White Ravens: Argentina

32 books      

Argentina (Spanish) - 1994 - 160
Andruetto, María Teresa (text)
Melgar, Patricia (illus.)
El anillo encantado
(The Magic Ring)
[Buenos Aires]: Sudamericana, 1993. 59 p.
(Pan Flauta 21 (Cuenlos del mundo))
ISBN 950-07-0824-8
Fairy Tale/Retelling
These seven fairy tales, whether set in the Orient, in the European Middle Ages or so- for the most part well-known. But this volume is not simply an edition of modernized versions of old tales. The particular fascination of this edition lies instead in the form. The transition from several short sentences to a longer one, and the deliberate repetition of narrative segments give these texts a poetic structure in which each word has its place, determined by both the meaning and rhythm. (10+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 1994 - 161
Shua, Ana María (text)
Franco, Coca (illus.)
La puerta para salir del mundo
(The Exit Gate of the World)
[Buenos Aires]: Sudamericana, 1992. 59 p.
(Pan Flauta 19 (Sentimientos))
ISBN 950-07-0747-0
Truth - Lie - Reality - Dream - Adult
As a result of his visit to a television studio, Andrés is shattered to find that everything in television is an outright lie. At home he seeks comfort with his stuffed dog, Pelusa. A mysterious Mr. Qwerty enters his room through the wall, offering to let him pass through the blue door to the world "where everything is true" - but only if he doesn't tell a single white lie for 24 hours. The second story of this volume. The Dove's Feather, also involves the use of contrasting worlds in order to learn to recognize the present reality better, making it easier to bear: Gustavo saves a dove and receives a magic feather without learning how it is to be used. In any case, it doesn't help him to learn his multiplication tables. Only later, as a grown- up, does he discover its properties by accident - when he watches seemingly carefree children at play, and wishes he could return to that age again, his wish is immediately granted. The author tells her stories cleverly and with humor. (8+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 1994 - 162
Villafañe, Javier (text)
Contarbio, Delia (illus.)
El hombre que debía adivinarle la edad al diablo
(The Man Who Had to Guess the Devil's Age)
[Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 1991. 53 p.
(Colección Pan Flauta 15 (Cuentos de América))
ISBN 950-07-0660-1
Argentina/Fairy Tale - Poet
Javier Villafañe is a well-known and respected puppet-player and fairy tale teller even far beyond the border of Argentina. The title story of this volume is known everywhere, but enhanced here with local color and word play. The second story. El tío Kive reveals the interaction of fantasy and reality: While Alejandro is working on geometry problems, the admonishing and controlling voice of his father brings him back again over and over to the school-boy reality he would like to flee, but random images of street-life take on a nimble, improvable life of their own. His thoughts also wander off to his uncle, whose eyes he has supposedly inherited. Alejandro's imagination and his simultaneous worlds are quite convincingly and humorfully portrayed. Dreamers will easily recognize themselves here. (9+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 1994 - 163
Mendoza, Susana (text)
Dávalos, Felipe (illus.)
Cuento de Junio
(Tales of June)
[Amecameca]: C.E.L.T.A./Amaquemecan, 1991. 26 p.
(Barril sin Fondo)
ISBN 986-6465-15-4
Myth - Sommer Soltice - Sun - Jaguar - Indians
At the start of this book we see a panorama of luscious vegetation, a woman and three girls going through the forest as the sun begins to rise. Armadillos and birds are still sitting in the darkness. Only on the next page does the story of the encounter of the young girls with the great "tiger", the golden shining one, really begin. Is it the sun? The old grandfather, whom the children tell about this encounter, believes it. Pages of text alternate with double-spread illustrations. The sequence invites the reader to linger with the pictures which portray both the mythic dimensions of the story and the subjective experiences of the girls. The illustrations of this updated version of the solstice myth are brilliantly colored and mysterious, but also reflect a realistic Mexican landscape. (8+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 1995 - 126
Montes, Gracielia (text)
Roldán, Gustavo (illus.)
Venancio vuela bajito
(Venancio flies too low)
Buenos Aires: AZ editora, 1994. [16] p.
(serie del boleto)
ISBN 950-534-241-1
Dog - Flying
It's not true that dogs cannot fly. They just like to fly quite low. So begins the story of the dog Venancio who learns to fly and to everyone's astonishment whizzes through the air - for instance, to the butcher's shop two streets away. But in time protests grow louder because the rather plump Venancio reveals himself to be a notorious low-flyer who reeks all kinds of havoc, such as landing in Professor Gutiérrez' potato casserole. Finally he must put an end to his excursions, though he is allowed to continue his aerial arts at home. This curious story is full of witty charm and bizarre eccentric events. Equally original are the water-color illustrations, a mixture of comic art and the wild colorfulness of children's paintings. (3+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 1995 - 127
Shua, Ana María (text)
Dias Costa, Mariza (illus.)
Cuentos Judíos con Fantasmas & Demonios
(Jewish tales of ghosts and demons)
Buenos Aires: Shalom, 1994. 168 p.
Jews/Mythology - Fantasy
In writing the eight tales in this collection Ana María Shua let herself be inspired by stories, themes, motifs and characters from the rich Jewish oral tradition, such as the legendary and mysterious figures of the Golem or the Baalshem. On the basis of familiar folktales she has created new fan- tasy tales in order to emphasize what is un- usual and particularly Jewish about them. Various ghosts and demons are first intro- duced in a foreword and at the end of each tale, the author gives the details of the ori- gin and history of the content. An unusual book which introduces the reader to an unfamiliar, fascinating world. (12+) ☆

Argentina (Spanish) - 1996 - 162
Montes, Graciela
Historia de un amor exagerado
(The History of an Exaggerated Love)
Buenos Aires: Colihue, 1995. 65 p.
(Libros del malabarista)
ISBN 950-581-525-5
First love
This brief story deals with a gigantic bouquet of flowers, happiness and sadness, a lively correspondence and the largest love letter the world has ever seen. It is the story of two children whose moving and inspiring love story is followed by some with pleasure and benevolence, while others criticize it as »un-childlike« and boundlessly exaggerated. With a sure feel for mood and sentiment as well as a sense of poetry and nuances, Graciela Montes describes the magic and uniqueness of love, its simplicity and absoluteness. (10+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 1996 - 163
Suez, Perla (text)
Rojas, Mara (illus.)
El árbol de los flecos
(The Tree of Scraps)
Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 1995. 54 p.
(Colección Pan flauta; 32)
ISBN 950-07-1018-8
Jews/Stories
This is a collection of five traditional Jewish stories which the author heard from her parents. They belong to the rich culture of orally transmitted story-telling among the East European and Oriental Jews. The stories are set in different epochs and in different places, such as Russia or Turkey. The fascination of these stories, reduced to their essential components, lays in the austerity of the language. The plain, almost reticent style is excellently matched in the wood-cut style black-and-white illustrations. (12+) ☆

Argentina (Spanish) - 1997 - 171
Birmajer, Marcelo (text)
Forcadell, María Gabriela (illus.)
Fábulas salvajes
(Wild fables)
Buenos Aires: Ed. Sudamericana, 1996. 79 p.
(Sudamericana joven)
ISBN 950-07-1180-x
Fables - Animals
Marcelo Birmajer follows in te tradition of Aesop's and LaFontaine's animal fables, but breaks with it in as much as he very consciously avoids ending his short, laconic texts with the usual, ready-to-use moral of the story. Perhaps this is the very reason that these fables encourage the readers to ask such elementary questions as: What is good and what is evil? Is there such a thing as a moral? And who gives us the right to judge the behavior of others? Would we turn into a-moral, wild beasts if there were no moral principles? With their often surprising turns of plot and unexpected ndings, these fables invie discussion and contradiction because they depart from the accustomed trains of thought. (12+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 1997 - 172
Montes, Graciela (text)
Rojas, Oscar (illus.)
Aventuras y desaventuras de Casiperro del Hambre
(Adventures and misadventures of Poordog the Starved)
Buenos Aires: Colihue, 1995. 140 p.
(Colección Los Libros de Boris)
ISBN 950-581-275-2
City life - Dog - Outsider - Poverty
The dog Oreja struggles through life as a true underdog, doing service among other things as a circus attraction or as a model for toys. At long last he finds someone - like himself also a homeless streetwalker - who endows him with a sense of worth and nobility in the form of a melodious name which resembles that of Spanish aristocrats, Casiperro Gil del Hambre, Caballero de la Oreja. As the title of the book suggests, this masterfully told story borrows from the picaresque novel. With the autobiograpical, demasking perspectve of an outsider and an episodic narrative structure, it casts light on the ways of the world - in this case, in a modern-day metropolis. (10+)

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 1998 - 161
Andruetto, María Teresa (text)
Stefano
(<Proper name>)
Buenos Aires: Ed. Sudamericana, 1997. 106 p.
(Sudamericana jóven)
ISBN 950-07-1302-0
Italy/Emigration - Argentina/Immigration
At the age of 19 Stefano leaves his home in Italy to emigrate to Argentina. This novel begins with his farewells and describes the sea passage, the first difficult years on a farm and ends when he meets his future wife, Ema. Narrated in the third person, the tale is occasionally interrupted by short passages in which Stefano speaks for himself. In these monologues to Ema, Stefano recapitulates and reflects upon the loosening of his ties to his mother. Her at times wordless, at times bitter reproaches at being left behind in Italy run through the entire story like a red thread. Stefano's story is narrated in a sparce language. And yet, the feelings of lonesomeness, sadness and hope shine clearly through the realistic, seemingly emotionally dry text. It is precisely this reticent tone and the underlying thoughts and emotions that make this novel so touching and memorable. (12+)

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 1998 - 162
Pescetti, Luis María (text)
O'Kif (illus.)
Caperucita Roja (tal como se la contaron a Jorge)
(Little Red Riding Hood [as told to Jorge])
Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 1996. 30 p.
(Infantil)
ISBN 950-511-269-6
Little Red Riding Hood/Parody - Storytelling - Reader response
In a simple and intelligent manner this book demonstrates how stories can be understood in a new and different way through the imaginations of the teller and listener. As a father tells his son the story of Little Red Riding Hood the reader of this book sees in the cartoon-bubble illustrations that quite different ideas are going through each one's mind. While the father thinks of tradional fairytale images, the boy - influenced by comics and cartoons - imagines a »modern-day«, actionfilled version. Since only the reader ever notices how their experiences differ, this very original picture book is all the funnier. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 1998 - 163
Roldán, Gustavo (text/illus.)
Cómo reconocer a un monstruo
(How to recognize a monster)
Buenos Aires: AZ Ed., 1997. [28] p.
(Serie del tipito)
ISBN 950-534-453-8
Monster - Identification
A little man with a tall green hat tries to answer the question of how to recognize a monster. Rather timidly Tipito approaches a giant red fabulous creature and discovers armoured plates, hard as steps, ears from which long black hair grows, a mouth as big as an eggplant. After that there is no doubt more: a real monster! The charm of this story lies in the minimalist, seemingly scribbled illustrations. Done in vivid colors, each one shows only an excerpt of the monster, allowing the viewer to replicate the limited, dwarfed perspective of the story's hero. (4+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 1999 - 167
Mehl, Ruth
El sobreviviente
(The survivor)
Buenos Aires: Ed. Sudamericana, 1998. 198 p.
(Imaginario (Primera Sudamericana))
ISBN 950-07-1366-7
Large city - Crime - Violence
Badly beaten up and seriously injured, Agustín tells his life story from a hospital bed. After the death of his father during Argentina's military dictatorship, he grew up first with near strangers in a poor quarter of Buenos Aires until he learned to fend for himself. He gives a realistic account of his life there: personal conflicts, social conflicts in the neighborhood, violence, drugs, police intervention, but also solidarity among individuals. In this tale, which has elements of a crime novel, the narrative switches skillfully between the flashbacks of the first-person narrator, Augustín, and the events in the hospital as told by his roommate. (13+)

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 1999 - 168
Wolf, Ema (text)
Sanzol, Jorge (illus.)
Pollos de campo
(Country chickens)
Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 1997. 150 p.
(Infantil - juvenil)
ISBN 950-511-290-4
Circus - Circus artists - Odyssey (Journey)
Big Rita, Lithe Mimí, the Magician Jesús and the Bear (who, one never knows, is perhaps human after all) are in a terrible quandary. The other members of their circus troupe have moved on to the next engagement without them. That wouldn't be much of a problem if only one of the four could only remember where it is. When the 13-year old circus acrobat Pedro suddenly turns up in their rickety old circus wagon, they begin an adventure-filled odyssey through the Argentine province searching for their colleagues and Pedro's missing brothers. In the course of their travels, during which they earn their keep with impromptu performances, the five highly individualistic characters encounter a large number of no less unique people. Ema Wolf's story burst full of amusing ideas and scenes. As already proven in previous children's books, her sense for absurd and screwy situations and rich imagery are successfully united here in this highly entertaining book. (12+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 2000 - 159
Mariño, Ricardo (text)
Elizalde, Marcelo (illus.)
Historia de Flechazo y la nube
(The story of Shooting Arrows and the cloud)
Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 1998. 39 p.
(Infantil)
ISBN 950-511-409-5
Indians - Water shortage - Archery - Cloud - Hole - Flooding
The young Flechazo (»Shooting Arrows«) is the best archer among his people. When their territory falls prey to a long drought, he shoots an arrow at a giant cloud in the sky, that refuses to rain. As a result, a single stream of water begins to fall unceasingly on the head of the boy. He nearly goes crazy with anger and shoots innumerable arrows into the sky. The cloud empties itself, flooding the whole region. Flechazo's people save themselves with a raft and form a new settlement on the shore of the sea that has been formed. The short text, illustrated in color in comic style, is full of orginal ideas and draws upon the motifs of the creation and flood legends. (6+) ☼

Argentina (Spanish) - 2000 - 160
Roldán, Gustavo (adapt.)
Nine, Carlos (illus.)
Cuentos del zorro
(Fox tales)
Buenos Aires: Ed. Sudamericana, 1999. 62 p.
(Cuentámerica)
ISBN 950-07-1557-0
Folk tale/Argentina - Fox
The fox is one of the most popular animal protagonists in literature and quite at home in the folk tales and the fables of many countries. He is usually associated with certain character traits - tricky and cunning, able to talk his way out of a scrape, but also often a victim of his own arrogance. Gustavo Roldán has gathered ten fox tales together and united them into a single episodic text. Since these tales are told in the Americas, the counterparts of the fox are not, as for example in Europe, the usual hare or wolf, but rather armadillo and puma. The stories are well-rounded, full of verbal wit and have a clear punch line, sure to give reading pleasure to young and old. (9+) ☼

Argentina (Spanish) - 2001 - 164
Pescetti, Luis María (text)
O'Kif (illus.)
Frin
(<Proper name>)
Buenos Aires : Alfaguara, 2000. 203 p.
(Infantil)
ISBN 950-511-596-2
Boy - Everyday life - School - First love - Self-confidence
Frin, whose strong dislike for his sports teacher is the only special thing about him, is not happy with his low profile existence. He struggles with a minority complex and suffers from jealousy, because he has fallen in love with his school-mate Alma, who seems to like another boy better. Only some positive experiences, entirely new to him – a good friend, the first kiss, a successful appearance on television – gradually provide Frin with the self-confidence he lacked for so long. The realistic, humorous and thoughtful story relates the life of an unspectacular hero with a good deal of sympathy. (10+)

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2002 - 160
Bodoc, Liliana
Los días del Venado : la saga de los confines
(The days of the stag : epic of the lands at the end of the world)
Buenos Aires [et al.] : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2001. (3. ed.) 322 p.
(Otros mundos)
ISBN 987-9334-90-6
The Good – The Evil – Freedom – Cultural conflict – America/Conquest
This gripping fantasy narrates the clash of two worlds and cultures. Following a prophecy of their Holy Scriptures, the people of the »Fertile Lands« await the arrival of representatives of the »Ancient Lands«. Contrary to what they expected, however, these do not come with peaceful intentions but as conquerors who want to destroy anything foreign to them. The invaders, led by the »Son of Death«, threaten to be the victors in a terrible battle – had it not been for a warrior who sacrifices himself for the freedom of the »Fertile Lands«. The author creates settings, characters, and plots with a great deal of imagination and skill, so that the reader is inextricably drawn into this fictional world. Many allusions also make this a novel about the discovery and conquest of the Americas, told from the point of view – in real history – of the vanquished. (14+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 2003 - 160
Andruetto, María Teresa (text)
Nine, Lucas (illus.)
La mujer vampiro
(The Vampire-Woman)
Buenos Aires : Ed. Sudamericana, 2001. 62 p.
(Cuentámerica) (Primera Sudamericana)
ISBN 950-07-2141-4
Horror tale – Fear
For the six stories of this anthology, María Teresa Andruetto has explored the treasures of the oral storytelling tradition and presented elements of old horror tales in new forms. Supernatural beings, ogres, vampires, and humans transformed as animals, do not live in the remote past but right here and now in our own, normal everyday world. The stories are told in a succint, sober, and literary language. The horror doesn’t make a grand and grotesque entry but approaches quietly and with cunning: The reader is unsettled by small, unpretentious gaps in the narrative behind which one can only suspect a different, uncanny reality. (10+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 2003 - 161
Walsh, María Elena (text)
Ink, Lancman (illus.)
Hotel Pioho’s Palace
(Hotel Louse’s Palace)
Buenos Aires : Alfaguara, 2002. 166 p.
(AlfaWalsh)
ISBN 950-511-781-7
Metropolis – Adventure – Fantasy
Dalila spends a few days in a small, quite colourful hotel in Buenos Aires with her uncle. They have hardly put down their bags before the girl is drawn into many a strange adventure. In one, for example, she finds herself in a grotto under the city with the slightly batty descendants of pirates, who were stranded there 200 years ago. Whether it’s Greta, the Swedish backpack tourist, or Manuelita, the talking turtle: All characters of this story are unique individualists. With great linguistic skill and wit, the author weaves ever new ideas into the rather crazy plot which takes a lot of unexpected turns. The reader follows the daring turns with delight and is fascinated by how easily the boundaries between reality and fantasy are transgressed. (10+)

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2004 - 154
Auster, Paul (text)
Isol (illus.)
Vera, Mariana (transl.)
El cuento de Navidad de Auggie Wren
(Auggie Wren’s Christmas story)
Buenos Aires : Ed. Sudamericana, 2003. 30 p.
ISBN 950-07-2450-2
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.
(¡Qué bestias!)
ISBN 987-98042-6-0
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
Wolf, Ema
Libro de los prodigios
(The book of miracles)
Buenos Aires : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2003. 135 p.
(Torre de papel : Amarilla)
ISBN 987-545-116-9
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+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 2005 - 150
Bianki (illus.)
Restorán
(Restaurant)
Buenos Aires : Pequeño Editor, 2003. [24] p.
(Colección Fuelle)
ISBN 987-20847-3-4
Eating – Being eaten – Food chain
Eating and being eaten, this natural law does not only apply to the wilderness but also to a modern dinner table – as this story with its comic-book-like illustrations clearly proves. A frog that suddenly leaps from a plate of soup to catch a few delicious flies turns from hunter into prey. Who would have thought that in the soup’s mysterious depths, a voracious crocodile was lying in wait...? The almost text-less picture story, which is only accompanied by a few onomatopoeic words, is a witty example of the small square picture books published by Pequeño Editor (Small Publisher). With titles by well-known illustrators and cartoonists, the publishing house adds a new facet to Argentinean children’s literature. (5+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 2005 - 151
Bodoc, Liliana (text)
Trillo, Matías (illus.)
Sucedió en colores
(It happened in colour)
Buenos Aires : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2004. 94 p.
(Torre de papel : Azul)
ISBN 987-545-138-x
Literary fairy tale
Following her gripping fantasy trilogy »La saga de los confines« (The legend of the end of the world), Liliana Bodoc now proves her remarkable skill in the short literary genre. Inspired by folk tales and myths whose narrative tone she perfectly captures, she presents five different texts, each one dedicated to one particular colour. Each colour appears in characters and objects of the respective tale but, beyond that, it has also a symbolic meaning representing human feelings and moods. It is remarkable how the Argentinean author manages to surprise her readers with unusual pictures and unexpected turns of events. (9+)

Argentina (Spanish) - 2005 - 152
González, Fernando (text/illus.)
Circo
(Circus)
Buenos Aires : Ed. del Eclipse, 2004. 28 p.
(Libros-álbum del Eclipse)
ISBN 987-9011-61-9
Circus
Within the past few years, several new small Argentinean publishers have leapt unto the market, attracting attention because of their fresh, courageous, and innovative ideas. In 2004, Ediciones del Eclipse made their debut with eight picture books, each of them with its own very distinctive format, illustrative style, and layout that demonstrate the huge range of the Argentinean art of illustration. Animals, acrobats, and clowns are romping about in Fernando Gonzalez’s book. The short nonsense texts are set against bright monochrome backgrounds and illustrated by sketchy line drawings. This imaginative mixture perfectly matches the crazy and colourful circus life. (6+)

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2005 - 153
Pescetti, Luis María (text)
O’Kif (illus.)
Nadie te creería
(No-one would believe you)
Buenos Aires : Alfaguara, 2004. 175 p.
(Próxima parada : Desde 10 años)
ISBN 950-511-925-9
Child – Everyday life – Short story – Nonsense literature
Luis Maria Pescetti, who is one of the most famous authors of Argentinean children’s literature, presents a splendid collection of 45 texts that hint at the author’s other passions: acting and making music. Many of the short stories, dialogues, and poems start off with an ordinary everyday situation that quite suddenly (or fairly slowly) takes an unexpected and absurd turn. In the first tale, for example, a mother speaks to her child’s teacher and spontaneously decides to swap her son for one of his classmates, as if this were nothing out of the ordinary. And the book continues with equally crazy twists, story after story. In a brilliant way, Pescetti does not only make his readers laugh out loud; he also manages to disturb them and make them think. Not even the language itself – words, sounds, or meanings – are safe from the explosive power of his imagination. This magnificent book also perfectly lends itself to reading aloud. (10+)

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2006 - 154
Bombara, Paula
El mar y la serpiente
(The sea and the serpent)
Buenos Aires [et al.] : Ed. Norma, 2005. 105 p.
(Zona libre)
ISBN 987-545-211-4
Argentina/1975-1985 Dictatorship – Political persecution – Missing person
The country’s military dictatorship is a topic also dealt with in Argentinean children’s literature. In her impressive novel, Paula Bombara describes the traumatic experiences of the daughter of one of the thousands of »desaparecidos« (missing people). While the first part starts off in the middle of the 1970s, the other two parts are set eight and ten years later. It is moving to see how the adults strive to protect the little girl from the brutal reality, but thereby involuntarily prevent her from understanding the sudden and inexplicable loss of her father and from coping with it. Only years later, when her mother hesitatingly breaks the silence, is the daughter able to come to terms with it. The story focuses exclusively on the first-person- narrator’s perspective and experiences. The concise language of the author, who observes and states facts without commenting or explaining anything, is very powerful. Thus, the events described gain immediacy and strength. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2006 - 155
Masetto, Antonio dal
Tres genias en la magnolia
(Three geniuses in the magnolia)
Buenos Aires : Ed. Sudamericana, 2005. 247 p.
(Sudamericana joven : Novela)
ISBN 950-07-2651-3
Coming-of-age Disillusionment
The protagonists of this novel are three elevenyear- old girls, who live in an ordinary quarter of Buenos Aires. If they want to be undisturbed, the three friends retreat to a magnolia tree. This mysterious place, where reality and imagination blend, books whose content is found to contribute to an international understanding among cultures and peoples books with texts but nonetheless complex and high-interest topics also serves as the base from which they explore their surroundings. Step by step, they investigate the world and feel hurt and disillusioned when their experiences open their eyes to the rules and realities of the adult world, which is ruled by corruption, greed, and falseness, while values such as truth and justice seem to be of minor importance. This excellent novel for teenagers and adults bluntly and convincingly portrays modern society and stands out for its skilful use of language. (12+) ☆ ☼

Argentina (Spanish) - 2007 - 156
Gandman, Alexiev (text/illus.)
Los planos de mi ciudad
(The maps of my city)
Buenos Aires : Ed. del Eclipse, 2005. [40] p.
(Libros-álbum del eclipse)
ISBN 987-9011-67-8
City
The city in this imaginative picture book is a complex organism with innumerable cords connecting its sometimes very quaint parts in an ingenious way. Alexiev Gandman’s black-and-white illustrations present an urban habitat that seems magical and mysterious, sophisticatedly constructed, yet cheerfully playful. An unspecified first-person narrator explores the world in which he lives by drawing maps of the city, then of the surrounding area, and finally of outer space. Eventually, he ends up in his own room again, a place that he considers just as »wonderfully inexplicable« as the whole city. This scintillating book invites readers and observers to create their own individual spaces for living that are hitherto unseen. (5+)

Argentina (Spanish/Portuguese) - 2007 - 157
Giampieri, Elena (text)
Farías, Carolina (illus.)
Papelote = Papelino
(<Proper name>)
Córdoba : Comunic-arte, 2006. [24] p.
(Los niños del Mercosur)
(Bilingual ed.: Spanish and Portuguese)
ISBN 987-602-018-8
Paper – Longing – Happiness – Flying
Papelote, a plain sheet of paper, longs to be a bird or a butterfly; or maybe a page in a book, because then he would be able to comfortably sit in a bookshop. Instead, he is forced to brave the world as a newspaper page. Although he still wishes he were something different, something better, something more beautiful, he slowly starts to enjoy life a little, as fragrant flowers are wrapped inside him, or as he is folded into a paper hat for a child. Eventually, after he has been crumpled up and thrown into the gutter, his great dream of flying finally comes true. In a poetic way, the simple text describes Papelote’s utterly human feelings, especially his desire to burst his (metaphorical) chains. The double-page mixed-media colour illustrations aptly express this longing. (4+)