underprivileged people during her teenage years as well as her way into the radical political scene after 1968. All the events and protagonists of this time are described in great detail. Neither does the author omit to mention that the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Ulrike Meinhof and the other members of the Baader- Meinhof-group at Stammheim prison were never fully clarified. An illuminating read for young adults interested in Germany’s recent history. (16+)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 83
Procházková, Iva (text)
Goedelt, Marion (illus.)
Elias und die Oma aus dem Ei
(Elias and the grandmother who hatched from the egg)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2003. 127 p.
Boy – Parents – Lack of time – Grandmother – Imagination – Independence
Elias wants to have a grandmother of his own, just like all of his classmates and friends. His longing for her is so strong that, one day, something hatches from an ordinary, slightly larger bird’s egg. The creature is clearly a small grandmother – even if she has wings. Now it is Elias’s task to teach her everything a grandmother needs to know. Granny learns quickly, even how to fly. This is very convenient when they organise a kite party at school: When Elias’s kite does not take off, Granny can help it along a little. Yet, this also means she soars into the sky with the kite and disappears from the boy’s life. This poetic and not at all melancholic story focuses on longing and imagination. (7+)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 84
Reich, Jens (text)
Osburg, Swantje (illus.)
Es wird ein Mensch gemacht : Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Gentechnik
(A human being is created : chances and limitations of genetic engineering)
Berlin : Rowohlt Berlin, 2003. 189 p.
(Bücher für die nächste Generation)
Genetics – Genetic engineering – Ethics
Genetic engineering is a rapidly developing but also extremely complex field in relation to both natural sciences and ethics. In this ambitious non-fiction title, this field is presented to teenagers in great detail yet comprehensibly. At the end of each chapter, readers will find fictitious dialogues that discuss the pros and cons, the dangers of abuse, and the hope for therapeutic benefits in administering the results of genetic research. Based on the renowned author’s own knowledge and experience in medicine and biochemistry, the book provides teenagers who are prepared to tackle a demanding task with a well-founded and respectable introduction to a recent and intensely discussed topic that is of great social importance. (16+)
Germany (German) - 2004 - 85
Richter, Jutta (text)
Janssen, Susanne (illus.)
An einem großen stillen See
(At a large and quiet lake)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2003. 63 p.
Night – Fear – Sleeplessness – Angel
A child and a man are afraid at night and cannot fall asleep even though mother and wife, respectively, are trying to help them: Only when the two sleepless people meet and tell each other about angels who protect human beings, does the situation finally improve because, as the text states: »When two people share their happiness it grows, and when two people share their fear it dwindles.« Jutta Richter’s angel-poems speak of incomprehensible experiences in one’s own soul with metaphors borrowed from nature. The illustrations develop their own expressive fantastic atmosphere painted in pasty colours. This book may not be particularly easy to understand for younger readers but definitely has a lot to offer for older ones. (8+) ☼
Germany (German) - 2004 - 86
Roeder, Annette (text)
Singer, Claire (illus.)
Und Papa schenkt mir dann ein Schloss
(And Daddy will give me a castle)
Leipzig : LeiV, 2003.  p.
Single mother – Father – Competition
Little Theo’s parents, who live in separate flats, are striving to outdo each other in the love for their child: Whenever they take him to kindergarten, the means of transport becomes bigger, higher, and faster, starting with an ordinary bike (followed by a rocket, a rollercoaster, and others) and ending with a huge submarine. Readers can tell how exciting this parental love is – but also how exhausting. In the end, despite his initial enthusiasm, Theo has but one wish: Granny shall take him to kindergarten and the parents shall come to collect him together – on foot. Full-page pastel and charcoal drawings illustrate this truly imaginative story about parental love, a child’s needs, and the difficulties to recognise them. (3+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2004 - 87
Meine freie deutsche Jugend
(My free German teenage years)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer, 2003. 156 p.
German Democratic Republic (GDR) – Ministry of State Security – Girl – Growing up – Family – School – Germany/1971-2003 – Autobiography
For the little girl from the coast of the Baltic Sea, freedom beyond the borders of former East Germany (GDR) is identical with the so-called »Swedish Ferry«, crossing the sea from Saßnitz on the island of Ruegen to Trelleborg in Sweden twice a day. To travel with it only once – this wish may deeply influence a geographically and politically confined childhood, especially if the lives of family and friends are shaped by the civil rights movement of the GDR and the child – no matter how bravely she stands up for the family’s beliefs – feels she is being stigmatised and alienated from ‘normal’ society. Looking back on her childhood with a lot of humour and love for her own childhood, the author describes her sometimes awfully funny, naive and politically incorrect, linguistic and intellectual errors. As an A-level graduate of 1989 – the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall – she seizes the now historical chance to discover the larger world and its possibilities with her former naivety and curiosity. A captivating autobiography, equally recommendable for young adults in East and West. (14+)
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2004 - 88
Schami, Rafik (text)
Könnecke, Ole (illus.)
Wie ich Papa die Angst vor Fremden nahm
(How I made Daddy overcome his fear of strangers)
München : Hanser, 2003.  p.
Girl – Single father – Foreigner – Skin colour – Prejudice – Fear – Community
Just like every little girl, this story’s protagonist absolutely adores her big, strong, brave, funny, intelligent, and courageous Daddy. Still, he has one little fault: He is afraid of strangers, especially those with dark skin, whose language he does not understand and whom he considers dirty and noisy. Today, Daddy is to be invited to the birthday party of Banja – his daughter’s classmate from Africa – where he is supposed to perform some magic tricks. He does not know anything about the family’s skin colour and thus is quite confused about the huge African welcome he receives. Yet, ‘magically’ all his fears vanish during the party – and so do his unfounded prejudices, now and forever. This book is a cheerful, uncomplicated story with a serious background. (6+) ☆
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2004 - 89
Schnurre, Wolfdietrich (text)
Herfurth, Egbert (illus.)
Berlin : Aufbau-Verl., 2003. 31 p.
Veterinarian – Human – Animals – Imprisonment – Suffering – Freedom
Vet Dr. Doddlmoddl is convinced that all the animals’ (and people’s) illnesses are caused by the same thing: the suffering from … humans. It seems relatively easy to cure animals of the disease if they simply forget ‘their’ humans for a while and become real animals again. Suddenly aware of so far unknown possibilities, the animal patients choose the freedom they themselves want to have. (For human beings, a similar method could be useful simply because they might rediscover their own ‘animalness’). The timeless social criticism of the rediscovered story works even if children might not fully recognise this aspect. Egbert Herfurth’s clear and at the same time ambiguous pictures perfectly meet the text’s laconic tone. (5+) ☼
Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2004 - 90
Gyde und die Flut
(Gyde and the high tide)
Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl., 2003. 93 p.
Girl – Single mother – Alcoholic – Missing the father – Imagination – Murderer – Rape
Gyde lives at the coast. Her father, a sailor, is away most of the time while her mother drowns her loneliness in drink. She longs for a happy family and tries to cope with the responsibilities she has to face. When she falls in love for the first time with young holiday-maker David, she plans to sail across the sea with him on her self-made raft. This raft becomes a metaphor for escape, freedom, and happiness – dreams that suddenly find a brutal and horrible end. Before the high tide comes in, Gyde is killed by a sex murderer. The story’s fascination lies in its narrative tone. It conveys a ‘normal’ world in a small village with school friends, neighbours, and holiday-makers. Therefore, the catastrophe described makes a particularly powerful impression on the readers. (14+)
Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 91
Bolliger, Max (text)
Conno, Gianni de (illus.)
Der Weihnachtsnarr : eine Weihnachtsgeschichte
(The Christmas Fool : a Christmas tale)
Zürich : Bohem Press, 2003.  p.
Christmas – Fool – Search – Wisdom – Gift – Humanity
Max Bolliger tells a parable-like story about the search for wisdom and places it within the context of the Christmas story. The protagonist, a young fool who lived in the Orient 2000 years ago, strives to become a wise man. One night, he discovers the bright star of Bethlehem. Since he wants to serve the newborn Lord, he follows the star and takes everything he owns: his glockenspiel, a flower, and his fool’s cap. Along the way, however, he meets some poor children who need these items more desperately than anyone else. So he arrives in Bethlehem empty-handed. Still, Mary lays her son into his arms and the smiling child grants him the wisdom he desired. Static pictures with broad spaces of colour impressively represent the various episodes of the narration. (6+)
Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 92
Eggermann, Vera (adapt./illus.)
Zürich : Bajazzo-Verl., 2003.  p.
Girl – Mischief – Obedience – Disobedience
»Don’t pull the cat’s tail!« and »Don’t drink the ink!« says Auntie to Lena when she leaves the house. But she didn’t mention anything about not cutting the napkins or the tablecloth. Lena sets to work. Splitting the table with an axe wasn’t on Auntie’s list of forbidden things either. But for lack of strength, the child fails to carry out this plan – and suddenly feels really small. Luckily enough, with only a few »Oh my!«, aunt and niece manage to sew together the cut up pieces – and are reconciled. Next time she goes to town, however, Auntie will probably take Lena with her. The beginning of the funny story, based on a text by Danijl Charms, strongly reminds readers of Hoffmann’s Slovenly Peter. The end, though, is influenced by the 21century ideals of cooperative education. Large illustrations in a naive style accompany the text. (5+) ☼
Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 93
Hoffmann, E. T. A. (text)
Koppe, Susanne (adapt.)
Zwerger, Lisbeth (illus.)
Gossau, Zürich : Neugebauer, 2003.  p. + 1 CD
ISBN 3-85195-728-8. - 3-85195-292-8
Literary fairy tale – Christmas – Toy – Dream – Good/Evil – Fight – Help – Reward
This well-known literary fairy tale, originally published in 1816, is presented here in a condensed text version and with new congenial illustrations. Little Marie dreams a Christmas dream: Toys are coming alive and a fight flares up between the evil mice army and the good tin soldiers. With Marie’s help, one of the tin soldiers ends the fight and eventually takes the girl with him to his marzipan castle. And they lived happily.... Detailed, witty scenes presented in fullpage pictures capture pivotal moments from the plot. Lisbeth Zwerger follows the narration without psychoanalysing it. Delicate vignettes create connections to the large illustrations. An audio-CD with music and excerpts from the tale are enclosed with the book. (8+)
Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 94
Irving, John (text)
Hauptmann, Tatjana (illus.)
Rumler, Irene (transl.)
Ein Geräusch, wie wenn einer versucht, kein Geräusch zu machen : eine Geschichte
(A sound like somebody trying to make no noise : a story)
Zürich : Diogenes, 2003. 32 p.
Brothers – Night – Fear – Noise – Falling asleep
Tom wakes up: An unfamiliar, low sound frightens him. A monster? He calls for his father, who makes a little inquiry. Dad finally realises that the wet, furry monster with no arms or legs crawling through the house, is nothing but a tiny mouse behind the wall. Meanwhile, little brother Tim is awake, too, and because he is longing to see the mouse, he is the only who can’t go back to sleep. The text of this book was taken from John Irving’s adult novel Widow for a Year (1998) and presents itself as a children’s picture book for the first time. Stairwell and garden are night-blue and the small hero in pyjamas wanders through threatening moonlight shadows. The illustrations marvellously capture the mysterious mood of the story and the children’s emotions. (4+)
Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 95
Kamm, Katja (illus.)
Das runde Rot
(The round red)
Zürich : Bajazzo, 2003.  p.
Colour – Shape – Game – Imagination
A girl’s two arms reach out for something round and red - a balloon, a ball, an apple? Yet, before the child can sink her teeth into the forbidden (?) fruit, a priest dressed in black grabs it and the round red thing turns into a spare wheel for a broken car, into a flat round record, into a lolly, and into a yo-yo, that finally flies away and finds its way back into the girl’s arms. This at once humorous and profound little book doesn’t need text. You can invent and tell your own stories, come up with tales and examples for other colours and shapes. This book offers a skilful and unpretentious introduction to abstract thinking and figurative representation for children. (5+)
Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 96
Müller, Birte (text/illus.)
Auf Wiedersehen, Oma
Gossau, Zürich : Neugebauer, 2003.  p.
Latin America – Village – All Saints’ Day – Celebration – Death – Tradition – Girl – Grandmother
In Latin American countries, it is common to organise a cheerful party on the Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints’ Day) and remember the family members who have passed away. Little Felipa, who lives in a village in the Andes, learns that her late grandmother’s soul will be very close to her on this day. Slowly she comes to understand that she cannot see people's souls and does not have to go searching for them - not among the animals, nor in the snow-covered mountains - but that she will still not remain lonely after their death. The author created this book from impressions gathered during a study trip through Mexico and Bolivia. Its pictures open up broad earthen-coloured spaces that offer room for imagination and contemplation. (4+) ☆
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 97
Walser, Robert (text)
Bhend, Käthi (illus.)
Einer, der nichts merkte
(Someone who didn’t notice anything)
Zürich : Atlantis, 2003.  p.
Man – Perception – Lack of interest
The short text, taken from Robert Walser’s book Der Spaziergang (The walk), originally published in 1917, seems like an omen of people’s isolation and lack of interest in the large or small things of the world. Naively and stubbornly, a man disregards everything that shapes his life: wife, children, possessions, environment. He knows nothing and feels nothing, loses everything, even – suddenly taken into a surreal setting – his head. Now he is indeed blind, deaf, and dumb. Luckily enough, an easy solution is at hand in the picture: Wife and children sew his head back onto his body. Nevertheless, this rescue is only shown in the picture and not confirmed by the text. Colourful panels in original planograph technique illustrate this profound tale and hint at its comical side. The text’s apparent simplicity and the sophisticated style of the illustrations make this book an exemplary story. (5+) ☼
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 98
Wehrli, Ursus (illus.)
Olenhusen, Albrecht Götz von (preface)
(Tidying up art)
Zürich : Kein und Aber, 2002. 47 p.
Art – Adaptation – Order – Aesthetics – Perception
Based on philosophical research on art, corroborated by Swiss patent law, this book strives to introduce child and adult readers to a new way of looking at art. Selected works from the canon of figurative art are reduced to their basic components of shape and space, taken to pieces and arranged in a new way, so that the separate elements of form can be recognised. The two versions – the original work of art and the »tidied up« one – are sitting next to each other and inspire meticulous observation. Moreover, they prove once more that a work of art is much more than its single parts put together. Last but not least, this method includes a humorous aspect because it takes an ironic look at both aesthetics and the overly (un-?)intelligent art ‘expert’. (14+)
Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 99
Weigelt, Udo (text)
Heusser, Sibylle (illus.)
Sandmännchens Mondfahrt : eine Geschichte zur guten Nacht
(Little sandman’s trip to the moon : a bedtime story)
Gossau, Zürich : Nord-Süd-Verl., 2003.  p.
Sandman – Friend – Search – Falling asleep – Night – Moon
Little sandman’s fate is a sad one. He feels utterly lonely because – due to his peculiar profession – he cannot find a friend. No matter where he appears, all the children and other people immediately fall asleep. Not even police officers or burglars are immune to his soporific influence. And neither are all the nocturnal animals on land, in the water or the air. Thus, there is only one solution for little sandman: the man in the moon; and he is already waiting for him. This imaginative bedtime story is accompanied by largeformat pictures painted in smooth colours. (4+)
Guinea (French) - 2004 - 100
Pinguilly, Yves (text)
Seck, Sarang (text)
Koenig, Florence (illus.)
L’orange, folle de foot
(The football-crazy orange)
Conakry, Guinée : Éd. Ganndal [et al.], 2003.  p.
(Collection à saute-monde - un monde sans frontière)
ISBN 2-84390-114-6. - 2-913326-82-x
Boy – Village – Football – Imagination
Today, there is an important football match at the stadium in Conakry and little Bangaly is longing to watch it. But unfortunately, in his village far away from the town nobody owns a television set; they do not even have a football. When the small boy lingers under an orange tree, an orange falls down directly before his feet – and Bangaly automatically starts kicking this ‘ball’. He pursues his game across a crocodile and an elephant and is suddenly right in the middle of the Conakry stadium... This picture book shows how creative and satisfying a child’s imagination can be. The figures move about in a landscape painted in rich greens and earthen, sandy shades of yellow and brown, which reflect the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. (5+)
Morocco (French) - 2004 - 101
Ouajjou, Sonia (text/illus.)
À la recherche du trésor des Almohades
(On the search for the treasure of Almohades)
Rabat [et al.] : La Croisée des Chemins [et al.], 2002. 25 p.
(Collection Malika et Karim)
ISBN 9981-896-20-9. - 2-84272-144-6
Marrakesh – Medina/Old town centre – Treasure – Mountain – Snow
»Malika et Karim« is a series of picture books that offer an entertaining introduction to the country and people of Morocco. In this volume, the two protagonists Malika and Karim reach the city of Marrakesh and are immediately fascinated by the hustle and bustle there. When a soothsayer tells Malika she will discover a precious object inside something white, the girl automatically assumes it to be the treasure of Almohades that is said to be hidden on the snow-covered mountains close by the city. The treasure hunt begins and everybody who populates the famous city square, men and animals alike, join the children. The lively pictures perfectly illustrate the diversity of the »red city« and its region and will surely arouse people’s curiosity. (5+)
Tunisia (French) - 2004 - 102
Marzouki, Samir (text)
Sawabi, Nabil (illus.)
L’aventure de la maison abandonée
(The adventure in the deserted house)
Tunis : Cérès Éd. [et al.], 2002. 25 p.
(Le miroir d’encre)
Colonial house – Dilapidation – Curiosity – Adventure
For a very long time, a deserted colonial house on the other side of the street and hidden behind a tall hedge, has aroused the curiosity of the portagonist and his brother Nader. When their parents drive away to attend a wedding, the two boys and Lofti, their young visitor, seize the opportunity and start exploring the mysterious place. Through the immediacy of the first-person narration, the short tale, which describes the curiosity peculiar to children about unknown and forbidden things, turns into an exciting adventure. The linocut illustrations successfully underline the mysterious atmosphere as well as the fear and excitement that accompanies the boys on their trip. (8+)
Belgium (French) - 2004 - 103
Nève, François-Xavier (text)
Charly, Isabelle (illus.)
Le gros monsieur de mauvaise humeur
(The bad-tempered fat man)
Bruxelles : Alice Jeunesse, 2003.  p.
(Histoires comme ça)
Bad mood – Violence – Compassion
Just as the extremely large man leaves his house in a foul mood, a dog pees against the wall. With one furious kick, grumpy fatso sends the dog flying high into the sky. The dog owner lets out a piercing shriek, and since the man hates shrieking, he gives the lady a good kick, too. A policeman observing this blows his whistle, but old grumpy hates whistling... The vicious circle of violence is eventually broken, though not by the military troupes sent by the alarmed king but rather by the dog biting the fat man in his bottom. The humorous illustrations successfully stage this funny little comedy and tell us a story in which violence is not repaid with violence and the loser is not met with revenge but compassion. (4+)
Belgium (French) - 2004 - 104
Norac, Carl (text)
Cneut, Carll (illus.)
Un secret pour grandir : un conte
(The secret for growing)
Paris/Bruxelles : École des Loisirs, 2003. 32 p.
Height – Journey
With this picture book, readers embark on a journey to the Orient and meet Salam, a boy who is so small that people predict he will be blown away by the wind one day. Hurt by such comments, Salam decides to go searching for the secret of growth and soon leaves the town for the first time carrying a huge empty sack on his back. A wind rises and carries him across trees, hills, and snowcovered mountains. His sack, in which he collects an odd medley of objects, grows heavier and heavier. In the pictures, the tiny figure of Salam forms a stark contrast to the huge adult figures who are partly dressed in black, partly adorned with clothes in Oriental patterns. By the end of his journey through desert skies, the boy has definitely grown – not physically but mentally. (5+)
Belgium (French) - 2004 - 105
Terral, Anne (text)
Gibert, Bruno (illus.)
Grain de riz
(A grain of rice)
[Tournai] : Casterman, 2003.  p.
(Les Albums Duculot)
Illness – Sadness – Height
Who hasn’t felt small and pitiable at times of illness? This picture book describes exactly this situation with all the sadness and misery of a sick little girl. Feeling absolutely depressed, the first-person narrator crosses the boundaries of reality and imagines herself to be terribly tiny: Her mother would cry and desperately search for her everywhere while her father would call the police. And what if a hungry hen pecked at her with its beak? Would her mother, once she had rediscovered her minute daughter, be able to hug her at all? The simplicity of the verse text and the lightness of the pastel-coloured illustrations prevent the girl’s fears from becoming too overwhelming and already hint at the relief brought about by the happy ending. (4+)
France (French) - 2004 - 106
Les larmes de l’assassin
(The killer’s tears)
Paris : Bayard Jeunesse, 2003. 226 p.
Murderer – Boy – Loneliness – Affection
Somewhere in Chile, the wanted murderer Angel Allegria discovers a modest farmhouse, kills the owners (little Paolo’s parents) and moves in. The strange companionship between the boy and his parents’ murderer starts to grow into something like affection when suddenly the educated traveller Luis Secunda turns up. In this exciting parable, set apart from reality in a spaceless and timeless universe, a number of antagonisms are discussed: life versus death, love versus violence, good versus bad, nature versus culture, etc. The narration releases the readers without solving these ambiguities and without providing a moral. Still, it makes them see that supposedly established axioms and preconceived judgements have to be questioned. (14+)
France (French) - 2004 - 107
Destins de femmes : filles et femmes afghanes
(Women’s fates : Afghan girls and women)
Paris : Syros Jeunesse, 2003. 95 p.
(Collection J’accuse ...)
Afghanistan – War – Taliban – Woman
From various points of view and with different literary genres, this book calls to mind the fate of Afghan girls and women. At the beginning, a short tale relates the fate of young Nahib and her family whose carefree life ends abruptly after the Taliban’s rise to power. This is followed by the touching stories of three women interviewed in Afghanistan in 2002. They highlight not only the suppression of women by the Taliban but also their influence on the life of wives and daughters after the regime’s collapse. The book ends with some moving poems, followed by a useful appendix containing a glossary, important names, and the declaration of the basic rights of Afghan women, which was signed in Tajikistan in 2000. (12+) ☆
France (French) - 2004 - 108
Dumortier, David (text)
Mellinette, Martine (illus.)
Ces gens qui sont des arbres
(Those people who are trees)
Chambon-sur-Lignon : Cheyne, 2003. 44 p.
(Poèmes pour grandir)
Man – Tree
This small collection of short, prose poems focuses on the topic of ‘trees’. Nevertheless, it is ‘humankind’ that the poems really reflect on. They are the result of a humorous discourse about people and trees, of how they are connected or may grow closer to each other. At the bottom of all this, you may often become aware of sensitively portrayed human and social phenomena, such as vanity, superficiality, poverty, or migration. The short poems, which may be interpreted in different ways depending on the readers’ backgrounds, are pleasantly embedded in collages of rainbow-coloured illustrations and scraps of copied telephone books. In accordance with the content of the texts, the illustrator again manages to underline the connection between man and nature. (10+) ☼
France (French) - 2004 - 109
Un autre que moi
(Somebody else, not me)
Paris : De La Martinière, 2003. 155 p.
Teenager – Boarding school – Indifference – Loneliness
Seven days in the life of a 15-year-old boy. A life between the coldness of the loathed boarding school and the weekends at home which usually only last about twenty hours. Since the adolescent’s questions and worries are met with his family’s indifference and inability to communicate, and with the cold atmosphere of a school routine, the first-person-narrator wants to become ‘invisible’. »Somebody else, not he« lives this life away from warmth, security, sympathy, and explanations. Bernard Friot’s memories deeply touch the reader’s soul with their simple and poetic language. They are part of a new series called »Confessions «, in which four popular authors of teenage fiction have so far offered a personal glimpse into their own past. (13+)
France (French) - 2004 - 110
Grandin, Aurélia (text/illus.)
Raymond, pêcheur d’amour de sardines
(Ramond, fishing for love and sardines)
[Paris] : Rue du Monde, 2003.  p.
Fisherman – Sea – Underwater world – Mermaid – Love
The pages of this picture book, which takes readers into a colourful underwater world, are brightly coloured and designed like a poster. Raymond, a fisherman, discovers a message in a bottle written by lovely mermaid Undine who desperately seeks help. To free her from tyrant Zéidon, the young man dives into the world of sea-creatures. After having survived a number of adventures as tunaman, love triumphs in the end. Imaginative collages with scraps of (land- and sea-) maps, playing cards, and postcards, scattered among the humorous and partly grotesque illustrations, plus the love-sick Raymond’s lament, or a recipe for magic powder that paralyses huge octopuses, leave no room for boredom. (5+)
France (French) - 2004 - 111
Grégoire, Fabian (text/illus.)
Les enfants de la mine
(The children in the coal mines)
Paris : École des Loisirs, 2003. 45 p.
Mining – Coal – Child labour – Mining accident
Luis and Tounet say goodbye to their teacher. As the two boys have turned ten, they will have to work in the coal mines from now on. The next day, their new life underground amongst clouds of coal dust starts, where they suffer under unbearable heat and a tyrannical foreman. While Luis is lucky enough to work for the mining engineer, Tounet is sent into a dangerous old part of the mine called »hell« from where he will not return. Based on a true incident, this story is set in the French town of Sainte-Etienne in the middle of the 19century. Similar to a photo documentary but with a lot of empathy, the book describes how the two children are exploited. An appendix adds clear information about coal mining and child labour. (8+)
France (French) - 2004 - 112
Helft, Claude (text)
Jiang Hong, Chen (illus.)
Hatchiko, chien de Tokyo
(Hatchiko, a dog from Tokyo)
Paris : Desclée de Brouwer, 2003. 20 p.
(Petite collection clé)
Tokyo/1925 – Train station – Dog – Owner – Death – Loyalty
Tokyo 1925: Every day, Hatchiko the dog accompanies his owner to the railway station and waits for his return from work in the evening. When the old man suddenly dies of heart failure and does not return, Hatchiko waits in vain. Nonetheless, the dog sits at exactly the same spot every day until he, too, dies. The simple unobtrusive text and the illustrations, rendered in pen-and-ink drawings in subdued colours that play with light and shadows, paint an authentic picture of the time and place of the action and create a touching atmosphere. The story is a true story. After the dog’s death, people erected a life-size statue in front of the station. In today’s hectic city life, Hatchiko still awaits all those travellers whom nobody waits for as a symbol of loyalty. (5+) ☼
France (French) - 2004 - 113
Et si on comptait ...
Paris : Tourbillon, 2003.  p.
Numbers – Counting – Mathematics
1 child dressed as Santa Claus, 2 giraffes in the savanna, 2 happy parents with their child (2+1=3), 4 chairs in a snow-covered park, 5 differently shaped cucumbers, 3 pairs of dancing girls (2+2+2=6), ... This masterly arranged selection of photographs from the archives of the famous Magnum agency inspires toddlers to start counting and, on every other page, offers an easy sum that comments on the respective picture. 45 photographs in all, some black-and-white, others full of bright colours, encourage children to play with numbers and take a first step into mathematics. Moreover, this aesthetically appealing photographic picture book may introduce the youngest readers to the art of photography and the interpretation of pictures. (3+) ☼
France (French) - 2004 - 114
L’Algérie : des origines à nos jours
(Algeria. From the beginning to the present day)
Paris : Éd. Autrement, 2003. 63 p.
(Autrement junior : Série Histoire ; 11)
Algeria – History – Society
The Algeria-Year in France (2003) has inspired many children’s book publishers to take a closer look at this country which maintains a difficult relationship with France since the 1830s. Jean- Jacques Jordi takes on the task of analysing the »rich country, inhabited by poor people« from its early beginnings, reaching back to the Numid era, the Roman and later the Turkish occupation, all the way to the present. Using explanatory photographs and maps, as well as old and new pictures, the author relates more than mere facts; he also provides background information that helps readers understand, among other things, the increase of a radical Islamic movement. That is what makes this non-fiction book for children such a successful first introduction to the Algerian society. (10+) ☆
France (French) - 2004 - 115
Lenain, Thierry (text)
Balez, Olivier (illus.)
Paris : Albin Michel, 2003.  p.
France – Algeria – War – Love – Child
»Love is stronger than war.« Yet, before this becomes reality, Maurice from France and Habib from Algeria take up their arms to defend their countries. Their son and daughter, however, seize the opportunity provided by peace and fall in love with each other. Wahid, their son, is evidence enough for the fact that love can overcome differences and cross borders. His cheeky smile at the end of the picture book optimistically hints at a future full of hope. Both the illustrations painted in clear and vivid colours and the short, simple text focus on the essential issues. Overall, they tell the story of two nations’ tolerance, and in particular that of the love between two people. (6+) ☆
France (French) - 2004 - 116
Meunier, Henri (text)
Lejonc, Régis (illus.)
Lejonc, Antoine (illus.)
La môme aux oiseaux
(The bird girl)
Rodez : Éd. du Rouergue, 2003.  p.
Boy – Secret – Girl – Bird
When questioned about why he is always late for school, a small boy resorts to lies. What he really does is secretly watch a witch-like mystic girl who conjures up a bird out of thin air, a different one each day, and lets it fly off from her hands. Which kind of bird appears, seems to depend on the girl’s mood, the respective »girl of the day«. The poetic, highly metaphorical text almost seems to be floating on the dark, warmly coloured illustrations. Interrupted by the young protagonist’s own drawings (actually created by the illustrator’s son), the book’s pictures show the boy sometimes as a tiny figure lost in a colossal environment and other times as a huge being too large to fit on a fullpage. Thus, the illustrations create a melancholic and mysterious atmosphere. (6+)
France (French) - 2004 - 117
[Paris] : Grasset-Jeunesse, 2003. 221 p.
(Lampe de poche ; 70)
Sexual abuse – Violence – Vigilantism
The first meeting with his new classmate Djamila strikes Vincent as a bolt from the blue. From now on, Djamila and the mystery that surrounds her become an obsession for the 17-year-old who has been drifting through life without aim since his sister’s death. At the end of his search, Vincent is mercilessly confronted with the fact that desperate Djamila, who is the victim of sexual abuse, takes the law into her own hands. Set in 2001, immediately after September 11, and embedded in an authentic description of the daily routine of French teenagers, this taboo-breaking story about two strong protagonists, stands apart because of its psychologically sensitive treatment of sexual abuse and the captivating elements of a crime novel. (14+)
France (French) - 2004 - 118
Moncomble, Gérard (text)
Fortier, Natali (illus.)
Les voisins font un cirque le dimanche
(On Sundays, the neighbours put on a circus performance)
[Paris] : Magnier, 2003.  p.
Block of flats – Tenants – Sunday – Circus
There is a colourful bunch of people living at Mimosa Alley, Block 1, Staircase 1: a family with many children, a man lifting weights, an African healer, and many more. During the week, they all pursue their more or less enjoyable jobs, but on Sunday everything is different: The tenants put on a circus performance for the whole neighbourhood and everybody joins in: The multi-child family turns into a group of acrobats, the weightlifter into the »strongest man on earth«, and the healer into a magician. Their metamorphosis from normal suburban people into illustrious circus artists is captured in the verses that play with words and levels of language, and in the sometimes sketchy poetic pictures that do not idealise anything despite the warm pastel shades. (5+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2004 - 119
Maboul à zéro
[Paris] : Gallimard, 2003. 157 p.
Immigration – School – Epilepsy – Racism
In his politically comitted teenage novel, inspired by the alarming shift to the right during the first stage of the French presidential elections in April 2002, Jean-Paul Nozière gives names and faces to the victims of day-to-day racism. His example shows the fate of immigrants whose escape from the repressions of the radical Islamic politics in Algeria does not end happily in France. 14-yearold Aïcha, highly intelligent, enjoys helping her mother with her work as caretaker of a school. She was exempted from lessons because of her epilepsy. Without anyone knowing it, she takes distance learning courses to prepare for her A-levels and tries to keep her older mentally disabled brother’s fits under control. All the while, she is acutely aware of both the open and the hidden attacks against her family in this small French town. By weaving the mother’s memories into the story, the author presents two women whose lives are strongly determined by intolerance – religious fanaticism in Algeria on the one hand, and racism in France on the other hand. (13+) ☆
Special Mention - France (French) - 2004 - 120
Paris : Didier Jeunesse, 2003.  p.
Circus – Talent – Journey – Experience
Philbert’s mother is a circus rider, his father a tightrope acrobat, but the poor boy himself doesn’t seem to have any special talent. Thus, the circus director throws him out. Along his way, he encounters a street orchestra and catches their notes with his suitcase. He walks past a school, hears children recite poems, and ‘plucks’ some of their words. When, on top of all that, he picks up some children’s laughter, his suitcase becomes very heavy – but his heart is suddenly light and his head full of ideas. He returns to the circus and gives an extraordinary performance. In the dynamic and cheerful illustrations of this book, figures made from salt dough and plasticine act on a dream stage and invite readers to join them for a quiet poetic journey. (4+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2004 - 121
Sazonoff, Zazie (text)
Chapotat, Fred (illus.)
L’album des contraires
(The book of opposites)
[Paris] : Mila Éd., 2003.  p.
Opposites – Toys
This large-format picture book of photographs about opposites is funky, fresh, and full of colours. On double-spread pages, a surprising and humorous collection of objects and materials unfolds. A figure created from potatoes and one created from beans, for example, represent »big« and »small«, while Olivia, wife of the famous cartoon hero Popeye, scrambling about on a coat hanger, illustrates the meaning of »the right way around« and »upside down«. Thus, conventional toys, figures, and objects made from rolls of toilet paper, wool, cheese cartons, vegetables, fabric, or cardboard portray adjectives, nouns, or verbs with opposite meanings. This picture book offers a lot of fun both to the very young and to parents and children reading together. (3+)
Special Mention - France (French) - 2004 - 122
Séonnet, Michel (text)
Geiger, Cécile (illus.)
Paris : Éd. Sarbacane, 2003.  p.
Boy – War – Grief – Reading – Writing
The children’s face portrayed on the front cover already hints at the book’s content: Madassa’s large sad eyes talk about the cruelties of war: about hunger, the painful loss of his siblings, shootings, and death. Grief, fear, and anger leave no room in his head for words. Thus, Madassa can neither read nor write. Yet, when the teacher reads stories to him that describe exactly these feelings but also tell him about the happiness of dancing, these words stay in his head. And soon Madassa starts writing ... The large-format illustrations are dominated by the boy’s omnipresent expressive face and the symbolic descriptions that – thanks to the power of reading and writing – turn from negative into positive ones. (7+) ☆
Special Mention - France (French) - 2004 - 123
Tullet, Hervé (text/illus.)
Les cinq sens
(The five senses)
[Paris] : Seuil Jeunesse, 2003.  p.
Seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting. Already on the front cover of this »picture book of the senses«, the readers do not only see the drawing of a hand but can also feel it. With a great deal of imagination and humour, Hervé Tullet offers a wide range of pictures that invite young readers to explore the five senses. The colourful and imaginative illustrations, interspersed with words and short texts, are playfully and elaborately designed. They are full of puns, allusions, and picture puzzles, such as a »mirror« that reflects the »fairest of them all« on one page, or a human profile with a huge nose on another. The journey through the senses culminates in the »sixth sense«, which puts everything into a nutshell and alludes to the child’s power of imagination. (3+)
Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 124
Ferrara, Antonio (text/illus.)
Come i pini di Ramallah
(Like the pine trees in Ramallah)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2003. 63 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni ; 39)
Israel – Palestine – War – Hope
In this book, readers can picture the colours and even imagine the smells of a troubled land. It presents the parallel diaries of two 10-year-old boys at the time of the second Intifada: David, an Israeli child, and Mohammed, a Palestinian boy. While David lives in Jerusalem, where people live in constant fear of terrorist attacks, Mohammed’s home town is Ramallah, where people are afraid to be killed by Israeli soldiers. Then, one day, the two children meet: This short encounter gives them new insights, a little more hope for the future and makes them dream of a possible peace. The author perfectly manages to convey the thoughts and feelings of the two protagonists, a fact that is important because – as David states – »children do have something to say about the war, but nobody listens to them.« (9+) ☆
Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 125
Viki che voleva andare a scuola
(Viki who wanted to go to school)
Milano : Fabbri, 2003. 261 p.
Emigration – Racism – Integration – School
In order to write this book, the author Fabrizio Gatti pretended to be an illegal immigrant and went to live in a shantytown on the outskirts of Milan. He tells the story of an Albanian boy, Viki, who dreams of a new life in Italy. It is not easy, though, because many Italians seem to have forgotten that, not that long ago, a lot of them were emigrants, too. The harsh story describes the terrible journey – jammed into a small boat like prisoners – then his life as an illegal immigrant living in fear and misery, and eventually Viki’s attempts to fit in at school, where at the beginning »the other children were queueing up to see me close up.« Despite of this, Viki never loses heart in this contradictory reality of cruel indifference and fragments of generosity. (12+) ☆
Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 126
La lettera B : i sei mesi che hanno sconvolto la mia vita
(The letter B : the six months that completely changed my life)
Milano : Mondadori, 2003. 163 p.
Friendship – Everyday life – Diversity
Ilaria, the 12-year-old heroine of this novel, narrates her quiet, ordinary family life that is suddenly turned upside down. She is forced to share her world with two other children: Babu, an Indian orphan whom Ilaria’s parents are going to adopt, and her cousin Alina, whose mother, a journalist, has been kidnapped by the Taliban. In her account – always gentle in style and at times slightly ironical – Ilaria describes big world events like September 11 and the war in Afghanistan. But she also gives a description of her daily effort to grow up, to cope with all the changes in her life, always asking herself questions about her feelings, the whole world, and life as such. (12+) ☆
Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 127
Madia, Claudio (text)
Cantone, Annalaura (illus.)
Manuale di piccolo circo
(Handbook for a small circus)
Milano : Feltrinelli Kids, 2003. 199 p.
(Feltrinelli kids : Sbuk)
Circus – Wonder – Game – Creativity
Who on earth will be interested in a handbook for a circus? Still, if you enter into the spirit of the »small circus«– not the one with exotic animals, but the circus of acrobats and jugglers – you will certainly be fascinated, not least because of the gorgeous illustrations by Anna Laura Cantone. The book is rich in practical tips introduced in a simple and winning way which may help children to learn about the possibilities of expression inherent in the human body. In addition, it also teaches readers how to make objects using plain materials, which can become means of communication and entertainment. This is a very original book for kids who will discover the secrets of a »circus in a suitcase«, but also for adults who want to share this pleasure with children. (10+)
Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 128
Mariniello, Cecco (text/illus.)
È strano Beppino
(Beppino is odd)
Padova : Ed. Messaggero Padova, 2003. 46 p.
(I gatti bianchi)
Differentness – Book – Monster
In this book, the theme of being different is presented to children in a witty and amusing way. After the death of his parents, Beppino goes to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousins. They are quite a ‘normal’ family, meaning they watch a lot of TV and usually go along with the fashion. They shake their heads at Beppino and mutter »Beppino is definitely weird!« simply because his interests and tastes sound odd to them: He loves reading adventure books, has many friends from faraway countries and has a passion for monsters. One day, he finally comes across some friendly monsters who invite him to spend an unforgettable day in their secret underground city. (4+)
Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 129
Masini, Beatrice (text)
Monaco, Octavia (illus.)
La spada e il cuore : donne della Bibbia
(The sword and the heart : women in the Bible)
San Dorligo della Valle (Trieste) : Ed. EL, 2003. 119 p.
(Sirene ; 6)
Bible – Woman
This book, which results from an imaginative and even fanciful reading of the Bible and Jewish legends, is part of the collection »Sirene« – a series of stories about women. The author narrates sevRomance Languages /Italy enteen tales about Eve, Ruth, and Judith, but also about Lilith and little Mary, varying in tone and form: There are first-person narrations as well as dialogues. They portray a life of labour and hard work, often in a distant world made of sand, long marches in the desert, and loneliness, which the women are only able to deal with through patience and determination. Each story is accompanied by an impressive colour plate by Octavia Monaco. (10+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 130
Nava, Emanuela (text)
Mazzoleni, Khurshid (text)
Guicciardini, Desideria (illus.)
(Dreaming about India)
Casale Monferrato (AL) : Piemme Junior, 2003. 112 p.
(Il battello a vapore : Serie azzurra ; 58)
Italy – India – Children – Culture – Difference
This book was written by ‘four hands’, the author and her Indian-born son, that is, whom she adopted when he was seven. Now he is eleven, but he still remembers the life in his native country quite well. In a lively style, the first-person narrator continuously compares the two different ways of life. Apart from that, he also relates many traditional Indian stories about tigers, holy men, maharajas, and sorcerers. »Italian children don’t do anything at all. Back in India I used to carry hay over my head, I used to plant the garden, and fry spicy pancakes.« In the foreground, we see different conditions of life for children and different conceptions of freedom. The style is ironical – even unconventional at times – and everything is presented in a very direct way. This original and curious book may help readers to reflect on cultural differences in an open and stimulating way. (7+) ☆
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 131
Negrin, Fabian (text/illus.)
In bocca al lupo
(In the jaws of the wolf )
Roma : Orecchio Acerbo, 2003.  p.
Wolf – Girl – Love – Angel
The protagonists of this highly refined small masterpiece are Little Red Riding Hood and the rest of the cast from the well-known fairy tale of that title. The pictures, the landscape, and the atmosphere, however, are completely different, so that the tale assumes new meanings. Adolf, the wolf, is fascinated by a lovely little girl dressed in red, who in turn also finds the wolf simply gorgeous. »Are you an angel by any chance?« she asks him. But then, by sheer accident, she somehow falls into the jaws of the wolf, who – quite unwillingly – devours her and then yields to despair. Killed by the hunter, the angel-wolf lives on a cloud and looks down onto his lost twin spirit – still hungry. Very suitable for reading aloud, this book inivites people of all ages to always listen to both sides of a story. (4+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 132
Novelli, Luca (text/illus.)
Archimede e le sue macchine da guerra
(Archimedes and his war machines)
Trieste : Ed. Scienza, 2003. 112 p.
(Lampi di genio)
Science – Archimedes
This book is part of a series of popular non-fiction books for children about the lives and discoveries of scientists from all ages. Here, it is Archimedes who tells us about his childhood, his travels, his research work in the library in Alexandria, and the awe-inspiring war machines he built although he was a peace-loving person. The story keeps running smoothly, the chapters follow in quick succession, and the language is fresh and conversational. The pages are filled with cartoons and hatched drawings and contain amusing anecdotes. Short informative tables are scattered across the narration and a »small Archimedian dictionary « can be found at the end of the book. (9+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 133
Pace e tocco terra
(Peace and I touch ground )
Roma : Ed. Lapis, 2003.  p.
War – Dreams – Peace
In a world where many people seem to think that war is the only way to solve conflicts, the need for peace is growing. This book offers a collection of short stories, poems, and ballads. The six authors and the six illustrators – all of them Italian – are masters in the art of playing with words and pictures. Their texts, very different in genre and style, have a common aim: Against all apparent logic, they suggest the idea of a world where it is actually possible to have peace. In her poem No gravity, for example, Silvia Roncaglia pictures a world in which war becomes impossible because of a law of physics. Ennio Cavalli, Emanuela Nava, and Nicola Cinquetti present a modern tale, and Aquilino a script, while Arianna Papini has written a rap-song for peace. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 134
Quarenghi, Giusi (text)
Orecchia, Giulia (illus.)
Lupo lupo, ma ci sei?
(Wolf, wolf, are you there?)
Firenze : Giunti Kids, 2003.  p.
Wolf – Fear
This lovely lift-the-flap book is particularly suitable for reading aloud with an expressive voice. It is written in the form of a dialogue and created according to the technique of »trompe d’oeil«, so that the pictures keep deceiving the reader because things are never quite what they seem to be and always hide a new surprise. A little girl dressed in red keeps calling the wolf, who never appears. When you lift the flap, the figure that you might have considered to be the wolf turns into a different animal or thing, even into the girl’s own mother. This picture book offers a continuous succession of suspense and relief, a pleasant game of ambiguity. (4+)
Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 135
Rapaccini, Chiara (text/illus.)
(Mother or Still she loves me <pun>)
Milano : Buena Vista, 2003. 133 p.
(I libri che accendono)
Mother – Child
»What is your mother like?« In an ironical way, the author portrays fourteen different types of mothers: the nosy parker (one of the worst), for example, who peeps into her children’s diaries, the octopus-type, far too affectionate and almost suffocating, the always-rushing mother, and the plump one (definitely the nicest). Nevertheless, there is only one who is really bad: the mother of Hänsel and Gretel. The stories, enriched with many witty black-and-white drawings, almost seem like ‘exercises in style’: In turn they sound like pages from a diary, letters, e-mails, advertisement slogans, soap operas, news reports and even advice in etiquette from the good old days. At the end, you can find »mummy cards« to cut out and assemble so that you can create your own ideal ‘specimen’! (10+)
Portugal (Portuguese) - 2004 - 136
Magalhães, Elsa (ed.)
López, Nivio (illus.)
Grandes autores da língua portuguesa para pequenos leitores
(Great Portuguese-language authors for little readers)
Rio de Mouro : Girassol, . 181 p.
Portuguese/Literature – Anthology – History 1300-2000
This attractive anthology offers little (and big) readers a thorough and interesting introduction to the long history of Portuguese-language literature. The editor has taken great care in her selection of examples ranging from the 13century to contemporary literature, from King Dinis to the Nobel laureate José Saramago. The texts come from a variety of genres: songs, poems, fairytales, short stories, drama etc. Small text boxes give additional information about the authors. A special note is added by the striking illustrations in vivd colours. The artist, born in Nicaragua, interprets the ‘venerate’ texts in a refreshing, dynamic, and highly modern way. (10+)
Portugal (Portuguese) - 2004 - 137
Vieira, Alice (text)
Caetano, João (illus.)
2 histórias de Natal
(2 Christmas stories)
Lisboa : Ed. Caminho, 2002. 34 p.
Christmas – Santa Claus
With this book, Alice Vieira, the grande dame of Portuguese children’s and young adult literature, proves once more her fine mastery of the art of narration. With wonderful ease and a refreshing breeze of wit, she presents two modern Christmas stories. The first one lets parents and daughter switch roles to pose the problem of Santa’s existence from a different angle. In the second story, Santa Claus is simply overwhelmed and exhausted by the ever more demanding wish-lists coming from the children. João Caetanos’s lively mixedmedia illustrations playfully capture the humorous tone of the texts. (9+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2004 - 138
României, Maria Regina (text)
Kildine : povestea unei mici principese rāutācioase
(Kildine, the tale of a naughty little princess)
Bucure?ti : Corint, 2003. 100 p.
Princess – Naughtiness – Education
Princess Kildine, a real brat, terrorises her parents and environment. When she doesn’t even spare her father’s crown, the girl is banned and sent to an isolated tower. Once there, the stubborn, naughty girl slowly turns into an amiable person who is received friendly even by her worst enemy, the old market woman »Vox Populi«. This volume is the first Romanian edition of a literary fairy tale originally published in France at the beginning of the 20century. Written by the Romanian Queen Maria, the book’s existence was denied for decades in Romania. Detailed illustrations from the original edition – black-and-white drawings and delicately coloured full-page pictures in a turn-of-the-century style – accompany the text, which reflects the spirit of its time. (7+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2004 - 139
Sima, Nicole (text)
Lucaş, Cristina (illus.)
Marty învaţā muzica! : copiii fac cunoştinā cu sunetele, notele şi instrumentele muzicale … în compania unui marţian
(Marty meets music : together with a Martian, children learn about tones, notes, and musical instruments)
Bucure?ti : Compania, 2003. 79 S.
Music – Instrument
Learning about music and becoming acquainted with musical instruments is like travelling around a foreign planet. And this is exactly what Marty, a friendly little Martian, and his friend from Earth do together. Starting with the most simple notes, their notation, and their functions, the journey proceeds in a logical and comprehensible order to the various categories of musical instruments. These are described in short humorous dialogues and illustrated by simple drawings. The appealing non-fiction book is not exclusively geared towards children but also towards adults who are interested in music. (6+)
Spain (Spanish) - 2004 - 140
Vázquez, Alberto (text/illus.)
Onil (Alicante) : Ed. de Ponent, 2002. 60 p.
Emigration – Immigration – Identity – Uprooting – Homelessness – Generation conflict
In the form of a comic, this story tells of the fate of migrant workers. Looking back, the now grownup first-person narrator relates how he was uprooted from his familiar surroundings, tried to make the foreign country his home, and was again uprooted, losing his first love, when the family returned to their old, almost forgotten home country. This story convincingly describes the scars that such events can leave and the conflict between the children who long for integration and the adults who often (partly intentionally, partly accidentally) fail to to gain a foothold. Quiet black-and-white drawings aptly capture the narrator’s melancholy and the atmosphere of the 1960s. (12+)
Spain (Spanish) - 2004 - 141
Gasol, Anna (ed./adapt.)
Olmos, Roger (illus.)
El libro de las fábulas : relatos de hoy y de siempre
(The book of fables : tales for today and every day)
Barcelona [et al.] : Ed. B, 2003. 110 p.
For this beautifully designed collection, fables from different sources were gathered, retold and arranged into thematic groups. Naturally, Aesop and Lafontaine are not missing, but readers will also find Spanish examples by Calderón de la Barca or Samaniego, as well as texts by the 19century Latin American writers José Martí and Rafael Pombo. Roger Olmos has created powerful unconventional colour illustrations that perfectly complement the texts. His animals, landscapes, and objects with strangely distorted proportions add a unique, expressive, sometimes even mysterious note to the fables. (8+)
Spain (Spanish) - 2004 - 142
El cazador de estrellas
(The star hunter)
Zaragoza : Edelvives, 2003. 168 p.
(Colección Alandar ; 40)
Western Sahara – Refugee camp – Child – Illness – Imagination
12-year-old Bachir lives in a refugee camp in the Western Sahara, which has been occupied by Moroccan troops for many years already. Because of a lung disease, Bachir is confined to his tent; the sounds and noises coming through the thin walls are his only connection to the outside world. His illness is like a prison that also inhibits his inner development. But when Jamida enters into his life, the boy finally gains new hope. Thanks to the old man, who is invisible to the boy, Bachir and the readers learn about the history of his people and the distant world of the stars. Ricardo Gómez conveys the coming-ofage of this boy with great empathy and sympathy for his protagonist. (12+)
(Premio Alandar; 2003)
Spain (Spanish) - 2004 - 143
Guerrero, Pablo (text)
Urberuaga, Emilio (illus.)
[Madrid] : Kókinos, 2003.  p.
Child – Choice of career – Feeling – Love
The text for this picture book was taken from a song. Written in a form similar to the classic concept of »When I am grown-up...,« the text consists of lovesong-like statements such as »When I am a painter, I’ll paint your almondtree-sky for you.« or »When I am a pilot, I’ll see you in every cloud.« For each verse, the internationally renowned artist has drawn a double-page picture that adds entirely new dimensions to the lyrical text by having a child speak the words and experience their meaning. The illustrations with their bright colours and imaginative details take the readers on a poetic journey through a child’s world of thoughts and feelings. (4+)
Spain (Spanish) - 2004 - 144
Muñoz Puelles, Vicente (text)
Arguilé, Elisa (illus.)
Sombras de manos
Madrid : Anaya, 2002.  p.
(Los álbumes de Sopa de libros)
Shadow – Shadow games – Imagination
One evening, Olga and her parents muse about an ordinary phenomenon that holds a lot in store: »Does everything have shadows?« »Yes, everything that exists.« The next, almost philosophical question, »Why do shadows exist?«, paves the way for handson experiments. Olga and her parents bring to life various characters on the wall: fleeting shadow creatures that inspire the imagination of both performers and audience. The simple, subdued text is perfectly complemented by the illustrations. The artist sets her doll-like protagonists off against empty black or white backgrounds. Earthy colours and soft round forms create an intriguing contrast to the stark outlines of the poses seemingly frozen in time and space. (4+)
(Certamen Internacional de Álbum Ilustrado »Ciudad de Alicante«; 2002)
Spain (Catalan) - 2004 - 145
Dalmases, Antoni (text)
Les cuques ballaruques
(The dancing fireflies)
Barcelona : Ed. Cruïlla, 2003. 60 p.
(El vaixell de vapor : Sèrie blanca ; 44)
Animals – Neighbour – Community – Differentness – Tolerance
Every night, the fireflies hold wild parties. Completely annoyed, the other animals decide to defend themselves against this disturbance and teach their noisy neighbours a lesson. Antoni Dalmases makes his animals act exactly like humans: They argue and quarrel, search for solutions, and arrive at decisions. The beautiful rhymed texts full of wit and puns emphasise the necessity of respecting others despite their otherness and of trying to live together peacefully. The bold colour illustrations aptly reflect the sound of the rhymes and perfectly translate them into partly affectionate partly aggressive pictures. (7+)
Spain (Catalan) - 2004 - 146
Duran, Teresa (text)
Bruguera, Neus (illus.)
(Little Devil’s Horn)
Barcelona : Destino, 2003.  p.
Colour – Climate – Devil
Banyeta, a little devil, is fed up with hell and moves to the North Pole. But this white place is definitely too cold for him. Therefore, he moves on to the dry yellow desert, to the humid green jungle, and then on to the blue sea... This entertaining chain story offers simple terms and concepts that pre-school readers can easily understand. Repeating single sentences over and over again, the protagonist arrives at the various places with their contrasting colours and characteristics. The text is accompanied by innovative abstract characters that are very different from the realistic representations commonly used for readers of this age. (4+)
Spain (Catalan) - 2004 - 147
Gisbert, Montse (text/illus.)
Les petites (i grans) emocions de la vida
(The small [and big] feelings of life)
València : Tàndem Ed., 2003.  p.
(French parellel edition: Les petites (et les grandes) émotions de la vie. Bruxelles : Alice Jeunesse, 2003)
Child – Everyday life – Feelings
What is jealousy? And what are happiness, curiosity, shame, doubt, and stubbornness? The Catalan illustrator Montse Gisbert has created a kind of encyclopaedic picture book for small readers. It describes basic human feelings and states of mind with the help of examples based on a child’s experience, such as the fear of an injection at the doctor’s or the disappointment of not being able to play outside in the sandbox with a friend because it is raining. Each double-page spread of the small square book offers a short text complemented by humorous and poetic pictures in delicate pastel colours that aptly illustrate the situations described. (6+)
Spain (Catalan) - 2004 - 148
Roca, Maria Carme (text)
Antin, Òscar (illus.)
El faedor de mentides
(The inventor of lies)
Barcelona : Ed. Barcanova, 2003. 133 p.
(Sopa de llibres ; 88 / [Sèrie blava])
Father – Son – Family conflict – Search for identity – Self awareness – Mental illness – Lie
Alexandre claims to be the ‘Prince of the Swamps’, son of King Albatross and Queen Fortuna. Naturally, nobody in the hospital his father is admitted to believes him. Since his father is unconscious, the nurses ask Alexandre to tell them his real name so that they can inform the relatives. This moment marks the beginning of the boy’s search for his origin, and he comes to realise that his father lied to him all his life. The highly recommendable novel mixes elements of realistic and psychological literature and empathetically describes the long process of a young man’s search for his identity. (12+)
Spain (Catalan) - 2004 - 149
Ara o mai
(Now or never)
Barcelona : Empúries, 2003. 173 p.
(L’odissea ; 110)
Parents – Child – Youth – Friendship – Love – Sexuality
Patricia decides to put an end to her virginity. Supported by her best friend Claudia, she hatches out the plan »Now or never«, which is supposed to lead to the ideal candidate and fulfil Patricia’s wish. Despite meticulous preparations, however, the girl’s ‘première’ takes place in a completely different form and place than she expected. This novel comprises a web of interwoven chapters in which various characters tell their version of the story in the first-person. The author treats the topic of first sexual experiences in a very casual and humorous manner. (15+)
Spain (Galician) - 2004 - 150
Fernández Paz, Agustín (text)
Alonso, Juan Ramón (illus.)
O meu nome é Skywalker
(My name is Skywalker)
Madrid : Ed. SM, 2003. 89 p.
(O barco de vapor ; 27)
Poverty – Beggar – Indifference – Exclusion – Friendship
One day, Raquel looks out the window and sees a poorly dressed man with a tin and a cardboard sign sitting in front of the department store opposite her house. People simply walk by, and except for a few children no one seems to notice him. This leads the girl to conclude that the man must be invisible and decides to find out his secret. In his characteristic calm and simple voice, the well-known Galician author tells a gripping novel of people who live on the margins of our often indifferent and consumerist society. (9+)
(Premio O Barco de Vapor; 2003)
Spain (Galician) - 2004 - 151
Mejuto, Eva (adapt.)
Manero, Elia (illus.)
O zapateiro e os trasnos
(The shoemaker and the elves)
Pontevedra : Kalandraka, 2003.  p.
(Os contos do trasno)
Elf – Shoemaker – Helpfulness – Magic – Curiosity – Betrayal
One morning, a shoemaker and his wife make a surprising discovery: The shoes the craftsman hadn’t finished the day before are now standing all prim and proper in the workshop. From this day on, this curious event keeps repeating itself without fail – until the two people are overcome by curiosity and surprise their little helpers. They are elves, and because they don’t like publicity, they quickly disappear, never to return. Eva Mejuto recounts this popular folk tale with a great sense of humour. Elia Manero’s illustrations, imaginative collages made from various material, offer a fresh and original interpretation of the classic tale. (5+)
Spain (Galician) - 2004 - 152
Nunca máis! : a ollada da infancia
(Never again! : the wave of children)
Pontevedra : Kalandraka, 2003.  p.
Galicia/2002 – Sea – Coast – Shipwreck – Oil catastrophe – Environmental protection
This outstanding book was created after the terrible oil spill caused by the shipwreck of the tanker Prestige off the coast of Galicia in November 2002. Using texts, paintings, and drawings, local children express their emotions and thoughts, fear, sadness, and indignation concerning this »black flood« and the adults’ irresponsibility. This volume is an »appeal for more civil action and a stronger sense of community voiced by those who are usually condemned to be silent bystanders: the children.« The book is remarkable both for the urgency of the young people’s message and for the quality and creativity of their texts and pictures. (5+)
Switzerland (French) - 2004 - 153
Salem-Marin, Anne (text)
Kroug, Simon (illus.)
Genève : Joie de Lire, 2003.  p.
Rumour – Thieve
When people claim that Madame Malika’s bracelet was stolen in the Turkish Bath, this rumour, which stems from nobody knows where and whom, spreads incredibly fast and feeds on exaggerations as well as distortions. Out of thin air, a description of the thief appears and becomes successively more elaborate: A man in slippers ..., with a beard ..., a foreigner with European clothes, tie, and striped trousers. And what if he is after the prince’s treasure chamber, too? Following the wellknown pattern of a rumour, the illustrations, supported by a short explanatory text, successfully depict the plot. The warm and light-hearted tone of the sepia-coloured illustrations corresponds to both the atmosphere of the Arabian setting and the ongoing talk’s ungraspable and ever-changing character. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2004 - 154
Auster, Paul (text)
Vera, Mariana (transl.)
El cuento de Navidad de Auggie Wren
(Auggie Wren’s Christmas story)
Buenos Aires : Ed. Sudamericana, 2003. 30 p.
Christmas – Old age – Loneliness – Lie – Trick – Deception – Compassion
This touching Christmas tale by the famous North American author was originally published in the New York Times in 1990. Later it was reused in the script for the film Smoke (1995). The story within a story tells of a tobacco shop owner in Brooklyn who tries to track down a thief. When he arrives at the thief’s flat, he only finds the man’s grandmother there. Not wanting to destroy the lonely and blind old woman’s illusion – she accidentally (or intentionally?) takes him for her grandson – the man joins in the pretend game and spends Christmas eve with her. For this story, the Argentinean artist Isol has created sophisticated and very original illustrations mainly in shades of brown. The rich detail invites readers to look at the pictures again and again to discover new things. Thanks to the unusual technique, a fascinating mixture of painted-over photographs and collage, the illustrations occasionally seem like three-dimensional little stages on which the tale is enacted. (9+) ☼
Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2004 - 155
Baredes, Carla (text)
Lotersztain, Ileana (text)
García Rodríguez, Gonzalo (illus.)
¿Por qué es trompudo el elefante? : y otras curiosidades de los animales a la hora de comer
(Why does the elefant have a trunk? : and other peculiarities of animals at meal time)
Buenos Aires : Ed. Iamiqué, 2003. 59 p.
Animal – Physiognomy – Eating habits – Evolution
It is certainly true that many non-fiction books for children are well-made but, nevertheless, they often seem a little boring because they follow conventional concepts. This non-fiction title about animals published by a small new publishing house is refreshingly different. As the second volume of a series called ¡Qué bestias! (What amazing animals!), it examines the interesting question of why certain animals look the way they do, and why and how they eat the things they eat. With funny and smart headlines, entertaining yet well-founded texts, and cartoon-like colour illustrations, this book offers an original introduction to the animal world and the secrets of evolution. (8+)
Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2004 - 156
Libro de los prodigios
(The book of miracles)
Buenos Aires : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2003. 135 p.
(Torre de papel : Amarilla)
Example – Supernatural creature – Inexplicable phenomenon
In this book, the author – who is nominated for the Hans-Christian-Andersen-Award 2004 – parodies the genre of medieval exemplum-literature, albeit without its characteristic moralistic elements. 24 tales describe astonishing supernatural phenomena, such as cats made of sand, or tigers who have mysterious messages imprinted on their foreheads. In a brilliant manner, Ema Wolf exploits Latin and Arabic, religious and secular sources, plays with different styles, and mixes archaic and ancient terms with modern colloquial expressions. Thus she creates a refined intertextual blend that can be interpreted in various ways by teenage and adult readers alike. (14+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2004 - 157
Azevedo, Ricardo (text)
Massarani, Marina (illus.)
Trezentos parafusos a menos
(Three hundred screws loose)
São Paulo : Companhia das Letrinhas, 2002. 134 p.
Family – Inheritance – Search for identity – Happiness
The Souzas are an ordinary family and full of all those idiosyncrasies that are simply part of life. When they suddenly inherit a fortune, their lives radically change. The nervous, cranky father Luis quits his hated job, takes guitar lessons, and becomes a talented musician. Mother Ruth, who spent her life worrying about her weight, fulfils her life-long dream by taking up professional training to become a nurse. Adopting the point-of-view of 10-year-old daughter Tatiana, Ricardo Azevedo delivers a humorous and fast-paced account of people who don’t let their good fortune slip by and set a new course that helps them grow and find happiness. (9+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2004 - 158
José, Elias (text)
Scatamacchia, Cláudia (illus.)
Deu doideira na cidade
(Crazy things in the town)
São Paulo : Martins Fontes, 2002. 116 p.
(Escola de magia)
Town – Magic
Tonho is outraged. Even though his cousin Otávio lives in the bustling metropolis of São Paulo, he pretends that nothing happens there worth mentioning. Instead, he asks Tonho for the latest news from Catitó. No problem! Catitó may be a small town, but it certainly has a lot to offer. In his letters, Tonho convinces his cousin that life out in the provinces can even be quite crazy. There are ghosts, rebellious objects, or a miraculous metamorphosis – without the slightest surgical intervention – from Paulo to Paula. In an unpretentious, subdued tone, Elias José relates short and whimsical episodes from the life of a rather weird town. (6+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2004 - 159
Nestrovski, Arthur (text)
Eugênia, Maria (illus.)
Bichos que existem & bichos que não existem
(Creatures that exist and creatures that don’t)
São Paulo : Cosac & Naify, 2002.  p.
Animals – Mythical creatures
This imaginative and inspiring ‘encyclopaedia’ offers a colourful journey through a very diverse world of animals. Beside the commonly-known cow, Brazilian jabutis, and giant ants, seahorses, camels, and the tropical bird Uirapuru, the book also portrays some extremely unusual specimens, such as the headless mule popular in traditional folk tales from Brazil, the legendary bird called Phoenix, and the ever-smiling Cheshire Cat from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The witty, playful texts and the captivating, highly graphical illustrations in bright colours make this book a particularly attractive and enjoyable read. (5+)
Brazil (Portuguese) - 2004 - 160
Oliveira Neto, Godofredo de (text)
Mello, Roger (illus.)
Ana e a margem do rio : confissões de uma jovem Nauá
(Ana and the bank of the river : confessions of a young Nauá)
Rio de Janeiro [et al.] : Ed. Record, 2002. 206 p.
Amazon – Indios – Female adolescence – Missionary school – Cultural conflict – Interculturality – Search for identity
Ana, a girl from the Nauá people, attends a missionary school run by Salesian nuns in the Amazon. At this juncture of two very different worlds, she attempts to reassert her origins and find her own way. From chapter to chapter, the narrative shifts between Ana’s account of daily life at school and a legend from the oral tradition of the girl’s tribe. As retold (and slightly modified) by Ana in a school essay, this Indian legend reflects the influences resulting from the encounter with Western culture. Without resorting to exotic or romantic stereotypes – as often happens in books about Indian cultures – the wellknown novelist dresses a convincing portrait of Ana’s quest for identity. (13+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2004 - 161
Heredia, María Fernanda (text)
Díaz, Carlos Manuel (illus.)
Amigo se escribe con H
(You write Amigo with H)
Bogotá [et al.] : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2003. 125 p.
(Torre de papel : Azul)
Friendship – First love
María Antonia, the 10-year-old first-person narrator, is an alert girl, sometimes terribly disheartened, at other times courageous. She relates her everyday life – in which H, a boy from the neighbourhood, plays an important role – with a keen sense of observation, wit, and a hint of black humour. On the cusp between childhood and adolescence, things just seem to become more complicated – especially if they concern love and the first sexual sensations. That’s exactly what happens to María Antonia and H. The Ecuadorian author captures happy and less happy moments of a normal young life with great sensitivity and respect for the emotional turmoil of her two protagonists. (9+)
(Premio Latinoamericano de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil Norma-Fundalectura; 2003)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2004 - 162
Bogotá : Ed. Trescabezas, 2003. Each vol.  p. (4 volumes in a slipcase: Zooacuático; Zooaéreo; Zooígneo; Zootelúrico)
Animals – Imagination
Zootica presents a magnificent panoply of animals. The four square little volumes, with their black cloth binding and differently coloured dust jackets are gathered in an appealing cardboard slipcase and immediately catch the reader’s attention. Each of the books without words deals with one of the four natural elements: fire, water, air, and earth. Mysterious and bizarre fantasy creatures, which seem to have been inspired by Hieronymus Bosch, surrealist art, or maybe the imagery of American Indians’ folk art, fill the pages. With long tentacles, sharp spines, flame-like tongues, etc., they inspire the reader’s imagination and eagerness to interpret the pictures. (6+)
Mexico (Spanish) - 2004 - 163
Lago, Angela (text/illus.)
Juan Felizario Contento : el rey de los negocios
(Lucky Juan : the king of bargaining)
México, D.F. : Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2003.  p.
(Los especiales de A la orilla del viento)
Fairy tale – Lucky Hans – Happiness – Materialism/ Idealism – Civilisation/Nature
The Brazilian illustrator Angela Lago keeps surprising her readers with new, unusual pictures – as in this ingenious interpretation of the fairy tale of Juan, the »King of bargaining«. Juan inherits a gold coin. After several trade-offs, he is left with a bird’s feather that seems to be worthless but rewards him with an »immeasurable moment of joy.« Juan’s itinerary begins in an urban setting scarred with high-rise-buildings and motorways that Lago illustrates with a chaotic myriad of colourful brush strokes. As Juan leaves this world behind, the background gradually quietens down. In the last picture, which shows the moment of happiness, there are merely two soft fields of colour: the blue of the sky and the beige of the earth. (5+)
Special Mention - Venezuela (Spanish) - 2004 - 164
Sáez Castán, Javier (text/illus.)
Los tres erizos : pantomima en dos actos con colofón
(The three hedgehogs : farce in two acts with colophon)
Caracas : Ed. Ekaré, 2003.  p.
(Colección Ponte Poronte)
ISBN 980-257-297-7. - 84-933060-0-2
Hedgehog – Apple – Food – Trial – Justice
Three hedgehogs raid an apple-orchard for windfalls. »Revenge!« scream the people. Once they finish hibernating and leave their cosy cave, the culprits will be in for it. But they are lucky because just then, a little apple tree they ‘planted’ decides to push its head through the earth. The benefactors shall be pardoned! Overwhelming emotions, medals, happy end! This unconventional picture book owes its exuberant originality to the discrepancy between the simplicity of the pseudodidactic tale, its subdued tone, and the warm, quiet illustrations on the one hand and its elaborate form and many literary allusions on the other. Javier Sáez Castán quotes elements of classicist drama or adds banners with Latin or French inscriptions as comments to imitate medieval paintings and ends up producing an intelligent ironic farce that can be appreciated by child and adult readers on very different levels. (6+)
Canada (French) - 2004 - 165
Chastenay, Pierre (text)
DesRosiers, Sophie (illus.)
Taillefer, Heidi (illus.)
Je deviens astronome
(I’ll become an astronomer)
Waterloo (Québec) : Quintin, 2002. 47 p.
Astronomy – Planets – Stars
This introduction to astronomy does not only impart well-founded basic knowledge in a comprehensible way to children; at the same time, it also encourages them to join in and conduct experiments themselves. The author, who works as an astronomer at the observatory in Montreal, begins with celestial objects that can be spotted with the naked eye. Building on general knowledge, he gradually increases the complexity of technical requirements and of the theoretical background from chapter to chapter. The child’s interaction is always counted on because the clearly structured non-fiction book with its informative pictures includes models and instructions for building various devices to watch the sky. (8+)
Canada (French) - 2004 - 166
Gingras, Charlotte (text)
Jorisch, Stéphane (illus.)
La boîte à bonheur
(The lucky chest)
Montréal (Québec) : Courte Échelle, 2003. 62 p.
(Mon roman; 3: Intimiste)
Parents – Divorce – Piano – Search
This sensitive novel shows how important music can be, especially in difficult situations. Clara’s life is a complete chaos right now: Her father has fallen in love with another woman, her two older sisters blame their mother for the failure of the marriage, and the mother is in despair. When they move into a smaller flat and eventually even sell the piano, Clara almost loses all hope. She starts searching for the beloved instrument which had been a family heirloom for generations and – as »lucky chest« – had always offered some kind of emotional support to her and her mother, formerly a famous singer. Despite the depressing real-life topic, the story is presented in a lighthearted tone and particularly touches the readers because it is written in first person. (10+)
Canada (French) - 2004 - 167
L’Insolite Coureur des bois
(The unsusual trapper)
Montréal : Hurtubise HMH, 2003. 139 p.
(Collection Atout ; 84 : Histoire)
Orphan – Trapper – Fur trade – Journey – Native people – Canada/1753
In the 18century, those men in the French colony of Canada who circumvented the official fur trade in the St. Lawrence valley and travelled to Indian settlements were called »Coureurs des bois« (trappers). In many cases, they were the first Europeans who came into contact with the various tribes. In 1753, the young orphan Baptistine also becomes a trapper. Fleeing from the cruel landlady for whom she has to work, the girl dresses as a boy and joins three other trappers. On the one hand, the strength of the text lies in its precise description of the various characters. On the other hand, the presentation of the trappers’ experiences and their encounter with a native tribe offers young readers a demanding yet entertaining look into Canadian history. (10+)
Canada (French) - 2004 - 168
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Lafrance, Marie (illus.)
Émilie pleine de jouets
(Émilie full of toys)
Saint-Lambert (Québec) : Dominique et Compagnie, 2003.  p.
ISBN 2-89512-309-8. - 2-89512-310-1
Girl – Talent – Toys – Father – Rescue
Émilie is not like other girls. Whenever she closes her hand and opens it again, a toy appears on it. Motivated by caring love, the parents and Émilie herself try to make the best of this magic talent. Toy cars, spinning tops, dolls, and balls are given to old or sick people in the village, some are used as firewood, or piled up as a sculpture of toys. One day, after the girl has saved her father from drowning at sea with her skill, life changes: »Émilie full of toys« turns into »Émilie full of love«. Like a recurrent theme, the girl dressed in red pops up in all the illustrations, which – even in the most dramatic situation such as the rescue at sea – are soothed by the sensitive text. (4+)
Canada (French) - 2004 - 169
Roberts, Bruce (illus.)
Noir, blanc ou poil de carotte : des enfants écrivent contre le racisme
(Black, white, or redhead: children write against racism)
Montréal (Québec) : Les 400 Coups, 2003. 39 p.
Racism – Tolerance – Religion – Interculturality
They are nine, ten, or eleven; boys and girls of different ethnic origin or social class, and all of them have decided to write against racism. Out of about 300 ‘protests’ against racism, eight teachers from various schools in Quebec have selected 16 representative examples of different genres – a diary entry, a poem, an essay, a fairy tale, etc. The result is not a didactic textbook but rather a kaleidoscope of fear of intolerance yet also of hope for tolerance and a peaceful dialogue. The children’s texts are embedded in the declaration of human rights and the sketchy, partly symbolical illustrations of well-known artist Bruce Roberts. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 170
Pedersen, Knud Erik (transl. of non-Danish texts)
Der er kommet en komet : nordiske digte for børn
(There came a comet : Nordic poems for children)
København : Forum, 2003. 106 p. + 1 CD
Scandinavia – Poetry
Thanks to state support for book projects, it is often possible in Scandinavian countries to publish outstanding editions from which children, too, will profit (if they want to). Authors, illustrators, publishers, and translators have joined forces to produce a truly magnificent anthology of children’s poetry, which – despite the great number of people involved – can be considered a harmonious whole. All of the poems (and the respective illustrations, of course) have been created especially for this publication. An enclosed CD offers the poems read by their authors and allows the children to experience the sounds of the original languages. This volume can be seen as one of the best showpieces of children’s book culture in the North. Its creation was also supported by the »great old man of children’s poetry from the Nordic countries,« Swedish poet Lennart Hellsing, who himself – out of modesty – has not added any of his own poems to the collection. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 171
Glaz Serup, Martin (text)
Thaulov, Pia (illus.)
[København] : Gyldendal, 2003.  p.
Goose – Noise – Slaughter – Love of animals
This story turns the legend of the geese who saved Rome on its head. After his wife has abandoned him and the farm animals suffer from nervous breakdowns, a farmer cannot stand his geese’s cackling anymore. Even when their cries warn him about a thief, his heart is not softened. On the contrary: While the burglar empties the house, the farmer takes his geese and surrenders them to the butcher. Eventually, quiet returns to the farm. Together with his wife, who has suddenly returned, the farmer contentedly digs into a frugal dinner in the empty house. Could the very modern moral of this bizarre fable be that you can only get rid of annoying fellows by resorting to brutal methods? Or should the adults who read this story to their children explain that the story should actually end differently? (6+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 172
Hega Holst, Kamilla (text)
Thaulov, Pia (illus.)
Den sovende sangerinde
(The sleeping singer)
København : Høst & Søn, 2003. 87 p.
Mother – Nervous breakdown – Child – Helplessness
Liv, whose family has just moved, becomes friends with Nis, the boy from next door. But Nis is different from others: On the one hand, he has a lot of imagination and is able to arouse that of other children. On the other hand, however, there is also a dark side to his life. He has to look after his depressed mother, a former singer, who just vegetates ever since Nis’s father disappeared. When the desperate boy runs away, Liv and her mother take over and slowly help Nis’s mother to regain an interest in life. When Nis finally comes back home, his mother starts singing again. On only a few pages and with sparse language, a fascinating web of tender human relations is spread out before the readers. It allows them to enter into the realm of imagination but also to glimpse at life’s dark mysteries. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 173
Johansen, Anders (text)
Bak, Mette-Kirstine (illus.)
Lasses store verden
(Lasse’s big world)
Århus : Forl. Modtryk, 2003. 160 p.
Denmark/1950-1960 – Child – Everyday life
Anders Johansen tells his readers about a time when their grandfathers were children. He does not choose to relate a »Once upon a time ...« story, however; instead, with great narrative skill, he simply recounts the adventures of a small boy with his family and friends. Thus, modern day Scandinavian Languages children do not deliberately have to travel back to the late 1950s in their minds. They automatically slip into the past, which they might even consider an idyllic time, and will hardly be surprised that this family did not even own a television set. The black-and-white ink illustrations with their slightly caricaturesque style draw a lively picture of the boy’s mostly funny little adventures. (5+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 174
(Time of certainty)
[Frederiksberg] : Branner og Korch, 2003. 262 p.
Teenage girl – Boarding school – Character development
One day, out of the blue, young Mia is sent to boarding school by her parents. At first, she suspects that they want to get rid of her, but the reason for this decision rather seems to be a problem between the parents themselves. Mia has to make herself at home in a new environment, leave old friends behind, try hard to find new friends, and figure out what it is she wants to do with her life. This typical coming-of-age story, written with great empathy by a psychologist, will certainly inspire readers, girls in particular, to start thinking about themselves and their lives. (14+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 175
[København] : Carlsen, 2003. 217 p.
France/1793 – French Revolution – Village – Change of values – Orphan
The French Revolution has turned the lives and habits of the people in a small village upside down. Marie, the blacksmith’s daughter, has lost her father in an accident, while her mother, who is mentally disturbed, is looked after in a convent that no longer receives any financial support because of the revolution. One day, the girl meets Cat, an aristocratic child whose parents were murdered and who currently lives with a group of gypsies. The two girls find Cat’s hidden jewellery box but they have to win a fight before they can share the treasure. Marie leaves her share to the convent so that they can keep the hospital running. This well-written novel combining adventures and human problems provides readers with an interesting glimpse into the chaotic life in France around 1800. (12+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 176
Luostarin Piritta : Nuortenromaani vuoden 1462 Naantalista
(The nun Piritta)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2003. 205 p.
Bridget of Sweden <Saint> – Mystic – Middle Ages – Convent – Faithfulness – Friendship
Maijaliisa Dieckmann has a long career as a writer of historical fiction for children and young adults. This book is published on the occasion of Saint Bridget of Sweden’s 700birthday and describes the Middle Ages and the life in a Brigittine convent from two people’s points of view: Saint Bridget, the patron saint, and the young nun-to-be Piritta who was named after the paragon. In the 15century, living in a convent was the only possibility for a young girl to learn how to read and write. Piritta becomes friends with Katariina who is hiding in the convent and comes from a tragic background. The book, written with great sensitivity and an aesthetic touch, deals with motifs such as moral, honour, and a sense of duty. (12+)
(Topelius Award; 2003)
Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 177
Havukeinen, Aino (text/illus.)
Toivonen, Sami (text/illus.)
Tatu ja Patu Helsingissä
(Tatu and Patu in Helsinki)
Helsinki : Otava, 2003.  p.
Helsinki – Guided tour
Together, Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen have written and illustrated several books for children. Their literary heroes Tatu and Patu, two boisterous brothers, are familiar to many Finnish children. Since they usually behave in fairly unexpected ways and act differently from other people, the boys’ home is called »Outola« (a place for strangers). In this volume, Tatu and Patu visit their cousin Jori in Helsinki. The visit is full of funny events and at the same time, the book is a guide to all the famous places in Helsinki that might interest children. The colourful, cartoon-like illustrations, with plenty of funny details to discover, perfectly complement the vibrant text. Text and illustrations work well together to form a very amusing picture book. (8+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 178
Huovi, Hannele (text)
Neuvonen, Kirsi (illus.)
Gepardi katsoo peiliin : faabeleita
(The cheetah looking at the mirror : fables)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2003. 110 p.
Hannele Huovi, a great writer for children and young adults, is internationally renowned. Her latest book was on the shortlist for the Finlandia Junior Award. Huovi presents fabulous modern adaptations of fables with a wise and humorous touch. The animals live their lives just like human beings do and deal with the same (postmodern) questions such as: »Who am I?« or: »Where do I come from?« Huovi handles the protagonists’ search for identity and the relationship between animals and human beings very carefully. Kirsi Neuvonen’s etchings add an exotic touch to the stories. These tales are a wonderful read for young adults. (14+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 179
Kallio, Lisa (text/illus.)
(A flying house)
Helsinki : Lasten Parhaat Kirjat, 2003. 28 p.
Multiculturality – Friendship – Adventure
This picture book tells the story of Riku, whose family moves into a new house. The boy’s deep sadness about losing his best friend results in an unusual ability: He can make the house fly all the way back to his former home where he meets a boy who is in a same situation: Hamid desperately misses his home village in a far-away country. Consequently, the two boys combine their powers and travel to the moon with the flying house. The book sensitively describes a child’s grief about leaving his best friend and his familiar surroundings behind but also shows how children can cope with these problems. The warm, colourful illustrations aptly interpret the text and radiate with a tender atmosphere created by the play with lights and shadows. (6+) ☆
Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 180
Laajarinne, Jukka (text)
Ruokonen, Martti (illus.)
Madonluvut : matemaattisia seikkailuja sekoiluja
(Maths from the far side : fun with mathematics)
Helsinki : Werner Söderström OY, 2003. 153 p.
This non-fiction book about maths is brimming with funny examples and crazy ideas. Instead of tackling mathematical problems in a conventional way, the author turns them into entertaining stories that are full of witty humour and contain frequent allusions to classical children’s literature. Illustrator Martti Ruokonen offers bold and brightly coloured anarchistic interpretations of the text. His illustrations perfectly match Jukka Laajarinne’s wild humour and support her modern, innovative way of dealing with mathematical problems. This book provides ample proof that learning mathematics and solving tricky problems can be a lot of fun. (9+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 181
Parland, Stella (text)
Bondestam, Linda (illus.)
Katastrofer och strofer om slummer och stoj
(Catastrophes and verses about slumber and noise)
[Helsingfors] : Söderström, 2003.  p.
In Finland, only very few books can be published for the small Swedish-speaking minority of roughly 300,000 people. Most of the books in Swedish, therefore, are imported from Sweden. This book, one of the few exceptions, creates a crazy graphical spectacle with minimum ado in two colours (red and black against a white background), resorting back to design concepts of the 1950s. The poems presented here offer whimsical elements that have their origin in English children’s rhymes and Lennart Hellsing’s comic style; nevertheless, they are original enough to exist on their own – and lend themselves particularly well to reading aloud. (5+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 182
Syväjärvi, Annastiina (text/illus.)
Siipirikko ei voi lentää
(A broken wing cannot fly)
Helsinki : Lasten Keskus, 2003.  p.
Tampere – Cathedral – Simberg, Hugo / Haavoittunut enkeli – Mural – Angel
In this book, probably the most famous Finnish painting »Haavoittunut enkeli« (The wounded angel) by Hugo Simberg serves as the setting for an adventure. A girl enters the cathedral in Tampere, an Art Nouveau building, discovers the painting, and climbs into it. After a short ‘excursion’ together with the angel, the girl leads the angel back into the painting and leaves the snow-covered cathedral. In her pictures, the artist fulfils the dream of many a child who wishes to overcome the unapproachability inherent in many works of art. When the protagonist touches the angel-girl, who usually looks down with an absent-minded and sad expression, the wounded creature immediately turns into a friendly, cheerful, and attentive child, while the wounds on her wings and the head dressing fade into the background as insignificant accessories. This touching story, which reconciles readers with the inaccessibility of art, is told in picturesque illustrations reminiscent of Finnish paintings around 1900. (5+)
Special Mention - Iceland (Icelandic) - 2004 - 183
Jónsdóttir, Áslaug (text/illus.)
[Reykjavík] : Mál og Menning, 2003.  p.
Egg – Pursuit – Escape
An egg falls out of the bird’s nest onto a hungry cat’s furry back. The egg flees and is threatened by many obstacles during its escape, either because of its fragility or its substance – by the bus, a mad group of dancers, a cook, of course, whose bowl of cracked-open fellow sufferers hints at the fate awaiting the egg, an older couple cuddling on a park bench, a golf player who raises his club. It is stolen by a crow and falls back down to the ground – directly in front of the cat’s mouth. At the last second, the newly-hatched little bird flies away evading the cat’s teeth. The cat just calls after it: I’ll eat you later then! This witty picture book with its various allusions (suggestive advertisements with a fried egg, a plucked chicken, or a bald man whose head looks like a huge egg) is illustrated in pale colours and with elements of collage. It stands apart from other Icelandic books because of its grotesque style. (5+)
Special Mention - Iceland (Icelandic) - 2004 - 184
Steinsdóttir, Kristin (text)
Sólveig Þorgeirsdóttir, Halla (illus.)
Engill i vesturbonum
(An angel in the western part of the city)
[Reykjavík] : Vaka-Helgafell, 2002.  p.
Child – Household
Most adults consider high-rise housing a nightmare of facelessness and anonymity. For Askur, Scandinavian Languages the boy with the old Germanic name, however, the tenants are mysterious or weird creatures who turn into angels, werewolves, or witches in his imagination. His everyday experiences are told in short episodes that include a snowstorm, a flaming sunrise, and a cosy evening spent reading with his mother. The illustrator has designed each double spread in a distinct colour and mood. In a style typical for modern painters she creates appealing pictures with bold brushstrokes, several layers of colour, and collage elements, so that every page turn becomes an exciting adventure. (8+)
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 185
Berggren, Arne (text)
Ekman, Fam (illus.)
Oslo : Aschehoug, 2003.  p.
Father – Son – Swimming lessons – Fear
Arne Berggren generally has a penchant for topics ranging from weird to gloomy. This is equally true for this novel, which tells the story of a child who is torn between his artist mother, who wants to encourage his understanding of art, and his father, who strives to make his son a practical, down-to-earth person. The father takes the boy to the swimming pool to teach him how to swim. But the boy is afraid and even has a near-death experience and hallucinations. Yet in the end, he succeeds, even if the ambivalent feelings inside him remain. For illustrator Fam Ekman, this hovering between dream and reality is a graphic delight. Her delicate drawings with only a few traces of colour and the peculiar creatures she invents inspire the reader’s imagination and stand outside the mainstream of illustration styles. Moreover, the unusual, rough cardboard cover also sets this book apart from the majority of picture books and makes it a bibliophile’s treasure. (8+)
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 186
Dahle, Gro (text)
Nyhus, Svein (illus.)
Oslo : Cappelen, 2003.  p.
Father – Son – Violence – Fear
This story about an irascible father who turns violent against wife and child is told in a very reserved and sober style. Only the illustrations, depicting a menacingly growing father who finally burns bright red with anger, show the readers the oppressive fear that the boy and his mother feel. Innocent and open-minded, the child desperately tries to contact the increasingly irritated father. Although he does not understand what is going on, he senses that his father is not himself but possessed by an evil monster. Eventually, the state authority, represented by the king and a social worker, intervenes and takes the father away – quite possibly to a psychiatric ward from where he will return to his family cured. (6+)
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 187
Oslo : Aschehoug, 2003. 175 p.
ISBN 82-03-24514-5. - 82-525-5468-7
Father – Death – Son – Grief – Childhood
Mystification is one of Jostein Gaarder’s particular strengths. A father who died of cancer left a long letter to his son in which he tells him the story of his love for the boy’s mother – the orange-girl. Since this letter lay hidden for more than ten years, the son reading it embarks on a journey into the distant past, travelling to the beginning of his own life. In this novel, Gaarder does not only describe the boy’s grief and his search for his identity in a very convincing manner. He has also succeeded in creating a touching and light-hearted love story. (13+)
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 188
Hagen, Oddmund (text)
Düzakin, Akin (illus.)
Bort frå jordet
(Away from the countryside)
Oslo : Det Norske Samlaget, 2003.  p.
Child – Arson – Guilty conscience
Two rabbit brothers and their parents live in a rural idyll seemingly free from catastrophies. Too much peace, however, inspires forbidden adventures: Thus, the two boys light a small fire with stolen matches. Although they do extinguish the fire before leaving the place, the younger brother feels guilty and hides himself when a forest fire starts that same day. But then his parents track him down and explain that the careless farmer was to blame. The soft colours and shapes of Düzakin’s pictures emanate calmness. They are characteristic for his style and perfectly match the country idyll. Even though he does not indulge in red seas of flame, the danger – only visible as heavy clouds of smoke hovering above the forest – is frightening enough. (6+)
Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 189
Lunde, Stein Erik
Sanger fra rom 22
(Songs from room no. 22)
Oslo : Gyldendal Tiden, 2002. 200 p.
School – Classmate – Human relationship
This typical school novel tells the readers about the beginning of a normal school day and about all the boring daily events, such as school problems, love problems, dreams of a future etc. Luckily enough, Stein Erik Lunde’s ironic narrative style makes all this turn into a very amusing tale. Naturally, the author also describes how tough it can be to approach someone you love, especially if you are a little clumsy. The book arouses readers’ interest in literature. The author, who writes about everyday events in the lives of teenagers without resorting to stereotypes, is an experienced song-text writer and has already won some awards for the few teenage novels he has written so far. (13+) ☼
Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 190
Althoff, Johan (text)
Nyberg, Robert (illus.)
(The book of words)
Stockholm : Alfabeta, 2003. 288 p.
Swedish – Vocabulary – Wordplay
This book of words, which should rather be called »word-play-book«, cannot be recommended for translation but can certainly be used as inspiration. With some other books to their credit, Johan Althoff and Robert Nyberg already are experienced ‘language educators’. They easily manage to present the characteristics and peculiarities of the Swedish language to children in a highly entertaining way. Readers can leaf through this book with curious eyes, play with the words, and – what is most important – enlarge their vocabulary. (10+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 191
Enquist, Per Olov (text)
Wirsén, Stina (illus.)
De tre grottornas berg
(The mountain with the three caves)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2003. 139 p.
Grandfather – Grandchild – Mountain – Hiking – Adventure – Fear – Courage
To recommend a book that immediately attracts attention because it is the first children’s book written by a famous author might be carrying coals to Newcastle. So what? It is not Per Olov Enquist’s intention to add a new dimension to children’s literature, he merely writes a gripping adventure story about a hiking trip planned by a grandfather for his grandchildren. But how he writes it! He creates suspense, includes humorous allusions that children can understand, and also adds some irony for the grown-ups. Because reading it aloud to children (namely his own grandchildren) is certainly what the author had in mind. True, other authors also write humorous texts, but in Enquist’s stories even bold metaphors seem rather original and not at all far-fetched. (6+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 192
Lindström, Jonathan (text/illus.)
Allt från början : från urcell till människa
(Everything from the beginning : From the primordial cell to man)
Stockholm : Bonnier Carlsen, 2003. 61 p.
Humans – Evolution
You can create a book with many beautiful photographs and still fail to say anything much. Yet, you can also explain something, paint a few pictures to go with it, and leave out all the superfluous stuff – and that’s exactly what the author of this book about the creation and evolution of life on earth does. The illustrations that accompany the concise text of this nonfiction picture book were drawn by the author himself and explain the important facts. With their caricature- like style and some entertaining interludes, they make reading and understanding this book an entertaining task. (6+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 193
Nilsson, Ulrika (illus.)
Brum pling hallå!
(Buzz ding hello!)
[Stockholm] : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2003.  p.
This book can be seen as a typical example of contemporary Scandinavian books for toddlers in general, which are modern in both content and illustration. It introduces an ‘up-to-date’ family who is equipped with all the modern-day electronical appliances imaginable, such as computer, microwave, mobile telephone, etc. The pictures show simple shapes with strong black outlines. The bright basic colours, used in slight variations of the standard norm, are printed onto the paper not as smooth plain fields, but as vibrant and wild scribbles imitating the style of children’s drawings. (2+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 194
Stark, Ulf (text/illus.)
När jag besökte himlen
(When I visited heaven)
Stockholm : Bonnier Carlsen, 2003. 60 p.
A critic once wrote: »When you see Ulf Stark’s name on the cover of a book, just grab it.« And indeed, the author always manages to fascinate his readers with his stories that consist of a characteristic mixture of humour and profundity. And so does this book: In his dreams, the author travels up to heaven to find out how his parents, whom he hasn’t seen for ages, are doing. When he does really meet them, he learns that they simply go on with their comfortable middle- class life and seem to be very happy. Ulf’s father turns into the boy he used to be and plays with his grown-up son. Eventually, he gives him an advice that might as well have been uttered by the famous German author Erich Kästner: »Never forget to play!« In the end, Ulf whispers his goodbyes, saying: »We will meet again!« (6+)
Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 195
I taket lyser stjärnorna
(The stars shining in the ceiling)
Stockholm : Natur och Kultur, 2003. 222 p.
Mother – Cancer – Death – Daughter – Self-assertion
The single mother has to tell her daughter Jenna that she is suffering from breast-cancer. Overwhelmed, the 13-year-old tries to come to grips with the situation. At the same time, she is struggling along in school. In one of her classes she writes a poem about her mother. If she is to die, Jenna will commit suicide, it reads. When the mother really dies, Jenna discovers that the mother of her greatest enemy in school is an alcoholic. Because suffering unites, she can suddenly empathise with the girl. In the end, Jenna changes her poem: When you die, Mama, I shall live – for you. The young author has written a touching debut novel remarkable both in subject matter and language. (12+)
Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 196
Svenska för idioter
(Swedish for idiots)
[Stockholm] : Bromberg, 2003. 311 p.
Adolescence – School – Everyday life – Puberty crisis – Sexual behaviour – Social status – Fear of the future
Following a successful pattern of youth literature, Mats Wahl lets his protagonist tell the story as first-person narrator and inserts long dialogues, which – like most of Wahl’s writings – are larded with slang yet have a convincingly realistic touch to them. The author demonstrates his extraordinary skill with an unusual progression of scenes and his uniquely imaginative turn of events. The novel describes an integrated high school class in which lower-class pupils are packed together with pupils who have learning difficulties. It seems that the teenagers aren’t interested in anything at all, no matter how fervently the new Swedish teacher tries to fight against their indifference. Henk, the first-person narrator and son of a kiosk owner, is the only one who takes the teacher’s suggestion of writing a book seriously. In his clumsy and faulty language, he starts writing the novel Swedish for idiots, single chapters of which are woven into this excellent book. (14+)
Croatia (Croatian) - 2004 - 197
Majnarić, Željko (text)
Radoićić, Vjekoslav Vojo (illus.)
Rijeka : Adamić, 2002. 16 p.
Animal – Habitat – Roadworks – Environmental pollution
This picture book, in which animals fight against the building of a road, alludes to the construction of the motorway from Rijeka to Zagreb. In the end, the forest animals are not able to prevent the road from being completed. Thus, cars drive on it, cutting the forest into two parts, people throw rubbish out of the car windows, and the pollution from factories and refineries increases. Since the people finally show some sense and build a few bridges for the animals across the road, the story has at least a realistic ending, albeit not an entirely happy one. This volume, illustrated in bright watercolour collages by a friend of the famous Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, is part of a series of ecological picture books with the publisher Adami?. (5+)
Croatia (Croatian) - 2004 - 198
Petrlik Huseinović, Andrea
Ciconia Ciconia : bijela roda
(Ciconia Ciconia : the white stork)
Zagreb : Kašmir Promet, 2003.  p.
Croatia – Stork – War – Home country
In the second picture book that she has both written and illustrated, Andrea Petrlik-Huseinovi? tells the story of a stork who is forced to leave his home during the war in Croatia and look for a new place to stay. After a true odyssey, the bird ends up in an Internet café where he spots his home village Cigo? on a screen and is thus able to find his way back. In the appendix, the readers learn something about the first European ‘storkvillage’ (more storks than people!) and the sanctuary Lonjsko Polje, a marshland east of the Croatian capital of Zagreb. The cheerful tempera illustrations of this picture book, of which Kašmir Slavic and Baltic Languages Promet has also published a parallel English language edition, show the world from a stork’s perspective in various shades of blue. (4+)
Croatia (Croatian) - 2004 - 199
Pilić, Sanja (text)
Sasvim sam popubertetio
(I am completely pubertised)
Zagreb : Kašmir Promet, 2002. 26 p.
(Biblioteka 20 14)
Divorce – Adolescence – Puberty – Generation gap – Love
With a great deal of sensitivity, the popular Croatian author Sanja Pili? (born 1954) tells the story of 15-year-old Luka. After his father has moved out, his mother and sister often feel they have to lecture the boy. At school, he is up to his neck in a never-ending crisis, his marks are a catastrophe, and so are his relationships with girls. The world starts to change in a ‘terrifying’ way, when Luka suddenly falls in love with exactly the one girl who really annoyed him a lot and whom he used to tease all the time. Yet, slowly, he comes to realise that there is no sense in doing what all the others expect him to do and to pretend to be somebody he simply isn’t. (13+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2004 - 200
Anka Béčko a nepodstatné detaily
(Anka Bé?ko and some other insignificant details)
Praha : Olympia, 2002. 145 p.
Girl – Holidays – Village – Boy – Hiding place – Puberty – Adolescence
Anka spends the rainy holidays with her mother in a cottage in a small village. Her best friend is ill and the teenage girl is convinced that she is the most unlucky person in the world and that the sun only shines somewhere else and for other people. But suddenly, there is this boy in the deserted house. Without having any idea about who he is and what he is afraid of, she helps him to hide and brings him food and medicine. This gripping teenage novel explores how young people deal with fear and grief and search for their inner self. With a great deal of sensitivity, the author makes her readers empathise with Anka. She enables them to identify with the young heroine and to find their own identity. (12+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2004 - 201
Pohanková, Jana (text)
Neborová, Anna (illus.)
Červený panáček : 366 pohádek na dobrou noc
(The little red man: 366 bedtime stories)
Praha : Brio, 2002. 206 p.
This year, the Czech publisher Brio offers two new collections to its readers, each with 366 imaginative and sensitive tales. In one of these books, ?erveny paná?ek, a little red man accompanies the child through the year with a variety of rhymed texts. The volume contains realistic as well as fictional stories from children’s everyday lives, tales about practical jokes, about children’s joys and fears, and about different animals and plants. The large-format collection is cheerfully illustrated with coloured drawings that stand out because of their originality, simplicity, and immense expressiveness. (5+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2004 - 202
Radovan, Pavel (text)
Gavlasová, Zuzana (illus.)
Pohádky z říše Kiwi
(Fairy tales from the realm of the Kiwi)
Brno : Dopln?k, 2002. 66 p.
Maori – Folk tale
In the Czech republic, folk tales still make up a large part of the children’s book production. In his second book, Pavel Radovan presents a successful retelling of folk tales from the Maori people of New Zealand. The exciting tales, which talk about how human beings encounter demons, fairies, or personified natural forces, often give mythical explanations of names for natural phenomena, focus on the fight between good and evil, and on love and courage. The coloured pencil drawings and vignettes are inspired by traditional Maori art. (6+)
Czech Republic (Czech) - 2004 - 203
Skala, Martina (text/illus.)
Strado & Varius aneb setkání s Mozartem
(Strado & Varius or Meeting Mozart)
Praha : Brio, 2002. 56 p.
Prague – Music – Concert – Violin – Violinist – Adventure
The first book about Strado & Varius, which won the Librarians’ Award from the Czech Book Club of Children’s Libraries, was published in 2002. In the second volume, violinist Strado and his violin Varius travel to Prague on a concert tour, where they are plunged into various adventures: They meet Papageno, in the form of an ancient owl, and, eventually, even encounter Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself. The versatile Czech artist Martina Skala (who creates stage designs, film sets, and illustrations) leads the readers through Prague with partly romantic, partly cartoon-like illustrations. (8+)
Latvia (Latvian) - 2004 - 204
Cielēna, Māra (text)
Naumovs, Aleksejs (illus.)
Pasakas par diviem
(Tales about two)
Rīga : Apgāds Ali S, 2003. 70 p.
(German parallel ed.: Märchen über zwei. Rīga : Apgāds Ali S, 2003. Transl. Aleksandrs Šmits)
Relationship between two parties – Imagination
In her modern fairy tales and fantasy stories, popular Latvian author Māra Cielēna tells poetic tales full of imagination about the relationship between two parties as diverse as personified objects, human beings, pictures that have come alive, and natural phenomena. The illustrations, rendered in a style that perfectly complements the stories, entrance the readers with their brightly glowing colours. Although the stories themselves are rather unspectacular, they are delightfully unconventional and take a completely unexpected turn at the end. (10+)
Russia (Russian) - 2004 - 205
Moric, Junna (text)
Antonenkov, Evgenij (illus.)
Dvigajte ušami : dlja detej od 5 do 500 let
(Wiggle your ears : for children from 5 to 500)
Moskva : Rosmen, 2003. 148 p.
Junna Pinchusovna Moric (i.e. Junna Petrovna Moric, born in Kyiv in 1937) is one of the most important contemporary Russian poets. In this book, she tells short, mostly bizarre tales in verse, narrated from a child’s perspective with a lot of details. Some stories are centred around children’s experiences told from an unexpected point of view, some answer various »why«-questions, others are puzzles or nonsense verses. In the final of four chapters, acrostics explain different terms. The author perfectly manages to present simple things in a way that renders them interesting – not only for children. Just as in her poetry for adults, she starts from specific everyday-life situations and uses them to point out a deeper reality behind them. The amusing illustrations by Evgenij Antonenkov, painted in a mixture of naturalistic and surrealistic styles, have an international flair without denying their Russian origin. (7+)
Russia (Russian) - 2004 - 206
Vijra, Jurij (text)
Sajfulina, Nastja (illus.)
Aëšin, A. (illus.)
Belyj ëžik u belogo morja : zagadki Njuchli-syščika
(The white hedgehog at the White Sea : the mysteries of detective Snooper)
Moskva : Izdat. »Rudomino«, 2002. 135 p.
Polar animals – Folk tale – Ghost – Detective
During a journey along the coast of the White Sea, Jurij Vijra has recorded 12 folk tales about the white hedgehog. All of these stories contain some characteristic elements and narrative structures of traditional folk tales, yet they are set in the present and involve contemporary objects and situations. In the second part of this book, old Slavic myths are also transported into a modern day Moscow setting. The quirky household ghost . Slavic and Baltic Languages Snooper does some detective work. At the end of each chapter, the readers are asked to answer a question and – with some careful reading and a little bit of reflection – they should easily be able to accomplish this task. (8+)
Slovakia (Slovak/German) - 2004 - 207
Bodnárová, Jana (text)
Bartusz, Juraj (illus.)
SakoHoess, Renata (transl.)
Čo som videla pri jazere : básničky, ktorým sa nechce rýmovať = Was ich am See zu sehen bekam : kleine Verse, die sich nicht reimen wollen
(What I got to see at the lake : small verses that do not rhyme)
Prešov : Baum, 2003.  p.
ISBN 80-88987-66-9 b
Lake – Animals – Plants – Humans
This bilingual book written in lyrical prose aptly reflects the changing atmospheres of lake Starnberg (Southern Germany). The imaginative descriptions of author and illustrator revolve around natural phenomena, objects they have found on the shore, animals that live in or around the lake, people they met there or who have a special relationship to the lake. Readers will discover fish and shells, ducks swimming on the lake, fireflies, a bug in a calyx, music, a boat house, rain, fog hovering over the lake, or an angel who appears above the water on Christmas Eve. The dynamic, monochrome blue watercolour drawings underline the lake’s atmosphere evoked in the stories. (5+)
Slovakia (Slovak) - 2004 - 208
Droppa, Boris (text)
Štrelingerová, Petra (illus.)
Rak Ohnivák a straka bez zobáka
(Fire-crab and the beakless magpie)
Bratislava : Perfekt, 2002.  p.
Nonsense verse – Nature – Country life
This book gathers a humorous array of witty poems for children: poems about stubborn dachshunds, fish in Slovak rivers, moonlight, the peacock with two hundred eyes on its feathers, the magpie who loses its beak when it attempts to eat the fire-crab, the dance of the purple heron, the turkey’s ‘song’, other animals, and nature in general. They all are a funny mirror of country life in Slovakia. In his nonsense verses, which often have multiple rhymes, the author plays with words, their sounds, and their meanings, and gives them a philosophical touch. The illustrator’s energetic, bold chalk-drawings formidably express the dynamism and vibrancy of the nature poems. (5+)
Slovakia (Slovak) - 2004 - 209
Groch, Erik (text)
Paľo, Ľuboslav (illus.)
Tuláčik a Klára
(Stray and Klara)
Košice : Tichá Voda, . 77 p.
(Knižná diel?a Timotej)
Dog – Girl – Friendship
Little Klara, who lives alone in her house, stumbles across a small dog who has lost his way in the forest. She takes him home with her and Stray decides to stay. Since dogs and girls have different needs, they have to reach a few compromises. Stray realises that a dog is not able to do everything a human being does, that not all the things people do are necessarily fun, that dogs can do a lot that humans can’t, and that they find different things funny. The readers, too, might be inclined to question whether all the things people usually consider so important do really mean so much – except for love, of course. The lovingly designed book is accompanied by atmospheric watercolour illustrations in shades of brown and green. (6+)
Slovenia (Slovenian) - 2004 - 210
Prap, Lila (text/illus.)
Poga?nik, Jelka (text)
Ljubljana : Mladinska knjiga, 2002.  p.
Animals – Characteristics
In this picture book, the authors present one particular animal on every double-page spread and ask a question – which might seem a bit silly at first – about each: Why does the walrus have a beard? Why does the giraffe have such a long neck? Why do hyenas laugh? Why does the crocodile cry? Why does the elephant have a trunk? etc. Apart from a few nonsense answers, these questions are explained in a way that is both easy to understand and scientifically wellfounded. Thus, this book is more than just a standard non-fiction book. The witty and simple illustrations drawn with black outlines provide a realistic picture of the animals portrayed in this varied selection. (4+)
Slovenia (Slovenian) - 2004 - 211
Prešeren, France (text)
Peklar, Andreja (illus.)
(Rosamund of Turjak)
Ljubljana : Prešernova Družba, 2003.  p.
(Poezije Franceta Prešerna v besedi in sliki)
Middle Ages – Winning the bride – Turkish Wars
With this picture book, the publishing house Prešernova Družba presents a newly designed and illustrated edition of a romance by the Romantic author and most important Slovenian poet France Prešeren (1800-1849). When trying to win over the beautiful but arrogant Rosamund of Auersperg (Turjak), the Count of Scharffenberg (Ostrovhar) praises Rosamund’s beauty, which is only surpassed by that of Leila, the Bosnian pasha’s sister. Rosamund therefore tells him to kidnap Leila and free a few captured Christians. In Bosnia, however, he falls in love with the pasha’s sister and brings her home as his bride. As for Rosamund, she is forced to enter a convent. The book enchants its readers both with its elegant typographical design and the intensive colours of the illustrations. (7+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 2004 - 212
Gaudesaboos, Pieter (text/illus.)
(Little red rag)
Tielt : Lannoo, 2003.  p.
Solitude – Fantasy
This graphically outstanding picture book tells the story of the girl Lapje (Little Rag), who always wears red during her journey through life. As she travels around, she is never alone, or is she? The red that Roodlapje (i.e. Little Red Rag) wears attracts bulls that recur in all possible ways in pictures, illustrations, and even in a computer game’s fragment, frightening and reassuring the girl at the same time. The nostalgic-looking pages with the – sometimes rhyming – descriptions of events, alternate with texts written by the main character herself that seem to consist mainly of associations with the colour red. This picture book lends itself particularly well to reading with adults. (6+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 2004 - 213
Guldemont, Agnes (text)
Cneut, Carll (illus.)
Wielsbeke : Uitg. de Eenhoorn, 2003.  p.
Search – Philosophy
Sir Ferdinand feels as if he had lost something, but he doesn’t know what. He searches his entire house for it – in vain – but the feeling that something is missing stays with him. Therefore, he continues to search in the city. He meets odd people who make him realise that, when you look around carefully, you continuously find special things. The unusual, delicately drawn, slightly surrealistic illustrations, executed in a mixed technique, represent solitude and the loss of reality in a striking way. The poetic language isn’t easy to understand but fits in very well with the illustrations. A brilliant, artistic picture book for connoisseurs. (7+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 2004 - 214
Van Daele, Henri (text)
Verplancke, Klaas (illus.)
Glamp! of hoe Paddenwratje Kabouter opkikkerde
(Glamp! Or how Paddenwratje [Little Toad’s Wart] cheers up Gnome)
Leuven : Davidsfonds/Infodok, 2003. 313 p.
Gnome – Witch – Quest
»Glamp,« that is how Gnome feels. And even though he himself doesn’t know exactly what that is, one definitely should do something against it. On Owl’s advice he goes to the sea »whom you can tell everything.« During the exciting journey – a price has been put on Gnome’s head, so there are enough pursuers – in a wooden-shoe-boat jointly made by the animals of the Wild Woods, Gnome understands that this rough ride is necessary for him to recover and rediscover himself. The help of the little witch Paddenwratje is imperative to this end. This modern fairy tale, which never becomes overly moralistic, is told with mild humour and a wink at modern society. (13+)
Belgium (Dutch) - 2004 - 215
Vranken, Dirk (text)
Bode, Ann de (illus.)
Hasselt; Amsterdam : Uitg. Clavis, 2003. 71 p.
Outsider – Bullying
A boy is teased terribly by his classmates for unknown reasons. When he goes to the forest with his class, he even gets sprinkled with the poisonous juice of hogweed. The forester gives him an ointment that makes him feel as strong as a bear and is able to resist the annoying nuisances. However, before midnight, he has to drink from the pool because otherwise he will remain a bear forever. This exciting story presents a mixture of reality and fantasy. The paralysing fear and humiliation of the bullied boy are described in a realistic way. The open ending does not answer the question whether Bruno will succeed in fighting off the bullying for good. (9+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 216
Biegel, Paul (text)
Veen, Fiel van der (illus.)
Man en Muis
(Man and Mouse)
Haarlem : Uitg. Holland, 2003. 144 p.
Drugs – Addiction – Power struggle
Hundreds of grey mice live in uncle Theodoor’s house without his knowledge. Thanks to his computer, they order everything they need online and live a life of luxury. But then the rat Belem arrives. He sells Dwelm, highly dangerous addictive spices that make a mouse have delightful dreams. This is an ingenious fable, which draws many parallels to contemporary society, especially the world of drug addiction. Although it includes many fanciful elements, the story has a very realistic and serious undertone. Paul Biegel once again knows how to captivate the reader from the beginning to the very end of the story with his magnificent narrative. (10+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 217
Franck, Ed (text)
Cneut, Carll (illus.)
Zie ik je nog eens terug?
(Will I see you again?)
Amsterdam [et al.] : Querido, 2003. 64 p.
Death – Grief
One day, Sarah runs away from home and ends up in a toy museum a few blocks away, where Nestor, the owner of the museum, looks after her. Sarah is obviously distressed, but she doesn’t want to talk about it. Using different kinds of toys, especially a little teddy bear, Nestor tries to gain her confidence and to find out what’s bothering her. At the end of the day, when he takes her home, Sarah shows him the cemetery where her little brother is buried. This is a brilliantly written story in short episodes representing the eight-year-old girl’s psyche, including her tantrums and the way she tries to deal with her little brother’s death, in a subtle and very touching manner. (8+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 218
Goossens, Jesse (text)
Dit is theater
(This is theatre)
Rotterdam : Lemniscaat, 2003. 239 p.
Theatre – Cabaret – Musical
This extremely thorough and serious non-fiction book about the many aspects of the world of performing arts is arranged according to topics. It gives an introduction to theatre, cabaret, and musicals, but also to the world of stage designers, make-up artists, and costume designers. Classical plays and highlights of the history of performing arts are described in a well-structured way. In addition, the book also includes various interviews, in which several celebrities are given the floor. Text, illustrations, and design are perfectly adapted to young readers. The book takes the readers on a true voyage of discovery through the world of illusions, the world of performing arts. (12+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 219
Hagen, Hans (text)
Hopman, Philip (illus.)
De dans van de drummers
(The drummers’ dance)
Amsterdam : Van Goor, 2003. 109 p.
Africa – Storytelling
Six children have gathered around the ill master drummer Dudu Addi. Each child has to choose a drum and an accompanying symbol. The ones who make the ‘wrong’ selection won’t get drumming lessons. Dudu Addi helps every child to choose by telling a story. The stories are partly based on traditional stories and, one by one, create a beautiful image of the atmosphere and cultural traditions in African countries. The author writes in a pleasant style with simple, short sentences. At the end, all the stories come together and, by then, the frame story is complete. The attractive colour illustrations seamlessly match the story and reflect the atmosphere of the African setting very well. (9+)
The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 220
Leeuwen, Joke van (text/illus.)
(Idunno [= I don’t know])
Amsterdam [et al.] : Querido, 2003.  p.
Lost – Search
When her mother leaves the room for a moment, something falls on the girl’s bed: a little creature with a beak who has fallen out of the story that the mother had been telling her. The creature soon gets the name Kweenie (Idunno, i.e. »I don’t know«). Together, the little girl and Kweenie go looking for the tale that started with »Once upon a time,« because Kweenie’s father and mother must still be somewhere in that story. They end up in several different stories, but the parents are nowhere to be found. Eventually, they find them but now the little first-person narrator has to go back to her own story. The reader is guided through this book, which offers a variety of tales within a magnificent frame story, by a highly imaginative design, comics and colourful illustrations and just the right dose of humour. (7+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 221
Noort, Selma (text)
Meijer, Marja (illus.)
Pol en de kans van zijn leven
(Pol and the chance of his lifetime)
Amsterdam : Leopold, 2003. 138 p.
Single-parent family – Singing – Travelling
Mother Lot and her son Pol, who live in a bridgeman’s house serving both as city gate and public toilet, know and see a lot of people. When notorious and famous singer Lorenzo takes refuge in their toilet, they save him from the gutter press who are trying to uncover Lorenzo’s well-kept secret, namely that he is the son of a poor organ grinder from the village. One day, Lorenzo finds out that Pol has a beautiful voice and decides to offer the boy the chance of his lifetime, even if he does this mainly to polish his own image a little. Pol, however, chooses his own friends. This original and heartwarming story, which is captivating to the last letter, raises moral and philosophical matters in a non-conformist way without ever making the story sound moralistic or boring. The combination of pleasant, everyday events and a highly imaginative, almost fairy-like world makes this book very special. (10+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 222
Scholtens, Anneke (text)
Oud, Pauline (illus.)
Niet voor één gat te vangen
(Always a way out)
Assen : Educatieve Uitg. Maretak, 2003. 64 p.
Siblings – Babysitting
Lies, Max’s mother, is going to become a teacher at his school after the holidays. Since the school’s headmaster wants to talk to her beforehand, Max has to come with her to the schoolmaster’s house and baby-sit his younger brother Otto in the meantime. The two boys play in the backyard and everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Many things in the garden turn into a mess, the rabbit escapes, but at the same time the long-lost watch of the headmaster’s grandfather is found. In this distinctly humorous story about an everyday topic, the author has created a text both original in language and style, despite the young age of the target group. (6+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 223
Amsterdam : Ploegsma, 2003. 319 p.
(Ploegsma kinder- & jeugdboeken)
Shipwreck – Island – Pirate – Madagascar/1697
In 1697, the ship Katharina is shipwrecked in a storm. Only three men are rescued by pirates and taken to the pirate island of Madagascar. The survivors basically turn into pirates themselves, except for young Sebastiaan who cannot stand all that murdering and, thus, is soon seen as a traitor. He is sent away to find a mysterious ghost ship, The Flying Dutchman, that has been haunting the region for centuries and has robbed the pirates of their treasures again and again. In this stirring historical novel by a promising debutante, the plot remains plausible even when non-realistic elements are introduced. What sets this book apart is the fact that the pirates are described from a fairly unusual perspective. (12+)
Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 224
Westera, Bette (text)
Weve, Sylvia (illus.)
Amsterdam : Hillen, 2003. 96 p.
Mystery – Knight – Love
In a castle in the forest lives Ganzerik, the mystery- knight, with his old mother who is lying on her deathbed. For them, time passes by so slowly that they still live in the Middle Ages. At the edge of the woods lives 9-year-old Janna with her mother in a luxurious house. Her father is always away on business trips. When Janna and Ganzerik meet one day, he thinks that his mother was right and that this is a girl to marry. He’ll only have to wait until she is old enough. The funny and highly imaginative story is told in fairly short clearly-structured chapters with distinctive blackand- white drawings that convey the atmosphere of the story very well. (8+)
The Netherlands (Frisian) - 2004 - 225
Dykstra, Lida (text)
Grobler, Piet (illus.)
Mûske, myn famke
(Little Mouse, my girl)
[Ljouwert] : Bornmeer, 2003.  p.
A hermit with magical powers notices how an owl drops a little mouse. He catches the little animal in his cloak and exclaims that he wishes it was a girl. His wish comes true. Years later, the girl wants to marry the most powerful man on, above, or below the earth. Together they go and look for him, pass the sun, the cloud, and the mountain, and finally find the ideal husband: a mouse with whom she has many little children. This story, in which the same idea appears again and again, is based on a poem by the Friesian Renaissance poet Gysbert Japicx, whose 400birthday was celebrated in 2003. The author gives her own interpretation of the story and South African illustrator Piet Grobler’s cheerful pictures add an extra dimension to the story with their numerous details. (4+)
Albania (Albanian) - 2004 - 226
Tiranë : Uegen, 2003. 163 p.
Ferit Lamaj is probably one of the most prolific contemporary writers of fables world-wide. He has won various international awards and published more than 2,000 fables in 50 books. Some of his works have also been translated into English, French, Italian, Romanian, and Greek. At first sight, the author seems to resort to merely describing everyday events from life in Albania. His main concern, however – just like that of his great predecessors such as Aesop, Lafontaine, Krylov, and others – is to uncover human weaknesses and criticise them with a lot of humour and irony. (8+)
Albania (Albanian) - 2004 - 227
Tukaj, Mustafa (text)
Ayers, Joanne M. (ed./transl.)
Faith and fairies : tales based on Albanian legends and ballads
Shkodër : Skodrinon, 2002. 56 p.
(English orig. edition)
With the exception of a few early literary works, written literature in Albania only began to develop towards the end of the 19century. Before that time, Albanians mainly had rich folk epics with motifs from the Balkans. Usually, these epic poems were recited by blind bards who played the one-string Lahuta, a kind of knee-violin, to accompany their recitative. Mustafa Tukaj has now gathered a selection of these epics about topics such as »besa« (word of honour; faith), sacrifice, fight, or metamorphosis, and retold them in a convincing prose form, which still enables readers to feel the style of the original texts. (12+)
Greece (Greek) - 2004 - 228
Basilakē, Poly (text)
Berutsu, Katerina (illus.)
To chrysopsaro tu uranu
(The goldfish from the sky)
Athēna : Kedros, 2003.  p.
Time – Art
One day, when the clocks on earth stop ticking, a goldfish falls from the sky and finds himself in the hands of a newspaper photographer. He is put in a bowl and named Goldie. Through the glass, Goldie observes the journalists and, every time the clock on the wall stops ticking for a while, he goes in and out of his bowl. Thus, he discovers the meaning of sadness and oblivion, and learns about the effects of war and death on human nature. One day, Goldie comes across a lonesome artist who has captured the calmness of a moment on his canvass, and thus experiences the soothing effects of art. (7+)
Greece (Greek) - 2004 - 229
Chatzudē-Tunta, Helenē (text)
Gusēs, Spyros (illus.)
Hoi karyatides metrane ta phengaria : mia alēthinē historia pu egine epanō stēn Akropolē
(The Caryatids count the moons)
Athēna : Ankyra, 2003. 43 p.
Archeology – Parthenon – Caryatids
This book tells a story mixing fact and fantasy. Every night, the Caryatids, five female marble sculptures of the famous Greek Parthenon, lament the ‘kidnapping’ of their sixth sister by Lord Elgin. Their only consolation is the company of the Parthenon’s attendant Zēsēs Sōtēriu, a real person who lived in the 19century and argued that the marble girl should return to Athens from the British Museum. He tried absolutely everything and informed important people, in the hope that they could help. The problem remained unsolved, yet Sōtēriu’s efforts were continued by the famous Melina Merkouri in the 20th century. Today, the marble girls have reason to hope that their sister will at last return to where she truly belongs. (8+)
Greece (Greek) - 2004 - 230
Dikaiu, Helenē (text)
Karageōrgiu, Luiza (illus.)
Hoi peripeteies tu Odyssea
Athēna : Patakēs, 2003.  p.
Odyssey – Ulysses – Adventure
This book retells Homer’s famous Odyssey in a simplified way easily comprehensible for young children. The adventures of Ulysses and his companions are vividly and attractively narrated in a concise form, beginning at the time when the Trojan War ends and the group leaves Troy until the moment when Ulysses returns to Ithaca many years later. The illustrator has successfully combined computer generated images with handdrawn art. To depict the figures, she drew the outlines on paper and then applied the colours using computer graphics, while the landscapes and buildings were created using a 3D graphics software. (7+)
Greece (Greek) - 2004 - 231
Ena dasos gia dekatreis
(A forest for thirteen)
Athēna : Hellēnika Grammata, 2003. 60 p.
Forest – Fantasy – Cooperation
Thirteen illustrators (N. Andrikopulos, F. Bakalē, L. Barbarusē, S. Gusēs, N. Kapatsoulia, E. Mela, Z. Mela-Flōru, D. Orontē, B. Papatsaruchas, D. Parisē, M. Pelōnēs, B. Psarakē, F. Stephanidē), who are all members of IBBY Greece, worked together in a four-day workshop to write and illustrate their own short stories or rhymes about the forest. The result was a collective work with interesting variety both in illustration and narrative, which has been published as an attractive picture book containing thirteen short texts and giving a characteristic sample of each illustrator’s work. (5+)
Greece (Greek) - 2004 - 232
Merika, Lena (text)
Denezakē, Liana (illus.)
Athēna : Kedros, 2003. 82 p.
Unemployment – Family – Gender role
When the family father loses his job, the mother starts working full time. Therefore, someone must run the household and take care of the children. The unemployed father undertakes this task willingly despite the gossip of some neighbours and relatives. He proves to be a perfect »house-husband « and at the same time starts a new career as a writer of cookbooks. This fast-paced novel humorously deals with a contemporary social issue and truthfully depicts the economic difficulties and other problems many families have to face when one of the parents suddenly becomes jobless. (7+)
Greece (Greek) - 2004 - 233
Myrat, Gianna (text)
Dēmos, Chrēstos (illus.)
Gia panta mazi : mia magikē peripeteia me ena phlauto kai ena klarineto
Athēna : Kastaniōtēs, 2003.  p.
Music – Jealousy
The flute and the clarinet, who both work together in an orchestra, are best friends. A mean witch is so jealous of their friendship that she strives to separate them using the wind, the rain, the heat, and other natural phenomena. But luckily enough, there are some kind fairies who care and help the two friends. Referring to pieces of classical music, and accompanied by a CD, this entertaining book helps children to enter both the fairy tale realm and the world of music. (5+)
Greece (Greek) - 2004 - 234
Pantelēs, Zuras (text)
Papatheu-Dulēgerē, Christina (illus.)
Paramythia tēs Kalabrias
(Folk tales from Calabria)
Nea Smyrnē : Akritas, 2003. 116 p.
In this volume, original folk tales from the Southern Italian region of Calabria where people of Greek origin have lived for centuries, are retold in a poetic way. Ettore Castagna’s introduction in Greek and Italian gives the necessary information about the area and its history, while some instructive maps accompany the book. This fascinating collection presents folk tales full of wisdom, imagination, and traditional elements. (7+)
Greece (Greek) - 2004 - 235
Pulos, Kōstas (text)
Karantinu, Eva (illus.)
Ho Spyros Luēs kai hoi prōtoi Olympiakoi Agōnes
(Spyros Luēs and the first Olympic Games)
Athēna [Metamorphōsē Attikēs] : Papadopulos, 2003.  p.
Olympics – Luēs, Spyros – Biography – Courage
The first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896 and their preparation form the background to the story told in this illustrated book, which focuses on the athlete Spyros Luēs, the first winner of the Marathon race. Emphasis is placed on the difficulties he had to face, his courage, and his strong wish to win. Biographical data of the athlete are subtly interspersed with the narrative, which also gives information about the other personalities involved in the revival of the Olympics and refers to some relevant historical events. This description of the way of life in Athens at the end of 19century helps young readers to understand the atmosphere of that time. (7+)
Greece (Greek) - 2004 - 236
Rōssē-Zaïrē, Rena (text)
Kapatsulia, Natalia (illus.)
Ho nanos kai hoi epta chionates
(The dwarf and the seven Snow Whites)
Athēna : Minōas, 2003. 34 p.
Folk tale – Parody – Reversal
The well-known fairy tale of Snow White is reversed in this richly illustrated book. A rabbit narrates the strange things it saw in the forest: Seven girls, who look exactly like Snow White, hide and take care of a young dwarf. The dwarf is persecuted by his step mother, who wants to kill him because her mirror says the boy is better than his father, the king. The end of the story is equally reversed: A young princess passing by on her horse brings the dead dwarf back to life. (5+)
Greece (Greek) - 2004 - 237
Tasaku, Tzemē (text)
Zalimē, Eleutheria (illus.)
To krypho monopati
(The secret path)
Athēna : Psychogios, 2003. 128 p. + 1 CD
(Xinomēlo ; 18)
Migration – School – Racism – Friendship
Albert, an 11-year-old boy, and his family are migrants from Albania. They live in a small Greek village and work hard to make their living. Young Albert is confronted with signs of racism at school and feels hurt and unhappy until a neighbour, a strange young lady and would-be writer, becomes Albert’s friend. Her fascinating company helps him face the situation. A ‘secret’ path that Albert tries to explore symbolises his efforts to find his own way of leading a normal and meaningful life. In the end, he is sure that this ‘path’ is a way of understanding, knowledge, love, and forgiveness. (9+) ☆
Hungary (Hungarian) - 2004 - 238
Böszörményi, Gyula (text)
Fábián, Noémi (illus.)
Gergő és az álomfogók
(Gergő and the dream catchers)
Budapest : Magyar Könyvklub, 2002. 543 p.
Adolescence – Family
15-year-old Gergő was chosen to rescue Reality from the world of the dream catchers. On his way to the top of the world-tree, he survives many adventures, learns how to meet his fears and handle his fellow men’s problems, and eventually defeats the evil dream catchers. This victory also provides him with solutions to problems in the real world that he used to see as insurmountable. This gripping novel with its mixture of fantasy and reality greatly enriches the genre of fantasy novels for children and teenagers in Hungary. A sequel is currently being written. (13+)
Hungary (Hungarian) - 2004 - 239
Darvasi, László (text)
Németh, György (illus.)
Trapiti avagy a nagy tökfőzelékháború
(Trapiti or the great pumpkin-dish-war)
Budapest : Magvető, 2002. 306 p.
City – Stranger – Assistance
One day, the weird little man Trapiti appears in the town of Kavicsvár. He has lost his memory and has no idea where he comes from or why he is in this town. Trapiti finds a place to stay and, together with the town people, he experiences many adventures with sorcerers and witches, love, friendship, human weakness, and a mysterious pumpkin dish. In the end, Trapiti saves Kavicsvár from the army of grey people who are trying to conquer the town in a surprise coup. This imaginative children’s novel stands apart because of its original ideas and the fresh and lively dialogues. Caricature-like black-and-white drawings aptly illustrate the text. (8+)
Special Mention - Hungary (Hungarian) - 2004 - 240
Feuer, Mária (text)
Rényi, Krisztina (illus.)
Budapest : Móra, 2003. 85 p.
Folk tale – Dragon – Growing up
This fairy tale traces the life of a small dragon from his mysterious birth to the foreboding of his death. Living by Queen Boholca’s side and discussing all matters with her, Sarkany learns everything about life in harmony with nature and the natural elements: earth, water, fire, air, light, and sky. Philosophy, culture, and knowledge from the East and the West become connected in his experiences. Step by step, fighting against the ancient elements, he learns more about himself and thus reaches the highest stage of existence, the freedom of spirit. Its literary and graphic quality make this book a true gem. The masterly design is particularly impressive, the delicately engraved illustrations underlaid with gold are reminiscent of traditional Oriental art yet also include many floral, Art Nouveau elements. (10+)
Special Mention - Hungary (Hungarian) - 2004 - 241
Lugosi, Viktória (text)
Elek, Lívia (illus.)
Budapest : Noran, 2002. 122 p.
Folk tale – Friendship
Hümmög?, a small green dwarf, and his friends seagull, giraffe, squirrel, ladybird, and dolphin plunge into a series of adventures as they try to support each other and make their lives worth living. In the course of their exciting experiences, their friendship grows deeper and more affectionate. With a great deal of humour, subtle irony, and a captivating narrative skill, the author inevitably draws young and old readers into her story. Striking, colourful illustrations in the style of woodcuts are a witty addition to this folk tale. (5+)
Mongolia (Mongolian) - 2004 - 242
Dašdondog, Žambyn (text)
Wellek, Franz (photogr.)
(The clever marmot)
Ulaanbaatar: Mönchijn Useg, 2003. 31p.
Marmot – Eagle – Fight – Courage
In this photo picture book, the popular and versatile Mongolian children’s book author Žambyn Dašdondog tells the true story of a courageous marmot. By first pretending to be dead and then bravely facing the attacker, the little rodent manages to escape an attack by an eagle. The pictures were taken by the German biologist and ecologist Franz Wellek, who supports pro-environmental organisations in Mongolia. (5+)
New Zealand (Maori) - 2004 - 243
Gabel, Ngāreta (text)
Teo, Ali (illus.)
Jensen, Astrid (illus.)
Tekiteora, kei hea ō hū ?
(Tekiteora, where are your shoes?)
Wellington : Huia, 2003.  p.
(English ed.: Oh Hogwash, Sweet Pea!)
Girl – Shoes – Losing – Excuse – Imagination
Every morning, when the mother asks her little daughter where she has left her shoes, the girl cooks up some crazy excuse. Enthusiastically, she launches into wild tall tales involving an army of ants, a fashion- conscious giraffe and some talking birds who all make use of the girl’s footwear in the most unusual ways – while her amused parents dig out the lost items from remote places in- and outside the house. The short entertaining story is perfectly complemented by bold, computer-generated mixed-media collages in loud colours. The dynamic pictures show both the funny scenes of everyday family life and the girl’s imaginative ramblings in a style that mirrors that of successful British illustrator Lauren Child. (Te Kura Pounamu Award; 2003) (3+)
Lebanon (Arabic) - 2004 - 244
Mahīdlī, Nabīha (text)
Aṣīl, Luǧaina al- (illus.)
Gassān ya‘rif māhuwa ahlā makān
(Gassan knows the most beautiful place)
Beirut : Dar al-Hādā’iq, 2002.  p.
(Maktabatī al-ūlā ; 4)
Child – Grandmother – Nature – Security – Home
This picture book deals with two essential (and sometimes conflicting) experiences of children: the desire to explore the world and the reassuring feeling of being at home somewhere. Gassan lives in his grandmother’s house. One morning, he sets off to search for »the most beautiful place« of the village. During his ‘expedition’, he passes a mountain, a garden full of animals, a valley, and a river. Each time, he is convinced that exactly this place is the loveliest of them all – until he returns home again, hugs his grandmother, and says: »All the places in the village are beautiful, but my favourite place is here with you!« The Syrian artist has illustrated the text with tender and cheerful drawings. (4+)
Palestine (Arabic) - 2004 - 245
Muhammad, Zakariyā (text)
‘Abūšī, Samih (illus.)
Nammūlah : hikāya ša ‘bīya bi-tasruf
Rām-Allāh : Mu´assasa Tāmar lit-ta ‘lim al-Muǧtama‘ī, 2003.  p.
Folk tale – Desire to have a child – Ant – Metamorphosis
This Oriental folk tale, different versions of which are popular in Arab countries and Iran, plays with a motif that is reminiscent of Hans Christian Andersen’s folk tale Thumbelina and the Grimm Brothers’ Tom Thumb. A woman is desperately longing to have a child, even if it were only as small as an ant. Her heart’s desire is fulfilled. She indeed gives birth to an ant. Although tiny, the ‘daughter’ helps her mother with household chores and, as promised, the woman loves her tenderly. In the end, her love and affection are rewarded: When the mother washes her ant-daughter with oil, she turns into a real girl. The colourful illustrations are created in a simple and folkloristic style that perfectly matches that of the folk tale. (5+)
Iran (Persian) - 2004 - 246
Husaini, Muhammad Hasan (text)
Rahmatī âwīnī, Marīam (illus.)
(The last grandfather)
Tihrān : Kānūn-i Parwariš-i Fikrī-i Kūdaksmall-a- macronn wa Nauǧawānān, 2003 (= 1382 h.š.). 68 p.
Grandson – Grandfather – Death – Grief – Acceptance
Hamid loves his grandfather dearly. Especially after the grandmother’s death, a close relationship develops between the two. The boy understands his grandfather’s sadness and loneliness and spends a lot of time with him. When the other family members have to listen to the old man’s childhood memories for the umpteenth time, they complain about the endless repetition. Hamid is the only one who is still interested in the stories of his grandfather, to whom he has to say a last goodbye one day. With meticulous observation and a natural empathy for portraying the feelings of people, this book describes how a child deals with old age and the death of a beloved person. (8+)
Iran (Persian) - 2004 - 247
Kišāwarzī Āzād, Marǧān (text)
Šafī ‘ī, Faršīd (illus.)
Gīr az hūd hī? kas nabūd
(No one has been alone except for God)
Tihrān : Šabāwīz, 2003 (= 1382 h.š.).  p.
Man – Woman – Love – God
Once upon a time, there was a lonely man. Once upon a time, there was a lonely woman. The woman was sadly gazing at the flowing river. The man was gazing equally sadly at the sky. That’s the beginning of the story of Man and Woman and Love – and of God. Marğān Kišāwarzī Āzsmall-a- macrond recounts this old tale in a language full of simplicity, poetry, and great literary merit. The hand-written text is harmoniously integrated into the expressive illustrations dominated by radiant tones of red. The illustrations both reflect the tale’s archaic character and interpret them from a modern perspective. (6+)
Iran (Persian) - 2004 - 248
Lutfallāh, Dāwūd (text)
Hā´if, Bahram (illus.)
Paranda wa fāl
(The bird and the prophecy)
Tihrān : Kānūn-i Parwariš-i Fikrī-i Kūdaksmall-a- macronn wa Nauğawānān, 2003 (= 1382 h.š.).  p.
Poetry – Wish – Everyday life – Adolescence
This volume contains 15 modern poems that use fantasy and dreams to deal with topics that are important to teenagers. The first poem, The bird and the prophecy, lends its title to the whole book. It is inspired by the traditional wishing game with a bird in a cage and by The Divan, the famous poetry collection written by the renowned Persian poet Hāfez. The poetic language and the handwritten text form a harmonious entity with the pictures of well-known illustrator Bahram Ha´if that impressively reflect the fantasy world of the poems. (10+)
Iran (Persian) - 2004 - 249
Murādī Kirmānī, Hūšang (text)
Rustamī, Ardišīr (illus.)
Na tar wa na hušk
(Neither damp nor dry)
Tihrān : Mu ‘īn, 2003 (= 1382 h.š.). 107 p.
Literary fairy tale – Princess – Hummingbird – Love – Faithfulness
Princess Golpar and a hummingbird have fallen in love with each other. When the bird asks for Golpar’s hand in marriage, however, the king tries to prevent this by demanding that he complete a task first: He is to bring the king a piece of wood that is neither damp nor dry, neither straight nor bent. Thus begins an adventurous story at the end of which the bird has passed the test but lost his beloved to someone else. With a great deal of skill and creativity, the author combines fantasy world and real world and employs modern language – a fact that is rather untypical for a fairy tale. Despite the bitter and pitiable fate of the bird, a sometimes humorous sometimes sober tone resonates in the text. (10+)
Turkey (Turkish) - 2004 - 250
Sırmalı sandaletler : gençlik roman
(A braided sandal)
Istanbul : BU Yayınevi, 2003. 184 p.
City – Poverty – Girl – Family conflict – Dream
This novel is a realistic portrayal of a girl’s life in a socially fragile district of the metropolis of Istanbul. Gülperi’s mother works all day as a cleaning lady to support the family while the father, who is often drunk, neglects his responsibility towards the family. To forget about the conflicts at home and the social misery surrounding her, Gülperi escapes in her day-dreams to a »happy island« in whose existence she believes just as much as in love, which she hopes to find one day. The author succeeds in convincingly conveying the social reality as well as the girl’s thoughts and emotions. (13+)