White Ravens: Germany

365 books      

Germany (German) - 1993 - 82
Amberg, Dorothea (text)
Heuninck, Ronald (illus.)
Stan Bolovan zähmt den Drachen
(Stan Bolovan Tames the Dragon)
Stuttgart: Freies Geistesleben, 1992. [n.p.]
ISBN 3-7725-1140-6
dragon - weak/strong - cunning - battle - liveli- hood - family - childlessness - fairy tales - Romania - picture book
Transylvanian fairy tales rarely appear in Germany as single editions. This one, based on Ion Pop Reteganul's collection (Povesti Ardelenesti), communicates the irrefutable argument that whoever does not have enough physical strength to fight against someone stronger (perhaps even a dragon) should try to gain the victory by exercising cunning and intelligence. The farmer Stan Bolovan does just that: he not only lives to tell the tale but also brings home a lot of gold. - The emotions of the outwitted dragon are delightfully portrayed in the delicate, full-page pictures drawn with colored pencils. With their flowing transitions and atmosphere of harmony (despite the adventurous content), the illustrations remain within the anthroposophic tradition. (5+)

Germany (German) - 1993 - 83
Askenazy, Ludwig (text)
Petraškevics, Juris (illus.)
Der Schlittschuhkarpfen
(The Ice-Skating Carp)
Köln: Middelhauve, 1992. [n.p.]
ISBN 3-7876-9340-8
carp - ice skating - imaginative story/picture book
A charming nonsense story and entrancing pictures: A favorite book. How the avid ice-skating carp cuts artistic figures on the ice and, thus, may keep the skates which a small girl forgot on the frozen pond. Vivacious illustrations which extend beyond the edge of the page, not at all appropriate for children in the pedagogical sense (i.e. not explicitly simple), but quite suitable for the childlike need for the naive, unconditional, imaginative joy of life. (6+)

Germany (German) - 1993 - 84
Bofinger, Manfred (text/illus.)
Flossi und Fressi
(Flossie and Fressi)
Leipzig: Leiv, 1992. [n.p.]
ISBN 3-928885-19-7
friendship - cunning - large/small - comics - children's book
Flossi is a small shy sea lion (motto and resolution: "Act more modest than you are, be shrewd and on your guard. Whoever laughs last gains courage!"); Fressi is a large white bear ("Act much more important than you are since a rough shell camouflages the plush bear inside you!"). They are friends in the circus "Liev." The picture story tells how, despite all their love for one another, they make life difficult for each other by their bragging, cunning and sprite. - These circus comics, over which the German union flag waves, not without a deeper meaning, are characterized by clear colors and forms, page division in four ever-recurring rectangles. (5+)

Germany (German) - 1993 - 85
Chariot, Robert (text/illus.)
Max, der Verwandlungskünstler
(Max the Quick-Change Artist)
Neusäß: Beck, 1992. [n.p.]
ISBN 3-929014-00-9
transformation- identity - imaginative story - picture book
Giordano, Mario (text) blue. The large-print text could be exciting for children beginning to read, the pictures also for smaller children who could look at the book without their parents. The quality of the layout radiates peace and harmony. (4+)

Germany (German) - 1993 - 86
Erlbruch, Wolf (text/illus.)
Das Bärenwunder
(The Bear Miracle)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1992. 16 p.
ISBN 3-87294-493-2
propagation - sex education - bears - picture book
The big bear consults with a hare, a fish and a bird about how he can become a father. It is spring, and his mother has unfortunately only told him a story about a cloud where small bears live before they come into the world. This leaves him sad and feeling helpless - until a she-bear comes along who knows more about having children. The substantial animal radiates flawless situational comedy in his substantial child's helplessness in the face of the existential questions of life. An especially big adult, so to speak, who is also dependent on help: it is good for a child to know that such things can happen. - This bear is a worthy successor to the author's "little mole” - with a similar thirst for knowledge. (4+)

Germany (German) - 1993 - 87
Faerber, Regina
Der weite Horizont: vom Beginn einer Frauen-Hebe; für Mädchen und alle anderen
(The Wide Horizon: The Beginning of a Lesbian Relationship; for young women and everyone else)
Bad Homburg: Fiiedel, 1992. 185 p.
ISBN 3-927937-14-2
love - girls - women - partnership - lesbian relationship - young adults book
A highly interesting new configuration of this species of books for girls: it reports about this communal partnership of an adult woman and a young girl. However it is not one of those offending "problem" books, at least not in its tone and narrative force. It gives an account of love, its emerging and departing, the reactions of a positive or conditionally inclined environment - simply a love story which can claim the reader's interest. (16+)

Germany (German) - 1993 - 88
Giordano, Mario (text)
Wilharm, Sabine (illus.)
Die wilde Chartotta
(Wild Charlotte)
Berlin: Elefantenpress, 1992. 150 p.
ISBN 3-88520-428-2
Piracy - helpfulness-imaginative narrative - Children’s book
Wild Charlotte is a rather shabby sailing ship on which a handful of pirates undertake fantastic adventures for the welfare of humankind. Imaginative storytelling about the likewise wild but good-hearted pirates who end up with their ship in the under(sea)world and, although ruffled, still emerge victorious. Relaxing/exciting entertainment for younger and older readers. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1993 - 89
Hohler, Franz (text)
Berthold, Matthias (illus.)
Dr. Parkplatz
(<Proper name>)
Ravensburg: Maier, 1992. 63 p.
(RTB Kinder- litaratur)
ISBN 3-473-51830-1
doctor - advice - outsiders/community - suc- cess/envy - helpfulness - imagination - children's book
Dr. Parkplatz is a doctor - of linguistics. The people in the village erroneously think that he is a medical doctor, however. Before he has made sense of this connection, he has already helped many of his visitors by giving good advice. Naturally without demanding payment. Thus he raises the ire of the medical profession and is supposed to leave the city, particularly after quite inexplicable occurrences are observed in his vicinity. - The cabaret artist Hohler attacks the predicaments of foreigners and outsiders with verve and success in this unextravagant book. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1993 - 90
Jäckel, Karin
Sag keinern, wer dein Vater ist! Das Schicksal von Priestarkindern: Zeugnissa - Berichte - Fragen
(Don't Tell Anyone Who Your Father Is: Tha Fate of Priests' Children: Accounts - Reports - Questions)
Recklinghausen: Bitter, 1992. 253 p.
ISBN 3-7903-0460-3
celibacy - fatherhood - motherhood - father/child - single parents / nonfiction
A topic which has not yet been discussed in literature for children and young people: the dilemma of celibacy, sexual partnerships and the parenthood of priests is faithfully conveyed in the context of meticulous research. The picture of the male priest which emerges seems quite ambivalent and full of conflict. None escape unscathed, not the man himself nor his partner and certainly not their children who are exposed to subtle environmental censure. The young people concerned have the most trouble in dealing with their own guilt feelings (which are often handed down from their parents) - above all since they cannot expect outside help. The publication of these statements and reports is all the more important since these conflicts are still shrouded in public silence today, contingent on private psychotherapeutic service. (14+)

Germany (German) - 1993 - 91
Leer, Wim van (text)
Trier, Walter (illus.)
Richter, Hans-Michael (transl. from Dutch)
Dahne, Gerhard (epilogue)
Die Verzückung der Kurzschnabel-Berg-Amsel
(The Rapture of the Short-Beaked Mountain Blackbird)
Berlin: Aitberliner Verlag, 1992. [n.p.]
ISBN 3-357-00414-3
bird/children - imaginative story/picture book
The unique fate of this picture book justifies its appearance as a German translation in the White Ravens: the illustrator Walter Trier, who had to emigrate after 1933, is connected with the work of Erich Kästner and both with the International Youth Library. Author Wim van Leer, who also had to flee from the German national socialists, met Walter Trier while in England and wrote the little nonsense story about the funny blackbird especially for him. - The Altberliner Publishing House has now printed this book, which had never before appeared, thus offering an additional lovely mosaic tile in the work of Walter Trier, featuring his unmistakable hand- writing in a text other than that of Ench Kästner this time. (4+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1993 - 92
Klüger, Ruth
waiter leban. Eien Jugend
(Keep On Keeping On. A Youth)
Göttingen: Wallstein, 1993. 285 p.
ISBN 3-89244-036-0
biography - young adult's book. Jews - Austria/Germany (20th century) - concentration camps - National Socialism - auto biography - young adult's book.
Courage to be true to one's own unadorned memory and a genuine literary language distinguish this extraordinary autobiography. And these qualities cannot be taken for granted since the book deals with a childhood experience of the holocaust - an historic fact which today, due to the persistent and abundant public interest in the subject, can no longer be the private concern of an individual's memory - unless there are aspects to report which have not before been considered worth mentioning: an early youth in which the greatest mystery is death rather than love and sexuality, curiosity about death, the sense that people experience similar fates quite individually and that their wounds are therefore unpredictable and diverse. Also that poetry and literature must be taken literally in catastrophic situations, in case something of it should be true: aspects of survival which radiate a vitality in defiance of all the austere and negative conditions, survival which is to be understood as living. - Although not conceived as a book for young people, this account is highly superior to all other so-called problem books published about this topic and should be made internationally accessible to every interested young person. The author teaches in the German Department of an American university. She wrote the book in German. (16+)

Germany (German) - 1993 - 93
Pressler, Mirjam
Ich sehne mich so. Die Lebensgeschichte der Anne Frank
(I Yearn for So Much. Anne Frank’s Life Story)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1992. 152 p.
(Beltz Biographie))
ISBN 3-407-80722-8
Jews - Germany (20th century) - Holland World War II-Anne Frank - biography
Although Anne Frank's diary should be familiar to every young person today this biography fascinates the reader from the first page to the last. Drawing in part on the available sources, in part reading what is easily overlooked between the lines in the familiar texts, the author sketches the entire surroundings of the girl in her everyday life before and during the time of her hiding out in Amsterdam. Anne’s love for writing - her future career choice - is portrayed in an especially poignant manner. It is clear that her wish has been granted in the worldwide dissemination of her diaries. (12+)

Germany (German) - 1993 - 94
Rachowski, Utz
Biermann, Wolf (epilogue)
Die Stimmen des Summers
(The Voices of Summer)
Berlin: Oberbaum, 1992. 73 p.
ISBN 3-926409-70-3
Prague invasion (1968) - East Germany - civil courage - violence - prison - Berlin Wall - childhood - young adult's book
Contemporary history is presented in short nar-ratives. For instance, a scene from the Warsaw Pact troop invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968: tank columns on the way to the East German border intrude into a child's life. The brother attempts to delay the column by performing motor scooter stunts. - A juvenile delinquent and an East German prison are implied. - The Berlin Wall is built on a Sunday, August 13th - the day of the mother's birthday, when the family was going to go on an outing in the blueberry woods. Instead, that is the day the relatives leave East Germany forever. - The fact that the short texts do not structurally hang together hinders their easy consumption. This book could be appropriate for young adults. In 1991 the author received the Eduard Mörike Förderpreis. (16+)

Germany (German) - 1993 - 95
Serke, Jürgen
Die varbrannten Dichter. Lebensgeschichten und Dokumente
(The Burned Up Writers. Life Stories and Documents)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1992. 410 p.
(Epilogue by the author. Revised/expanded edition of the 1977 original.)
ISBN 3-407-80721-X
censure - literature - Germany (20th century) - book burning - exile - writers - young adult's book - nonfiction
The fact that the political persecution of authors and poets has remained a threat even among those living today has underscored the necessity of the historical discussion of this problem in the international sphere: a selection of the works and fates of authors forbidden by the national socialists are presented. Although some individual contributions to the volume have already been printed in magazines for the public, this re-print of the entire body deserves special attention in one particular aspect: the assessment and the divergent attention it was afforded in the previously socially, ideologically and politically divided Germany is documented here, thereby illuminating aspects of original research and literature reception contingent on different forms of state government and their ideological maxims. (16+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 98
Bedürftig, Friedemann (text)
Winter, Dieter (text)
Rieger, Birgit (illus.)
Das Politikbuch
(The Book of Politics)
Ravensburg: Maier, 1994. 160 p.
ISBN 3-473-35589-5
Politics - Government - Civil Courage
Who makes governmental policy? Where are the decisions made as to how public life (and, as a result, private life, too) is to function. Is the responsibility for everything exclusively in the hands of politicians? How and in what ways can an individual, even a child of a young person, become active politically? The systematically researched and clearly written information book for children and young people encourages to get involved in the public debates over their interests and helps them get an overall view of the system. It provides the requisite knowledge with precise information about the structure of government and communities in a democracy like the Federal Republic of Germany. Extensive address list in the appendix enable the reader to contact directly the regional and supraregional agencies responsible for the needs of children and youth. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 99
Boie, Kirsten (text)
Bauer, Jutta (illus.)
Juli, der Finder
(Juli, the Finder)
Weinheim: Beltz & Getherg, 1993. 16 p.
ISBN 3-407-79104-6
Independence - Way Home - Boy - Police
Juli is allowed for the first time to go home alone from kindergarten. He knows what he is supposed to do: cross the street only on green (he waits through several green lights, because he enjoys seeing large and small vehicles all stop for him), and not stop needlessly anywhere along the way. But what to do when he finds something he should take to the police, for instance, a shoe (old)? For he has to turn it in because someone might be missing it? The policeman follows the rules. He accepts the lost article. He takes Juli with his "Peter-car" (police car) home. Surely that has not happened to anyone else in kindergarten! A friendly text with an almost broodingly precise rendering of events and the elementary pleasure of little children over the experience of being independent, trustworthy and important. (5+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 100
Ende, Michael (text)
Oberdieck, Bernhard (illus.)
Der Teddy und die Tiere
(Teddy Bear and the Animals)
Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1993. 14 p.
ISBN 3-522-34138-3
Self-discovery - Meaning of Life - Adventure - Togetherness - Teddy Bear
Old Teddy Bear Washable wants to find out what his purpose in this world is (he no longer belongs to anyone). So he sets out and asks the animals. But they can only give him insufficient answers since they all keep themselves and their clan alive by searching for food and caring for their young. But Washable consists of fabric and sawdust, has no tasks and cannot do anything. He's just there. But why? A little girl knows the answer: "Will you be mine?" she asks. In this way, his Teddy Bear existence once again has a purpose. A story and a painted Teddy which uphold the wish to belong among younger children and help them to see their own (usually also "unnecessary" little selves) as valuable. The story has been set to music by Wilfried Hiller for theater performances. (4+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 101
Engelmann, Reiner (ed.)
Morgen kann es zu spät sein. Texte gegen Gewalt - für Toleranz.
(Tomorrow May Be Too Late. Texts Against Violence, for Tolernace)
Würzburg: Arena, 1993. 235 p.
ISBN 3-401-01766-7
Tolerance - Violence - Germany - Overseas - Anthology
Twenty-four writers from Germany (East and West) and other countries write about the situation of the Germans in Germany, foreigners in Germany, foreigners and Germans in Germany. There are feelings of insecurity on both sides, but the greater burden is borne by the foreigners. Speechlessness (which is not verbal, but rather psychological) makes the situation worse. The authors hope to encourage, even request, their readers not to let themselves be overwhelmed by the general mood of pessimism, but rather to stay alert and active against perpetrators of violence. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 102
Fuchshuber, Annegert (text/illus.)
Vogel Kachka
Ein Märchen aus Tadschikistan
(The Bird Kachka. A Tale from Tadzhikistan)
Ravensburg: Maier, 1993. 16 p.
ISBN 3-437-33477-4
Assistance - Poverty - Wealth - Ingratitude - Betrayal - Punishment - Bird - Fairy Tale/- Tadzhikistan
The bird Kachka is one of those who want to help good people in need. A poor old fisher receives a large fish every morning from the bird Kachka because he cannot catch anything himself any longer. The fisher and his wife soon grow fatter and richer - until one day the Padisha places a high reward on the bird's head. Then the fisher betrays his benefactor. But nothing good can come of that. Bird Kachka abducts the phalanx of bloodhounds on his trail to never-ever land in the endless skies. Annegert Fuchshuber's re-telling of this Tadzhik lale is a tribute to a wonder she remembers from her childhood when at the end of the Second World War the Russian officer Nikolai brought bread and sugar and told fairy tales. Possibly it is these early texts which influenced the visual imagery of the illustrator, which in its strong earthy tones links up to the western European ideas of Slavic-oriental tales (6+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 103
Giordano, Mario (text)
Witharm, Sahine (illus.)
Franz Ratte räumt auf
(Franz the Rat Cleans Up)
Berlin: Elefanten Press, 1993. 136 p.
(Elefanten-Press-Kinderbiicher, 477)
ISBN 3-88520-477-0
Boastfulness - Invention - Assistence - Love - Machismo - Animosity - Environment - Garbage - Dictatorship - Fantasy - Detective Story
The inhabitants of Lüchtenberg, the garbage dump of Lüchtenwald, live in a well-ordered social system. Everyone knows who his friends and enemies are, and in times of need there is a truce until the danger has passed. In particular (Dr.) Franz Rat and his assistant Miss Pimpenelle, the grey mouse, hold strictly to this rule. It makes no difference whether (Dr.) Rat's patients, such as Cat Nelson, number among their mortal enemies - everyone receives treatment. With caution, of course. Rat's hour of glory comes, however, when the meglomanic cock- roaches plan to destroy all the inhabitants of Lüchtenberg. Barrels of poison in vast numbers are being dumped on the hill. Clever, tricky, and with believable citizen's courage Franz Rat and Miss Pimpernelle succeed in saving their world. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 104
Große-Oetringhaus, Hans-Martin
Kinder haben Rechte - überall: Aktions- und Informationsbuch
(Children Have Rights - Everywhere: An Activity and Information Book / With photos)
Berlin: Elefanten Press, 1993. 143 p.
(Ein Terre-des-Hommes-Buch)
ISBN 3-88520-478-9
Human Rights/Children
The internal structure of this unsentimental, informative book is oriented around the twelve basic rights of man which are claimed in particular for children: the right to have one's own name, to equality, to food, to clothing and housing, to health, peace, education and cultural identity, to one's own opinion, to protection against exploitation, to social security. The rights of handicapped children and the right of protection as a refugee are treated in a separate chapter. The situation of children from around the world is presented in short texts, usually illustrated with photos. Suggestions for activities in one's own country are given which make it possible, on a small or larger scale, to do something, preferably with the help of schools and educators. One chapter reports on the widely unknown work of the children's parlaments in Germany and lists their addresses. Through their commitment these texts give hope to the idea that actions taken against the injustice which children experience throughout the whole world can be meaningful. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1994 - 105
Clemens, Ditte
Schweigen liber Lilo. Die Geschichte der Liselotte Herrmann
(The Silence Surrounding Lilo. The Story of Liselotte Herrmann)
Ravenshurg: Maier, 1993. 191 p. With photos
ISBN 3-473-35129-6
Herrmann, Liselotte/Biography - National Socialism - Resistance - Execution - GDR/- Archive - GDR/History
Liselolte Heirmann was executed by the National Socialists for treason and planning lo commit high treason already in 1937. She had been active in the Communist resistance. At the time of her death her son was three years old, she herself 28. In 1987, two years before the opening of the archives, Ditte Clemens, a citizen of the GDR, began to investigate the available sources - and after endless difficulties with the officials also the archival materials - about Liselotte Herrmann, who was considered a model case of a Communist resistance fighter. The official, i.e. "permissible" knowledge about Lilo was based on spotty sources and thus did not do her biography justice. Thus with this book an example of citizen's courage in the immediate present is unfolded for the reader. The desire and personal wish of the author to make history transparent, to set recognizable truth off from the declared cliches, gave her the courage to overstep them. In mutually complementary, alternating chapters, Ditte Clemens develops the archive material in question in a fascinating manner for the reader and at the same time reports on her own difficulties in the search for truth. It becomes evident - this is the merit of this book - what kind of historical falsification is necessary in a dictatorship of any color and that only the resistance of individuals can remedy it. (12+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 106
Härtling, Peter
Lena auf dem Dach
(Lena on the Roof)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1993. 132 p.
ISBN 3-407-79614-5
Divorce - Family - Argument
Lena and Lars try in their own way to do something about the more and more frequent arguments between their parents. Lena even climbs up onto the rooftop and threatens to jump off. Unfortunately, they have to accept the fact that neither their acts nor their sorrow change anything in this conflict, and that lawyers are not always the bad guys, but in some cases understanding people who are concerned as individuals and as lawyers about the "welfare of the children." This book about the breakup of a family shows that in a conflict both adults and children are on their own and can hardly or only insufficiently help each other. Without glossing over the difficulties, the author indicates that it is possible to cope with unexpected and painful new situations with outside help. The reader is spared a view of the future; instead the lively energy of the protagonists gives hope for a better one. (12+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 107
Hagemann, Marie
Schwarzer Wolf, Skin
(Black Wolf, Skin)
Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1993. 125 p.
ISBN 3-522-16839-9
Violence - Murder - Foreigner - Asylum Seeker - Skinhead - Family - Rightwing Extremism
Wolfgang Schwarzer actually feels quite good in his role as "Black Wolf" with the other skins. He ran into this group of like- minded, in thought and deed violence-oriented gang at the age of twelve. The "solution" to the asylum seeker problem in Germany provides them with a goal and direction: they are not concerned about human lives. When one member of the group stands up to the others and saves a foreigner child, he is beaten to death by the gang. Full of catch words but still impressive, the author (writing under a pseudonym) portrays in the protagonist all the inner problems, brutality and lack of orientation seen among young people who have turned to violence, including the vicious circle of their isolated life's circumstances at school, in the family, and in the community, which condemns them to speechlessness. Violence in the family is continued outside of it. Blamed is once again the generation of parents who, in turn, had not been able to free themselves of their past. In a political sense the boys are mostly fully ignorant, they seek to be part of a substitute family, they want to retreat into their den, which is stocked to the hilt with weapons hut also quite homey with refrigerator and bed. Right-wing ideas and ideology are disseminated and practiced by veterans of the Nazi dictatorship who want to raise the youth to be "right fellows", just as they once were. In its word rhythm the text conveys the staccato of rap - the music and life- style of a generation fixed on speed and volume. The readability of the text carries the danger that its content will not be seen as the negative world which it seeks to portray. (14+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 108
Heidelbach, Nikolaus (text/illus.)
Was machen die Mädchen?
(What do Girls Do?)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1993. 53 p.
ISBN 3-407-79100-3 .
Girl - ABC/German
Nikolaus Heidelbach's alphabet floats absolutely free in the realm of fantasy, only the names of the girls are alphabetic. Whether the scene involves a snake with human (children's) features or a thoroughly plausible happening such as the wish to read undisturbed, closer inspection shows that each portrait involves the dark side of the dear little ones. Irmgard sits reading in a stuffed wing chair on a carpet of racing rats, probably in order to disgust the adults. Patricia "keeps an eye on her brother" by twirling him like an airplane around her (near solid iron posts). Yvonne wants to watch television and keeps a knife and cleaver ready, just in case. Boys and feeble adults (fathers) make a poor showing, serving as mere show or as objects of female aggression. As in Heidelbach's past picture books, there is nothing child-like here. rather the opposite. In so far this could be an alphabet which teaches the grown-ups to feel the creeps. Some early interpersonal, but not yet verbalized experiences are presented here visually with subversive irony. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 109
Heinz, Heide (text/illus.)
Salzmann, Iris (text/illus.)
Ich schwörs bei meiner Pfote Alles wahre Tiergeschichten
(I Swear By My Paw. All True Animal Stories)
Recklinghausen: Bitter, 1993. 144 p.
ISBN 3-7903-0470-0
animal protection - animal shelters - man-animal -relationship - responsibility
Animals of most varied types who have found shelter on an estate with animal lovers introduce themselves. In spite of an often poeticized form, the texts tell of quite real and commonplace, happy and terrible animal fates which are taken seriously in these friendly surroundings - of grooming and comradeship, and of death and loss. The authors work full-time in creative professions and are actively committed to the cause of animals' rights to respect and protection. (7+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 110
Kehr, Karoline (text/illus.)
Ernst stand auf und August blieb liegen
(Ernst Got Up and August Stayed in Bed < Children's rhyme>)
Hildesheim: Gerstenberg, 1993. 14 p.
ISBN 3-8067-4684-2
Dream - Mailman – Punctuality
The mailman Ernst August is certified as the most punctual mailman in the world. But today Ernst gets into a dispute with August. Ernst gets up and August slays in bed when the alarm goes off at 5 a.m. Thus everything goes wrong on this day. Ernst falls off the bicycle, is bitten by a dog, and in his haste has forgotten to put on his uniform (or anything else). For all of these mishaps he naturally blames his alter ego August, who is lying at home in a warm bed. As Ernst is ready to confront August, Ernst August wakes up with a start. For the first time in his mailman existence he has overslept! A simple and humorous fable about the inner sleepyhead everyone knows. The illustrations; just as in the said morning rush, accidently smeared and corrected, but chrystal clear in their statement, with the necessary The mailman Ernst August is certified as the most punctual mailman in the world. But today Ernst gets into a dispute with August. Ernst gets up and August stays in bed when the alarm goes off at 5 a.m. Thus everything goes wrong on this day. Ernst falls off the bicycle, is bitten by a dog, and in his haste has forgotten to put on his uniform (or anything else). For all of these mishaps he naturally blames his alter ego August, who is lying at home in a warm bed. As Ernst is ready to confront August, Ernst August wakes up with a start. For the first time in his mailman existence he has overslept! A simple and humorous fable about the inner sleepyhead everyone knows. The illustrations; just as in the said morning rush, accidently smeared and corrected, but chrystal clear in their statement, with the necessary pinch of wink-eye. (6+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 111
Könner, Alfred (text)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Die Hochzeit des Pfaus
(The Peacock's Wedding)
Berlin: Altberliner Verlag, 1993. 12 p.
ISBN 3-357-00171-3
Banquet - Vanity - Trickery - Fable
The peacock issues invitations to the wedding of the century and everyone comes, in fancy dress, to celebrate with him. There is singing and dancing on the tables. True to his tricky nature, the fox offers his bushy tail as a wedding table - and disappears with the food and drink into his foxhole as soon as it is served, where he lives it up for a full week "and gave no one a crumb." Adapted from a Serbian tale, the text has been polished and interspersed with irony. Ensikat's graphic design for the text corresponds to the intent of the tale. Each illustration of this charmingly bestial show-off wedding party tempts the reader to enjoyable perusal thanks to the artist's mastership. The book's design enables all of the vain comrades of the wedding's host to be properly shown in the picture book world. (5+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 112
Maar, Paul (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
Neben mir ist noch Platz
(There's Still a Seat Next to Mine)
Lohr a. M.: modus vivendi, 1993. 16 p.
ISBN 3-927401-15-3
Asylum Seeker/Germany - Foreigner - Family/Germany/Libanon
Steffi makes friends with a girl from Lebanon named Aischa, after she unexpectedly helped her out in a predicament. Both girls learn from and about each other - the customs and rules of their respective cultures. And yet Steffi unknowingly offends her foreign friend seriously by inviting her to a birthday party without her brother as escort. And Steffi cannot understand why Aischa expected such an invitation or is injured. Because of the ignorance of both children, the friendship is nearly at a breaking point. Only when Aischa is about to return to Lebanon with her family because their temporary quarters are threatened by attacks and her brother is insulted and mistreated in Germany, just as in his homeland, does a reconciliation take place. Simple imagery in and for the text. This book could be used in classrooms to help examine the situation of children from abroad. (7+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 113
Merten, C.S. (text)
Greser, Achim (illus.)
Der unsichtbare Kanzier
(The Invisible Chancellor)
Berlin: Elefantenpress, 1993. 125 p.
(Elefanten-Press-Kinderbücher, 452)
ISBN 3-88520-452-5
Invisibility - Germany - Politics - Humor
Just before a major political event an important personality becomes invisible. Catastrophe threatens, the German reunification is endangered. Only with the help of a magic ring, which had once decided the order of succession in the House of the Hohenzol lern, could a solution perhaps be found. The ring is looked for. (Political) leisure reading about the state of the nation, for children and adults. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 114
Schwarzer, Anneliese
Grünberg lebt
(Grunberg lives)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1993. 272 p.
ISBN 3-87294-527-0
Nuclear Acchlent - Survival - Community - Nature
An unexplainable catastrophe has turned the whole earth into a death zone, with the exception of only a few elevated areas. The survivors must try to secure their living with the natural means at their disposal. Using the example of a village community, the author describes spellbindingly what is possible in this situation and how life can continue to function. The conciliatory conclusion is the discovery that in the seas living nature - at the micro-level - is developing anew and the dead areas becoming overgrown. A warning for everyone, and a thrilling book as well. (12+)

Germany (German) - 1994 - 115
Steinhach, Peter (text)
Knorr, Peter (illus.)
Der kleine Großvater
(The Little Grandfather)
Weinheim: Belz & Gelberg, 1993. 212 p.
ISBN 3-407-79607-2
Transformation - Body Size - Observation
Grandfather Karl-Gustav is given the surprising opportunity through a fantastic natural happening, lo be transformed into a mini- grandfather. When the twins Jenny and Johan pop in on him in the holidays, they have problems with their absent-minded or - seemingly - fully absent host, until they discover him in his disguise. And there are still more discoveries to be made by all children and adults who let themselves be transformed. How enormous a straaw is, or wonder of flight the living dragon-fly is! The author's intent stems from natural-ethical and religious ideas and aims at the abolition of structural violence. Fantasy, joie de vie, and the power of imagination on the part of the (by chance) large beings (people) for the little world all around them could help people to observe more closely and to respect and protect what is living. To let one's self be transformed from big to small could occur without any physical tricks of fantasy and help a person to empathize with the little ones. The particular merit of this text is its humor, which pokes fun at of the category body size. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1995 - 73
Abdel-Quadir, Ghazi (text)
Buresch, Bettina (illus.)
Das Blechkamel
(The tin camel)
München: Klopp, 1994. 110 p.
ISBN 3-7817-0109-3
Arabia/Tribal culture - Poverty - Technology - Community - City life
Samira is one of the Arab children who live in the tin-roofed hovels on the edge of a large city, near the garbage dumps. Hence the stories her grandmother tells about life years ago seems like a fairy tale. Their tribe had been affluent, there were camels, goats and chickens for them all. And although the children didn't go to school, when they grew up they knew how to get along in life, This was the way it was until the civil engineers watered the wasteland around the village, spreading artificial fertilizer and claiming ever greater portions of the harvest for themselves. Tribal disputes broke out among the neighbors, and the survivors were finally forced to move to the cities. That was how their impoverishment began. For all their greed, the members of the tribe had not listened to the warnings of the wise elders, but instead destroyed nature and hence their own life by the misguided use of technology. With tangible sadness, but without bitterness, the author tells a realistic story as a piece of fiction. The text also represents the possibility for acquainting children with socio-cultural aspects of life without writing a "problem book." (8+) ☆ ☼

Germany (German) - 1995 - 74
Andresen, Ute (text)
Herfurth, Egbert (illus.)
Alles hat einen Namen. Ein Wort-Schatz- Buch
(Everything has a name. A treasury of words)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Bunchverlag, 1994. 77 p.
ISBN 3-473-33463-4
This treasure chest-like book of words combines pictures, poetry and words (in three languages) in a masterly manner. The chapters begin with the smallest place (a box) and end with the universe, showing in each case what is contained therein: box, knapsack, suitcase, closet, room and finally infinite cosmic space. A short verse characterizes each new dimension, pictures show the items, words describe the picture (in German, English, and French). The result is a play-like, but very informative dictionary even suited for very small children, who are able to explore their immediate and not-so-immediate surroundings and find out the names and labels of things. (4+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1995 - 75
Belli, Gioconda (text)
Erlbnuch, Wolf (illus.)
Schwarzer, Anneliese (transl. from Spanish)
Die Werkstatt der Schmetterlinge
(The Workshop for Butterflies)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1994. 40 p.
ISBN 3-87294-607-2
Creation - Butterfly - Imagination
For the "maker of all things" there exists from the creative point of view certain limitations: the animal and plant kingdom must remain strictly separate from one another. There is no place for a "tree that sings like a bird...or.. a bird that lays apples instead of eggs...". And yet, young people in particular have their dreams. Rodolfo wants to invent a creature which "is like a bird and like a flower at once." In memory of his grandfather, the inventor of the rainbow, he composes the wings of this creature from grains of pollen and then gives it legs and a body with a long tongue so that it can feed itself from this pollen. He calls it Butterfly and invents butterflies for all regions of the world. Even the Wise Old One, a mother figure like those in the creation myths of primitive peoples, impressively appearing in a huge scarlet gown, is enchanted by this unexpected beauty. The young inventor is given permission to summon together a jury of all creators to decide about the necessity of a separate workshop for the butterflies. The story is fully of fantasy and intelligence, the text (which is not available in this form in Spanish) holds an exotic type of brilliance; and Eribruch's pictures are as fascinating as ever. Seriousness and caricatural humor intersect with one another also at the formal artistic level. Inspite of the naturalistic portrayal of figures and objects on the page, the artist sensitively and accurately conveys the atmosphere of the both tedious and pleasurably creative task of designing. The large-sized, prize-winning book deserves all the attention it will receive. (6+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1995 - 76
Boie, Kirsten
Erwachsene reden. Marco hat etwas getan
(Adults talk. Marco has taken action)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1994. 100 p.
ISBN 3-7891-3108-3
Right-wing radicalism - Society/Violence - Murder - Germany/Foreign residents
Friends and classmates, teachers, school principal, neighbors, social workers, pastor and mayor talk here about the "Marco case". Their comments range from "no comment" to wordy statements, more or less precise, more or less burdened with self-reflection and the question of adult guilt in regard to Marco's behavior. Marco killed two people, Turkish children. Those witnesses questioned name the places of other recent murders, such as Mölln and Solingen. Even Marco had spoken aloud about the possibility of a similar deed, but no one paid attention to him - as had been the case throughout his childhood. To achieve just that, namely to achieve recognition, he took action. There was also a group of youth in this small, unpossessing place, who wanted to distance themselves from the deeds of Mölln and Sollingen with a chain of lights. But when the asylum seekers arrive, problems between the local residents and the foreigners arise. Using a very adept narrative technique the author brings in all the usual arguments and pseudo-arguments about the issue of enmity toward foreigners. Based on an isolated incident, the social setting for the potential origins of misanthropic and xenophobic acts become better understandable. (12+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1995 - 77
Brandis, Sylvia (text)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Momme in Schweden. Die Dachsreise
(Momme in Sweden. The badger's journey)
Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1994. 88 p.
ISBN 3-499-20741-9
Sweden - Farm - Horse - Nature - Friendship
Momme travels with his mother to visit Gunnar on a remote farm in Sweden. There he finds Bellmann, the old horse with a hundred faces, just one cow in the barn and mysteriously feuding neighbors, with whom however a reconciliation is possible. An elk calf is separated from its mother and Momme decides he will never to shoot elk, but instead become a farmer. A badger gets caught in a trap and is rescued from a sure death. This sympathetic story presents a not quite ideal world - but also not a problem world - and its inhabitants. Much is only alluded to, much remains part of an undefined background, but the protagonists are clearly drawn. The imaginative fantasy of children and the real world of adults are united in a pleasant relationship) which all of them can accept. The publisher of this original paperback is to be congratulated for including the illustrations by Klaus Ensikat, which effortlessly include these widely differing worlds in his drawings. (5+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1995 - 78
Feth, Monika (text)
Boratyński, Antoni (illus.)
Der Schilderputzer
(The sign cleaner)
Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 3-491-37310-7
Work - Happiness - Education - Fame
Working in streets named Bach, Beethoven, Brecht or Kästner has unanticipated consequences for a street cleaner. He suddenly realizes that he knows nothing about the people whose names he is cleaning daily. At first he goes to concerts to hear their music, then to the public library to read their books. Soon he is singing and reciting while he works. An audience gathers around him and he is given a show on television. To make a long story short: the street sign cleaner turns down a post at the university and continues to his own work, holding lectures for his own and his listeners' pleasure. Antony Boratyńiski gives his protagonists realistic expressions but rather dream-like appearance, their faces are stereotypic but also lively. Two dimensional colors and distorted proportion, often out of perspective, correspond in a formal way to the substance of this sympathetic, but unfortunately hardly imaginable story about a happy person. (7+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1995 - 79
Grimm, Jacob (text)
Grimm, Wilhelm (text)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten
(The Bremen city musicians)
Berlin: Altberliner Verlag, 1994. 24 p.
ISBN 3-357-00766-5
Ingratitude - Man/Animal - Self-help - House/Occupation
One can happily report that Klaus Ensikat is no longer an insider's tip in the western states of Germany, having being recently awarded the "Lux" for lifetime achievement by Germany's leading weekly newspaper "Die Zeit." This fairy tale edition contains all the qualities which he is known for: technical meticulousness along with a wealth of imagination, oscillation between classical genre and landscape art and a simultaneous unbroken tendency toward biting caricatural diversity for the protagonists. The dynamicism of the scenes is captured in the borders of each spread, which for the most part contains both text and illustration. Italic font and scattered motifs of musical instruments form a harmonious unity, as is also true of the brown-green tones. This fairy tale picture book has no expiration date. (6+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1995 - 80
Heller, Eva (text/illus.)
Die wahre Geschichte von allen Farben
(The true story of all colors)
Oldenburg: Lappan, 1994. [52] p.
ISBN 3-89082-129-4
In the beginning was white. This is the beginning of the true story of all colors. White lets all the other colors glow and shine, and each individual color - red, blue, yellow - want to capture its place on white. In doing so, they come together and even mix with one another. To their great dismay they must accept that new members of the family thus arrive: orange, violet, brown and black. Each color has its own idiosyncrasies: red is loud, blue is gentle, violet is silent. Finally white, the sum of all colors, establishes order amidst all the fights over rank order and position. It invents the chromatic circle. Each is appointed an acceptable place between its neighboring relations. By giving the colours their own willfulness and character, the author creates a dynamic and structured tale for children who like to draw. (4+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1995 - 81
Hetmann, Frederik
Reise bis zum Ende der Welt. Aus dem Leben des Robert Louis Stevenson
(Journey to the end of the world. The life of Robert Louis Stevenson)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverlag, 1994. 281 p.
ISBN 3-473-35138-5
Stevenson, Robert Louis/Biography
Ever since childhood Robert Louis Stevenson suffered from tuberculosis. In this fictive biography he confesses his remedy against the disease to his stepson, the narrator: try to imagine a journey that one wants to make at all costs. In fact Stevenson did succeed in drawing out the deadly course of his illness until his 44th year through many changes of climate and location. In this biography Hetmann combines fictitious passages with original texts by Stevenson, including those from the lesser known homo politicus. The reader experiences the birth of the novel "Treasure Island" as a joint idea of Stevenson and his stepson. Both enjoyed combining their fantasies of adventure and observations of unusual contemporaries into a story which the adult writes while the youth spurs it onwards when it begins to slacken. Precise biographical research and detailed portrayals of Stevenson's places of residence endow the book with a convincing atmosphere. (10+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1995 - 82
Kordon, Klaus
Die Zeit ist kaputt. Die Lebensgeschichte des Erich Kästner
(Time out of order. The life story of Erich Kästner)
Weinheim: Beliz & Gelberg, 1994. 224 p.
ISBN 3-407-80729-5
Kästner, Erich/Biography
Thirty-seven years after the appearance of Kästner's famous autobiography "When I was a little boy" (German ed. 1957) Klaus Kordon puts the life of this writer into its cultural-historical context. He reflects on Kästner's writings using the current knowledge of personality psychology and doesn't stop short of chipping away a little at the Kästner monument. The political events of the first part of this century, which by now are thoroughly documented, are referred to in statements by those alive then and in photographs of Kästner's encounters with them. In a generally more rational tone than is usually expected of Kästner admirerers, Kordon makes a vehement case for a rediscovery of his socially critical works, which especially in Germany have been seriously neglected in favor of his children's books. Kästner is still highly regarded as an author of political texts in other countries. (14+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1995 - 83
Pressler, Mirjam
Wenn das Glück kommt, muß man ihm einen Stuhl hinstellen
(When happiness arrives, one should offer it a chair)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1994. 178 p.
ISBN 3-407-79648-X
Children's home/Everyday life - Diary - Feelings
Halinka comes from Poland. Her aunt Lou would be glad to adopt her, but isn't allowed to as long as she is unmarried. Halinka lives with her thoughts and dreams more outside than inside the children's home where it finds everything and everyone antagonistic. In her loneliness, she takes emotional comfort from writing in her secret book of thoughts (but no feelings, in case a stranger were to find it), where important sentences such as that of the title of this book. There are many little tricks used for survival in the everyday life of the children's home, including the art of not falling for the mean tricks of the other girls. But still there are positive moments, even with some adults, such as when a teacher silently ignores Halinka's misdeeds. Mirjam Pressler succeeds in letting the reader experience the child narrator's desperation, anger and maliciousness, her joy and happiness. (8+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1995 - 84
Schami, Rafik (text)
Eribruch, Wolf (illus.)
Das ist kein Papagei!
München: Hanser, 1994. 32 p.
ISBN 3-446-17748-5
Parrot - Family fight - Feminism
Let's get it right from the start: The parrot that Lina's parents thought was a he-bird is a she-bird. And she-birds never repeat what they are told to say. They fall asleep while you are talking. One could even consider them dumb or untalented. But not Lina. She got the picture right from the very beginning, but for all their fighting, her parents didn't hear her for a long time. After being unmasked and giving proof of her diligence - she claims to speak thirteen language fluently and understand twenty others - the she-bird is allowed to stay in the family. The text and illustrations of this lovely, caricatural story of a secret matriarchy fit together in ideal harmony. The illustrator fulfills all the subversive visual desires of the beholder. (5+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1995 - 85
Schins, Maric-Thérèse
Wagner, Stefan
Budweg, Peter
Vergitterte Jugend. Innenansichten aus dem Jugendknast
(Youth behind bars. Inside a juvenile detention center)
Recklinghausen: Bitter, 1994. 173 p.
ISBN 3-7903-0515-4
Youth/Criminal behavior - Prison/Youth - Writing
The author, translator, teacher and journalist Marie-Thérèse Schins and two students got involved with the inmates of a juvenile detention center in the hopes of furthering reading and writing skills. With this program she hoped to give even the functional illiterates there a sphere in which young criminals would be able to name and deal with their own difficulties. Some of those interviewed were even prepared to participate in the newly founded reading club in the center. Some, such as the co- author Wagner, a young gypsy, recognized writing as an opportunity to develop a feeling of inner freedom even in a non-free situation. In general the work with the inmates took place on a friendly level. The author contributes her own texts in this volume; the inmates began to interest themselves for their own life only after they had begun to write about their feelings and thoughts. (12+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1995 - 86
Schubiger, Jörg (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Als die Welt noch jung war
(When the world was still young)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 173 p.
ISBN 3-407-79653-6
Paradox - Humor
Absurd, mostly very short stories are contained in this extraordinary volume. Extraordinary both for their often sly, and even sassy content, and equally so for their eccentric illustrations which are scattered throughout the book either on full-sized pages in strong, but not glaring colors, or inserted as vignettes at the beginning of the chapter, or in black-white-and-ochre tones as a preface to some texts. The overall design (paper quality, typeface, binding, and dustjacket) is pleasing in its harmony. The 43 stories invite the reader to this or that discovery: beginning with Adam and Eva's paradise, ending with alternative life- styles of outsiders such as the "little giant" or the "slow one," and in between in chapters dedicated to things, animals, names, puzzles and magic. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1995 - 87
Tschinag, Galsan
Der blaue Himmel
(The blue heavens)
Frakfurt a. M.: Surkamp, 1994. 177 p. With glossary
ISBN 3-51840596-9
Tuva Autonomous Region - Nomads/Mongolia - Everyday life/Mongolia - Dog - Family life
A Tuvinian child - the Tuvinians are a Mongolian tribe - learns how to behave without actually being raised. At least that is how it used to be. The word "education" is not part of the Tuvinian language. Children learn the rules of behavior for specific situations as part of a group; everything else is learned by listening, observing, imitating and helping. The most important beings in the life and surroundings of the young narrator are his "grandmother," an unknown older woman who came once upon a time into the tent village. Ail, and stayed on because the child "chose" her and they no longer wanted to part, and the dog Arsylang, leader of the pack and their faithful companion, "my brother-instead-of- a-brother" as the author calls him. The climax and end of this narrator's childhood is a long hard winter which the little family barely manages to survive along with a very few of their herd. For the dog Arsylang the new period, with its technical possibilities, brings a fateful danger when he eats the poison that the father sets out for the maraurading predators. The boy threatens to succumb to his despair over his dog’s death and in a dramatic protest he turns to the highest Tuvanian healer, the Gük Deeri, the "blue heavens", who gives the book is double-meaninged title. The enormous force of the text lies in its long "inner wind," which challenges the imagination and con- veys the rhythm of tension and restfulness in the life of the Ail. The author of this autobiographical memoir, Galsan Tschinag, was born into a Tuvinian family of nomadic animal-herders in the Mongolian People's Repubulic in 1944. He studied German in East Germany between 1962 and 1968, and wrote this novel in German. In 1992 he was awarded the Adalbert von Chamisso Prize in Munich. (10+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1995 - 88
Tuckermann, Anja
(<Proper name>)
München: Klopp, 1994. 218 p.
ISBN 3-7817-2080-2
Germany/History 20th century - Sinti (Gypsy) - Racial persecution
When he entered school in 1938 Josef, called Muscha, was confronted with the Nazi contempt for human life and racial hysteria. Betrayed by his physical appearance, he is beaten up, teased, and finally taken away and sterilized by doctors. His parents are able to save him just before deportation and hide him for many long months in a lonely garden house. Only at the end of the war does he learn that he was a child of gypsies and had been taken in by a foster family. Muscha's story is told from the perspective of another school boy and the reader, as Muscha himself, is kept in the dark about the real grounds for his suffering until the end of the novel. Only in an epilogue does it become clear that the story of Muscha is absolutely authentic. (B.S.) (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1995 - 89
Waluszck, Christian (text)
Michl, Reinhard (illus.)
Die Reise zu den Brumm-Bell-Bergen
(The journey to the Growl-Bark Mountains)
München: Ellermann, 1994. 131 p.
ISBN 3-7707-3013-5
Freedom - Dancing bear - Dop - Cockaigne
Mischa the bear and Zapek the dog want to find the animals' Cockaigne, the land of milk and honey. They are hindered only by the chains which bind them to Happy Juran's caravan wagon. Though Zadek feels chained up, Mischa has forgotten what freedom is. Only as a bear cub could he run over meadows and rob beehives of honey, before Juran made him into a dancing bear. The two runaways make their dreams come true; now and then one sees them roaming happily through the woods. The text is pleasing on the one hand for its unsenti- mental portrayal of the sad lot of captive animals and still it offers the most splendid situational comedies which arise from man and animal trying to live together but having only a limited amount of mutual tolerance. Full-sized black-and-white pictures by Reinhard Michi contribute to this reading pleasure. (8+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1996 - 74
Chidolue, Dagmar
No Bahamas
(No Bahamas)
Hamburg: Dressler, 1995. 205 p.
ISBN 3-7915-0388-X
School holiday - Family - First love - Siblings
The thirteen-year-old twin sisters Annabel and Linda are both in love with Finn Rückert. But the whole touchy matter only gets off the ground when the Moll family takes their holiday at home. The neighbors are not supposed to notice that they haven't gone away (»no Bahamas«!) and playing hide-and-seek involves no little difficulty. This is a cheerful and slightly ironic story about the apparently so very taken-for-granted living conditions and expectations of people in West Europe. (12+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 75
Drude, Lothar (text)
Wittkamp, Franz (illus.)
Mauerblümchen und Schattenmonster
(Wallflower and Shadow-monsters)
Recklinghausen: Bitter, 1995. 64 p.
Argument - Neighbor - Wall - Reconciliation
It is the wish of the combative shadow-monsters, Morgler and Abenil, to let the wall of the soul between Ferdinand and Fridolin and the stone wall between their gardens grow higher and higher. When the hobo, Wall-flower, decides to take a nap on the little wall, he is able to take the role of a nonpartisan mediator. With the support of Wittkamp's illustrations, the author successfully portrays the wrongs of a groundless enmity and the satisfying reconciliation of the opposing parties. (6+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 76
Erlbruch, Wolf (text/illus.)
Frau Meier, die Amsel
(Mrs. Meier, the Blackbird)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 3-87294-644-7
Blackbird - Pet - Flying - Learning
Mr. and Mrs. Meier live a quiet and fairly uncomplicated life - until a blind baby blackbird lands in their pumpkin patch. Mrs. Meier raises it, feeding it worms and flies all day and night. The crowning moment of her efforts comes when the little bird learns to fly. Mrs. Meier must herself take to flight before the blackbird dares to try. Mr. Meier has never seen his wife so happy. Since Erlbruch's stories are not necessarily limited to earthly matters, the theme, tone and pictures of this book fit together exquisitely. (5+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 77
Erlbruch, Wolf (text/illus.)
Zehn grüne Heringe
(Ten Green Herrings)
München: Hanser, 1995. [24] p.
ISBN 3-446-18278-0
Herring - Children's poetry
In an unconventional and boisterous style Erlbruch re-writes and re-illustrates the poem »Ten Little Indians« as a totally nonsensical story about ten green herrings. In this version everything is possible and in the end they are ten again. This small-sized book, designed to be carried about anywhere by children and adults, to be told and looked at again and again, is pleasing in both word and picture. (4+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 78
Friedrichson, Sabine (text/illus.)
Der Glasball
(The Glass Ball)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 3-407-79155-0
England/Fairy tale - Fox - Girl
Loss and betrayal, lies and faithlessness with an uncertain ending are the stuff fairy tales are made of. Here a girl tries to get her glass ball back out of the fox's yard. Only by breaking a number of rules can she find her ball again. When she flees, the animals whom she meets during her flight promise not to betray her, but do so anyway as soon as the fox makes inquiries about her. The fox, the girl and the glass ball were never seen again. The repetitive style of this fairy-tale plot finds its visual counterpart in the regular spatial design of the pages. Thus the dynamics of the plot and the statics of the symbolism balance each other out. (6+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 79
Giordano, Mario (text)
Spohr, Heinz (illus.)
Drei vom Zirkus - I tre del circo
(Three from the Circus)
Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1995. 135 p.
ISBN 3-499-20786-9
Circus - Animal Trainer - Escape - Survival - Bilingual text
Thle Circus Malinka is in desparate straits. The animals are being tormented, their food is running out. The she-wolf, Aischa, the little pig, Ludwig, and the raven Kolja succeed in breaking out of their cages and finding a way to the mountains. Tonio, the son of the animal trainer, successfully pursues them in order to save them from being killed. The author describes the ordeal of the captive animals and their longing for freedom with considerable sympathy. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 80
Grimm, Brothers (text)
Heidelbach, Nikolaus (illus.)
(Fairy Tales)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 383 p.
ISBN 3-407-79684-6
Germany/Fairy tales/Anthology
This edition presents the works of Nikolaus Heidelbach. The satirical manner of the artist, as he supplements and interprets the content of the tales, occasionally offers new ways of looking at familar tales. Numerous full-paged illustration plates give this attractively designed, voluminous edition the character of a home treasury, ever ready to be leafed through, looked at and read aloud. (6+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 81
Härtling, Peter
(<Proper name>)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 129 p.
ISBN 3-407-79683-8
Sexual abuse/Suspicion - Friendship - Single mother
Jette is often left to her own devices. Thus she is pleased to have the friendship of two older gentlemen in the bookstore across the street who in turn encourage her love for literature. When the suspi- cion is raised that Jette is being sexually molested there, her magical (fairy tale) world is destroyed. She feels humiliated by suspicious adults who think they know everything. Full of insight, but avoiding sensationalism, the author writes about this volatile issue from an unusual point of view. (12+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 82
Heidenreich, Elke (text)
Buchholz, Quint (illus.)
Nero Corleone
(<Proper name>)
München: Hanser, 1995. 87 p.
ISBN 3-446-18344-2
Italy - Germany - Cat - Psychology - Leadership
Tomcat Nero, six weeks old, is the self-appointed boss of an Italian farmyard thanks to his lion-like bravery which verges on brazenness. He manages to travel to Germany with a family of animal-loving German tourists, to a cat's paradise, and even brings his little naive, blue-eyed, cross-eyed sister Rosa along, too. There he helps to populate his new neighborhood in Cologne with his favorite female friend »Little Kleist.« And at the end of his days he feels drawn again back to his farmyard. With unsentimental, laconic humor the author writes this glorious story of the macho-mafioso Nero the Lionhearted for all cat fans, young and old alike. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 83
Hentschel, Henky
Ramóns Bruder
(Ramón's Brother)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 193 p.
ISBN 3-407-80827-5
Carribean - Everyday life - Outsider - Brother - Color of skin
The inhabitants of the Carribean took the proud traditions of their peoples seriously as long as their own daily life was intact. For instance, evil spirits were made responsible for the light complexion of a baby's skin when an albino was born. This was the case for Ramón's brother, who must come to terms with his fate as an outsider. The reader discovers in an entertaining but stirring way through one Carribean family many essential facts about this people, whose values have not been able to survive within the Western civilization. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 84
Herfurtner, Rudolf
(Clam Child)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1995. 189 p.
ISBN 3-7891-3704-9
Ecology - Water - Mussels - Pearls - Folktale
A folktale, the ecological problems of today's world and the story of one girl's growing up are united in this novel by a fascinating plot. Margarete feels especially drawn toward the brook and its meadowlands. When the waste water of the new factory cause disease among the clams in the brook, she risks her life to prevent an ecological disaster. The author succeeds in portraying contemporary issues in their social and historical context in conjunction with the developments in the life of a young protagonist. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 85
Hohler, Franz (text)
Loosli, Arthur (illus.)
Tschipo in der Steinzeit
(Chipo in the Stone Age)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverlag, 1995. 190 p.
ISBN 3-473-34283-1
Dream - Reality - Time travel - Stone Age - Language
Chipo dreams that he lives in the Stone Age. Patiently and with much fantasy he tries to get to know the stone age men's a way of life, though it is very strange to him. In particular their language is incompatible with his own rich, modern-day vocabulary. Hence he turns to creating words by using (somewhat linguistic) techniques of onomatopieia to explain the advantages of cooking and the possibilities of modern technology to the cave men. This is a charming story full of wit and subtle connotations told in an easy-going, unconventional narrative style. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 86
Brum, Alexa (ed.)
Heuberger, Rachel et al. (ed.)
Ignatz, Bubis (preface)
Ich bin, was ich bin, ein Jude. Jüdische Kinder in Deutschland erzählen
(I am what I am, a Jew. Told by Jewish Children in Germany )
Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1995. 123 p.
ISBN 3-462-02430-2
Germany/Everyday life - Jew/Child - Children's writing
These short texts by Jewish children demonstrate that the current generation of six to eighteen-yearolds are very much aware of the problems of present-day situation and often reflect on them with ambivalent feelings. But their approach to life is marked above all by the wish to live an absolutely normal life within German society. Books of this type can be the beginning of a necessary opening of the general interest in Jewish matters. In an appendix further information about Jewish culture and history are included. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 87
Janosch (text/illus.)
Wie der Tiger zählen lernt
(How Tiger Learns to Count)
München: Mosaik, 1995. [40] p.
ISBN 3-576-10488-7
Counting - Humor - Irony
One of Janosch's black humor maxims about living is »whoever can count will never fail in life.« Hence little Tiger finds it necessary to learn to count. He counts his friends, but not his enemies (for it is an honor to be included in Tiger's count), and everything that creeps and flees. The reader can practice too, in memory of the nice days of counting with little Tiger. This is a heart-warming book whose best feature is the total absence of any pedagogical methodicism or »little steps.« (6+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 88
Johansen, Hanna (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Der Füsch
(The Fysh)
München: Hanser, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 3-446-17868-7
Fish - Secret - Imagination
A fysh is a fysh is a fysh (in »adultspeak«: fish). This is probably what Dodo thinks, after her birthday wish for such a fish was fulfilled. It can turn red and blue and multi-colors (when it wants to). It can run around the table with Dodo and Dodo can swim with it in the aquarium. They want to find out which is better, running or swimming. Naturally they do all this only in private, without any family audience. The text and illustrations hit the bull's-eye of the secret world of children and fyshes, just as one would expect from this author-illustrator team. (6+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 89
Kant, Uwe (text)
Deneke, Gesa (illus.)
Wer hat den Bären gesehen?
(Who Has Seen the Bear?)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 69 p.
ISBN 3-407-79669-2
Bear - Zoo - Escape
The bear has escaped from the zoo because the visitors claimed that bears belong in the forest. So he looks for the forest while his keeper looks for him. In general it is merely known that the bear possesses the ability to stand on his hands and on his head and to wiggle his ears. However, the author admits that he made up this bear. Uwe Kant gives younger children a funny story and quite incidentally a first introduction into the method and purpose of literary story-telling. (7+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 90
Kasparavičius, Kaspar (text/illus.)
Esslingen: Schreiber, 1995. [28] p.
ISBN 3-215-11907-2
Easter Egg - Nonsense
This unusual picture book is an incentive for an entertaining egg hunt and riddle solving at Eastertime and anytime, where ever eggs can be searched for and found: in the woods, on the catwalk, and even in egg paradise. The painter from Lithuania, who did this book especially for the German publisher, lets richly detailed, brilliantly colored pages tell his story. (4+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 91
Ludwig, Christa
Links neben Cori
(To the left of Cori)
Weinheim: Anrich, 1995. 156 p.
ISBN 3-89106-231-1
Sudden-Death-Syndrome - Bereavement - Twin - Friendship - Yugoslavia/Germany
Corinna, a German girl, and Seada, a Bosnian girl, have become friends. Each of them has had to deal with death. Seada's brother and her father died in the Yugoslavian civil war. Corinna's twin sister died as a baby. The author succeeds in vividly portraying the considerable differences in experience between the two children. Minor features of everyday life become important due to the different associations each makes. The reader learns how the two girls together succeed in getting over the catastrophic experiences of their childhoods. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 92
Merten, C.S.
Gestehen Sie, Dr. Thoma!
(Confess, Dr. Thoma!)
Berlin: Elefanten Press, 1994. 102 p.
ISBN 3-88520-506-8
Television - Cyberspace - School - Friendship - Doll
The introverted Robert and his very outgoing classmate Hürlimann fall in love at the same time with Mary, the new exchange student from the United States. But soon they make an unexpected discovery while trying to help an indisposed Mary and find themselves on the trail of a crime. With much humor, the author pokes fun at television reality, where virtual and genuine reality can hardly be distinguished from one another anymore. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 93
Obrecht, Bettina (text)
Meyer, Kerstin (illus.)
Jonas läßt sich scheiden
(Jonas Gets Divorced)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1995. 64 p.
ISBN 3-7891-0505-8
House-sharing - Family - Friendship - Role-switch
Jonas has two moms, two dads, five grannys and three grandpas, as well as several half-brothers and half-sisters because his parents are divorced and remarried. His friend Pablo and his mother, who is also separated from her husband, shares a flat with others. Jonas and Pablo decide to switch families on a trial basis, but this doesn't work out. Jonas comes to the realization that to get a divorce one must be an adult. A delightful reminiscence on the days of the student revolution generation, which only partly succeeded in finding new forms of family-style living. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 94
Pausewang, Gudrun
Die Verräterin
(The Traitor)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverlag, 1995. 190 p.
ISBN 3-473-35147-4
Germany/History 1939-1945 - Russian prisoner-of-war - Hiding - Betrayal
Anna aids a young Russian prisoner-of-war who has hidden on her parents farm. Yet she had given her word of honor to her brother that she would not do so. When the Russian army approaches, the soldiers take revenge for all the injustice suffered at the hands of Germans by randomly shooting down most of the village inhabitants. The young Russian is not there to save Anna's family. He had already been shot by her fanatic brother. The author succeeds in rendering an extreme situation in a impressive literary form. (12+)

Germany (German) - 1996 - 95
Rathenow, Lutz (text)
Bauer, Peter (illus.)
Floh Dickbauch
(Flea Fatgut)
Leipzig: LeiV, 1995. [48] p.
ISBN 3-928885-48-0
Usefulness - Animals - Fleas - Pigs
The flea Fatgut considers his existence meaningless and would like to turn into a useful animal. He tries to be a pig: puffs himself up, wallows in pink paint and puts on a cardboard snout. But when he discovers that the usefulness of a pig is calculated in pounds, he prefers to find a more intellectual occupation. He pricks anyone who picks on other people. To everyone's joy, these bad-tempered people become ready and willing to improve themselves. This is a parable about the role of material and spiritual values in life. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 96
Schär, Brigitte (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Das geht doch nicht!
(That Won't Work!)
München: Hanser, 1995. [24] p.
ISBN 3-446-18279-7
Christmas - Present - Secret - Terror - Education
The beloved youngest child of the family is making Christmas presents. No one can or wants to try to stop her, but they grow more and more amazed. It appears to be something gigantic. The family is already celebrating under the Christmas tree in the kitchen (there is not enough room anywhere else) when the beloved child finally reveals the secret. The family is given a ship, big enough for them all to fit into, and they immediately go off to the sea, even though the necessary demolition of the apartment house in order to get the ship to water is rather disturbing to some of them. This affectionate-ironical story about the situation of the youngest children, who are both gifted and pampered, and whose wishes are hard to refuse. The illustrations supplement the events of the plot in a very successful, chaotic manner. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 97
Schami, Rafik
Reise zwischen Nacht und Morgen
(Journey Between Night and Morning)
München: Hanser, 1995. 350p
ISBN 3-446-17864-3
Circus - Friendship - Love - Travel - Death
The great adventure for Circus Sarmani begins with an unexpected trip to the Orient. The director is trying to track down his family roots. He and his oriental friend become younger and younger the longer the journey lasts. This is a fantastic, but worldly novel written as a series of episodes from the mysterious world of the circus. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 98
Schneider, Karla
Die Reise in den Norden
(Journey to the North)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 396 p.
ISBN 3-407-76671-4
Skandinavia/1730 - Exploration - Androgyny
Isak Zettervall embarks on a botanical research journey in the 18th century to the still unexplored northern areas of Scandinavia, also entrusted with a secret political mission for the king. The progress of his journey is burdened by the unexpected arrival of an at first unwelcome young female accompaniment. Surprisingly it turns out that the success of the entire undertaking would be questionable without her assistance. The author gives a captivating account of the peoples and landscape of the far North. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 99
Tollmien, Cordula
Fürstin der Wissenschaft. Die Lebensgeschichte der Sofia Kowalewskaja
(Countess of Science. The Life of Sofia Kowalewskaja)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 190 p.
ISBN 3-407-80735-X
Russia/History 1850-1900 - Women/University - Mathematics
Sofia Kowalewskaja was one of the first women to become an university graduate. This information book describes her development from a protected childhood within the Russia haute bourgeoisie - which she herself described in her highly successful literary »Childhood Memories«- to her political activism and to her appointment as a mathematician at the University of Stockholm. With this example of the fate of an unusual woman, the reader is presented with a vivid segment of the history of political upheavals and the beginnings of women's liberation in Central Europe. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 100
Vahle, Frederik
Federico oder das Leben ist kein Hühnerspiel
(Federico or Life is No Chicken-game)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1995. 110 p.
ISBN 3-407-79690-0
Federico García Lorca/Biography - Outsider
The happy, sheltered childhood of the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca was a source of his poetry. Even younger children will be able to understand how literature and life influence one another with this short biography. As a young boy Lorca lived amidst the other children in his surroundings as a dreamy outsider. Up to his early death in the Spanish Civil War, writing poetry was an existential necessity in his life, which the author cautiously tracked down. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 101
Waluszek, Christian
(<Proper name>)
Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1995. 283 p.
ISBN 3-522-16893-3
Intelligence - Mentally handicapped - Circus Exhibitor - Murder - Psychiatry
Winifred is looking for his uncle. But his uncle has been murdered (to mention only the beginnings of this pleasureably told satire-detective story). Uncle Ludwig's well-preserved corpse is hidden in the horror house where Wilfried works. (Detectives will enjoy the wordplay »Toter Mann« standing for the corpse and the figure in the horror house). The story is settled to everyone's satisfaction and the bad guys get their just reward. With a black but not bitter humor, the author sketches the dark and lighter sides of humanity, much to the pleasure of the reader. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1996 - 102
Zweig, Stefanie
Nirgendwo in Afrika
(Nowhere in Africa)
München: Langen Müller, 1995. 383 p.
ISBN 3-7844-2560-7
Africa/Childhood - Cultural comparison - Jew/Persecution
A Jewish family flees from Germany to Africa in 1938. While the parents cannot adjust to life in a strange culture or to their status as »enemy refugees«, the preschool child Regina grows up to womanhood under circumstances full of sacrifices, but also full of love toward fellow man, for the landscape and the culture of Africa. At the end of the war the family returns to Germany, but now it is Regina who loses her beloved African home. This literary and extremely captivating text gives an authentic portrait of a child growing up in a foreign culture. (16+)

Germany (German) - 1997 - 79
Abraham, Peter
(Squeaky Henry)
München: Ellermann, 1996. 157 p.
ISBN 3-7707-3040-2
Second World War - Berlin/History 1945 - Evacuation - Pomerania - Escape - Death
Heinrich (Henry) is often teased by his classmates as »squeaky Henry«. When, in the winter of 1945, he makes a remark about listening to enemy radio stations, there seems to be such danger for the family that the father goes underground and Heinrich is sent away to Pomerania. He is still there when the war ends and they must flee from the Red Army across the ice of Frisches Haff on the Gulf of Danzig. Bombs are dropped on the refugees and terrible things happen. Though Heinrich survives and finds his father again, their family is destroyed; Heinrich grows up in an orphanage. Based on his own biography, the author vividly recalls the war and post-war years of fifty years ago. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1997 - 80
Ahl, Sigi (text/illus.)
(<Nonsense word>)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1996. [24] p.
ISBN 3-551-51475
Speech - Word play - Toilet training
»Papa«, calls little sister, »pepe« and points with horror at her little brother, who is standing up on the swing and making wee-wee. His bottom side is also in action? Papa has nothing better to do than stare in amazement. But his amazement is all the greater when little sister runs to Mama and is suddenly able to say, »Pepe knows how to swing properly!«. The witty words and illustrations describe this elementary family situation. (5+)

Germany (German) - 1997 - 81
Askenazy, Ludvik (text)
Wiesmüller, Dieter (illus.)
Das Wunderei
(The magical egg)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1996. [24] p.
ISBN 3-551-51528-X
Imagination - Egg - Miniature world - Game - Magic
On a highway bridge Robert finds an egg, »so blue that it takes your breath away«, which contains a little miniature world that opens up when one knocks on the shell. He succeeds in getting the miniature girl, Ninette, to come out of the egg into his world, but loses her again when the magical egg finally breaks. The beholder of this picture book is swept away into a world of nighttime spaces in which anything seems possible. (6+)

Germany (German) - 1997 - 82
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (text/illus.)
Das Abenteuer
(The adventure)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 3-407-79172-0
Cat - Dog - Fear - Play - Friendship - Adventure
A pleasurable, though entirely accidental encounter help to correct the long-standing misunderstanding between two neighbors. While at play the ball rolls from the cat house to the dog mansion and the attempt to get it back leads for the first time to an understanding between the two parties. And there is a chance for more. Together with her text, Berner's colorful pictures make for thoroughly entertaining reading. (5+)

Germany (German) - 1997 - 83
Boddin, Heidrun (text/illus.)
Verflixte Fliegen!
(Those darn flies!)
München: Middelhauve, 1996. [36] p.
ISBN 3-7876-9384-X
The joys and sorrows of being a fly are portrayed here for young children in short lyrics along with charming illustrations. Printed on brown packing paper, the bold colors of the fly family members achieve their fullest expression. (4+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 84
Dayre, Valérie (text)
Erlbruch, Wolf (illus.)
Honke, Gudrun (transl.)
Graeff, Max Christian (transl.)
Die Menschenfresserin
(The lady cannibal)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 3-87294-715-X
(French ed.: L' Ogresse en Pleurs. Toulouse: Éditions Milan, 1996)
Mother/Son - Cannibalism - Depth psychology - Love - Regret
As the crowning moment of her evil life, a woman plans to eat a child. Afterwards, she is shattered by her own deed, for she has eaten her own child. The »devouring mother« has surely never been depicted to such horrible extremity and with such aesthetic souvereignity before this picture book. The excellent German translation of the impressive, laconic text is both expounded upon and extended by Erlbruch's pictures, which leave wide berth for interpretation. Decorative elements such as the ever recurring, surrealistically strewn philodendra leaves or the child's sailor's suit allow an analysis, or perhaps a persiflage, of middleclass life. Just as the frontispiece of the book shows a young girl playing the German playground game »Heaven and Hell« (hopscotch), the story takes the reader down the long path of often unconscious human behavior. (14+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 85
Grote, Wilfrid (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
Adios, Emilio. Viel Glück, Emil Lück!
(Bye, Emilio. Good luck, Emil Luck!)
München: Kerle, 1996. 81 p.
ISBN 3-85303-129-3
Argentina/History 1920s/1930s - Emigration - Father - Homecoming
In the 1920s and 1930s the massive unemployment forces a brave family father to seek work overseas, in the oil fields of Argentina. From there he is able to provide his family at home in Gronau-an-der- Leine with the basic minimum needs. This fastpaced narrative revolves around his adventures and his often sly methods of getting by in a foreign land. Inventive, ironic illustrations round out this attractive little book, which will appeal to a wide age-range. (7+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 86
Heller, Eva (text)
Sowa, Michael (illus.)
Das unerwartete Geschenk vom Weihnachtsmann und von Frau Glück und Herrn Liebe
(The unexpected gift from Santa Claus, Lady Luck and Monsieur L'Amour)
Oldenburg: Lappan, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 3-89082-154-5
Christmas - Gift-giving - Surprise - Happiness
Good luck knows neither the time nor the day, that is the Christmas message of this cheerful story. In prosaic pictures, which give an ironic view of cosy, middle-class homelife, we witness how Santa Claus, Lady Luck and Monsieur L'Amour go to great extremes to pass along their surplus stock of dolls to little boys and girls. Then the computer notices that this present has been placed ten years too early in the sack, because of a technical error. Thus Antonia gets her doll Simonetta already now, unexpectedly und unplanned. Three cheers for the picture book computer. (7+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 87
Hensgen, Andrea
Dich habe ich in die Mitte der Welt gestellt
(I have placed you at the middle of the world)
München: Bertelsmann, 1996. 286 p.
ISBN 3-570-12389-8
Rite of passage - Identity - First love - Intellectual history
The members of a graduating class who participate in a project week on the theme of »the history of European thought« experience at the same time a chance to clarify their own ideas of themselves and their relationships with one another. Although the author takes this aspect very seriously, she also weaves into the narrative a considerable wealth of information about culture and important thinkers in central Europe. Yet throughout the novel, the protagonists remain vivid and interesting figures at the core of the narrative. (14+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 88
Holub, Josef (text)
Bonifaz und der Räuber Knapp
(Boniface and the Robber Knapp)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1996. 241 p.
ISBN 3-407-70696-X
Germany/History 1867 - Orphan - Adoption - Thief - Discrimination - Friendship - Village life - Emigration
The orphan Boniface is sent to live with his uncle, the village mayor, in the Wurttemberg village of Graab. Nearly killed along the way, he later learns that he had been rescued by Knapp, who is known in the village as a robber. Boniface is soon fast friends with Knapp's son Christian, but when the family is forced by the neighborhood gossips to emigrate overseas, they are separated. In a natural, sympathetic manner the author transports the reader into the world of the young protagonist. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 89
Jandl, Ernst (text)
Junge, Norman (illus.)
Immer höher
(Higher and higher)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 3-407-79178-X
This (relatively) large book with a (relatively) short text moves effortlessly from the microcosmos of the protagonist to the macrocosmos of the universe. But nothing is given an explanation, even when objects are imbued with animation. In a quite matter-of-fact manner the poet and illustrator expand to the maximum the horizons of experience using a minimum of means. Each page contains only those objects described in the line of text. Changes are shown in night-time blue, new situations in clear daylight. The continuity in the course of events shown in the sequence of illus-trations corresponds perfectly to the rhythm of the text. (5+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 90
Kahlert, Elke (text)
Glienke, Amelie (illus.)
Das Kinderkarussell
(The children's merry-go-round)
Reinbek: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, 1997. 123 p.
(rororo rotfuchs; 808)
ISBN 3-499-20808-3
Merry-go-round - Crime - Forgery - Detective story
Sophie and Fabian are concerned about their old merry-go-round because the dappled-grey horse is missing. So they scatter a little ash and decide to play detective. At last they get to the root of things, but not without taking some dangerous risks. A gang of forgers had been using the horse's body as a hiding place. With humour and subtle finesse the author shows what fun children have keeping little and big secrets - and how inventive they can be in trying to fool the adults. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 91
Kishon, Ephraim (text)
Kishon, Renana (illus.)
Ein Schnuller mit dem Namen Zezi
(A pacifier named Zezi)
München: Lentz, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 3-88010-412-3
Baby - Pacifier - Conflict - Trickery
In this book for both young and old, a subversive little baby learns how to keep its family and babysitters in non-stop action by hiding its one and only beloved pacifier and throwing a tantrum until it gets it. The pictures, with lift-up flaps for all sorts of po- tential hiding places, will delight playful youngsters. They are done by the »former baby«, now adult daughter of of the well-known adult author Kishon. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 92
Koch, Marianne (text)
Janssen, Susanne (illus.)
Die Abenteuer der kleinen Wolke
(The adventure of the little cloud)
München: Hanser, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 3-446-18485-6
Cloud - Flight - Adventure - Help
The little cloud makes its first long journey and finds lots to tell about the joys and dangers it has experienced. Although the pictures clearly reveal the influence of her master teacher, the alternative, more feminine style of this young illustrator give cause to follow her future development. (4+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 93
Krenzer, Rolf (text)
Mirtschin, Jutta (illus.)
Die Babuschka, Sascha und das Huhn Natascha
(The Babushka, Sasha and Natasha, the chicken)
Lahr: Kaufmann, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 3-7806-2375-7
Grandmother/Grandchild - Russia/Easter - Poverty - Charity/Giving
In this story about the joys of sharing and giving, Babuschka arranges for her grandchild Sascha to enjoy Easter by sharing their own Easter banquet meal with children even poorer than themselves. The festivities of a Russian Easter night are portrayed in this quiet, reflective and optimistic book. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 94
Kulot-Fritsch, Daniela (text/illus.)
Nasebohren ist schön
(Nose-picking is fun)
Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1996. 32 p.
ISBN 3-522-43227-4
Child-rearing - Social convention - Threat - Lies
The children of the elephant, mouse and frog families love to pick their noses. That's forbidden! cry the parents. Why? the children want to know. Disease! their elders tell them. But look there - the grandparents, who have almost nothing to do with child-rearing, do not feel obliged to act as role models - and pick their noses, too. This merry and colorful picture book extolls the passionate pleasures of pursuing one's needs and of forming subversive alliances between old and young against dry conventions. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 95
Lawitzky, Gerd
Kasper, König, Räuber
(Punch, King, Robber)
Berlin: Elefantenpress, 1996. 111 p.
ISBN 3-88520-594-7
Clothing - Role exchange - Confusion - Duty
For the most part, Punch, King and Robber are quite satisfied with their lives, though they find their jobs distasteful at times. One day each gets so angry that he casts off his official dress - joker cap, crown and pistol. Now, without their proper owners, these three objects cause the greatest amount of confusion when they land in the wrong hands and on the wrong heads. But in the end they all come to the conclusion that things work best when done by professionals. This is a humorously told parable about real life clothed in figures familiar to smaller children. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 96
Maar, Paul (text)
Bofinger, Manfred (illus.)
Der Buchstaben-Fresser
(The letter eater)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1996. 63 p.
ISBN 3-7891-0509-0
Letter - Reading - Name - Imagination - Wordplay
What makes »Tanne« turn into »Wanne«, or »Reis« turn into cold »Eis«? Naturally it is the work of the letter-eater, also known as letter-switcher. All this is fairly upsetting in the everyday life of Claudia and her parents, until they manage to trick him back into his (R)Ei(S) and carry it off to a deserted forest. Ever since then the woods have been filled with »Kuchen« (cakes) instead of »Buchen « (beech trees), which are eaten by »Elchen« (elks) instead of »Eichen« (oak trees). Only the way that objects change into words is not treated in this text. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 97
Maar, Paul (text)
Kasparavičius, Kestutis (illus.)
Lisas Reise
(Lisa's journey)
Esslingen: Schreiber, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 3-215-13020-3
Reality - Conformity - Constraint - Freedom - Dream
In her sleep, Lisa passes through a nightmare of strange and even antagonistic worlds filled with balls, corners, colors and headstands, until she finally reaches the land of feathers (her own bed), where she doesn't have to be round, or cornery, colorful or stand on her head. At the abstract level, even smaller beholders of this picture book will find sufficient imagery and text to understand the concept of (involuntary) conformity in a predefined situation and see ways of extracting themselves from unjustified constraint. (5+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 98
Michels, Tilde (text)
Bhend, Käthi (illus.)
Kleine Hasen werden groß
(Little rabbits grow up)
Würzburg: Arena, 1996. 92 p.
ISBN 3-401-07181-5
Rabbit - Hare - Family - Growing-up - Social differences
With amazement and a little displeasure, the children of the field rabbit family and the wild hare family discover certain differences between their kinfolk. They begin to have doubts about the customs and attributes of their families. Are big ears perhaps better than small ones? Isn't a cave more comfortable than a burrow in the ground? In the course of time all these questions seem to get answered themselves. And in the end the youngest generation moves on to start their own families. Accompanied and enhanced by naturalistic, richly detailed but imaginative pictrues, this book gives young readers not only a glimpse into the life of rabbits, but also guidance in finding one's way through different living conditions. (5+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 99
Mitgutsch, Ali (text/illus.)
Rudelius, Wolfgang (cover)
Zwiggel, der Zwerg
(Zwiggel, the dwarf)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1996. 112 p.
ISBN 3-407-79687-0
Dwarf - Adventure - Wordplay
Zwiggel, a dwarf child only 200 or 300 years old, takes a stroll through the world of human beings, where he discovers square little »living boxes«, that sometimes have shining holes, »adventure boxes«, where people experience adventures just by watching, »moving tin boxes« or »learning boxes« for the little people. Other things such as »Gembooi« (Gameboy) or »Woogmen« (Walkmen) seem to be inexplicable. But Evi, his little human girlfriend, gives him just the answers he needs. Leisurely, like any Zwiggel, he slowly sets out to experience this new environment - leaving plenty of time for the read-along beholder to sink into the story and see familiar things from a new, but not obviously adult point of view. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 100
Rudelius, Wolfgang
In einer anderen Welt
(In another world)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1996. 145 p.
ISBN 3-407-79736-2
Mental illness - Outsider - Friend - Garden - Violence
Uli, a latch-key child, becomes friends with the fascinating young man, Walder, who lives in the garden colony and tells stories that just cannot be true or makes up things with which he can communicate or conspire. He telephones with a cordless telephone, supposedly with his father in Africa. But he gets on the nerves of »normal« people, and when they won't let him put up a peace sculpture at Christmas, he goes crazy. His house and garden are destroyed and he disappears from Uli's life. This books gives an impressive view of the world of an mentally instable outsider, showing the differences in the way in which an unprejudiced adolescent and the stick-in-the-mud, philistine middle-class perceive him. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 101
Schlüter, Andreas
Die Rollschuhräuber
(The roller-skate thieves)
Berlin: Altberliner Verlag, 1996. 182 p.
ISBN 3-357-00790-8
Courier - Roller-skates - Crime - Gang - Talisman
The courier service »Rat's teeth« zips around Berlin on roller-skates or rollerblades in order to fulfill otherwise unaffordable wishes. The misunderstandings and difficulties set in when a gang of handbag-snatchers who look very much like the courier kids appear on the scene. With tricks and tempo the »good guys« set themselves off from the »bad guys« and lead to their downfall. With its first volume, this sprightly detective series is off to a good start. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 102
Siege, Nasrin
(<Proper name>)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1996. 147 p.
ISBN 3-407-79698-6
Germany - Foreigner - Muslim - Outsider - School - Friendship
When Shirin and her family move to Germany, she is one of the first Iranian children who has to adjust to a new life in a foreign land. She and her sisters experience all the difficulties of this situation - within the family, at school and in their free time. Her fellow pupils make her life so difficult, that she herself arranges to be enrolled in a different school. Things are further complicated by the fact that she is a Muslim, and her father very strictly religious. But finally she succeeds in feeling comfortable in her German surroundings, at the price, however, of no longer having a real homeland. This fascinating narrative is based on authentic experiences, written by an Iranian woman who has lived in Germany since her childhood and writes today in German. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 103
Stiemert, Elisabeth (text)
Kehr, Karoline (illus.)
Kinder, Krach und große Ohren
(Children, noise and big ears)
Hildesheim: Gerstenberg, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 3-8067-4175-1
Noise - Neighbors - Conflict
Family Upstairs and Mrs. Downstairs are at odds with each other because the Upstairs children make too much noise. But when the noise stops one day after so many complaints, Mrs. Downstairs falls ill with a case of »listening hypertrophy«, where her ears begin to grow boundlessly, always listening for the slightest sound from the floor above. Medical advice is now quite simply to hear noise from upstairs again. Her ears begin to shrink back to normal and things are peaceful again. Aside from this imaginative story, the book stands out for its lively, skilfully drawn and witty pictures. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 104
Wiencirz, Gerlinde (text)
Röckener, Andreas (illus.)
Eine Schlacht? Die könnt ihr haben!
(A battle! You're in for it!)
München: Bertelsmann, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 3-570-12371-5
King - War - Dictatorship - Peace - Work - Friendship
The lion, a bored despot, decides to make war with his neighbors. The soldiers are called up, but since the apple harvest is in full swing, the war games will have to wait. But waiting is boring, picking apples together is more fun. So a truce is reached and the lion is left all alone. Brilliant tones emphasize the optimistic tenor of the story. (4+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 105
Wolfsgruber, Linda (text/illus.)
Wolf oder Schaf - böse oder brav?
(Wolf or sheep - evil or good)
München: Kerle, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 3-85303-118-8
Disguise - Wolf - Sheep - Good/Evil
»Take care whom you trust« is the message of this visually and textually complex picture book for older children. One must learn to look very closely, listen very closely before deciding who to get involved with (sheep in wolf's clothing or wolf in sheep's clothing), and also to discover the hidden evil and the hidden goodness in other living creatures. When read in the company of an adult, children can learn important lessons about the ways of the world. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1998 - 74
Auer, Martin (text)
Luetke, Joachim (illus.)
Der dreckige Prinz
(The filthy prince)
Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1997. [28] p.
ISBN 3-522-43232-1
Cleanliness - Education - Identity - Personality change - Surveillance - Perfection
The Queen always insists that her son stay always immaculately clean. When the prince becomes king, he only dares to wallow in filth at night in his dreams. But during the day he proclaims that the entire kingdom is to be kept clean, and he enforces it strictly. This is a cautionary tale directed against perfectionism, in which children's dreams collide with the exaggerated demands of adults. The illustrations contain a wide range of techniques of style that manage to overrule one another, just as, analogously, children's desires are constantly being overruled by the forces surrounding them. (8+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1998 - 75
Bärsch, Thomas (text)
Ticha, Hans (illus.)
Der Streik der Buchstaben
(The alphabet goes on strike)
Leipzig: Faber & Faber, 1996. 62 p.
(Die Sisyphosse)
ISBN 3-928660-68-3
Letter <alphabet> - Strike - Orthography
The letters of the alphabet feel abused and make plans for a total strike. Suddenly there is not an E, G, T or P to be found anywhere. Not even in the minds of the people, who can no longer read or write anything. Chaos takes over. New auxiliary rules of spelling are established. But more and more letters disappear, and nothing works any longer.This is largely a humorous persiflage of the current wrangling over the introduction of new orthography rules in German-speaking countries. Black-and-white vignettes of letters try to give a proper picture. The book is one of the series »Die Sisyphosse« with a compact format and attractive book design. (8+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1998 - 76
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (text/illus.)
Hase Hase! Freundschaft auf acht Pfoten
(Hare Hare! Friendship on eight paws)
Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1997. 75 p.
(rororo Rotfuchs; 20866)
ISBN 3-499-20866-0
Family - Enemy - Play - Danger - Reconciliation - Friendship
Hare Hare and Hugo Dog are not allowed to play with one another. So they secretly participate in a running contest with all the other village (animal) children, but get caught in a sudden downpour and lose their way completely. Then when they save Marie Pig from the flood, they become the joint winners of the first prize - a pair of roller skates (for two). Now all their problems are solved - how and why to be friends. Simple, stunning colored pencil drawings in which yellow, blue and green dominate, printed on coarse paper, arouse the readers' interest in looking and turning one page after the other. (4+)

Germany (German) - 1998 - 77
Boie, Kirsten (text)
Bauer, Jutta (illus.)
Man darf mit dem Glück nicht drängelig sein
(One must not be too pushy with one's luck)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1997. 173 p.
ISBN 3-7891-3114-8
Divorce - School holidays - Travel - Step-children - Family
During their family vacation in Sweden, Linnea, the youngest of three children doesn't call her divorced father »Papa« but »Mr. Schulze«; after all, his presence on this vacation trip is not exactly voluntary. And then Friedrich, the son of his new girlfriend, also appears on the scene. On top of that they are about to get a half-sister or half-brother, although they think Papa already has enough children. But the positive side of all that chaos finally helps to win the day. This highly enjoyable book works against the neurotic tendencies in the children's coping with their current problems by use of much humor and wit. The graphic design exudes with a high-spirited holiday mood. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1998 - 78
Dische, Irene
Zwischen zwei Scheiben Glück
(Between two slices of happiness)
München: Hanser, 1997. 82 p.
ISBN 3-446-19080-5
Germany/History 1938-1945 - Persecution of the Jews - Hungary
Peter has spent the greater part of his childhood in Hungary with his grandfather, a strict elderly gentlemen, who is just the opposite of Laszlo, Peter's father, a diplomat on service in war-time Berlin. Only later does Peter discover that the letters he got regularly from his father were written by his grandfather, in order to conceal the death of his father. This enchanting book gives much space to joyful moments and to sad moments. It shows a child's attempts to look upon world events so as to make them fit into his own life. The author handles very complicated subjects seemingly without effort, often humorously, and tragic moments with a dash of gentle irony. (8+) ☆ ☼

Germany (German) - 1998 - 79
Enzensberger, Hans Magnus (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Der Zahlenteufel. Ein Kopfkissenbuch für alle, die Angst vor Mathematik haben
(The number devil. A pillow book for everyone who is afraid of mathematics)
München: Hanser, 1997. 263 p.
ISBN 3-446-18900-9
Dream - Mathemathics - Magic - Fun
One of Robert's mostly unpleasant dreams deals simply with numbers and the devil that goes with them. The reader will become increasingly engrossed in Robert's nightly adventures with numbers, especially on account of the elaborate color scheme used to liven up the rows of examples, the illustrations and resourcefulness of both Robert and the Number Devil. The first chapters will even be of interest to second graders; progress can continue then gradually, with the support of an interested adult. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1998 - 80
Fried, Amelie (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Hat Opa einen Anzug an?
(Does Grandpa have a suit on?)
München: Hanser, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 3-446-19076-7
Grandfather - Death - Bereavement - Language
A young boy experiences the death of his grandfather and his own emotions. The narrative focuses on the typical verbal responses of adults and the difficulties this causes for a young child. From the point of view of both aesthetics and content an impressive book, it nonetheless leaves some questions open. It is difficult to know whether the illustrations match the text from a child's point of view, and whether both text and pictures give an adequate representation of the feelings and experiences of a child taking leave of a deceased loved one. Will a child identify with this portrayal? The actual target readership may well be older than the three or four-year old protagonist. (12+)

Germany (German) - 1998 - 81
Geve, Thomas [pseudonym] (text)
Es gibt hier keine Kinder
(There are no children here)
Göttingen: Wallstein, 1997. 151 p.
ISBN 3-89244-220-7
Drawing - Auschwitz - Childhood memories
Thomas Geve was sent to Auschwitz at the age of thirteen and during the liberation of the camp by the U.S. Army in 1945 he prepared documentary sketches of everyday life at the concentration camp. Published here for the first time, these drawings give substance to the horrors and the desolateness in which the boy had been living for two endless years of captivity. The accompanying text in German, English and Hebrew should appeal to a wide audience and deserves the attention of anyone interested in human rights issues. (14+)

Germany (German) - 1998 - 82
Hacks, Peter (text)
Häntsch, Uwe (illus.)
Prinz Telemach und sein Lehrer Mentor
(Prince Telemachus and his teacher Mentor)
Berlin: Eulenspiegel Verlag, 1997. 124 p.
ISBN 3-359-00885-5
Homer - Odyssey - Telemachus - Didactics
Peter Hacks retells Homer's Odyssey for children. The pert young prince Telemachus seeks out a teacher who can teach him how to find his father, in order to bring Odysseus back to his rightful kingdom, now overrun with upstarts, and to his family. The masked goddess Minerva (gods are almighty, teachers are all-powerful, therefore teachers are gods?) takes up his offer and in the form of a very unconventional pedagogue by the name of Mentor she leads the prince to success and his father back home. With expertise and irony, in relative clauses and allusions, the Greek legend of gods and heroes is given a new meaning. With a brilliant, easy flowing style, and an irreverence toward the crusty old (humanistic) teachers and teaching methods, each sentence and chapter of this text makes for a true reading pleasure. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1998 - 83
Hänel, Wolfram
Giftiges Gold oder Großvaters Esel
(Poison gold or Grandfather's donkey)
Weinheim: Anrich, 1997. 160 p.
ISBN 3-80106-319-9
Ireland - Gold - Mining - Ecology - Tourism
Gold is discovered on a small island off the coast of Ireland. The island's inhabitants are able to prevent the exploitation of the mine, which would have led to the pollution of the sea with environmental poisons. The children of the island, who fear for the future of their home, play an important role. With trickery and the help of Grandfather's donkey, they succeed in averting the danger. With humor and a sense of place, the author describes how an unspoiled landscape is saved from being destroyed by profit-seekers. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1998 - 84
Heidelbach, Nikolaus (text/illus.)
Ein Buch für Bruno
(A book for Bruno)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 3-407-79194-1
Book - Adventure - Trickery - Reading - Friendship
Ulla Herz, an enthusiastic fan of books, falls in love with Bruno Würfel, a book-hater. Though he prefers things that go crack-bang-slam, one day she is cunning enough to get him to experience a book as an »event« in its own right. And he wants more. How the two of them start with the parental library and swing (wordlessly) on a bookmark from adventure to adventure, page after page, is another piece of Heidelbach creativity. Here he takes a stand on reading for fun, but one thoroughly devoid of pedagogical undertones. (6+) ☆ ☼

Germany (German) - 1998 - 85
Holub, Josef
Lausige Zeiten
(Lousy times)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1997. 244 p.
ISBN 3-407-79743-5
Bohemia - Germany/History 1938-1945 - School - Discipline - Humanity
A teenager in Bohemia during World War Two, Josef is sent to a teacher training institute whose basic tenents are unconditional obedience and discipline. The conflicts and skurmishes the young man experiences in this misanthropic institute, but also the positive encounters and experiences of those years make up the atmosphere of this weighty book. It bears witness to one man's mental resistance against active violence and structural force; a convincing testimony not only in a literary sense but by means of its wisdom and humanity. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1998 - 86
Jandl, Ernst (text)
Junge, Norman (illus.)
Fünfter sein
(To be fifth)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1997. [36] p.
ISBN 3-407-79105-X
Doctor - Waiting room - Children's poetry
The doctor's waiting room is filled with all kinds of busted characters: Penguin, Duck, Teddy and Tin Frog. The fifth patient, a little Pinocchio, is suffering from a broken nose. The door has to open and close four times before it is the last one's turn, along with Ernst Jandl, to say »morning doctor.« During the long wait, the injured reveal only minimal mimical changes in each of the nearly identical pictures - a perfect interpretation of the anxiety of each (small) patient in a doctor's waiting room. An artful, well-composed book designed for very close listening and looking. (4+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1998 - 87
Lewin, Waltraut
Jenseits des Meeres die Freiheit
(Beyond the sea of freedom)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverlag, 1997. 221 p.
(Ravensburger junge Reihe)
ISBN 3-473-35177-6
Spain/History 1492 - Persecution of the Jews - Escape - Seafaring - Christopher Columbus
In the aftermath of the pogroms against the Sephardhic Jews in Spain, the young Jewish girl, Esther, signs up incognito as a ship's boy with Christopher Columbus in 1492. Risking the double dangers of being discovered a Jew and a woman, Esther hopes to gain freedom in the New World as Columbus' page boy. But the terror and horrifying images of the pogrom continue to haunt her. The author relates the fascinating story of life in the cramped spaces of a sailing ship, the coarse camaraderie of the men, and the absolute hierarchical chain of power and command. (12+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1998 - 88
Lind, Hera (text)
Marcks, Marie (illus.)
Der Tag, an dem ich Papa war
(The day I was Papa)
Frankfurt (Main): Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, 1997. 131 p.
ISBN 3-596-85020-7
Father/Son - Role reversal
Fridolin and Papa change places for one day and manage to steer their respective worlds pretty far off course. Fridolin, in the shape of Papa, takes business partners to the playground and to McDonald's, while Papa, with Fridolin's appearance, goes to a café instead of to school. But the magic only lasts one day. Unconcerned with logic or realism, the author allows the reader to take subversive pleasure in the improbable father-and-son conspiracy. (8+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1998 - 89
Maar, Paul (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
Lesezauber. Eine Fibel mit Reimen und Geschichten
(Reading magic. A reader with rhymes and stories)
Berlin: Volk und Wissen, 1997. 115 p.
ISBN 3-06-100191-3
Alphabet - First reader - Children's poetry - Play
In a compendium of pictures, letters and first words, short poems, and longer texts the beginning reader is gradually introduced to the written word and reading matter in this most pleasurable beginning reader. Breaks for play are worked into the text. Using lots of humor and graphics, the authors also provide a basic stock of knowledge about everyday life in Germany and elsewhere. Visual citations from widely known picture books and children's books (including those of the author) produce a larger (literary) context for the young reader. All in all this is a »school book« for happy learning. (5+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1998 - 90
Meißner-Johannknecht, Doris (text)
Plöger, Juliane (illus.)
Die Geschichte vom Hasen
(The story of Hare)
Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1997. [28] p.
ISBN 3-491-37360-3
Hare - Everyday life - Stress - Relaxation - Identity
A hare who always feels unnerved, terrified and on the run from dangers takes stock of his life: he doesn't want to run, to flee and be constantly on guard any more, just to save his own fur. He stretches out all four legs and simply lies down in the warm sun for a nap. And in his head he hears the echos of the hunters' steps and the buzzing of their machines; and the warnings of his brothers and sisters. But there is one sound he had never heard before - the beating of his own heart. That is why he sticks to his decision - no more hectic. The search for identity is captured here in opulent, spacious summer colors. They find no clear limitations either through the edge of the page or one another, thus documenting Hare's totally new sense of life. (4+)

Germany (German) - 1998 - 91
Muggenthaler, Eva (text/illus.)
Der Schäfer Raul
(The shepherd Raul)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 3-87294-754-0
Shepherd - Identity - Country life - City life - Love
The shepherd Raul is vain. When he sets off for the city to get prettied up, his herd of sheep take offence and follow him. They create a nuisance in the city and become, so to speak, criminals. And they interfere with the shepherd's newly found happiness. Finally he flees with them back to the country - and finds that fortune has not deserted him. An endearing story in which both man and sheep win, is well told with picturesque illustrations and excellent typography. (6+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1998 - 92
Oeser, Wiebke (text/illus.)
Bertas Boote
(Berta's boats)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 3-87294-755-9
Play - Imagination - Drawing - Reality - Loneliness
A school girl experiences very lonely afternoons, seemingly alone in the world. She folds her drawings into paper boats and a big fish gobbles one up. When she catches it, the fish throws up all the junk it has found in the ocean. Then Berta sits at the computer until she falls in the hammock, dead tired. Finally she makes a painting of all the things she has experienced and sends it off in the bottle. The style of the drawings reflect the situation of a lonely child - filled with chaos and desolation. The pictures are done in sensitive lines, mostly wiggly, set against and on flat, colored backgrounds. The pages with text in even-sized block letters in one typeface on unicolor pages serve as an order-giving contrast. The tension thus created produces a harmonious whole. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1998 - 93
Partsch, Susanna
Haus der Kunst. Ein Gang durch die Kunstgeschichte von der Höhlenmalerei bis zum Graffiti
(The Art Gallery. A stroll through the history of art from cave paintings to graffiti)
München: Hanser, 1997. 367 p. With many illus.
ISBN 3-446-18885-1
Art history
This art book for children is based on the idea of filling up a ficticious museum with exponents from every epoch. This provides the young reader with a chronological overview, through arranged in different »rooms«, of the most important periods and their contexts. The author avoids the use of intimidating insider-jargon and speaks to the reader, without being ingratiating, at an immediate level, which encourages page-turning inspite of the wealth of material being covered. Historical and aesthetic background information is elucidated with the help of maps and explanatory notes. All art forms are covered here, thus giving this work a good chance of becoming a standard work for children interested in art. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1998 - 94
Pressler, Mirjam (text)
Krömer, Astrid (illus.)
Nora ist mal so, mal so
(Nora is sometimes so, and sometimes so)
Frankfurt (Main): Alibaba, 1996. [36] p.
ISBN 3-860-42-167-0
Sexual abuse - Secret - Friendship
The other children in her kindergarten group cannot understand why Nora reacts so very erratically. Often she sets herself apart from others without any recognizable reason. The problem behind this behavior is only hinted at in the text. With laudable caution the delicate topic of sexual abuse is approached here in text and pictures. Instead of overprotection as a guard against such threats, the book suggests childlike solidarity between the friends. In this manner, new direct dependency upon adults can be prevented. (5+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1998 - 95
Raith, Werner
(Traitor's child)
Berlin: Elefantenpress, 1997. 142 p.
ISBN 3-88520-625-0
Sicily - Mafia - Witness - Family - Escape - Identity
A Sicilian boy mistakenly believes that his disappeared father has been murdered by the Mafia. But instead his father has turned witness for the state. The lives of all the family members are now in danger and they must take on a new identity. The older brother still believes firmly on the laws and honor code of the Mafia and betrays his father; then he is nearly killed himself. The state prosecutor they have trusted becomes incriminated and commits suicide. This is an impressive treatment of a topic which has been largely ignored in children's literature up to now. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1998 - 96
Schami, Rafik
Märchen aus Malula
(Tales from Malula)
München: Hanser, 1997. 237 p.
ISBN 3-446-18954-8
Malula - Fairy tales
In a traditional Oriental manner, Rafik Schami weaves the traditional tales from his home village in Syria into a carpet of captivating incidents. He discovered an old edition of tales written in Aramic at the Heidelberg University Library - an unexpected stroke of luck. Many of the figures he found described there were known to him as old people in his village. The text acquires a particular intensity through this personal point of view. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1998 - 97
Schmidauer, Elisabeth (text)
Knappe, Joachim (illus.)
Als die Tiere den Zoo verließen
(When the animals left the zoo)
Esslingen: Esslinger, 1997. [28] p.
(Esslinger Atelier)
ISBN 3-480-20048-6
Zoo animals - Homeland - Freedom - Paradise
The old elephant came to the zoo very young, but its longing for its home has never gone away. In the night of a shooting star that makes dreams come true, the chains fall from its legs and the bar doors open of their own accord. The animals of the zoo follow the elephant into freedom. The next morning all the cages are empty. Only two children have observed the animals leaving the town, but no one believes them. Everyone is convinced there has been a crime. Nighttime colors enhance this poetic story. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1998 - 98
Schubiger, Jürg (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Mutter, Vater, ich und sie
(Mother, Father, me and her)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1997. 106 p.
ISBN 3-407-79748-6
Siblings - Family - Language - Everyday life
This is the tale of a boy who tries to come to terms with his life in his family and especially his relationship with his younger sister with the help of words. For him, language always has a literal, direct meaning. Thus he makes quite surprising discoveries about the world, such as: »The weather today has more than one R - weatherr, weatherrrr. It is raining from every direction.« This is not a matter of spelling, but an example of precise observation. This makes for a gripping reading experience, given most delightful variation by Berner's pictures and vignettes. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1998 - 99
Weiss, Ruth (text)
Janssen, Susanne (illus.)
Sascha und die neun alten Männer. Das Fest der Lichter. Zwei Erzählungen
(Sascha and the nine old men. The festival of lights. Two tales)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1997. 120 p.
ISBN 3-87294-744-3
Russia - Jews - Prayer - Religious holiday - Christ
The old men of Yevka, near Odessa, are no longer able to celebrate Minyan, the Jewish worship service with all the sacred rites, because they lack the necessary tenth believer. Little Sascha, a future detective who is curious about all the secrets surrounding him, leads his father's British business partner into the synagoge. As he is also Jewish, the congregation finds its tenth man. In an impressive narrative, the author, herself Jewish, depicts the old atmosphere of an East European shtetl from the naive perspective of a modern non-Jewish child. (8+) ☆ ☼

Germany (German) - 1999 - 75
Auer, Martin (text)
Kulot-Frisch, Daniela (illus.)
Die Erbsenprinzessin. Die Geschichte von der Prinzessin auf der Erbse nach Hans Christian Andersen ganz frei nacherzählt, aufs Zehnfache aufgeblasen und mit vielen Versen versehen, dazu um die Geschichte des treuen Dieners Truffaldino bereichert
(The Princess and the Pea)
Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1998. 121 p.
(Thienemanns fliegender Teppich)
ISBN 3-522-17187-X
Princess - Servant - Social inequality
Accompanied by his faithful servant, an eligible bachelor prince goes off in search of a bride. But as he is not all too clever, the servant Truffaldino must amend many royal blunders (not all girls are princesses!). Thus they return home without a fiancée. But soon she is standing, unsummoned, at the door - pitch wet and cranky. And just as in Hans Christian Andersen's original tale, she notices the pea under the mattress, and the wedding follows. Yet there is nothing even slightly proper or royal to this version, as uncouth as a Punch and Judy show, making it all the more enchanting. (6+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1999 - 76
Bauer, Jutta (text/illus.)
Königin der Farben
(Queen of colors)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1998. 64 p.
ISBN 3-407-79221-2
Colors - Argument - Reconciliation
The queen of colors is the ruler of red, blue and yellow, but she cannot prevent them from getting into fights with one another. When this happens, the world doesn't become more colorful, but rather all too brown and grey. The queen is so upset and troubled that she begins to cry colored tears, until red, blue and yellow re-emerge from the grey of the world. The artist's colored pencil technique and sensitive stroke give this small-sized book an air of vivaciousness and optimism. (4+)

Germany (German) - 1999 - 77
Boie, Kirsten
Krisensommer mit Ur-Otto
(Summer of crisis with great-Otto)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1998. 129 p.
ISBN 3-7891-3122-9
Youth group - School holiday - Old age - Inheritance
Hanna and her brother and her girl-friend Carina are having a boring summer holiday until »Ur-Otto«, Mother's great-grandfather, takes up residence with them after a stay at the hospital. Ur-Otto is a master at the art of living and brings lots of excitement into the life of the whole family with his sayings and songs. Even the media get involved. And Mother's natural foods store begins to do great business on his account. But when all the enthusiasm begins to wane, Ur-Otto has still another surprise up his sleeve. A thoroughly enjoyable book about a hale and hearty (outwardly) old man who nevertheless can change the »don't care« attitude of the teenage generation. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1999 - 78
Büchner, Barbara (text)
Boratyński, Antoni (illus.)
Die sieben Vogelscheuchen
(The seven scarecrows)
Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1998. [30] p.
ISBN 3-491-37398-0
Scarecrow - Deterrence - Friendliness - Compromise - Ecological balance
A farmer rises up in arms because the birds have lost all respect for the old scarecrow. So he gives it a steel helmet and skull and bones. The bird deterrence is a complete success - but the caterpillars eat the whole field bare. There is no bird in sight to prevent them. The farmer must call a retreat and grant his feathered companions their share of the harvest grain. Boratyński presents the friendly scarecrow and the drastic horror figures in convincing opulence. (6+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1999 - 79
Dierks, Martina
Tilla von Mont Klamott
(Tilla of Mount Klamott)
Berlin: Altberliner Verlag, 1998. 320 p.
ISBN 3-357-00830-0
Berlin/History 1950-1990 - Growing up/Girl
In post-war East Berlin a young girl is being brought up by her grandparents. (Later her parents, who work in West Berlin, will leave East Germany illegally with their daughter). Although lacking in chocolate bars, chewing gum and similar miracles, this is a healthy childhood embedded in an emotionally and socially sound framework of relationships. The important things are the lesser and greater events of everyday life, the friends, grandparents, while the state authorities play only a marginal role. This is a story with no ideological bone to pick but full of local color. It is an intensive and literary childhood memoir which even seems to enjoy holding up a mirror to today's satiated world. (14+)

Germany (German) - 1999 - 80
Dörrie, Doris (text)
Kaergel, Julia (illus.)
Lotte will Prinzessin sein
(Lotte would like to be a princess)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 3-473-33936-9
Clothing - Everyday life - Party
One morning Lotte doesn't want to do what Mother wants - despite her threatened temper tantrum. And Lotte doesn't want to put on the blue skirt and red pullover, she wants to wear the yellow princess dress. And Mother should dress up as a princess, too (a red evening dress with jewels - to go to work?). Lotte wins: soon both the little and the big princess leave the house in haste, but not without their crowns. And it isn't even carnival season. »Cool dress,« says Mother's girlfriend at the office. Both text and illustrations of this first children's book by the wellknown German filmmaker attack the drab monotony of mothers' and daughters' daily routines. (4+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1999 - 81
Ensikat, Peter (text)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Das A steht vorn im Alphabet
(A is at the beginning of the alphabet)
Leipzig: LeiV, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 3-89603-024-8
Alphabet - Poetry/German
This ABC picture book offers both young and old a not easily won, but lasting pleasure for the eye and the mind. In fact, in this case the alphabet is only a pretext to create a lovely book, not a didactic tool for younger children. In partly encoded and riddle-like verses the author takes aim at the secret (orthographic) life of each letter, as well as elaborate highflown pedantry. The wealth of illustrative matter expands and illuminates in a charmingly encoded manner the linguistic and world view of the illustrator Klaus Ensikat. (10+)

Germany (German) - 1999 - 82
Enzensberger, Hans Magnus
Wo warst du, Robert?
(Where have you been, Robert?)
München: Hanser, 1998. 276 p.
ISBN 3-446-19447-9
Picture - Time travel - History
Robert can disappear into a certain picture just by staring at it. In this way he unexpectedly sets off on a journey backwards through several hundred years of the world's history, starting in Russia in the year 1956, then back to the Thirty Years War and finally to an artist's studio in Amsterdam in the 17th century. As the artist's apprentice he discovers the possiblity of painting himself back to his own time. Curiously, no one at home even noticed his absence. Hans Magnus Enzensberger's depiction of the boy's experiences is a plea for critical reflection on contemporary and historical times. (12+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1999 - 83
Fährmann, Willi
Unter der Asche die Glut
(Fire under the ashes)
Würzburg: Arena, 1997. 629 p.
ISBN 3-401-04776-0
Germany/History 1933 - Emigration
Christian Fink has big plans for his life - he wants to become a master tilemaker. But Germany is in a period of upheaval. Things begin to happen in his life in a quite ordinary, unspectacular way that later occur on an enormous scale in social and political life. More and more of his friends run to join the Hitler Youth, whose slogans and activities Christian finds revolting. And so he decides to emigrate and begin his life all over again. The author depicts a detailed picture of German history between the two world wars. (12+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1999 - 84
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (text)
Erlbruch, Wolf (illus.)
Das Hexeneinmaleins
(The witch's one-time-one)
München: Hanser, 1998. [34] p.
ISBN 3-446-18863-0
Numbers - Paradox - Poetry
For all his Faustian hunger for knowledge, man reveals himself here as a weak and easily confused being - aping and yellow-bellied, money-hungry and violent. Fleeing foolishly from the Grim Reaper, he clambers about on the roller coaster of life. That is the essence and the visualized result of the Goethe-Erlbruchian calculation in this picture book. Erlbruch renders here a free interpretation of the absurd and playful text. He paints, cuts and pastes collages in free association, offering both young and old a firework of vivid and profound fantasy. (10+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1999 - 85
Hagemann, Bernhard (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Charlie, du Blindekuh!
(Charlie, you blindman's buff!)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger, 1998. 42 p.
(Der blaue Rabe: Allererster Lesespaß)
ISBN 3-473-34090-1
Birthday party - Hide-and-seek - Getting lost - Humor
The game of Blindman's Bluff is part of every birthday party. Now it is Charlie's turn to be the blindman. When all the other children are settled down for the birthday cake, the poor child is still searching for someone to take over from him. Without realizing it, he wanders off down the street and gets completely lost, until the little dog of one of the other party guests brings him back. Charlie kept on searching patiently and never learns what a roundabout way he has travelled. This simple, yet striking story is told with much humor in text and slightly caricaturist pictures. (4+)

Germany (German) - 1999 - 86
Heidenreich, Elke (text)
Buchholz, Quint (illus.)
Am Südpol, denkt man, ist es heiß
(It is hot, one expects, at the South Pole)
München: Hanser, 1998. 63 p.
ISBN 3-446-19443-6
Antarctic - Penguin - Opera performance - Satire
The penguins of the South Pole, who wear tuxedos by nature, are predestined to experience a gala performance. For lack of any other audiences, the famous Three Tenors have set out on an Antarctic Tour and present the enthusiastic birds Verdi's »La Traviata« - with Luciano Pavarotti in the leading female role. This absurd story is told »with a pokerface « by Elke Heidenreich in fabulous verse form. In his calm, yet profound illustrations Quint Buchholz does not conceal that the prima donna has, for a change, a beard. Yet the penguins find the performance just as enchanting as the readers of the entire book. (8+) ☼

Germany (German) - 1999 - 87
Hensgen, Andrea
Das blaue Sofa. Von der Kunst, erwachsen zu werden
(The blue sofa. The art of growing up)
München: Bertelsmann, 1998. 346 p.
ISBN 3-570-12336-7
Growing up - Role model - Old/Young
Modelled on Goethe's novel »Wilhelm Meister«, the author describes how a sixteen-year old boy grows into a man. When his grandparents' wealth becomes scattered after their death, he finds himself able to talk with the old man who lives in the house across the way, whom he learns to call his master, about existential questions. This is a grippingly told story that takes its time and builds up atmosphere, portraying the doubts and conflicts of youth without any all too quick and easy solutions. (14+)

Germany (German) - 1999 - 88
Heuck, Sigrid (text)
Kunstreich, Pieter (illus.)
Wo geht's nach Dublin?
(Will you show me the way to Dublin?)
Hamburg: Dressler, 1998. 135 p.
ISBN 3-7915-0837-7
Ireland - Vagabonds - Domesticity - Freedom - Animals
Ireland' government wants to see the last vagabonds settle down. But the O'Connells love their life in a covered wagon and the children don't want to give up the big pony Pinky and the little black-and-white dog for a pitful existence in the crowded social settlements of Dublin. So the two oldest children run away one night with their animals. And what a surprise! Inspite of the intervention of police and social worker, the story ends happily on the farm of old Tim Malloy. The law is satisfied and everyone has something to gain. The joys and trials of the vagabonds and their drive for independence, both inward and outward, is told with much affection and humor. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1999 - 89
Hirsch, Ludwig (text)
Hoffmann, Carl (illus.)
Der Turm
(The tower)
Würzburg: Echter, 1998. [40] p.
ISBN 3-429-02000-X
Punishment - Loneliness - Tower - Understanding
A young boy is locked up in a dark room as punishment for misbehaving. He takes flight by dreaming that he could live together with all the children of the world in a tower. When his confinement is over the boy tells all his friends, including a young girl named Hildi, about his dream. As a result each of them plans to learn a different profession: architect, clay shingles, draftsman, and stone mason. Together they make plans to build the tower. Large illustrations show many lonely children who have vivid hopes for mutual understanding and a common future. (8+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1999 - 90
Holub, Josef
Juksch Jonas und der Sommer in Holundria
(Juksch Jonas and the summer in Holundria)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1998. 221 p.
ISBN 3-407-79784-2
Moving house - Weekend house - School holiday - First love
Jakob (nicknamed Juksch) Jonas narrates the results of one year in his life - beginning with the move to a new, unknown city where he tries unsuccessfully to find friends. Soon his father rents a weekend house that needs to undergo complete renovation - as a joint project for the whole family. It has no electricity, water only from a well, and all around nothing but nature. They spend Christmas at the cottage, completely snowed in and cut off from the outside world until their neighbors shovel them out. Jakob finds a friend, a boy named Uli who later turns out to be a girl. These childhood memories are related with feeling, understanding and much imagination. (8+)

Germany (German) - 1999 - 91
Janssen, Susanne (text/illus.)
Madame Butterflys Klavierstunde
(Madame Butterfly's piano lesson)
München: Hanser, 1998. [28] p.
ISBN 3-446-19158-5
Teacher - Piano lessons - Imagination - Childhood memories
Madame Butterfly is a most unusual piano teacher. In every room, in every corner of the house she has a piano and one often hears quite different music coming from all the rooms at the same time. Her pupils enjoy the atmosphere but especially their teacher, in her plum colored housecoat, who teachs them with charisma and patience, even when they have not practiced enough. Once a year they all travel together to Paris on a concert tour. In large-sized illustrations with unusual perspectives this picture book sings praises of the unconventional, music-filled life of a beloved, unforgotten teacher. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 92
Johansen, Hanna (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Bist du schon wach?
(Are you awake?)
München: Hanser, 1998. 23, [9] p.
ISBN 3-446-19323-5
Waking up - Grandmother - Questions - Reading aloud
Dodo is the first in her family to wake up. It's Sunday. She doesn't know what to do first. Quietly she goes to her parents and asks each of them »Are you awake?« No, they answer softly. Too bad. But Grandmother says, »Yes. I never sleep.« She reads Dodo a story about a little girl who wakes up early one morning. In this story it is the mother who asks »Are you still sleeping?« »Yes,« answers Dodo. »Why do you ask? I know! Because you like to ask questions. « This is a game with language and talking, bound up in a story that imaginatively interweaves the worlds of experience and of telling, thus offering many subjects for further questions. As in a doll house, the attentive reader sees all the protagonists talking and interacting with one another at the same time. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 93
Könnecke, Ole (text/illus.)
Elvis und der Mann mit dem roten Mantel
(Elvis and the man in the red coat)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 3551-55158-8
Santa Claus - Accident - Gift-giving
Santa Claus has an accident with his reindeer-drawn sleigh on Christmas Day. He has to seek help from crazy Elvis in order to »get to work«, as he mysteriously says. His request is fulfilled, but Elvis has no idea whom he has helped. In all his hurrying around, he neither looked nor listened to the sleigh-driver. Only Elvis's grandfather vaguely remembers, who the man in the red suit must be, but he forgets again right away. The irony and humor of this story create a very special Christmas spirit, in good part with the help of the comic-like characters in the illustrations. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 94
Köster, Magdalena (ed.)
Härtel, Susanne (ed.)
Sei mutig und hab Spaß dabei. Acht Künstlerinnen und ihre Lebensgeschichte
(Be courageous and have fun. Eight women artists and their biographies)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1998. 307 p.
ISBN 3-407-80849-6
Artist - Biography - Anthology
Eight women artists are presented here in short but well-founded and thoroughly researched biographies. Their professions range from acting, dance, painting and architecture to fashion design, literature and photography. The appearance of an anthology only of women's biographies implies that the achievements of women in male-dominated professions still need to be accorded special attention in order to gain wider acquaintance among the general public. And this is done in a concentrated and vigorous style. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 95
Mebs, Gudrun (text)
Marcks, Marie (illus.)
Ohne Suse ist das nix! Geschichten von Opa Hans und Suse
(It's no fun without Suzy! Stories about Grandpa Hans and Suzy)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1998. 83 p.
ISBN 3-551-59801-0
Young girl/Old man - Assistance - Everyday life
Suzy doesn't have a grandfather and her mother is away from home all day. So she adopts Hans, a man in her neighborhood, as her grandfather. First they have to clean up his apartment, and then they can start fooling around. Suzy is happy, and so is Grandpa Hans. Often a not-so-good day turns out to be quite a nice one with Suzy's help. The author convincingly depicts the pleasures of a relationship between young and old made possible by mutual affection. The caricaturist Marcks does a superb job of showing this visually. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 96
Meißner-Johannknecht, Doris (text)
Ellermann, Heike (illus.)
Die Puppe Bella oder bloß keine Schwester!
(Bella the Doll, or anything is better than a sister!)
Oldenburg: Lappan, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 3-89082-183-9
Jealousy - Siblings
Perhaps there is a way to get rid of Baby Inga? Perhaps one could ruin her pleasure in the new doll? But perhaps she gets lots one day in the woods and everyone is afraid she is lost forever? And surely one can protect her one day from big bullies. The author understands how to depict the agonies of sisterly jealousy until in the end an opportunity for surprising affection opens up. The pictures adopt different styles and perspectives to represent the continuing stages of development from hated baby to accepted little sister. (7+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 97
Orlev, Uri (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Pressler, Mirjam (transl.)
Der haarige Dienstag
(Hairy Tuesday)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 3-407-79213-6
Hair care - Resistance - Hair cut - Compromise
Tuesday is hair-washing day, the cause of deepest agony for three-year old Michael. His loud protests move the whole family to pity - even Mother. Michael's sister, Daniela, finds a solution: no hair - no hair washing. Michael only needs to get rid of his hair. With a shock he imagines his future hairlessness and comes to a decision. He chooses the lesser of two evils: crying rather than being shorn bald. A thoroughly realistic story about the helpless desperation of a young, patronized minority told with wit and irony, illustrated from the perspective of childlike chaos. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 98
Prinz, Alois
Beruf Philosophin oder die Liebe zur Welt. Die Lebensgeschichte der Hannah Arendt
(Profession : philosopher or: For love of the world. The life of Hannah Arendt)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1998. 326 p., [8] p.
ISBN 3-407-80853-4
Arendt, Hannah/Biography
Hannah Arendt earned her doctorate in 1928 under Karl Jaspers but had to flee Nazi Germany in 1933, emigrating first to Paris and then to the U.S.A. Thus she experienced her greatest achievements as a university lecturer and scholarly writer there. She also played an active role in the post-war discussions over the Holocaust, climaxing in an analysis of the role and personality of Adolf Eichmann. She also returned to teach at German universities. The author portrays his subject as a person, a woman and philosopher, all three in active unity. The reader experiences the indivisibility of life and profession. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 99
Richter, Jutta (text)
Janssen, Susanne (illus.)
Der Hund mit dem gelben Herzen oder die Geschichte vom Gegenteil
(The dog with the yellow heart or the story of the opposite)
München: Hanser, 1998. 110 p.
ISBN 3-446-19258-1
Dog - Talking animal - Creation - Home
Dog, homeless, knows how to talk and tells (invents) the story of his life for Lotta and her brother. He tells how he has been to see the inventor G. Ott and admire his pictures, which showed the entire world. And how he then has gone in search of G. Ott's best friend, who had been banished from the garden of paradise. That the garden door is closed when they try to return to G. Ott. In return for his story Dog is given a home with the children and Grandfather Schulte, who strangely enough bears much resemblance to G. Ott. There is considerable meaning to be found in this enjoyable, but quite serious interpretation of the creation story. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 100
Schulz, Hermann (text)
Erlbruch, Wolf (illus.)
Auf dem Strom
(On the river)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1998. 136 p.
ISBN 3-551-58035-9
Tanzania - Father/Daughter - Boat trip - Healing
A German missionary in Tanzania believes that he can only save the life of his daughter with the help of the white doctor's medicine. And so he undertakes a dangerous journey by boat. Out of necessity, but against his Western-Christian beliefs, he learns to trust the black healers' help. His relationship with and love for his daughter takes on a new shape when she is healed through the help of the Africans. This literary, compelling story is based on a true incident. The author writes about Africa on the basis of his own experiences there, full of respect for the customs and values of the black inhabitants. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 101
Seidemann, Maria
Big city rap
Würzburg: Arena, 1998. 160 p.
(Arena-Taschenbuch ; 2591 : Arena life)
ISBN 3-401-02591-0
Big City - Youth gang - Foreigner - Violence - Social inequality
Alexander Abel lives with his mother in a high-rise section of a major German city. There is a high potential for social conflict in their neighborhood. With this material the author composes an intricate story and captivates the reader with a narrative style that does not curry to teenage slang. The story does not have the appearance of a »problem book«, but takes instead the genuine perspective of the young first-person narrator. The problems being described can be understood at the experiential level, without resorting to black-and-white descriptions or an evaluative authorial voice. (14+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 102
Steinhöfel, Andreas
Die Mitte der Welt
(The middle of the world)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1998. 459 p.
ISBN 3-551-58029-4
Twins - Father/Search - Single parent - Promiscuity - Homosexuality - Death
The twins Phil and Dianne live alone with their mother on the margin of society in a small city in Europe. They know nothing about their father and experience the promiscuous life of their young, attractive mother with mixed feelings. Phil is gay; Dianne is lesbian and the great love in her life has been lying in a coma for years after a traffic accident. The author describes their roles in their social situation with great understanding. In this modern »Bildungsroman« all the values of the (petty) bourgeois society are put to question. In the end Phil has come of age. He sets out for America in search of his father. (16+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 103
Zimen, Erik (text)
Lausche, Katharina (illus.)
Mein Esel. Ein Rotfuchs-Sachbuch
(My donkey. A Rotfuchs information book)
Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1998. 93 p.
(rororo Rotfuchs ; 20899)
ISBN 3-499-20899-7
Donkey - Animals - Pets
In this fascinating mixture of inventive donkey-lore and real experiences with two of his own Sardinian dwarf donkeys, the animal expert Zimen arouses the reader's interest in this ancient breed of pets. The very exact anatomically and psychologically accurate illustrations by Katharina Lausche are ideally suited for a book which will expand the enthusiastic fan group of this loveable grey animal. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2000 - 79
Behrens, Katja
Zorro. Im Jahr des Pferdes
(Zorro. In the year of the horse)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1999. 140 p.
ISBN 3-407-79802-4
Mother/Son - Handicap - Horseback riding - Therapy - Horse raising
By caring for and riding horses Kai gradually begins to overcome his fears and gain confidence in himself, his surroundings and the world at large. But this idyllic situation is in danger because the upkeep of horses is expensive. There are plans to sell trusty bay Zorro, Kai's horse, for horsemeat. Lea, a woman who is recuperating at the horse farm after her divorce and her mother's death, and still searching for her own identity, buys Zorro back for Kai. But this is not the whole plot. Between the lines the story tells about what happens around und within the protagonists, the ups and downs of living - with and without horses. A casual tone of voice, absorbing cast of characters and an unsentimental perspective toward fateful connections are the hallmarks of this exceptional (horse) book. (10+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2000 - 80
Boie, Kirsten
Nicht Chicago. Nicht hier
(Not Chicago. Not here)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1999. 120 p.
ISBN 3-7891-3131-8
Friendship - Lie - Crime
Kirsten Boie describes here a case of »everyday crime« among school pupils. She deals openly with the main characters' conflict of choice between committing an offence and maintaining friendship by leaving the ending open and by not making use of authorial omniscience. Hence this novel is an example of a new trend in German children's and youth literature, in which authors for some time now have been writing novels that are less didactic and more literary and realityoriented. Thus, this genre oversteps more and more often the still generally accepted upon boundaries of children's literature, such as the provision of a positive ending. (14+)

Germany (German) - 2000 - 81
Damm, Dörte
Der Wolf ist tot
(The wolf is dead)
München: tabu- Verl., 1998. 151 p.
ISBN 3-89692-142-8
Single father - Daughter - Sexual abuse - Murder
Cordula lives with her father in a new residential area of a small city. She often behaves jumpy and unpredictable. Her teachers and fellow pupils cannot know that she is being sexually abused by her father - who everyone considers to be »very nice.« But they do wonder why Cordula is never allowed to bring friends home. One day, as one of her girl friends drops around and finds only the father at home, a tragedy follows. The man tries to force himself upon the other girl. Cordula returns and kills him in the heat of the moment. This is a substantial novel, reserved in tone, and avoiding any straining for effect. (14+)

Germany (German) - 2000 - 82
Erlbruch, Wolf (text/illus.)
(In the night)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1999. 23 p.
ISBN 3-87294-834-2
Night - Imagination - Father/Son
This is a small book with a grand subject - the night as a dream world that is open only to children and readers. Fons doesn't want to go to sleep, he wants to take a nighttime stroll with Papa. As if deaf and blind, the stressed father stumbles through the streets with his son and doesn't notice Alice and the White Rabbit, King Kong, the tulip on rollerskates, the polar bear and many more strange and wonderous things that could possibly fit into his adult mind. A dream of a book by Wolf Erlbruch - who pulls all the stops of his artistic powers. (5+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2000 - 83
Frommlet, Wolfram (text)
Wagenbreth, Henning (illus.)
Mond und Morgenstern. Eine Geschichte aus Afrika
(Moon and Morning Star. A tale from Africa)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1999. 44 p.
ISBN 3-87294-784-2
Africa - Creation story
God created Moon and gave him Morning Star to be his wife. She gave birth to the plant kingdom. After two years she returned to the heavens and Moon was given Evening Star as his mate. And she gave birth to the animals and mankind. Then Moon hurt Evening Star and she gave birth to the animals of prey. Moon declared himself the king of the world, and his subjects removed him from his throne. Moon rose into the heavens and even today is still looking for Morning Star, his first beloved. This is an impressive picture book depicting an African creation myth. Large, brilliantly colored illustrations on earth-tone paper with linoleum cuts that are illustrated by the forms and shapes of African art. (10+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 84
Fühmann, Franz (text)
Herfurth, Egbert (illus.)
Der glückliche Ritter von Trinitat oder wie wird man Oberdiskutierer? Ein Puppenspiel in 4 Akten für Joachims sechs Puppen
(The happy knight of Trinitat or how to become the chief discusser. A puppet play in 4 acts for Joachim's six puppets)
Rostock: Hinstorff, 1999. 68 p.
ISBN 3-356-00807-2
Ideology - Knight - Dragon - Sultan - Ignorance - Happiness - Misuse of power
This short masterpiece for puppet theater is intended as a persiflage of all ideologies. In it Franz Fühmann criticizes the abuse of power, ignorance and narrow-mindedness. The cast include the Magician and the Dragon - as fairy tale elements; the Fat Woman - as slave and wife of the dragon; the knight - as the army; a Slave - as the worker; the Sultan - as the ruler of Trinitat. The watchword - as placard-style ideology. In short, the tale goes as follows: »What's this mean - to have a discus- sion?« asks the Dragon. The Knight answers »We state our opinions and I'm right.« The Slave hopes that the Dragon will eat the Sultan, so he can be freed. Instead, the Dragon becomes the Sultan's chief fire-spewing discusser on account of his obedience. The Sultan establishes as a watchword that the people are happy. (Who begs to differ, loses his head). In the end we learn that »this goes to show that it always turns out as it turns out because it turns out as it turns out. We call it history.« Egbert Herfurth's figurines form the suitably ironical staffage for this quite realistic material. But that is not meant to lead the reader into fatalism, but just its opposite. Nothing is in fact necessarily the way it is. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 85
Grote, Wilfried (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
Kleine Sprünge
(Little jumps)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverl., 1999. 111 p.
ISBN 3-473-34367-6
Father/Son - Unemployment - Solidarity - Consumer behavior
Oscar's father suddenly finds himself out of a job. Hence, Oscar can't have the mountain bike, but his father now has more time for him. All the family members agree to limit their desires. And so the bicycle is bought at a flea market and is not to be scorned, even though it is of course not »in« in the eyes of the other children. Suddenly Oscar's piano practice bothers the neighbors. The family moves to a less expensive apartment and the father makes the change from bus driver to taxi chauffeur while Oscar makes friends with a new girl. The burning issue of unemployment, the positive aspects of family solidarity and having a happy childhood even with less money is treated here in an unspectacular manner. The boxed pictures at the beginning of each chapter contribute to the overall cheerful atmosphere of this children's novel. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 86
Heidenreich, Elke (text)
Pfarr, Bernd (illus.)
Sonst noch was
(Will that be all?)
München: Hanser, 1999. 44 p.
ISBN 3-146-19742-7
Stubbornness - Country life - Animal talk
City-girl Katharina wants to visit her uncle's farm to cure her chronic cough, but even more because of the animals. Her mother, Gertrud, gives her standard reply, »Will that be all?« But Katharina gets to go after all and already during the train ride she realizes that she can understand animal talk. This has a great effect at Uncle Hans's place and her stay is a great success. In a witty, worldlywise manner the author expresses her view of children's wishes and adult thoughts. Her text is supported by not quite realistically drawn protagonists in pastel colored, richly shaded pictures. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 87
Heine, Helme (text/illus.)
(<Proper name>)
München: Middelhauve, 1999. [34] p.
ISBN 3-7876-9604-0
Devil - Joke - Disguise - Life-saving
The little devil Diabollo lives all alone in Hell's heating cellar, guarding the fire. Whenever he gets bored, he sets out to tease other people. But there is no recognition for his work. People only like the boring angels in white gowns who sing »Hallelujah« all day long. So he disguises himself (with wings and a white gown), but to no effect. They recognize him. Angry, he throws his pitchfork on the roof of a house and immediately starts a fire. Now is his great chance: for once he is not the devil but the fire-man. He is given a medal for his deed. And popular (though not as a devil). Helme Heine finds the appropriate visual background for the funny situational comedy of his story. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 88
Hensgen, Andrea
Melusine. Die Welt muß romantisch werden
(Melusine. The world needs to become romantic)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1999. 166 p.
ISBN 3-407-80859-3
Loneliness - Love - Failure
A young man moves to a new city and meets a fascinating, mysterious girl. They embark on a platonic friendship, and she does not allow him to get any closer to her. After some time they have no more contact, and neither of them knows of the other's yearning. And so it happens that he does not recognize her when they meet again. This is an imaginative parable about the impossibility of finding fulfilling love in real life. (16+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 89
Jacoby, Edmund (comp.)
Berner, Rotraut S. (illus.)
Dunkel war's, der Mond schien helle. Verse, Reime und Gedichte
(Light Moonshine in the darkest night. Verses and poems)
Hildesheim: Gerstenberg, 1999. 152 p.
ISBN 3-8067-4285-5
Although poetry - even that for children - as everyone knows, is nearly impossible to translate, this book deserves mention in this international selection at least due to the exquisite aesthetics of its design and layout as well as the charm of the poems selected. None of the greatest, most humorous, most serious or most original German language poets have been left out of this anthology. The boundary between children's and »grownup « poetry becomes fluid here. Rotraut Susanne Berner is an artist whose small figures and forms contribute a visual as well as a substantial pendant to the poems. (3+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 90
Lebert, Benjamin
Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1999. 174 p.
(KiWi ; 537)
ISBN 3-462-02818-9
School - Failure - Physical handicap - Autobiography
A 16-year old boy enters boarding school to improve his grades. He has minor physical handicaps that make his life there difficult. Events of everyday life, his relations with the others, his first sexual encounters and the accompanying insecurity and embarrassment are told by the first-person narrator in a very direct, but rather reserved and nonetheless cultivated youthful tone. The narrative voice is shaped by the mixture of youthful curiosity and the desparation of an intelligent adolescent in the throes of puberty - written by a youth of the same age - on the rocky path to adulthood. (14+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 91
Lehnhof, Uli
Schluss gemacht
(Ending it)
Freiburg i. Br.: Kerle, 1999. 126 p.
ISBN 3-541-70306-8
School pupil - Suicide - Investigation - Youth crime
The leader of a school gang has broken away from the others after a series of petty crimes in order to avoid prosecution. The rest of the gang begins to blackmail and persecute his younger brother. But he refuses to betray the older brother, and instead commits suicide one day. Because these circumstances are clearly not to become public knowledge, the persistent interest and efforts of his fellow pupils are necessary before the guilty instigators of the suicide can be found. Step-by-step the author leads the reader through the investigation of an editor of the school paper to the true facts. In the reactions of those involved he shows how people, who should have known better and could have acted better, vehemently deny their guilt. (14+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 92
Maar, Paul (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
In einem tiefen, dunklen Wald...
(In a deep, dark forest...)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1999. 143 p.
ISBN 3-7891-4221-2
Princess - Abduction - Monster - Rescue - Reward
A proud princess is absolutely set upon finding the bravest husband far and wide. So she stages an abduction by a monster without realizing that the monster itself is an enchanted prince. Unfortunately she is much too impatient to even listen carefully to the mumbling monster. In the course of events the creature is released from the spell but does not marry the princess because she is not only conceited, but also just plain dumb. Everyone else receives their just rewards for their heroic deeds. All in all a thoroughly happy picture story. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 93
Mann, Erika (text)
Hallgarten, Richard (illus.)
Heißerer, Dirk (ed.)
Stoffel fliegt übers Meer
(Stoffel flies over the ocean)
München: Kirchheim, 1999. 128 p.
ISBN 3-87410-087-1
(Orig. ed. 1932 by Levy & Müller, Stuttgart)
Air ship - Stowaway - Family - Everyday life
Christoph (»Stoffel«) is only ten years old, but certainly not dumb. When his father and mother find themselves in an economic crisis and see no way to making ends meet, their son flies off in the school vacation as a stowaway on an airship bound for New York to visit his rich uncle and tell him of their financial disaster. Along the way he has the chance to save the passengers from a major catastrophe and soon his fame in the international press knows no limits. Erika Mann, Thomas Mann's oldest daughter, wrote this delightful story for her younger brothers and sisters. Her children's book were long - quite wrongly - overshadowed by her literary works for adults and cabaret revues. This story of the courageous little Stoffel and the details of his adventurous life and world still offer literary and entertainment value today. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 94
Pacovská, Květa (text/illus.)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverl., 1999. [24] p.
ISBN 3-473-33771-4
Language - Arts and crafts - Playing - Fabled animal
In this intricately detailed paint-and-play crafts book the »Kritzelmännchen« (little scribbler) shapes, cuts out and paints a different fabled animal every day of the week - the redredhorn and checkered rhino, the dotdotdoter and the holeholeholer, and many other creatures. The viewer sees their origins in pages with stamped out shapes and pop-ups. In the end the child (and the parents) are called upon to play and to invent whatever they can with the materials available. Published in a ring-binder on stable cardboard, this is a lively first art book that encourages play, imagination and lively involvement. (5+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 95
Pawel, Henning (text)
Schulmeyer, Heribert (illus.)
Heiligabend im Himmel
(Christmas Eve in heaven)
Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1998. 62 p.
ISBN 3-522-17143-8
Christmas - Heaven - Angel - Animal love - Present
In the inner realms of heaven animals are forbidden. Even the Holy Father can only wish in vain for a little dog as house pet. But when a talking jackdaw loses his way and strays into the inner realm, God resorts to a trick and hides the invader near him. He finds an accomplice in the little rascal- angel Moische Birnbaum. In the end the two of them manage to have this unhappy rule revoked, ex cathedra so to speak. So the Holy Father gets his little doggie for Christmas. This is an engaging, ironical story about eternal laws in heaven and on earth. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 96
Schulz, Hermann
(<Proper name>)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1999. 229 p.
ISBN 3-551-58054-5
Germany - Turkish child - Orphanage - Kidnap
The young illegitimate son of a Turkish worker and a German waitress has lived in an orphanage since his mother died. There he is found by his father, when he searches for his former girlfriend. He abducts the severely retarded boy to Turkey, to his home village, where the boy begins to flourish in the loving care of his grandparents and the rural surroundings. But the German bureaucracy demands to have the boy returned to Germany because there is no clear proof of paternity. Only through the decisive initiative of a young woman can the extradition be avoided. Based on an authentic case, this literary rendering depicts a wealth of ordinary difficulties that Turkish workers have in and with Germany and the disastrous situation of those who do not have enough influence to maintain their own rights. (14+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 97
Tiedemann, Markus
Prinzessin Metaphysika. Eine fantastische Reise durch die Philosophie
(Princess Metaphysica: a fantasy journey through philosophy)
Hildesheim: Olms-Presse, 1999. 308 p.
ISBN 3-487-08412-0
Philosophy - Adventure
Although there have been a number of fictional works with philosophical and religion-based backgrounds published in the aftermath of J. Gaarder's »Sophie's World«, this work is exceptionally interesting. First of all, because it is witty, and furthermore, because it contains not only facts, but also riddles. The names of well-known philosophers and other geniuses have been clearly altered and their works paraphrased, accurately and humorfully. The three main protagonists - two young men and Princess Metaphysica - go searching for answers to existential questions in the land of Philosophica. Their paths separate and come together again, and, hence, the answers they have found differ in part. An absorbing book for young adults who take pleasure in using their minds. (16+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 98
Waluszek, Christian (text)
Matthies, Don-Oliver (illus.)
Die Insel des vollkommenen Glücks
(The island of perfect happiness)
Würzburg: Arena, 1999. 462 p.
ISBN 3-401-04950-x
Island - Happiness - Ocean travel - Love
The theme of this novel is the perversion of man's pursuit of happiness. It is set in the 19th century in an exclusive society dedicated to fun and leisure. A young English girl, Joana, sets off, disguised as a shipboy, on a sailing ship to search for her lover Tom, who had been taken away from her by force. Since then he has lived on a widely unknown island called »Isla Perfelicita« from which escape is impossible. It is governed by the uppermost commandment that everyone is to have »fun.« Joana and Tom manage to escape by swimming until they are picked up by an unknown sailing ship. The delightful interweaving of fates from today and the past keep the reader in suspense in this 400-page long story-within-a-story. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 99
Wenzel, Angela
Henri Rousseau: Die schlafende Zigeunerin
(Henri Rousseau: The sleeping gypsy)
Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt-Taschenbuch-Verl., 1999. 125 p.
(rororo Rotfuchs ; 20975 : Rotfuchs- Kunstsachbuch : Mein Bild)
ISBN 3-499-20975-6
Rousseau, Henri - Naïve painting
The most famous representative of the naïve school of painting is surely the Frenchman Henri Rousseau. For older children and adolescents his clear, though not simplistic works could offer an easy access point to the world of fine arts. Solid, comprehensive research of the biographical and contemporary historical facts, illuminative visual documentation, and an attractive book design are the hallmarks of this series, that is a boon to the informational book market. This volume is just one representative title for many others in this excellent paperback series of art appreciation works. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 100
Westphalen, Joseph von (text)
Devrome, Johan (illus.)
Wie man seine Eltern erzieht
(How to educate parents)
München: Hanser, 1999. 181 p.
ISBN 3-446-19641-2
Parents - Son - Upbringing - Role reversal
In this dictionary the adolescent offspring (who normally do not have parental rights of guardianship) will find a series of pragmatically defined concepts that will help him or her with parental upbringing. (Of course there may be some parents who do not need to be re-educated - they are already »cool«. Such readers won't be able to make use of the tips in this dictionary unless they make an effort to find other parents!) There are helpful entries for shy or over-adjusted readers and humorous entries for dealing with the hopefully »cool« parents and both kinds offer a welcome seasoning for the daily homelife. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2000 - 101
Wiesner, Henning (text)
Mattei, Günter (illus.)
Im Garten der Tiere
(In the animal garden)
München: Heyne, 1998. 127 p.
(Collection Rolf Heyne)
ISBN 3-453-13771-x
Fifty opulent panels of illustrations and texts provide an overview of the kinds of animals that are frequently found in zoos and provide a survey of the history of their biological development and their way of life in nature. Extensive references and the presentation of the overall scope of the fundamental ideas of zoos are also an effort to legitimate the work of zoo, whose work is considered in the widest sense of the word to be animal protection, for the coming millennium. This book can be consulted and enjoyed over and over again by parents and children, not only before visiting the zoo. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2001 - 72
Baginski, Antonia (text)
Röder, Annette (illus.)
Anton mit dem roten Schal
(Anton with the red scarf)
München : Prestel, 2000. [28] p.
ISBN 3-7913-2416-0
Piglet - Adventure - Elf - Departure - Return
Anton is a little, adventurous piglet. One day he goes into the forest to look for the elves he heard stories about. Of course, he gets lost! And had it not been for the help of a little boar – a piglet with stripes! (or could it possibly have been the elves who helped him?) – Anton had certainly died of cold. Back home, they all want to hear Anton's adventure over and over again. The coloured drawings of the different animals and the generous composition give this picture book a special flair. (4+)

Germany (German) - 2001 - 73
Bauer, Jutta (text/illus.)
(Screaming Mom)
Weinheim : Beltz & Gelberg, 2000. [36] p.
ISBN 3-407-79264-6
Child - Mother - Upbringing - Anger - Reconciliation
One morning a penguin child experiences a terrible scene: Angry and for no apparent reason, its mother has a screaming fit. Shocked, the child feels as though all its body parts had been blasted off and spread all over the cosmos: the head in outer space, the wings in the jungle. The beak on the mountain top is silent, and the feet are dug in the desert – there is no more penguin child. But »Screaming Mom« comes to her senses: she gathers all the various parts and sews them together again. »I'm sorry«, she says at last. Despite all, the clash of maternal irritation and childlike anxiety, illustrated with soft watercolours, tells a story about the joys of reconciliation. (5+)

Germany (German) - 2001 - 74
Bolliger, Max (text)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Kleines Glück & Wilde Welt
(Small Happiness & Wild World)
Berlin : Aufbau, 2000. 38 p.
ISBN 3-351-04011-3
Home - Caution - Wanderlust - Departure - Return - Adventure - Character
Two dissimilar (fox-)brothers share a den until one of them leaves home to seek adventure in the big wide world. The other one stays at home and finds happiness in the immediate, unspectacular surroundings. The two brothers share the fate of all creatures: They have to follow their inner calling, at the same time longing for another, maybe a better life. In the end, the two are reunited. Both paths were full of adventures – wild or quiet ones. Klaus Ensikat renders the different characters and their respective worlds with graphic perfection and perceptive psychological insight. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2001 - 75
Brussig, Thomas
Am kürzeren Ende der Sonnenalle
(At the shorter end of Sonnenallee <street name>)
Berlin : Verl. Volk & Welt, 1999. 156 p.
ISBN 3-353-01168-4
Berlin <East> - Berlin wall - Adolescence - First love - Humour - Irony - History 1973
The shorter end of Sonnenallee lies in East, the longer one in West Berlin. Entrenched between these mutually exclusive societies, teenagers get crazy ideas and adults are plotting illicit traffic of more than simply smarties and coffee. The 70s in the GDR are not all grey but unexpectedly colourful. The text sets a literary monument to the notorious self-irony of Berliners. With a good amount of self confidence and a pinch of nostalgia, the author tells about a life unknown to the West: a life full of dangers and paradoxes which would surely have continued for a long time had it not been for the historical events of 1989/90. (14+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2001 - 76
Chidolue, Dagmar
Nicht alle Engel sind aus Stein
(Not all angels are made of stone)
Hamburg : Dressler, 2000. 175 p.
ISBN 3-7915-0396-0
Daughter - Mother - Depression - Responsibility - Reversal of roles
An ordinary middle-class-family: The mother is an artist but lacks a real occupation to give her a sense of fulfillment. The father fails to realise the social isolation his well-cared-for wife suffers from. It is the daughter's task to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life and to endow them with sense. Her depressive mother keeps talking about death. The unexpected prospect of establishing a little book store for her raises hopes to solve the problems. The author credibly relates the inner strife of a 12-year-old girl: a childhood filled with the desire for comfort and (supposed) responsibility for a mother who refuses to grow up. (12+)

Germany (German) - 2001 - 77
Dörrie, Doris (text)
Kaergel, Julia (illus.)
Lotte und die Monster
(Lotte and the monsters)
Ravensburg : Ravensburger Buchverl., 2000. [32] p. Includes a puzzle
ISBN 3-473-33960-1
Girl - Going to bed - Fear - Overcoming fears
Lotte is afraid of the monsters in her room, because they mess up her toys and create havock. Her mother assures her that monsters do not exist, but Lotte is not comforted until she has the courage to ask what those beasts want: Maybe they simply want to watch TV? This question is the key to all her troubles! She can lock her door behind them and go to bed without any further worries. This picture book encourages children to confront their fears – also verbally. It shows that, when cooperative adults reach the limits of their imagination, children will have to find their own ways to solve their problems. (5+)

Germany (German) - 2001 - 78
Drvenkar, Zoran
Der Winter der Kinder oder Alissas Traum
(The children's winter or Alissa's dream)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2000. 194 p.
ISBN 3-7891-3306-X
Daughter - Father - Loss of father - Grief - Psychosomatic illness - Dream
Alissa has cold. Ever since the day her father died in a car accident, life around her kept losing touch with reality. Although Alissa's freezing is a physical symptom, it cannot be treated medically. The author cures Alissa's problem with a dream: In that dream, Alissa encounters other children who have lost loved ones. She understands that she has to decide against freezing-to-death and for life. She feels that her father has not left her for good, but that she can be with him in her thoughts and that he continues to be close to her. The author succeeds in portraying Allisa's situation with deep psychological insight and great literary skill. (10+)

Germany (German) - 2001 - 79
Engelmann, Reiner (ed.)
Plötzlich ist nichts mehr sicher : Kinder und der Krieg
(All of a sudden, nothing is safe anymore : children and war)
Berlin : Elefanten Press, 2000. 141 p.
ISBN 3-88520-765-6
Child - War- Anthology
This book tells about wars all over the world – about how children suffer from wars and are destroyed by them. Children write these texts, remembering their own experiences. Adults write texts about children during war times. The book expresses the firm conviction that words are powerful and can be of consequence, that the protest against war and suffering shall not be silenced. In collaboration with other organizations, the children's fund UNICEF, sponsor of this anthology, supports traumatised children on their road back to normality. The appendix of the book provides addresses for those interested in further information. (10+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2001 - 80
Gernhardt, Robert (text)
Waechter, Philip (illus.)
Die Reise nach Amerika
(The voyage to America)
Hamburg : Ellermann, 2000. [44] p.
ISBN 3-7707-6427-7
Dog - Boat trip - Departure - Coming home - Poetry
This is a story about spirit of enterprise and foolhardiness: Even though the voyage to America is not completed, the adventurer returns home wiser than he left it. Trulli, the most daring of the dogs, shipwrecks his inflated boat and can be happy to reach the shore sound and safe. He is awaited by the rest of the gloating dog team. Humorous, poignant verse and witty pictures in a moderate cartoon-style lead the way through this adventure. The all-encompassing perspective at the end reveals the big ocean to be a little pond; the big adventure proves to have been a nice amusement. The happy end does not conceal the dangers of a dare devil's solitary enterprise. (5+)

Germany (German) - 2001 - 81
Härtling, Peter
Reise gegen den Wind : wie Primel das Ende des Krieges erlebt
(Voyage against the wind : how Primel experienced the end of war)
Weinheim : Beltz & Gelberg, 2000. 145 p.
ISBN 3-407-79814-8
World War II - Post war time - Austria - Boy - Aunt - Refugee
Bernd, nicknamed Primel, has lost his parents during the war and has to flee his Moravian home town together with his aunt. They make halt in a small Austrian village. He befriends two village children and a little stray dog, and, for a short time, the chaotic situation seems to him full off excitement and adventure. But the machinations of the grown-up civilians and militaries remain incomprehensible and frightening to him. Because the child does not know nor understand the larger historical context, the daily experiences are of much greater impact. The earnestness in tone, possibly due to the author's autobiographical background, conveys this very clearly – despite some comical episodes and quaint protagonists. (10+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 82
Hohler, Franz (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Wenn ich mir etwas wünschen könnte
(If I had three wishes)
München : Hanser, 2000. 30 p.
ISBN 3-446-19819-9
Girl - Dissatisfaction - School - Looks - Wish - Magic
Barbara feels she is ugly, bad at school and has no friends. One night, when a fairy actually grants her three wishes, this is what she comes up with: a pair of blue sneakers, a red pen and a parrot. It must have been a very clever fairy (even though she had to push a few sighs at such nonsense). For with her new shoes Barbara runs as fast as Erich – who becomes her friend. With her new pen she can write without care and mistakes – which wins her the favours of the class mates. The parrot pays her compliments which makes her more beautiful every day. What a wonderfully careless message for a picture book completely free of pedagogical pedantry: kids, get real and wish to your heart's content! Then – perhaps – secret wishes may come true all by themselves. Colourful pictures full of detail contribute to the cheerful overall impression of this book. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 83
Joop, Florentine (text/illus.)
Bonifacio oder das Geheimnis der Faultiere
(Bonifacio or the secret of the sloth family)
Hamburg : Ed. Riesenrad, 2000. [30] p.
ISBN 3-933697-83-2
Sloth - Thinking - Work - Society - Naming
Once upon a time the busiest animals were neither the bees nor the ants but the sloths – back then called »busy bears«. Until one day a young animal discovered a cob web up in a tree. Dew drops were hanging from it, mirroring the entire jungle – in short: the whole world. This made the little animal think. It hang from the tree all day. And thought. This intensive thinking inspired other animals. Soon, the »busy bears« became known as the sloths (»lazy bears«). And since that day, they lived happily ever after. They're still hanging around. This convincing story with a deeper meaning employs metaphors and humour to reflect upon the gaping discrepancy between activist belief in progress and philosophical musing. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 84
Klippel, Christian (text)
Riese, Anna de (illus.)
Schiff in der Wüste
(Ship in the desert)
Berlin : Altberliner Verl., 2000. 206 p.
ISBN 3-357-00874-2
Astronaut - Desert - Lake - Ecological equilibrium - Ship
A rusty ship rides at anchor in a presumed desert, or, to be more precise: in a dried up lake. The stranded astronaut Jürgen tries to find water for little Pjotr, his mother and grandfather who still live on the old boat. And – surprise: An oil-mogul pumps melted snow from the mountains instead of oil down his pipelines. In exchange, he asks for a trip into space. Ship, men and nature are miraculously saved. This story appears to the reader at once fantastic and commonplace. It is told with humour and conviction and illustrated with many, often full-spread pictures. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 85
Lebert, Benjamin (text)
Lebert, Ursula (text)
Müller, Hildegard (illus.)
Die Geschichte vom kleinen Hund, der nicht bellen konnte
(The story of the little dog who couldn't bark)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer Taschenbuchverl., 2000. [32] p.
(Fischer Schatzinsel)
ISBN 3-596-85077-0
Dog - Vocal defect - Identity crisis - Accident - Rescue
Despite relentless effort, a little dog cannot bark. Nobody can understand that, because all animals have their own voices: cows mooh, sheep baah, cats meow – but the little dog remains silent and sad. Until fortune arranges for the farmer to come home one night – not quite sober. He steps on the dog's tail. The little one starts barking – with pain of course. Surprised by this unexpected sound, he continues barking and does not stop. »Howling dog«, the others call him, ignoring the troubles of silence. This book tells of the existential need to express oneself and to be listended to. It presents this problem pervading all childhood in an unspectacular, humorous manner. (4+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 86
Lemke, Elisabeth
Marc Chagall : Welche Farben hat das Paradies? : Bilder zur Bibel
(Marc Chagall : What colour is paradise? : Pictures for the Bible)
München : Prestel, 2000. 28 p.
(Abenteuer Kunst)
ISBN 3-7913-2418-7
The Bible - Chagall, Marc
Suprisingly, this picture book about religious art in its largest sense does not adhere to the text of the Bible. The text combines the biography of the painter Marc Chagall, historical events and biblical narratives to create a new entity. The pictures tell more than the words and with richer detail. The book invites children and parents to explore and discover but also to call into memory the ancient texts. The series »Abenteuer Kunst« (Art Adventures) always features the Éuvre of one artist and presents it in an accessible but dense, impressing and convincing way for children. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 87
Mönter, Petra (text)
Wiemers, Sabine (illus.)
Geh mit niemandem mit, Lena!
(Don't go along with a stranger, Lena!)
Freiburg : Kerle im Verl. Herder, 2000. [28] p.
ISBN 3-451-70317-3
Girl - Threat - Cunning - Protection - Solidarity
Even though Lena is tired of her mother's continous warnings, she begins feeling uncomfortable when, on her way to school, she sees a stranger sitting in a car, scrutinising the street. At lunch-hour the girls do not dare to pass his car. They alarm their mothers. Despite the fact that the whole story turns out to be completely harmless, the children learn to appreciate their source of strength: caution, solidarity and last but not least, their loud whistles! Full-spread pictures with slightly distorted images and exaggerated perspectives suggest the controversial nature of this issue. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 88
Moritz, Karl Philipp (text)
Erlbruch, Wolf (illus.)
Neues ABC-Buch
(New ABC-book)
München : Kunstmann, 2000. [64] p.
ISBN 3-88897-235-3
What characterises this very unusual, almost bibliophile ABC book is an intensive reflection upon the nature of man and the universe. It is based on a very early representative of the genre: Karl Philipp Moritz published the original text in 1790. The carefully modernised texts accompanying each letter still pay tribute to the spirit of the Age of Enlightenment. The well-known illustrator Wolf Erlbruch skilfully displays his mastery entering into a visual dialogue with the historical text and playing with the genre of ABC books. He designs complex illustrations using various techniques and mixed media. They complement the informational value of the text. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 89
Pausewang, Gudrun
Du darfst nicht schreien
(You must not cry)
Ravensburg : Ravensburger Buchverl., 2000. 252 p.
(Ravensburger junge Reihe)
ISBN 3-473-35203-9
World War II - Brno <Moravia> - Occupation - German student - Friendship - Czechs - Execution - History 1942
It is the year of the assassination of German general Heydrich in Prague, 1942. Georg, a high school student in the city of Brno, lives in a room with a view on the former Kaunitz College which now serves as a prison. Soon, the boy has to discover that executions are carried out there by the German SS. Georg's unreflected German-national sentiments and thoughts are suddenly challenged. One day, the mother of a class mate, a Czech member of the anti- Nazi resistance movement, is taken to Kaunitz College and executed. The deeply stirred reader experiences the life of a young man at cruel times and witnesses his attempts to learn to cope with them. (14+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 90
Procházková, Iva (text)
Tessmer, Silke (illus.)
Vinzenz fährt nach Afrika
(Vinzenz goes to Africa)
Hamburg : Ellermann, 2000. 128 p.
ISBN 3-7707-3095-X
Boy - Psychomatic illness - Shamanism - Cure
Vinzenz suffers from a mysterious tiredness. Neither traditional nor alternative medical praticioners in Germany can find out what the cause is. But Vinzenz finds advice in Mr. Yaloké's Africa shop just around the corner: One of Mr. Yaloké's relatives is a shaman and says that Vinzenz should go to Africa and bring about the cure himself. The trip turns out to be a great adventure and a big success: Vinzenz has recovered and has found new friends. Both the subject and its literary treatment make this a convincing novel with rich detail, openness toward foreign worlds, humanitarian spirit, a good portion of humour and an engaging plot. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 91
Richter, Jutta
Der Tag, als ich lernte, die Spinnen zu zähmen
(The day I learned to tame spiders)
München : Hanser, 2000. 87 p.
ISBN 3-446-19896-2
Girl - Boy - Outcast - Assistance - Friendship - Loyalty - Social discrepancy
Rainer, an outcast, and the heroine (and narrative I) of this story become friends when the boy helps her to overcome her phobia of spiders. But when Rainer injures a boy in a group scuffle, the girl is also marginalised. Her worries about the injured school mate and her desire to return to the group finally lead her to betray the friendship with Rainer. Rainer is alone once again. The author does not give her protagonist a name. This way, commonplace betrayal is treated in an exemplary manner, just the way it happens always and everywhere amongst children. Well plotted and not lingering on facts, this book also entices older readers. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 92
Schnurre, Wolfdietrich (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Die Prinzessin kommt um vier
(The princess comes at four)
Berlin : Aufbau-Verl., 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 3-351-04000-8
Boy - Hyena - Metamorphosis - Ugliness - Beauty - Lie - Love - Understanding
This bright, colourful picture book presents an imaginative interpretation of a rather bland text by Wolfdietrich Schnurre, first published in 1959. »I« is a boy who sees a ragged, bleary-eyed hyena in the zoo who pretends to be a princess. Her curse, she assures, can be lifted by a simple invitation to coffee. The boy fulfills her wish. The hyena comes at four, stuffs her face and finally has to admit that she is nothing but an ordinary hyena. Her host had nurtured doubts before and forgives her. This is a real love story, a book for younger and older children, without pedagogy, with a happy end and absolutely plausible. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 93
Schulz, Hermann
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2000. 285 p.
ISBN 3-551-58064-2
Ruhrgebiet <industrial area of Germany> - Adolescent - Orphan - Growing-up - Carrier pigeon - Gross madness - First love - History 1950
This novel is set in the 1950s. Accordingly, people live a very frugal life in a small provincial town in the industrial region on the Ruhr. More or less legally, 15-year-old Freddy tries to make a little money and repeatedly comes into conflict with the police without however ever really turning criminal. When he meets his first love, all problems are overcome including the social difference between him and Cornelia and the soon following break-up. The reader retains the hope that both will find their own way. Both tone and language are refreshingly vivid, the narration full of subdued humour. This is an authentic retrospective on the problems facing German adolescents after World War II. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 94
Schwitters, Kurt (text)
Märtin, Carsten (illus.)
Die Geschichte vom Hasen
(The story of the hare)
Oldenburg : Lappan, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 3-8303-1009-9
Hare - Metamorphosis - Imagination
Beware of this hare: none would think that he, »endangered animal of the year 2001« considered worthy of protection, could »actually« be quite versatile: his brown fur, the long ears and the short tail can mutate into all sorts of imaginable attributes, creating new, unexpected species. Besides the fun unleashed by these playful metamorphoses, this book gives an impression of the infinite, lively world of (animal-)life. Humans only make a marginal appearance in the form of scarecrows or children. The text is a classic of German nonsense literature; the generous illustrations are rich in detail and perfectly capture the spirit of the whimsical words. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 95
Steinhöfel, Andreas (text)
Schulmeyer, Heribert (illus.)
Wo bist du nur?
(Where could you be?)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 3-551-51492-5
Child - Love - Loneliness - Quest - Reunion
A punk-child doll is desperately looking for someone who apparently has disappeared and whom it loves a lot. The telephone remains silent; the loneliness is unbearable, the letter box is empty, the sun surely is a forgery, and memories of past joys are a torment. And then: a key sounds in the door and all is well again. This book tells the story in distinct words and well arranged pictures but leaves enough room for the imagination to roam: nobody will ever know more about the missed person than that he or she has returned and is loved – no clue as to what he or she looks like, nothing. Everything is left up to the reader: everyone is allowed to cherish his or her very own love and own secrets, most of all a child. (4+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 96
Stuhr, Michael
Der Ruf der Steppe
(Call of the prairies)
Stuttgart : Thienemann, 2000. 365 p.
ISBN 3-522-17374-0
Prairie - Girl - Dog - Departure - Homecoming - Danger - Magic - Love
This novel is set out of time and place. A clan leaves a city in a harsh and hostile landscape and ventures into the prairies in quest of new living space for the humans. The leader of the group is a young girl. Stories of bravery and treachery, magic, love and unforeseen dangers unfold against the background of a fantasy world in which men and women fight for survival. The atmosphere of adventure, courage and solidarity is sure to engage the reader who will follow the plot to the very last page with fascination. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 97
Tenberken, Sabriye (text)
Kronenberg, Paul (photos)
Mein Weg führt nach Tibet : die blinden Kinder von Lhasa
(My road leads to Tibet : the blind children of Lhasa)
Köln : Kiepenheuer und Witsch, 2000. 251 p.
ISBN 3-462-02936-3
Tibet - Blind - School for the blind
The blind German student of Tibetan studies, Sabriye Tenberken, plots the bold scheme of helping the blind children of Tibet by founding a school for them. In Tibetan culture, blindness is considered a punishment sent by the demons. Blind children were cast from society and often even thought to be mentally retarded. Tenberken travels to Tibet all on her own and tells of her attempts to realise her project against all odds – under great difficulties and personal sacrifices. This compelling autobiographic account gives insight into fascinating and unknown worlds with sets of values very different to those of most modern, industrialised societies. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 98
Tolstoi, Lev N. (text)
Kindermann, Barbara (adapt.)
Gangwisch, Lisa (illus.)
Der Befehl des Oberteufels oder wie das Teufelchen sein Brot verdiente
(The order of the devil or how the little devil earned his bread)
Berlin : Kindermann, 2000. [24] p.
ISBN 3-934029-00-0
Peasant - Devil - Trial - Poverty - Wealth
A poor peasant shows compassion and gives his last piece of bread to a little devil. But the moment the peasant has become a wealthy man – with assistance of the devil – his heart hardens and he becomes greedy. He and his comrades behave more like animals than like humans. This folk tale by Leo Tostoi has been adapted for German readers and shows – in an idealising way – the destructive potential of riches to man. Dynamic, large-formatted watercolour drawings in rich, dark colours enhance the text. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 99
Wohmann, Gabriele
Das Hallenbad
(The indoor swimming pool)
München : Piper, 2000. 190 p.
ISBN 3-492-04258-9
Girl - Imagination - Writing - Swimming lessons - Fear - Excuse
Mona is afraid of going to her swimming lessons. So she pretends to suffer from a water-trauma caused by an airplane crash over the Atlantic. It is of little consequence to the plot whether anyone believes her story. The narrative focusses on the capacity of this sensitive girl to cope with unpleasant realities of day-by-day existence by confronting and transforming them with the help of language and intriguing words. The reader might even be tempted to imitate Mona's way of coping. The author succeeds in describing Mona's inner life by adopting a style akin to the free floating imagination of a 13-year-old. She avoids platitudes, her tone is refreshingly young, the language never tries for jargon. This novel certainly raises sympathy for all those plagued by puberty. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 100
Zwerger, Lisbeth (illus.)
Die Bibel : ausgewählte Texte
(The Bible : selected texts)
Stuttgart : Dt. Bibelges. ; Stuttgart : Verl. Kath. Bibelwerk, 2000. 159 p.
ISBN 3-438-01666-4; 3-460-30670-x
The Bible
Religious texts present a delicate challenge to adapters and illustrators. Officiousness and missionary zeal tend to overpower the biblical narrative. This is an offence to children's intelligence and curiosity. This version of the Bible, however, is wonderfully free of religious fervour and pedantry. Not exclusively conceived for children, the words and pictures are plain and simple without ever verging on the simplistic. No concessions have been made to sentimentalities. The illustrator's fine hand congeniously translates the intimate message of the words and proposes interpretations which convince children and adults on the aesthetic as well as on the narrative level. (8+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2002 - 72
Bauer, Jutta (text/illus.)
Opas Engel
(Grandfather's angel)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2001. [46] p.
ISBN 3-551-51543-3
Grandfather – Grandson – Guardian angel
Grandfather tells his grandson about his life, not knowing that he also talks about his guardian angel: whenever he was in danger, the guardian angel was on the spot and often received a bop on the nose due to grandfather's mishaps. At the end of the book, the old man dies, leaving his angelic protector to the boy. The special appeal of this picture book lies in the tension between text and pictures. While the words only describe the surface of the old man's life, which seems fairly straightforward, the coloured pen-and-ink drawings dive to a deeper level and show the essential contribution of the angel – depicted as a light-blue airy creature – to several dicey situations. A lot of humour is evident in this book, as well as a view of reality which leaves readers room enough to think and fantasize. (4+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2002 - 73
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (coll./illus.)
Apfel, Nuss und Schneeballschlacht : das große Winter-Weihnachtsbuch ; Geschichten, Lieder und Gedichte
(Apple, nut, and snowball fight : the big winterchristmas- book ; stories, songs, and poems)
Hildesheim : Gerstenberg, 2001. 144 p.
ISBN 3-8067-4956-6
Christmas – Winter season – Song – Poetry – Stories
This is a book for the whole family to read, sing, and look at. In secular and Christian texts about Christmas and wintertime, in old and in new poems, text and illustration perfectly complement each other to fulfil their task: They make people contemplate and anticipate this special time of year. The illustrations always vary according to the selected texts and the artist's imagination: The reader will find any variation imaginable from fullpage episodes to playful vignettes. The doors are open for young and old alike to enjoy themselves, play or even spin a yarn. (4+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2002 - 74
Blaich, Ute (text)
Litty, Julie (illus.)
Der Stern
(The star)
Gossau [et al.] : Neugebauer, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 3-85195-639-7
Winter – Christmas – Forest animals
It's Christmas Eve. The animals in the forest are hungry and cold because of the snow and ice, but – wasn't there some noise? The tawny owl overlooks a small mouse and instead starts telling them about The White Ravens 2002 - © Internationale Jugendbibliothek the birth of Jesus and about that new thing his birth brought to the world: love. Humans are sly, violent, and hungry for power; and the animals know that. But this night a man and his little daughter bring a load of things to eat to the forest animals. And the next day? Everything will be back to normal again, of course. Yet, for the last 2000 years the star has kept shining for those who wanted to see it. Particularly appealing in this quiet picture book are the tender watercolour paintings perfectly drawn in a naturalistic style. (5+)

Germany (German) - 2002 - 75
Blume, Bruno (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Ein richtig schöner Tag
(A really nice day)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2001. [40] p.
ISBN 3-551-51554-9
Family – Daily routine – Planning – Day trip – Obstacles
The family want to have a lovely day in their garden on the outskirts of the city. But in the morning daddy rather sleeps a little longer, baby needs yet another clean nappy, the washing machine suddenly stops working, and the chatty neighbours cause further delays. Therefore, it is almost dark when the family, a little out of breath, finally arrive at their garden. Still everybody keeps hoping that the next time they will all stick to the timetable without a problem. They are not even angry with each other although nothing went right today. Tomorrow everything will surely be different. The lively and humorous illustrations do show the parents stressed out and in a hurry; but on the other hand, they also point out that children get fun out of every situation, if only you let them. (7+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2002 - 76
Boie, Kirsten (text)
Göbel, Dorothea (illus.)
Der durch den Spiegel kommt
(The person who comes through the mirror)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2001. 236 p.
ISBN 3-7891-3145-8
Girl – Mirror – Other World – Rabbit – The Evil – Rescue – Adventure
A small, average girl – as she considers herself – is given the task of saving the Land-on-the-Other- Side from »Evil«, with her own courage as the only weapon. The first-person narrator travels into a parallel universe through a mysterious mirror and encounters several adventures that nobody at home understands, let alone believes in. It seems that the talking rabbit, her companion, has simply chosen the wrong person – instead of her, someone else should have been selected as the »Brave Fighter«. Nevertheless, she completes her task successfully. This clever mirror-tale, inspired by »Alice's Adventures in Wonderland«, does not remain on the fantasy level; it also invites readers to summon up courage for the challenges of their own daily lives. (10+)

Germany (German) - 2002 - 77
Dijk, Lutz van (text)
Schlicht, Renate (illus.)
Die Geschichte der Juden
(The history of the Jews)
Frankfurt [et al.] : Campus-Verl., 2001. 206 p.
ISBN 3-593-36703-3
Since 1948, when Palestine was partly settled by Jews without the inhabitants' consent, each generation grows up in an atmosphere of mutual hostility towards their neighbours. Even observers from outside often lack the necessary information to fully understand the events going on. Taking »personal stories« of people from different times and countries as an example, the author tries to contribute to the understanding of recent and historical problems: In the face of present conflicts, he provides information instead of ideologies. Without too much simplification, this book offers a comprehensible overview of the Jewish history. Numerous colour illustrations liven up the difficult topic. (12+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2002 - 78
Dörrie, Doris (text)
Kaergel, Julia (illus.)
Wo ist Lotte?
(Where is Lotte?)
Ravensburg : Ravensburger Buchverl., 2001. [30] p.
ISBN 3-473-33967-9
Imagination – Invisibility
Lotte is forced to eat some brawn, at least a tiny little bit, even if she doesn't like it. Finally, she manages to swallow some but afterwards she definitely needs a rest on the red sofa. When she wakes up again she can hear everything her mother and aunt are saying – but she herself has turned invisible. Could that be because of the brawn? In the following days, whenever Lotte closes her eyes she „melts into“ her surroundings – the lawn, the curtains, the wallpaper. The adults, however, who really don't know anything, refuse to believe her, even though they keep searching for her everywhere. Despite all this, mother and daughter do not quarrel because the mother simply plays along. And that's how it should be according to this light-hearted book and its unconventional colourful pictures which sometimes display a distorted perspective. (5+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2002 - 79
Egli, Werner J.
Blues für Lilly
(Blues for Lilly)
München : Bertelsmann, 2001. 218 p.
ISBN 3-570-12559-9
Texas – Young man – Grandparents – Segregation – Teenage love – Reunion – Death
When Brad's grandmother dies, he is by her side. It is clear to him that her last glance at him once again tells of the love of her life: J.B. Swift. The most famous Blues musician of his time, he was beaten up because of Brad's grandmother, his white girlfriend, by other whites; in the heat of the moment, Swift shot one of the attackers and had to spend the following fifty years in prison. The teenage boy follows his beloved grandmother's stories and reunites the two elderly people for a short time. In an utterly convincing narration, the author demonstrates how the extraordinary life of an old person provides the young protagonist with values that he also needs for his own life. (12+)

Germany (German) - 2002 - 80
Gottschalk, Maren
Der geschärfte Blick : sieben Journalistinnen und ihre Lebensgeschichte
(A keen eye : seven women journalists and their life-stories)
Weinheim : Beltz & Gelberg, 2001. 352 p.
ISBN 3-407-80881-x
Women journalists – Biography
These are the biographies of famous female journalists of the twentieth century: two Americans, a Czech, an Italian, and three Germans, who followed their professional dream, often suffering personal loss of wealth, security, and their private life. In her description, the author, who is a journalist herself, includes information about the respective time and displays a profound knowledge of and sympathy for the women and their work. She presents these women as role models, even for beginning journalists today. Nowadays, the overwhelming abundance of ways to gather information often makes orientation difficult. Therefore, it is essential to read about important forerunners and their values and way of thinking. (16+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 81
Hacke, Axel (text)
Sowa, Michael (illus.)
Ein Bär namens Sonntag
(A bear called Sunday)
München : Kunstmann, 2001. 29 p.
ISBN 3-88897-281-7
Boy – Teddybear – Dream – Change of roles – Empathy – Understanding
The first-person narrator remembers: when he was a small boy he owned a quiet little teddybear he had named Sunday. They did everything together, although the teddybear just kept silently staring straight ahead – how boring. One day, the boy wanted to know for sure: he fed him milk and honey – but the bear still stared in silence, and the boy's mother put him into the washing machine. Since he didn't have his teddy with him when he went to bed, the sad boy dreamed that he, a little human boy, travelled to bear country where he became the new toy for the bear children. Nobody heard or understood him; and his new owner, a small bear, just wanted to do everything together with him; but at least for the (toy-)boy this did not work well. A biting story told in a harmless way with apparently naïve pictures, which nevertheless show the futile attempts at communication and convey the disaster of not being understood. Text, pictures, and overall design certainly make this book a favourite. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 82
Haucke, Gert (text)
Treskatis, Barbara (illus.)
Mein allerbester Freund
(My very best friend)
Berlin : Aufbau-Verl., 2001. [36] p.
ISBN 3-351-04018-0
Dog – Playmate – Human being – Communication
Schoko [i.e. »Chocolate«] has a family of humans (Lisa prepares his food and Paul throws sticks for him) and four very best dog-friends, each of them with an individual personality: Maxi is the smallest of them. Sometimes Schoko has to let him win a game because otherwise he wouldn't want to play anymore. Together with Tarzan, Schoko loves to tug at the ball on the rope. Karlemann, the biggest of his friends, cannot run very fast, and Püppi, the white female pitbull, is afraid of everything. She needs someone to protect her. And then there is Lena, the human puppy – but, to be honest, Schoko could easily do without her. All in all, for someone like Schoko, he leads a perfect life. Large naturalistic colour-chalk drawings and a concise text clearly prove the author's detailed knowledge of and sympathy for a dog's soul. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 83
Holub, Josef
Die Schmuggler von Rotzkalitz
(The smugglers of Rotzkalitz)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2001. 148 p.
ISBN 3-7891-3707-3
Boy – Outsider – Smuggler – Holidays – Detective – Adventure
In order to cure his bronchitis, Bautz Beranek spent most of his holidays during the past few years in Rotzkalitz visiting his uncle, the head of the border guards. Unfortunately, however, he is so different from all the local children, that he doesn't have a single friend there. One day, a foreigner and his teenage son arrive at the border village – and this starts off a story of friendship, full of rapid events, with the secret and successful hunt for smugglers at its core. Bautz Beranek has a splendid time. But now this time is long past and the good old times of smuggeling are over. This amusing novel for young readers contains a lot of picaresque humour and wisdom. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 84
Johansen, Hanna (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Sei doch mal still
(Please be quiet now)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 3-446-19970-5
Listening – Noise – Silence
Two children discover silence and its different sounds – the fly at the window, the rain at the window pane, the bird in the tree. The boy is the noisy one while the girl urges him to be quiet and listen. Exact repetitions of their respective lines lend rhythm and structure to the text and increase the excitement that slowly but surely also catches the young boy's attention. The pictures are full of life and speed; yet, due to their earth-like colours, they still emanate a sense of calm matching the new and surprisingly quiet sounds children can experience within their immediate surroundings without major preparations or stress. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 85
Joop, Florentine (text/illus.)
Don Igitti und die Bellkartoffel
(Don Igitti and the barking potato)
Hamburg : Ed. Riesenrad, 2001. [30] p.
ISBN 3-933697-23-9
Man – Love – Dog – Anthropomorphism – Circus
Mr. Schulz, alias Don Igitti (i.e. »Don Yucky« – because he puts too much gel in his hair) is in love with vain Ms. Keller but his love is unrequited. He intends to win her over with the help of his small dog Holger whom he has inherited from his rich aunt Casimira. Yet, everything turns out differently: the plump dog is unaware of being a dog; he knows how to cook spaghetti and how to play with a hulahoop. So fate takes its course: at a visit to the circus Holger becomes the star of the arena and, as a result, Don Igitti takes poodle trainer Donna Infernella for his wife instead of Ms. Keller. The large-format pictures show a cheerful mixture of realistic scenes and vivacious caricature-like absurdities. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 86
Lewin, Waldtraut
Der Fluch
(The curse)
[Ravensburg] : Ravensburger Buchverl., 2001. 314 p.
(Ravensburger junge Reihe)
ISBN 3-473-35212-8
Jerusalem – Frederic II <Emperor>/1229-1230 – Crowning – Knight – Attempt at assassination – Prevention – Masquerade – Bedouin
In 1230, Frederic II, King of Sicily, is crowned German emperor in Jerusalem, the fiercely disputed holy city of Christians and Muslims. A young Frankonian knight, whose mother was Arabic, is instructed to protect the emperor from an attempted assassination. He can only carry out this order with the help of a young Bedouin's knowledge and fighting sksills. When he discovers that this Bedouin guard is in fact a woman, he is quite shocked at first. Yet soon he realizes that they are both fighting for the same side. They manage to save Frederic. The young people's love, however, will not last. This historical novel, with its topical problems, is a fascinating read. It shows people of different cultures that are entangled in a completely futile religious fight. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 87
Moost, Nele (text)
Bücker, Jutta (illus.)
Der Mondhund
(The moondog)
Stuttgart [et al.] : Thienemann, 2000. [26] p.
ISBN 3-522-43323-8
Dog – Anthropomorphism – Friendship – Faithlessness – Loneliness – Reconciliation – Imagination – Growing up
This is one of the world's oldest stories: one with a happy end. Big Dog and Small Dog are two friends who perfectly complement each other: Big Dog can do more things than Small Dog but in return Small Dog always tells Big Dog stories about the mysterious Moondog. One day, however, a third dog appears and suddenly Small Dog feels very lonely. But now is the time for Moondog to take action. Even though his former friend indeed needs Small Dog again very soon, Moondog is there for him whenever he calls him. This is a comforting book and one that encourages the readers to recall the power of imagination. Full-page illustrations express the protagonists' inner feelings through the dogs' gestures and facial expressions and show the infinite realm of the fantasy world, without getting lost in details. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 88
Pressler, Mirjam
Malka Mai
(<Proper name>)
Weinheim : Beltz & Gelberg, 2001. 324 p.
ISBN 3-407-80879-8
World War II/1943-1944 – Poland – Hungary – Persecution of the Jews – Deportation – Mother – Daughter – Search
From 1943 to 1944 Hanna Mai, a doctor, flees with her two daughters from East Poland across the Hungarian border to escape deportation by the Germans. On the way, Malka, the younger of the two girls, falls ill and has to stay behind at some well-meaning farmers'. But soon Malka's own odyssee starts. She comes into various ghettos and hospitals and develops unexpected strategies for survival. With the help of many ordinary people, her mother eventually manages to find Malka again. The girl's disturbing and unforgettable experiences form the novel's central theme. The author writes in a clear, informative, almost distant style. The positive outcome of the odyssee at least provides a happy end to all the horrors. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 89
Richter, Jutta
Hinter dem Bahnhof liegt das Meer
(Behind the station lies the sea)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2001. 92 p.
ISBN 3-446-20042-8
Homeless – Child – Guardian angel – Business sense
A shy nine-year-old boy, who has to fend for himself, befriends a homeless man. They both dream of living by the seaside. For the time being, however, they have to scrounge their basic needs. On their way, they meet a benefactor who requests some kind of payment in return for her offerings. Thus, the boy ends up selling his guardian angel – and immediately the problems start: He falls ill and loses all his optimism. But again the »good fairy« comes to his rescue and, in the end, everybody gets what they are longing for. Although conceived as a realistic story, the book also contains fairy-tale elements which soften the cruelty of fate and offer some hope. With only a few stylistic devices and a lot of sympathy for her protagonists, the author draws vivacious characters. Her upbeat humour and non-linear narration easily capture the reader's imagination. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 90
Schröder-Köpf, Doris (ed.)
Brodersen, Inge (ed.)
Blau, Aljoscha (illus.)
Der Kanzler wohnt im Swimmingpool oder Wie Politik gemacht wird
(The Chancellor lives in the swimming pool. Or: How to make politics)
Frankfurt [et al.] : Campus-Verl., 2001. 220 p.
ISBN 3-593-36802-1
Germany – Political System – Anthology
This highly interesting book deals with 26 different topics in short but informative chapters. The authors take children's helplessness with political expressions and their meanings into account and ask questions like: What are parliamentary allowances? What is a cabinet? What makes a person a European citizen? Readers will learn something about the characteristics of different constitutions as well as about virtual finance ministers. Famous people from film, radio, and television, from arts, sciences, and politics have put their pen to paper and created an amazing book: The easygoing texts, interspersed with witty comments and underlined with important facts, are a pleasure to read. Imaginative and unconventional full-page illustrations accompany the texts and increase the reader's delight. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 91
Schuh, Bernd
Das visuelle Lexikon der Umwelt
(The visual encyclopaedia of the environment)
Hildesheim : Gerstenberg, 2001. 447 p.
(Gerstenbergs visuelle Enzyklopädie)
ISBN 3-8067-4500-5
Environment – Ecology
This encyclopaedia contains a rich variety of pictures and elaborate texts, written in a comprehensible style. The objective presentation of the topics, which is nevertheless differentiated and committed, enables readers to look at the information provided with a critical mind. The chapters are connected with each other through an excellent system of references and cross-references. They deal with the (development and structure of the) »Earth«, »Life« (and living space), »Food«, »Everyday Life«, and, of course, »Energy«, »Industry«, and »Traffic«, while the final chapter is entitled »Prevention and Aftercare«. Thanks to this extensive conception, this encyclopaedia will be a clear, reliable, longlasting reference work in the area of ecology and environmental sciences. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 92
Spanier, Ariane (text/illus.)
Der schlaue Kuckucksvater
(Clever Father Cuckoo)
[Leipzig] : Leipziger Kinderbuchverlag, 2001. [20] p.
ISBN 3-89603-084-1
Father – Daughter – Power – Laziness – Exploitation – Escape
Both symbolically and from a human viewpoint, cuckoos in general do not have a particularly good reputation in the animal world. In this book it is even worse than usual: A cuckoo father employs his twelve daughters as housemaids while he himself doesn't lift a finger. Suddenly, one day, all of the girls leave their home – except the most lethargic one. From now on, the father, whether he likes it or not, has to do all the work himself and, moreover, also wait on the only child left with him. This serves him right, the readers might say. This is a funny book in small format with clay-coloured pastel- paintings and angrily frowning cuckoo daughters. (4+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 93
Stiekel, Bettina (ed.)
Kinder fragen, Nobelpreisträger antworten
(Children ask questions, Nobel Prize winners answer)
München : Heyne, 2001. 198 p.
ISBN 3-453-19702-x
Life – Existence
Children have many essential questions on their minds. Famous contemporary Nobel Prize winners – who were awarded the prize in physics, chemistry, economics, literature, or medicine, as well as alternative thinking and commitment for world peace – answer them. Questions start with: Why do we have to go to school?, Why can't I live exclusively on French Fries?, Why are boys different from girls? and finally lead to the one question these people should really know how to answer: How do I win the Nobel Prize? As shown here, complicated issues can be explained to children without distorting the facts through oversimplification. The more than twenty contributions to this commendable book make a worthwhile and humorous read and provide a cheerful introduction to sciences in general. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 94
Strittmatter, Erwin (text)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Der Weihnachtsmann in der Lumpenkiste
(Father Christmas in the box of rags)
Berlin : Aufbau-Verl., 2001. 31 p.
ISBN 3-351-04020-2
Christmas – Father Christmas – Village – Traditions – Trick
In former times, Knecht Ruprecht (a helper to St. Nicholas well-known and feared by German children) was quite an unruly fellow. Thus, to diminish her children's fears during Advent, the mother of this story's narrator invents the kind and diligent Father Christmas working away in the attic. The children are allowed to leave some food for him there every day. Yet, when the fellow doesn't even reject dead mice, it becomes fairly obvious that it is rather the family cat who's up in the attic. Eventually, the polite protagonist informs his mother that Father Christmas has given birth to some kittens. Klaus Ensikat shows the illogical events, the secrets and the embarrassing moments during the Advent Season. Details of a village life and its old traditions come to life in his subtle and ironical pictures. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 95
Wagner, Klaudia (text)
Stoebe, Susann (illus.)
Ein Hund für Oma Malwina
(A dog for Granny Malwina)
Oldenburg : Lappan, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 3-8303-1017-x
Old age – Loneliness – Coping – Shortsightedness – Animal home – Dog – Lion
Since Granny Malwina feels lonely, she gets herself a dog from the animal home. Because of her shortsightedness, however, she doesn't notice that she has accidentally taken a lion, who retired from the circus. True, this fellow is not dangerous anymore, but still he causes quite a riot when strolling through the town on his own. Luckily enough, Granny Malwina and a crowd of children manage to save him from being »exiled«. Listening to the text and watching the turbulent pictures, readers will easily recognise the old lady's great sense of humour and her cleverness in dealing with everything. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 96
Wenzel, Angela (text/select. of illus.)
Die Kunst der Illusion : ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst!
(The art of illusion : I see something that you don't see)
München [et al.] : Prestel, 2001. 29 p.
(Abenteuer Kunst)
ISBN 3-7913-2477-2
Optical illusion – Painting – Arts
The play with optical illusion has a longstanding tradition among artists: Painters and graphic artists from the seventeenth century to this day have dealt with this topic in endless variation. Whether the focus is on the two-dimensional representation of three-dimensional objects, on optical illusions created in inlays, or on central perspective and its alienation and distortion; whether the artists paint simple pictures with hidden objects to search for, or surrealist interpretations of the visible world: The observer is always encouraged to use his or her imagination to solve the puzzles and to find ways of identifying the (supposedly) portrayed objects inside the pictures. This book, which shows the joys of optical games in a historical overview, is already suitable for small children. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 97
Wunderlich, Gert (text)
Herfurth, Egbert (illus.)
Von Affe bis Zebra : das andere Tieralphabet
(From Ape to Zebra : the different Animal-Alphabet)
München [et al.] : Prestel, 2001. 29 p.
ISBN 3-7913-2473-x
Animals – Typography
In this ABC-book the world of animals as well as – on a symbolic level – the human world are presented in a slightly ironic way: The monkeys are staring at the cages just as curiously and foolishly as humans at the zoo, the donkey dresses up as a schoolteacher, the greedy wolverine's cuttlery consists of a double fork and a double spoon on the same handle. On a white background clearly outlined animals, often exaggerated in a caricaturelike manner, correspond to a variety of types and letters and their appearance in print. For older readers the development and characteristics of those letters and typefaces are explained in an appendix. Thus, despite its simplicity, the book offers a serious introduction to the world of reading and the great diversity of typography. (5+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 72
Baltscheit, Martin (text/illus.)
Hokus Pokus, Sala Bim und die Zauberprüfung
(Hokus Pokus (Abracadabra), Sala Bim (Hey Presto) and the wizards’ exam)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl., 2002. 74 p.
(Fischer Schatzinsel)
ISBN 3-596-85118-1
Hare – Duck – Friendship – Magic – Failure – Zest for Life
Young hare Hokus Pokus and duckling Sala Bim form quite an unusual friendship for life and even decide to do without the (secretly adored) girls. If needs be, they will magically conjure up a hareduck- girl in their magic school. There, however, they share the fate of many other pupils before them: The head-sorcerer needs to intervene to prevent a disaster. Now, both of them know that a real sorcerer feels bewitched by reality but does not himself try to bewitch reality. They have found a new friend, the enchanting dragonfly Sim, and they can tell a great story about their adventure. All this is almost magic in itself. Comic-like figures in earthen colours accompany the story, which is told with an amused little wink. (5+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 73
Bittner, Wolfgang (text)
Kirchberg, Ursula (illus.)
Der Kaiser und das Känguru
(The emperor and the kangaroo)
Oldenburg : Lappan, 2002. [28] p.
ISBN 3-8303-1032-3
Kangaroo – Emperor – Wish – Fulfilment
One day, the emperor feels like visiting the memorial of one of his great victorious ancestors. In its direct surroundings, however, lives the kangaroo with his loved ones. With curiosity, the head of the family watches the strange mixed crowd approaching. Within a second, the kangaroo appears before the emperor, who – in his affable way – considers him to be the gardener. The animal, not at a loss for words, immediately sees his chance and asks for a telephone box and a connection to the main water supply. A courtier’s objection is overruled – this audience was quite a success for the kangaroo family. Large wax-crayon pictures on brown paper humorously and ironically show how stupid and self-satisfied the great ones are, compared to the clever joie-de-vivre of the other creatures. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 74
Blume, Bruno (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Mitten in der Nacht
(In the middle of the night)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl., 2002. [32] p.
ISBN 3-596-85115-7
Night – Nightmare – Fall asleep – Fear – Courage
When a small boy’s fear of the evil night creatures grows bigger than the creatures themselves – then the danger is warded off: The giants looming in the dark are suddenly faced with this fear, an immensely powerful opponent, and quickly run away. The small boy can go back to sleep and dream of beautiful things. In a humorous way and with few linguistic devices, the nightly fears of children are demystified in this book. Their irrationality becomes graspable – even if the children have to endure them first before the sweet dreams can finally get through. The dreadfulness of the fierce night creatures is clearly visible in the pictures – as well as their complete disappearance. This comforting book helps children to fall asleep happily. (4+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 75
Boie, Kirsten (text)
Waechter, Philip (illus.)
Josef Schaf will auch einen Menschen
(Joseph Sheep wants to have a human pet, too)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2002. [28] p.
ISBN 3-7891-6339-2
Man – Keeping of pets – Topsy-turvy world
The world turned topsy-turvy: Animals keep human pets. Not everybody is in favour of this, though. Father and Mother Sheep for example are not, even if their little son Joseph faithfully promises to clean the cage and play with the tiny human. Nevertheless, Joseph’s birthday is near and so the Sheep-parents relent. But what a chaos, when Purzel, the small person, escapes from his cage one day. All the animals call him, search for him, and eventually find him. Before small Purzel goes to sleep, Joseph Sheep gives him a treat, of course, and cuddles him fondly – that’s the way an animal should treat his human pet. Many (seemingly) naïve pictures complement the sarcastic-ironic text. (8+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2003 - 76
Budde, Nadia (text/illus.)
Kurz nach sechs kommt die Echs
(Just after six the lizard comes) [nonsense rhyme)
Wuppertal : Hammer, 2002. [32] p.
ISBN 3-87294-902-0
Lizard – Daily routine – Dream – Wish – Wishfulfilment – Children’s poetry
Just like all the other working animals around him, the small lizard has a fixed daily routine and a secure income. And yet, at night, he dreams of a red convertible, a faithful small pet, blonde wavy hair, and some other extraordinary things. The next morning, he only just manages to catch his bus to work, but – what a surprise... Is it real or is it a dream? He himself sits behind the steering wheel and takes all the other passengers to the land where the wishes come from. The comic-like, caricaturelike pictures of the animal working routine and the tedious city life finally lead into the lizards’ paradise: Nature, wildlife, and millions of flies and insects to feed on. The courage to dream is obviously all you need. (5+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2003 - 77
Dahimène, Adelheid (text)
Stöllinger, Heide (illus.)
Der Schatten vom Hans
(Hans’ shadow)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2002. [36] p.
ISBN 3-551-51553-0
Shadow – Loss – Finding again – Game
Shadows, too, have a history: In the beginning, when there was still a lot of space, it was easy for the shadows. Today, however, they need to live in a world packed with loads of competitors: Humans, animals, houses, trees, cars, ... they all cast shadows. Thus, it is not unusual if one of the shadows wants to break free from its »caster« and discover the world on its own – Hans’ shadow for example. Yet, Shadow-Hans doesn’t know that as a mere shadow he is completely lost; he is going to shrink and disappear. Eventually, he regrets his decision and returns. And the »real« Hans can once again project shadow-plays onto the wall – because afterwards he sleeps much better. In this book, a traditional literary topic is presented to children in witty language and pictures. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 78
Damm, Antje (text/illus.)
Frag mich! : 108 Fragen an Kinder, um miteinander ins Gespräch zu kommen
(Ask me! : 108 questions to children in order to start a conversation)
Frankfurt am Main : Moritz-Verl., 2002. 220 p.
ISBN 3-89565-141-9
Child – Everyday life – Question
The subtitle to this imaginative picture book reads: »108 questions to children in order to start a conversation «. Let’s have a look at the pages »Is there something to eat that you don’t like?« – On the right side, there is a picture of a mother and her daughter sitting in front of a bowl of spinach and sausages. Or the pages entitled: »Whom did you teach something?« – The photograph shows a small child ardently drawing pictures on a slate, while a big teddy bear is watching. Thus, using various illustrative techniques and forms of questions, a universe of different topics is touched on, offering an inexhaustible amount of material for telling stories. This book for children and parents is full of possibilities undreamt of. (3+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2003 - 79
Fühmann, Franz (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Anna genannt Humpelhexe
(Anna, called Limping Witch)
Rostock : Hinstorff, 2002. 39 p.
ISBN 3-356-00938-9
Witch – Disability – Identity – Competition – Winner – Topsy-turvy world
Small witch Anna’s legs are not the same length. Since she is angry about being teased by the other witch children, she turns her disability into a special gift: with her longer leg, she runs faster than everybody else, with the short one she walks slower. When she learns to walk on her hands, too, she creates an upside-down world where the weak are able to defeat the strong. Franz Fühmann’s fable was originally published in 1981 in his book Märchen auf Bestellung (»Custom-made folktales «). Using literature as a protective cloak, the author managed to (covertly) criticise his time and the society in the German Democratic Republic without exposing himself to danger. Jacky Gleich has now created new illustrations – large, bizarre pictures – for this story. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 80
Geißler, Peter (text)
Kunert, Almud (illus.)
Ich kenn mich schon gut aus!
(I know quite a lot already!)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2002. [26] p.
ISBN 3-446-20113-0
Toddler – Imagination – Reality – Self-confidence – Perception
When the hero of this book lists all the things he knows, one is reminded of somebody whistling in a dark wood: He knows about »things«, the mirror, sticks, trousers, paths, and so on... And he also knows Mummy, of course. Excessive, full-page pictures comment on his story: everything is chaotic. Mythical creatures dominate the scene, the small child himself looks fairly bizarre and wanders around with a dragon that resembles a bathtub. There is a lot to discover in these pictures – and probably a lot to tell, too. The short, yet effective text written in verse invites readers to play (language) games. A book for children and their parents. (5+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 81
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (text)
Kindermann, Barbara (retelling)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Berlin : Kindermann, 2002. [36] p.
(Weltliteratur für Kinder ; 10)
ISBN 3-934029-10-8
Magic – Love – Youth – Old age – Death – Good/Evil – God/Devil
Doctor Heinrich Faust, the most archetypal German brooder – fastidious, disgruntled, disputed – is dragged out of his corner of classic literature, which today is unfortunately considered very oldfashioned. Quotations of verses from the most famous parts of Goethe’s text are highlighted between dense prose passages. It is quite a challenge to make such a highly complex artistic literary and philosophic work come alive for children on just a few pages. The effort is supported and substantiated by Klaus Ensikat’s elaborate pictures. The story’s protagonists walk around the medieval town scenery dressed in historical clothes – yet, at the table inside the cellar of Auerbach in the town of Leipzig, a modern punk with green hair is seated as well. This illustrated journey through the centuries hints at the timelessness of classic literature. (8+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2003 - 82
Hashemi, Kazem
Fundamentalismus : Absage an die Moderne
(Fundamentalism : Modernity rejected)
München : Elefanten Press, 2002. 127 p.
(Edition »Ich klage an!«)
ISBN 3-570-14638-3
Fundamentalism – Internationality – Religion – Science – Politics
With a successful combination of fictional stories and profound non-fictional information, the author of this book, who has been living in Germany since 1976, shows the meaning of fundamentalist thinking and its effects on religion, science, politics, and the everyday life of people. Israel, Palestine, and Iran are the focus of interest for the events retold here. The main priority of this book, however, is to explain the basic meaning of the term »fundamentalism «. It aims at analysing the various different meanings of the word and its narrow use in, mostly journalistic, reports. The fate of specific people, told here as fictitious stories, yet true in a historic context, make readers aware of how explosive this topic is. (14+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2003 - 83
Heidelbach, Nikolaus (text/illus.)
Die dreizehnte Fee
(The thirteenth fairy)
Weinheim : Beltz & Gelberg, 2002. [34] p.
ISBN 3-407-79289-1
School – Reading – Fairytale – Dream – Imagination
After the children have listened to the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty at school and learned about the revenge of the thirteenth fairy, they all have frightening dreams of curses and magic that night. Only one boy dreams a pleasant dream – about his teacher. The next day, by coincidence, his fantastic tale is the thirteenth, so the teacher would be the thirteenth fairy – and a very nice one. »Teacher’s pet!« all the other children shout. Is this book a general demonstration of sympathy for teachers? After all, in the middle of these dreamt-up horrormagicians, the teacher seems to be really trustworthy and ordinary in a comfortable way. »A fairy tale for teachers«, that’s what Nikolaus Heidelbach calls his imaginative and unconventional picture book. (7+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2003 - 84
Heine, Helme (text/illus.)
Der Club
(The club)
München : Middelhauve, 2001. [26] p.
ISBN 3-7876-9734-9
Body/Soul – Guardian angel
Professor Head, Rosi Heart, and Dick Belly are the members of »the club«. Their job is to make sure that people feel fine from womb to tomb. The professor notes down thoughts, Rosi takes care of matters of the heart, and Dick is responsible for physical health. Whenever they start quarrelling with each other, things become a little topsy-turvy; but, luckily enough, they get along most of the time and fulfil their respective duties. Helme Heine imagines a convincing model to describe how the human body and soul work, and creates just the perfect pictures to go with it, humorously explaining all the details. (5+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 85
Kamm, Katja (illus.)
Wuppertal : Hammer, 2002. [32] p.
ISBN 3-87294-913-6
Perception – Seeing – Colour – Disappearing
Colours and perception are the topic of this textless story, that confronts the protagonists – and maybe some smaller kids, too – with a number of puzzling situations: Who can see me when my clothes blend into the background? How can I become visible again? Whom or what do I myself fail to see because of optical illusions? What kind of dangers are caused by inaccurate perceptions? In a pitchblack night, a black cyclist crashes into a black tree – only his colourful bike is visible. The faces of a group of nuns in purple dresses hover on a purple background until they reach the »safe« red surroundings. This game of pictures and colours offers a lot of new insights. (4+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 86
Karau, Martin (text)
Wehner, Katja (illus.)
Ellis Biest
(Elli’s beast)
Berlin : Aufbau-Verl., 2002. [32] p.
ISBN 3-351-04030-x
Girl – Princess – Idol – Monster – Imaginary journey – Return home
Elli loves princesses of any kind; she draws and paints them with dedication. Yet, one day, a completely different creature turns up on her paper: ugly, horrible, and rebellious. Together, Elli and the Beast fly to faraway countries and get up to such mischievous deeds that the sultan puts them in the dungeon. Back from her (imaginary) journey, Elli lets herself be pampered by her unsuspecting mother. This is the story of a fairly lonely child – but one who is very imaginative and not too wellbehaved. The text uses the stylistic figure of understatement. The pictures of this unlikely pair, drawn with clear outlines, are set against a light-coloured background in an unspectacular way. (6+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2003 - 87
Könneke, Ole (text/illus.)
Der große böse Bill
(Big bad Bill)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2002. [16] Bl.
ISBN 3-446-20182-3
Malice – Strength – Abuse of power – Trick – Change of awareness
Bill – big, bad, and very strong – really frightens the whole city. That is why the people endure his bad jokes and ignore all his pranks. Accidentally however, the children discover that Bill only tries to fight the superiority of his parents with his malicious behaviour – their pictures hang above his bed. Now, the children come up with an idea: Walking on stilts and disguised with masks they make »the parents« appear before Bill in a threatening and warning demeanour; at the same time, the children themselves, whom Bill usually loves to torment, come to his assistance. Peace is declared and, from now on, Bill is very nice – but only to the children. Ole Könneke’s comic-like illustrations and the laconic-ironic text are hilarious. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 88
Kriegel, Volker (text/illus.)
Erwin mit der Tröte
(Erwin and his trumpet)
Frankfurt am Main : Eichborn, 2002. 59 p.
ISBN 3-8218-3740-3
Jungle – Coati – Music band – Star worship
»Unlike other small bears, coati (nasua nasua) are extremely sociable animals who try to keep contact with the members of their group by continuous whistling and warbling.« (read more at: www.zoo.ch) Erwin is no exception. With his snout, he loves playing all kinds of music, whether it is serious or easy-listening music, assisted by the wonderful band called »The Jungle Kings«. Back at Sansibar after a completely unexpected and brilliant, yet nerve-wrecking, success as a solo superstar at La Scala in Milan, Erwin and his band go on a concert tour as »Erwin & the Magic Music Circus«. In this book, Volker Kriegel – author, illustrator, and musician – combines the artistic worlds familiar to him in pictures and text: Musically well-informed and instructive, and ironic in a sympathetic way. Sequels welcome! (6+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 89
Krockow, Christian von
Eine Frage der Ehre : Stauffenberg und das Hitler-Attentat vom 20. Juli 1944
(A question of honour : Stauffenberg and the attempt on Hitler’s life on July 20, 1944)
Berlin : Rowohlt, 2002. 199 p.
(Bücher für die nächste Generation)
ISBN 3-87134-441-9
Germany/1933-1945 – Schenk von Stauffenberg, Claus – Resistance movement
The childhood and youth of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg reveals a lot: He had a broad artistic education, belonged to the circle around the poet Stefan George, and his enthusiasm for aristocratic values in the best traditional sense influenced the life and thoughts of this young man. In later years, his active resistance against Hitler can be seen as the grown-up’s desperate attempt to prevent Germany’s political, intellectual, and physical destruction. The author does not present himself to the readers as an omniscient narrator but rather as a well-informed and concerned contemporary witness who is also searching for answers. This adds convincing authenticity to the book and inspires further reflection. (14+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2003 - 90
Lembcke, Marjaleena (text)
Opel-Götz, Susann (illus.)
Die Geschichte von Tapani, vom Fernfahrer Frisch und der roten Ente
(The story of Tapani, lorry-driver Frisch, and the red duck)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2002. 61 p.
ISBN 3-7941-4949-1
Wooden toy – Lucky charm – Wish – Fulfilment
More than anything in the world, Tapani wants to join the football team; but Jukka, the captain, striker, and top scorer, just doesn’t like him. Therefore, Tapani resorts to a trick: He invents a rich, kidnapped man and plans to rescue him in return for a huge reward. A small red wooden duck, washed up on the sea shore, carried this message around its neck. In reality, the duck has experienced quite a different fate: A lorry-driver had sent it off in the midst of a life crisis. Nevertheless, Tapani’s life changes for the better. Soon, he is one of the team-members; and the duck-carver becomes happy, too. This story of small matters and big effects is as simple as it is convincing, and encourages readers to believe in the improbable. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 91
Rieckhoff, Sibylle (text/illus.)
Rieckhoff, Jürgen (text/illus.)
Roberta und ich
(Roberta and I)
Hildesheim : Gerstenberg, 2002. [28] p.
ISBN 3-8067-4979-5
Love of animals – Keeping of pets – Sheep
Roberta is a sheep that the young narrator of this unusual animal story adopts as her cuddly pet. Even if a real sheep in the flat does cause a couple of problems, everything in this small domestic world revolves around the child’s well-being – at least until sheep Roberta starts feeling homesick for her flock. She is allowed to return to the green meadow and Robert takes her place in the house. He is made of fabric and can be cleaned in the washing machine. Still, one day – there is no doubt about this – the child will sit on the grass again and look longingly at a real cow... The authors present this original and amusing story with a lot of wit, delicate strokes and pastel colours. (5+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 92
Schulz, Hermann
Flucht durch den Winter
(Escaping through the winter)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2002. 198 p.
ISBN 3-551-58096-0
Germany/1944-1945 – Forced labourer – Escape
During the last months of World War II, 14-yearold Ännchen Schwalbe lives with farmers in North Germany. The forced labourers who had been brought to Germany from countries occupied by the Germans are to be transported to a death camp soon. The girl takes pity on Sergej, a young Russian, and decides to escape with him. During their odyssey, the young people witness the terrible end of the war and its ravages. They even kill in order not to be killed. In April 1945, they are both rescued by the Allied Forces. This gripping realistic novel, which is based on authentic tales of people involved, convinces through the absence of sentimentality and pathos. Still, the readers can experience the horrible events very closely. (14+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2003 - 93
Tetzner, Lisa (text)
Ten Doornkaat, Hans (adapt.)
Binder, Hannes (illus.)
Die Schwarzen Brüder : Roman in Bildern
(The black brothers : a novel-cum-comic-strip)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2002. 142 p.
ISBN 3-7941-4900-9
Italy/19century – Poverty – Children trade – Child labour – Chimney sweep – Exploitation
The married writers Kurt Kläber (a.k.a. Kurt Held) and Lisa Tetzner, renowned for their social criticism, were inspired to write this modern classic by a story in an old newspaper clipping about the (sufferings of the) »spazzacamini« in Milan at the turn of the century. The text tells how poor farmers from Ticino (Switzerland) sold their young sons into Italy as chimney sweeps, in order to save their families. Only few of them ever returned. This new edition illustrated in mezzotint technique offers a mixture of picture-story and condensed version of the original novel. Some parts of the plot, which had originally been told in minute details, are presented exclusively through series of black-andwhite pictures with only a few words of text. This is a fascinating new form of novel-cum-comicstrip. (12+)

Germany (German) - 2003 - 94
Waberer, Keto von
Berlin : Berlin-Verl., 2002. 167 p.
ISBN 3-8270-0485-3
Sister – Family – Social role – Childhood memories
The older sister has already been dead for five years, when her younger sister starts remembering their childhood, the closeness between them, and how they were separated in their youth. She tells of many happy moments, but also of small, frightening emotional tragedies that plunge each family member into loneliness and give them a feeling of being misunderstood as they are not able to help each other. The author creates a picture full of the inevitable influences affecting each person within the family bonds, caused more or less accidentally or by fate. This is an extremely unsentimental, lucid, and gripping literary text based on an autobiographic background. (16+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2003 - 95
Weiss, Ruth
Meine Schwester Sara
(My sister Sara)
Augsburg : Maro-Verl., 2002. 257 p.
ISBN 3-87512-260-7
South Africa – Apartheid – German Girl – Jews – Adoption – Antisemitism – Outsider
A Jewish girl is born in a concentration camp in Germany and loses her parents there. After 1945, she is adopted by a South African Boer family. At that time, there is widespread antisemitism in South Africa, and a naïve believe that the political situation and actions in Germany were legitimate. This makes the girl a blameless outsider within the family community, without her being able to understand the reasons because she has been kept in the dark about her background. A few years later, the South African policy of apartheid drives the young student to join a political underground organisation. She is killed in the Soweto Rebellion of 1976. As a journalist, the author – who herself emigrated to South Africa in 1936 – is familiar with the political development in her adopted home country. Following many authentic fates, she tells this family history in a differentiating, gripping, and unsentimental way, against the historical backdrop of decisive political events of the 20th century. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2003 - 96
Welsh, Renate
Dieda oder das fremde Kind
(That girl, or: the strange child)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2002. 158 p.
ISBN 3-7891-5112-2
Austria/1945 – Village – Motherless child – Stepmother – Stepsister
A village in Austria at the end of the Second World War: A seven-year-old girl lives with the family of her stepmother but stubbornly rebels against this new situation. Her real mother died of a brain tumour and, all too frequently, the girl blames herself for it. Her feeling of not being welcome is so strong that she calls herself »that girl« and does not respond to her real name anymore. Eventually, her stepsister is born – and this new, innocent member of the family finally reaches through the numbness of the lonely child. Using only a few hints, Renate Welsh perfectly manages to evoke a historically authentic atmosphere, in the turmoil of which a child has to try and cope with her own great sorrow. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2003 - 97
Wittkamp, Frantz (text)
Wittkamp, Julia (illus.)
Wo ist Mama?
(Where is mum?)
Hamburg : Ellermann, 2002. [20] p.
ISBN 3-7707-6448-x
Getting lost – Longing for the mother – Searching – Finding again
Simple, clear pictures and verses: Little Bear has lost his way while in town and is now searching for Mother Bear. She could be anywhere – at the baker’s, the butcher’s, the ice-cream man’s, the flower shop, or simply talking to a couple of friends. The small bear is desperate ... but wait... there she comes walking down the street with her big hat and the shopping bag. »The sun is shining. The air is warm. And mother takes him in her arm(s).« At the beginning of the book, the word »scheint« (shining) had gloomily rhymed with »weint« (crying)! This square little book is as handy as it is comforting for anxious little children. (4+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2003 - 98
Würmli, Marcus (text)
Ring, Werner (illus.)
Der Kinder-Brockhaus – Tiere
(The Brockhaus Children’s Encyclopaedia – Animals)
Mannheim [et al.] : Brockhaus, 2003. 300 p.
ISBN 3-7653-3011-6
A clear structure plus the reliable preparation of data are characteristic for the texts and pictures in this comprehensive animal encyclopaedia. Starting with the local fauna of the various habitats – house, garden, meadow, forest, etc. – the reports cover more and more distant regions and parts of the world. Through this method, the readers learn about the similarities and differences between familiar animals living close by and exotic ones far away. Every animal is described in a kind of »wanted« poster-form; special information boxes give some additional facts, and quiz questions make the reading more fun. This is a weighty introduction to the universe of zoology, a book to devour and consult for reference purposes. (7+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2003 - 99
Zitelmann, Arnulf
»Jedes Sandkorn ist ein Buchstabe« : die Lebensgeschichte des Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
(»Each grain of sand is a letter« : The life of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg)
Weinheim [et al.] : Beltz & Gelberg, 2002. 338 p.
ISBN 3-407-80883-6
Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 – 1799), a pastor’s son who later became a scientist, was far ahead of the linear way of thinking of his time. Much earlier than others, he discovered new and unexpected connections between physical and chemical processes. At the age of only twenty-five, he was offered a post as professor for Mathematics at the University of Göttingen. Being quite unconventional in his life and ideas, he attached himself twice to women who were a lot younger than him. With the help of his »Sudelbücher« (Scribble books), the most famous collection of German aphorisms, Arnulf Zitelmann presents Lichtenberg as private person, philosopher, sceptic, and mocker. This biography, based on Lichtenberg’s letters and other writings, meticulously analyses his life and works. (16+)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 70
Abmeier, Armin [et al.] (ed.)
Müller, Thomas M. (illus.)
Lebens-Mittel : was Kinder brauchen
(Food / Means of life ‹pun›) : what children need)
Frankfurt am Main [et al.] : Büchergilde Gutenberg, 2003. [32] p. + 1 poster
(Die tollen Hefte ; 22)
ISBN 3-7632-6022-6. 3-936482-22-0
Child – Wish – Humour – Poetry – Ultra-short story
»What children need« – that’s the subtitle of this small encyclopaedic compendium of poems and stories by famous German-speaking authors and poets which all focus on children’s interests, wishes, and basic needs. Thus, the texts cover topics such as »water«, »tree«, »bed«, »family«, »something sweet«, etc. The colourful, imaginative illustrations add unexpected aspects and connotations to various terms in an interpretative way. The booklet is published on the occasion of the German UNICEF section’s 50th anniversary (with a poster enclosed and with a slightly nonsensical glossary) and can be savoured by child and adult readers of all ages. (8+) ☆ ☼

Germany (German) - 2004 - 71
Bauer, Jutta (ed./illus.)
Ich sitze hier im Abendlicht : Briefe für die ganze Familie
(I’m sitting in the evening light : letters for the whole family)
Hildesheim : Gerstenberg, 2003. 168 p.
ISBN 3-8067-5028-9
This beautifully illustrated book is a large-format collection of letters throughout the centuries – most of them about children, childhood, and family life, but travel-, love-, and ordinary letters are also included; serious ones and funny ones, many from well-known, others from unknown people. In the age of e-mail and text messages, it is the editor and illustrator’s intention to remind people of the genre ‘letter’ as written and illustrated testimonies on paper and to show how many treasures from this genre have survived. Various lives and fates open up before the readers’ eyes. The fast modern world almost disappears behind them. A book for children and their parents. (8+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2004 - 72
Drvenkar, Zoran (text)
Könnecke, Ole (illus.)
Du schon wieder
(It’s you again)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2003. [160] p.
ISBN 3-551-55240-1
Height – Outsider – Friendship – Quarrel – Reconciliation – Journey
Tiny Fredo and beanpole Rocky both do not fit into the norm, let alone into school. Therefore, they set out into the big wide world. The small guy becomes a cook for small portions, the tall guy turns into »muscle man«. When they meet again, they start working on a joint project: First of all, they take part in a »dwarf-throwing« tournament – and the invincible team wins, of course, and becomes infinitely famous. But then they fight about which of them is more important – and once again go their separate ways. In the end however, they help each other in a life-threatening situation and finally stay together for good. In this amusing but at the same time profound book, the text and the comic-strip-like black-and-white illustrations are placed on separate pages, so that readers can follow them both individually. This lends an additional charme to both the written and the drawn story. (7+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2004 - 73
Funke, Cornelia (text/illus.)
Hamburg : Dressler, 2003. 573 p.
ISBN 3-7915-0465-7
Fictitious person – Reading – Coming alive – Magic – Danger – Good/Evil – Fight – Girl – Single father – Missing the mother
Meggie’s father, a single parent, is a bookbinder – »book doctor« she calls him. One day, Dustfinger, a dubious stranger, who calls her father »Silvertongue«, warns him about a powerful pursuer called Capricorn who would do everything to get his hands on one of the father’s books. The girl has no idea that the protagonists of this old story entitled Tintenherz (Inkheart) are all bandits who came alive one day through her father’s special skill of making fictitious characters come into the real world by reading their story aloud. At the same moment, Meggie’s mother in turn disappeared without a trace. Father, daughter, and book-loving aunt Elinor have to survive frightening adventures before the fictitious scoundrels vanish and Meggie’s mother can finally return. A gripping novel about the power of imagination and spoken words. (12+)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 74
Hein, Christoph
Mama ist gegangen : Roman für Kinder
(Mummy has left : a novel for children)
Weinheim [et al.] : Beltz & Gelberg, 2003. 145 p.
ISBN 3-407-79853-9
Mother – Death – Family – Grief
Ulla’s family could not be happier: Her father works at home as a sculptor, her beloved mother, a film director and centre of the family, is a beautiful woman who simply laughs away problems and sadness; and her two older brothers serve as examples for the girl. One day, however, her mother falls ill and dies soon after. Now, the strong family relationships prove vital: The father and siblings manage to support each other and fight depressive moods together. The author writes in an unsentimental way and carefully hints at the long process of coping with grief, showing how each family member finds their own way of going on with life. The touching novel makes readers share the fateful rift in the little girl’s childhood continuum. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 75
Janßen, Ulrich (text)
Steuernagel, Ulla (text)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Die Kinder-Uni : Forscher erklären die Rätsel der Welt
(The Children’s University : scientists and scholars explain the world’s mysteries)
München : Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2003. 223 p.
ISBN 3-421-05695-1
Knowledge – School – University – Sciences
Today’s pupils are the students of tomorrow. This was reason enough for Tübingen University to initiate a lecture series for children only, about themes and topics that children’s heads and hearts are preoccupied with: dinosaurs, volcanoes, jokes, poverty, death, wealth, and other topics. Renowned palaeontologists, cultural scientists, economists, and teachers from many other faculties have proven themselves with »easy answers to the most difficult questions in the world«. This volume was put together from the lectures, text and layout are convincing and arouse the readers’ curiosity. Last but not least, the pictures by Klaus Ensikat, Germany’s »uncrowned king of book illustration« (quote from the publisher), will also delight grown-up readers. (10+)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 76
Kemmler, Melanie (text/illus.)
Der hölzerne Mann
(The wooden man)
Berlin : Aufbau-Verl., 2003. [24] p.
ISBN 3-351-04034-2
Wooden doll – Playing – Toy – Chain reaction
A mysterious, still, but not really peaceful world – set up in a box – is created here. A wooden (toy) man guards a wooden forester, a little toy mouse, and the (toy) dog and cat who are obviously quite lively. The dog bites the cat’s tail, the wooden forester arrests the dog, the wooden man in turn arrests the wooden forester and the dog and locks them all (including the cat) into his wooden house. The person responsible for all this can only be the small, but in this setting fairly powerful, person whose shadow appears in the last picture, hovering above the arrangement as ‘eminence grise’. Static pictures with broad areas of earthy colours, lend a surreal dynamic to this story. (4+)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 77
Kuhl, Anke (text/illus.)
Cowboy will nicht reiten
(Cowboy doesn’t want to ride)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 3-551-51596-4
Cowboy – Riding – Fear – Horse – Relationship – Trust
This book tells the story of a cowboy who – not befitting his profession – is afraid of horses and is miraculously cured of his fears: It is his fate that, one day, he accidentally ends up on the back of a horse. A crazy ride across hills and valleys ensues – for days and nights because the poor man doesn’t know how to stop the horse. Eventually, he dozes off completely exhausted and without a saddle underneath him. When he starts snoring, the horse finally hears something like »Brrrr!« and immediately, just like its rider, it falls into a deep sleep. After waking up, the relaxed cowboy realises: Well, not all horses are bad, there are exceptions! A wonderful parody on riders’ fears with the cartoon-like pictures slightly reminiscent of Lucky Luke – and a lot of fun. (6+)
(Troisdorfer Bilderbuchpreis; 2003)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 78
Lembcke, Marjaleena
In Afrika war er nie : Roman
(He has never been to Africa : a novel)
München [et al.] : Nagel & Kimche, 2003. 105 p.
ISBN 3-312-00938-3
Boy – Father – Missing the father – Motor bike – Waiting – Love – Return
One day, Juhani’s father drove away on his Harley Davidson and disappeared without a trace. The boy assumes he is in Africa. Six long years of waiting – and suddenly a Harley Davidson again appears in the village. But Juhani’s new search ends in disappointment: His father lived in the neighbouring village most of the time, has alcohol problems, and had to sell his motor bike because he was short of money. Nevertheless, for the boy a lot has changed in the past few years. A shy first love for an equally shy girl is more important now. Soberly and with a lot of wit, this story describes a boy’s difficult process of growing up in a provincial environment. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 79
Mebs, Gudrun (text)
Rudelius, Wolfgang (illus.)
Herr Leo und sein Michael
(Mr. Leo and his Michael)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2003. 90 p.
ISBN 3-7941-6002-9
Grandfather – Grandson – Dog – Relationship
Mr. Leo thinks he has reached an age when everybody should have a grandson. Unfortunately, the lack of grandchildren, once established, cannot be fixed – unless of course you try to re-define the notion of »grandson«: If, for example you encounter a fat furry something in the park one day that does not budge from your side – could not this creature pass as grandson »Michael«? True, he has completely different habits and needs from granddad Leo and he has four paws. But he is so cute that Granddad can neither chase him away nor forget him. Granddad and »Michael« are happy and Granddad has found a new meaning to his life. In a slightly ironic yet sympathetic way, the author describes the (mis)doings and adventures of this unlikely couple. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 80
Mülbe, Wolfheinrich von der (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Die Zauberlaterne : Roman
(The magic lantern : a novel)
Frankfurt am Main [et al.] : Büchergilde Gutenberg, 2003. 475 p.
ISBN 3-7632-5207-x
Literary fairy tale – Knight – Adventure – Magic – Task – Proving oneself – Love
His mother’s carping about his un-knightly deeds drives young Kunibert out into the world where a spectacular adventure awaits him. The lovesick knight receives orders from the royal father of his beloved to go on a quest for a magic shaving kit that a fairy once created and that is said to turn shaving into a pleasure. Annoyingly enough, the single parts of this kit are scattered around the world. This particularly attractive new edition of an almost forgotten novel is a serious and at the same time humorous description of a journey through the terrestrial and subterranean world. With its new full-page illustrations accompanied by small vignettes, this treasure will give pleasure to young and old readers alike. (10+)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 81
Pausewang, Gudrun
Und was mach ich? : oder Der Traum vom Fliegen
(And what do I do? : or The dream of flying)
Ravensburg : Ravensburger Buchverl., 2003. 278 p.
(Ravensburger junge Reihe)
ISBN 3-473-35238-1
Siblings – Choice of profession – Loneliness – Accident – Drug abuse – Independence
Nele, daughter of a hard-working middle-class family, tells of her mother’s possessive attitude towards herself and her two brothers. To escape, the adolescent girl finds herself a secret hiding-place in an abandoned building and befriends the homeless people close by. Her brother Tobias’ longing for freedom leaves him with gambling debts, and he finally ends up in prison for drug abuse. The younger brother, Sascha, simply leaves home without an explanation. One day, he dies in an accident. This summer, in her »owl’s nest« (that’s what she calls her temporary dwelling) Nele grows up. With empathy for all the characters, the author describes their conflict-ridden family life and shows, with a great deal of commitment, how difficult it can be to find a way out of apparently hopeless situations. (12+)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 82
Prinz, Alois
Lieber wütend als traurig : die Lebensgeschichte der Ulrike Marie Meinhof
(Rather angry than sad : the life of Ulrike Marie Meinhof)
Weinheim [et al.] : Beltz & Gelberg, 2003. 328 p.
ISBN 3-407-80905-0
Meinhof, Ulrike Marie – Biography – Terrorism – Germany/1934-1976
Ulrike Meinhof is a symbol of left-wing radical terrorism in Germany in the 1970s. This extensive and detailed biography attempts to take a look at all the facets of this woman and the process of her development: her interests in aesthetics and literature and her charitable efforts for underprivileged people during her teenage years as well as her way into the radical political scene after 1968. All the events and protagonists of this time are described in great detail. Neither does the author omit to mention that the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Ulrike Meinhof and the other members of the Baader- Meinhof-group at Stammheim prison were never fully clarified. An illuminating read for young adults interested in Germany’s recent history. (16+)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 83
Procházková, Iva (text)
Goedelt, Marion (illus.)
Elias und die Oma aus dem Ei
(Elias and the grandmother who hatched from the egg)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2003. 127 p.
ISBN 3-7941-6005-3
Boy – Parents – Lack of time – Grandmother – Imagination – Independence
Elias wants to have a grandmother of his own, just like all of his classmates and friends. His longing for her is so strong that, one day, something hatches from an ordinary, slightly larger bird’s egg. The creature is clearly a small grandmother – even if she has wings. Now it is Elias’s task to teach her everything a grandmother needs to know. Granny learns quickly, even how to fly. This is very convenient when they organise a kite party at school: When Elias’s kite does not take off, Granny can help it along a little. Yet, this also means she soars into the sky with the kite and disappears from the boy’s life. This poetic and not at all melancholic story focuses on longing and imagination. (7+)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 84
Reich, Jens (text)
Osburg, Swantje (illus.)
Es wird ein Mensch gemacht : Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Gentechnik
(A human being is created : chances and limitations of genetic engineering)
Berlin : Rowohlt Berlin, 2003. 189 p.
(Bücher für die nächste Generation)
ISBN 3-87134-471-0
Genetics – Genetic engineering – Ethics
Genetic engineering is a rapidly developing but also extremely complex field in relation to both natural sciences and ethics. In this ambitious non-fiction title, this field is presented to teenagers in great detail yet comprehensibly. At the end of each chapter, readers will find fictitious dialogues that discuss the pros and cons, the dangers of abuse, and the hope for therapeutic benefits in administering the results of genetic research. Based on the renowned author’s own knowledge and experience in medicine and biochemistry, the book provides teenagers who are prepared to tackle a demanding task with a well-founded and respectable introduction to a recent and intensely discussed topic that is of great social importance. (16+)

Germany (German) - 2004 - 85
Richter, Jutta (text)
Janssen, Susanne (illus.)
An einem großen stillen See
(At a large and quiet lake)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2003. 63 p.
ISBN 3-446-20333-8
Night – Fear – Sleeplessness – Angel
A child and a man are afraid at night and cannot fall asleep even though mother and wife, respectively, are trying to help them: Only when the two sleepless people meet and tell each other about angels who protect human beings, does the situation finally improve because, as the text states: »When two people share their happiness it grows, and when two people share their fear it dwindles.« Jutta Richter’s angel-poems speak of incomprehensible experiences in one’s own soul with metaphors borrowed from nature. The illustrations develop their own expressive fantastic atmosphere painted in pasty colours. This book may not be particularly easy to understand for younger readers but definitely has a lot to offer for older ones. (8+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2004 - 86
Roeder, Annette (text)
Singer, Claire (illus.)
Und Papa schenkt mir dann ein Schloss
(And Daddy will give me a castle)
Leipzig : LeiV, 2003. [28] p.
ISBN 3-89603-142-2
Single mother – Father – Competition
Little Theo’s parents, who live in separate flats, are striving to outdo each other in the love for their child: Whenever they take him to kindergarten, the means of transport becomes bigger, higher, and faster, starting with an ordinary bike (followed by a rocket, a rollercoaster, and others) and ending with a huge submarine. Readers can tell how exciting this parental love is – but also how exhausting. In the end, despite his initial enthusiasm, Theo has but one wish: Granny shall take him to kindergarten and the parents shall come to collect him together – on foot. Full-page pastel and charcoal drawings illustrate this truly imaginative story about parental love, a child’s needs, and the difficulties to recognise them. (3+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2004 - 87
Rusch, Claudia
Meine freie deutsche Jugend
(My free German teenage years)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer, 2003. 156 p.
ISBN 3-10-066058-7
German Democratic Republic (GDR) – Ministry of State Security – Girl – Growing up – Family – School – Germany/1971-2003 – Autobiography
For the little girl from the coast of the Baltic Sea, freedom beyond the borders of former East Germany (GDR) is identical with the so-called »Swedish Ferry«, crossing the sea from Saßnitz on the island of Ruegen to Trelleborg in Sweden twice a day. To travel with it only once – this wish may deeply influence a geographically and politically confined childhood, especially if the lives of family and friends are shaped by the civil rights movement of the GDR and the child – no matter how bravely she stands up for the family’s beliefs – feels she is being stigmatised and alienated from ‘normal’ society. Looking back on her childhood with a lot of humour and love for her own childhood, the author describes her sometimes awfully funny, naive and politically incorrect, linguistic and intellectual errors. As an A-level graduate of 1989 – the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall – she seizes the now historical chance to discover the larger world and its possibilities with her former naivety and curiosity. A captivating autobiography, equally recommendable for young adults in East and West. (14+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2004 - 88
Schami, Rafik (text)
Könnecke, Ole (illus.)
Wie ich Papa die Angst vor Fremden nahm
(How I made Daddy overcome his fear of strangers)
München : Hanser, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 3-446-20331-1
Girl – Single father – Foreigner – Skin colour – Prejudice – Fear – Community
Just like every little girl, this story’s protagonist absolutely adores her big, strong, brave, funny, intelligent, and courageous Daddy. Still, he has one little fault: He is afraid of strangers, especially those with dark skin, whose language he does not understand and whom he considers dirty and noisy. Today, Daddy is to be invited to the birthday party of Banja – his daughter’s classmate from Africa – where he is supposed to perform some magic tricks. He does not know anything about the family’s skin colour and thus is quite confused about the huge African welcome he receives. Yet, ‘magically’ all his fears vanish during the party – and so do his unfounded prejudices, now and forever. This book is a cheerful, uncomplicated story with a serious background. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2004 - 89
Schnurre, Wolfdietrich (text)
Herfurth, Egbert (illus.)
(<Proper name>)
Berlin : Aufbau-Verl., 2003. 31 p.
ISBN 3-351-04036-9
Veterinarian – Human – Animals – Imprisonment – Suffering – Freedom
Vet Dr. Doddlmoddl is convinced that all the animals’ (and people’s) illnesses are caused by the same thing: the suffering from … humans. It seems relatively easy to cure animals of the disease if they simply forget ‘their’ humans for a while and become real animals again. Suddenly aware of so far unknown possibilities, the animal patients choose the freedom they themselves want to have. (For human beings, a similar method could be useful simply because they might rediscover their own ‘animalness’). The timeless social criticism of the rediscovered story works even if children might not fully recognise this aspect. Egbert Herfurth’s clear and at the same time ambiguous pictures perfectly meet the text’s laconic tone. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2004 - 90
Schröder, Patricia
Gyde und die Flut
(Gyde and the high tide)
Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl., 2003. 93 p.
(Fischer Schatzinsel)
ISBN 3-596-85116-5
Girl – Single mother – Alcoholic – Missing the father – Imagination – Murderer – Rape
Gyde lives at the coast. Her father, a sailor, is away most of the time while her mother drowns her loneliness in drink. She longs for a happy family and tries to cope with the responsibilities she has to face. When she falls in love for the first time with young holiday-maker David, she plans to sail across the sea with him on her self-made raft. This raft becomes a metaphor for escape, freedom, and happiness – dreams that suddenly find a brutal and horrible end. Before the high tide comes in, Gyde is killed by a sex murderer. The story’s fascination lies in its narrative tone. It conveys a ‘normal’ world in a small village with school friends, neighbours, and holiday-makers. Therefore, the catastrophe described makes a particularly powerful impression on the readers. (14+)

Germany (German) - 2005 - 69
Baltscheit, Martin (text)
K., Ulf (illus.)
Der kleine Herr Paul
(Little Mr. Paul)
Frankfurt am Main : Altberliner, 2004. 74 p.
ISBN 3-8339-6505-3
Reading – Height – Outsider – Short story
If it comes to reading books and talking about them, little Mr. Paul is ›genetically conditioned‹: The whole family used to read in any situation imaginable and book-trees were growing in their garden. As an adult, little Mr. Paul carries on the family tradition. One day, however, something very peculiar happens: There is one book that seems to offer each reader a different ending. At first, people argue and worry a lot; yet, in the end, they all agree that this is only natural because everybody reads and interprets a book in his or her own characteristic way. The protagonist of this book relates this remarkable episode as well as other, similar ones. Naïve, comic-book-like full-page pictures in two colours add new meanings to the slightly unusual stories. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2005 - 70
Bardeli, Marlies (text)
Godon, Ingrid (illus.)
Philines Zirkusreise : eine Geschichte von Ende und Anfang
(Philine’s journey with the circus : a tale about beginning and end)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2004. 100 p.
ISBN 3-7941-6034-7
Circus – Clown – Bankruptcy – Farewell
Right from the beginning of her life, little Philine, the daughter of clowns Luisa and Giovanni, cuts a fine figure at Circus Bertologi. She quickly learns everything a circus child needs to know and is received enthusiastically by the audience. Nevertheless, they all feel that the popularity of circuses is dwindling – less and less people come to watch animals and artists perform. Therefore, the director and his wife decide to move to an old artists’ home in Italy while the other circus employees need to look for a new job. Even though this is a sad homage to the once glamorous world of the circus, the angular, reflective pictures and the text of this book radiate with joyfulness and a zest for life. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2005 - 71
Boie, Kirsten (text)
Waechter, Philip (illus.)
Was war zuerst da?
(What came first?)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2004. [28] p.
ISBN 3-7891- 6346-5
Hen – Cock – Egg – Chicken – Existence
A little hen is troubled by the ancient, still unsolved mystery about the origin of all hens. To answer this question, she sets off on a journey. When she meets a young cock who is willing to help and their little offspring hatches soon after, they both acknowledge that neither hen nor egg could have been there first, but rather cock and hen together. Yet, as soon as the chick has grown a little, she asks her parents: »Where did hen and cock come from? Did they not hatch from an egg after all?« This philosophising picture book does not discuss matters gravely or solemnly; instead, it uses the amiable protagonists to point out the limits of human reasoning in an amusing manner that is underlined by Philip Waechter’s naïve-style drawings rendered in clear colours. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2005 - 72
Fühmann, Franz (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Gleich, Nora (illus.)
Doris Zauberbein
(Doris Magic-Leg)
Rostock : Hinstorff, 2004. 41 p.
ISBN 3-356-01046-8
Girl – Stork – Magic – Assistance – Justice
Seven-year-old Doris wants to learn how to do magic: She is longing for brighter colours and for people to treat each other friendlier and more attentively. One method to achieve this – as she has learned from a family of storks – is to stand completely still on one leg for as long as possible. This makes you see very far and enables you to speak to faraway places and send magic there. The police are not willing to accept the magic actions but they simply cannot discover their reason. Thus, Doris is successful. Franz Fühmann, who died in 1984 and therefore did not witness the unification of East and West Germany, carefully weaves his social criticism of the former GDR into this fairy tale written in 1982. Jacky Gleich’s ironic pictures with their angular shapes perfectly convey the tone of the story. (7+)

Germany (German) - 2005 - 73
Gerlach, Harald
»Man liebt nur, was einen in Freyheit setzt« : die Lebensgeschichte des Friedrich Schiller
(»You only love what sets you free« : the life of Friedrich Schiller)
Weinheim [et al.] : Beltz & Gelberg, 2004. 190 p.
ISBN 3-407-80877-1
Schiller, Friedrich von – Biography – Germany/ 1759-1805 – Literature – Sturm und Drang
This biography is unconventional in its structure and its presentation. It looks at the psychological background and specific situations in the life of the famous writer Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805), and then draws conclusions about his personal motivation for his actions. Schiller’s life was deeply influenced by the political situation in Germany at the time, i.e. the particularism and the despotism of the rulers. The resulting human and social difficulties – in most parts of Germany he was more or less regarded as an exile from Württemberg – are expressed most vividly in his early plays. All his life, Schiller remained a faithful and fervent supporter of the values and ideals of Humanism. An essay about the impact and success of Schiller’s works, plus extensive biographical data perfectly complement this informative book. (12+)

Germany (German) - 2005 - 74
Glück, Gerhard (text/illus.)
Der Pizzakönig von Pisa
(The Pizza King of Pisa)
Oldenburg: Lappan, 2004. [32] p.
ISBN 3-8303-1085-4
Pizzeria – Baker – Abuse of power – Punishment
Once upon a time in Pisa, there lived the baker Ignazio who was such a skilled baker that he was officially appointed »the Pizza King of Pisa«. Henceforth, he was the only one in town allowed to bake pizza. By and by, he became unbearably proud and conceited, until, one morning, he woke up with a crooked body. Immediately, everybody in Pisa, men and animals alike, were forced to walk around lopsidedly or be severely punished. Meanwhile, Ignazio had erected the Leaning Tower of Pisa as memorial to himself. Luckily enough, the neighbouring towns came to the people’s rescue with their armies. The baker disappeared from Pisa and the Tower is the only reminder of him today. Large pictures in pasty colours, painted in a naïve style, give an authentic impression of the life in medieval Pisa. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2005 - 75
Herfurtner, Rudolf (text)
Schulmeyer, Heribert (illus.)
Das Geheimnis von Burg Wolfenstein
(The secret of Wolfenstein Castle)
München : Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 2004. 109 p.
(dtv ; 62199 : Reihe Hanser)
ISBN 3-423-62199-0
School trip – Bullying – Group identity – Outsider – Friendship – Self-confidence
A school trip to the countryside can be a treat – but not if your classmates start teasing you because of your ›un-cool‹ clothes. Julia tries to become invisible, to get away from the group, at least in her mind. However, loneliness may have many different causes. Although Annabelle’s parents (unlike Julia’s mother) are not too poor to afford things, they still isolate their daughter by giving her heaps of expensive presents that make other children feel jealous. After Julia has demonstrated under fairly adventurous circumstances how brave and creative she is, she is accepted by the group, and the two girls might eventually become friends. The author convincingly describes typical conflicts within groups of children and clearly, yet not ideologically presents the social reasons behind them. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 76
Hipfel, Ute (text/illus.)
Herr Pander und Dolly Hase
(Mr. Pander and Dolly Rabbit)
Frankfurt am Main [et al.] : Altberliner, 2004. 108 p.
ISBN 3-8339-6525-8
Girl – Transformation – Rabbit – Variety Show – Humour
One morning, Dolores wakes up as a huge white rabbit. Her father, Mr. Pander, takes her with him to perform onstage at a variety show (after all, Dolly can speak, play the piano, and the likes) – it’s a matter of survival. The audience believe that Mr. Pander is a ventriloquist. One question remains however: Why was the child transformed? Be that as it may, as a rabbit, Dolly can now understand the language of the animals (dogs, piglets, snakes, ...) and it is only at the end of the school holidays that she eventually resumes her human form – yet, with a small rabbit’s ear (which becomes the new fashion in her class). By the way, the whole story is nothing but the truth – as the heroine emphatically points out to the author. Detailed, naïve-subversive pictures, situational humour, always hinting at a more universal meaning, plus ironical side comments on the adult world and their narrow-mindedness make this novel a very entertaining read. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 77
Jung, Barbara (text)
Hübner, Klaus (illus.)
Anders ist auch schön
(Different is nice, too)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2004. [40] p.
ISBN 3-551-51611-1
King – Boredom – Game – Profession – Change of roles
Boredom can either be paralysing or it can generate new ideas: The little king invents a kind of lottery in which all his subjects have to draw lots for a certain profession and are then allowed to perform it. The hairdresser watches the sheep (and creates a new »fur«-do for them), the post-woman sends off the soldiers one by one as parcels, while the general trims (and trains) the garden trees etc. The little king enjoys the game as much as the other participants, and in the end, they all celebrate their newly acquired skills and knowledge at a huge party. Full-page pictures in a comic-book-like style show both how unlikely such a role-swapping seems and how much fun the participants have. (4+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 78
Lewin, Waldtraut
Marek und Maria : Roman
(Marek and Maria)
Weinheim [et al.] : Beltz & Gelberg, 2004. 228 p.
ISBN 3-407-80922-0
Germany – World War II – Girl – Forced labour – Love – Hiding place – Death – Memory
During the Second World War, Maria, a young German, falls in love with Marek from Poland who works as forced labourer in the market-garden from which Maria’s family is allowed to take a few vegetables once in a while. When he escapes, Maria finds a hiding place for him with a friend of hers, an academic, but both men are discovered and deported to an internment camp. The girl never hears of them again. Many years later, she returns to the market-garden and relives her memories. In this powerful story, the author sensitively and compellingly describes one of many thousand similar human tragedies of those times. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 79
Löns, Hermann (text)
Glasauer, Willi (illus.)
(Mr. Hare)
Berlin : Aufbau, 2004. 22 p.
ISBN 3-351-04051-2
Hare – Hunter – Revenge – Saving one’s life
This lavishly illustrated picture book tells the classic story of hare and hunter, first published by the well-known German poet Hermann Löns (1866-1914) in 1909 as part of an anthology of animal tales: After many years of escaping the hunters and fighting for his life, the old hare has only three legs left, yet he still darts from side to side so quickly that one hunter accidentally wounds his comrade instead of killing a hare. As a consequence, the hunt is already over by lunchtime and the herd of hares honour the old veteran by dancing a dignified, mystic round-dance that makes even Reynard the fox shiver with fear. The illustrator clearly sides with the majestic hares rather than with the sinister, murderous hunters. (5+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 80
Mebs, Gudrun (text)
Pin, Isabel (illus.)
Sie hat mich einfach mitgenommen
(She just took me with her)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2004. 135 p.
ISBN 3-7941-6030-4
Woman – Baby – Cot death/SIDS – Kidnapping – Pupil – Rescue
Juli and her friends made a bet: She has to approach that stranger with the sunglasses who waits in front of their school every day and ask her for an autograph. Undoubtedly, she must be a popular film star. Suddenly, however, the girl is in the midst of an awful adventure. The weird woman, who is mentally confused ever since her small baby suddenly died, kidnaps her. Locked up and treated like a toddler, the young first-person narrator undergoes a muddle of emotions – ranging from fear and anger to a slowly evolving understanding and even empathy for her kidnapper. The girl tries not to hurt the sad woman. This episode lasts but a day and ends happily for the child. The author manages to take her readers on an intensive emotional ride. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 81
Michaelis, Antonia (text)
Brandt, Birgit (illus.)
Das Adoptivzimmer
(The adoptive room)
Bindlach : Loewe, 2004. 206 p.
ISBN 3-7855-4977-6
Orphan – Adoption – Brother – Magician – Courage – Imprisonment – Rescue
One day, Achim’s dearest wish comes true and he is adopted by a couple. Yet, soon, the boy is faced with mysterious events and secrets. His new parents once had a boy who died in a car crash. This child appears before the new brother in one room of the house, the »adoptive room«, that exists for nobody but Achim. The boy has to defeat the evil spirit of the other world who keeps dead souls in his power. These souls, whom others grieve for too much, are locked up as birds in an almost impregnable fortress. The key to this problem can be found in the real world: It is the ability to let go. With its complementary illustrations (which are close to the text) and its exciting action, this fantasy novel easily captures the readers’ attention. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 82
Moers, Walter (text/illus.)
Die Stadt der träumenden Bücher : ein Roman aus Zamonien von Hildegunst von Mythenmetz
(The city of dreaming books)
München : Piper, 2004. 455 p.
ISBN 3-492-04549-9
Literature – Book – Bibliophile
Walter Moers’s first three novels about the continent of Zamonia were immensely successful. In his latest work, the popular author focuses on young lindworm Hildegunst von Mythenmetz’s development into Zamonia’s greatest poet. Starting off as the search for the author of a perfect manuscript, his journey soon turns into an odyssey through the maze of catacombs in Buchhaim. In this book-city, the budding poet does not only meet some truly bizarre life-forms, he also comes across the master of poetry. This extremely witty fantasy novel is a satire on book-lovers set in a city where everything revolves around books, writers, publishers, and first-and second-hand bookshops. Young readers with an interest in literature will certainly recognise plenty of allusions to real-life authors. (16+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 83
Papan (text/illus.)
Wilma Superstar
(Wilma Superstar <proper name>)
Hildesheim : Gerstenberg, 2004. [28] p.
ISBN 3-8067-5067-X
Piglet – Ambition – Horse race – Show business – Near-natural environment for animals
Wilma the piglet has ambitious plans. While her siblings sleep cosily, she frolics around and is even allowed to watch TV together with her farmer. Horse races are becoming her obsession and she intends to enter the same ›line of business‹. Soon, she runs her first race, but, unfortunately, she trips and comes last. Yet, it’s not such a bad luck after all – or so it seems: Some manager engages the stumbling pig to perform in a show at the most famous theatres of the country. Wilma is ecstatic. At least for a while. Before long, she gets homesick, longing for the wonderful mud at home. She leaves. And tells her siblings a few fibs about the fantastic life of a superstar. Both the witty pictures and the unbiased and naive view of life in the ›big world‹ have the creative touch of a child-like imagination. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 84
Richter, Jutta
(The summer of the pike)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2004. 123 p.
ISBN 3-446-20518-7
Siblings – Mother – Cancer – Death
In the summer their mother falls ill with cancer, the brothers Lukas and Daniel aim at catching a pike. They believe that, if they are successful, her mother will be able to fight the disease. Their friend Anna sceptically watches their attempts – until, in the end, the mother dies and the beautiful pike has lost its life, too. Jutta Richter’s quiet story perfectly captures a child’s hopes and fears in an existential borderline situation. Both content and style of the story convey the children’s grief without resorting to spectacular razzle-dazzle and in a way that readers can empathise with the young protagonists. Children (and adults) who are in a similar situation might find their own emotions mirrored here. (8+)
(Katholischer Kinderbuchpreis; 2005)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 85
Schneider, Antonie (text)
Pin, Isabel (illus.)
Kleiner König, wer bist du?
(Little King, who are you?)
Berlin : Aufbau, 2004. 28 p.
ISBN 3-351-04060-1
Book – Fictitious journey – Imagination
A little boy is sitting at a table, obviously waiting for something. A book is lying on the table. He opens it ... and the imaginary journey begins, across the country and the sea, visiting animals and people. Delicate, quiet pictures of the protagonists, empty spaces like voids that have to be filled with the readers’ imagination, and the possibility for role play are the characteristic features of this wonderful book that encourages children to feel like a ›little king‹. The contrast between the real world and the daydream in the world inside the book is underlined by the graphic design: For each stop of the journey, readers are offered pseudo ›book-pages‹ on the margins that look as if they could be leafed through. In the end, the journey is bound to lead back into the book, yet it may be repeated any time. (5+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 86
Schöke, Hubert (text/photogr.)
Koppe, Susanne (text)
Sommerzeit in Hosenfeld : Georg erzählt von seinen Ferien
(Summertime in Hosenfeld : Georg tells about his holidays)
Frankfurt am Main : Moritz, 2004. [32] p.
ISBN 3-89565-153-2
Siblings – Village – Holidays – Summer – Germany/1970s
A village in Germany in the 1970s – the ideal place for a summer holiday with small children. The authors describe the ordinary but memorable events of the protagonists’ holidays in the countryside. The children received a simple and warm welcome from the village people and curiously set out to explore the landscape and the animals around them. Today, the simple holidays of those times have been turned into well-organised tourist trips offered by the tourist agencies – still, the memories of those summer holidays in Hosenfeld live on in the old photographs reprinted (with added bits of colour) in this book. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 87
Schulz, Hermann (text)
Gehrmann, Katja (illus.)
Schluss mit lustig!
(That’s enough now!)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2004. 130 p.
ISBN 3-551-55327-0
Girl – Village – Dog – Farm – Blackmail – Love
One day, Leonie visits her grandparents in Little Backwater and immediately notices some weird changes in the village life. The new guard dog has introduced a system of rules among the animals that everybody has to obey or suffer severe punishment. Yet, when Leonie herself almost seems to fall victim to this system, she explores the matter thoroughly and re-establishes a balance between order and chaos – something that all the parties involved accept with relief and great benefit. In a very witty and (despite the fable-like content) absolutely realistic narration, the author tells of small and bigger (human) weaknesses and errors of the village animals and their owners. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 88
Thiele, Jens (text/illus.)
Jo im roten Kleid
(Jo in the red dress)
Wuppertal : Hammer, 2004. [30] p.
ISBN 3- 87294-949-7
Boy – Appearance – Gender role – Courage
Without explicitly saying so, this book takes up the cudgels for emotional and mental freedom. An adult tells a young child what he dared to do as a boy: When everybody had left the house, he fetched a dress from his mother’s wardrobe and imagined himself as a character in a film. This film hero has enemies in abundance who – because of the dress – dislike him, follow him, and beat him up. Yet suddenly, everything seems alright again as a hand draws him onto a brightly lit dance floor; and then he awakes from his day-dreams, still dressed in his mother’s red dress, and steps out into the street. Jens Thiele uses bold illustrations in collage-and silhouette-style to move this story about the search for one’s identity on a higher, non-naturalistic level. (8+)
(Oldenburger Kinder- und Jugendbuchpreis; 2004)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 89
Traxler, Hans (text/illus.)
Komm, Emil, wir gehn heim!
(Come on, Emil, we’re going home!)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2004. [40] p.
ISBN 3-446-20434-2
Old age – Poverty – Pet – Rescue – Village community – Assistance
Old Martha and Emil, the piglet, live together in a mountain hut – it’s a tough life, far from human company, poor, hard-working, but wonderful nevertheless. One autumn, when they walk down into the valley, apparently without any particular reason, at least in Emil’s opinion, he becomes suspicious – and rightly so. He witnesses how pigs enter a huge house alive on one side. On the opposite side, strange men carry out pig halves. Martha watches them for a while, thinking hard, then the two of them turn around and walk home again. Luckily enough, there is still no lack of help when the old woman suffers from illness and cold: The village people take care of her as she becomes weaker and weaker. And Emil, the fat piglet, is certainly the one who is most relieved about this. The artist tells this unusual tale with a lot of warmth in caricature-like pictures. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 90
Wendt, Albert (text)
Roeder, Annette (illus.)
Prinzessin Wachtelei mit dem goldenen Herzen
(Princess Quail-Egg with the golden heart)
Leipzig : LeiV, 2004. [32] p.
ISBN 3-89603-198-8
Princess – Growing up – Possession – Love
In her big golden heart – depicted as a real object in this story – the little princess collects things and creatures with which she communicates. Her favourite friend among them is a tiny animal that she lavishes care and attention on. Unfortunately, the beloved creature doesn’t stay small. Eventually, the girl has to let it go. But that’s not the only good-bye for her. She also has to leave her father, the king, because she has fallen in love with a boy who is waiting for her. This tale about growing up is written in long passages with refrain-like parts in verse. Through language, it offers children a feeling of comfort and security despite all the changes happening in the world around them. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2006 - 68
Baltscheit, Martin (text)
K., Ulf (illus.)
Leuchte, Turm, leuchte
(Light up, House, light up!)
Leipzig [et al.] : Altberliner, 2005. [48] p.
ISBN 3-8339-6540-1
Friendship Separation – Reunion
Jan, the lighthouse, and Sven, the lighthouse keeper, are good friends. They work together to steer ships safely into the harbour. One day, however, the wide ocean and beautiful Eleonora lure Sven away from the island and Jan is left behind alone. When Jan cannot take it any longer, he sets off to find Sven in vain. But then all the stranded ships start tooting their horns to call the three of them back to the island. The authors have dedicated their book »to friendship that gets lost sometimes in order to be recovered in an even more exciting way.« Full-page, computer-animated pictures with clear, broad shapes are reminiscent of the picture books by Gertrud Casparis who became famous almost 100 years ago as the originator of the socalled »Kleinkinderstil« (toddler-style). (5+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2006 - 69
Baltscheit, Martin (text)
Blau, Aljoscha (illus.)
Der Winterzirkus
(The winter circus)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer, 2005. 78 p.
(Fischer Schatzinsel)
ISBN 3-596-85184-X
Girl Aunt – Grief – Christmas – Imagination
Anna and her aunt Ruth used to be best friends until, not long ago, Ruth suddenly died. As often as she can, Anna imagines Ruth to be with her, especially at Christmas. In the past, Ruth would often tell Anna about the »winter circus«, which circus animals stage for pets every winter. That’s where the girl wants to go this year together with her beloved aunt. All of a sudden, dream and reality seem to blend into each other for Anna. Talking animals appear, as well as Santa Claus (in whom Anna hasn’t believed anymore for years), Aunt Ruth enters as a cat in fancy dress, and Anna herself as a mouse. Eventually, the child is comforted when her parents embrace her under the Christmas tree. This is a wonderful, imaginative tale about the existential sorrows and joys of a little girl. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2006 - 70
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (text/illus.)
Ach nein Und wenn schon! : eine Geschichte von Menschen und Hühnern
(Oh no So what! : a tale of humans and chicken)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2005. [34] p.
ISBN 3-446-20617-5
Siblings Difference – Optimism – Pessimism
Black Hen, the more optimistic of two sisters, persuades pessimistic White Hen to go on an outing together. She counters each of her sister’s objections with »So what!« and offers a simple solution to the supposed problem. So the two hens have a wonderful day together. By the time it starts raining at night, White Hen has learned her lesson: »So what!« she says and covers her head with a book. True, this may not be what books are for, but for a book within a book anything is permitted. »So what!« the readers might say. The text is short and concise, yet as powerful as the pictures. It’s amazing how simple and easy to understand and follow some alternatives for a happier (or a sulkier) life can be. (4+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2006 - 71
Chotjewitz, David
Crazy Diamond
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2005. 298 p.
ISBN 3-551-58136-3
Teenage girl Pop singer – Death – Friendship – Grief
»Seen from up above...« In this disturbing novel, the author makes young Mira, who died in an accident, hover above the world as a bodiless creature remembering all her friends from the pop-music-scene: Ghanaian teenagers, Rosa, Jackson, and Mel, who risked their lives when they came to Germany illegally, and Kralle, the lesbian girl who was Mira’s closest friend and role model. Mira observes how they all dream of becoming famous. This changes the group and the relationships between them. They have to deal with jealousy, envy, friendship and love, chaos and insecurity, and psychological problems. The author conjures up the world of show business and, with a lot of empathy, looks behind the masks of both the business and its people, thus arousing the readers’ sympathy for the protagonists. (14+)

Germany (German) - 2006 - 72
Dammann, Rüdiger (ed.)
Plenzdorf, Ulrich (ed.)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Ein Land, genannt die DDR
(A country called the GDR)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer, 2005. 204 p.
ISBN 3-10-009645-2
German Democratic Republic/History
Looking back on 15 years of living in a re-unified Germany, eight authors from the Federal Republic of Germany and the former German Democratic Republic comment on the political and cultural past and present of their home country. They voice both criticism and wishes for the future addressing East Germans and West Germans alike. They illustrate their reflections with revealing biographical anecdotes or telling historical events. This beautifully designed and (with a lot of irony) perfectly illustrated book points out the initial idealism and euphoria after the so-called »Wende« (turning point) in 1989, the following disillusionment, and the communication problems between people from different social systems. (12+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2006 - 73
Fallada, Hans (text)
Glasauer, Willi (illus.)
(The little ones’ Christmas)
Berlin : Aufbau, 2005. 23 p.
(Aufbau Bilderbücher)
ISBN 3-351-04066-0
Sea Coast – Rural life – Christmas – Tradition
Three children, living in a village near the Baltic Sea, believe that the farm animals should be allowed to celebrate Christmas, too, because they serve the humans all year long. That is why they plan to cut down a fir tree for the traditional »Lüttenweihnachten« (Little ones’ Christmas). They succeed in stealing the tree without being caught by the terrifying forester. When the children happily take a little detour along the seashore, they can hardly believe their eyes: The forester and a flock of wild geese are sitting around a beautifully decorated tree, having their own Christmas celebration. Silently, the two parties agree to keep their doings secret. Delicate winter pictures and a moving text tell about a pre-industrial, rural, yet not idyllic life. (7+)

Germany (German) - 2006 - 74
Funke, Cornelia (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Rosannas großer Bruder
(Rosanna’s big brother)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2005. [32] p.
ISBN 3-7891-6508-5
School Siblings – Lie – Truth – Courage
Rosanna is almost smothered by (unwelcome) attention from the strongest boy in her class but unfortunately her older brother Boris is more of a little scaredy-cat not a protector. Yet, in a newspaper ad, some Professor Salomon Liefree promises to turn lies into truth, a truly difficult process. It takes quite a long time until Rosanna (who boldly claimed to be the strongest girl in her class) realises that only her belief in herself provides her with enough strength to fend off the boy’s annoying advances. The readers will be pleased to meet a rebellious and successful female protagonist, depicted in green clothes signalling hope and with a shock of red hair, who fights for her life (although not literally). (7+)

Germany (German) - 2006 - 75
Groszer, Franziska (text)
Capek, Jara (illus.)
Der blaue König und sein Reich
(The blue king and his kingdom)
Leipzig [et al.] : Altberliner, 2005. 46 p.
ISBN 3-86637-727-4
King Wooden toy – Tomcat – Friendship – Power – Happiness
The blue king, made entirely from wood, wants to have his own »Reich« (kingdom) simply because that’s something a person like him should have. However, neither Oskar the cat nor he himself know exactly what a kingdom is. They both live at the girl Fanny’s. The questions are: Who is whose subject here? Does »Reich« (German both for »kingdom« and for »rich«) have something to do with having a lot of money? King and Cat ponder and wonder could »Reich« (kingdom) mean to be »reich« (rich)? One day, little Paul visits Fanny – and the room that the blue king inhabits suddenly turns into the boy’s kingdom. Matters become even more complicated. This tiny, witty book is rich with a great number of hidden puns. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2006 - 76
Grzimek, Martin (text)
Binder, Hannes (illus.)
Die unendliche Straße
(The never-ending street)
München : Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2005. 108 p.
(dtv; 62209; Reihe Hanser)
ISBN 3-423-62209-1
School Family – Lie – Prank – Punishment – Search for identity
Hagen is a notorious liar. He tells lies to hide his inferiority complex and fear of failure until, one day, he almost dies because of his lies: When he claims to be sick (because of a test at school) he suddenly finds himself in some kind of rigor mortis. He is unable to react but can see and hear everything around him it is as if he has turned into this character from their last school play: the mute troll. Through a sequence of dream events, Hagen’s traumatic experience leads him back into reality. Full-page black-and-white wood cuts illustrate the boy’s captivating dream journey. (10+)

Germany (German) - 2006 - 77
Janisch, Heinz (text)
Blau, Aljoscha (illus.)
Rote Wangen
(Red cheeks)
Berlin : Aufbau, 2005. 32 p.
(Aufbau Bilderbücher)
ISBN 3-351-04062-8
Boy Grandfather – Childhood memories – Storytelling – Imagination
The most important sentence in this extremely quiet and contemplative book about the love between a young boy and his grandfather is: »And if my grandfather says so, it must be true.« It doesn’t matter whether the adventures and deeds described are outright fantastic grandfather would never lie. The young (and later older) man’s positively glowing »red cheeks« serve as the motto for this book. Full-page pictures, almost surreal in their calmness and broadness, underline the fantastic elements of the tales. The text is set in hand-printed letters on lined paper, similar to a pupil’s exercise book. This design completes the impression of a real childhood remembered. (5+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2006 - 78
Knigge, Alexander von (text)
Cornelsen, Claudia (text)
Kampmann, Stefani (illus.)
Expedition Knigge : oder das Geheimnis eines alten Buches
(The Knigge expedition or the secret of an old book)
Frankfurt am Main : Campus, 2005. 205 p.
ISBN 3-593-37648-2
Good manners Boarding school – Extraterrestrial being
Naturally, a guidebook about the earth given to an extraterrestrial has nothing in common with a geography book for human beings. This guidebook contains such matters as the rules for proper behaviour set down by Baron Adolf von Knigge in his famous 18th-century book of conduct. LambdaPhi 2.3, or Phi for short, has landed on earth and mainly tries to learn more about this foreign culture. Thanks to his guidebook, however, he already knows so much about the ideal way of living together on this planet that he involuntarily exerts a lot of influence on its refinement at least in the boarding school he stays at until his return home. This adventure for young and old, both exciting and useful, was written with a lot of wit and humour by a descendant of Baron Adolf von Knigge. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 79
Lembcke, Marjaleena
Die Fremde im Garten
(The stranger in the garden)
München [et al.] : Nagel & Kimche, 2005. 139 p.
ISBN 3-312-00954-5
Finland/1950s Girl – Adolescence – Social status – Mental illness – Abnormal behaviour
The overgrown garden around the neighbouring house is Hillevi’s secret paradise and dream-island until, one day, she spots an unfamiliar woman at one of the windows. The house owner, who is the same age as the girl’s parents, is back. Slowly, a delicate friendship grows between the young girl and the stranger. Step by step, the woman’s unusual story, caused by an early, unhappy love for a poor young man (Hillevi’s uncle), is revealed. Eventually, the woman gives up her home and moves away again. What makes this story particularly touching is the sensitive description of the meeting of two very different persons, whose paths in life cross for a short time and who like and help each other. Moreover, the book describes, without becoming sentimental, all the common but nevertheless confusing feelings and worries of an adolescent girl among her family and friends. It paints a picture of a small and very friendly, though conflict-ridden, human community. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 80
Maar, Paul (text)
Krause, Ute (illus.)
Herr Bello und das blaue Wunder
(Mr. Bello and the blue miracle)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2005. 222 p.
ISBN 3-7891-4251-4
Boy Single father – Dog – Metamorphosis
Chemist Sternheim lives with his son Max and dog Bello. One day, an old woman brings some medicine to the pharmacy to be stored there she claims it was mixed by an ancestor of Sternheim’s. Astonished, they realise that this drink makes animals and plants grow and change their size, colour, and even species: Dog Bello as well as a rabbit and some chickens turn into weird-looking human beings. Things get out of hand. Bello, now »Mr. Bello«, and Sternheim compete for the new neighbour’s favour. Still, luckily enough, the magic works only temporarily – and peace reigns again. With a lot of wit and tact, Paul Maar describes little animal and human follies so that readers will spot many similarities and transitions between the often similar yet not identical worlds and ways of life. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 81
Meschenmoser, Sebastian (text/illus.)
Fliegen lernen
(Learning to fly)
Esslingen : Esslinger, 2005. [52] p.
ISBN 3-480-22067-3
Penguin Flying – Trainability – Group cohesion – Assistance
An allegedly »crashed« penguin meets a man, who tries his best to help his fosterling train his maybe-existent flying abilities, but in vain. Neither the various sophisticated practical devices, nor extensive theoretical studies make a difference, until, one day, a flock of birds penguins? – crosses the sky above them, and the crashed one follows them. »He was a good flyer, for a penguin«, the text reads sounding like a sad farewell. The small book offers enough space for detailed, partly coloured pencil drawings of all the creative efforts that man and animal undertake together, and for a thoughtful text, which does not verbalise everything but still makes a strong statement: A group will support and carry each single member – even if it seems highly unlikely. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 82
Mothes, Ulla (text)
Krapp, Thilo (illus.)
Der rote Flitzer
(The red racing car)
Hamburg : Dressler, 2005. 234 p.
ISBN 3-7915-1261-7
Friendship Sports car – Old age – Driving test
Rafael and Lars share a secret: In an abandoned garage across the street an old sports car is hidden ancient but in good working order. Unfortunately, their secret is discovered when an old woman, who used to work for the deceased garage owner, takes it in her head to get the beautiful old car on the road again. Chaos reigns. First of all, she herself intends to finally take her driving test – successfully. Yet, she doesn’t even know that, according to the late owner’s will, she is the rightful owner of the car. Eventually, they all meet for a wonderful afternoon trip and young and old become friends. The exciting, fast object that the book focuses on stands in sharp and sometimes witty contrast to the calm and slow pace of the narrative. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 83
Persch, Ulrike (text/illus.)
Rotkäppchens List
(Little Red Riding Hood’s trick)
Bad Soden : Kinderbuchverlag Wolff, [2005]. [34] p.
ISBN 3-938766-02-6
Little Red Riding Hood Adaptation – Cleverness – Trick – Self-confidence – Naivety
Just like the Grimms’ tale, this one is about a girl who walks through the forest on the way to her sick grandmother’s house and meets the wolf (whom she is not afraid of because she doesn’t know anything about him). When she spots strange marks in the hallway (animal tracks and traces of fur) she gets suspicious, creates the shadow of a hunter on the wall and imitates his voice to drive the wolf out of the bed (grandma has been hiding) and the house. The child returns home safely while her mother remains ignorant about the adventure. This remarkable modernised version of Little Red Riding Hood encourages readers to be courageous. It is illustrated with coloured charcoal drawings in which the symbolic colours red (the child’s cap) and blue (her dress) stand out. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 84
Pestum, Jo
Das Schloss am Moor
(The castle at the swamp)
Stuttgart : Thienemann, 2005. 256 p.
ISBN 3-522-17700-2
Family Genealogy – Germany/World War II – Young woman – Slave labourer – Love – Pregnancy – Expulsion – Murder
Quite accidentally, Daniel stumbles across a family secret: Because of a forbidden love affair with a French forced labourer during the Second World War, his grandmother was expelled from her family and forced to renounce her aristocratic title. Her older brother or her father then had her lover murdered. The love affair resulted in the birth of a child Daniel’s father. Secretly, the boy tries to follow the traces of his origins. Claiming that he is working on a film project, he takes his video camera to his great-grandparents castle, solves the mystery of his family, and also finds his own identity. Disguised as a thrilling detective story, this book combines contemporary history with Germany’s past in a way that today’s teenagers can relate to. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 85
Pin, Isabel (text/illus.)
Wenn ich groß bin, werde ich Nobelpreisträger
(When I grow up, I’ll be a Nobel prize winner)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2005. [28] p.
ISBN 3-446-20634-5
Boy Resolution – Good/Evil – Nobel Peace Prize
To love your neighbours and help other people, to create peace on earth, to protect the environment and the animals, to prevent injustice, and to be brave all this and more is what a little boy wants to do once he is old enough. For the time being, however – as shown on full-page pictures in minute detail – he does exactly the opposite. In short: He is a pest. And still, since he aims for the Nobel peace prize, he suddenly starts thinking. Maybe he should begin now ... and he does. The figures depicted in this picture book do only appear to be harmless and delicate. They actually suffer terribly and cause each other endless pain. Young readers will need to look very closely and carefully. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 86
Prinz, Alois
Auf der Schwelle zum Glück : die Lebensgeschichte des Franz Kafka
(On the brink of happiness : the life of Franz Kafka)
Weinheim : Beltz & Gelberg, 2005. 392 p.
ISBN 3-407-80953-0
Kafka, Franz
Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was not a well-known, let alone a famous writer during his lifetime. Unfortunately, he was never able to solve his family conflicts, which were strongly influenced by the overpowering father figure. Family, living conditions, and a profession he abhorred made his life unbearable at times. His unhappy relationships with women never resulted in marriage or a family of his own. It seems quite likely that (as he himself claimed) his tuberculosis was caused by the constant confrontation with all the external and internal matters that he sought to avoid by leading a life of poverty and thus almost self-inflicted. This biography offers young adult readers a careful and comprehensible analysis of the connection between the real person and his literary work. (16+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 87
Rieckhoff, Jürgen (text/illus.)
Rieckhoff, Sibylle (text/illus.)
Edgar übernimmt das Kommando
(Edgar is in command now)
Hildesheim : Gerstenberg, 2005. [28] p.
ISBN 3-8067-5071-8
Dog Obedience – Pet – Role reversal – Family
Edgar, a stubborn terrier, wishes to change his life. He calls upon the »Council of the Elders«, which consists of »the wisest dogs for miles around«. They advise him how to climb to the top of the family ladder: Be as cheeky as possible. Then, surely, your family will fear you and fulfil your every wish. Edgar is impressed and delighted at these future prospects. Until, suddenly, loud yelling and whistling has the »Wise Ones« obey posthaste and run off immediately ... not without reminding Edgar to keep their advice in mind, of course. Well, he may have managed to reach Dog Heaven, who knows. The rest is left to the reader’s imagination. The text and the coloured ink drawings of this funny picture book exactly mirror the fantasies of smaller dogs (or children). (4+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 88
Rosenboom, Hilke (text)
Kuhl, Anke (illus.)
Ein Pferd namens Milchmann
(A horse called Milkman)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2005. 116 p.
ISBN 3-551-55231-2
Boy Horse keeping
Since the huge »stray« horse that suddenly appears on the terrace of Herman’s home wears a headband with the letters MM on it, he decides to call it »Milkman «. His classmates and even a teacher find themselves in the same situation: suddenly, the city is full of horses, Toris to be exact, an almost extinct, very large breed. After the humorous description of all the ensuing problems, a practical solution is found: The horses are given a place to stay, the children have a new responsibility, and the local blacksmith gathers all his horse-knowledge to organise everything. This story, in which even small boys are fond of horses, draws the readers’ attention to the problem of keeping pets in a city on a realistic as well as a fantastic level. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 89
Schär, Brigitte (text)
Müller, Jörg (illus.)
Die Weihnachts-Show
(The Christmas-Show)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2005. [32] p.
ISBN 3-7941-5092-9
Christmas Child Jesus – Easter bunny – Role reversal
This cheerful story features role reversal on a grand scale. In a modern city on earth lives the calendar-maker who is responsible for all the public holidays and »supervises« the staff in heaven from a distance. The friendly old gentleman agrees to Easter Bunny’s wish of swapping (role and) working time with the »Christkind« (Child Jesus). Yet, when on Christmas Eve the »Christmas-Bunny« in the manger gives a big performance live on television with a worldwide audience, trouble is on its way. Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun. Full-page pictures create space for the unexpected events and, through their realistic atmosphere, underline the original, disrespectful, and multidimensional character of the witty text. (8+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 90
Siegfried, Anita (text)
Binder, Hannes (illus.)
Flug in die Nacht
(Flight into the night)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2005. 60 p.
ISBN 3-7941-6040-1
Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de/The little Prince Boy – Reading – Dream – Flying – Fear
This small picture book about an evening in the life of a ten-year-old boy comes in an unusual, midnight-blue design and print. Very detailed wood-cuts describe the dream adventures of a child who is afraid of the dark because his mother has gone out. Before she left, they read a chapter from Saint-Exupéry’s »The little prince« together. Now, the boy flies to Antarctica in his little toy plane together with an imaginary pilot. Just like his favourite author, they crash with their plane, but, luckily enough, the child finds his way back home from the dream. The pictures, which invite readers to take a closer look, are accompanied by a corresponding text with many accurate observations. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 91
Sternburg, Wilhelm von (text)
Reimers, Silke (illus.)
Die Geschichte der Deutschen
(The history of the Germans)
Frankfurt am Main [et al.] : Campus, 2005. 304 p.
ISBN 3-593-37100-6
Germany/History Historic person – Biography
The particular appeal of this unusual history book lies in its combination of historic events and developments in Central Europe and Germany on the one hand and biographies of important people from this era on the other. The author strives to explain the reasons behind the endless wars by introducing the people responsible for them as children of their time and educational environment, with all their personal weaknesses and faults. Cultural and social developments are seen as important, sometimes even formative, for the course of political history. This non-fiction book for teenagers is both an informative and exciting read. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 92
Tille, Peter (text)
Bofinger, Manfred (illus.)
Einstein mit der Geige
(Einstein with the violin)
Berlin : Eulenspiegel, 2005. [24] p.
ISBN 3-359-01622-x
Einstein, Albert Theory of relativity
People say that truly great ideas and revolutionary theories are usually simple (though not simplistic). The topic of this small picture book, which so-tospeak watches Albert Einstein think, is a formula that, of course, only seems simple: E=mc². The central problem discussed here is the time it takes to travel a certain distance: If the professor walks from A to B, he counts to 10 ten times before he arrives what a long journey. If, however, he goes the same distance by car, he only counts to 10 once – a short trip indeed! But which of the two statements is correct? Very clearly and with a lot of wit, the pictures and the logical text prove that both are true – depending on the preconditions. This book is an entertaining contribution to the Einstein-year 2005. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 93
Tischewski, Ulf (text/illus.)
Tischewski, Susanne (text/ illus.)
Das machen wir gern
(With pleasure)
Gladenbach : Kempkes, 2004. [32] p.
ISBN 3-88343-038-2
Cock Cat – Hostility – Reconciliation
Cats and cocks have been enemies for so long that both parties have forgotten the reasons and motives that started their animosity. The demands for restoring peace are deemed impossible on both sides so that, one day, the cocks ask the dog to mediate between them and the cats approach the fox. »With pleasure!« they both say secretly hoping the job will end in a »delicious meal« for them. Sensing this, the two disputants become wary and decide that they are certainly sensible enough to take matters into their own hands. This large-format picture book, illustrated with rich finger paints, features a short plausible text suitable to be told or read to small children. (4+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 94
Tondern, Harald
Mitschuldig? : die Geschichte eines Amoklaufs
(Guilty, too? : the story of a person running amok)
München : cbt, 2005. 155 p.
(cbt ; 30174)
ISBN 3-570-30174-5
School Running amok – Feeling of guilt
Tim, a young man expelled from school, practises the handling of weapons at a local shooting club. He manages to involve 13-year-old Jonas in his activities, who passes him the map of the school including the timetables of Tim’s former teachers. Shortly before the final examinations take place, which he is not allowed to sit, Tim enters the school, kills the director, and commits suicide. This gripping novel focuses mainly on Jonas who unintentionally becomes a quasi-accessory or confident to the crime. After the death of the two people, the helpless and desperate boy shuts himself off and refuses to talk at all. Based loosely on authentic events, the novel tries to take a specific case study to psychologically analyse the problem of violence in schools. (12+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 68
Abmeier, Armin (ed.)
Hör zu, es ist kein Tier so klein, das nicht von dir ein Bruder könnte sein : Gedichte und Bilder
(Listen, there is no animal so small that it could not be a brother of yours : poems and pictures)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2006. 143 p.
ISBN 978-3-551-51648-8
Nature – Animal – Poetry
»Animals love poems« states the preface of this opulently illustrated anthology, which was compiled not only for the entertainment of the audience but also for a good cause. 62 animal poems, created by classic and contemporary authors and newly illustrated by well-known artists, offer an impressive overview of the great variety of contemporary illustrational art in German-speaking countries. The original pictures were auctioned off at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2006. The proceeds from the auction and the book sale are donated to the »Stiftung Illustration« (Illustration Foundation). Its first important project will be to publish an encyclopaedia of German illustrators. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 69
Aulnoy, Marie Catherine LeJumel de Barneville d’ (orig. text)
Unzner, Christa (retell./illus.)
Die weiße Katze
(The white cat)
Leipzig : LeiV, 2006. 78 p.
ISBN 3-89603-277-1
King – Son – Change of power – Cat – Metamorphosis – Fairy tale
Not yet willing to resign, a king demands that each of his sons complete three tasks. Every time, it is the youngest son who passes the test, thanks to the help of a weird and very beautiful white cat who thinks and speaks wisely. In return, the prince manages to have her transformed back into a human being. Together they inherit the kingdom and live happily ever after… The retelling of the French tale and the enchantingly fragile pictures are created by one artist. Human and animal figures, drawn in delicate colours, circle and permeate each other. The pictures illustrate how similar these creatures are and confirm that fairy tales always contain metaphors for real life. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 70
Baltscheit, Martin (text)
Mett, Christoph (illus.)
Die Elefantenwahrheit
(The elephant’s truth)
Bad Soden am Taunus : Kinderbuchverlag Wolff, 2006. [36] p. + CD
ISBN 3-938766-08-5
Science – Blindness – Dogmatism – Elephant
After having finished work, five blind scientists relax in the warm sunshine. Suddenly, they sense a shadow falling. An elephant, escaped from the nearby circus, is standing before them. Depending on the specific part of the animal that they manage to grab, each scientist defines the shadow-casting object differently. When the upset circus director enquires after the animal, the five men unanimously state: »No! No elephant came this way.« In a casual and metaphorical style, underlined by emphatic pictures, this story proves that science can be mistaken. The plot of this original tale is based on traditional tales from Asia. Well-known all around the world in different versions, the parable teaches the unreliability of human judgement. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 71
Baukhage, Manon
Der Tisch von Otto Hahn : faszinierende Erfindungen, die unsere Welt veränderten
(Otto Hahn’s desk : fascinating inventions that changed our world)
Ravensburg : Ravensburger Buchverl., 2006. 192 p.
ISBN 3-473-55119-8
Invention – Discovery
The 25 chapters of this impressive, beautifully designed non-fiction book present a collection of outstanding inventions and discoveries from all over the world. The wide variety of works discussed ranges from Ptolemean times (150 AD) to the present as the book provides the most important biographical dates of famous people from the fields of science and technology. Assisted by an array of visual material, this book introduces everyday objects, such as a coffee filter, as well as events of a much broader scale, such as nuclear fission and the way to make atoms visible through nanotechnology. A time table, which offers an even more comprehensive overview of all human inventions, plus an index of persons and objects round off this informative and gripping read. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 72
Boëtius, Henning
Geschichte der Elektrizität
(The history of electricity)
Weinheim [et al.] : Beltz & Gelberg, 2006. 221 p.
ISBN 978-3-407-75326-7
Electricity / History
Henning Boëtius, an academic physicist and specialist in German philology, covers a wide field in this book, providing much more than important inventions and discoveries in the field of electricity. He also analyses cultural connections that accompany or prevent certain technological developments or make them possible in the first place. Moreover, the author examines technical terms or linguistic conventions that evolved in accordance with these developments and have partly remained the same until today. Thus, the exciting text and the large variety of visual material offer an unusual insight into natural science and technology, which shows that the subject matters of these sciences always depends to some extent on the people who engage in the research and on their personal interests. (14+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 73
Boie, Kirsten (text)
Scholz, Barbara (illus.)
Der kleine Ritter Trenk
(Trenk, the little knight)
Hamburg : Oetinger, 2006. 275 p.
ISBN 978-3-7891-3163-9
Boy – Serf – Knight – Adventure – Humour
Is aristocracy something you inherit or something achieved through outstanding accomplishments – that’s a question this book raises. In this witty, tongue-in-cheek novel, coincidence plays an important role. Little Trenk, a poor farmer’s boy, sallies forth into town in quest for happiness and fortune. He is made a knight’s squire and defeats all villains and braves all dangers with the help of young Thekla, a knight’s daughter, and his own tricks and bravery. Finally, he can even affect freedom for his own family and the long-suffering serfs from various surrounding villages. Naturally, Trenk and Thekla fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after… Cheerful in style and content, yet always historically accurate, this book offers young children and adults a truly pleasant read. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 74
Büttner, Olaf
Schlaf, mein Junge, schlaf ein
(Sleep, my boy, fall asleep)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2006. 158 p.
ISBN 3-7941-7042-3
Single father – Choice of partner – Withdrawal of the child – Disturbed personality – Sexual abuse
Emily and Lena devise a plan: They want to find a girlfriend for Emily’s widowed father Tom via Internet. However, events are soon spiralling out of control when a mentally disturbed young woman answers the advert and kidnaps Tom’s two children in order to become their mother. With sympathy for everyone involved and a lot of details, the author describes this unusual domestic drama in a very convincing and captivating story, without employing any kind of tabloid language. Thus she offers an intimate view into events that are usually presented in such a distorted way in the news that they often seem to lack any kind of believable dimension for both teenagers and adults. (14+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 75
Bunge, Daniela (text/illus.)
(Snow flurries)
Kiel : MinEdition, 2006. [34] p.
ISBN 3-86566-045-2
Grandson – Grandparents – Living apart – Reconciliation
Every weekend, a small boy visits his grandparents until, one day, Grandpa packs all his bags and moves into his own flat. The old couple’s specious explanation to the boy is: Granny loves the colour blue, the sea, and cats while Grandpa loves red, mountains, and indoor plants. The grandparents now reorganise their daily life, each to one’s own liking – yet they’re not happy with it. Thanks to the grandson, who asks about their childhood memories and works a few other tricks, the couple eventually get back together. The plot is structured by pictures in the grandparents’ favourite colours – red and blue – combined with shades of grey. The derailed family world is expressed in a distorted graphic perspective, which gets (almost) back to normal towards the end. This delicate story promotes family love and the well-being of children. (7+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 76
Ellermann, Heike (text)
Engel, Anton (illus.)
(HELP! <song title>)
Oldenburg : Lappan, 2006. [36] p.
ISBN 3-8303-1104-4
Boy – Grandfather – Tree house – Generations
Julian and his friend have discovered Grandpa’s old tree house and start reviving it, but when the ladder tips over, the two friends are trapped. The cover of the old Beatles record »HELP!« serves as distress signal. They attach it to a rope, lower it to the ground, and are soon rescued. With a lot of humour, the author makes two completely different worlds meet in the conversation between the two generations – the old man’s childhood memories and the boys’ modern-day adventures. The »Pilzköpfe« (Mushroomheads), as the Beatles were called in Germany because of their hairstyle, are nothing revolutionary for the boy – he considers them »ultra conservative«. This story provides a tongue-in-cheek visit to the past, illustrated with pictures of former icons. (7+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 77
Flotwell, Polly (text)
Biermann, Franziska (illus.)
Wilma wünscht sich was
(Wilma has a wish)
Düsseldorf : Sauerländer, 2006. [36] p.
ISBN 3-7941-5093-7
Girl – Wish – Daydream – Imagination
Her name is one of the first things little Wilma would like to change: Jeannette, Luna, or Barbarella would be nice... Apart from that, she longs for a »brother machine « to wipe out the faults of her own imperfect brother; a mountain of money, so that her parents could stay at home; a tree house with loads of friends (who might also make a great family); a forest; and a guinea pig, too. Do other people have similar wishes? On the last page, large imaginative pictures show that Wilma is sensible after all and decides that – if not all of her wishes can come true – the most important one is to get the little pet. Both the text and the pictures of this book take children’s (secret) wishes seriously and therefore manage to place them in a real life context. (5+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2007 - 78
Giordano, Mario
Emil Nolde für Kinder
(Emil Nolde for children)
Köln : DuMont, 2006. 63 p.
ISBN 978-3-8321-7586-3
Nolde, Emil – Biography – Art
»Artistic seizures«, »Atrocities«, or »Cannibal art« – these are just a few of the verbal attacks that Emil Nolde (1867-1956) and his artwork were faced with in contemporary press articles. From 1918 onwards, his work slowly gained a higher recognition until the German National Socialists termed his pictures »degenerate art«, confiscated his work, and forbid him to paint from 1941 to 1945. Today, Nolde is considered one of the most famous German expressionist painters. This fascinating non-fiction book stands out for its comprehensive and concise biography and presentation of Nolde’s painting techniques with the help of selected examples from all eras of his work. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 79
Grimm, Jacob (text)
Grimm, Wilhelm (text)
Zwerger, Lisbeth (illus.)
Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten
(The Bremen town musicians)
Kiel : Minedition, 2006. [32] p.
ISBN 978-3-86566-042-8
Ingratitude – Cruelty – Animals – Old age
In this edition of the well-known Grimm fairy tale, the illustrator’s delicate style captures the tormented souls of donkey, dog, cat, and cock in a truly ingenious symphony of form and colour. Full-page panels relate the various situations and feelings of the four animals both in respect to their individual fates and to their shared adventures. Despite the cruelty of the plot, the pictures are devoid of any lurid details. In each of the four creatures, the reader sees an animal ungratefully deserted after long years of faithful service to its human master. Their fathomless sadness in the beginning as well as the contentment in their faces when all ends well are shown in a fascinating and aesthetically perfectly pleasing style. (4+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 80
Heidelbach, Nikolaus (text/illus.)
Königin Gisela
(Queen Gisela)
Weinheim [et al.] : Beltz & Gelberg, 2006. [34] p.
ISBN 3-407-79906-3
Daughter – Father – Storytelling – Shipwreck – Island – Abuse of power
Father and daughter set off on a wonderful journey to the sea – that is the frame story. In the evenings, they tell each other tales about Gisela who is stranded on a little island and lets herself be proclaimed Queen of the place. Her subjects, a flock of meerkats, are always willing to help. Yet, Gisela really shouldn’t have mistaken their good-naturedness for stupidity. When, for her crowning ceremony, the girl asks for a special garment – a meerkat coat, of all things – the animals spontaneously decide to get rid of this nettler once and for all. For father and daughter, the holiday has come to an end, too. Pictures and text clearly distinguish between the »real« protagonists of this book and the »fictional« characters of the stories told by them; nevertheless, the two levels constantly permeate each other in fresh and witty ways. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 81
Hein, Sibylle (text/illus.)
Wenn Riesen niesen
(When giants sneeze)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2006. [24] p.
ISBN 3-551-51685-5
Giant – Sneeze – Shipwreck – Cause – Effect
Small matters can often have great consequences, and even fateful ones: When the water-rat family steals the giants’ cold medicine, the giants start sneezing terribly, thus causing a storm that results in a ship’s collision with a sea monster. Fire breaks out producing clouds of smoke, misinterpreted as smoke signs by a tribe of Indians. This misunderstanding saves a white man and his daughter from being burned at the stake, which in turn leads to the girl falling in love with her (accidental) saviour. So, the whole story ends with a wedding ceremony. Witty, apt verses and caricaturelike, humorous sequences of pictures present this wondrous chain of events to the cheerful readers. (5+) ☼

Germany (German) - 2007 - 82
Kugler, Lena (text)
Glazer-Naudé, Ludvik (illus.)
Bo im wilden Land
(Bo in the wild country)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer, 2006. 183 p.
(Fischer Schatzinsel)
ISBN 978-3-596-85200-0
Girl – Dragon – Magic – Courage – Trick – Quest
A long time ago, »curly-tailed thorn-hoppers«, »shimmering pale-lings«, and lots of other dragon species used to inhabit Katania until they were allegedly driven away by the so-called Katanian »heroes«. The true enemies of the legendary animals, however, are a gang of outsiders who destroy the self-hatching dragon eggs. Now, without the warm fire produced by these eggs, Katania is plunged into eternal winter. Brave little Bo, a »hero’s« daughter, heads off on a journey to the wild country to bring back the dragons and fight the killers. With courage, magic, and a few tricks, the adventure is successfully completed. This clever and gripping parable full of wit criticises the mindless destruction of nature and points out the great importance of living in harmony with it. (8+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 83
Lembcke, Marjaleena
(Love lines)
München [et al.] : Nagel & Kimche, 2006. 173 p.
ISBN 978-3-312-00966-4
Teenager – First love – Search for identity
There are three sentences in Aulikki’s diary: »I’m no good at anything. I know nothing. No one likes me.« After her mother’s death, the adolescent’s life is out of joint. She leaves home and goes to Helsinki where she hides in some kind of safe anonymity. A stranger to herself, the girl closely observes her surroundings but is not able to judge her own reactions. After numerous chance encounters in the big city, Aulikki happens upon an old friend. Together with him, she eventually looks into the future with more hope. The narrative style of this book may seem stinted and the tone very unemotional, but this is exactly what makes readers feel the terrible insecurity and inner homelessness of a young, 17-year-old girl. (14+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 84
Meschenmoser, Sebastian (text/illus.)
Herr Eichhorn und der Mond
(Mr. Squirrel and the moon)
Esslingen : Esslinger, 2006. [44] p.
ISBN 3-480-22231-5
Cheese – Moon – Mix-up
When the cheese van is caught in an accident, one cheese rolls from the alp down to the valley. It ends up stuck in the flat of Mr. Squirrel, who mistakes the round yellow thing for the moon. Since he is afraid of being charged with theft of the moon, he pushes it out. The forest inhabitants strive in vain to get rid of the thing, until eventually, the mice start nibbling it. Joining forces, the animals then catapult the crescentshaped leftovers off the cliff (assumedly) back into the sky. Outstanding detailed pencil drawings – with delicate colours for the »real« events and dull grey for the atmosphere in the squirrel’s imagined prison cell – lend this humorous story a quality that makes it stand out from the colourful majority of picture books. (6+)

Germany (German) - 2007 - 85
Pin, Isabel (text/illus.)
Honke, Otto (transl.)
Als alle früher nach Hause kamen
(When they all came back home earlier)
Wuppertal : Hammer, 2006. [28] p.
ISBN 3-7795-0064-7
Children’s drawing – Interpretation – Worry – Individuality – Creativity
One day at preschool, Tom is finally allowed to draw a picture of his own choice. He takes the thickest brush and, there he goes! Yet, the adults who look at his picture react very strangely. They seem worried, phone each other, frown, and send him home early (just as if it was his birthday – hurray!). A child doesn’t paint »like a child should« and immediately the grown-ups assume he is ill or depressed. (What nonsense!) All along, the mysterious painting is kept secret from the reader. Only when Tom’s friend Lily admiringly states: »It’s really great, your black square, Tom!«, is the mystery solved. In these cheerful, light- and earthen-coloured surroundings, the tension is perfectly constructed, and the tongue-in-cheek humour really hits the mark. (6+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 86
Richter, Jutta (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Die Katze oder Wie ich die Ewigkeit verloren habe
(The cat or How I lost eternity)
München : Hanser, 2006. 64 p.
ISBN 978-3-446-20793-6
Way to school – Cat – Meaning of life – Egocentric
It’s the white cat’s fault that Christine is late for school every morning. The animal is clever, free, and does what it wants – in short: a true role model. Therefore, the wise feline, who can speak to Christine, is able (and eager) to explain the world much better than the teacher – or so it seems. The world is full of seemingly unsolvable mysteries such as the concept of eternity – which is perfectly clear to both cat and child, until the girl gets confused by her teachers at school. However, to base mathematical rules on the number of mice caught and swallowed doesn’t prove a viable method for human beings. And what about the Christian belief in the original sin? Would God really be that strict with humans? In this respect, the opinions of the cat (as hedonist) and the girl (as philosopher) are incompatible, so they have to go separate ways. Expressed in short sentences, the story features a child with an alert mind and presents readers with various facets of a child’s existence. (7+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 87
Roeder, Caroline (ed.)
Rau-Häring, Nelly (photogr.)
Berliner Kindheit im zwanzigsten Jahrhundert : eine literarisch-fotografische Spurensuche.
(Berlin childhood in the 20th century : a literary and photographic search for traces)
Berlin : Gutendruck, 2006. 239 p.
Berlin/1945-2000 – Childhood memories
This volume assembles the texts of well-known writers, young and old, whose childhood or youth was tied to the city of Berlin. The editor uses Walter Benjamin’s famous work »Berliner Kindheit um neunzehnhundert« (Berlin childhood around 1900) as a starting point for her book and collects material relating to the 20th century. Accompanied by an abundance of photographs, both the biographical texts and the non-fiction parts show the great variety of ways in which a city can be experienced, depending on one’s own standing in life and on many unpredictable events. East and West (Berlin) are united in this book – even though many of the personal memories still depict a divided city. Therefore, the book offers a moving and insightful picture of the history of Germany’s former and once-again capital. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 88
Rosenlöcher, Thomas (text)
Gleich, Jacky (illus.)
Das langgestreckte Wunder
(The stretched miracle)
Rostock : Hinstorff, 2006. [30] p.
ISBN 3-356-01130-8
Human being – Growing – Boundary – Freedom
This picture book is not as simplistic as it may seem at first glance: It’s a story about crossing borders – yet not without a dose of humour. One day, a man notices that his feet start growing past the boundary of his garden. They grow through the fence, across borders, through field and forest, moor and mountain. After stretching right around the globe and being divided into numerous »allotments« by security personnel, the cheeky feet are back home again. Eventually, even the owner’s head lifts itself above the garden fence (i.e. beyond the rim of his own tea cup). The book’s concertina-fold format enables readers to easily follow the journey. The caricaturing illustrations hint at a deeper level of socio-political meaning. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 89
Schneider, Karla
Die Geschwister Apraksin : das Abenteuer einer unfreiwilligen Reise
(The Apraksin-siblings : the adventure of an involuntary trip)
München [et al.] : Hanser, 2006. 586 p.
ISBN 978-3-446-20703-5
Russia/1900-1920 – Cultural conflict – Social conflict – Violence – October Revolution
One year after the October Revolution of 1917, the five orphaned children of the Russian Apraksin family are in danger of being thrown out of their parents’ house and separated. By secretly fleeing, they manage to evade this cruel fate. Their extraordinary adventures during a long and dangerous odyssey through most of Russia are presented in this book. On their way, the children meet people from all social classes and grow up while suffering great personal deprivations. This novel provides a grippingly narrated picture of a chaotic historical era that, up to now, has been considered very rarely in Western European children’s literature. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 90
Schwab, Gustav (orig. text)
Guggenmos, Josef (retell.)
Harjes, Stefanie (illus.)
Die schönsten Sagen des klassischen Altertums
(The most beautiful legends of classical antiquity)
[Ravensburg] : Ravensburger Buchverl., 2006. 306 p.
ISBN 978-3-473-35261-6
Greek – Legend – Anthology
Gustav Schwab’s original 19th-century text might sometimes be hard to swallow, especially for small school children. Now this classic is presented in a new outfit featuring brand-new illustrations that could not be any more delightful. With their slightly ironic touch, yet still deadly serious, they perfectly complement this retelling by Josef Guggenmos, which was first published in 1960. The pictures provide the most famous heroes and adventures with a connection to contemporary life. Thus, the page that shows baby Hercules strangling two giant snakes is given the subtitle: »Good toys« while Oedipus (fitted out with a halo) takes the lift down into Hades after his expiation. This new edition can be seen as an attempt to reduce children’s fear of classical literature. (10+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 91
Steinwede, Dietrich
Martin Luther : Leben und Wirken des Reformators
(Martin Luther : life and work of the reformer)
Düsseldorf : Patmos, 2006. 140 p.
ISBN 3-491-79753-5
Luther, Martin
Set against the crisis of Catholicism caught up in the fetters of tradition, Martin Luther’s life and work are an attempt to make Christian religion more accessible for believers. In his most famous treatise »On the freedom of a Christian«, which is still being republished and available to readers today, Luther rejected the strict obedience to authorities that was then demanded by church and government as un-Christian. Set against this background and accompanied by a rich selection of visual material, this biography offers a differentiated and impressive analysis and appraisal of the great reformer’s work and of the (religious) historical, cultural, and social circumstances of that time. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 92
Storm, Theodor (text)
Sauvant, Henriette (illus.)
Der kleine Häwelmann
(Little Hobbin)
Berlin : Aufbau-Verl., 2006. 30 p.
ISBN 3-351-04072-5
Night – Dream – Disobedience – Imaginary journey
This classic of German children’s literature, originally published in 1849, is now presented in a new (illustrational) outfit. It relates a child’s dream of self-propelled flying and driving without boundaries, being supported by everyone on earth and in the whole wide universe. The pictures, some of them small vignettes but mostly full- and double-page size, present a mixture of real world and surreal dream world. The most impressive ones easily convince, even completely without text – such as when naughty and ungrateful little Häwelmann (Hobbin) drives right across the moon’s nose with his wheelie bed. In other panels, the text is placed onto the mono-colour free spaces inside the illustration. The excitement of the adventurous dream can be shared by small readers. (5+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 93
Vohn, Maria (text/illus.)
Mein Hund ist rot
(My dog is red)
Wuppertal : Hammer, 2006. [18] p.
ISBN 3-7795-0049-3
Dog – Looks – Outsider – Solving problems
»There is no such thing as a red dog!«, the little girl says. Although the little boy’s dog actually is red, the female reasoning sounds so plausible that the boy almost believes her. What confusion! They paint the dog and the boy now claims his dog has never been red. At present, it is white – until the next rain shower. The children consider turning the dog out but that’s not really an option. So, the girl has to bring her own dog – which is: green. Suddenly, people and pets are at peace and perfectly happy. On an implicit and abstract level, this board book introduces strategies for solving problems – those that are realistic and socially possible as well as those that are not. The example given is completely convincing, rationally, emotionally, and in the way it is portrayed. (3+) ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 94
Weidner, Stefan (text)
Schulze, Marc-Alexander (illus.)
Allah heißt Gott : eine Reise durch den Islam
(Allah means God : a journey through Islam)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl., 2006. 239 p.
ISBN 3-596-85212-9
Islam/570-2006 – Qur’ān – Muhammad
This extensive and informative non-fiction book, written in a comprehensible and gripping style, focuses on Islam, the youngest of the monotheistic world religions. The author provides his target audience with a clear picture of the main aspects of the Muslim belief. He always hints at connections with Christianity and points out shared concepts and values. The most striking aspect of this book is its unbiased presentation of facts and its empathy with the believers. Thus it manages to destroy the stereotype of Islam as an ever-present threat, which is created by mass media reports in Europe about suicide attacks and other catastrophes. As a consequence, the book not only offers an extremely interesting and insightful text, but it also fulfils an important socio-political function. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 95
Wildner, Martina
Michelles Fehler
(Michelle’s mistakes)
Berlin : Bloomsbury, 2006. 281 p.
ISBN 978-3-8270-5167-7
Girl – Guardian angel – Mistake – Error
Michelle is a »thorough-thinker« and an »acute-observer « of the world around her. That’s why she always finds it difficult to make up her mind when she is faced with various options in her everyday life. Unfortunately, she often makes the most unsuitable choice. How is she to know that this is mainly the fault of her personal guardian angel, who hates pubescent teenagers? In the course of a single day, the girl thus makes 85 »mistakes«. Michelle feels insecure, misses her father (the parents are divorced), is physically threatened by a violent classmate, and feels she cannot talk to anyone about it. In a fairly entertaining way, this book asks readers to be alert and watch for hidden problems in social interaction, especially among young people. (12+)

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 96
Wolff, Uwe (text)
Hohmuth, Jürgen (photogr.)
Alles über Labyrinthe und Irrgärten : unterwegs mit Zeppelin und Kamera
(All about labyrinths and mazes : travelling with a camera by zeppelin)
Stuttgart [et al.] : Gabriel, 2006. 94 p.
ISBN 978-3-522-30095-7
Architecture – Garden design – Labyrinth – History
Surely everyone has lost their way in a maze once or has enthusiastically followed the paths of an artificially created labyrinth. This book explains the difference between these two genres of architecture and garden design, which often get confused. In addition, the authors also present famous historical examples from all over the world. An array of myths and legends, scientific research and instructions for designing one’s own construction turns this volume into a multipurpose asset for interested readers. Magnificent photographs, taken from a bird’s eye view, show a selection of the great variety of different types of labyrinths and mazes. (14+)