White Ravens: Romania
Romania (Romanian) - 1993 - 34
Kerim, Silvia (text)
Petruţiu, Liana Maria (illus.)
(The Heart of the Story)
Bucureşti: Craangă, 1991. 59 p.
parent/child - war - modern fairy tale - nature - animal - environmental protection
This book has two parts: "Fairy Tales" and "True Fairy Tales." The author herself says: "All fairy tales are really true. Only some are conceived in fantasy - a dream of reality - and others in reality itself. - In the "Fairy Tale" part, the author works with a broad palette of magical motives. She tells of the grandmother in the hospital who delights sick children with stories, of the moon who observes war on earth and is delighted when the earth at last really can smile again and allow grass to grow over its wounds, of meadows, deserts and personified stars who become Santa Claus. - The second part contains fairy tales conceived in reality. These are the true stories of animals (frog, horse, dog, snails) and a tree which is now a chair. Each narrative ends with an explanation, the heart of the fairy tale, which explains the background. In this second part, as in the delicate attempts in the first, children are presented with the necessity of protecting nature. - Liana Maria Petruƫiu's illustrations are a beautiful, meaningful supplement to the text, although their value is demeaned due to the extremely poor quality of the printing process. (6+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1993 - 35
Mărghitan, Liviu (text)
Georgescu, Aneta (illus.)
Zece tezaure carpatine
(Ten Karpaten Treasures)
Bucureşti: Creangă, 1988. 80 p.
Archaeology is a topic only rarely addressed in books for children and young people. It is supposed to be too complex and dry and suited only to the tastes of interested adults. In spite of this prejudice, Liviu Mărghitan finds a convincing way of making archaeology come alive. Prefacing the long-winded description of the excavated treasures, he places a short account of the circumstances under which the described objects were found. These narratives (which one could easily entitle "Well, what about that!") arouse curiosity and make the subsequent, absolutely essential description of the gold and silver art treasures more interesting. - The precise reproduction (black ink, dotted drawings) make the objects more three-dimensional and underscore the descriptions. (12+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1993 - 36
Măria sa Puiul Pădurii
(His Highness the Forest Boy)
Bucureşti: Editura Eden, 1992. 215 p.
upbringing - child/mother - love - nature - legend (Germany)
Mihail Sadoveanu presents the legend of Genoveva of Brabant in his novel, rendering it with new accents. Of course he tells of Genoveva's beauty and grief, however the main part of the account revolves around her child: growing up in the forest, having a very special relationship with the animals there and, although his mother is the only human being around him, developing no savage traits but being able to later easily fit into human society. Sadoveanu himself said that he wanted his novel to show how heredity can determine a child's development. - The novel takes the form of a story within a story, introduced and ending with the trading route of four brothers who receive their wares from a ship in Antwerp and distribute them over the whole of Europe. They are coupled in Genoveva's resue with the wedding of the youngest brother. - This novel had sunk into oblivion for the past 40 years in Romania, banned by the Communists after being classified as mystical. (10+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1994 - 44
Batzaria N. pseud of Moş Nae
Mica Robinson: aventurile extraordinare ale unei fetiţe
(Little Robinson: the Extraordinary Adventures of a Young Girl)
Sibiu: Trans-pres, 1992. 143 p.
Romania/History <1920-1929> - Argentina/History <1920-1929> - Emigration - Girl - Eltern - Robinsonade
After the death of her mother, Mariana emigrates from Transylvania to Argentina with her father, a Romanian professor. On the estate of her uncle she learns the secrets of Nature and agriculture, as well as the Spanish language and the life-style of the natives. She is a pretty, diligent child who is loved by everyone. Although they get along very well in Argentina, father, uncle and Mariana are plagued with homesickness. When the political situation in Romania improves (around 1920), they decide to return home. During the trip their ship runs into a storm. Mariana's life-boat capsizes and when she awakes, saved by her dog, she is alone on an island. Here she manages quite well. having learned everything she needs to know on the farm in Argentina. After many years she is unexpectedly found, rescued and returned safe and sound to her family and friends. This Robinsonade with a female protagonist is written in a clear, competent and easily understandable language. A negative aspect is the passages of extreme Romanian nationalism, which could be omitted in a translation. (10+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1994 - 45
Şerb, Ioan (ed.)
Munteanu, Val (illus.)
Legende populare româneşti
Bucureşti: Ed. Minerva, 1991. 140 p.
Flower - Bird - Romania - Legend/Anthology
This volume contains legends and fairy tales which have taken a flower or a bird as main protagonist, telling about the origin or exceptional characteristic of each. Usually it is people who are transformed into another state through happy or adverse circumstances. They are enchanted, conquered by enemies or dragons, punished by higher powers, rewarded. And so it is in these folktales that a world of souls is created in which each creature has its own story and is worthy of love and protection. (7+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1994 - 46
Extemporal la dirigenţie
(Pupils and Teachers)
Bucureşti: Ed. Jacobi, 1992. 159 p.
Puberty - First Love - Teacher - Pupil
On the first day of school in a Bucharest school, people of various fates and experiences encounter each other. The homeroom teacher - clever and wise; his daughter - pretty, young, in love; the new teacher - with her special eyes; the good and the bad young man in love; and other new and old school classes and teachers with all their individuality. These people exert influence on one another and take course toward a happy end. The superficial plot is sprinkled with everyday psychological and philosophical wisdom. In spite of its weaknesses, the novel can be recommended for the extensive picture it gives of today's Romanian society. (14+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1994 - 47
Zînele din Valea Cerbului
(The Fairies in Deer Valley)
Bucureşti: Abeona, 1992. 191 p.
Carpathians - Fairy <Motif> - Legend
In a romantic valley of the Carpathians the fairies gather who, angry at the invasion of people into their kingdom, want to launch a punitive attack. After long discussion, they decide not to punish the people, but instead to protect them from now on. In the daytime they will help the insurregents, at nighttime they will meet with each other to report on their good deeds. But since fairies do not need to sleep, their nights are much too boring. Waiting for dawn, they tell each other the story of mankind. For seven days the fairies meet. On the last night, however, they themselves become part of their own legend and disappear forever, as insects, from this enchanting valley. The language of the book is clear, and easily understandable, though quite flowery in the style of Romanian folktales. Very popular in Romania and reprinted 16 times, but not yet discovered by translators. (5+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1995 - 25
Zamfirescu, George M. (text)
Bercaru, Al. (illus.)
Sufletui soldaƫilor de plumb
(The soul of the tin soldiers)
Bucureşti: Ed. Aria grafică, 1993. 58 p.
(Legende, mituri şi povestiri)
The first edition of this book appeared in a period of war. Shocked by what he experienced, the author warns the younger generation of dangers which threaten human existence, such as hate, blood- thirstiness, etc. The tales in this book can be divided into two categories. One group reports of more or less realistic events from which the child should take a lesson: "Mother", the story of an overconfident little mouse; "The tears of a blade of grass" - a disobedient little dog jumps at the throat of the neighbor's mutt; "Nightingale and ox" and "The soul of the tin soldiers", which is the least sad of them all, even glowing with humor. The second group consist of legends, such as "Simion from Capernaum", a biblical story of the crucifixion, "Setilă " or "Legends", in which the author gives his version of the Christianization of Hungary, (9+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1995 - 26
Marian, Simion F. (ed.)
Tache, Margarcta (illus.)
Legende de Crăciun
Bucureşti: Ed. Scripta, 1991 (first ed. 1904). 61 p.
The Romanian people have a wealth of legends, customs and interesting beliefs associated with Christmas. This is the first time that stories were written down in a form and idiom appropriate for children and united the biblical legends with the Romanian Orthodoxy tradition and elements of folklore. One of the legends is even presented into two different versions, one from the Wallachia and one from the Buchovinia. In the course of time many legends, "colinde" and songs have been developed which are known wherever Romanians live." (10+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1996 - 145
Un alt glob, vă rog!
(A Different Globe, Please)
Bucureşti: Ed. Ion Creană, 1992. 70 p.
Romania/Emigration - Holland/Immigration - Mother/Daughter - International politics
This book about the pain of living in emigration is dedicated to the children and young people who gave the impulse for the Revolution in Romania in 1989. In 1987, after enduring reprisals from the »Securitate« and the Romanian police, the author and her ten-year-old daughter emigrated to Holland. Săvulescu-Voudouris reports here on the first year in the shelter for refugees from the point of view of the child. The child experiences a new world which her past experiences have not prepared her to understand. Then there was her mother's serious depression, from which she only gradually recovered. This world, where everything familiar has lost its meaning, has an allegory in the old globe with which mother and daughter try to locate the sources of news they hear on television and where long outdated political entities are not to be found. (10+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1998 - 146
(The wolves' banquet)
Ploieşti: Ed. Prahova, 1996. 150 p.
Romania - Family - Everyday life - Superstition
With her special power of observation and empathy, the author carries the reader into the intimate world of a Romanian family. The stories in the first section depict the family's relationship to the animals they are raising. While they have a special place in the family and are given loving care, especially by the children, the adults see them rather as a part of the food chain. In the second part of the book, the stories show the influence and constant presence of superstition among the Romanian people - especially with regard to death, presentiment of death, and fighting illness with supernatural powers. These twenty stories are filled with a sense of atmosphere and authenticity. (10+) ☼
Romania (Romanian) - 1999 - 153
Popescu, Vlad (text/illus.)
Nu trageţi în ... zîmbete!
(Don't shoot - smile!)
Bucureşti: Lumina Lex, 1996. 103 p.
Romania - Everyday life - Adolescence
In short stories in video-clip style the adolescent author makes fun of the weaknesses, mistakes and stupidity of adults. And he doesn't spare himself the same treatment, thus giving a complex picture of everyday life in contemporary Romania as seen through the eyes of an innocent youth. (12+)
Romania (Romanian) - 1999 - 154
Sorescu, Marin (text)
Georgiţă, Arina (illus.)
Diligenţa cu papuşi
(The doll buggy)
Cluj: Ed. Cartimpex, 1998.  p.
Rhymes - Aphorisms
Ten years after the political changes in Romania, the abrupt privatization and break-up of the distribution networks, new publishing houses, such as Cartimpex, are trying to establish themselves with solid, highquality little booklets. This is a thin booklet with sparse, aphoristic four-liners to accompany the artistic illustrations. The playful, spontaneous collages match the rhymes and thus inspire the reader to complete and extend them. This is a very personal style, with an inexhaustible supply of ideas. (6+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2000 - 146
Gemală, Eugenia Doina (text)
Ruffu Manea, Lucia (illus.)
Legenede din ţinuturi dobrogene
(Legends from Dobrudja)
Piteşti: Carminis, 1998. 55 p.
(Legende populare româneşti)
This volume contains folk tales and legends from different parts of Dobrudja, a region of Romania's coastal strip on the Black Sea south of the Danube River. In a well-chosen mixture of literary folk tale and retellings of old tales one finds explanations for place names and learns secrets from the past. The balance between appearance and reality, between past and present is underlined by refreshing, expressive water-color illustrations. (7+)
Romania (German) - 2001 - 101
Hübner-Barth, Erika (text)
Negoţiu, Călin (illus.)
(Little Button Button)
Hermannstadt/Sibiu : Hora, 1999. 39 p.
Button - Wanderlust - Adventure - Home
This humorous story tells of the longing for faraway countries and adventures; it shares the suspicion of many children that the grass is always greener on the other side. Little Button, one of six Button-brothers on a boy's Sunday-coat, is terribly bored in the dark wardrobe and decides to discover the great big world. He explores the world with the help of a dog, a mouse, a crow and fish, travelling on and under the earth, under water or up in the sky. Back home, the mother sews him back on where he belongs. And if he has not come off, he will continue to »tell his story happily ever after«. The story would lend itself to an animated cartoon. The sparse illustrations complement the text quite well. Erika Hübner-Barth is a Rumano-German writer. (5+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2001 - 150
Opriş, Tudor (text)
Gruder, Burschi (illus.)
Bucureşti : Ed. Ion Cristoiu, 2000. 109 p.
(Enciclopedia liliput a naturii : animale, plante, pietre ; Vol. 1)
Animals - Animal observation
Tudor Opriş is a well-known and popular writer of non-fiction nature books for children and adolescents. This little volume is the first of a 20-part encyclopedic series. It describes the peculiarities and notes the »records« of the animal world. From the biggest to the smallest, the most peaceful to the most terrifying, all animals are presented in their habitat, while their behaviour is characterised in entertaining, short and texts. (7+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2002 - 145
Djuvara, Neagu (text)
Olteanu, Radu (illus.)
Bucan, Simona (illus.)
Cum s-a născut poporul român?
(How the Romanian people came into existence)
Bucure.ti : Humanitas, 2001. 66 p.
(Humanitas junior : Istorie & legendã)
The history of Romania is full of changes. Its culture and people are a mirror of all the different influences that determined the development and characteristics of this country. The book portrays these events within the larger context of European history. Archeological and linguistic examples, as well as elements from old legends, alternate with historical facts and liven up the text. This fact and the accompanying illustrations make the book an interesting and entertaining read for children, teenagers, and adults alike. (10+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2003 - 144
Andreica, Lacrima (text)
Taban, Teofil (illus.)
Dino-Rino şi amicii săi : întâmplări glumeţe pentru minţi isteţe
(Dino-Rino and his friends : funny adventures for clever heads)
Mediaş : Ed. Samuel, 2001. 76 p.
Rhinoceros – Childhood – Friendship
Small rhinoceros Dino-Rino spends his childhood in the Forest of Adventures where he finds a lot of friends, has problems at school, learns to cope with lies and betrayal and to have respect for other children and adults. As an adolescent, he leaves his familiar surroundings to stand his ground in the adults’ world. The cheerful stories are accompanied by coloured cartoon-like illustrations. (6+)
Romania (Romany/Romanian) - 2003 - 145
Etveş, Francisca Ioana (ed.)
Ursu, Maria (transl.)
Poveşti şi basme romani
(Stories and fairytales from the Romany people)
Cluj-Napoca : Todescu, 2001. 111 p.
(Bilingual text Romany / Romanian)
Romania – Romany people – Fairytales – Stories
This collection contains 13 amusing stories and fairytales from the Romany oral storytelling tradition featuring witches, dragons, Death and the Devil. Love and friendship, as well as cunning and cleverness characterise the lives of these people, who are often confronted with contempt and suppression in a hostile environment, but still manage to master their lives. In »Zurinka«, Tsar Ivan falls in love with a beautiful Romany girl and would even resign from his throne to share his life with her. In »Axelandra and the miracle of love«, a Romany girl manages to find her happiness against all adversities. And »Pischta« outwits Death by selling him his shadow. Sparing yet expressive black-and-white illustrations underline the texts’ messages. (7+) ☆
Romania (Romanian) - 2004 - 138
României, Maria Regina (text)
Kildine : povestea unei mici principese rāutācioase
(Kildine, the tale of a naughty little princess)
Bucure?ti : Corint, 2003. 100 p.
Princess – Naughtiness – Education
Princess Kildine, a real brat, terrorises her parents and environment. When she doesn’t even spare her father’s crown, the girl is banned and sent to an isolated tower. Once there, the stubborn, naughty girl slowly turns into an amiable person who is received friendly even by her worst enemy, the old market woman »Vox Populi«. This volume is the first Romanian edition of a literary fairy tale originally published in France at the beginning of the 20century. Written by the Romanian Queen Maria, the book’s existence was denied for decades in Romania. Detailed illustrations from the original edition – black-and-white drawings and delicately coloured full-page pictures in a turn-of-the-century style – accompany the text, which reflects the spirit of its time. (7+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2004 - 139
Sima, Nicole (text)
Lucaş, Cristina (illus.)
Marty învaţā muzica! : copiii fac cunoştinā cu sunetele, notele şi instrumentele muzicale … în compania unui marţian
(Marty meets music : together with a Martian, children learn about tones, notes, and musical instruments)
Bucure?ti : Compania, 2003. 79 S.
Music – Instrument
Learning about music and becoming acquainted with musical instruments is like travelling around a foreign planet. And this is exactly what Marty, a friendly little Martian, and his friend from Earth do together. Starting with the most simple notes, their notation, and their functions, the journey proceeds in a logical and comprehensible order to the various categories of musical instruments. These are described in short humorous dialogues and illustrated by simple drawings. The appealing non-fiction book is not exclusively geared towards children but also towards adults who are interested in music. (6+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2005 - 134
Dărămuș, Nicolae Romulus (text/illus.)
Ursul, distinsa fiară
(The bear, the noble beast of prey)
București : Ed. Allfa, 2003. 39 p.
Bear – Nature – Protection of animals
The animals of the Earth definitely deserve a better human species – that’s the motto of this story about a bear’s life. The amiable almost human-like female bear is described within its natural environment, virtually unspoiled nature. However, some humans have managed to invade this area, too, and the bear pays with its life when a hunter crosses its path. Still, there is some hope that, one day, humans will have learned to treat animals with respect. Even though the book is designed in a simple way that may not be particularly attractive, the text itself is definitely worth reading. (8+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2005 - 135
Pachia Tatomirescu, Ion (text)
Grama, Emil (illus.)
Povestea celor trei mustăţi de fier
(The story of the three iron-moustaches)
Timișoara : Ed. Aethicus, 2003. 146 p.
Romania – Fantasy world – Dictatorship – Irony – Literary fairy tale
This volume is a collection of 12 literary fairy tales written in a poetic yet easily understandable language. Each tale contains a basic element of truth with motifs from Romanian folk tales wound around it. Through this mixture, a lyrical fantasy world is created. The tales examine the political situation at that time in a very ironical way. It is easy to notice, for example, that they make fun of the Ceaușescu regime. As a consequence, the complete version of these texts was only published thirty years after they had been written. This volume also contains the original censorship remarks from the time of the Ceaușescu-dictatorship. Black-and-white drawings, photographs, and collages underline the text’s fantastic atmosphere. (8+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2005 - 136
Pop, Doru (text)
Anton, Râzvan (illus.)
Poveștile bunicuţei Nana : poveștile copiilor, cu, pentru și despre ei
(Grandmother Nana’s tales : children’s tales – with them, for them, and about them)
Cluj-Napoca : Ed. Aqua Forte, 2003. 36 p.
Child – Parents – Inner voice – Environment
In contrast to the child-hostile reality in which having no children is the rule, orphanages are horrible, and a lot of children live on the streets, Doru Pop creates a magical universe of children’s souls. The 15 short stories with their unexpected, poetical metaphors take readers into the lost realm of childhood where the mere existence of a person is enough to explain the meaning of life. Only children can see with their hearts and explain the world without the help of words – that’s the message of this small book. (6+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2006 - 139
Slavici, Ioan (text)
Marian, Mihail (illus.)
Pacală în satul lui
(Pacala in his village)
București : Corint Junior, 2005. 22 p.
Fool Cleverness – Envy – Greed
Pacală, the popular Romanian trickster-figure, decides to settle down in his home village after years of travelling around. He soon realises that in his village, just like in the rest of the world, envy, greed, and unfaithfulness determine people’s behaviour. Yet, clever Pacala always manages to trick them and ends up laughing at human stupidity. This retelling of the traditional subject stands out for its folk-tale-like language and its modern graphic design, which is unusual for Romanian children’s literature because it stands in contrast to many other books with overloaded traditional illustrations. The humorous text is underlined by the clear shapes of the comic-booklike pictures. (6+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2006 - 140
Tarnavschi, Geta Doina
Aventurile lui Pui de Cuc
București : Ed. Bren, 2004. 153 p.
Boy Adventure – Romania/1476-1478
Two courageous boys serve under Stephen the Great (Prince of Moldavia) as spies. At court and in the surrounding monasteries and forests, they frequently tumble into exciting adventures. With cleverness and ingenuity, they uncover intrigues and help the king put his government plans into practice. In the course of events, the fairly naïve and enthusiastic children slowly grow up to become thoughtful and responsible adults. This adventure-novel-cum-detective-story offers an authentic description of a popular era in Romanian history, written in a style attractive for teenage readers. While other Romanian books frequently try to glorify or romanticise the past or abuse it for political reasons, this book rectifies the nationalistic view in a convincing way. (10+)
Romania (Romanian) - 2007 - 141
Traian, Marin (text)
Nicolau, I. (illus.)
Aventurile iepurașului Ţup
(Little rabbit Tup’s adventures)
București : Corint Junior, 2005. 36 p.
Friendship – Helpfulness – Winter
Because of his injured wing, the white stork is not able to fly south for the winter but his best friend Tup, the rabbit, doesn’t desert him. He takes him into his little burrow and protects his feathery friend from all dangers. With a lot of cunning and by risking his own neck, he manages, for example, to keep the wolf from entering the warren and thus saves his friend’s life. Together with the bear and a little bird, he also defeats the clever fox. In spring, the cured stork then helps his loyal friends to stand up to the wolf and the four can finally celebrate the victory of friendship against all perils. This beautifully told fable, accompanied by illustrations reminiscent of old photographs, points out the timelessness of important topics such as friendship and helpfulness. (5+)