White Ravens: Catalan

43 books      

Spain (Catalan) - 1994 - 165
Coll, Pep
Qué farem, què direm?
(What shall we do, what shall we say?)
[Barcelona]: Cruïlla, 1992. 168 p.
(Gran Angular 42)
ISBN 84-7629-604-5
Pyrennees - Hobgoblin - legend - Illegal Immigrant
During a visit to the local museum of ethnology the narrator, the school-girl Bet, hears for the first time about the strange and even dangerous miniature inhabitants of the Pyrennees. Didn't something just move in the vessel in which, according to the label, they are living? Naturally Bet succeeds, firstly, in learning more about the "minairons", seconds, in liberating them, and thirdly having them serve and entertain her. The story is set in a village at the time of the celebration of the Three Magi, of which Bartholomew, the black man, helps the author to point out the dangerous situation and lack of rights these people have. Even his protagonist can't do anything to change that. In the end Bet loses the "minairons," but not before they help the basketball team, her first gentle love, to victory. (13+)
(Premi Gran Angular 1991)

Special Mention - Spain (Catalan) - 1994 - 166
Jordana, C. A. (text)
Jover, Llui'sa (illus.)
Antenaforta i Caragran
(Strong Antenna and a Large Face)
[Barcelona]: Abadia de Montserrat, 1992. 24 p.
(La Finestra 19)
ISBN 84-7826-297-0
Fable - Ant - Cricket - Agreement
The crickets sing untiringly in order lo ease the life of the ants who scurry about their work in long columns. Over and over again the crickets assure each other how glad the ants must be to have this musical accompaniment. They only realize that their chirping gets on the ants' nerves when the ants are relaxing in their comfortable winter apartments and the crickets beg them for food - only to be given the cold brush off. But next summer when the ants can barely drag themselves along in the August sun, the crickets having decided to strike, the ants then send their own delegation. Winter provisions are assured, if only they will sing again for the weary workers. The illustrations by Jover give this old and often retold fable additional charm. While entire convoys of racy ants line the borders in various formations, small, full-sized drawings on the opposite page portray the place, action and mood of the events with all its delightful minute details. (6+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1994 - 167
Quart, Pere
Vacances pagades
(Paid Vacation)
{Barcelona]: Enciclopedia Catalana, 1992. 92 p.
(Colunma Proa Jove 45)
ISBN 84-7739-422-9
Lyrical poetry/Catalan
Pere Quart (pseudonym of Joan Oliver i Sallares, 1899-1986) is considered the most important Catalan poet of this century and this book "possibly his best book" (according to The Oxford Companion to Spanish Literature). This little volume, with its short and clear texts, is published for young adults who experience poetry as an expression of their humanity. The author received the renown Ausiàs March Prize in 1959 and the Lletra d’Or in 1961.

Spain (Catalan) - 1995 - 138
Alcoberro, Agusti
Procés a Aima Boixadors
(The Trial of Anna Boixadors)
Barcelona: Cruïlla, 1993. 95 p.
(Gran Angular; 55)
ISBN 84-7629-797-1
Catalan/History 1617- Superstition - Witch-hunting
Rampant superstition, hysteria fomented by professional witch-hunters and the search for scapegoats in 17th century Europe spread also into Catalan villages. This is the fictitious story of the trial of the old Anna Boixador as told from the perspective of a young man who, inspite of his own initial prejudices, sympathizes with the accused. In crass contrast to the personal narrative are the scattered excerpts of the similarly fictitious minutes of the trial. The dry style of the proceedings makes visible in an uneasy manner the unstoppable course of the wheels of justice and the business-like atrocity of the persecutors and tormentors. (14+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1995 - 139
Janer Manila, Gabriel (adapt.)
Montserrat, Pep (illus.)
Això era un gegant
(That was a giant)
Barcelona: La Galera, 1994. [36] p.
(el sac de la Galera I sac de gegants; 1)
ISBN 84-246-4205-8
Spain/Catalan/Fairy Tale - Giant - Gargantua < Motif >
Renown Spanish authors and illustrators were commissioned to contribute to the series "el sac de la Galera", which intends to show how richly endowed the world of fairy tales, legends and myths is with giants, fairies, dragons and similar creatures. Each subseries focuses on one of these classic figures with adaptations of well-known themes such as the Catalan version of Rapunzel or, in this volume, a retelling of Gargantua. A short postscript gives the source and history of the motif as it is found in different forms in various countries. Its unusual design gives this new series a characteristic image and offers considerable reading pleasure. (6+) ☆

Spain (Catalan) - 1995 - 140
Luna, Marta (ed.)
Losantos, Cristina (illus.)
Cançoner de Nadal
(Christmas carol book)
Barcelona: La Galera, 1994. [28] p.
(la Galera popular; 16)
ISBN 84-246-1436-4
Christmas Carols/Catalan/Anthology
Each double-page spread of this volume presents a traditional Catalan Christmas carol. On the left side the verses, on the right side the illustrations pen-and-wash drawings which give a humorous interpretation of the text by means of witty associations with modern times. The book invites the reader to read and look, but also to sing and make music, since the two-part songs are reprinted in the appendix with music and guitar chords. What makes this small collection so unusual is the way in which it presents Christmas costums which are otherwise so often introduced in an unimaginative and traditional manner. The series "la Galera" received an honorable mention for the Prernio Grafico at the 1994 Bologna Children's Book Fair. (4+) ☆

Spain (Catalan) - 1996 - 157
Fuster, Joan (adapt.)
Echevarría, Pablo (illus.)
El flautista encantat
(The Enchanting Flute Player)
Barcelona: Abadia de Montserrat, 1995. [24] p.
(Llibres del sol i de la lluna; 71)
ISBN 84-7826-608-9
Pied Piper of Hamelin
The illustrations to this adaption of the famous story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin do not attempt to present a historicized or folkloric version of the events. Aside from a few accessories, the illustrations are reduced to portraying the main characters. The people and the rats, clothed in bizarre costumes, are given features and gestures which lend tempo and drama to the course of the story. This portrayal concentrates above all on form and line, when the illustrator uses colors, particularly yellow and brown tones, it is done only sparingly. (8+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1996 - 158
Ramon, Estrella
Ptolemeu, el cuinetes
(Ptolemeu, the Cook)
Barcelona: La Galera, 1995. 95 p.
(el corsari; 2)
ISBN 84-246-8202-5
Manliness - Social roles - Sex roles - Self-identity
Ptolemeu feels as if a thunderbolt struck him when his favorite aunt gives him a »doll's kitchen« as a birthday present. What will all his friends think?! Only gradually does it dawn on him that this is a practical camper's kit and that cooking can be fun. This is a witty book about the everyday life of an eleven-year-old and his difficulties in coping with his wounded manliness. It is an original and entertaining effort to poke fun at the role models already established in the minds of children. (9+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1996 - 159
Rubio, Gabriela (text/illus.)
Barcelona: El Arca de Junior, 1995. 30 p.
(Centpeus; 18)
ISBN 84-478-0247-7
Cat - Disturbance - Fly
The worst things happen on Mondays. This is also true for a cat who is disturbed by an ordinary housefly while occuppied with her peaceful do-nothing. While her companion sleeps on calmly, this cat lives through an acoustic nightmare that nearly drives her crazy. Gabriela Rubio uses elements of comic strips and skillfully employs typography as a means of design and narration. Her witty picture book comes alive through the colored drawings and the considerable dynamic which makes the portrayal nearly grotesque. (5+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1997 - 166
Duran, Teresa (text)
Max (illus.)
Què hi ha per a sopar?
(What's for supper?)
Barcelona: Publ. de l'Abadia de Montserrat, 1996. 24 p.
(Popof i Kocatasca; 1)
ISBN 84-7826-719-0
Winter - Soup - Rooster - Hunting
On account of the biting frost, the queen commands the royal cook, Popov, to cook a hearty soup. But all of the chickens which might be eligible for this meal are warned by the suspicious rooster, Kocatasca, and flee the castle in a panic. When the enraged Popov sets off to hunt down Kocatasca instead, he quite accidentally defeats a dangerous dragon. As a result, various dragon dishes can be served and the poultry is saved. This humorous story, the first in a new series, is accompanied by comic-like pictures which give excellent expression to the pace and grotesqeness of the text. (8)

Spain (Catalan) - 1997 - 167
Grimm, Jacob (text)
Grimm, Wilhelm (text)
Carrasco, Xavier (adapt.)
Infante, Francesc (illus.)
El nan belluguet
Barcelona: La Galera, 1996. [28] p.
(laGalera popular; 27)
ISBN 84-246-1457-7
German/Fairy tale - Devil - Pledge - Name - Secret
This new volume in the series »la Galera popular« is a further example of the excellent quality of this prize-winning collection of folk and fairy tales from around the world. The text, illustrations, vignettes, layout, typography and design make this adaption of »Rumpelstilzchen« a reading pleasure. Francesc Infante, 1996 winner of Spain's Premio Nacional, has created the illustrations in his characteristic style. Brownish tones predominate, figures and backgrounds are abstract and stylized, the shapes are often noticealy geometric, ad through the distortin of porportion and perspe-tives the portrayals are especially expressive. (6+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1998 - 154
Colom, Rosa Maria (text)
Canals, Mercè (illus.)
La Dama Blanca
(The white lady)
Barcelona: Edicions de la Magrana, 1997. 125 p.
(Petit esparver; 70)
ISBN 84-7410-961-2
Catalan/Folk tale
This work continues the storytelling tradition of Majorcan folk tales, drawing on their traditional setting, the historical background and figures. In a very pleasing literary style she tells six of her own new tales about kings, poor wretches, witches and gnomes. The story which gives the book its title describes a white lady who turns people to ice statues by looking at them, while another tale deals with the last, lonesome giant who would like to marry again. A glossary at the end explains the Majorcan terms. (7+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1998 - 155
Garcia i Cornellà, Dolors
Contes a una cama trencada
(Stories told on a broken bed)
Barcelona: Galera, 1997. 117 p.
(LaGalera el corsari; 28)
ISBN 84-246-8228-9
Storytelling - Imagination - Short stories
Bernat, bedridden with a broken leg, is not pleased by his cousin Cèlia's plan to help him pass the days by telling him a story. But his aversion is soon forgotten because her stories are not so uninteresting after all. And furthermore Bernat reinvents a different ending for each story, because his is never satisfied with them. This book captivates the reader with its imaginative tales in the tradition of Gianni Rodari and the use of an entertaining frame story, in which the potential and fascination of storytelling become clear. (9+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1998 - 156
Piquer, Eva (text)
Gallardo (illus.)
La noia del temps
(The weather girl)
Barcelona: Ed. Cruïlla, 1997. 127 p.
(El vaixell de vapor / Sèrie vermella; 76)
ISBN 84-8286-193-x
Mother/Daughter - Puberty - Weather - Clairvoyance
Iris causes a commotion when she applies to be the »weather prophet« at her school's own television station. Her daring forecasts („It will rain frogs") come true, thus causing problems for her mother, a professional weather forecaster at a TV station. This fantasy story is interwoven with realistic aspects in the life of the thirteen-year old girl, her relationship with her widowed mother, everyday life at home, at school, with her friends, and how she deals with the first signs of puberty. Realistic and phantastic passages flow together seamlessly to form a a fast-paced, witty story. (12+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1998 - 157
Sala-Valldaura, Josep Maria
Tren de paraules
(Train of words)
Lleida: Pagès, 1997. 57 p.
(Biblioteca de la Suda; Tansvaria; 2)
ISBN 84-7935-372-4
Children's poetry - Riddle
The cover of this book makes its subject evident - waiting for the train of words. A motley queue of people, a clock, a funnel-shaped loudspeaker. Not much, but enough to set the imagination of the beholder in motion. The art of reduction and allusion is characteristic for the texts of this multifaceted poetry book. The rhymed riddles, magic formulas, shortest-of-all poems, calligrams and much more are full of fantastic, imaginative wit and a feeling for language. Equally original and at times grotesque, the drawings round-out this enjoyable book. (8+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1999 - 164
Garriga, Carme (text)
Giménez, Anna (text)
Giménez, Anna et al. (photos)
Ostelinda. Jo vinc de tot arreu
(Ostelinda. I come from everywhere)
Barcelona: Galera, 1998. 31 p.
(LaGalera jo vinc de ... ; 1)
ISBN 84-246-9351-5
This book is one title in the exemplary information book series („I come from..."), in which texts and abundant photographs offer a useful first glimpse into the life and customs of different countries - as seen through the eyes of a child who lives there and tells of his own everyday life. A notable feature of this book is that the girl belongs to the Roma, a people who are at home in many countries and are often marginalized and stigmatized. This book deserves praise in particular for showing clearly that Ostelinda is above all a child like any other. (7+) ☆ ☼

Spain (Catalan) - 1999 - 165
Parra, Ivan
Hola diari!
(Hello, diary!)
Barcelona: Ed. de la Magrana, 1997. 107 p.
(L'esparver jove ; 2)
ISBN 84-7410-940-x
Adolescence - Everyday life - Growing up - First love - Diary
During his summer holiday fourteen-year old Daniel writes in his diary, because he enjoys writing and because he wants hold on to his experiences for himself (and others). Daniel tells about typical occurences in the daily life of an adolescent: family, first love, get togethers and minor adventures that are part of growing up. This is done energetically in an humorous, entertaining manner. The book is strongly autobiographical, since the author is only sixteen-years old. He writes realistically and plausibly, and manages to avoid resorting to so-called »teenage jargon.« (12+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2000 - 152
Ballester, Arnal (illus.)
No tinc paraules
(I have no words)
Valencia: Media Vaca, 1998. [122] p.
(Media Vaca ; 1)
ISBN 84-930221-0-1
Ship - Imaginary journey - Circus
With the very first volume of an ambitious new series of children's and young adult books the Media Vaca publishing house presents one of the most renown Spanish illustrators with a book that is additionally remarkable for the courage it took to complete it - for it is a book that goes against the expectations of the reader. Even through the pictures the loosely knit storyline about a dreamlike fantasy journey on an ocean liner is only vaguely understandable. Most of the pictures (in red, black and white - with red as a primary background color) are surrealistic circus scenes done in Ballester's extremely graphic style. Each one stands alone - with no immediate neighbor - autonomous. Thus the viewer can read each one in its own right, engaging in free association, fantasizing one's own story. (13+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2000 - 153
Canela, Montserrat (text)
Max (illus.)
Ioshi i la pluja
(Ioshi and the rain)
Barcelona: LaGalera [et al.], 1999. 46 p.
ISBN 84-246-3406-3
(Also published by: Barcelona: Cercle des Lectors)
Village - Grayness - Melancholy - Rain - Color - Joy of life
A gray, overcast sky lays over the village of Ioshi like the lid of a coffin. Colors are disappearing. Just as everyone begins to dispair of change, the blacksmith Xemor climbs up into the heavens to visit the ruler of the wind and storms. Vain and tempestuous, she only reluctantly admits that she has quite simply forgotten about the village of Ioshi. She sends down rain, all turns well. All except for the intrepid Xemor, whom she plays a colorful trick on. Max illustrates this fairy-tale like story in his own clear comic strip style. The scenes of Xemor's visit in heaven which are depicted entirely in grey are most fascinating with their dramatic piles and tunnels of clouds. Notable are also the meticulous layout and typography. (7+)
(Premi Hospital Sant Joan de Déu; 1998)

Spain (Catalan) - 2000 - 154
Carol, Núria (text)
Ferrer, Isidro (illus.)
En Cosme i el monstre Menjamots
(Cosme and the monster Wordmuncher)
Barcelona: Publ. de l'Abadia de Montserrat, 1999. [28] p.
(Llibres del sol i de la lluna ; 82 : Llibres de la lluna)
ISBN 84-8415-004-6
Letter <script> - Theft - Monster - Reading - Jealousy
»Not again!« Cosme is enraged. Each night he discovers that letters and even whole words have disappeared from his books. Refusing to put up with it any longer, he catches one of the culprits with a sticky trick: a curious-looking worm that has been forced by the monster Wordmuncher to go hunting for him. Cosme demands that he be led to the insatiable beast and manages to liberate all the abducted letters. High-quality, graphic style color illustrations accompany this simple fantasy tale. Some are quite abstract and form a delightful challenge to the imagination - not only for child readers. (7+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2000 - 155
Sierra i Fabra, Jordi (text)
Tubau, Victòria (illus.)
Les històries perdudes
(The lost tales)
Barcelona: Ed. Cruïlla, 1999. 109 p.
(El vaixell de vapor / [Sèrie vermella] ; 85)
ISBN 84-8286-715-6
Desert - Hermit - Misanthropy - Responsibility - Fate - Coincidence
Ashmayd has chosen a reclusive life in the desert because he wants nothing more to do with mankind. He is confronted with a dilemma when on two occasions he comes upon a person in the desert who would be lost without him. Each time he asks himself whether it would be right to help them without knowing if they are good or bad people. The basic story, which contains several shorter tales, is above all a reflection on basic philosophical issues about human existence: What is good, what is bad? What is individual responsibility? What is coincidence? Can one determine the fate of others? These questions are discussed in a clear, calm manner. (12+)
(Premi El Vaixell de Vapor; 1998)

Spain (Catalan) - 2001 - 159
Carbó, Joaquim (text)
Gans, Francesc Luis (illus.)
Juma i el diamant
(Juma and the diamond)
Barcelona : Ed. Cruïlla, 2000. 186 p.
([El vaixell de vapor / Sèrie vermella] ; 94)
ISBN 84-8286-853-5
Africa - War - Violence - Solidarity - Refugee
13-year-old Juma works like a slave in a diamond mine. Following his escape, he meets other children, and one after another they join him in his quest for freedom. Finally, they are a group of six, and together, they struggle for survival, always hoping to see their families and homes again. Told from the perspective of children and their experiences, the misery and violence (e.g. the refugee trails) of the war-stricken African countries becomes cruelly evident. The story is realistic and never sensational. On the contrary, it gives a differentiated account of the social situation and develops a strong cast of individual characters. (11+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2001 - 160
Gisbert, Montse (text/illus.)
El bebé més dolç del món
(The sweetest baby of the world)
Valencia : Tandem Ed., [1999]. [36] p.
ISBN 84-8131-237-x
(Spanish ed.: El bebé más dulce del mundo)
Told from the perspective of a young bee, this book describes the life in a bee-colony: raising, »construction«, nectar collection, production of honey etc. A short appendix provides further information. Despite these informations, this book is first and foremost an imaginative picture book, heedlessly anthropomorphising the world of the bees. This is most evident in the brightly coloured, cheerful and wild illustrations. They show, for example, a bee swinging a broom or transporting construction material on a truck. This book is an unusual cross-over between the picture story- and reference book. (4+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2001 - 161
Rius, Lluís (text)
Ginesta, Montse (illus.)
Barcelona : LaGalera [et al.], 2000. 30 p.
ISBN 84-246-3410-1. - 84-226-8484-5
Parents - Falling asleep - Waking up
To wake up her parents, who once again have dosed off in front of the TV, their daughter assembles a team of very special helpers, who come from the other appartments of the house. Finally, a swaying pyramid makes its way through the stairway: the »downstairs-bringer«, the »upstairsbringer «, the »light-on-turner« and – of course – the »sleeper-waker«. The imaginative story is complemented by lively and dynamic cartoonstyle colour-illustrations. Some very original double-page illustrations with flabs folding upwards (!) catch the entire stairway of the fantastic house in its full height. (4+)
(Premi Hospital Sant Joan de Déu; 2000)

Spain (Catalan) - 2002 - 153
Alapont, Pasqual (text)
Molinero, David (illus.)
L'ovella negra
(The black sheep)
Barcelona : Edebé, 2001. 136 p.
(Periscopi ; 54)
ISBN 84-236-5766-3
Family – Tradition – Independence – Self-realisation
Reportedly, it isn't easy to rebel against long-standing family traditions. Nevertheless, that is what seventeen-year-old Hermògenes does, when he decides to become an archaeologist instead of going into the medical profession. He studies History and jobs part-time as a baby-sitter when the parents' stop to give him financial support. His determination to pursue his goal, as well as the relationship to the child he baby-sits and its mother are the foundations for Hermògenes' self-assertion and self-realisation. The author relates the protagonist's process of emancipation and reaching maturity with humour and ease. His concise rendering of character is excellent and reveals deep psychological insight. (14+)
(Premio Edebé de Literatura Juvenil ; 2001)

Spain (Catalan) - 2002 - 154
Comella, Maria Àngels
Kirilova, Romi
Seix, Mercè
Bon dia, senyor Tàpies!
(Hello, Mr. Tápies!)
Barcelona : Serres, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 84-95040-97-2
Tàpies, Antoni – Arts
Because this book presents only a well-dosed number of facts about the life and work of the Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies, it can be considered to be more of a picture book than a non-fiction title. Eulàlia, a curious, art-loving cartoon-girl and great fan of Tàpies, takes us on a little journey through his paintings, sculptures, and objects. She approaches the works of art with her naturalness and presents them to the reader from her own perspective. She, in turn, is amused, surprised, or perplexed by the individual works. Thanks to the happy choice of the child's perspective (seemingly) granting immediate access to Tàpies' work, this attractive and inspiring book may succeed in breaking down the barriers between children and the »Great Masters« of Modern Art. (7+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2002 - 155
Duran, Teresa (text)
Rubio, Gabriela (illus.)
Secrets de la selva fosca
(Secrets of the dark forest)
Barcelona : Ed. Cruïlla, 2001. 60 p.
([El vaixell de vapor / Sèrie blanca] ; 35)
ISBN 84-661-0081-4
City – Metropolis – Everyday life – Imagination – Jungle
In this original story, the powers of a child's imagination transform the hustle and bustle of a big city into a marvellous adventure. Miguel, the protagonist, pictures himself and his parents surviving the dangers and surprises of a unique jungle. He is impressed that his father rides a four-wheel stallion to the palace every day, where he creates mountains of delicious cakes. And he admires his mother, who, every morning, tames a sub-terranean irondragon that winds its way through the underworld. The short, entertaining text is accompanied by many colour illustrations that creatively explore the gap between reality and imagination. (6+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2003 - 153
Desclot, Miquel (text)
Rifà, Fina (illus.)
Més música, mestre!
(More music, master!)
Barcelona : La Galera, 2001. 77 p.
(LaGalera grumets ; 124)
ISBN 84-246-9524-0
Music – Musical instrument
This anthology of poems resounds with music, or: with sounds and noises produced by musical instruments. Beginning with the organ, the trumpet and accordeon and ending with the lyre, twenty instruments introduce themselves in short, rhymed self-presentations, which relate the characteristics and sounds of each instrument. This results in humorous and »human« or anthropomorphised portraits complemented by amusing anecdotes from the world of music. Miquel Desclot’s poems have a light, playful character. Rich in puns, ambiguities, tongue-twisters and onomatopoeias, this literary lyrical concert will inspire the reader to join in the art of rhyming. (8+)
(Premio Nacional de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil; 2002)

Spain (Catalan) - 2003 - 154
Mata, Jordi
Una altra guerra per a Ney
(Another war for Ney)
Barcelona : Ed. Cruïlla, 2002. 176 p.
(Gran Angular ; 125)
ISBN 84-661-0400-3
Napoleonic Wars – Ney, Michel – USA/1819 – Slavery – Liberty – Equality
South Carolina, 1819. In a small town, the school teacher Stuart Ney leads an unobtrusive and reclusive life. When he is forced to reveal his real identity – he is none other than Michel Ney, Duke of Elchingen, one of Napoleon’s marshals during the Russian Campaign – he is eyed and revered like an exotic creature. A severe conflict arises when Ney wants to educate a black slave and thereby confronts the laws of the state with the French ideals of Liberty and Equality. Masterfully interweaving historical facts and fiction, Mata gives an authentic panoramic view of the times and a compelling portrait of a fascinating personality, whose death in 1815 by shooting from a firing squad in Paris was time and again put into question. (13+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2004 - 145
Dalmases, Antoni (text)
Sesé (illus.)
Les cuques ballaruques
(The dancing fireflies)
Barcelona : Ed. Cruïlla, 2003. 60 p.
(El vaixell de vapor : Sèrie blanca ; 44)
ISBN 84-661-0641-3
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. [36] p.
ISBN 84-9708-928-6
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. [76] p.
ISBN 84-8131-465-x
(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])
ISBN 84-489-1382-5
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
Santos, Care
Ara o mai
(Now or never)
Barcelona : Empúries, 2003. 173 p.
(L’odissea ; 110)
ISBN 84-7596-600-4
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 (Catalan) - 2005 - 143
Gisbert, Montse (text/illus.)
Vergés, Elisenda (transl.)
Salvador Dalí, pinta’m un somni
(Salvador Dalí, paint a dream for me)
Barcelona : Serres, 2003. [44] p.
ISBN 84-8488-128-8
(Spanish ed.: Salvador Dalí, píntame und sueño) Dalí, Salvador – Art – Surrealism
To celebrate Salvador Dalí’s 100th birthday in 2004, various children’s books were published in Spain that introduce young readers to the life and work of the Catalan artist and famous representative of surrealism. One of the most original examples of these is this witty non-fiction book designed – quite appropriately – in collage technique. Montse Gisbert combines reproductions of Dalí’s works with old and new photographs and fixes all of them onto her own double-page colour illustrations. The vitality of the pictures is also mirrored in the informative text that is presented as a biography told by Dalí himself. (8+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2005 - 144
Hernàndez, Pau Joan
El mussol i la forca
(The owl and the gallows)
Barcelona : Edebé, 2004. 253 p.
(Periscopi ; 69)
ISBN 84-236-6955-6
Terrorism – Disabled person
A journalist and a police officer form a powerful team for solving a mysterious criminal case. When several people go missing and the graffito of an owl appears in the very places where these people were last seen, the two of them start their investigation and end up in the sewers below the metropolis of Barcelona. In there, they uncover the preparations for a terrible attack. The novel’s characters and places as well as the social and political setting for the plot are cleverly developed. Written in an easy-going style that contains plenty of dialogues and is ideal for young adults, this gripping, fast-paced detective novel quickly grabs the readers’ attention. (14+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2005 - 145
Pradas, Núria (text)
Mallo, Diego (illus.)
Una nit de Reis boja
(A crazy Epiphany’s night)
Barcelona : La Galera, 2004. 56 p.
(LaGalera grumets ; 170 : A partir de 7 anys)
ISBN 84-246-9580-1
The Three Kings – Christmas tradition
The Spanish tradition, unlike that of many other countries, claims that it’s the Three Kings who deliver the Christmas presents for the children on January 6. Tales about this ancient custom can be found in numerous children’s book, such as this funny narrative by the well-known Catalan author. Since the kings’ pages are extremely busy, they have to hire additional helpers who, unfortunately, are not quite up to the task at hand sometimes. Under such great pressure, it’s no wonder that a few things go wrong. This fast-paced, ironical version of a familiar tale is a great read, already suitable for beginning readers. (7+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2006 - 147
Carranza, Maite
El clan de la lloba
(The clan of the [she-]wolf)
Barcelona : Edebé, 2005. 382 p.
(La guerra de les bruixes; 1)
ISBN 84-236-7490-8
Magic Witch – Reality – Fantasy
This first part of the trilogy »La guerra des les bruixes« (The war of the witches) is a gripping novel successfully following in the fantasy genre, which is currently highly popular and promising. The author invents a realm full of magic, of fantasy images and ideas. The real world and the fantasy world, familiar locations and imaginary places, historical facts and para-historical myths are cleverly mixed to create an adventure well worth reading. The story, set in the present day, tells of the fight between two witch clans: the Omar, who have a close relationship with nature, and the powerful, immortal Odish. The numerous literary, historical, and geographical references make the novel all the more interesting. (14+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2006 - 148
Lienas, Gemma (text)
Luciani, Rebeca (illus.)
Busco una mare!
(I am looking for a mother!)
Barcelona : La Galera, 2005. [44] p.
ISBN 84-246-3433-0
Bolivia Poverty – Adoption – Mother – Child
A mother walks through La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, begging for food. She knows that she is too poor to care for her baby. To enable both of them to survive, she takes her child to an orphanage. At the same time, a family in Spain embarks on a journey to Bolivia to fetch this girl, whom they have adopted. Although the story ends positively, the readers are left with a feeling of sadness and bitterness not because of the adoption itself, but because of the circumstances that led to it. The double-page spreads of this picture book compare these two worlds, which are so different from each other and so far apart. Thanks to the quiet text and the vivid, graphic illustrations, which present an alienated reality, this picture book is neither overly emotional nor dramatic. (7+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2006 - 149
Tortajada, Anna (text)
Luciani, Rebeca (illus.)
A la muntanya de les ametistes
(On the Amethyst Mountain)
Barcelona : Ed. Barcanova, 2004. 81 p.
ISBN 84-489-1467-8
Human being Nature – Environmental protection
This book takes readers into a magical nature populated by real and imaginary creatures. They are all inhabitants of the Amethyst Mountain, which protects them and their world. A tree, a rock, and some animals and mythical creatures lament that the human being is not able to value, let alone protect nature. The story, full of symbols and philosophical questions, mainly addresses humankind, the Amethyst Mountain’s favourite child, and asks them to reflect upon their relationship with nature. The small black-and-white vignettes and the expressive double-page colour illustrations created by the Argentinian-born artist Rebecca Luciani perfectly complement the mysterious text full of images and written in a poetical language. (12+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2007 - 149
Canal, Eulàlia (text)
Ruano, Sara (illus.)
Un petó de mandarina
(A tangerine kiss)
Barcelona : Ed. Barcanova, 2006. 126 p.
(Sopa de llibres; 131)
ISBN 84-489-1960-2
First love – Friendship – War refugee – Interculturality
Tavi, the first-person narrator of this narrative, falls in love with his new classmate Vanina. The girl had to leave her home in a distant country because of a war raging there. One day, when she is able to return home, she simply disappears from the boy’s life. In between, a delicate friendship develops as they slowly get to know each other better. Both children learn what being in love feels like, but they also experience the negative emotions of insecurity, loss, and grief when saying goodbye. Imbedded in a school and friendship story that also touches upon intercultural topics, this book, written in an unobtrusive, poetical language, captures the children’s feelings and the magic of love in a natural way. (10+) ☆
(Premi Barcanova de Literatura Infantil i Juvenil; 2006)

Spain (Catalan) - 2007 - 150
Farré, Lluís (text)
Gusti (illus.)
»El nen gris«
(»The grey boy«)
Barcelona : La Galera [et al. ], 2006. [44] p.
ISBN 978-84-672-2204-3
Insensitivity – Outsider – Parents – Child
When Martí is born, he is neither prawn-pink like his father, nor grass-green like his mother, but simply grey – and not only on the outside. Imperturbable, as if under an impenetrable bell jar, the boy doesn’t take part in but rather watches his own life from the outside, showing neither joy, nor fear, nor any other emotion. One day, however, his shell starts to crack and the long-subdued feelings suddenly break free. Magnificent pictures illustrate this profound, slightly mysterious story. Astonishingly enough, they are brimming with power and energy. With an ingenious mixture of materials and techniques full of original ideas and forceful brush strokes, the illustrations serve as a tempestuous counterpoint to the initial monotony of the child’s emotion-free life. (6+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2007 - 151
Sierra i Fabra, Jordi (text)
Solà, Raquel (transl.)
Trucant a les portes del cel
Barcelona : Edebé, 2006. 286 p.
(Periscopi; 60)
ISBN 84-236-8149-1
(Spanish ed.: Llamando a las puertas del cielo)
India – NGO – Poverty – Wealth – Love
Against the will of her boyfriend and her parents, Silvia, a young medical student, travels to India to work in a hospital as volunteer during her holidays. Confronted with the social reality in a country so utterly foreign to her, the young woman soon becomes aware of the responsibility of every human being in a world that is growing closer and closer together. In a realistic style, the novel describes the personal tensions that Silvia experiences »between the two worlds«. At the same time, it offers a thorough insight into the work of nongovernmental organisations and their cross-border commitment. In this book, the multi-award-winning author again proves his talent for tackling topical issues and creating a skilfully written literary text that is interesting for young readers. (14+) ☆