White Ravens: Italian

181 books      

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 119
Ambrogi, Silvano
Il ritorno degli alberi perduti
(The Retum of the Lost Trees)
Firenze: Le Monnier, 1992. 168 p.
ISBN 88-00-33096-7
biography-Socrates-Greek history (470-399 B.C.)
Ambrogi normally writes for the "Corriere della Sera." In this book he turns his back on journalism and invents a fantastic world in which, thanks to the wonders of technology, mankind's memory of nature is effectively extinguished completely. An icy orderliness dominates. The plants which have survived on other planets return, restoring emotions and disorder again. (8+)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 120
Baum, L. Frank (text)
Costa, Nicoletta (illus.)
Il mago di Oz
(The Wizard of Oz)
Pordenone: C'era una volta, 1992. 56 p.
modern fairy tale - USA - friendship - magic
The fascination of this adventurous journey in Kansas seems to become stronger from generation to generation. The craze in Italy has now extended to the picture book. The text was somewhat simplified and shortened, the pictures newly created by the increasingly successful illustrator Nicoletta Costa from Triest, who remains faithful to her naive style here. Special praise is due the publishing house C'era una volta for producing highly artistic original editions which would be too financially risky for larger publishers. (4+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 121
Baia delle Favole
(Fairy Tale Bay)
Genova: Feguagiskia' studios, 1992. 179 p.
modern fairy tale
For the last 25 years, the spa community of Sestri Levante has awarded Italy's most important prize for fairy tales, the "Premio Sestri Levante H.C. Andersen." On the occasion of its anniversary, this anthology has appeared, presenting a veritable treasure house for collectors of contemporary fairy tales. Among the winners of the last quarter century are such prominent authors as Giovanni Arpino (1971), Silvano Pezzetta (1974) and Alberto Moravia (1976), 1977's winner Italo Calvino wrote an especially extraordinary as well as quite realistic story: l disegni arrabbiati (The Evil Drawings). The girl Lodolinda's moods and the kinship with sheep, clouds and cauliflower appear in addition to Federico's mad ideas, one of which - to put the goldfish in the dishwasher - Lodolinda can prevent only with great difficulty. Never I have read such an pertinent and fast-paced description of children. Altogether imaginative and outstanding texts, even if the opinion of the individual authors about the form of the contemporary fairy tale diverges widely. Italian humor and a feeling for Italy's great fairy tale tradition break into the most surprising blossoms here. (6+)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 122
Carlo, Anna De (text/illus.)
Tod e la musica
(Tod and Music)
Milano: Fabbri, 1992. [28] p.
ISBN 88-450-4027-5
music
A new talent has emerged on the Italian picture book scene. With lots of verve, strong colors and a whirling protagonist (Tod the antbear) Anne De Carlo presents the history of music from its beginnings to the present day in only a few pages. For instance, the account of the folk music of different nations is remarkable. The figures are so cheeky, the text so funny that young readers will not even notice how much they are learning. (4+)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 123
Galeazzi, Andrea (ed.)
Abbatiello, Antonella (illus.)
Esopo, piccolo favole del bosco
(Aesop's Short Fables from the Woods)
Fierenze: Fatatrac, 1992. n.p.
ISBN 88-85089-89-5
Fable-Aesop
Without an instruction manual, this book would be impossible to understand: multicolored panels were imprinted with texts and pictures, When one finds the matching panels, puts them in the envelopes and turns them in the right rhythm all at the same time, then a fable appears in the windows. Beginning readers do not have to suppress their playful energy here. Due to its functionality and robustness, this is a successful variant of pop-up and game books. And with it, a successful start for the small and independent Florentiner publishing house with a series (called "Giradisco" = record player) which will hopefully continue. (3+)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 124
Kucich, Ola
Josie
(<Proper name>)
Milano: Editrice Nuovi Autori, 1992. 95 p.
ISBN 88-7230-087-8
boy - puberty - affluent society
Josie is a typical child of today's affluent society. He has everything a boy could wish for. But he is lonely. His parents, both successful in their professions, do not take much care of him. They cannot give him the love and attention he needs, the results of which are seen in his ambitious upbringing based on time investment - all of which combine to make Josie precocious. The problems arising from this situation are poignantly described. Kucich is a yet unknown author in Italy, She was born in Trento and has lived for many years in Fiume. She studied medicine and languages and was a lecturer in German language and literature at various schools and universifies. With this book she demonstrates great empathy for and commitment to the problems of young people. The dialogues are particularly convincing in style. One can anxiously await her next book. If she can lower the moral index finger a bit and polish the somewhat phlegmatic and placard-style writing, Kucich could establish herself as a young people's author not only in Italy. (11+)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 125
Lazzarato, Francesca
Ongini, Vinicio
La fata della tuna
(The Moon Fairy)
Milant: A. Mondadori, 1992. 80 p.
ISBN 88-04-36294-4
Legend (Philippines) – bilingual text
This thin and inexpensive volume offers more than a mere collection of Philippino myths and legends. It presents a foreign culture in richly illustrated fashion appropriate for children. The introduction is bilingual (Italian/Tagalog). The book is expressly geared to native Philippinos and children of immigrants. In the appendix, particulars of the Philippines are vividly compared with those of Italy (Italy has 70,000 Philippino immigrants). In this way, prejudices and fears can be overcome. More children's book publishers could take this book as an example for using similar concepts to try to do justice to their multicultural society, thus making an important contribution to peaceful integration. (5-9)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 126
Melegari, Vezio
Manuale dalle tre caravelle
(Handbook of the Three Caravelles)
Milano: A. Mondadori, 1992. 188 p.
ISBN 88-04-35238-8
ships - adventure
Vezio Melegari, an experienced and successful author of nonfiction for young people, has turned his attention to three-masted sailing ships (with the typical raised stern). One learns both exotic as well as historical details pertaining to this kind of legendary ship which Columbus used in his expeditions. (For example, the pines used in building the caravelles were felled only during winter nights at full moon.) It is astonishing how Melegari creates convincing suspense in this nonfiction. Graphic detail and an abundant combination of various kinds of pictures (each double page is illustrated!) make hearts not only of pirate fans beat faster. (10+)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 127
Molesini, Andrea (text)
Maggioni, Federico (illus.)
Il matto e l'ippopota
(The Lunatic and the Hippopotamus)
Milano: A. Mondadori, 1992. 61 p.
ISBN 88-04-35704-5
modern fairy tale - fantasy
The young Venetian author goes for broke in his fourth children's book: A lunatic with a helicopter hat and a hippopotamus go on an insane space journey where they meet the most incredible creatures and objects. The cosmic garlic-and- soap pizza is one of the more harmless phenomena, It seems Molesini wants to compete with the action of video games and TV advertising with his shrill prose (for children under 10 years). The results are noticeable. The only things which do not yet do justice to the great Italian tradition of children's books are its ideas and linguistic wit. (6-10)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 128
Pedrali, Giuseppe
Donna di spade
(The Woman of the Swords)
Firenze: Sansoni, 1992. 264 p.
ISBN 88-383-1408-X
history - Charles I - Langobarden - Pavia
The siege of Pavia forms the historic frame for this novel. With his established blend of historical facts, myths and literary subtleness, Pedrali has tried to write a sequel to his very successful novel Il tesoro del Bigatto. Although the "sword woman" will hardly achieve wide circulation, the book named after her still belongs to the highly recommendable publications of this kind for young people. (10+)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 129
Pitzorno, Bianca
La bambina col falcons
(The Girl and the Falcon)
Firenze: Salani, 1992. 240 p.
(Le linci)
ISBN 88-7782-226-0
history - Crusades - siblings
In the year 1215 the Christian world is awaiting the crusades promised repeatedly by the pope but invariably delayed. Costanza and Melisenda, two quite dissimilar sisters, are the protagonists of this historical novel. Their quarrels, their hopes, their diverse talents and their moments of happiness are described in Pitzorno's 33rd novel (if we have counted correctly). What is remarkable is that girls always play the main role in all the books of this author. In addition, it is not the great moments of world history which are the focus, but the private lives of young people. (9+)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 130
Pitzorno, Bianci
Sulle tracce del tesoro scomparso
(Following the Tracks of the Lost Treasure)
Milano: A. Mondadori, 1992. 276 p.
ISBN 88-04-36085-2
archaeology - treasure hunt - Sardinia
This is a strongly autobiographically shaded novel by Pitzorno, who has studied archaeology. Here she depicts the adventures of two sisters who are allowed to take part in the excavations on Sardinia, The trouble comes when a precious, prehistoric vase disappears from the small museum. One sister hunts for the vase, the other searches for a mysterious treasure which plays an important role in a legend. Pitzorno skillfully links the girls' personal experiences with turbulent events which keep the whole village in suspense. (11+)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 131
Piumini, Roberto (text)
Mariniello, Cecco (illus.)
Non piangere, cipolla
(Don't Cry, Onion)
Milano: A. Mondadori, 1992. 64 p.
ISBN 88-04-36290-1
poetry - food
A book as a restaurant: "Welcome, friend, to this restaurant. Here you will find fine, healthy and nutritious food: food for the mouth, the eyes, the ears and the mind," Thus Italy's most original living children's book author introduces this thin volume of poetry which revolves exclusively around food. Piumini limits himself to the basic foods and Italy's most common dishes (pastas- ciutta, pizza, polenta, risotto etc.). But he does it in such a devoted way that the reader feels like having these simple but savory dishes. This book is a real treat in every way, above all in its relishing of language. (5-10)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 132
Tamaro, Susanna (text)
Ross, Tony (illus.)
Cuore di Ciccia
(A Heart Made of Fat)
Milano: A. Mondadori, 1992. 107 p.
ISBN 88-04-35796-7
food - obesity - fantasy
The refrigerator is Michele's best friend. All the agonizing diets decreed by his mother cannot destroy this friendship. The conflict increases, however, and Michele escapes into an imaginary world where he successfully accomplishes an heroic deed which restores his lost self-confidence. The moral of the story is clear: external appearance is not so important. Here external appearance is reenacted in a fanciful way. The book can give children the strength to accept their looks and to fortify themselves against all sorts of teasing. (8+)

Italy (Italian) - 1993 - 133
Ventura, Piero (text/illus.)
I vestiti
(Clothing)
Milano: A. Mondadori, 1992. 65 p.
ISBN 88-04-35810-6
clothing
What were the first clothes made of? What color were Romans' shoes? These and many other questions are resolved in the popular drawings of Piero Ventura, the most well-known and most successful Italian illustrator. The fashions in vogue in the different epochs offer his graphic talent splendid stimulation. A comprehensive index illustrates the astonishing development of clothing from a functional protection against cold and dust to a totally superfluous catwalk extravagance. (7+)

Switzerland (Italian) - 1993 - 134
Derib (text/illus.)
Jo
(<Proper name>)
Genevra: Fundaziun per la vita, 1992. 94 p.
ISBN 2-940015-04-X
AIDS
This is a drastic, classic comic which could fascinate young people. It begins with a healthy, tennis-playing teenager and ends with her tragic death due to AIDS. The author-illustrator is familiar with the world of school children and thus successful in depicting the subject from their point of view. Owing to the broad basis of identification, this book could actually arouse a sense of responsibility in those growing up. It was translated into all four official Swiss languages and deserves dissemination in other countries as well. (9+)

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 144
Baldassarri, Guido (text)
Maggioni, Federico (illus.)
Olleitlas che parlava all'incontrario
(Olleitlas, Who Spoke Backwards)
Milano: Mondadori, 1992. 102 S.
(junior + 10; 29)
ISBN 88-04-35798-3
Child - Abduction - Adventure
Ever since Saltiello (Olleitlas) had a fall, he speaks words the other way around, is captured by a collector of monsters, and is pursued by the dog-man Dogherman halfway around the world. After many grotesque adventures, he finally lands at home again. This ingenious story is accompanied by equally unusual, graphically remarkable black-and-white illustrations. (10+)

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 145
Carpi, Pinin (text)
Rescaldani, Marilena (illus.)
I lupi di mare della Grande Luna
(The Water Rats of the Grande Luna)
Milano: A. Vallardi, 1992. 140 S.
ISBN 88-11-97335-X
Ship Travel - Orphan - Magic - Adventure
The three-master, of which Beppe is - against his will - captain, is an island of happiness for many children thanks to two magicians who want to save them all from landing in an orphanage. Travelling and fleeing from port to port, they experience the strangest adventures and hear the most unusual stories. This fantastic book of adventures, written by one of the renown Italian writers for children, is illustrated with delicately drawn black-and-white illustrations and colored, striking, artistically demanding full-sized pictures. (10+)

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 146
Chiusano, Italo Alighiero
La banda di Pipin Bertuccia
(Pipin Bertuccia's Gang)
Casale Monferrato: Piemme, 1993. 174 S.
ISBN 88-384-1888-8
Orphan - Village - Youth Gang - Everyday Life
This well-known author first told his own children this story about the 11-year-old Pipino, the orphan, who lives with his bird Bràcola, his dog Fefo and his grandmother in the country, about his daily life and his adventure with his friends. Now he is put it down in his first book for children. It is a pleasure to follow the classic style story, beginning with the introduction of the persons and their world, which takes its lessons from Collodi. (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 147
Lodi, Mario (text)
Costa, Nicoletta (illus.)
II soldatino del pim pum pà : poesie, filastrocche, favole
(The Soldier of Pim-pum-pa: Poems, Rhymes and Tales)
Trieste: Einaudi Ragazzi, 1993. 67 S.
(Einaudi Ragaza / Storie e rime; 6)
ISBN 88-7926-098-7
Italien/Lyric - Peace - Justice - Democracy
Enchanting poems and short tales which deal with peace and true democracy, gathered together in a paperback with handsome illustrations. (8+)

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 148
Nanetti, Angela (text)
Nidasio, Grazia (illus.)
Veronica ovvero "I gatti sono talmente imprebedibili!" Veronika oder "Die Katzen sind alle unberechenbar! ")
(Veronica or "Cats are all unpredictable)
Trieste: Emme, 1993. 94 p.
ISBN 88-7927-156-3
Girl - Family - Cat
Nine-year-old Veronika, furnished with an intolerable older sister, an unfaithful lover, relatively normal parents and a wonderful cat needs to adjust to her surroundings and establish her role in them. How she manages this is told by a frequent prize-winning author from the perspective of the heroine in a humorous, readable but yet discriminating language. (8+)

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 149
Parmeggiano, Maria Laura
II segreto del calicanto : una vita per la libertà
(The Secret of the Spice Bouquet: A Life for Freedom)
Bergamo: Janus, 1993. 138 S.
Italy/Occupation - Resistenza Bergamasca <1943-1945 >
This historical novel tells of the resistance of the Italians against the German occupation after 1943, the "Resistenza Bergamasca", and its young heroine Adriana Locatelli in a fascinating manner. (12)

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 150
Pitzorno, Bianca (text)
Blake, Quentin (illus.)
Polissena del Porcello
(Polissena with the Piglet)
Milano: Mondadori, 1993. 278 S.
ISBN 88-04-37195-1
Girl - Adoption - Parent/Search - Identity crisis
Adopting a boy's name, Polissena sets off to find her real parents. She is accompanied by the little vagabond Lucrezia and her trained animals, including a little pig. They fall into a society of the strangest varied people who all have something either clarifying or confusing to tell about Polissena's past. This novel is written in a clear, but not simple language, in which one surprise follows after the next; in addition, the publisher found it appropriate to commission one of the best English illustrators - Quentin Blake! (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 151
Piumini, Roberto (reteller)
Bosnia, Nella (illus.)
Giulietta e Romeo : da William Shake- speare
(Julia and Romeo; adapted from W. Shakespeare)
Trieste: Einaudi Ragazzi, 1991. 124 S.
(Einaudi Ragazzi / Narrativa; 1)
ISBN 88-7926-079-0
Romeo and Julia (retelling)
Julia's name is intentionally place first in the title, deviating from Shakespeare's. Piumini tells the old tale more from the point of view of the girl, reducing it to the original novella length, letting it profit from a language whose clarity heightens the drama. The handsome illustrations in Neorenaissance style complement the text well. (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 152
Piumini, Roberto (text)
Bosnia, Nella (illus.)
II segno di Lapo
(The Sign of Lapo)
Trieste: Emaudi Ragazzi, 1992. 210 S.
(Einandi Ragazzi I Narrativa; 8)
ISBN 88-7926-078-2
Wedding Feast at Cana < Painting > - Painting - Fogery - Detective Story
In the form of a detective story, the painting "Wedding Feast at Cana" by an old master is revealed to be a forgery by a group of youth, A pleasurable and easy to read story with handsome single-color illustrations. (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 153
Speri, Pietro
Ric della montagna
(Ric of the Mountains)
Bergamo: Janus, 1993. 214 S.
(Collana "le letture "; 42)
Youth - Loneliness - Frienilship - Identity Crisis
After the death of his grandfather, Riccardo lives, with the permission of his parents, alone in the mountains. His all-absorbing attention to Nature is interrupted when he becomes acquainted with three youths in a neighboring village. He learns to live in a community again. Speri's narration shows a fine sensibility for the psyche of youth, their yearning for pure nature, their search for an acceptable identity. (14+)

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 154
Venturi, Marcello (text)
Bosnia, Nella (illus.)
ColleFiorito
(The Little City of Blumenberg)
Trieste: Elle, 1993. 75 S.
(Collana "le letture"; 70)
ISBN 88-7068-544-6
Small Town - Railroad - Adventure
This amusingly written and easy to read story deals with a dormant little city whose only variety is the railroad line whose trains and passengers seem to stimulate the fantasy of the inhabitants. (8+)

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 155
Verne, Jules
Faeti, Antonio (intro.)
Cavattoni, Francesca (transl.)
L'isola dello zio Robinson
(Uncle Robinson's Island)
Milano: Mondadori, 1991. 209 S.
(Libri per ragaza)
ISBN 88-04-36324-X
Robinsonade
In the city archives of Nantes, a previously unpublished manuscript by Jules Verne (with the title L'Oncle Robinson) was recently found and is published here for the first time - in Italian. Verne began to work on the text, which was intended for the magazine "Magasin d' éducation et de récreation", in 1861. But only later did a revised version appear with the title "The Mysterious Island." The original version remained unpublished until now. In view of the extraordinarioness of this discovery, the book is prefaced by an introduction by the internationally renown children's book research Antonio Faeti.

Italy (Italian) - 1994 - 156
Ziliotto, Donatella (text)
Nidasio, Grazia (illus.)
Un chilo di piume, un chilo di piombo
(A Kilo of Feathers, a Kilo of Lead)
Trieste: Einaudi Ragazzi, 1992. 87 S.
(Einaudi Ragazzi / Narrativa; 2)
ISBN 88-7926-082-0
Triest - World War <1939-1945> - Child - Autobiography
The well-known writer tells of her childhood during the Second World War in Triest in a readable and, in spite of its serious topic, witty language. Caricature black-and-white illustrations of remarkable quality enrichen the book. (10+)

Italy (Italian) - 1995 - 119
Alberti, Rossella (text/illus.)
Racconti dal Camerun
(Tales from Cameroon)
Pasian di Prato: Campanotto, 1994. 173 p.
(Campanotto Narrativa; 40)
Cameroon/Fairy tales - Cameroon/Fables
Due to its multifaceted environment and heterogeneous population, Cameroon is also known as "little Africa." It also has a literature based on a rich, oral tradition. Fairy tales, fables arid stories from this corpus have been gathered together here by Rosella Alberti and arranged in capitals subsumed under different animals. The last chapter deals with human stories. Quite understandably, typical African animals (turtles, hyenas) play major roles but as in other cultures they embody certain basic archetypes (e.g. good and evil) and behaviors. (8+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 1995 - 120
Carpi, Pinin (text/illus.)
Rescaldani, Marilena (illus.)
Il fantasma che aveva paura dei fantasmi : e altre storie da ridere per la paura
(The ghost who was afraid of ghosts and other stories to laugh at when afraid)
Firenze: Giunti, 1994. 94 p.
(Le fiabe fantastiche di Pinin Carpi; 6)
ISBN 88-09-20500-6
Ghost - Spirits - Vampires
A ghost which is afraid of other ghosts and a librarian who collects them. Very spooky, creepy and strange events take place in Pinin Carpi's tales. Vampires and ghosts in classical fluttering garb inhabit gloomy castles and vacant houses. But these eight tales are none too scary; they are no so much suited to causing fright as to creating laughs. This large-sized book is accompanied by numerous colored illustrations. Some of the tales were illustrated by the author himself.

Italy (Italian) - 1995 - 121
Lazzarato, Franecsca (text)
Costa, Nicoletta (illus.)
L'esilio di re Salomone : storie, leggende e fiabe della tradizione ebraica
(King Solomon's banishment: Stories, legends and tales from the Jewish tradition)
Milano: Mondadori, 1994. 80 p.
(Fiabe Junior; 8)
ISBN 88-04-37722-4
Jews/Tales
These short, sometimes anecdotal tales, legends and stories on a variety of themes are derived from the rich Jewish storytelling tradition. Nicoletta Costa has contributed simple and happy, at times poetic illustrations. An appendix contains concise details of the history, cultural tradition and current situation of Jews all around the world. Among the volumes already published in this paperback series, which was initiated to acquaint young readers with tales of many different cultures, are also, for example, tales from Senegal, the Philippines, etc. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1995 - 122
Panini, Giorgio P. (text)
Atlante di Mitologia
(Atlas of Mythology)
Milano: Mondadori, 1994. 128 p. With illustrations
ISBN 88-04-38977-X
Mythology - Legend
This illustrated volume takes an unaccustomed glimpse at the mythology of various cultures and epochs by placing the mythological figures - the heroes - in the foreground. Two aspects of this work make it especially attractive: first, the term "myth" is interpreted so broadly that no only classic, e.g. Greek or Germanic, myths are included, but also new, literary ones, such as the heart-breaker Don Giovanni. (It would have made sense to include still-living myths of our modern society such as film stars). Secondly, the author has dispensed with a geographic or chronological order and instead arranged the figures of various origins together by theme or motif. This creates quite surprising cross-sections and allows interesting comparisons. For example, Achilles is to be found alongside Siegfried in the group of "the vulnerable;" and among the group of "those born in an unusual manner" one finds Orion and also Pinocchio. The volume is richly illustrated with pictures of art works, famous book illustrations, or scenes from films. Picture symbols make it easy for the reader to associate a figure with its origin. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1995 - 123
Pitzorno, Bianca (text)
Blake, Quentin (illus.)
Diana Cupído e il Commendatore
(Diana, Cupid and the Commander)
Milano: Mondadori, 1994. 300 p.
ISBN 88-04-38986-9
Sardinia/History 1950s/Everyday life - Small town - Puberty/Girl - Family
Together with her mother and little sister, eleven-year-old Diana goes to live with her grandfather, a strange, affluent cinema owner in Sardinia. The novel depicts life in a small Italian town and the everyday life of a teenager and her three girlfriends (who the reader already encountered in Ascolta il mio cuore), who are in the midst of puberty, and their idolization of American film stars. Above all this is a tale about Italy in the 1950s: "Even refrigerators were seen as a real rarity. There were no supermarkets, no hamburgers, neither Coca Cola, nor disposable diapers or frozen foods" The author's talent lays in very apt descriptions with a distinctive choice of words in a dynamic and humorous style. The well-known illustrator Quentin Blake has contributed congenial black-and-white wash illustrations. (12+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1995 - 124
Quarzo, Guido (text)
Fatus, Sophie (illus.)
Zampe di gallina
(Chicken feet)
Firenze: Fatayrac, 1994. 64 p.
ISBN 88-86228-25-2
Old Woman/Child - Chicken - Imagination - Storytelling
In an old fairy tale - so the book begins - deep in the woods there is a hut standing on chicken feet and in it lives a witch who eats people as if they were chickens. But in this book there is a little house amidst the tall buildings and the loud traffic of a big city. While all the adults rush by blindly and have no idea that this house exists, the children ask what it is doing there. One day curious little Ulisse enters the house and makes friends with its occupants, a talking chicken and an old peculiar woman who can tell stories particularly well. And that is what the book, with its imaginative, brightly colored illustrations, is all about: stories and storytelling, the unlimited possibilities of the imagination. (6+)

Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 130
Soupault, Ré et Philippe (text)
Yao, Li Zhong (illus.)
Dragon bleu, Dragon jaune
(Blue Dragon, Yellow Dragon)
Paris: Père Castor Flammarion, 1995. [28] p.
ISBN 2-08-160146-X
Korea - Emperor - Painting
The emperor of Korea commanded the best painter of the kingdom to paint two dragons as symbols of power and peace for the throne room. After considerable preparation the painter merely threw a blue and a yellow brush stroke on the silk canvas. At first this »work« made the emperor very angry. But then he recognized that the dynamics of the two lines had fully captured the nature of the dragons. This tale is taken from a collection by the Soupaults which is still popular today , »Stories of Wonder from Five Continents.« The Korean illustrator has supplied illustrations in the traditional style of his homeland. He demonstrates for children that the variety of artistic means extends even to absolute reduction. (6+)

Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 131
Vénuleth, Jacques (text)
Diet, Robert (illus.)
Les pierres du silence
(The Stones of Silence)
Paris: Hachette, 1995. 188 p.
ISBN 2-01-321311-5
Israel - Jewish-Arab Conflict - Palestine - Intifada - Mutism - Diary
In a psychiatric clinic in Jerusalem a young girl begins to keep a diary. As a Palestinian from an Arabic village in Israel, and hence a citizen of Israel, who goes to a boarding school in Switzerland, she has had trouble to admit her own identity. After experiencing a violent act of revenge by Jewish soldiers against the Intifada during a visit to her village, she had fallen mute from the shock. The reader follows her painful process of healing and self-discovery in the course of her diary. This highly literary work of fiction enables a deeper understanding for a conflict-ridden chapter in contemporary history. (13+) ☆
(Grand Prix du Livre pour la Jeunesse (for the manuscript) 1994)

Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 133
Buongiorno, Teresa (text)
Nidasio, Grazia (illus.)
Olympos. Diario di una dea adolescente
(Olympos. Diary of an Adolescent Goddess)
Firenze: Salani, 1995. 231 p.
(Gl'Istrici; Istrice Sapiens; 95)
ISBN 88-7782-382-8
Greece/Classical Age - Mythology - Hebe - Growing up - Diary
Hebe, the daughter of Zeus and Hera and the goddess of youth, feels it is a burden to be condemned to eternal youth. The young girl tells here of her search for identity and of everyday life and various adventures on Olympus. The members of the extended divine family prove themselves to be very human, whimsical, cantankerous and moody. A decisive turn in Hebe's life comes when she falls in love with Heracles and becomes his wife. This entertaining story is told by Hebe herself in diary form, divided into 90 chapters which read like episodes of a mythological soap opera. (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 134
Davico Bonino, Guido (ed.)
Lazzarato, Francesca (ed.)
Canottiere, Lorena (illus.)
Sartoni, Lorenzo (illus.)
Il Girotondo degle Spiriti Allegri. Fiabe di morte, santi e diavoli
(The Roundelay of Happy Spirits. Tales of Death, Saints and Devils)
Milano: Mondadori, 1995. 142 p.
(Tutto è fiabe)
ISBN 88-04-39879-5
Italy/Folk tales - Death - Devil - Demons - Saints
Traditional folk tales and legends from various regions of Italy have been gathered together in this collection and translated or retold in the modern vernacular. This book is one of a new series by the publisher Mondadori in which individual volumes group together stories by theme or geographical region, for example, tales about talking animals, tricksters and magicians, tales from Ireland or the tales of Native Americans. (8+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 135
Dell'Oro, Erminia (text)
Mariniello, Cecco (illus.)
La pianta magica
(The Magic Plant)
Trieste: E. Elle, 1995. 66 p.
(Le letture; 93)
ISBN 88-7068-751-1
Set in Eritrea, this is a story about a plant named Winta, which has magical powers. It can attract clouds and make the rain fall wherever water is especially needed. In the Spring of 1994 Winta is picked by an ignorant tourist and brought to Italy. A bird sets off to find it again. This book, a mixture of fairy tale, history and legends from Eritrea, is dedicated by the author to the children of this east African country as well as all the children who must endure the great sufferings of war. (9+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 136
Gandolfi, Silvana (text)
Orecchia, Giulia (illus.)
Occhio al gatto!
(Beware of Cat!)
Firenze: Salani, 1995. 207 p.
(Gl'Istrici; 100)
ISBN 88-7782-340-2
Venice - Cat - Odyssee - Detective story
It is surely no coincidence that Virgilio, the tom-cat, is named after Dante's guide through the underworld. This book views Venice, its canals, bridges and dark doorways, from a cat's perspective - along with the boy named Dante, who after imbibing a magical chocolate drink has power to see with the eyes of a cat. The boy becomes involved in a kidnapping and discovers the evil side of supposedly unsuspicious persons. Characteristic for this adventure story is the intrusion of phantasy elements in everyday life and the things behind the mask of appearances. (10+)

Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 137
Lavatelli, Anna (text)
Zahradka, Mirek (illus.)
Il cannone Bum!
(The Cannon Boom!)
Casale Monferrato: Piemme, 1995. [64] p.
(Il battello a vapore / Serie bianca; 13)
ISBN 88-384-3413-1
War/Peace - Old age
At the end of the war Boom, the cannon, is put in mothballs. At first still a celebrity, it soon is forgotten. After a long time has passed, it is discovered again by a circus director and given a new, peaceable and merry-making function in it's old days. The story of Boom is a story against war, but also about old age and the often thoughtless manner of dealing with people and things that no longer seem to have any use. The cheerful color illustrations in mixed media are a highly appropriate complement to the text. (6+)

Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 138
Lazzarato, Francesca (adapt.)
Galloni, Adelchi (illus.)
La novantanovesima moglie del re. Fiabe e leggende della tradizione nigeriana
(The King's Ninety-ninth Wife. Traditional Tales and Legends from Nigeria)
Milano: Mondadori, 1995. 79 p.
(Fiabe Junior)
ISBN 88-04-39906-6
Nigeria/Tales - Nigeria/Legends
This is one of the titles of an exemplary paperback series which presents the tales, fables, and legends of various peoples and countries, providing the opportunity to look beyond one's own narrow (eurocentric) borders and discover and understand better foreign cultures. This volume is dedicated to the west African country of Nigeria, a land marked by the co-habitation of very different peoples, which has been in the public eye recently above all with negative headlines. Accompanied by colored illustrations, this volume collects myths of origins, animal tales and other brilliant short stories. In an appendix the reader will find supplemental information about Nigeria. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 139
Montanari, Massimo (text)
Luzzati, Emanuele (illus.)
Il pentolino magico
(The Little Magic Pot)
Bari: Laterza, 1995. vii, 118 p.
ISBN 88-420-4739-2
Food/History - Eating/History
The Grimms' fairy tale »The sweet porridge« prompted the author to write this stimulating and entertaining book which explores in 34 chapters the topics of food and eating, both of which have played a fundamental role in all cultures in all ages, whether in the creation myths, religious texts, cult rites, literature, in celebrations or in everyday life. Human history is in no small way a history of hunger and sacrifice, of surplus and of lust for eating. Massimo Montanari's texts offer a richly varied mixture of stories, documentation, myths, legends and historical accounts. The palette offers, among other things, stories of the tree of life, miracle stories from the Bible about the appearance of food and drink or the corn people myths of the Mayas. Furthermore other topics such as the land of Cockaigne, the discovery of the potato and the cocoa bean, table manners, seasonings and flavorings, beer and tortellini. It is remarkable how many connections and parallels in cultural history can be discovered. The book is enhanced by numerous colorful, vivid pictures in mixed media, primarily in pastel crayons and paper collages. The beginning of each chapter is graced with an original anthropomorphic initial letter. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 140
Piumini, Roberto
Denis del pane
(Denis of Bread)
Trieste: Einaudi Ragazzi, 1995. 232 p.
(Narrativa; 39)
ISBN 88-7936-160-6
In the Middle Ages the mill considered the focal point of rural life since everyone had to go there sooner or later, even a child. When Denis, a nameless foundling, arrives there, the miller brothers Gustav and Francois Tabin agree to take him in. Denis's best friend is Freut, a mongrel dog, and together they have many adventures which shape his development as much as the bread sculptures, knights, and mysterious letters. The author skillfully develops the story to give a vivid picture of life during those times. (11+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 141
Stanisci, Andrea (text)
Ricci, Stefano (illus.)
Don Giovanni. Doppio giallo
(Don Giovanni. A double detective story)
Firenze: Salani, 1995. 119 p.
(Gl'Istrici; Istrici della Ribalta; 96)
ISBN 88-7782-373-9
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus - Reality/Fiction - Opera house - Detective story
Inspector Gustav and his assistant finally have a »real« case to solve. Signor Francesco, the main actor of Mozart's opera »Don Giovanni« has disappeared without a trace. During their investigations at the opera house the both discover strange parallels between the plot of the opera and the life of the singers. Reality and fiction are so interwoven that in the end they prove to be inseparable, and even the case remains shrouded in mysterious darkness. In the new series »Istrici della Ribalta« young readers become acquainted with the world classics of literature in a very unconventional manner. (12+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 142
Tamaro, Susanna (text)
Ross, Tony (illus.)
Il cerchio magico
(The Magic Circle)
Milano: Mondadori, 1995. 117 p.
(Contemporanea)
ISBN 88-04-39613-X
Wolf's child - Forest - Threat - Destruction - Nature - Civilization
Like Romulus and Remus, Rick has been nursed by a she-wolf in the only space left open in a big city. This idyllic life takes an abrupt turning point when some men, greedy for wealth and without scruples, decide to cut down the unexplored wood, »il cerchio magico«. As a result Rick's mother, the she-wolf, is killed and the boy is forced to enter the aggressive world of human beings. Acting resolutely and with the help of some human friends and animals, Rick succeeds in saving the »cerchio magico«. With its well-constructed plot and welldrawn characters, the story's setting seems very realistic and plausible. (11+)

Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 142
Argilli, Marcello (text)
Cimatoribus, Alessandra (illus.)
Alla signorina Elle con tanto affetto
(To Miss »L« with love)
Firenze: Fatatrac, 1996. 63 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni; 12 : Dire fare giocare)
ISBN 88-86228-74-0
Language - Alphabet - Wordplay
This book includes eight fantasy tales based on language and alphabet. The main characters are spelling, pronunciation, syntactical and grammatical mistakes, which experience adventures within various puns. Together they form a lively story reminiscent of Rodari's, Gianni »Il libro degli errori«. While ignoring the school standards of proper speech and writing, lingustic knowledge is subtly conveyed, letting children realize that it is possible to play and have fun with words. The book's aesthetically pleasing design presents the puns with extraordinary charm. The bright and expressive illustrations, some using lettering and collage techniques, employ strong contrasts in line and color. (8+)

Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 143
Bellot, Gina (text)
Pasini, Marilena (illus.)
La torta storta. Rime & filastrocche
(The crooked cake. Nursery rhymes and verses)
Roma: Nuove Edizioni Romane, 1996. 56 p.
(Nuova biblioteca dei ragazzi; 15: Poesia)
ISBN 88-85990-35-5
Poetry/Italian - Children's rhymes
This collection of 41 short nursery rhymes includes a full range of creativity, emotions, thought, feeling, nonsense and limerick. The book makes pleasant and light-hearted reading sustained by amusement and poetry, smile and memory. The alternating color and black-and-white illustrations scan the rhyming couplet's rhythm, suggesting new graphic inventions. (6+)

Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 144
Bindi Mondaini, Donatella (text)
Mariniello, Cecco (illus.)
Un coniglio nel cappello
(A rabbit in the hat)
Trieste: Edizioni EL, 1996. 87 p.
(Le letture; 105)
ISBN 88-7068-997-2
Appearance - Social expectations - Only child - Friendship
Twelve-year-old Silvia is too tall and too slim, has red hair and a freckled nose, and what's more she is an only child. But Silvia has many friends, including one with an enviable family of many children where she spends a lot of time. One day Silvia meets a friendly old magician and from that moment on her life is filled with adventures, unexpected events and new acquaintances. The tale brings out children's difficulty of accepting their physical differences and shows a way to overcome problems of communication, especially with adults. (5+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 145
Conte, Tonino (text)
Luzzati, Emanuele (illus.)
Genova, una città in 20 storie
(Genoa, a city in 20 tales)
Roma: Laterza, 1996. 111 p.
ISBN 88-420-5099-7
Genoa/History
The author invites the reader on a voyage of discovery through the city of Genoa, past and present. He tells about its maritime tradition (Genoa was one of four Italian maritime republics), its legendary heroes, the architecture of its noble palaces and cultural festivals. He takes the reader on an enchanting walk through the ancient atmosphere of its streets, in search of the city's soul, which reveals itself in the intimate relationship with the sea. Blue prevails over all other colors in expressing the pervasive water of the sea that shapes the city's identity. In the illustrations Luzzati lavishes his enchanting chromatism and mastery of scene-settings to give a constituent lightness to the cityscape. His endless imagination lets him combine every possible kind of graphic technique. (12+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 146
Lazzarato, Francesca (adapt.)
Galloni, Adelchi (illus.)
L'elefante di pietra. Fiabe e favole della tradizione indiana
(The stone elephant. Tales and legends from India)
Milano: Mondadori, 1996. 79 p.
(Fiabe Junior; 11)
ISBN 88-04-41545-2
India/Tales - India/Legends
The author continues her work of acquainting children with folktales from foreign cultures, choosing for this collection some of the most important traditional tales and legends of India. As usual, the anthology is supplemented by a documentary appendix consisting of concise and easily understood information and maps of the Indian subcontinent's history and geography, and in this way illustrating India's complicated religious and linguistic diversity, traditions, customs, and art styles for a better understanding of folktales. The text is complemented by watercolor illustrations which succeed in rendering the enchanting atmosphere of the Orient. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 147
Lazzarato, Francesca (adapt.)
Ziliotto, Donatella (adapt.)
Carrer, Chiara (illus.)
Manuale del cacciatore di fantasmi
(Handbook for ghost-hunters)
Firenze: Salani, 1996. 115 p.
ISBN 88-7782-499-9
Ghost - Horror - Short stories
The best way of overcoming one's fear of ghosts is to hunt them, and with this »handbook« the authors supply information on how to become a »perfect ghost hunter«. The book includes short tales, legends, traditions, tricks and games for parties, all related to horror. Fear in all its forms (place, sound, color) is faced, showing that you can have fun with it. The black-and-white pendrawings capture important moments of suspense and drama. (10+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 148
Luciani, Domenica (text)
Luciani, Roberto (illus.)
Cinema segreto
(Filming secrets)
Firenze: Giunti, 1996. 190 p.
(Giunti Ragazzi Universale; 19)
ISBN 88-09-20867-6
Video camera - Film - Everyday life - Observation - Friendship
Sara and Marina are friends who share a common passion for films, both seeing and making them. With Sara's father's video camera they decide to make a movie about their families' everyday life. Unknown to everyone, the two girls film, among other things, Sara's sister running away from home, her boyfriend in love with an older woman or a party of Sara's parents. The girls spy on grown-ups and reveal their secret and hypocritical behaviors, collecting the evidence in a new form of audio-video-electronic diary. For each event there is a congenial reference to characters and motifs from famous recent films (such as »Beauty and the Beast« or »Jurassic Park«). The author's appealing use of language, imitating the idiom spoken by today's teenagers, achieves highly witty effects. (11+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 149
Mignone, Sebastiano Ruiz (text)
Frasca, Simone (illus.)
Guidone Mangiaterra e gli sporcaccioni
(Guidone the Earth-eater and the filthy slobs)
Casale Monferrato: Piemme, 1996. 128 p.
(Il battello a vapore, Serie azzurra; 22)
ISBN 88-384-3522-7
Italy/Folktale - Fairy tale - Curse - Odor - Filth - Adventure - Love - Courage - Justice
Lovely Rita is supposed to marry Gardenio III Profumo, the prince of the Kingdom of Profumino. But then, out of spite, a filthy Slob (Sporcaccione) succeeds in making her stomach rumble with »embarrassing noises«. In search of a good doctor, the much underestimated little Guidone sets off on an adventurous journey full of unexpected encounters, dramatic moments and Sporcaccioni's evil traps. The tale belongs to the fantasy genre, with a prince, an enchanted beauty, a strange witch and a wicked wizard who resemble the characters of classical fairy tales. The author brings together with proportion and gaiety figures from the folklore of Italy's different regions in a felicitous combination of prose and verse. (7+)
(Premio Andersen 1996 for age group 6 to 9)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 150
Nanetti, Angela (text)
D'Altan, Paolo (illus.)
Mistero sull'isola
(Mystery on the island)
Trieste: Einaudi Ragazzi, 1996. 133 p.
(Narrativa; 54)
ISBN 88-7926-216-5
Island - Loneliness - Family conflict - Abduction - Growing up
Dario leads a very lonely life on an island which comes alive only during the summer months. But his hope for a dangerous adventure is fulfilled when he becomes suspicious of a boat's illegal cargo and the strange signals coming from a mysterious villa. When he starts to investigate, Dario gets into trouble and his father's vineyards are set on fire, forcing him to face up to the reality of organized crime. This is a story of kidnapping but also of initiation into adulthood, the time to face one's parents and forgive their failures. The author's narrative style skilfully conveys the island's atmosphere of »omertà« (conspiracy of silence) and fear which is also well portrayed by the illustrator's quivering line-drawings. (11+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 151
Pratesi, Fulco (text)
Maugeri, Stefano (illus.)
Dalle caverne ai grattacieli. Gli italiani e l'ambiente
(From caves to skyscrapers. Italians and the environment)
Roma: Laterza, 1996. 158 p.
(Laterza ragazzi)
ISBN 88-420-5047-4
Environmental destruction/History - Environmental protection
Human attacks on flora and fauna began already in the Paleolithic Age and have continued over the centuries, from an ever increasing deforestation for farming and settlements, right up to the presentday life-endangering level of pollution. Giving an interesting historical overview, this work also shows how to lead a more natural and respectful lifestyle. Even if we cannot turn back the course of time and disassemble our high-tech world, the author maintains that it is possible to halt the future destruction of nature. The drawings by Maugeri that complement the text have a touch of irony that encourages understanding and reflection. (12+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 152
Quarzo, Guido (text)
Costa, Nicoletta (illus.)
Marmellata di basilico
(Basil jam)
Trieste: Edizioni EL, 1996. 49 p.
(Le letture; 101)
ISBN 88-7068-915-8
Liguria - Village life - Tradition - School holidays - Grandmother - Environmental awareness
Giulia spends her summer holidays with her grandmother in a fishing village with cottages encircled by thick green foliage laying below hills that drop to the sea dotted with many islets. In her imagination she sees also pirates and treasures to hunt. This is a short, witty and well-crafted tale of daydreams and wishes, which mixes realistic description with fantastic visions. It also features the conspiratorial tie between grandparents and grandchildren. Pencil drawings with joyful and captivating simplicity accompany the text. (6+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 153
Quarzo, Guido (text)
Mariniello, Cecco (illus.)
Ranocchi a merenda
(Frogs for snacks)
Casale Monferrato: Piemme, 1996. 49 p.
(Il battello a vapore, Serie bianca; 15)
ISBN 88-384-3415-8
Frog prince <motif> - Transformation - Adventure - Love - Friendship
Once upon a time there was a lonely fairy who turned every frog she met into a prince - wrongly believing that they were all enchanted princes - in the hope of finding the prince of her dreams. But the poor frogs complained bitterly because, though they had the appearance of human beings, they still ate gnats and were unable to speak. At last one clever frog invited her to turn herself into a frog and join him in the pond. She did and they lived happily ever after. The amusing illustrations successfully harmonize with the author's singular, fluent style. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 154
Scuderi, Lucia (text/illus.)
Hoplà
(Oops!)
Firenze: Fatatrac, 1996. [12] p.
(Dalla parte degli animali)
ISBN 88-86228-70-8
Chicken - Egg - Curiosity - Crocodile
A chicken encounters a gigantic egg and tries to open it by force. Using its sharp beak as a tool, it gets the shock of its life when a grinning crocodile suddenly peeps out of the shell. This is the essence of the simple story which is told in only a few pictures and summarized on the last page in three sentences. The expressiveness of the chalk-drawn illustrations of this small-sized board book are most impressive. Lucia Scuderi reduces the story to its minimal elements. There is nothing more to see than a white chicken, an orange egg and a deep blue background. With no more than the perfectly captured postures and expressions of the chicken, the youngest reader will readily understand the plot. (3+)

Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 132
Argilli, Marcello (text)
Manna, Giovanni (illus.)
Il fantasma di Trastevere e altri racconti
(The ghost of Trastevere and other tales)
Firenze: Fatatrac, 1997. 72 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni; 14)
ISBN 88-86228-88-0
Rome/History - City life - Adventure
These seven lively tales are woven around the city of Rome, with its ancient history, squares and buildings. In each story Rome is both setting and protagonist. With just the right balance between reality and imagination, each tale focuses on a real aspect of the city (such as a statue, a famous person, or even the Pope), allowing the legends and glorious moments of ancient Rome resurface. The historical and topographical information in these fantasy tales are well-matched by the pen-and-brush drawings depicting past and present scenes of Roman life. (9+)

Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 133
Buongiorno, Teresa (text)
Nidasio, Grazia (illus.)
Camelot. L'invenzione della Tavola Rotonda
(Camelot. The invention of the Round Table)
Firenze: Salani, 1997. 176 p.
(Grand'istrice; 8)
ISBN 88-7782-448-4
Round Table/Legend - King Arthur - Hero - Middle Ages
The legend of King Arthur and his knights is retold here in the form of a fictitious manuscript containing diary-like entries by Merlin, Morgana, Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and Galahad as teenagers. Handing down the pen from one to the other, each character tells his own story and something of the others' from their own perspective. The use of a diary-style narrative is a successful choice because it appeals to teenage readers. It allows the adventurous tales of the Arthurian cycle to be told with adolscent eyes and values, while also conveying historical, mythical and literary knowledge of the Middle Ages. (11+)

Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 134
Cinquetti, Nicola (text)
Rapaccini, Chiara (illus.)
Eroi, re, regine e altre rime
(Heroes, kings, queens and other rhymes)
Roma: Nuove Edizioni Romane, 1997. 80 p.
(Nuova biblioteca dei ragazzi; 20: Poesia)
ISBN 88-85990-44-4
Children's poetry - Children's rhymes - Wordplay
Achilles, Copernicus, Cicero, Penelope, Pasteur and Michelangelo are only some of the famous persons portrayed in these 54 poems. With a light and ironical touch, using puns and pithy expressions, the author invites children to make their acquaintance with these internationally known figures from history, mythology, science and art. This is a stimulating, enjoyable collection of verse, rhymed and unrhymed. Noteworthy are the black-and-white drawings which complement the text, highlighting its sharpness and lyricism. (7+)

Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 135
Fallai, Paolo (text)
Scarpa, Laura (illus.)
Le 3 chiavi
(The 3 keys)
Milano: Mondadori, 1997. 128 p.
(Junior +10; 72 (Libri per ragazzi))
Father/Son - Friendship - Parental separation - Growing up - De Chirico/Painting
When Andrea's father is accused of painting forgeries of De Chirico's paintings and arrested, the son decides to make his own investigations. Along the way he learns some things that shake his glowing image of his father. But three mysterious keys, which also have metamorphic significance, help to solve the dilemma and resolve his feelings: a budding romance, concern about his parents' separation, and his anxiety about growing up. The chronicle style narrative is structured as a thriller with plenty of suspense. (11+)
(Premio Laura Orvieto 1996)

Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 136
Frasca, Simone
Clara nella nebbia
(Clara in the fog)
Trieste: Ed. EL, 1997. 55 p.
(Le letture; 110)
ISBN 88-477-0052-3
Comics - Myopia
Six-year old Clara loves comic-strip stories and spends most of her time reading them. Her family thinks that her absent-minded and dreamy behavior comes from her passion for comics and don't notice that the fog that seems to surround her existence is due to something else. Only when Clara's teacher discovers that she has a mild case of myopia does she get a pair of glasses that helps to solve this problem. This is an attractive story set between fantasy and reality, where the comic strip characters come out of the pages and chat with the child. The black-and-white sketches stimulate the reader's imagination. (6+)

Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 137
Gandolfi, Silvana (text)
Orecchia, Giulia (illus.)
L'isola del tempo perso
(The island of lost time)
Firenze: Salani, 1997. 256 p.
(Gl'istrici: i libri che pungono la fantasia; 120)
ISBN 88-7782-486-7
Time - Friendship - Adventure - Fantasy
During a school trip Giulia and her bosom girlfriend, Arianna, get lost in an abandoned mine and suddenly find themselves on the island of lost time. This is a fantastic place where they encounter all sorts of things that are often lost on earth: keys and umbrellas, but also threads of conversation, memories, patience, and even people. The detailed and vivid narrative carries the reader into the dimension of »lost time«, thus revealing the importance of cultivating interests, friendship or even simply reading a book. This story is full of ingenious narrative tricks and suspense, complemented by excellent pen-and-ink drawings. (9+)

Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 138
Giardina, Andrea (text)
Luzzati, Emanuele (illus.)
La terribile storia de Nerone
(The terrible tale of Nero)
Bari: Laterza, 1997. 92 p.
ISBN 88-420-5349-X
Nero/Legend - Rome/History
Telling the story of Emperor Nero's life is not an easy task, but the author provides an accurate and meticulous portrait of this merciless despot (37-68 A.D.). The most important stations in the emperor's life and career are set in the context of historical and cultural events, giving insight into his identity as a politician, poet and musician. Luzzati's colorful illustrations are daring and graphically experimental, done in caustic, clashing colors which heighten the dramatic power of the narrative, underlining Nero's cruelty. (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 139
Lucchini, Matilde
C'è una lettera per te
(There is a letter for you)
Milano: Mondadori, 1997. 79 p.
(Shorts; 1)
ISBN 88-04-42824-4
Adolescence - Work - School
This short novel gives a detailed description of a typical day in the life of teenaged Maria. Because she never liked school, she now works as an apprentice at a hairdresser's shop and hopes to have her own beauty salon one day. The narrative's strength lies in its witty real-life dialogues and inner monologues, studded with an adolescent's hopes, conflicts and desires. The underlying message for the young reader suggests that one should not understimate a person's abilities to make the most of his life and talents. (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 140
Mariniello, Cecco (text/illus.)
Il cane che ebbe tre nomi
(The dog that had three names)
Casale Monferrato: Piemme Junior, 1997. 91 p.
(Il battello a Vapore / Serie oro; 3)
ISBN 88-384-7403-6
Dog/Child - Friendship - Adventure - Growing up - Nature - Ecology
During the colonial period in North America the daughter of the governor, Geneve, is given a dog. Though Lancillot becomes her best friend, the dog is turned out one day by her parents because it always comes home dirty. Lancillot sets off on a long series of adventures during which he experiences the marvels of nature of this sparsely inhabited continent. The cheerful, entertaining story closes on a happy note when Geneve and Lancillot meet again after many years. The attractive layout with warmly colored pictures captures the main events and the charm of the main character. (6+)
(Premio Nazionale d'Illustrazione »Il battello a Vapore«. Città di Verbania 1996)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 141
Quarzo, Guido (text)
Vivarelli, Anna (text)
Carrer, Chiara (illus.)
La coda degli autosauri
(The long line of autosaurs)
Casale Monferrato: Piemme, 1997. 154 p.
(Il battello a Vapore / Serie arancio; 34)
ISBN 88-384-3634-7
Traffic jam - City life - Conformity - Family
One day the long line of cars on the motorway turns into such a traffic jam that movement comes to a complete standstill. Stuck in this huge traffic jam for twenty days with his family, suspended in time and space, Edoardo writes down in his diary all the extraordinary things that take place, such as his encounter with Mr. Leonardo, an eccentric scientist who descends from the sky with a hang glider. The story ends when the family decides to abandon their car and continue by foot, now finally aware of the need to reduce the automobile's domination over the cities and over their lives. This is an absorbing novel full of real-life dialogues and inner monologues, skilfully showing that children can be quite perceptive in their analysis of the adult world. The author's vivid, engaging and ironical style is an excellent match for the immediacy of the narrative. (9+)
(Premio di Narrativa per l'Infanzia »Il Battello a Vapore« Città di Verbania 1996)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 142
Rapaccini, Chiara (text/illus.)
Dammi un whisky, Samanta!
(Bring me a whisky, Samanta!)
Firenze: Giunti, 1997. 60 p.
([Giunti ragazzi universale / Under 10]; 26)
ISBN 88-09-21099-9
Family - Everyday life - Child/Parent - Role reversal
What would happen if adults behaved like children? Ivan and Samanta have just such an experience when their parents suddenly spend the whole day playing with toys and watching cartoons on television. Forced into a reversal of roles, the two children must take care of the housekeeping, shopping and deal with naughty parents. The author succeeds in caricaturing a contemporary family's lifestyle with wit and subtle hyperbole. Told in an easy, plain narrative style, the main events of the story are highlighted with pen-andink caricature-like drawings. (8+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 143
Terzagli, Matteo (text)
Zürcher, Marco (illus.)
Undici gatti paracadutisti
(Eleven cats parachuting)
Bolzano: AER, 1997. 36 p.
ISBN 88-86557-65-5
Counting - Cat - Flight - Adventure
A plane with eleven cats on board takes off and from high in the sky the felines parachute back to earth. The wind lets them drift apart in different directions, so that each cat experiences its own short adventure. The story is at another level a flight through the numbers (one to eleven), encouraging children to let their imaginations soar. Reminiscent of Květa Pacovská's style, the illustrations are rich in innovative graphic ideas, at once simple and bold. The warm and airy colors are harmoniously matched, creating an exuberant atmosphere that will surely appeal to pre-school children. (4+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1998 - 144
Ziliotto, Donatella (text)
Nidasio, Grazia (illus.)
Le bambine non le sopporto
(I cannot stand little girls)
Trieste: Einaudi Ragazzi, 1997. 56 p.
(Einaudi Ragazzi / Narrativa; 58)
ISBN 88-7936-237-8
Friendship - Family conflict - School holidays - Growing up
Tonina cannot go on summer holidays to the mountains because she has to repeat her chemistry exam in September. But she is determined to enjoy her vacation, even if it means working as a counsellor at the children's summer camp. She describes this experience in six letters to her closest girlfriend Lucilla, revealing much of a modern teenager's inner life. The well-drawn characterizations in the narrative find their match in the witty line-drawings which extend this spirited, comical tale. (11+)

Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 139
Buongiorno, Teresa (text)
Frugoni, Chiara (text)
Carrer, Chiara (illus.)
Storia di Francesco il santo che sepava ridere
(The story of Francis, the saint who knew how to laugh)
Roma: Laterza, 1998. 100 p.
(Il pentolino magico)
ISBN 88-420-5603-0
Saint Francis
It is always a challenge to deal a legendary person like Saint Francis of Assisi, but here the author and illustrator succeed in giving children an accurate account of the »Saint of the poor« both in historical and artistic terms. The educational intentions of the text are well balanced with a detailed and colorful narrative which transports the reader back to the times in which he lived. This fascinating documentation is adorned visually with fresco-like illustrations with a strong resemblance to those in the Church of Assisi. The values Saint Francis propagated, such as peace, equality among all people, and God's love for all creatures are conveyed in a pleasing manner. (7+)

Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 140
Detti, Ermanno (text)
Luzzati, Emanuele (illus.)
E quando cupa mezzanotte scocca
(And when gloomy midnight strikes)
Firenze: Fatatrac, 1998. 71 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni; 16 : Ottagono junior)
ISBN 88-8222-017-6
Italy/Folktale - Courage/Fear - Adventure
This is a octave poem about the well-known Italian fairy tale character »fearless Giovannin« who was also featured in Italo Calvino's »Fiabe Italiane« (1956). The epic and picaresque adventures of the boy who longs to experience fear are full of events taken from popular traditions. In five episodes (How Giovannino became a knight; The dead woman still lives; Noon of fear; The pirate's treasure; In the churchyard) his quest for this emotion are skilfully and delightfully turned into selfchallenges - the greatest fear is fear of one's self. The vigorous outlines and deep colors in Luzzati's pictures convey the hero's restlessness. (7+)

Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 141
Facchini, Vittoria (text/illus.)
Le femmine non mi piacciono perché...
(I don't like girls because...)
Firenze: Fatatrac, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 88-8222-010-9
Girl/Boy - Sexual role - Gender differences
How do little girls appear to little boys? The faults, manias and bad habits of females as perceived by male children is quite amusing: girls like to whisper in one's ear, girls are sneaks and telltales, girls collect only Barbie dolls, they are mood, and tend to cry alot. But in the end, despite of all their peculiarities, boys admit they need girls because »the snack tastes better.« The attractive full-page illustrations reinforce the ironic criticisms with busy graphics. The author has also written another book from the little girls' point of view, »I maschi non mi piacciono perché...«. (5+)

Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 142
Gambetta, Deborah
Viaggio di maturità
(Journey of maturity)
Trieste: E. EL, 1998. 173 p.
(Frontiere ; 31)
ISBN 88-477-0237-2
Friendship - Adolescence - Adventure - Journey - Quest
After their leaving-school examinations, three young men take a journey in search of an ex-girlfriend of one of them.This »road novel« through Italy, in which the friends experience unexpected events, memorable encounters with strangers, and squabble with one another, also reveals their personal histories, their adolescent anxieties, their loneliness and longings. Sharing the stirring sensation of newly found freedom, they unveil their own inner lives to each other, making it clear that the real quest takes place within one's self. The author depicts the adolescent emotional and psychological world with great sensitivity, conveying the complex realities of modern youth. It will surely appeal to many adolescents. (14+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 143
Guarnieri, Paolo (text)
Landmann, Bimba (illus.)
Un bambino di nome Giotto
(A child named Giotto)
Milano: Arka, 1998. [28] p.
(Collana Perle d'arte)
ISBN 88-8072-062-7
Giotto <di Bondone> - Art - Painting
This narrative picture book presents the legendary life of the painter Giotto as an introduction to art. Beginning with Giotto's childhood as a young shepherd and his fortuitous meeting with Cimabue, the outstanding master and innovator in pictorial art of his times, the author entertains the young reader both through the story and informative descriptions of the techniques involved in fresco painting. Full-page plates in warm, earthy tones resembling altar pieces describe not a saint's life but that of the celebrated Romanesque painter. Especially striking is the use of decorative elements that convey the Byzantine influences on Giotto's education and work. (7+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 144
Lanzotti, Paolo
La parole magiche di Kengi il Pensieroso
(The magic words of Kengi the Pensive)
Casale Monferrato (AL): Piemme Junior, 1998. 302 p.
(Il batello a vapore / Serie rossa / Serie oro; 5)
ISBN 88-384-7705-1
Sumer - Adolescence - School - Learning
Kengi, a thirteen-year old farmer boy in Sumer in ancient Babylonia, has a dream. He wants to learn to write and become a scribe. Through a fortuitous event he is able to enter a school for scribes where he is entrusted to a cruel teacher who thwarts his learning. Kengi finds himself up against several hostile people who oppose his desire to improve his status. This is a well-constructed and fascinating historical novel, rich in adventures, that will stimulate the reader's imagination. Kengi's enthusiasm and longing for knowledge represent adolescent fragility but also perseverance in pursuing one's aspirations. (12+) ☆
(Premio Il Battello a Vapore, 1997)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 145
Lavatelli, Anna (text)
Vignale, Silvia (illus.)
Alex non ha paura di niente
(Alex is afraid of nothing)
Casale Monferrato (AL): Piemme Junior, 1998. 56 p.
(Il battello a vapore / Serie bianca; 27)
ISBN 88-384-3427-1
Fear - Hospital - Appendectomy - Courage
A timid child, Alex, is filled with panic at the thought of the appendectomy he must undergo. In hospital he makes friends with a younger child who mistakenly thinks him courageous. This gives Alex the strength to overcome his hidden fears. This simple and direct narrative turns children's fears of doctors and hospitals into a story of courage that may also help young readers to face other adversities of life, too. The easyto- read tale in paperback format is enhanced with humorous, dynamic line drawings that reflect the emotions of the protagonist. (5+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 146
Lucchini, Matilde
Fuggo da tutto
(Total escape)
Milano: Mondadori, 1998. 77 p.
(Shorts ; 12)
ISBN 88-04-44686-2
Adolescence - Runaway - School - Mass media
The two school friends, Marco and Numia, are as different as day and night: he is introverted and chaotic while she is outgoing and resolute, he is white and she is black. But they share the desire to escape from their families. While on a school trip to Florence they spontaneously join forces and decide to runaway. Sure that no one will expect them to stay in Florence, they hide there and follow the dramatic sensationalized reports of their »flight« in the newspapers and on television. Told in a lively, light-handed style, this novel is sure to absorb its readers from the very start. (12+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 147
Nanetti, Angela (text)
Balbusso, Anna (illus.)
Balbusso, Elena (illus.)
Mio nonno era un ciliegio
(My granddad was a cherry tree)
Trieste: Einaudi Ragazzi, 1998. 144 p.
([Einaudi Ragazzi / Storie e rime] ; 96)
ISBN 88-7926-270-x
Tree - Grandfather/Granddaughter - Death - Love - Life philosophy
A cherry tree named Felice is planted in commemoration of the birth of a girl and grows up with her. The cherry tree is the focus of the narration, the children's playmate, a place of knowledge and adventure, a symbol of life's continuity. But the tale's most important figure is the grandfather, who, with his vitality, sense of freedom, and ability to hear the tree's breathing, is somewhat „crazy". With a light touch, the author is able to deal with topics such as suffering and death, with lyrical emotionality, to convey the belief that »you don't die till someone loves you and till the cherry trees keep on living for you.« The charming illustrations create a harmonious balance between the story's different emotions. (10+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 148
Nava, Emanuela (text)
Carrer, Chiara (illus.)
Ciliegie e bombe
(Cherries and bombs)
Firenze: Giunti, 1998. 93 p.
([Giunti ragazzi universale / Under 10] ; 31)
ISBN 88-09-21324-6
Yugoslavia/Civil war - Orphan - Diary
Nine-year old Dragan is a war orphan from ex-Yugoslavia living in an orphanage in Italy. During the long months the staff look for a family to adopt him, he records his fears and hopes, his memories and experiences in a diary and makes acquaintance with people who want to help restore peace and quiet to his life. This is an intense, melancholic and moving story, brightened by occasional flashes of irony and fun. The illustrator's witty and sensitive style conveys the universal child's fears and emotions with warmth and humor. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 149
Nava, Emanuela (text)
Carrer, Chiara (illus.)
La mummia che fuggì dal museo
(The mummy who escaped from the museum)
Firenze: Salani, 1998. 124 p.
(Gl'istrici ; 130)
ISBN 88-7782-720-3
Mummy - Adventure - Love
After spending thousands of years in a sarcophagus, a pharaoh's wife - now a mummy - tires of her lazy existence in a museum and decides to escape. Finding refuge in southern Italy with an old nurse who rears crocodiles - the symbol of fertility - in her garden pond, the mummy discovers love and turns into a fascinating and radiant woman with sex appeal. All efforts by the police and public health officers to make her leave are in vain. She even finds help from the statuettes of her Egyptian servants buried with her. Throughout the colorful story the reader is given a humorous interpretation of Egyptian culture, which is also presented in comic style illustrations. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 150
Pitzorno, Bianca (text/illus.)
La voce segreta
(The secret voice)
Milano: Mondadori, 1998. 188 p.
(Contemporanea)
ISBN 88-04-45621-3
Infant - Magic - School - Growing up
Though not yet old enough to go to school, Cora is considered old enough to look after her new-born twin brothers. Most of her free-time is spent playing with the neighborhood children, learning irreverent games, nonsense rhymes and »metropolitan spells«. With one of these magic formulas, she makes a pair of wings sprout on one of the babies' backs. And this gets Cora into trouble because her winged brother does not behave like an angel. In her well-practiced style, Pitzorno depicts the world of children through Cora's naive, but at the same time sharp and critical eyes. (10+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 151
Vivarelli, Anna (text)
Toesca, Maria (illus.)
Storie per gioco
(Tales to play)
Roma: Nuove Ed. Romane, 1998. 90 p.
(Nuova biblioteca dei ragazzi; 26: Narrativa)
ISBN 88-85990-56-8
Play - Child/Adult
This collection of short stories was inspired by ten traditional children's games such as »snakes and ladders «. Playing games is the common theme that leads the readers to rediscover the simplicity of childhood and the importance of human relationships in today's high-tech society where a child may sit alone in front of a television or computer screen. The light and clear manner of writing emphasizes how easy it is to find enjoyment in playing games and will appeal to both children and adults. The unpretentious sketches highlight key episodes in each story. (6+)

Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 135
Baccalario, Pierdomenico
La strada del guerriero
(The route of the warrior)
Casale Monferrato (AL): Piemme Junior, 1999. 280 p.
(Il battello a vapore / serie rossa / oro ; 6)
ISBN 88-384-7706-x
Adventure - Africa - Zulu - Twins - Superstition
Twins are born to the king of the Zulu people. Because this is believed a dreadful danger for the whole people, the witch doctor decides to sacrifice the first baby to avert the terrible misfortunes that could hit the Zulus. But the wet-nurse saves the baby's life giving him to a solitary warrior who wanders alone through the immense Savannah as his family and tribe were destroyed. After many years, the abandoned child, now a young man, reclaims his rightful throne. The story combines elements of anthropological and social realism to give an insight into the African culture. The author skillfully employs literary devices to propel the narrative; in his sensitive and illustrative style, he captures the shifting emotions with the perfect choice of perspective and an eye for details in the natural surroundings. (Premio Il Battello a Vapore, Città di Verbania; 1998) (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 136
Carpi, Pinin (text/illus.)
La notte dei lupi
(The night of the wolves)
Trieste: Einaudi Ragazzi, 1999. 58 p.
([Einaudi Ragazzi / Storie e rime] ; 108)
ISBN 88-7926-301-3
Wolf - Fear - Night - Escape
Two children escape from the house of an old witch and orchard where they were being held captive and wander, cold and frightened, through a forest-like city. They are thoroughly confused by its tangle of narrow streets in the darkness of the night. Two wolves come to their help and carry them towards happiness. This is a gripping tale enriched by a colloquial voice and daring expressions made up of hyperboles, repetitions and emphases. Wonders and surprises of this modern fable allude to the violence present in modern-day childhood, the desolating sadness of many contemporary cities and suburbs. The writing is plain and straightforward with a wise use of fantasy. The author-illustrator superbly succeeds in connecting the witty text and pictures. (7+)

Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 137
Facchini, Vittoria (text/illus.)
Piselli e farfalline ... son piú belli i maschi o le bambine?
(Pea pods and butterflies ... Who's cuter - boys or girls?)
Firenze: Fatatrac, 1999. [52] p.
ISBN 88-8222-038-9
Sex - Love - Gender differences
The illustrator deals openly and clearly with sexual education. The originality lies in her way of responding to children's natural curiosity on »sex«; they are not really interested in »eggs« and »sperm«, but they want to know everything about the human body with its peculiarities and differences and, above all, about the meaning of love and why people fall in love. The ironic and tender drawings in lively colors are well-matched to the subject. The dynamic and vigorous marks of the pencil with a pressing rhythm are far from vulgar and the text far from the didactic intentions of other books. (5+)

Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 138
Ferrandino, Giuseppe
Lidia e i turchi
(Lidia and the Turks)
Milano: Mondadori, 1999. 100 p.
(Contemporanea)
ISBN 88-04-47281-2
Girl/Kidnapping - Middle East - Growing up
Lidia is fourteen years old and lives happily with her family in a Russian provincial town, preoccupied with typical adolescent concerns. Her life suddenly changes when she is kidnapped by an unscrupulous man who takes her to a Turkish harem where her destiny appears to be worse than death. Her tenacious will and readiness to face the unknown helps her meet challenge of escaping. While the plot is full of unexpected encounters, the setting - a Middle-Eastern landscape with its sounds, smells and colors - is well depicted in the novel's modern fairy tale-like narrative. The author's debut novel for young adults skillfully employs literary devices to propel the narrative and capture the reader's interest. (14+)

Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 139
Gandolfi, Silvana (text)
Orecchia, Giulia (illus.)
La memoria dell'acqua
(The water's memory)
Firenze: Salani, 1999. 260 p.
(Gl'istrici ; 143)
ISBN 88-7782-644-4
Adventure - Maya - Legend - Myth
Nando lives in a modern city like many other young citizens, but he has something special: six toes on each foot. An Indian relative discloses to him that this is a sign of the »elected«. He is the only one to get in touch with the Maya civilization that is thought to have disappeared many centuries ago - where it still survives hidden in the cloudy mountains and protected by a river. The boy meets the inhabitants of the last Maya tribe. The author is a master story-teller who entertains and enlightens his reader with all the literary techniques of good fantasy. While the historical background is fascinating, the emotional involvement created by the narrative makes this book as absorbing as its predecessors. (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 140
Masini, Beatrice (text)
Ceccoli, Nicoletta (illus.)
L'uomo della luna
(The moon man)
Milano: Ed. Arka, 1999. [28] p.
(Collana di perle)
ISBN 88-8072-086-4
Sleep - Fear - Fantasy - Dream - Magic - Moon
At the window Sofia is watching the man in the moon when he suddenly throws her a long rope and asks her to climb up to him in the sky. They fly on a winged horse till the sunrise, letting a handful of moon-colored dust fall on the earth. In the end Sofia goes back home and in her bedroom she waits for the mysterious rider to return when it is full moon again. This is a short tale characterized by lyrical style, which is enhanced by the illustrator's enchanting pencil drawings. The pictures' dreamlike atmosphere is reminiscent of a dust cast on children to help them overcome their nightmares and fears about sleep. (4+)

Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 141
Pallottino, Paola (text)
Ceccoli, Nicoletta (illus.)
Maria Moll Cappero
(<Proper name>)
Firenze: Fatatrac, 1999. 46 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni ; 21 : Ottagono junior)
ISBN 88-8222-035-4
Fantasy - Travel - Self-knowledge
The passionate love story between Maria Moll Cappero, a princess-witch-fairy, and Conrad, a golden-violet snake, is told in a concise and balanced narrative. They meet butterflies and ants, which represent the starting point of Maria's interior exploring; she has experiences which turn themselves into feelings and emotions. The author's suggestive and evocative style of writing is strengthened by its lyricism. The dreamlike illustrations use varying perspectives and strong luminous colors to involve young readers in the protagonist's thoughts and feelings. This lyrical journey around the world reflects the wide diversity of people. (7+)

Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 142
Pitzorno, Bianca (text)
Ferrari, Antongionata (illus.)
A cavallo della scopa
(Riding on a broom)
Milano: Mondadori, 1999. 79 p.
([I sassolini / Per la terza elementare] ; 2)
ISBN 88-04-46521-2
Princess - Kidnap - Witch
The evil witch, Etrusca Cruscon, is unable to sleep except in her special bed with five mattresses made of the special feathers from an exotic bird, a »spiumaccione«. These birds live only in the garden of the king, who refuses to part with any of its feathers. So the witch kidnaps the princess Isotta to exchange her for the feathers she needs. But Isotta has a mind of her own and doesn't let herself be used for Etrusca Cruscon's blackmail scheme. This amusing story, told in a lively style, is accompanied by illustrations that underline the comic side of the tale. (6+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 143
Piumini, Roberto (text)
Ferrari, Antongionata (illus.)
Le ombre cinesi
(The Chinese shadows)
Casale Monferrato: Piemme Junior, 1999. 56 p.
(Il battello a vapore / Serie bianca / oro ; 7)
ISBN 88-384-7407-9
China - Legend - Shadow
In ancient China the emperor Qua Li Yen decides that his subjects should pay taxes according to the shadows their bodies cast on the imperial ground. This imperial greed is said to be the origin of many different things which "characterize" the Chinese still today: their stiff walking gait, their hair, the almond-shaped eyes, teint of skin, the Chinese shadow play and so on. The story is developed through humorous, exaggerated situations with serious undertones that entertain and touch the reader. This book's excellent layout and well-researched details offer fascinating historical insight into Imperial China. The pictures are done with a dynamic pencil and bright watercolors to create a lively atmosphere. Humorous use of light and space help convey multiple perspective. The book is very attractive and will capture readers and viewers of all ages. (5+) ☆
(Premio Nazionale d'Illustrazione Il Battello a Vapore, Città di Verbania; 1998)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 144
Roncaglia, Silvia (text)
Cerretti, Cristiana (illus.)
Isabella non ride più
(Isabella doesn't laugh anymore)
Roma: Città Nuova, 1999. 47 p.
(I colori del mondo)
ISBN 88-311-8057-6
Social differences - Play
The princess Isabella is a wild child who spends most of her time playing together with the groom's son, Furio. The king and the queen do not like his influence on their daughter and forbid her to see him. When she stops smiling, they do not understand the reason of this change. Only the company of Furio makes her happy again. This is a light, lively and well-balanced fairy tale-like story about family relations. Attractive illustrations with an unsual style of design are well-matched with the text's abundance of gaiety and irony. (5+)

Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 135
Bordiglioni, Stefano (text)
Badocco, Manuela (text)
Nidasio, Grazia (illus.)
Dal diario di una bambina troppo occupata
(A too busy girl's diary)
Trieste : Einaudi Ragazzi, 2000. [144] p.
(Einaudi Ragazzi : Storie e rime ; 127)
ISBN 88-7926-329-3
Child - Stress - Allergy - Family
A ten-year-old girl writes down in her diary what she does in her very busy daily life: back home from school there are lots of homework and she has to cope with swimming, piano and English lessons. She does everything to meet her parents' expectations, but there is no time left to play with dolls, to go out with friends or to throw stones into a river just for fun. One day, she is discovered to suffer from an allergy which proves to be a psychosomatic reaction caused by stress. Her understanding parents change their attitude towards their daughter and help her to overcome stressful times. This is a brilliantly told tale about family relationships, full of witty, real-life dialogues and inner monologues. The authors convincingly evoke the child's world while the attractive illustrations capture the narrative highlights. (10+)

Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 136
Calvino, Italo (text)
Ceccoli, Nicoletta (illus.)
La foresta-radice-labirinto
(The forest-root-labyrinth)
Mondadori : Milano, 2000. 50 p.
(Piccola contemporanea ; 3)
ISBN 88-04-47923-x
Nature - Rural life - City life - Knight - Fairy tale
This fairy tale by Calvino had been out-of-print for a long time. Now, it has been rediscovered for this new, well-designed series. Back from war, King Clovis finds his town surrounded by an inextricable forest. He begins to wander through a labyrinth of roots that look like branches, while the branches mingle with roots. In this overwhelming nature, characters are torn between feeling and reason in their quest for harmony. The black-and-white illustrations with shades of grey and green attractively capture the main events of this magic story. The illustrator's characteristic style of judicious and fascinating drawings in this book reaches a strong poetic potential. (7+)

Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 137
DeSimone, Roberto (text)
Altan (illus.)
Fiabe campane
(Fairy tales from Campania)
Trieste : Ed. EL, 2000. [148] p.
(Il Tesoro)
ISBN 88-477-0535-5
Campania - Fairy tale
This is a selection of 21 stories, legends and fairy tales rewritten by the well-known artistic director, composer, and writer Roberto De Simone. He uses folktale motifs, mainly taken from the Campania region, to create literary fairy tales. The volume begins with the famous »Cinderella-cat tale« and features religious figures, country people and the Neapolitan character of Punch. The warm colours of the illustrations exude a sense of gaiety. (8+)

Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 138
Giaume, Giovanna (text)
Marabotto, Paolo (illus.)
Il Futurismo : tutto corre rapido
(Futurism : everything runs fast)
Roma : Lapis [et al.], 2000. 8 p.
(L'arte tra le mani ; 4)
ISBN 88-87546-20-7
Art - Futurism - Painting
This is the third volume of a new series in which the author introduces children to the works of the most important artists of Futurism. It presents an interesting way of leading children to become acquainted with modern art in an active way: in addition to reading the text and appreciating the iconographic material, the young readers are asked to cut and assemble card forms. This will help children to grasp the essence of the Futurist message: the movement and dynamism of the modern world are expressed by the beauty of speed. (8+)

Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 139
Lobe, Mira (text)
Rapaccini, Chiara (illus.)
Giorgi, Fiammetta (transl.)
Creiamo il mondo!
(Let's make the world!)
(German orig. title: Wir machen die Welt!)
Casale Monferrato (AL) : Piemme Junior, 2000. [40] p.
(Il battello a vapore / I pirati ; 29)
ISBN 88-384-8029-x
World - Creation - Creativity - Spare Time
This Italian edition of a story by the renowned Austrian author features new illustrations which were nominated for the »Premio d'Illustrazione Il Battello a Vapore« in 1999. Marco and Lena, brother and sister, decide to switch off television and spend their afternoon playing »Let's pretend we are ...«. They are quite ambitious because they want »to recreate« the world; starting from dark chaos they pretend to create the sun with a ceiling lamp and the moon with a bedside-lamp; a blue carpet and a checked blanket represent the sea and the earth. Their fantasy goes on with the creation of animals, plants and also human beings. The stunning coloured pencil drawings enhance the appeal of this unusual endeavour. The illustrator captures the shifting emotions with her original visual language of naive flat shapes. (4+)

Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 140
Masini, Beatrice (text)
Monaco, Octavia (illus.)
Ciro in cerca d'amore
(Ciro in mood for love)
Milano : Ed. Arka, 2000. [32] p.
(Collana di perle)
ISBN 88-8072-094-5
Venice - Cat - Love - Diversity
When the full moon shines on Venice, the city of love unfolds all its charms and arouses the desire for love – not only in romantically inclined humans but in cats too. Ciro, a Venetian cat, is looking for »love«, and after many adventures he finds it in a child, who takes care of him and respects his feline character. The text is accompanied by beautiful illustrations, which render the magic atmosphere of Venice with gentle colours and fine contours. (7+)

Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 141
Melis, Alberto
Il segreto dello scrigno
(The casket's secret)
Casale Monferrato (AL) : Piemme Junior, 2000. [186] p.
([Il battello a vapore / Serie rossa / Serie oro] ; 7)
ISBN 88-384-7707-8
Adventure - Judaean History - Adolescence - Love - Friendship
Joachim is the hero of this adventurous and gripping novel set back 2000 years ago in the Judaean Kingdom. He falls in love with Sarah, a young slave girl, and tries to free her from the greedy merchant. The strong willed boy finds his only helper in Joshua, a special friend. Together, they overcome all difficulties and rescue Sarah. This book is an excellent starting point for young adults to discuss and to reflect upon the values of love and friendship. The author succeeds in giving a convincing portrait of an adolescent boy at a decisive time of life, conveying his feelings facing the first major difficulties of life. (12+)
(Premio Il Battello a Vapore [Narrativa]; 1999)

Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 142
Merenda, Adriana (text)
Ferraro, Alessandro (illus.)
Il borgomastro di Francoforte
(The mayor of Frankfurt)
Roma : Nuove Edizioni Romane, 2000. [168] p.
(Nuova biblioteca dei ragazzi ; 35 : Narrativa)
ISBN 88-85990-73-8
Detective - Football - Humour - Adult - Child
This gripping novel contains all elements of a detective story: Tom Branco, a though, self-absorbed detective, supported in his work by a bungling assistant and a charming secretary. But the narration soon reveals that the author parodies this kind of mystery tale: Matteo, a little boy, contrasts ironically with the only apparently mature adult world. The play on narrative conventions makes this a thoroughly entertaining book with humour that children will certainly appreciate. The text has an attractive layout with blackand- white sketches which capture the dynamic quality of the narrative. (9+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 143
Pitzorno, Bianca (text)
Blake, Quentin (illus.)
Tornatrás
(The return)
Milano : Mondadori, 2000. [304] p.
(Contemporanea)
ISBN 88-04-47611-7
Television - Orphan - Growing-up - Friendship - Racism
Colomba, an eleven-year old girl, experiences a life full of difficulties after her father's death and her mother's depression. Television programmes have bewitched Colomba's mother, who spends the family's money on TV-sales but forgets to pay bills and buy food. Colomba would like to switch back time. But when she feels that she has »reached the limits«, her life changes through a series of interesting encounters. The red-haired protagonist regains a positive view of life thanks to her friendship with people from different nationalities and backgrounds. Together, the friends fight a racist politician and his followers who want »to clean« their neighbourhood from poor and foreign people. This book advocates a fierce criticism of aggressive television policies that try to spy and manipulate people's emotions. This engaging novel is very strong on characterisation: it gives excellent insight into the psychological development of the strong-willed girl-protagonist; the minor characters never remain flat. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 144
Roncaglia, Silvia (text)
Cerretti, Cristiana (illus.)
Ma che razza di razza è?
(What people is this?)
Roma : Città Nuova, 2000. [45] p.
(I colori del mondo) (I riquadri)
ISBN 88-311-8062-2
Diversity - Equality - Race - Multicultural education
The teacher in school talks about the many different habitats in the world. For homework, the children have to do a project on the different human races. »Ah, always those damn projects!«, exclaims the young protagonist. But at home his little brother Pino arouses in him great interest for the subject. Turning over the pages of a book on the peoples of the world, Pino always points at the pictures of a »Mommy with Child« even if they wear different dresses, hairstyles and have different skin colours. Attractively illustrated with bright pastel line-and-wash drawings, this easy-toread story will enrich multicultural library collections. (7+) ☆
(Premio per l'Ambiente; 1999)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 145
Vicic, Ugo (text)
Natalini, Sandro (illus.)
La vendetta delle bestiazze
(The beasts' revenge)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2000. [62] p.
(I nuovi ottagoni ; 25)
ISBN 88-8222-056-7
Animals - Man
This is a delightful collection of 14 short stories in which the author takes sides with the animals in a light-hearted tone. The beasts appear as grotesque, their descriptions and characterisations are full of queer and highly original ideas over-throwing stereotypes. The book presents an up-sidedown world in which giraffes eat dancers, monk seals attack nuns, koalas are carnivorous and so on. Some tales' endings have catchy nonsense rhymes that capture the child's spirit of play. The comic graphical interpretations of these animal fantasy tales are filled with ironic details. (8+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 146
Visconti, Guido (text)
Landmann, Bimba (illus.)
Quel genio di Leonardo
(Leonardo, a real genius)
Milano : Ed. Arka, 2000. [36] p.
(Collana di perle d'arte)
ISBN 88-8072-093-7
Leonardo <da Vinci> - Art - Painting
This accomplished picture book celebrates Leonardo da Vinci, the most famous Renaissance artist. The story of his life is retold with refined skill and set against the carefully reconstructed historical background. The narrative is enriched by quotations from Leonardo's writings, appropriately simplified for young readers. Like all great masters, Leonardo was accompanied by a student, Giacomo, whom he treated like his own son. The author skilfully suggests the complexity and extensiveness of Leonard's interests, his artistic and scientific activities, which are attractively illustrated with colourful, full page drawings. With her sensitive and painterly style, the illustrator adds an extra dimension to the story, expanding the children's imagination. (7+)

Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 131
Bordiglioni, Stefano (text)
Monaldini, Mauro (illus.)
Scuolaforesta
(Forest school)
Trieste : Einaudi Ragazzi, 2001. 86 p.
(Einaudi Ragazzi : Storie e rime ; 141)
ISBN 88-7926-353-6
School – Pupil – Species – Animals
Can a school-class be compared with a small zoo? In this book, Stefano Bordiglioni, a teacher in real life, pretends to be a behavioural scientist who classifies the »small animals« in a witty mock- Latin. He names various species, such as the cicada-girl (Puella La La), the kangaroo-boy (Hop Hop), the old-goat-boy (Puer Dongiovannis), and the particularly strange Puer WWF. This animal show is extremely entertaining, and, at the same time, fairly realistic. The language perfectly matches the seemingly serious tone of the narration. The lively illustrations fit in well with the text and complement it to make the story a delightful read also for younger children. And for teachers, it will prove useful, too ...! (9+)

Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 132
Campana, Susanna (text/illus.)
Falsini, Camilla (text/illus.)
Maschere
(Masks)
Napoli : I Colori del Mondo [et al.], 2001. [48] p.
(I riquadri)
ISBN 88-311-8068-1
Venice – Carnival – Commedia dell'Arte – Fancy dress – Masks
This book features the figures of the Commedia dell'Arte, which are still characteristic for the Italian carnival. In a few words, each of them introduces his or her own character and mentions the (many) weaknesses or (few) strengths. Costumes and colours resemble those of the original character cast, yet, at the same time, the figures themselves are presented in an attractively and imaginatively distorted way. They powerfully spread themselves across the pages, just as loud disrespectful fellows should, who are used to entertaining the common people in the streets as well as the aristocrats in the theatres with their jokes and pranks. Short and useful instructions about how to make the costumes and the stage decorations, complement the book. (8+)

Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 133
Cantone, Anna-Laura (text/illus.)
Una storia ingarbugliata
(An intricate story)
Milano : Fabbri, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 88-451-2639-0
Hair – Forgetfulness
Matilde is completely absent-minded. In order to remember all the different tasks she has to attend to, she decides to make one knot for each task into her flowing red hair. But immediately, birds mistake Matilde's head for an ideal nesting place. Luckily enough, the hair cutter finds the perfect solution to this problem by giving the girl the best haircut ever. Now the birds can build their nests in the cut-off hair and Matilde's mother gets her an electronic organiser. Everything's fine – at least as long as the batteries of the organiser keep working. Matilde's story is accompanied by witty and fanciful, grotesque twopage illustrations. A characteristic feature of this book is the use of different types of paper, newspaper cuttings, and photographs of everyday objects, which are turned into brilliant collages. (5+)

Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 134
Cavalli, Ennio (text)
Maggioni, Federico (illus.)
Se nascevo gabbiano ... era peggio : (mezzo mondo visto da un bambino)
(If I had been born a seagull ... that would be worse : half the world seen by a child)
Milano : Feltrinelli, 2001. 171 p.
(Feltrinelli kids : Sbuk ; 47)
ISBN 88-07-92047-6
Boy – Everyday life – Observation
Clever thoughts about places, dinosaurs, pizzas, octopuses, mythology, nudism, etc. are gathered in this book, each of them spread out over a few pages and balanced by small suggestive black-ink drawings. The young and curious first-person narrator notices that the world is full of interesting objects worth thinking about. You may discover them while travelling – on a holiday trip with your pesky parents – or even at home: e.g. single words or a glass of chocolate spread. Some of the boy's thoughts are fairly profound: »Maybe there would be no more wars if all the adjectives that can accompany the word ›hate‹ disappeared.« The readers who follow his direct, narrative language suddenly look at life from a different perspective. (10+)

Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 135
Costa, Nicoletta (text/illus.)
Giulio Coniglio : storie per un anno
(Giulio Rabbit : stories for a whole year)
Modena : Panini, 2001. [44] p.
(Ragazzi)
ISBN 88-8290-282-x
Animals – Child – Everyday life – Friendship
Giulio Rabbit and his motley crowd of friends – mouse Tommaso, fox Walter, goose Caterina – encounter the big small adventures of everyday life. Young children will easily empathise with the stories and find simple explanations for their own wishes and fears. Giulio learns not to be deceived by the fox; he learns how to swim and asks the doctor to cure his cold. He meets reindeer Renata, who is a member of staff working for Father Christmas, and the book ends happily with a shining Christmas tree. This illustrator's characteristic stroke, as careful and lively as usual, both captures and delights readers. The perfect balance between drawings and colours makes this book a treat for the eyes. (3+)

Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 136
D'Adamo, Francesco
Storia di Iqbal
(Iqbal's story)
San Dorligo della Valle (Trieste) : Ed. EL, 2001. 155 p.
(Ex libris ; 96)
ISBN 88-477-0801-x
Pakistan – Child labour – Slavery – Rebellion
This is a fast-paced story, full of hope, tragical, and entertaining at once. It denounces one of the worst plagues of our time, namely child slave labour. These children are forced to help their poor parents pay off their (sometimes ridiculously low) debts. The story in this book recalls a real incident in Pakistan. Fatima, the fictitious narrator, describes the brave uprising of a small group of children against their brutal employer and their escape from a horribly violent and ignorant existence. Eleven-year-old Iqbal Masih, the leader of this rebellion, was murdered in spring 1995 at the age of thirteen. He became the symbol for this fight. (12+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 137
Denti, Roberto
Ancora un giorno : Milano 1945
(One more day : Milano 1945)
Milano : Mondadori, 2001. 103 p.
(Storie d'Italia ; 5)
ISBN 88-04-49504-9
Italy/1945 – World War II – Child – Everyday life
It is easy to guess that this short tale does not contain many fictional elements. In 1945, life in Milano was adventurous enough as to render further imagination superfluous. Four boys live their »normal« lives during World War II. Striving to understand the events, they observe the adults and try to help wherever possible in order to feel more mature. Bomb attacks, the Black Market, spies, scarcity of food: Using a surprisingly light and comprehensible language, this book transports readers back into the horrible past, which is also the sad present for many children today. A short historical summary at the end explains the historical events of that time. Different periods of Italian history are tackled in other books published in the same series. (10+)

Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 138
Garilli, Alessia (text)
Cantone, Anna Laura (illus.)
Papavero con sorpresa
(A poppy with a surprise)
Milano : Ed. Arka, 2001. [28] p.
(Collana di Perle)
ISBN 88-8072-111-9
Parent – Child – Creativity
If you do not have enough money to buy Mama a bunch of flowers, you can dig out a poppy instead and carry it home in a flowerpot. Yet, how inconvenient, if a cricket hides inside the flower and keeps the neighbours awake for hours. But so what! Marta faces such problems with intelligence and a cheerful composure. Soon afterwards she presents her Daddy with a water lily. What a lovely idea – except for this frog ... In this humorous and beautifully illustrated book, the artist's preference for playing with distorted forms and perspectives is clearly visible. Also characteristic for her work is the way in which mood changes are mirrored in the lively facial expressions of the amiable characters who are presented in an overly caricaturesque manner. (4+)

Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 139
Giraldo, Maria Loretta (text)
Bertelle, Nicoletta (illus.)
Un nuovo amico di Anna
(A new friend for Anna)
Cinisello Balsamo : San Paolo, 2001. [40] p.
(Jam : Le mele rosse ; 2) (San Paolo junior)
ISBN 88-215-4386-2
Immigration – Multicultural society
In this book, with its large block capitals on almost square pages accompanied by multi-coloured illustrations, Anna narrates a simple story that might happen anywhere in the world: A boy with dark skin joins her class. He comes from a foreign country. How many interesting tales about Africa, his homeland, Emmanuel could tell them! In order to do so, however, he has to learn Italian first. For the time being, the friendly glances and warm smiles of his new classmates help him calm down and get used to his new life. Anna imagines that, if she had to move to Africa, her freckles and red hair would look extremely weird to the people there. Immediately she realises how much richer their lives are going to be with their unusual new friend. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 140
Milani, Mino
Crespi Jacopo
(Curly-headed Jacopo)
Milano : Fabbri, 2001. 172 p.
(I delfini)
ISBN 88-451-2555-6
Northern Italy/19th century – Village – Poverty – Hunger – Uncle – Boy – Test – Friendship
This book is yet another proof of Mino Milani's great narrative skill. The story is set in Northern Italy in the middle of the nineteenth century. Jacopo, a shy and frightened melancholic boy from a poor family with many children, is sent to another village by his parents to live with his sinister and mean uncle. He suffers hunger, works very hard, and meets many strangers who are not always friendly towards him. One day, Jacopo and some other boys have to travel down the river Ticino to bring several boats to the town of Pavia. This is an acid test for Jacopo which eventually gains him recognition and, moreover, makes him find work and a new friend, Veronica. The eventful, exciting plot is told in a quiet voice full of emotion. The language is fluent and elaborate, the presentation of the characters impressive, and the description of the landscapes full of poetic power. In the epilogue, Antonio Faeti praises the book's immense ethical power – and rightly so! (10+)
(Premio di Letteratura per Ragazzi »Insula Romana« ; 2001)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 141
Nava, Emanuela (text)
Nascimbeni, Barbara (illus.)
La tigre con le scarpe da ginnastica
(The tiger with the gymnastics shoes)
Milano : Salani, 2001. 63 p.
(I criceti ; 71)
ISBN 88-7782-985-0
Italy – Boy – Indian child – Friendship – Multicultural society – Storytelling
How do you manage to squeeze stories about skunks, the sun and the moon, headless women, green tigers, magicians, young monkies, Snow White, and Christopher Columbus into a book of just 63 pages? It's easy. You just let two children meet in the park of a city that is teeming with cars and commercials and let them tell stories. Marco, son of Italian parents, and Khurshid, son of Indian parents, become friends and exchange tales from their respective home countries which they re-create individually while telling them. Even if this sounds easy, it requires great skill to tell stories that are as refreshing and imaginative as the ones which Emanuela Nava narrates in this small booklet. Her text is supported by simple and friendly pen-andink drawings. (7+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 142
Roncaglia, Silvia (text)
Cerretti, Cristiana (illus.)
Aiuto, arrivano le amiche della mamma!
(Help! Mama's friends are coming)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 88-8222-079-6
Manners – Aversion
Mama's friends are a real pest. Whenever they come for a visit, Mama comes up with a lot of absurd ideas, such as tidying up the bedrooms, behaving (and even dressing) like small princes, etc. Sara and Luca would love to play cannibals and throw the ladies into a huge cooking pot. Instead, they get sticky kisses and are asked silly questions. At least, Mama's friends always bring loads of caramels and other sweets. Anyway, Sara firmly promises herself that she will behave differently when she is an adult. Cristiana Cerretti has provided witty and lively illustrations for this story. The first and foremost characteristics are their expressive forms and colours. Their dynamic and vivacity are further increased by the hand-written text in block print. (8+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 143
Stoppa, Alfredo (text)
Cimatoribus, Alessandra (illus.)
Di tanto in tanto tondo tondo
(Once in a while, as round as a ball)
Pordenone : Ed. C'era una volta, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 88-86144-66-0
Father Christmas – Big city – Hectic – Art of living
Who is this little round man who glances at the sky waiting for the snow that doesn't fall? Quite obviously, he is one of those fake Fathers Christmas whom the big department stores like to hire. In any case, he is a weird fellow: He doesn't even own a car! He loves to feel comfortable and lives in a multi-coloured house with many books and a lovely garden among all the dull grey houses of the hectic and noisy city. We can easily imagine the things he doesn't like and would (probably) agree with him. The ingenious, atmospheric pictures with their unconventional perspectives and details will impress readers with their exquisite range of colours. For a while, they let the readers become immersed in this tale of an outsider in our fastmoving time. (8+)

Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 131
Bisutti, Donatella (ed.)
L’albero delle parole : grandi poeti di tutto il mondo per i bambini
(The word tree : great poets from all over the world for children)
Milano : Feltrinelli, 2002. 259 p.
(Feltrinelli kids : Sbuk ; 61)
ISBN 88-07-92061-1
Poetry – Children – Emotions – Nature
Can children understand the great poets of the 20century? According to this book they can, because they are active and unpredictable readers. The author presents 73 Italian and foreign poets and 138 poems connected by an invisible thread which creates an original text, based on the free associations and the emotional involvement of young readers. There are whimsical narrative poems followed by humorous texts (from Prévert to Queneau) and lyric poetry by various poets (Lawrence, Brecht, Emily Dickinson). This fascinating and varied anthology offers a moment of enjoyment, emotion, play, and dreams for everybody. (8+)

Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 132
Detti, Ermanno (text)
Innocenti, Roberto (illus.)
Leda e il mago
(Leda and the wizard)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2002. 85 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni ; 36)
ISBN 88-8222-082-6
Italy/1945 – World War II – Girl – Mystery – Adventure
In this book, the dramatic events of the Partisan struggle in Italy during World War II are seen through the eyes of ten-year-old Leda. She is lively and curious and one day she meets a mysterious, disturbing man who calls himself the Wizard. Who is he really? The mystery unfolds little by little along with the story, set in the hills of the Maremma, in Tuscany, where the author spent his childhood. The narration is intense and lively, the dialogue is rich, expressing a mixture of everyday worries, fears, and joys. The volume contains extraordinary and highly emotive plates by Roberto Innocenti. (11+)

Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 133
Ghebreigziabiher, Alessandro (text)
Ferraro, Alessandro (illus.)
Tramonto
(Sunset)
Roma : Ed. Lapis, 2002. [28] p.
(I lapislazzuli)
ISBN 88-87546-60-6
Contrasts – Diversity – Meeting – Interculturality
The author was born somewhere between Italy and Africa, between two different colours, two different cultures. The illustrated picture book, full of strong colours, tells the story of Sunset, the son of Darkness and Light. Sunset realises that he does not belong to either of the two worlds, being »too dark for the whites and too pale for the blacks«. Fear and suspicion of those who are different is far too common, but – despite this – the encounter is possible, as in the case of the sun and the moon dancing together on the beach. The book is a simple and poetic invitation to an encounter between different cultures. (6+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 134
Luciani, Domenica (text)
Luciani, Roberto (illus.)
Roba dell’altro mondo
(Things from another world)
Milano : Feltrinelli, 2002. 277 p.
(Feltrinelli kids : Sbuk ; 49)
ISBN 88-07-92049-2
Teenagers – Afterlife – Humour
Is it possible to be humorous about death and afterlife? In the case of Domenica Luciani’s latest book the answer is yes: a fast-paced adventure, full of witty remarks, sudden turns of events, and highly amusing situations. The narrator is Felice – a lighthearted thirteen-year-old boy, always in a joking mood – who suddenly dies. But a new life begins for this »newly dead« in the afterlife: With the help of two friendly and extravagant uncles of his, he discovers new powers and new occasions of enjoyment. The book’s narrative style is rippling and irreverent and the language is direct, using everyday expressions of today’s teenagers. (10+)

Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 135
Masini, Beatrice (text)
Cantone, Anna Laura (illus.)
Una sposa buffa, buffissima, bellissima
(A funny, very funny, beautiful bride)
Milano : Ed. Arka, 2002. [28] p.
(Collana di perle)
ISBN 88-8072-127-5
Dresses – Wedding ceremony – Surprises
This is the lively and simple story about the wedding of a tireless and creative dressmaker, a specialist in wedding dresses – Filomena – and Ferruccio, a shy and clumsy mechanic, who has declared his love to her. And so Filomena designs her own wedding dress; yet, some complications arise that put the wedding at risk. The ceremony is described in an extraordinary way, both by the text and the overflowing illustrations by Anna Laura Cantone, which take up the whole page with a patchwork of ideas and various materials: clippings, photographs, labels, cloths and handwritings. A book that will conquer children (and grown-ups). (5+)

Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 136
Mignone, Sebastiano Ruiz (text)
Ferrari, Antongionata (illus.)
Il ritorno di Babbo Natale
(The return of Santa Claus)
Novara : Interlinea, 2002. 29 p.
(Le rane piccole ; 13) (Junior)
ISBN 88-8212-379-0
Italy/1860 – Child – Mystery – Santa Claus
This book is based on a clever trick. Italy, 1860: General Garibaldi – the hero of the Italian struggle for independence – is fighting for the freedom of Southern Italy. In the little, secluded village of San Nicola, a curious and enterprising little boy called Nicola detects strange movements and the presence of a stranger with a long white beard wearing a red gown. Could he be Santa Claus? As if he was playing an important game, Nicola tries to solve the mystery and at the end he is certain: He had recognised that man with a beard who had left him a bag of sweets. It really was Santa Claus. (7+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 137
Nanetti, Angela (text)
Ovani, Germano (illus.)
L’uomo che coltivava le comete
(The man who grew comets)
San Dorligo della Valle (Trieste) : Ed. EL, 2002. 130 p.
(Il tesoro)
ISBN 88-477-1947-2
Child – Dreams – Comets – Father
This slightly romantic and poetic story of a search for identity, set vaguely in the East, recalls stories by Singer. Arno, the main character, is a ten-year-old boy who lives in a small village with his young mother Myriam and his little brother. He has a dream: he would like to know who his father is. Why does the village baker show such a deep interest in his family? Who is that old man with a mysterious past who lives in the woods and says that he grows comets? And where is his father? To find the answers and to see comets being born, it is necessary to learn to be patient. But as the old man says: »We cannot do without dreams, because only dreams give a meaning to life«. In this lovely, sweet story, rich in magic realism and illustrated by Germano Ovani with fascinating delicacy, Angela Nanetti shows how good she is at reading children’s hearts. (10+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 138
Petrosino, Angelo
Not, Sara (illus.)
Il viaggio in Italia di Valentina
(Valentina’s journey in Italy)
Casale Monferrato (AL) : Piemme Junior, 2002. 287 p.
(Il battello a vapore / Serie Valentina)
ISBN 88-384-7925-9
Girl – Everyday life – Travelling
This book is part of a successful series created by Angelo Petrosino, a writer and teacher who is able to listen to children and loves telling stories. Valentina is a fast growing ten-year-old girl, lively and exuberant, with a strong desire to live life to the full. She undertakes a journey throughout Italy in the company of Stefi, a friend of hers, who is a writer. Her holiday turns out to be surprisingly eventful and Valentina describes it in the first person in a simple and fluent style, seasoned with a pinch of humour. A general map and insets about the regions of Italy are enclosed in the volume. (8+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 139
Piumini, Roberto (text/illus.)
Castelli, Lucia (text/illus.)
Caviezel, Giovanni (text/illus.)
Un secolo di bambini : racconti del Novecento.
(A century of children : stories from the 20century)
Roma : Ed. Riuniti, 2001. 94 p.
(Piccole tasche)
ISBN 88-359-5078-1
Children – Everyday life – History 1900-2000
Is it possible to describe the 20Century from the point of view of children? This book fulfils this task in an original way, starting with a nursery rhyme followed by ten light and sagacious stories – one for each decade of the century. The leading character of each story is a child who moves and acts in his/her own little world and each story is set against a different background: steamboats full of emigrants, World War I, the Fascist parades, the reconstruction after World War II, the unrest of 1968. But there are also Mickey Mouse, the »panettone« (the Italian Christmas cake), the first TV sets, the Fiat 600, Yuri Gagarin, Barbie doll, the Italian National Soccer Team, mobile phones and the Euro. Even for children, time is a mixture of dreams, disappointments and hopes. (9+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 140
Valente, Andrea
Sotto il banco
(Under the desk)
Milano : Fabbri, 2002. 123 p.
(Contrasti)
ISBN 88-451-2895-4
Teenager – School – Secret – Growing up
This book is dedicated »to the girls on the mailing list« and has a subtitle: »We all have some secrets, deep down«. Under the school desk, there is a bit of everything: a sandwich, an apple, history, or anonymous notes. Well in touch with their world, the author has collected 30 short – some very short – stories of teenagers coming to grips with their pals and the adults. These short accounts of everyday life, set in school, at home, on the bus, or in the world of the Internet, give a gently humorous description of the teenagers of today and draw attention to their eagerness and their fear of growing up, their exciting discovery of love, their dreams, and their desires. (14+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 141
Various authors (text)
Biasetton, Francesca (illus.)
Abbecedario
(Spelling book)
Modena : Panini, 2002. [58] p.
(Ragazzi)
ISBN 88-8290-495-4
Alphabet – Game – Words
This is a rather special book generated by an idea and a play by Giorgio Scaramuzzino. It is a tribute to the magic of words: Just as in a children’s game, the letters of the alphabet come to life and, combined, they become words, sounds, and images. With its 25 short stories, composed by Italian writers specifically for this purpose both for children and grown-ups, the volume re-creates the charm of old-fashioned spelling books. Every story – one for each letter of the alphabet – is accompanied by illustrations, pictures, drawings, and clippings, like a fascinating ever-changing puzzle. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 142
Zannoner, Paola
Quel giorno pioveva
(It was raining that day)
Milano : Mondadori, 2002. 64 p.
(Shorts ; 41)
ISBN 88-04-50707-1
Italy/1974 – Everyday life – Girl – Bomb
Camilla is 14 and when she is with her friends she talks about songs, boyfriends and school tests. On that rainy day, though, having missed the bus, she is late for school and almost without realising it, she finds herself in a large square in the middle of a crowd of demonstrating workers with red flags. Suddenly a blast, blood everywhere, terror: Camilla becomes a witness of a highly dramatic event. A tragic day in Italian history, May 28, 1974, when a bomb exploded in Brescia, during a popular demonstration: a terrible bloodshed, the perpetrators of which remain unpunished. It is the highly emotional story, narrated in the first person, of a teenager who is growing up. (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 124
Ferrara, Antonio (text/illus.)
Come i pini di Ramallah
(Like the pine trees in Ramallah)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2003. 63 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni ; 39)
ISBN 88-8222-101-6
Israel – Palestine – War – Hope
In this book, readers can picture the colours and even imagine the smells of a troubled land. It presents the parallel diaries of two 10-year-old boys at the time of the second Intifada: David, an Israeli child, and Mohammed, a Palestinian boy. While David lives in Jerusalem, where people live in constant fear of terrorist attacks, Mohammed’s home town is Ramallah, where people are afraid to be killed by Israeli soldiers. Then, one day, the two children meet: This short encounter gives them new insights, a little more hope for the future and makes them dream of a possible peace. The author perfectly manages to convey the thoughts and feelings of the two protagonists, a fact that is important because – as David states – »children do have something to say about the war, but nobody listens to them.« (9+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 125
Gatti, Fabrizio
Viki che voleva andare a scuola
(Viki who wanted to go to school)
Milano : Fabbri, 2003. 261 p.
ISBN 88-451-8114-6
Emigration – Racism – Integration – School
In order to write this book, the author Fabrizio Gatti pretended to be an illegal immigrant and went to live in a shantytown on the outskirts of Milan. He tells the story of an Albanian boy, Viki, who dreams of a new life in Italy. It is not easy, though, because many Italians seem to have forgotten that, not that long ago, a lot of them were emigrants, too. The harsh story describes the terrible journey – jammed into a small boat like prisoners – then his life as an illegal immigrant living in fear and misery, and eventually Viki’s attempts to fit in at school, where at the beginning »the other children were queueing up to see me close up.« Despite of this, Viki never loses heart in this contradictory reality of cruel indifference and fragments of generosity. (12+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 126
Levi, Lia
La lettera B : i sei mesi che hanno sconvolto la mia vita
(The letter B : the six months that completely changed my life)
Milano : Mondadori, 2003. 163 p.
(Junior bestseller)
ISBN 88-04-52165-1
Friendship – Everyday life – Diversity
Ilaria, the 12-year-old heroine of this novel, narrates her quiet, ordinary family life that is suddenly turned upside down. She is forced to share her world with two other children: Babu, an Indian orphan whom Ilaria’s parents are going to adopt, and her cousin Alina, whose mother, a journalist, has been kidnapped by the Taliban. In her account – always gentle in style and at times slightly ironical – Ilaria describes big world events like September 11 and the war in Afghanistan. But she also gives a description of her daily effort to grow up, to cope with all the changes in her life, always asking herself questions about her feelings, the whole world, and life as such. (12+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 127
Madia, Claudio (text)
Cantone, Annalaura (illus.)
Manuale di piccolo circo
(Handbook for a small circus)
Milano : Feltrinelli Kids, 2003. 199 p.
(Feltrinelli kids : Sbuk)
ISBN 88-07-92062-x
Circus – Wonder – Game – Creativity
Who on earth will be interested in a handbook for a circus? Still, if you enter into the spirit of the »small circus«– not the one with exotic animals, but the circus of acrobats and jugglers – you will certainly be fascinated, not least because of the gorgeous illustrations by Anna Laura Cantone. The book is rich in practical tips introduced in a simple and winning way which may help children to learn about the possibilities of expression inherent in the human body. In addition, it also teaches readers how to make objects using plain materials, which can become means of communication and entertainment. This is a very original book for kids who will discover the secrets of a »circus in a suitcase«, but also for adults who want to share this pleasure with children. (10+)

Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 128
Mariniello, Cecco (text/illus.)
È strano Beppino
(Beppino is odd)
Padova : Ed. Messaggero Padova, 2003. 46 p.
(I gatti bianchi)
ISBN 88-250-1240-3
Differentness – Book – Monster
In this book, the theme of being different is presented to children in a witty and amusing way. After the death of his parents, Beppino goes to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousins. They are quite a ‘normal’ family, meaning they watch a lot of TV and usually go along with the fashion. They shake their heads at Beppino and mutter »Beppino is definitely weird!« simply because his interests and tastes sound odd to them: He loves reading adventure books, has many friends from faraway countries and has a passion for monsters. One day, he finally comes across some friendly monsters who invite him to spend an unforgettable day in their secret underground city. (4+)

Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 129
Masini, Beatrice (text)
Monaco, Octavia (illus.)
La spada e il cuore : donne della Bibbia
(The sword and the heart : women in the Bible)
San Dorligo della Valle (Trieste) : Ed. EL, 2003. 119 p.
(Sirene ; 6)
ISBN 88-477-1296-3
Bible – Woman
This book, which results from an imaginative and even fanciful reading of the Bible and Jewish legends, is part of the collection »Sirene« – a series of stories about women. The author narrates sevRomance Languages /Italy enteen tales about Eve, Ruth, and Judith, but also about Lilith and little Mary, varying in tone and form: There are first-person narrations as well as dialogues. They portray a life of labour and hard work, often in a distant world made of sand, long marches in the desert, and loneliness, which the women are only able to deal with through patience and determination. Each story is accompanied by an impressive colour plate by Octavia Monaco. (10+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 130
Nava, Emanuela (text)
Mazzoleni, Khurshid (text)
Guicciardini, Desideria (illus.)
Sognando l’India
(Dreaming about India)
Casale Monferrato (AL) : Piemme Junior, 2003. 112 p.
(Il battello a vapore : Serie azzurra ; 58)
ISBN 88-384-3563-4
Italy – India – Children – Culture – Difference
This book was written by ‘four hands’, the author and her Indian-born son, that is, whom she adopted when he was seven. Now he is eleven, but he still remembers the life in his native country quite well. In a lively style, the first-person narrator continuously compares the two different ways of life. Apart from that, he also relates many traditional Indian stories about tigers, holy men, maharajas, and sorcerers. »Italian children don’t do anything at all. Back in India I used to carry hay over my head, I used to plant the garden, and fry spicy pancakes.« In the foreground, we see different conditions of life for children and different conceptions of freedom. The style is ironical – even unconventional at times – and everything is presented in a very direct way. This original and curious book may help readers to reflect on cultural differences in an open and stimulating way. (7+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 131
Negrin, Fabian (text/illus.)
In bocca al lupo
(In the jaws of the wolf )
Roma : Orecchio Acerbo, 2003. [28] p.
ISBN 88-900693-7-6
Wolf – Girl – Love – Angel
The protagonists of this highly refined small masterpiece are Little Red Riding Hood and the rest of the cast from the well-known fairy tale of that title. The pictures, the landscape, and the atmosphere, however, are completely different, so that the tale assumes new meanings. Adolf, the wolf, is fascinated by a lovely little girl dressed in red, who in turn also finds the wolf simply gorgeous. »Are you an angel by any chance?« she asks him. But then, by sheer accident, she somehow falls into the jaws of the wolf, who – quite unwillingly – devours her and then yields to despair. Killed by the hunter, the angel-wolf lives on a cloud and looks down onto his lost twin spirit – still hungry. Very suitable for reading aloud, this book inivites people of all ages to always listen to both sides of a story. (4+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 132
Novelli, Luca (text/illus.)
Archimede e le sue macchine da guerra
(Archimedes and his war machines)
Trieste : Ed. Scienza, 2003. 112 p.
(Lampi di genio)
ISBN 88-7307-237-2
Science – Archimedes
This book is part of a series of popular non-fiction books for children about the lives and discoveries of scientists from all ages. Here, it is Archimedes who tells us about his childhood, his travels, his research work in the library in Alexandria, and the awe-inspiring war machines he built although he was a peace-loving person. The story keeps running smoothly, the chapters follow in quick succession, and the language is fresh and conversational. The pages are filled with cartoons and hatched drawings and contain amusing anecdotes. Short informative tables are scattered across the narration and a »small Archimedian dictionary « can be found at the end of the book. (9+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 133
Pace e tocco terra
(Peace and I touch ground )
Roma : Ed. Lapis, 2003. [28] p.
(I Lapislazzuli)
ISBN 88-87546-72-x
War – Dreams – Peace
In a world where many people seem to think that war is the only way to solve conflicts, the need for peace is growing. This book offers a collection of short stories, poems, and ballads. The six authors and the six illustrators – all of them Italian – are masters in the art of playing with words and pictures. Their texts, very different in genre and style, have a common aim: Against all apparent logic, they suggest the idea of a world where it is actually possible to have peace. In her poem No gravity, for example, Silvia Roncaglia pictures a world in which war becomes impossible because of a law of physics. Ennio Cavalli, Emanuela Nava, and Nicola Cinquetti present a modern tale, and Aquilino a script, while Arianna Papini has written a rap-song for peace. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 134
Quarenghi, Giusi (text)
Orecchia, Giulia (illus.)
Lupo lupo, ma ci sei?
(Wolf, wolf, are you there?)
Firenze : Giunti Kids, 2003. [24] p.
ISBN 88-09-03033-8
Wolf – Fear
This lovely lift-the-flap book is particularly suitable for reading aloud with an expressive voice. It is written in the form of a dialogue and created according to the technique of »trompe d’oeil«, so that the pictures keep deceiving the reader because things are never quite what they seem to be and always hide a new surprise. A little girl dressed in red keeps calling the wolf, who never appears. When you lift the flap, the figure that you might have considered to be the wolf turns into a different animal or thing, even into the girl’s own mother. This picture book offers a continuous succession of suspense and relief, a pleasant game of ambiguity. (4+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 135
Rapaccini, Chiara (text/illus.)
M’ama
(Mother or Still she loves me <pun>)
Milano : Buena Vista, 2003. 133 p.
(I libri che accendono)
ISBN 88-8437-081-7
Mother – Child
»What is your mother like?« In an ironical way, the author portrays fourteen different types of mothers: the nosy parker (one of the worst), for example, who peeps into her children’s diaries, the octopus-type, far too affectionate and almost suffocating, the always-rushing mother, and the plump one (definitely the nicest). Nevertheless, there is only one who is really bad: the mother of Hänsel and Gretel. The stories, enriched with many witty black-and-white drawings, almost seem like ‘exercises in style’: In turn they sound like pages from a diary, letters, e-mails, advertisement slogans, soap operas, news reports and even advice in etiquette from the good old days. At the end, you can find »mummy cards« to cut out and assemble so that you can create your own ideal ‘specimen’! (10+)

Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 121
Capatti, Bérénice (text)
Monaco, Octavia (illus.)
Vi presento Klimt
(May I present Mr. Klimt)
Milano : Ed. Arka, 2004. [36] p.
(Collana di Perle d’arte)
ISBN 88-8072-141-0
Klimt, Gustav – Art – Painting – Cat
This picture book introduces children to art in a fairly entertaining and original way. The imaginative Viennese painter Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) is presented by his cat! Intrigued by this ingenious trick, children will readily explore the story of his complex life devoted to the arts and discover the secrets of his trademark pictures, rich in decorations and brimming with ornaments painted in gold. Readers follow the painter into his studio, accompany him as he is visiting museums or on his travels, and watch how he copes with his admirers and critics. The text is set against a warm, colourful background on which dynamic figures are acting. Octavia Monaco’s paint brush magically recreates Klimt’s world and characteristic style. As an additional treat, the last pages show reproductions of some of his most famous paintings. (8+)

Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 122
Carrer, Chiara (text/illus.)
Aktaș, Sevim (transl.)
Fhame, Shoukri (transcription)
Giufà
(<Proper name>)
Roma : Sinnos Ed., 2004. [48] p.
(Fiabalandia ; 34 : Intercultura)
ISBN 88-7609-000-2
Fool – Mediterranean – Intercultural relationship
Giufà is probably one of the most famous literary figures linking the Mediterranean countries where he is known by many different names, such as »the Fool«. He is an indefinable and multi-faceted character: Sometimes, he seems to be a naïve simpleton, at other times, he acts like a sly rogue capable of cunning tricks. The text for each of these six short stories is provided in the three languages that Giufà knows best: Arabic, Turkish, and Sicilian. For her illustrations, Chiara Carrer uses an unusual style. The main character acts in an environment strongly reminiscent of a shadow theatre, in which the prevailing colours are black, white, and orange. This excellent book stands out for the peculiar choice of style and for the quality of the graphics. Moreover, it introduces an unparalleled example of a multicultural character. (6+) ☆

Italy (Italian/English/French) - 2005 - 123
Cerri, Mara (text/illus.)
A una stella cadente = Upon a falling star = À une étoile filante
Roma : Orecchio Acerbo, 2004. [20] p.
ISBN 88-89025-11-5
Girl – Search for identity – Wish
People say that when you see a falling star you should make a wish. That is the starting point for this beautifully-designed small book, an original collection of wishes, hopes, and fears intended for teenage girls. The texts are reduced to one sentence per page printed in Italian, English, and French. They present something like a top ten list of authentic desires of young people not influenced by consumerism, such as »I want to know whether everybody feels clumsy and heavy sometimes« or »I want to discover what is inside all the things that cannot speak.« The female protagonists, roughly sketched, take on fantastic forms like sirens or pear-shaped women; they change shape and hover above a delicate, soft background, while the sentences seem to follow the shapes. (10+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 124
De Mari, Silvana (text)
De Conno, Gianni (illus.)
L’ultimo elfo
(The last elf)
Milano : Salani, 2004. 317 p.
(Gl’ istrici ; 200)
ISBN 88-8451-401-0
Adventure – Fantasy – Friendship – Quest for meaning – Elf
In this passionate story set in gloomy medieval times somewhere between the real world and a fantasy realm, the protagonists have to face contradictions and fears that are clearly familiar to readers today. The readers meet three fugitives: a man, a woman, and a small elf. Wandering across a grey land, the elf feels cold, miserable, and hungry and longs for shelter and something to eat. His own world is disappearing, but when he meets the two very generous human beings, he feels safe again. Little by little, they come to know each other, realise – and accept – that they are different, and build up solidarity and friendship. After a long journey, the little elf arrives at a dragon’s den where his transformation takes place: Having been the last member of his own species, he is now turned into the first member of a new one. This novel, which offers a variety of possible interpretations, combines fantasy and fairy tale elements with the deepest and most serious themes of today’s world. (10+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 125
Garlando, Luigi
Per questo mi chiamo Giovanni
(That’s why my name is Giovanni)
Milano : Fabbri, 2004. 140 p.
(Storie Vere)
ISBN 88-451-0303-x
Father – Son – Courage – Mafia – Violence
This book describes the fight that Sicilian magistrate Giovanni Falcone fought against the Mafia until he was killed in 1992. On the day of this tragic attack, a shopkeeper’s son was born and his father decided to stop paying protection money to the local Mafia. Ten years later, the father tries to explain to his son what the Mafia is and why he chose to name him Giovanni. In the dialogue between father and son, the story of Falcone – the private man and the judge – and the description of everyday-life in Palermo are closely intermingled. In this troubled city, the Mafia – like a faceless monster – can grow through the people’s conspiracy of silence, acquiescence, and lack of self-confidence. The book offers readers a message of hope and helps them understand today’s world by keeping the memory of Giovanni alive. (10+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 126
Jankovic, Elisabetta (text)
Scassa, Pedro (illus.)
Un regalo per Goumba
(A present for Goumba)
Roma : Ed. Lapis, 2004. [28] p.
(I Lapislazzuli)
ISBN 88-87546-78-9
Christmas – Friendship – Intercultural relationship – Identity
Goumba has just arrived from Africa. He still dreams about the colours there and vividly remembers the relation with nature and things. As Christmas is approaching, Goumba’s classmate Betty explains to him that at Christmas people celebrate the birth of Jesus and that, above all, Santa Claus brings presents. When Betty encourages the boy to write a letter and ask for a present, he wishes for footprints, just like the ones he used to leave in the sand in his own country. Betty, too, asks Santa for a present for her new friend. On Christmas morning, their wishes come true, almost magically, and Goumba becomes aware of his own identity. On pages full of rich and bright colours, this picture book tells of the encounter between different cultures in a simple way. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 127
Lossani, Chiara
Stregata da un pitone : se ti ama non ti stritola!
(Charmed by a python)
Firenze : Giunti Junior, 2004. 182 p.
(Graffi)
ISBN 88-09-02891-0
Journey – Adventure – Teenager – Humour
This original and amusing book pleasantly combines all the required ingredients suitable for a story for contemporary teenagers based on the rhythm and reality of everyday life. The main protagonist, Sara, is an amiable girl who is sent to England by her parents – against her will – to study English. She becomes involved in an amazing adventure at the end of which, with the decisive help of the python Aberdee and an Indian boy, she discovers and exposes a devious trade with young scullery boys. Told from a first-person point of view, the narration is clear and swift, while the plot is a succession of exciting incidents that are well-linked to each other and with a mystery to be solved. Moreover, the book also contains a pinch of humour and irony and discusses some intercultural issues. (12+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 128
Moretti, Dario (text/illus.)
Storia di tre
(A story of three)
Modena : Panini, 2004. [40] p.
(Ragazzi)
ISBN 88-8290-676-0
Colour – Diversity – Search for identity – Animals
Dario Moretti has created a wonderful visual story in which the three main characters are somehow ›wrong‹: The pink penguin, the purple crocodile, and the bright-green cat were born in countries as far away as the South Pole, Central Africa, and a Northern city, respectively. They all decide to set off and explore the world and, eventually, end up in the same city where they start a company together before they continue on their separate journeys. Each animal treasures the memory of both its place of origin and its own identity, and has also learned to recognise and accept the identity of its friends. This picture book stimulates children’s curiosity and imagination. The story is ideal for reading aloud and can also be adapted for the stage. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 129
Papini, Arianna (text/illus.)
Odore di bombe, profumo di pioggia
(The stench of bombs, the scent of rain)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2004. [24] p.
ISBN 88-8222-122-9
Child – War – Hope – Water
This picture book features ten very short stories about children of different ethnic groups and cultures. Readers travel from the Middle East, where children suffer under the bombings, to freezing caves in Kurdistan, from the camps of the itinerants on the rubbish-mountains of big cities to the parched Sicilian countryside, from the United States to the large Indian rivers. The stories are dramatic and poignant, echoing with war and injustice, describing expectations and fears, loneliness and longings, all with the same leitmotif: water as a vital and necessary element – wasted water, water wrenched from arid regions, stolen, denied, or dreamt of. The passionate and concise texts are accompanied by evocative, melancholy, and highly refined double-page pictures on a black background. (8+) ☆
(Special International Prize »City of Schwanenstadt« ; 2004)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 130
Piumini, Roberto (text)
Bussolati, Emanuela (illus.)
Diario di La
(La’s diary)
San Dorligo della Valle (Trieste) : Ed. EL, 2004. 122 p.
(Lettere e diari ; 2)
ISBN 88-477-1373-0
Diary – Everyday life – Friendship – Intercultural relationship
This passionate fictitious diary is written by a vivacious and sensitive 9-year-old girl. La, a nickname for Laura, loves writing into her diary which she calls »Di« for short. She tells Di a lot of things she would not dare tell a friend and some she might otherwise not even admit to herself. The story is set in a context of immigration in an urban environment. In a lively manner, Laura chats about her everyday life and in particular about her friendship with Am, i.e. Ahmed, and his granddad. The old man feels utterly lonely and isolates himself through his stubborn silence. The two children want to help him get back his string instrument and try to revive his taste for storytelling. This enjoyable story quite naturally promotes the understanding between people from different cultures. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 131
Pontremoli, Giuseppe (text)
Monaco, Octavia (illus.)
Ballata per tutto l’anno e altri canti
(A ballad for the whole year and other songs)
Roma : Nuove Ed. Romane, 2004. 65 p.
(Canzoni, poesie e filastrocche ; 13)
ISBN 88-7457-021-x
Poetry – Month – Love – Game
The author, who died at a very early age, has given us this short, passionate ballad describing the twelve months of the year. The text emphasises the power of love and friendship that can be celebrated in many ways, e.g. by »chasing the fairies«, »counting the stars«, or »beating any fear«. Each double page spread presents the text in verse, masterfully illustrated by Octavia Monaco who is able to transfer emotions and feelings directly onto the page with paintbrush and paints. She creates imaginative pictures depicting dreams in which the world of living creatures meets that of inanimate objects. The book also contains short poems that can easily be understood by smaller children, expressing the love for life, for games, and for everyday matters. (10+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 132
Zoboli, Giovanna (text)
Bazzurro, Francesca (illus.)
Mondo cane
(A dog’s world )
Milano : Topipittori, 2004. [28] p.
ISBN 88-89210-02-8
Animals – Diversity – Prejudice – Search for identity
This lovely picture book in which words and pictures blend perfectly is presented by a new small publisher particularly concerned with high-quality products. The main character is a cream-coloured mongrel puppy who tells his story in the first person. Lillo lives in the city and is quite happy to be in this world until one day, he makes a shocking discovery: Dogs are not all born equal, and for little mongrels life can be quite hard at times. Through various experiences, Lillo gets acquainted with the joys and disappointments of the ›real world‹ and slowly finds out about his own identity. It is a dogsize story of growing up, illustrated with original pictures, the colours ranging from sand and mustard to grey and black – a truly stimulating way to help children discover social rules. (5+)

Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 125
Albertazzi, Ferdinando (text)
Fatus, Sophie (illus.)
Stelle di nebbia
(Stars of fog)
Troina : Città Aperta Junior, 2005. [33] p.
(Lo specchio magico; 6)
ISBN 88-8137-185-5
Friendship Handicap
Sometimes, things that adults find difficult to believe and problematic to face are easy and natural for children. This is the case with the friendship between the protagonist and Betta: a girl with »frozen muscles« forced to spend her days in an armchair almost isolated from the world. The two girls live in the same building on the same landing and, everyday, the protagonist goes to visit Betta even if she gets bored or thinks that Betta doesn’t pay any attention to her. She just stays close to her with pens and paper, showing her different pictures. Little by little, Betta starts talking to her visitor in short sentences. This is the start of a wonderful friendship that seems almost impossible, made up of dreams, hopes, and sympathy. (9+)

Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 126
Colombo, Tullia [et al.] (text/illus.)
Un mondo per giocare
(A world for playing)
Varese : La Coccinella, 2005. [18] p.
ISBN 88-7548-125-3
Intercultural relationship Personal identity – Diversity – Cultural diversity
This activity book, the profits of which will be assigned to the humanitarian organisation CESVI, is made of cardboard and invites readers on a journey rich in images and rhymes. Its purpose is for children of different cultures to get to know each other and play together and to overcome the fear of ›the other‹. A big map opens up in various segments and children’s faces from around the world appear at many windows. Rhymed verses invite them to look for a rainbow, which displays the most beautiful colour of all because it is composed of all the colours combined. Everyone learns to see each other in different ways. This is the first step to accept and respect diversity and the difference of others. (4+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 127
Dell’Oro, Erminia
Dall’altra parte del mare
(From the other side of the sea)
Casale Monferrato : Piemme Junior, 2005. 119 p.
(Il battello a vapore)
ISBN 88-384-3698-3
Eritrea Clandestine immigrant – War refugee
Elsa, a young mother from Eritrea, decides to flee her country, which is always at war with its neighbour Ethiopia. Of all her family, she has only a baby girl left named Elen. Together, they face a very difficult journey through the desert until they arrive at the coast from where they sail to Italy with other clandestine refugees. The hard and very sad journey ends in a shipwreck but, luckily, both protagonists survive and are able to start a new life. The book describes the harsh reality of the journey and includes little Elen’s story and her memories about her family. Therefore, the book is particularly enthralling and makes us participate emotionally in the tragedy that some humans suffer without understanding why. (10+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 128
Erba, Edoardo (text)
Panebarco, Daniele (illus.)
Agenti senza pistole
(Agents without guns)
Roma : Gallucci, 2005. 139 p.
(Universale d’avventure e d’osservazioni; 4)
ISBN 88-88716-36-X
Burglary Friendship – Paranormal powers
In the province of Lecco, a lot of rich people’s wonderful houses have recently been burgled. How can this difficult case be solved if even the police and the Italian Ministry of the Interior are completely in the dark about how to find the burglars? Luckily enough, a special team of four young agents, all of them with supernatural powers, decide to help the police and try to solve the case. This highly amusing detective story lets its readers dive into the captivating story and involves them in the investigations. (8+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 129
Gandolfi, Silvana (text)
Orecchia, Giulia (illus.)
Qui vicino mio Ariel
(My Ariel, next to me)
Milano : Salani, 2005. 254 p.
(Gl’istrici; 213)
ISBN 88-8451-552-1
Magic Cultural diversity – Intercultural relationship – Journey
Leonora is an old writer who seems to have lost her strength and creativity with the passing of time. She fervently wishes she had a guardian angel by her side to help her write a new novel. Therefore, she decides to create one herself from clay and make him come alive through a magical ceremony. One night, the clay angel has suddenly turned into a real one. Even if he looks more like a shabby little boy, Leonora is absolutely certain that he is a heavenly creature. In order to gather information for her new novel, she decides to travel to Brazil, where the adventure becomes more and more tumultuous until the truth is discovered: Her ›Angel‹ is not a supernatural creature after all but a very poor Brazilian boy. He left his home country, arrived in Rome, and became a very clever thief, who managed to break into Leonora’s apartment. This gripping story is told from two different points of view, Leonora’s and Ariel’s, and creates a magic atmosphere in which reality and fantasy are interwoven. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 130
Levi, Lia (text)
Orciari, Emanuela (illus.)
La portinaia Apollonia
(Apollonia’s porter)
Roma : Orecchio acerbo, 2005. [24] p.
ISBN 88-89025-15-8
Italy/World War II Persecution of the Jews – Deportation – Racial Laws
This book is set in the times of the Fascist Regime in Italy when racial laws were instigated. It tells a story, which evokes the daily banality of evil as seen through a child’s eyes. Daniel and his mother live a life full of sacrifices, queuing up for bread, making ends meet with day-to-day jobs, keeping away from the soldiers. Quite naturally, the Jewish boy is scared of everyone, even of Apollonia, the porter of his building. Convinced that she is a witch, he always tries to avoid her. In Daniel’s mind, the fairy-tale world and everyday life blend into each other. One day, however, the boy discovers that even a ›witch‹ can save a child, hiding him in a storage-room for coal. The story proves that it is essential to remember the past. (7+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 131
Nava, Emanuela (text)
Bosi, Marco [et al.]
Caro fiume
(Dear river)
Milano : Carthusia, 2005. [26] p.
(Piccoli viaggi crescono)
ISBN 88-87212-59-7
Science Ecology – River
This cardboard book, with its abundance of naturalistic illustrations, tells a quiet story in an impressive pop-up format: Lia and Francesco, two curious and adventurous children, go on a trip along the river. The book follows them on their imaginary journey with the help of two posters enclosed in the back of the book. They can be unfolded and show the reader a detailed map of the waterway, which makes it easy to explore the river and the surrounding territory. Readers will experience what life is like along its banks and form an almost physical relation with the environment presented. They can discover the underwater world, its inhabitants (animals and plants), and study their life cycle, food, what kind of tracks they leave and other exciting facts. (7+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 132
Perrone, Roberto
Banana Football Club
Milano : Fabbri, 2005. 181 p.
ISBN 88-451-1168-7
Sport Friendship – Honesty – Corruption – Football
Pierpaolo is a thirteen-year-old boy from a middle- class family in Milan who is enrolled in a football club, in which boys are supposed to lose weight and socialise with other friends. Pierpaolo loves this club and plays very well. Soon, he befriends Nino, a bricklayer’s son, who is the most exceptional talent of the team. This story is told from three perspectives: that of Pierpaolo’s family, the football club, and the young boys. The book is like a ›game‹ of differences, diversity, and enthusiasm for football but also points out that there is a lot of corruption in this field, a fact that is not well-known. The two boys manage to fight against this system through their friendship and retain the pleasure of playing football. (9+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 133
Salvi, Manuela (text/illus.)
Cavallaro, Francesca (text/illus.)
Nei panni di Zaff
(In Zaff ’s shoes)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2005. [44] p.
ISBN 88-8222-126-1
Sexual identity Growing up – Gender role – Masculinity
Young Zaff has a dream: He would like to be a princess. His classmates always make fun of him, especially by forcing him to admit that a princess doesn’t have a penis. But Zaff is stubborn and determined. One day, hey presto, the princess from the Andersen fairy-tale »The princess and the pea« arrives and solves the problem. She is fed up with being a princess and her heart’s desire is to become the goal-keeper of a soccer team. Zaff and the princess exchange roles and are finally happy, without having to be ashamed. This illustrated book is a very witty read both for children and for adults, who are invited to reconsider the interests and behaviour of their children and accept them as they are, acknowledging the value of diversity. (4+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 134
Tessaro, Gek (text/illus.)
Il salto di città in città
(The jump from town to town)
Bazzano (BO) : Artebambini, 2005. [52] p.
Fantasy Diversity – Journey
This illustrated book tells the fantastical story of a child with a passion for jumping. Nobody seems to understand him, so that for the protagonist the whole world is divided into two groups: Those who like jumping and those who don’t. One day, after he has hit his head very badly during a ›wrong‹ jump on an elastic carpet, the boy faints and is forced to stay in bed for a long time without moving, let alone jumping. Slowly, he returns to ›normality‹. His jumping career seems over but then, when he stands in front of a puddle and his mother encourages him to jump, his real passion surfaces again. He leaps over it and starts a new, wonderful journey to discover the world, finally free to be himself. (5+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 135
Zannoner, Paola
Tutto sta cambiando
(Everything is changing)
Milano : Mondadori, 2005. 116 p.
(Junior Mondadori : Junior gaia; 134)
ISBN 88-04-54355-8
Education Conflict between generations – Friendship – Motherhood
This is the story of a friendship between two teenagers: Antonia, an introverted girl from a middle-class family, and Psiche, a beautiful and self-confident girl whose mother was a nonconformist pop star during the 1960s. Their friendship is almost destroyed when Psiche gets involved with Antonia’s boyfriend Eros and becomes pregnant. Her mother desperately tries to persuade her not to marry Eros and even enlists the help of Antonia. However, the two girls are determined to act against the wishes of their mothers who completely disagree with their daughters. This book shows a positive picture of two teenagers who are prepared to take over responsibility and thus defy the negative opinion many adults have about modern adolescents. (14+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 136
Zoboli, Giovanna (text)
Scarabottolo, Guido (text/illus.)
Di notte sulla strada di casa
(On the way home at night)
Milano : Topipittori, [2005]. [28] p.
ISBN 88-89210-04-4
Fantasy Environment – Adult – Child
At night, a car is driving down the highway. The little boy in the back seat sees many images rushing by. The text of this book is only composed of the boy’s questions. »What time is it?« and »When are we going to arrive?« Soon, he starts playing by asking himself if the fish dream and if the birds bark, at what time the street-sweepers go to bed, and the like. Once they arrive at home, the boy continues his game. The concise text is accompanied by dynamic pictures consisting of a combination of fields of colour, sketchy drawings, and collage elements. The pictures aptly convey the slightly surreal atmosphere of the night trip. (4+)

Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 125
Carioli, Janna (text)
Quarello, Maurizio A. C. (illus.)
Nato straniero
(Born a stranger)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2006. 111 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni : Ottagono junior)
ISBN 88-8222-136-9
Friendship – Living together – Illegal immigration
Dario, the son of an immigrant, helps his father sell roasted corn at a street corner after school. One day, after quarrelling with his father, who often feels nervous and dispirited, the boy runs away and meets Ingrid, a punk girl. She is the only person to help him. When they happen to witness a taxi driver being killed, they decide to flee from both the murderers and the police who do not believe their testimony. As they live together and try to survive through mutual support, the bond between the two protagonists grows stronger day by day and enables them to overcome racial and religious differences. Told without sentimentality but still ending happily, the narrative points out how young people can dispel prejudice with friendship, justice, and respect towards other human beings. (10+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 126
D’Adamo, Francesco (text)
Johnny il seminatore
(Johnny, the sower)
Milano : Fabbri, 2006. 148 p.
(I delfini; 314: Storie, da 12 anni)
ISBN 88-451-1943-2
War – Pacifism – Personal growth – Social prejudice
Johnny, the protagonist of this moving book, which is a passionate plea against war, is an amiable young man whom everybody likes. Even if he doesn’t exactly volunteer to fight in the war, he considers it his duty as a good citizen and therefore reluctantly decides to join the armed forces. Nevertheless, once he arrives at the front, he soon realises that there is nothing heroic about war. On the contrary: His job is to »sow evil seeds«, i.e. deploy anti-personnel mines, which maim or kill many innocent people. This soon drives him crazy and completely changes his opinion about warfare. Eventually, he quits the service and returns back home despite the fact that he is confronted with a lot of hatred and wrath from people who do not accept his decision. (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 127
Detti, Ermanno (text)
Gilda : anni di piombo, anni d’amore
(Gilda : years of lead, years of love)
Napoli : Liguori, 2006. 100 p.
(Bibliotecagiovani; 2)
ISBN 88-207-3896-1
Italy/1970-1990 – Politics – Students’ movement – Terrorism – Love
This story about terrorism deals with complex issues concerning the political history and social life during a very difficult and fairly recent era in Italian history. The different ideas behind the political movement during the 1970s and 1980s, which was also supported by the students’ movement, are presented in a clear and articulate style devoid of any phrase-mongering. The common ideal characterising all these movements was social justice, an ideal which can lead to different ideological answers. Yet, this novel does not only discuss serious political events and complications, it also features a moving love story and touches upon all the responsibilities that are connected with such a relationship. (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 128
Marchesini, Matteo
Come nuvole di roccia : Andrea Mantegna
(Like rock clouds : Andrea Mantegna)
Milano : Motta Junior, 2006. 85 p.
(L’occhiotattile; 2)
ISBN 978-88-8279-271-8
Italy/Renaissance – Art – Mantegna, Andrea
Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506), the famous Renaissance painter, is presented in this book as a tired old man who seems to look at the world without recognising it any more. His memories inspire him to go on a last pilgrimage to beautiful Padua, the town where he spent a happy youth. Wandering around the town, he thinks back to the painting courses at school, to the Basilica di Sant’Antonio da Padova, to his meeting with the painter Donatello, and last but not least, to the famous Capella Ovetari. This rich and intense narration is complemented by numerous illustrations that help young readers to get acquainted with artworks of the Renaissance created not only by Mantegna himself but also by Giovanni Bellini, Leonardo da Vinci, and Donatello. (12+)

Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 129
Meo, Alba (adapt.)
Shakespeare, William (orig. text)
Guicciardini, Desideria (illus.)
La tempesta
(The tempest)
Roma : Ed. Lapis, 2006. [28] p.
(I lapislazzuli)
ISBN 88-7874-021-7
Island – Love – Magic
This demanding adaptation of one of the most famous plays by Shakespeare proves that classic literature still holds a strong fascination for adult and young readers today. The story is about a wise king with magic powers who lives with his daughter on a beautiful island populated by crowds of spirits and sprites. »The tempest« touches all aspects of human nature, ranging from the desire for revenge to forgiveness, from an attempt to employ evil powers to the impotence of man to change events determined by fate, and to a kind of supernatural justice that re-establishes order and values. All of these topics span generations. The book displays a perfect balance between the text and the dream-like illustrations. (7+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 130
Metalli, Alver
Lupo siberiano
(Siberian wolf)
Milano : Salani, 2006. 86 p.
ISBN 88-8451-577-7
Animal protection – Mistreatment – Selfishness
A spoilt little girl asks her parents for a special »dog« as a birthday present: a Siberian wolf that she saw in a documentary. Thanks to the help of an importer, the »dog« is indeed shipped from Siberia to the girl’s home in Brazil where temperatures often rise above 40°C and it is extremely humid. The animal feels constantly tired, longs for its homeland, and dreams of running through the snow. Nobody notices that the wolf is dying, not even its little »mistress«. This story, which could well be true, is about people’s irresponsible treatment of nature and the destruction of its delicate balance, but most of all about the inability of parents to say »no« to their children. This results in young children believing they are almighty and can handle everything according to their own wishes. The story is both as powerful as a parable and as unemotional as a factual report. (9+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 131
Morpurgo, Marina (text)
Sdralevich, Teresa (illus.)
Sofonisba strizzacervelli
(Head-shrinker Sofonisba)
Milano : Feltrinelli, 2006. 119 p.
(Il gatto nero; 109) (Feltrinelli kids)
ISBN 88-07-92109-X
Witch – Guardian angel – Common sense
Ruscufù, a spry witch, has decided to employ her magic usefully by enabling every child on earth to live in freedom and dignity. In this story, she pretends to be a psychoanalyst accompanied by Pina Freud, a colleague of hers, and her faithful assistant Angus, a guardian angel too good-hearted to face the evils of the world alone. The funny bunch of weirdos, who solve problems through anything but psychology, take on all kinds of difficult tasks. Once, they make a woman who is obsessed with her daughter’s figure suffer from an insatiable hunger; another time, they turn a spoilt child into a loving person by sending her to a sort of holiday camp. This amusing tale makes readers think about the importance of values such as simplicity and naturalness. (10+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 132
Nanetti, Angela
Gorgius
(<Proper name>)
San Dorligo della Valle : Ed. EL, 2006. 189 p.
ISBN 88-477-1765-5
Evil – Friendship
One weird summer, when yellow snowflakes are falling to the ground, a gang of children find a fluorescent egg with a mushroom-shaped head. Gorgius is a creature who is as small as he is dangerous. In fact, he is responsible for a number of killings. During the course of their investigations of the crimes, the children instinctively sense that his evil force can be lethal. This thriller with an ironical touch once again confirms Angela Nanetti’s great narrative talent. She creates an astonishingly broad scope of very different stories that all share the themes of searching and initiation. In this book, readers are asked to reflect on the nature of evil and how it suddenly intrudes on people’s everyday life and irrevocably alters everything. (10+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 133
Novelli, Luca
Edison : come inventare di tutto e di più
(Edison : how to invent all sorts of things)
Trieste : Ed. Scienza, 2006. 107 p.
(Lampi di genio)
ISBN 88-7307-309-3
Edison, Thomas Alva – Science – Inventions
In this fictional biography, first-person narrator Thomas Alva Edison describes his rich life as inventor and scientist. Tirelessly working on new inventions, he was granted as many as 1039 patents, some of which have literally changed the world. The witty comic-book-like illustrations in the margins offer a humorous comment on the story and help readers grasp the meaning by creating a second level that is just as important as the written text. In addition, small notes scattered throughout the book carefully and very effectively relate events of this historical period. The cleverly arranged combination of illustrations and text makes readers identify with the protagonist of this entertaining and gripping read. (8+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 134
Quarello, Maurizio A. C. (text/illus.)
Stoppa, Alfredo (text)
Una bambina coraggiosa
(A brave girl)
[Padova] : Bohem Press Italia, 2006. [28] p.
(Un libro Bohem)
ISBN 88-88148-73-6
Fear – Growing-up – Self-esteem
Little Anna is so scared of everything that she locks herself in at home and waits impatiently for her mother’s return. Yet, when her mother doesn’t come, the girl realises that she will have to leave the house and brave the world. To get outside, she has to pass by the closet in which she always imagined some kind of bogey to live. Next, she has to walk down the dark stairs of the building, face a kids’ gang who make fun of her, and even hurry past a surly old woman. Step by step, she plucks up her courage. As soon as one task is completed, she decides that she can take on a bigger challenge. In the end, she celebrates her newly found independence and freedom, symbolically represented in the pictures by a pier and a wonderfully bright sea. (5+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 135
Sgardoli, Guido (text)
Mattioli, Francesco (illus.)
Il grande libro degli Sgnuk
(The big Sgnuk-book)
Milano : Giunti Junior, 2006. 217 p.
(Graffi)
ISBN 88-09-04188-7
Humour – Fantasy – Parallel world
Young Yndig and his extravagant grandfather Sammenspit share the same fate: They are oppressed by other people and not allowed to be themselves. In the grandfather’s case, it is his grumpy and hypochondriac wife who always quashes his desire for more independence and ignores his longing to travel. As for Yndig, it is his parents and classmates who make his life miserable. They make fun of him because of his obesity, his ugly glasses, and his speech defect. Luckily enough, the misery of grandfather and grandson comes to an end one day, thanks to the Sgnuk. These terrifying, invisible little men secretly live in the grandfather’s house. With the help of an ancient, mysterious book, Yndig is able to force the Sgnuk to help him and his grandfather fight for their rights. (10+)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 136
Zoboli, Giovanna (text)
Mulazzani, Simona (illus.)
Anselmo va a scuola
(Anselmo goes to school)
Milano: Topipittori, 2006. [28] p.
ISBN 88-89210-11-7
Friendship – Anxiety – Starting school – Imagination
What will it be like to go to school, a real primary school? Of course this is something every young child worries about. Yet, the little creature who asks all these questions is not the boy himself who will actually have to venture out into the unknown world of school but his anxious toy rabbit, Anselmo. This touching picture book shows young readers what the child imagines to happen. With the help of his little stuffed friend, the boy manages to overcome his anxiety and fear of the unfamiliar, of not being at home, and of the new environment with which he is suddenly confronted. By supporting and comforting the tiny rabbit, the boy picks up his own courage and eventually feels ready to take this difficult step. (5+)