White Ravens: Serbia and Montenegro

5 books      

Serbia and Montenegro (Serbian) - 1993 - 43
Jovanovović Zmaj, Jovan
Krstić, Uglješa (ed.)
Čika Jova srpskoj deci. Priče i pesme o veri i običajima
(Uncle Johnny for the Serbian Children. Stories and Verses About Faith and Folklore)
Beograd: Vajat, 1992. 95 + 6 p.
(Biseri dečje književnosti))
ISBN 86-7039-034-5
religion - folklore - poetry
Supplementary to earlier editions of works by the Serbian physician, satirist (social criticism and criticism of the system in power during the reign of the Hapsburgs and Serbian kingdom), poet of the Serbian romanticism and classical writer of children's literature, Jovan Jovanović, with the additional surname of Zmaj (1833-1904), which have already appeared in the children's magazine Neven (1880-1911) who occasionally was its sole contributor, the renowned Serbian publisher Uglješa Krstić has brought out works of Zmaj which, due to their religious content, could not be published in the last approximately 50 years. Unfortunately, the volume begins with the "Prayer of the Young Serb" which in today's era of Serbian nationalism will be understood completely differently than how Zmaj, a progressive and socially critical poet, certainly meant it, using the strong and repeated emphasis of the Serbian name to express nothing more than the aspiration of the southern Slavs for independence from the Hapsburgs. (6+)

Serbia and Montenegro (Serbian) - 1996 - 219
Stefanovié, Mirjana (text)
Otaševié, Dušan (illus.)
Sekino seoce
(Seka's Little Village)
Beograd: Ginko, 1994. 125 p.
ISBN 86-7753-016-9
Witch - Animals - Island - Isolation
This fantasy novel for children by the renown Serbian author Mirjana Stefanovié (*1939) contains many ironical experiences from her own life and travels, many pieces of nonsense and is also a treasure grove of Serb(ocroat)ian phraseology. The text cries out for a rendering on stage or in radio. In the first section a woman character on a witch's broom travels not only through different countries and parts of the globe, but also through periods of time, through a macrocosmos which is counterbalanced by the microcosmos of Serbia. In the second section she employs a rooster and its chicken ballett to describe the world of culture with its glamour, intrigues and complex relationships. In the third section, the first person narrator reports on experiences made with her cat. In the final chapter the narrator is preparing to emigrate to a lonely island in the Pacific Ocean, where she plans to live together with her chickens, cats and friends from all over the world. With its allusions to the isolation of Serbia, this novel is evidently an attempt to convey the need for a more cosmopolitan view of the world. (12+)

Serbia and Montenegro (Serbian) - 2000 - 221
Maletié-Vrchovac, Gordana (text)
Bosnié, Dragan (illus.)
Spasonosna odluka
(A saving decision)
Beograd: Knjigoteka, 1999. 88 p.
Common things - Discard - Memories - Storytelling
In this book, that follows the tradition of Hans Christian Andersen and E.T.A. Hoffmann, common everyday objects that are no longer in use and have been taken up to the attic or taken refuge there by themselves tell each other the oft melancholic tales from their own lives. Their lives now are overcast with the omnipresent danger that the masters of the house may come up to the attic and discard those things that they can't stand to see anymore. Gordana Maleti writes in a nostalgiclyrical style that is nonetheless not the least stuffy. (6+)

Serbia and Montenegro (Serbian) - 2003 - 209
Balenović, Ivan
Princ Humorabi od Plusopotamije
(Prince Humorabi of Plusopotamia)
Nova Pazova : Bonart, 2001. 473 p.
ISBN 86-503-0049-9
Poverty – Rescue – Journey – Adventure
In his satirical fantasy novel, Ivan Balenović links fairytale-like elements with a plot set in the present. Even if not all of the satirical allusions might be recognisable for every reader, there is still a lot to discover. The eponymous hero himself is an allusion to Babylon’s tyrant Hammurabi. Yet, Prince Humorabi is an unspoiled eleven-year-old boy. When his kingdom encounters some difficulties, his counsellors recall objects from the past which had been lucky charms, such as tiger beans and bronze windows, and Humorabi sets out on a search for them accompanied by his friend Tasel and by Urma, a girl looking for her parents. During their travels, the children face many adventures and undergo a maturation process. Eventually, they find the requested objects and the novel ends. The continuation in our times, however, seems predestined. (10+)

Serbia and Montenegro (Serbian) - 2006 - 209
Maletić-Vrhovac, Gordana
Krađa vinčanske figurice
(The theft of the Vinča statuette)
Beograd : Narodna Knjiga-Alfa, 2004. 182 p.
(Biblioteka Petar Pan; 166)
ISBN 86-331-1727-4
Youth Theft – Moral – Statue – Stone Age
Gordana Maletić’s new teenage novel, which is first and foremost a detective story, deals with the theft of a clay statuette from the Linear Pottery Culture (from the Neolithic Age) dug up at a prehistoric site near the Serbian capital Belgrade. The author shows how her young protagonists slowly develop a feeling for and an understanding of moral values, how they learn to assess people, and how they find out for themselves what is allowed and what isn’t. Another defining element of the plot is a love story that is woven into it and lends an additional air of authenticity to the novel. (11+)