White Ravens: Croatian

26 books      

Croatia (Croatian) - 1993 - 22 (1)
Balog, Zvonimir (text)
Kunc, Ninoslav (illus.)
Ljubav za početnike
(Love for Beginners)
Zagreb: Mladost, 1991. 173 p.
(Biblioteka vjeverica)
ISBN 86-05-00584-X
love - poetry - sexuality
Frank but perceptive, humorous and witty yet sensitive, Zvonimir Balog deals with the themes of love, awakening sexuality and various problems of puberty in the poems of the first title. - In the second book, he again takes up the subject of his volume which appeared in 1975: "Poems with Cream or The Forest Ranger has the Woods in His Hand" (Pjesme sa šlagorn ili Šumar ima šumu na Dlsanu): this time with even wittier and more original poems about 100 different professions. - Zvonimir Balog, for many years now the best Croatian children's book author who, despite being 60 years old, still belongs to the younger generation, received the children's book prize named after the Croatian children's book classic author Grigor Vitez (1911-1966) for these two works in 1991. (9+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 1993 - 22 (2)
Balog, Zvonimir (text)
Antolčić, Ivica (illus.)
Sto najzanimanja
(One Hundred Most- Professions. What I Will Be When I Grow Up)
Zagreb: Mladost, 1990. 123 p.
ISBN 86-05-00562-9
career - poetry
Frank but perceptive, humorous and witty yet sensitive, Zvonimir Balog deals with the themes of love, awakening sexuality and various problems of puberty in the poems of the first title. - In the second book, he again takes up the subject of his volume which appeared in 1975: "Poems with Cream or The Forest Ranger has the Woods in His Hand" (Pjesme sa šlagorn ili Šumar ima šumu na Dlsanu): this time with even wittier and more original poems about 100 different professions. - Zvonimir Balog, for many years now the best Croatian children's book author who, despite being 60 years old, still belongs to the younger generation, received the children's book prize named after the Croatian children's book classic author Grigor Vitez (1911-1966) for these two works in 1991. (9+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 1993 - 23
Brlić -Mažuranić, lvana (text)
Šutej, Miroslav (illus.)
Srce od licitara
(The Gingerbread Heart)
Zagreb: Mladost, 1990. 110 p.
(Biblioteka vjeverica)
ISBN 86-05-00521-1
Croatia - poetry
The first edition of this narrative and verse collection appeared in 1938 immediately after Brlić- Mažuranić's death; since then this collection along with most of her other works - with the exception of the stories of the shoemaker apprentice Clapitsch (Munich 1983) and her fairytales From the Times of Our Ancestors (Zagreb/ Graz 1984) - have not been published in socialist Yugoslavia, probably because of their bourgeois (yet deeply humanistic) basic attitude and undertone of religious practices. The stories and verses are lively and interesting. In a few of the poems the author even equals the niveau of her grandfather, the great Croatian poet Ivan Mužuranić (Smrt Smail Age Čengića). (5-12)

Special Mention - Croatia (Croatian) - 1993 - 24
Vrkić, Jozo (text)
Trebotić, Matko (illus.)
Bljeli svijet
(The Wide World)
Zagreb: Mladost, 1990. 141 p.
(Biblioteka vjeverica)
ISBN 86-05-00531-9
earthquake - Dalmatia - immigrant workers - Croatia - outsiders - family
A sophisticated, melancholic children's novel set against the backdrop of the earthquake in the Dalmatian mountain country at the beginning of the 1970s. Although somewhat overshadowed by the war going on in the country, the description of life under primitive conditions in the mountainous region, family worries, the problem of the children of emigrant workers who return to their country of origin and general social problems is still current. (9+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 1993 - 25
Glavašević, Siniša
Havranek, D. (photos)
Lišanin, M. (photos)
Mason, J. (photos)
Radauš, V. (photos)
Rakamarić, M. (photos)
Priče iz Vukovara
(Stories from Vukovar)
Zagreb: Matica Hrvatska, 1992. 77 p.
ISBN 86-7807-036-6
Croatia (20th century) - war - Vukovar
Shocking psychogram-like sketches by the young journalist Siniša Glavašević from the besieged northeast Croatian city of Vukovar, which has been fully destroyed in the meantime and in which all traces of the author disappear toward the end of 1991/the beginning of 1992. With several photographs of the Austro-Hungarian Baroque city of Vukovar, as it was, and many photographic documents about the aftermath of destruction and grief in this city. Emotive texts for young people and adults. (14+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 1994 - 23
Lača, Josip
Gospodar od Ključa
(The Lord of Ključ)
Zagreb: Znanje, 1990. 154 p.
ISBN 86-313-0188-4
Yugoslavia - Dalmatia/History < 1960-1969> - Holiday Adventure - Runaway
In this young adult novel, Josip Lača (*1946) takes the reader to his homeland, in the national park at the Krka waterfalls. Set in the early 1960s, a group of young boys with parental problems runaway from home in order to live in this region for a while as "Haiduks", as was quite common at that time. There they experience not only the most diverse adventures in connection with a church burglary and the filming of a Karl May film; the author also makes reference to the problems of socialist Yugoslavia and weaves in Croatian history of the Middle Ages when the boys decide to explore the fortress of Ključ. (10+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 1995 - 19
Balog, Zvonimir (text)
Janjić-Jobo, Ratko (cover illus.)
Male ljudetine
(Little big people)
Zagreb: Znanje, 1993. 47 p.
(hit junior 49)
ISBN 953-6124-14-9
Short story/Croatian - Wordplay
Zvonimir Balog is one of the best, most popular and versatile Croatian writers for children and young people. In his newest work he combines his narrative skills with a playfulness already familiar in his poetry. This witty and at the same time comical book begins with a very short story about a more or less idyllic childhood in the country which is abruptly interrupted by war. The story is then retold in about 60 national, social, grammatic and play-on- words variations. In the course of this the story changes in content and in style, achieving an unbelievable comic effect which can perhaps be best compared with John Lennon's "In His Own Write." (10+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 1996 - 213
Dovjak-Matkovié, Blanka (text)
Kirin, Vladimir (illus.)
Zagrebačka priča
(Stories from Zagreb)
Zagreb: Znanje, 1994. 139 p.
ISBN 953-6124-52-1
Zagreb/History/1920-1940 - Childhood memories
In this very autobiographical novel Blanka Dovjak- Matkovié (1920-1993) describes what it was like to grow up in Zagreb in the 1920s and 1930s. Without lengthy descriptive text, she is still able to convey the flavor of various parts of the city and their different ways of life. Although the author is more known for her short prose, she succeeds here in giving a convincing psychological study of the main characters. This is not a novel about an idyllic childhood, but rather an account of the life of a child with all its ups and downs. (10+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 1998 - 210
Macan, Darko (text)
Bartolič, Stjepan (illus.)
Knjige lažu!
(Books are liars)
Zagreb: Znanje, 1997. 119 p.
ISBN 953-6473-92-5
School - Everyday life - Nickname - Rivalry
This is the first children's book by Darko Macan (*1966), an author already known for his comics and science fiction novels. In this funny and authentic depiction of the everyday life of fifth grade pupils in Zagreb, he casts light on their relations with one another and the first boy-girl romances from the psychological and sociological perspective. Of particular interest and effectively depicted is a longer section about the feuds and fights within the class, through which Macan portrays the structures of hostility and their origins. (9+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 1998 - 211
Maleš, Dubravka (text)
Stričevič, Ivanka (text)
Macolič, Nevenka (illus.)
Čolič, Marko / Krčadinac, Željko (photos)
U Zagrebu jednog jutra
(One morning in Zagreb)
Zagreb: Školska knjiga, 1996. [40] p.
ISBN 953-0-00043-X
This book has a dual focus. On the one hand it is a picture book story about little Darko when he gets lost while shopping with his mother and sister at the Zagreb market. In this part of the book, one is enchanted by the successful combination of simple drawings of the protagonists and photos of their surroundings. The second part is an information book for children which presents the most important buildings and historical sites of Zagreb through text and illustrations - from the equestrian statue of King Tomislav (crowned in 925) to the zoo at Maksimir Park and to Cibona Tower next to the new basketball arena. (4+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 1998 - 212
Matičevič, Ivica (ed.)
Kirin, Vladimir (illus.)
Hrvatske bajke i basne
(Croatian Tales and Fables)
Zagreb: Alfa, 1997. 166 p.
Croatia/Tales - Croatia/Fables
This meticulously designed book opens with the fairy tales of the classic Croatian chidren's writer Ivana Bilié-Maźuvanié (1874-1938) and the social critic Vladimir Nazor (1876-1949), who both drawn upon folk writings and integrate Slavic myths into their tales. In addition, the book contains very interesting modern fairy tales by five contemporary Croatian authors and also fables, some original, some retold by Croatian writers dating from the 18th century to today. (7+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 1999 - 216
Gardaš, Anto (text)
Prstec, Željko (illus.)
Damjanovo jezero
(Damjan's lake)
Zagreb: Znaje, 1998. 159 p.
ISBN 953-6473-57-7
The writings of Croatia's popular children's and young adult author Anto Gardaš (*1938) contain both realistic and fantastic elements and the makes use of both myths and science fiction. In Croatia his thrilling children's adventure novels which deal with ecology and environmental protection are especially popular. In this book he tries his hand at folktales, drawing on the themes, style and psychological background of southern Slavic folktale traditions. Once again he succeeds in building up tension in the plot and lacing his text with a delicate irony. (9+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 1999 - 217
Marijanovič, Stanislav (text/illus.)
Kučna čudovišta. Ilustrirani priručnik
(A manual of house monsters)
Zagreb: Sipar, 1997. 34 p.
ISBN 953-6415-14-3
Monster - Everyday life
In this picture book by the internationally based publishing house Siphano the author and illustrator describes with dry humor the peculiar characteristics of those monster-like creatures which are responsible for the mishaps that occur in everyday life, such as Snifferufus, Instantania, Tantrumella, Dr. Misplace, Morgenpanik. The cheerfully bizarre pictures portrait shed light on the forms of misbehavior that make family difficult for both children and parents. (6+)
(Brit. ed.: Siphano Picture Books, 1998)

Croatia (Croatian) - 1999 - 218
Mihokovié-Kumrié, Nada (text)
Cukrov, Kristina (illus.)
(Meadow saffron)
Zagreb: Znanje, 1997. 155 p.
(Hit Junior ; 69 : Kolo 12)
ISBN 953-6473-91-7
Love - Lying - Illegitimate child - Rural life - City life
This engrossing and very literary young adult novel deals with love and the lies, both great and small, but above all with the way people deal with each other and often cause unhappiness for each other, often due to pride or for lack of self-esteem. The author (*1951) depicts rural and city life and makes charming use of dialect in the dialogues, not only to convey local color but also as a significant factor in the narrative structure. (12+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 2004 - 197
Majnarić, Željko (text)
Radoićić, Vjekoslav Vojo (illus.)
(The forest)
Rijeka : Adamić, 2002. 16 p.
ISBN 953-219-069-4
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. [36] p.
(Biblioteka oblak)
ISBN 953-6613-60-3
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)
ISBN 953-6613-49-2
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+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 2005 - 198
Kovačević Gjalski, Korana
Hlevnjak, Branka
Priđi bliže
(Come closer)
Zagreb : Kašmir Promet, 2003. 200 p.
(Biblioteka 20 14)
ISBN 953-6613-63-8
Fairy – Reality – Fantasy – Love
This multi-layered fantasy-detective-novel is based on the film script »Come closer« from 1998. Fairy X-enija is supposed to sit her final school exams. To pass them, she has to make a human being believe in her existence – ›easy‹, isn’t it? She chooses the young American Leonardo, who is visiting his cousins Darko and Marina, as her ›victim‹. Just like any fairy-tale hero, X-enija has to overcome obstacle after obstacle and solve a lot of mysteries. The film-script origins of this work are still palpable, for example in the prominent presence of dialogues. The book very convincingly conveys feelings, impressions, colours, music, and even smells to its readers. (14+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 2005 - 199
Lovrenčić, Sanja (text)
Vončina, Pika (illus.)
Bajka o Sigismundi i Krpimiru
(The tale of Sigismunda and Krpimir)
Zagreb : Autorska kuća, 2004. 41 p.
(Novi Snovi)
ISBN 953-99400-7-9
Princess – Love – Baker’s assistant – King – War – Fairy tale
The fairy tale of Sigismunda and Krpimir is a witty tale about a kingdom, the love between the king’s daughter and a baker’s assistant, and about two enemy kings who start a war. The message of this tale, which runs through the story like a thread (even if it is quite unobtrusive), is that it is pointless and stupid to try to solve conflicts with violence. The author plays with fairy tale motifs in a very dynamic and humorous way and thus creates an imaginative microcosm. The clear, cheerful gouache illustrations provide readers with an abundance of additional information. A parallel English edition of the book was published by the same publisher. (5+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 2005 - 200
Pongrašić, Zoran
41,5°C ili Kralj cijelog svijeta
(41.5° Celsius or : King of the whole world)
Zagreb : Autorska kuća, 2003. 362 p.
(Biblioteka Novi grafiti)
ISBN 953-99400-0-1
Boy – Parents – Journey – Everyday life
13-year-old Branimir, who – just like all adolescents – considers himself the king of the world, talks about his life in a very authentic teenage voice. Abruptly jumping from one idea to the next, the boy draws the readers into the story and hardly allows them to breathe. Branimir’s mother, who longs to become an astronaut, travels to the USA with the whole family and visits the NASA space station. Only Branimir has to stay home with his little brother who is ill with measles. This situation leads to various problems and conflicts with people »who think with their fists« among others. Naturally, the protagonist-cum-narrator also falls in love and then – to make matters worse – his sweetheart’s brother interferes. (12+) ☼

Croatia (Croatian) - 2006 - 198
Dedić, Arsen [et al.] (text/singing)
Junaković, Svjetlan (illus.)
Dječje oči
(Children’s eyes)
Samobor : Meridijani, 2004. 87 p. + 1 CD
(Biblioteka hrvatski pisci i umjetnici; 22)
ISBN 953-239-012-X
Children’s poetry Song
During the past few years, the highly popular Croatian songwriter Arsen Dedić has also earned some reputation as a poet. In this volume, he presents 49 of his own poems and songs as well as 12 works written by other authors, such as the modern classic Zvonimir Balog. The cheerful, thoughtful, and witty verses, often written from a child’s perspective, deal with happiness, love, animals, (animate and inanimate) nature, and seasonal customs. The author refutes common preconceptions about the world and tries to present it to his audience, young and old people alike, just as it is. The texts are accompanied by imaginative illustrations reminiscent of pictures by the famous English illustrator Ralph Steadman. (4+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 2006 - 199
Đokić Pongrašić, Ana (text)
Nemet, Sven (illus.)
Pitanja princa Alma
(Prince Almo’s questions)
Zagreb : Autorska Kuća, 2004. [28] p.
(Novi snovi)
ISBN 953-7199-00-2
Prince Question – Curiosity
Little prince Almo is a curious boy who is interested in everything around him and wants to know everything in detail. In his naive manner, typical for a child, he often asks truly intelligent questions that leave adults at a loss for words. Whereas his father, King Alonso IV, is very proud of his clever son, even if he cannot come up with any answers to the boy’s questions either, Almo’s mother, Queen Annabella, starts getting worried and wonders why her child is not like the other princes. Without being overtly didactical, this picture book is a plea for tolerance and openness towards other people because being unbiased may sometimes actually help prevent a catastrophe. (4+)

Special Mention - Croatia (Croatian) - 2006 - 200
Horvat, Jasna (text)
Vončina, Pika (illus.)
Alemperkina kazivanja
(Gemfeather’s sayings)
Zagreb : Naklada Ljevak, 2005. 87 p.
ISBN 953-178-666-6
Slavs Mythology
By employing the chatty bird Alemperka (Gemfeather), the companion of the highest Slavic god Svarog, as narrator, Jasna Horvat passes on ancient Croatian myths that are hardly familiar anymore except from some folk songs, sayings, proverbs, and folk customs. The allegoric- symbolic tales and legends mirror the old Slavs’ view of the world’s organisation. They describe the creation of the world and of the first human beings, talk about the sky and the underworld, about the world tree, kind or evil gods, fairies, ghosts, and giants. Through their combination of rhymes and rhythmic prose, the texts perfectly lend themselves to reading aloud and are clearly reminiscent of folk poetry. The appendix, which explains names and specific terms to the readers, is also very useful. The illustrations resemble bright panel paintings and thus underline the symbolic character of the tales. They help young readers grasp the content of the texts even more easily. (8+)

Special Mention - Croatia (Croatian) - 2006 - 201
Petrlik Huseinović, Andrea (text/illus.)
Moja obitelj
(My family)
Zagreb: Kašmir Promet, 2004. [20] p.
(Biblioteka list)
ISBN 953-6613-70-0
Child Family
In this picture book, five-year-old Luka introduces himself and his family to the readers: his sister, who feels superior simply because she is older than him, his mother and her difficulties in cooking, his father, who immediately realises when the children try to pull his leg, his grandfather, the retired captain, his grandmother, who tells him stories, and, last but not least, the family cat. For each family member, the boy presents a little tale and recalls some happy moments and some difficult ones that the three-generation-family shares. The illustrations rendered in bright tempera colours have a slightly naive touch to them, yet without being simplistic. They perfectly underline the story’s cheerful mood. (3+)

Croatia (Croatian) - 2007 - 197
Petrlik Huseinović, Andrea (text/illus.)
(The Little One)
Zagreb : Kašmir Promet, 2006. [28] p.
ISBN 953-6613-90-5
Otherness – Outsider – Hatred
A witch casts a spell on the inhabitants of Nowhere, so that they turn into a hateful and grumpy lot. The Little One who lives on the outskirts of the town is the only one to escape the spell. Filled with evil thoughts, the Nowherians now notice that the Little One is different and drive him away. He leaves the country and braves many adventures and tests until he finally finds a new home in a lighthouse. With the help of its bright beam, he plans to light other people the way. This picture book against envy, hatred, and malice encourages children to develop an understanding towards others and shows them the dire consequences that may arise from excluding people who are different. The illustrations in various shades of crimson and purple intensify the story’s melancholic mood. (4+) ☆

Croatia (Croatian) - 2007 - 198
Pongrašić, Zoran
Vidi majmuna!
(Look at that monkey!)
Zagreb : Autorska Kuća, 2005. 161 p.
(Novi grafiti)
ISBN 953-7199-06-1
Biracial person – Racism – Prejudice
This novel, written in a witty style and peppered with colloquial expressions and teenage jargon, focuses on Zvonimir, the son of a Kenyan vet and a Croatian doctor. When he moves from Nairobi to Zagreb, he faces severe problems because of his skin colour and the Europeans’ prejudice against Africans. By introducing his protagonist as first-person narrator, the author can freely deal with taboo topics associated with racial discrimination. Although Zvonimir handles his status as outsider in a laid-back manner, his classmates’ stupid questions provoke him to dish up loads of tall tales. Afterwards, of course, he has to face the music. True, the novel does not end happily ever after but at least Zvonimir manages to regain his self-confidence. (12+) ☆