White Ravens: Spain

170 books      

Spain (Spanish) - 1993 - 146
Atxaga, Bernardo
Saban, Aránzazu (transl. from Basque)
Memorias de una vaca
(Memoirs of a Cow)
Madrid: SM, 1992. 206 p.
(Barco de vapor)
ISBN 84-348-3745-5
cow autobiography - civil war (Spain) - Maquis - outsiders - homeland
Peace in Spain at the beginning of the 1940s. Not quite, since in the Basken region far from Madrid insubordinate people, the Maquis, fight for their hereditary rights. The cow Mo grants us a partial but thorough insight into these disputes. Her voice and reflections reach us from her exile in France. We owe the memories to the "inner voice" every cow is born with, whose continual interference Mo must often argue against. Intelligence and animal wit in supple prose: this combination is as unusual as the flawlessly maintained narrative perspective. The author (and publishing house) must certainly be likewise congratulated for finding this translator. (12+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1993 - 147
Carbó Joaquim
Operación Moscardón
(Operation Blowfly)
Madrid: Anaya, 1992. 129 p.
(Espacio abierto)
(Translated from Catalan)
ISBN 84-207-4489-1
literature - war (Indochina) – underworld
Before moving house, the first-person narrator comes across a yellowed manuscript. It is the story of a hero modeled after Papillon, in reality an unscrupulous adventurer nicknamed "blowfly" with whose story the destitute narrator and his former girlfriend and her father wanted to acquire lots of money and achieve literary fame. On another narrative level, set off typographically, the tensions in the writers' workshop and their costly background research are described and the moral of the experiment is drawn (among other things: don't do anything without a good contract!) (15+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1993 - 148
Farias, Juan (text)
Monreal, Violeta (illus.)
Bandido
(Bandit)
Madrid: Susaeta, 1992. 77 p.
ISBN 84-305-7329-1
Middle Ages - poverty - kidnapping - marriage - tramp
Farias never needs many words to sketch his figures and their poor lives and to guide them into the tragedies which for poor people, especially when they must eke out a living by stealing, begging and doing other unpleasant things and live in the Middle Ages, certainly seem predestined. What is astonishing is how he designs types of people with such frugal means, allowing them to kindle our sympathy, how he makes life circumstances experienceable without making his denunciations explicit. (11+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1993 - 149
Mozo, Paloma de San Juan (text)
Ginesta, Montse (illus.)
Me la he cargado
(I Certainly Botched That Up Nicely)
Madrid: Alfaguara, 1991. 125 p.
(juvenil alfaguara 425))
ISBN 84-204-4724-2
school
A long essay, written by the protagonist during school vacation at the bidding of her teacher, makes quite a stir. With a light-hearted, naive attitude, quasi without periods and commas, great and insignificant events and observations are related: we are precisely informed about Franco's death in 1975 and the welcome free period which results - although without the TV series, about the strange conduct of the art teacher while rolling his cigarettes (and certainly immediately afterwards) and also about the hygienic conditions of the toilets. The fact that the conduct of the teachers and directors does not reveal much about their pedagogical abilities and feelings of responsibility becomes particularly obvious in this narrative style which breaks taboos. The consequence is; the student is expelled from school. (13+)

Spain (Galician) - 1994 - 164
Villar Janeiro, Helena (text)
López Domínguez, Xan (illus.)
A canción do rei
(The Song of the King)
[Vigo]: Galaxia, 1991. 89 p.
(Arbore (Serie Verde))
ISBN 84-7154-758-9
Poetry - School - Friendship - Sea - Good King Dagobert (Song)
Cosme himself doesn't know why he so often makes claims that are not at all true. For instance, to claim at school that he knows a real king. And in the music lesson to suggest that a song must be composed for this king. He would supply the details on the following day. That afternoon by the sea, while he struggles to find a way out of his lies, a miracle suddenly occurs. Over the waves comes first the chords of a fanfare, then an army with King Dagobert at its head. He only realizes that it is King Dagobert when his mother sings him the popular French children's song about good King Dagobert that very evening. The author accompanies her protagonists consistently and sympathetically letting the reader share, along with Cosme's school friends, in the ordinary and extraordinary. (9+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1994 - 165
Coll, Pep
Qué farem, què direm?
(What shall we do, what shall we say?)
[Barcelona]: Cruïlla, 1992. 168 p.
(Gran Angular 42)
ISBN 84-7629-604-5
Pyrennees - Hobgoblin - legend - Illegal Immigrant
During a visit to the local museum of ethnology the narrator, the school-girl Bet, hears for the first time about the strange and even dangerous miniature inhabitants of the Pyrennees. Didn't something just move in the vessel in which, according to the label, they are living? Naturally Bet succeeds, firstly, in learning more about the "minairons", seconds, in liberating them, and thirdly having them serve and entertain her. The story is set in a village at the time of the celebration of the Three Magi, of which Bartholomew, the black man, helps the author to point out the dangerous situation and lack of rights these people have. Even his protagonist can't do anything to change that. In the end Bet loses the "minairons," but not before they help the basketball team, her first gentle love, to victory. (13+)
(Premi Gran Angular 1991)

Special Mention - Spain (Catalan) - 1994 - 166
Jordana, C. A. (text)
Jover, Llui'sa (illus.)
Antenaforta i Caragran
(Strong Antenna and a Large Face)
[Barcelona]: Abadia de Montserrat, 1992. 24 p.
(La Finestra 19)
ISBN 84-7826-297-0
Fable - Ant - Cricket - Agreement
The crickets sing untiringly in order lo ease the life of the ants who scurry about their work in long columns. Over and over again the crickets assure each other how glad the ants must be to have this musical accompaniment. They only realize that their chirping gets on the ants' nerves when the ants are relaxing in their comfortable winter apartments and the crickets beg them for food - only to be given the cold brush off. But next summer when the ants can barely drag themselves along in the August sun, the crickets having decided to strike, the ants then send their own delegation. Winter provisions are assured, if only they will sing again for the weary workers. The illustrations by Jover give this old and often retold fable additional charm. While entire convoys of racy ants line the borders in various formations, small, full-sized drawings on the opposite page portray the place, action and mood of the events with all its delightful minute details. (6+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1994 - 167
Quart, Pere
Vacances pagades
(Paid Vacation)
{Barcelona]: Enciclopedia Catalana, 1992. 92 p.
(Colunma Proa Jove 45)
ISBN 84-7739-422-9
Lyrical poetry/Catalan
Pere Quart (pseudonym of Joan Oliver i Sallares, 1899-1986) is considered the most important Catalan poet of this century and this book "possibly his best book" (according to The Oxford Companion to Spanish Literature). This little volume, with its short and clear texts, is published for young adults who experience poetry as an expression of their humanity. The author received the renown Ausiàs March Prize in 1959 and the Lletra d’Or in 1961.

Spain (Spanish) - 1994 - 168
Cervantes, Miguel de (text)
Ginesta, Montserrat (illus.)
Gimenez-frontín, José Luis (adapter)
Don Quijote
(Don Quixote)
[Barcelona]: La Galera, 1993. 86 p.
(La Galera a proa 1)
ISBN 84-246-8501-6
Don Quixote
Experience shows that the adventures of Don Quixote have become a byword, but hardly a pupil knows them from actual reading - the book is too thick, the language too difficult. This adaptation will hopefully tempt readers to delve into the original at the right time. This edition contains the well-known adventures and characteristic elements which make its reading a delight. The illustrations by the artist Ginesta emphasize the light-hearted, burlesque side of the novel. (10+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1994 - 169
Faner, Pau (text)
Vila, Jordi (illus.)
La Dama de la media almendra. La Isia de los Hombres
(The Lady of the Half-Almond. The Island of Mankind)
[Barcelona]: Destino, 1992. 132 p.
(Pequeño delfin)
Fairy Tale/Spanish - Love - Knight - Adventure
Beauty which drives men crazy is a well- known motif. The places below and above earth where dramatic rescue attempts or wild adventures take place are also well-known. And also the helpful spirits, bewitched princes and princesses. All this and much more is mixed together by the author in a new fairy tale novel. At the same time he interrupts the long series of descriptions, which have any amount of purple, silver, and bell-like laughter, for two or three short, profane statements from his protagonists just at the right moment, in order to keep his readers suspended between pathos, irony and persiflage and well-entertained. The sequel to this novel is titled "El camino de las rocas negras." (12+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1994 - 170
Farias, Juan (text)
Gatagán, Tino (illus.)
La Espada de Liuva
(Liuva's Sword)
[Barcelona]: SM, 1990. 123 p.
(Catamarán 26)
ISBN 84-348-3275-5
Shepherd - Family - Law - Freedom - Amadis - Middle Ages
The young shepherd wants to lead a life for himself, not for his lord. With his father's blessing and a piece of bread he sets out into the world. He learns to keep on his toes and meets a girl who becomes his companion. They travel through burned out plains, and have to flee from murderous masters. They settle in a place where their child is born. He works the land and unquestioningly takes in other solitary travelers - a robber and a herbalist. They all want just one thing - to satisfy the elementary needs of food, warmth and a life not subject to arbitrary power. This story takes place in a fictitious Middle Ages, which demands the saving intervention of the knight Amadis, The chronicler, however, comes from another point in time: books are his "time machine." Human needs are shown to be as constant today as they were then. (10+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1994 - 171
Fortún, Elena (text)
Munoa, Rafael (illus.)
Celia en el colegio
(Celia at School)
[Madrid]: Aguilera, 1973 (1st ed. 1950). 224 S.
(Celia y su mundo)
ISBN 84-03-46004-X
Schoolgirl - Boarding School - Child/Adult
When Celia appeared in the Spanish literature (her adventures began in the 1930s and continued into the 1950s) she was enthusiastically welcomed. Today she is a fixed part of Spain's cultural knowledge. A few years ago her books were successfully reprinted. Although some parts are only of historical interest, the Elena Fortúns dialogue technique (the series Celia and her World is constructed only with dialogues) is exemplary and her consistent partisanship for the child in a world dominated by adults remains relevant, (8+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1994 - 172
Gregori, Josep (text)
Bosca, Ferran (illus.)
Carreño, Soledad (transl. from Catalan)
La brujita Teresita
(The Little Witch Teresita)
[Barcelona]: La Galera, 1993. 130 p.
(Grumetes 1)
ISBN 84-246-8601-2
Witch - Broom - Child-swapping - Friendship - Magic
A man and wife witch couple is shocked at the appearance of their newborn daughter - red-cheeked, no warts, smiling, simply despicable! The daughter does however develop into a good little witch, though with a few peculiarities. She secretly trains the vacuum cleaner, she prefers milk and vegetables to flies' legs and rat-tails. When all the magic brooms are stolen one day from the witches' village, she is the one who discovers the thieves -lazy men who try to get out of their household chores with this present lo their wives. Along the way she also saves a young boy who seems to fit quite well into the witches village. The observations, dialogue and conclusions of this many facetted game with the entire arsenal of witchery are a source of light- hearted fun. (8+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1994 - 173
Martin Gaite, Carmen (text/illus.)
Caperucita en Manhattan
(Little Red Riding Hood in Manhattan)
[Madrid]: Siruela, 1991. 205 p.
(Las tres edades)
ISBN 84-7844-056-9
New York City - Grandmother/Granddaughter - Little Red Riding Hood <Motif> - Freedom - Statue of Liberty - Stawberry Pie
As the book blurb says: Sara Alien is a 10- year-old girl living in Brooklyn. Her greatest wish is to go one day all alone to Manhattan to visit her grandmother and bring her a strawberry pie. This grandmother was once a variety show dancer and married several times. The wolf is here Mr. Wolf, a pastry cook and multimillionare who lives in a skyscraper near Central Park. But the magical path of the story leads to Miss Lunatic, an ageless beggar who lives in the Statue of Liberty by day and spends her nights out-side. An encounter with her changes a person's life. In any case, the declared reader's age of "For 8 to 80" for this series is correct for this book, which is much deeper than just a literary game, but which is also fun. (8-80)

Spain (Spanish) - 1994 - 174
Guillén, Jorge
Pelegrín, Ana (intro.)
Isia de rojo coral
(Island of the Red Corals)
[Salamanca]: Lóguez, 1993. 136 p.
(Lajoven colección)
ISBN 84-85334-68-X
Lyric/Spanish - Cuba - Anthology
This selection of poems from different cycles is particularly well suited to showing the wide spectrum of work by this extraordinary poet (1902-1989) who also wrote especially for children. His poems are in part set to music, a fact which, in view of the marked rhythm of his verses, sounds almost like a tautology. In his poems he sings the praises of his homeland Cuba and its inhabitants, the descendants of Africans and Spaniards, and makes a plea for social justice, tolerance and freedom. (12+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1995 - 133
Cañizo, José Antonio del
iCanalla, traidor, morirás!
(Scoundrel, traitor, you will die!)
Madrid: SM, 1994. 106 p.
(El Barco de Vapor I Serie Roja; 77)
ISBN 84-348-4336-3
School holiday - Village - Spanish Civil War/Post-war
The narrator recalls a summer in a village in the Castilian mountains where he spent his school holidays as a child - above all reading exciting comic books, playing Indians or gazing at the starry heavens at night. These are also the Franco years of law-and-order, just after the end of the Spanish Civil War. So it was no wonder that a citation from a comic ("Scoundrel, traitor, you will die") thoughtlessly scribbled on a stone sets off a considerable upcry, which ends sadly with the imprisonment of a solitary former Republican soldier who had been hiding in the mountains. José Antonio del Cañizo succeeds in portraying the various moods and sides of character in the young boy in a lively and discriminating manner: child-like curiosity and joy of adventure, fear of choleric adults, a sense of justice, guilt feelings and a powerless sadness over the loss of a barely known human being. This is a wonderful story - enthralling, full of ideas, humane, sometimes serious, but without pathos and, despite the subject, on the whole quite witty, light and humorous. (12+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1995 - 134
Estrada, Rafael (text)
Gabán, Jesús (illus.)
El rey Solito
(King Allalone)
Madrid: SM, 1994. 64 p.
(El Bano de Vapor / Serie Blanca; 56)
ISBN 84-348-4354-4
King - Loneliness - Self-suggestion - Roleplaying
When everyone deserts a kingdom befallen by poverty, only little King "Allalone" remains behind. Out of loneliness and boredom he takes on a variety of roles: he becomes the horn-blower or the servant and even conducts war against himself, trying "at least to kill time." His longing for human company becomes ever stronger and along with it his ability for self-deception. Finally he even takes himself in marriage lust to be no longer so alone. His illusions dissolve in the end when a real-life shepherdess stands before the castle one day, bringing him back to reality and providing him with a happy-end. The humorous and at the same time poetic fairy tale is told in a simple voice. The text is aptly accompanied by numerous comic-like, delicately colored drawings. (6+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1995 - 135
Gisbert, Joan Manuel
Los espejos venecianos
(The one-way mirrors)
Zaragoza: Edelvives, 1994. 135 p.
(Sueños de papel; 1)
ISBN 84-263-2734-6
Padua/History 1792 - Student - Palace - Phantom - Superstition - Science
This novel is set in 1792 in the Italian university town of Padua. A young student of history, Giovanni, discovers a palace in ruins which is the object of dark legends. Mysterious events occur, persons appear and disappear, old documents provide coded clues. With sharp intelligence and the aid of covert helpers, Giovanni succeeds in discovering the secret of the ancient building. Well known for his fantastic tales, which often have historical backgrounds, Gisbert combines here the elements of historical fiction, mystery and ghost stories. He is clever at leading his protagonists - and readers - astray. The decisive question here - what is real, what is imaginary - is answered only at the very end. A thrilling, entertaining and masterly told story. (12+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1995 - 136
Lindo, Elvira (text)
Urberuaga, Emilio (illus.)
Manolito Gafotas
(Manolito Four-eyes)
Madrid: Alfaguara, 1994. 136 p.
(Manolito Brillenschlange)
ISBN 84-204-4856-7
Madrid - Family/Boy - School - Everyday life/Metropolis
Manolito Gafotas, a clever youth living in a not so posh suburb of Madrid, has an energetic mother, an eccentric grandfather, good friends, a little brother he calls "Imbecile", an overworked school psychologist and, above all, lots of things to tell about. He passes through life with his eyes and ears wide open, snapping up words adults use and endowing them with his own meaning, telling the reader about his experiences and thoughts as best he can. With staggering logic and a dry humor he depicts the various episodes of his daily life in a style reminiscent of Goscinny's "Little Nick, " With Manolito Gafotas, the hero of a favorite Spanish radio program since 1987, the reader learns in an entertaining manner much about a child's life in a Spanish metropolis. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1995 - 137
Xirinacs, Olga (text)
Baizola, Asun (illus.)
El árbol de mi patio
(The tree in my courtyard)
Barcelona: Edebé, 1994. 32 p.
(tren azul; 16)
ISBN 84-236-3391-8
Tree/Anecdote
Chestnut tree, laurel tree, weeping willow, etc.: each of Olga Xirinacs' short, imagi- native pieces focuses on a representative of a particular tree species. These "protago- nists" are living beings just like people or animals, they have souls, and quite unspec- tacular experiences, which prompt the reader to think about our "neighbor," the tree. The well-known Spanish artist Asun Baizola created unusual color illustrations to accompany these lyrical texts. With their sharp contours and glowing monochrome surfaces, the figures resemble linoleum cuts, but in fact they are the result of computer based graphics. (5+) ☼

Spain (Catalan) - 1995 - 138
Alcoberro, Agusti
Procés a Aima Boixadors
(The Trial of Anna Boixadors)
Barcelona: Cruïlla, 1993. 95 p.
(Gran Angular; 55)
ISBN 84-7629-797-1
Catalan/History 1617- Superstition - Witch-hunting
Rampant superstition, hysteria fomented by professional witch-hunters and the search for scapegoats in 17th century Europe spread also into Catalan villages. This is the fictitious story of the trial of the old Anna Boixador as told from the perspective of a young man who, inspite of his own initial prejudices, sympathizes with the accused. In crass contrast to the personal narrative are the scattered excerpts of the similarly fictitious minutes of the trial. The dry style of the proceedings makes visible in an uneasy manner the unstoppable course of the wheels of justice and the business-like atrocity of the persecutors and tormentors. (14+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1995 - 139
Janer Manila, Gabriel (adapt.)
Montserrat, Pep (illus.)
Això era un gegant
(That was a giant)
Barcelona: La Galera, 1994. [36] p.
(el sac de la Galera I sac de gegants; 1)
ISBN 84-246-4205-8
Spain/Catalan/Fairy Tale - Giant - Gargantua < Motif >
Renown Spanish authors and illustrators were commissioned to contribute to the series "el sac de la Galera", which intends to show how richly endowed the world of fairy tales, legends and myths is with giants, fairies, dragons and similar creatures. Each subseries focuses on one of these classic figures with adaptations of well-known themes such as the Catalan version of Rapunzel or, in this volume, a retelling of Gargantua. A short postscript gives the source and history of the motif as it is found in different forms in various countries. Its unusual design gives this new series a characteristic image and offers considerable reading pleasure. (6+) ☆

Spain (Catalan) - 1995 - 140
Luna, Marta (ed.)
Losantos, Cristina (illus.)
Cançoner de Nadal
(Christmas carol book)
Barcelona: La Galera, 1994. [28] p.
(la Galera popular; 16)
ISBN 84-246-1436-4
Christmas Carols/Catalan/Anthology
Each double-page spread of this volume presents a traditional Catalan Christmas carol. On the left side the verses, on the right side the illustrations pen-and-wash drawings which give a humorous interpretation of the text by means of witty associations with modern times. The book invites the reader to read and look, but also to sing and make music, since the two-part songs are reprinted in the appendix with music and guitar chords. What makes this small collection so unusual is the way in which it presents Christmas costums which are otherwise so often introduced in an unimaginative and traditional manner. The series "la Galera" received an honorable mention for the Prernio Grafico at the 1994 Bologna Children's Book Fair. (4+) ☆

Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 146
Andersen, Hans Christian (text)
Mestres, Apeles (illus.)
Roca y Roca, J. (transl.)
Cuentos
(Fairy Tales)
Madrid: Compañía Literaria, 1994. 355 p.
ISBN 84-8213-009-9
(Facsimile ed. of the first edition: Barcelona: Biblioteca »Arte y Letras«, 1881)
Andersen, Hans Christian - Fairy Tales/Anthology
This beautifully bound facsimile edition contains a selection of twenty of Andersen's fairy tales illustrated by the famous Catalan artist Apel·les Mestres (1854-1936) with zinc etchings, full-paged wood-cuts and vignettes and borders. Although they date back to 1881, this work already portends that Mestres would be one of the most important representatives of the Spanish »Modernismo.« In this series the publisher has issued further facsimile editions such as Perrault's Tales and La Fontaine's Fables, both with illustrations by Gustave Doré. (8+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 147
Antoniorrobles (pseud. of Robles Soler, Antonio) (text)
Peinador (illus.)
Rompetacones
(<Proper name>)
Madrid: Siruela, 1994. 133 p.
(Las Tres Edades; 32)
ISBN 84-7844-227-8
Boy/Girl - Everyday life - Fantasy - Adventure
This new edition of Antoniorrobles' (pseudonym of Antonio Robles Soler, 1895-1983) classic children's book, which first appeared in 1939, relates eight tales from the life of a boy names Botón Rompetacones and his sister Azulita. At the time of its first publication it was considered quite innovative, and even today will surprise its readers with a special humor bordering on the absurd, with its interweaving of everyday events and fairy-tale like fantasy elements and adventures. This edition is also noteworthy for its meticulous, attractively designed format with the original illustrations by Peinador. (10+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 148
Atxaga, Bernardo (text)
Valverde, Mikel (illus.)
Atxaga, Bernardo (transl.)
Shola y los leones
(Shola and the Lions)
Madrid: SM, 1995. 75 p.
(El Barco de Vapor; Serie Oro; Azul; 5)
ISBN 84-348-4546-6
Dog - Nature - Identity crisis <Motif>
Shola, easy-going little dog lady, is positively convinced that she is in truth a lion, »the king of the wilderness,« who »can kill his enemies even with his last heartbeat.« Missing the proper signs of respect from her master, Shola sets all her energy to proving her wild nature, but must finally admit to herself that she cannot deny her true character. Bernardo Atxaga's simple, humorous story about this engaging impostor is ideally matched by Mikel Valverde's water-colored line drawings. (8+) ☼

Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 149
Cano, Carles (text)
Giménez, Paco (illus.)
¿En qué se diferencian el blanco y el negro?
(What is the Difference between White and Black?)
Barcelona: Aura Comunicación, 1994. [32] p.
ISBN 84-87711-88-X
White <color> - Black <color> - Theory of Color
Following up the previous titles by the team Cano and Giménez »¿En qué se diferencian una selva y un abecedario?« and »¿En qué se diferencian el mar y un elefante?«, this book deals with the seemingly insignificant colors of white and black. It poses the question what if they didn't exist and then points out their fundamental significance and the fact that they complement each other in a phantastic way. Clever and surprising examples from everyday life, from painting, literature and the animal kingdom give proof to their claims. The design and the imaginative illustrations as well as the unusual use of the horizontal format for picture and text make this a very special book. (9+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 150
Cano, Carles (text)
Gusti (illus.)
¡Te pillé, Caperucita!
(Little Red Riding Hood, I've Got You)
Madrid: Bruño, 1995. 121 p.
(Colección Altamar; Serie Teatro; 90)
ISBN 84-216-2572-1
Fairy tale/Parody - Theater - Travesty
Using the technique of a play within a play, this drama works the figures and plots from famous fairy tales against the grain by letting the actors spontaneously change their roles. Little Red Riding Hood is a cheeky little brat, Puss-in-Boots turns out to be an ordinary bandit, one of the Three Pigs changes into the revenger of his butchered and sausaged brother. Parody and travesty are heightened even more between the acts by »advertising« in which still other fairy-tale figures sing the praises of imaginary products. A fast-paced, hilarious piece of nonsense, this work won the prestigious Premio Lazarillo in 1994. (11+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 151
Gándara, Alejandro
Nunca seré como te quiero
(I'll Never Be Like I Want You to Be)
Madrid: SM, 1995. 146 p.
(Gran Angular; 140)
ISBN 84-348-4673-X
Social status - Alcoholism - First love
Seventeen-year-old Jacobo lives alone with his father in the waterfront district of Santander, a town in northern Spain. His mother abandoned the family twelve years before; his father, a former teacher, works as a fisherman and struggles with alcoholism. When Jacobo enters high school, he must go every day »to the other side,« to the old district of town, the well-to-do neighbourhood of Santander. Removed from his familiar surroundings, he must now adjust to a new setting which he feels to be strange and at times even threatening. Along with these difficulties, he is preoccuppied with his father's illness and his love for Christine, a girl in his school. Although the author employs certain themes and elements typical of a young adult novel, the book does not contain the usual images and elements of plot. The characters seem very much real and convincing, the problems tangible, and the reader is given no easy solutions. The boy's conflicts, his vacillating reactions to his father's decline and the fascination of his first romance are very plausible. The convincing portrayal of the city, the waterfront, and life near the sea round out this novel, and keep the reader turning the pages to the very end. (14+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 152
Hauff, Wilhelm (text)
Cañas Cortázar, Alicia (illus.)
Bombín Izquierdo, Elena (transl.)
Cuentos completos
(The Complete Tales)
Madrid: Anaya, 1994. 285 p.
ISBN 84-207-6285-7
Hauff, Wilhelm/Tales
This is the first time that a complete edition of the Hauff tales has been published in Spanish. This large-sized book has been excellently designed from paper to printing quality. Alicia Cañas has very fittingly reproduced the mood of the texts in her illustrations. Exotic and bizarre figures, animals, fabulous creatures populate the scenes, moving about within magical landscapes and meticulously designed interiors. Whether full-paged color illustrations or small pencil vignettes, there is always something new for the viewer to discover. (6+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 153
Martínez Gil, Fernando
El verano de la linterna mágica
(The Summer of the Laterna Magica)
Madrid: Alfaguara, 1995. 166 p.
ISBN 84-204-4908-3
Spain/1974 - Spain/16th century - Humanism - Inquisition
This novel has two plots which are narrated on the one hand by a boy who discovers an old manuscript and a Laterna Magica hidden in the cellar of a house and on the other hand by a young man who invented this apparatus. Both stories are set in Toledo - in 1974 and in the middle of the 16th century - and are connected together by the young firstperson narrator. The passages of the history tale are of particular interest due to the lively and suspenseful portrayal of life in Spain after the expulsion or forced Christianization of the Jews, a period strongly influenced by humanistic ideals but also the first signs of the Inquisition. (12+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 154
Meléndez, Francisco (text/illus.)
Núñez, Justo (text/illus.)
Aventuras de Mr. Boisset. Tomi-Kikansha. (Continuación de las aventuras de Mr. Boisset)
(The adventures of Mr. Boisset. Tomi-Kikansha. The Continued Adventures of Mr. Boisset)
Zaragoza: La Biblioteca de Lastanosa, 1995. [60] p.
ISBN 84-606-2132-4
Japan/19th century - Invention - Steam locomotive - Travel
The steam locomotive Tomi, the creation of the inventor genius Mr. Boisset - who landed in Japan after many adventurous travels - and his assistant Omuro, finds itself alone one day and sets off to discover the world. Tomi's travels are a wondrous journey through 19th century Japan, and end finally after crossing the ocean in California. Just like the naive, inexperienced locomotive, the reader will also be captivated by the fascination and peculiarities of Japanese life. Encounters with apes, washerwomen, a monk, a feudal lord and his samurai, a travelling Bunraku puppet theater, etc. join to make a many-facetted image. Francisco Meléndez, inspired to write this book during a study tour, has succeeded here in creating an exceptional story. Funny, richly detailed, imaginative pictures, different types of paper and illustration techniques, creatively used Japanese characters and a meticulously printed text form an original, artistically remarkable book that will appeal to youth and to adults. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 155
O'Callaghan i Duch, Elena (text)
Comella, Àngels (illus.)
Equipo Edebé (transl.)
Un gato muy poco gato
(A very Uncat-like Cat)
Barcelona: Edebé, 1995. [32] p.
(Tren azul; 22)
ISBN 84-236-3770-0
(Orig. ed. in Catalan from same publisher)
Cat - Identity - Role - Dog
A cat named Felipe finds a new home with the boy Gregorio. Strangely enough, Felipe doesn't like fish, runs away from birds and miaus loudly when strangers come to the door. In short, it is quite clear that he considers himself a dog. This humorous story is excellently matched with colored drawings. Particularly striking is the consistent use of typography as a means of artistic expression. Different type faces and sizes express, for example, surprise or emphasis, and the text is placed on the page - sometimes in curves or waves - in such a way that it is an integral element of the illustrations. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 156
Rodríguez Almodóvar, Antonio (text)
Meléndez, Francisco (illus.)
Animales de aventura
(Adventure Animals)
Madrid: Altea, 1995. 64 p..
(El viaje imaginario)
ISBN 84-372-2196-X
Animal/Protagonist
This large-scale, richly illustrated book offers young readers a short, entertaining glimpse into a number of classics of children's literature, including several books written for adults, but also read by younger readers. The special uniting element is that in each story a literary animal figure is the main character, as for example, Pinocchio's companion, the cricket, or the swordfish in Hemingway's »The Old Man and the Sea.« The texts have been illustrated by Meléndez's bizarre, and at times very original interpretations. Short portraits of the authors are included in an appendix. (12+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1996 - 157
Fuster, Joan (adapt.)
Echevarría, Pablo (illus.)
El flautista encantat
(The Enchanting Flute Player)
Barcelona: Abadia de Montserrat, 1995. [24] p.
(Llibres del sol i de la lluna; 71)
ISBN 84-7826-608-9
Pied Piper of Hamelin
The illustrations to this adaption of the famous story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin do not attempt to present a historicized or folkloric version of the events. Aside from a few accessories, the illustrations are reduced to portraying the main characters. The people and the rats, clothed in bizarre costumes, are given features and gestures which lend tempo and drama to the course of the story. This portrayal concentrates above all on form and line, when the illustrator uses colors, particularly yellow and brown tones, it is done only sparingly. (8+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1996 - 158
Ramon, Estrella
Ptolemeu, el cuinetes
(Ptolemeu, the Cook)
Barcelona: La Galera, 1995. 95 p.
(el corsari; 2)
ISBN 84-246-8202-5
Manliness - Social roles - Sex roles - Self-identity
Ptolemeu feels as if a thunderbolt struck him when his favorite aunt gives him a »doll's kitchen« as a birthday present. What will all his friends think?! Only gradually does it dawn on him that this is a practical camper's kit and that cooking can be fun. This is a witty book about the everyday life of an eleven-year-old and his difficulties in coping with his wounded manliness. It is an original and entertaining effort to poke fun at the role models already established in the minds of children. (9+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1996 - 159
Rubio, Gabriela (text/illus.)
Bzzz...
Barcelona: El Arca de Junior, 1995. 30 p.
(Centpeus; 18)
ISBN 84-478-0247-7
Cat - Disturbance - Fly
The worst things happen on Mondays. This is also true for a cat who is disturbed by an ordinary housefly while occuppied with her peaceful do-nothing. While her companion sleeps on calmly, this cat lives through an acoustic nightmare that nearly drives her crazy. Gabriela Rubio uses elements of comic strips and skillfully employs typography as a means of design and narration. Her witty picture book comes alive through the colored drawings and the considerable dynamic which makes the portrayal nearly grotesque. (5+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1997 - 157
Alcántara, Ricardo (text)
Gusti (illus.)
Quién quiere a los viejos?
(Who likes old people anyway?)
Zaragoza: Vives, 1996. 105 p.
(Ala delta; 200; Serie verde)
ISBN 84-263-3263-3
Old man - Old woman - Love - Respect - Dignity
Violeta loves Evaristo and Evaristo loves Violeta. This would be nothing special except that they are not youngsters anymore. When Evaristo is finally ready to confess his love to Violeta, her niece Josefina goes to all extremes to prevent Violeta from learning that Evaristo wants to marry her. Until the happy end finally arrives, the unsuspecting Violeta is just a pawn in the hands of Josefina, who strives above all to protect her inheritance. Although this entertaining and sometimes even suspenseful and touching story tends at times to be a little too black-and-white, it convicingly conveys the idea that falling in love is something quite natural and can happen to anyone at any time in life. (9+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1997 - 158
Davi (i.e. David Zaday Caballero) (text/illus.)
Historias de soles
(Stories of suns)
Barcelona: Destino, 1996. 36 p.
ISBN 84-233-2670-5
Sun
In this story the sun has many faces. In short episodes and events we encounter such strange species as the spaghetti sun or the pirate sun and learn about its everyday routines, the differences between the sun that rises over the mountains and the sun that rises over the ocean. With humor, poetic charm and witty, absurd wordplay the text takes aim at various stereotypes and platitudes - which may not always be readily understood by the very young readers. The text finds a congenial match in the line drawings which are touched in warm colors and seem just dashed off. This still quite young author-illustrator (born 1974) won the Apel·ls Mestres Pize for Illustration with this work. (5+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1997 - 159
Fraile, Ruth (text)
Alcover, José Luis (illus.)
Hamburguesa de mamut. Historia de la alimentación humana
(Mammoth hamburgers. The history of human nutrition)
Madrid: Ediciones de la Torre, 1996. 110 p.
(Colección Alba y Mayo; Serie Ciencia; 2)
ISBN 84-7960-079-9
Nutrition/History
This information book provides a short, entertaining outline of the history of human nutrition. It takes into consideration everything from the menus of our Stone Age ancestors to our present-day eating habits. Along with the historical developments there is also information about habits determined by climate or culture and practical tips for a balanced diet. Humorous color illustrations round out this informative book. (10+) ☆

Spain (Spanish) - 1997 - 160
López Narváez, Concha (text)
Salmerón, Carmelo (text)
Salmerón ópez, Rafael (illus.)
El viaje de Viento Pequeño
(Little Wind's journey)
León: Everest, 1996. 71 p.
(Montaña encantada)
ISBN 84-241-3269-6
Wind - Growing up - Personality development - Self-realization
What will I grow up to be? thinks Little Wind. In order to answer this important question about his future, Little Wind travels around the world, meeting with others like himself who already have very different occupations, such as the hardworking Mill Wind or the destructive Violent Wind. Little Wind is at a loss, because none of those jobs interest him. But finally he finds the right profession as Park Wind that lets kites fly and helps birds to fly. In a simple style this story makes clear that every individal has his or her own ablities; every activity isvaluable and most important of all is that it is satisfying. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1997 - 161
Madrid, Juan
Los cañones de Durango
(The canons of Durango)
Madrid: Alfaguara, 1996. 168 p.
(Serie roja)
ISBN 84-204-4450-2
Mexico/Revolution/History 1915 - Father/Son - Quest - War - Civil war
This novel looks back upon the adventure of an about 18-year-old Spanish youth, Salvador, during the confusion of the Mexican revolution. After his mother dies, he travels to that country, already torn by Civil War, to find his father who is fighting on the side of Pancho Villa, the revolutionary. After surviving several death-threating situation, he finds his father, but can only speak to him for +a short time before his father is killed in the battle of the city of Torreón. Salvador then returns to Spain. The novel is absolutely gripping and skilfully interweaves the adventures o a fictitious hero in the process of growing up with historical events. The real protagonist of the book is war itself. As a representative of other (civil) wars, it is clearly portrayed as merciless cruelty that stops for nothing and no one. War is like a game of chance in which survival is only an accident, and life worth nothing. People are shot without hesitation, hung up or cruelly mistreated. The warprofiteers feather their own nests, reporters try to get »good« pictures. All this is depicted very realistically, direct and without any filters, from the not yet warped perspective of the newcomer, Salvador. The novel does not moralize and yet it is deeply moral, since the images speak for themselves, making any commentary superfluous. (14+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1997 - 162
Morábito, Fabio (text)
Seoane, Marina (illus.)
Cuando las panteras no eran negras
(When the panthers were not yet black)
Madrid: Siruela, 1996. 98 p.
(Las tres edades; 45)
ISBN 84-7844-304-5
Panther - Evolution - Transformation - Group/Individual - Freedom - Independence
This story about the supposed transformation of the panther from an animal of the savannah to a cat of prey of the jungle is in essence a parable of the antagonistic relationship between the strict rules governing a group and the self-determining, independent loner. The author poses the thesis that independence and the desire to overcome boundaries are superior to a desire for security and the fearful clinging to everything familiar. The precise and intense descriptions of nature and sometimes surprsing applications of huan parameters to the animal kingdom make fascinating reading. Yet the novel provokes protest in as much as by making animals think as humans it suggests that the law of the jungle, Darwin's principle of the survival of the fittest, is also a determinant for human life. (13+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1997 - 163
Moure Trenor, Gonzalo
Lili, Libertad
(Lili, Freedom)
Madrid: SM, 1996. 109 p.
(El barco de vapor / Serie roja; 92)
ISBN 84-348-5066-4
Outsider - Loneliness - Courage - Self-confidence - Personality development
Lili is still new in town and feels uncomfortable, alone and unnoticed. And it is not easy to get along with her mother, who has gotten heavily involved in her profession since the divorce from Lili's father. When Lili is the only one to appear in the classroom without a costume on the day before Mardi Gras, she is suddenly the center of attention - and is all the more so when she is the only one to appear in costume on the following day. The teachers accuse her of being defiant and insubordinate, but for Lili it is the way she takes to strengthen her self-confidence nd define her own personality. The story describes very exactly and sensitively the feelings of children who have to deal with their surroundings and their role as an outsider. (11+)
(Premio El Barco de Vapor 1995)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1997 - 164
Piérola, Mabel (text/illus.)
Historia de la piedra y la montaña
(The story of the stone and the mountain)
Barcelona: Edebé, 1996. [36] p.
(Tren azul; 26)
ISBN 84-236-4096-5
Ignorance - Hate - Jealousy - Intimacy - Friendship - Love
Since time immemorial stone and mountain have lived along side one another in a vast, barren landscape. The involuntary neighbors are united in their mutual distaste and a jealousy based on the other's differentness. It is finally the wind which must blow for hundreds of years in order to bring the two together before they discover with amazement that they are made of the same material. Mabel Piérola has set highly individualistic illustrations to her parabel about ignorance and prejudice held by two basically identical beings. The forms seem t recede into blurs, only hinted at in the earth-tone pictures. Some objects are given only an abstract representation, as for example time, which is represented by little grey rectangles. (6+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1997 - 165
Rosell, Joel Franz (text)
Sesé, Daniel (illus.)
Las aventuras de Rosa de los Vientos y Perico el de los Palotes. Novela en ocho cuentos y medio
(The adventures of Rosa of the Winds and Perico with the Sticks. A novel in eight and a half stories)
Barcelona: Arca, 1996. 115 p.
(Tren de cuerda; 21)
ISBN 84-478-0382-1
Kite - Fantasy journey - Foreign world - Social criticism
The protagonists of this fairytale-like fantasy take leave of their home country, a tiny kingdom »as big as a fly-speck« with their self-made kite. In the course of their travels they encounter foreign societies, bizarre rulers and puffed-up scholars. In the end they return to their own country, which they had once saved from the expansionst efforts of their king. This highly imaginative story by the Cubanauthor, Rosell, follows th tradition of the »voyage imaginaire« and provides much food for thought. As in »Gulliver's travels« the countries visited are satirical reflections of the protagonists' own world. By looking in from the outside, it is possible to criticize the authorities and the deficiencies of human society. (9+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1997 - 166
Duran, Teresa (text)
Max (illus.)
Què hi ha per a sopar?
(What's for supper?)
Barcelona: Publ. de l'Abadia de Montserrat, 1996. 24 p.
(Popof i Kocatasca; 1)
ISBN 84-7826-719-0
Winter - Soup - Rooster - Hunting
On account of the biting frost, the queen commands the royal cook, Popov, to cook a hearty soup. But all of the chickens which might be eligible for this meal are warned by the suspicious rooster, Kocatasca, and flee the castle in a panic. When the enraged Popov sets off to hunt down Kocatasca instead, he quite accidentally defeats a dangerous dragon. As a result, various dragon dishes can be served and the poultry is saved. This humorous story, the first in a new series, is accompanied by comic-like pictures which give excellent expression to the pace and grotesqeness of the text. (8)

Spain (Catalan) - 1997 - 167
Grimm, Jacob (text)
Grimm, Wilhelm (text)
Carrasco, Xavier (adapt.)
Infante, Francesc (illus.)
El nan belluguet
(Rumpelstiltskin)
Barcelona: La Galera, 1996. [28] p.
(laGalera popular; 27)
ISBN 84-246-1457-7
German/Fairy tale - Devil - Pledge - Name - Secret
This new volume in the series »la Galera popular« is a further example of the excellent quality of this prize-winning collection of folk and fairy tales from around the world. The text, illustrations, vignettes, layout, typography and design make this adaption of »Rumpelstilzchen« a reading pleasure. Francesc Infante, 1996 winner of Spain's Premio Nacional, has created the illustrations in his characteristic style. Brownish tones predominate, figures and backgrounds are abstract and stylized, the shapes are often noticealy geometric, ad through the distortin of porportion and perspe-tives the portrayals are especially expressive. (6+)

Spain (Galician) - 1997 - 168
Docampo, Xabier P. (text)
Jaraba, Fran (illus.)
Cando petan na porta pola noite
(Knocks on the door at night)
Vigo: Ed. Xerais de Galicia, 1994. 91 p.
(Merlín)
ISBN 84-7507-804-4
(Spanish ed.: Madrid: Anaya, 1996)
Fear - Horror
This collection of four spooky stories do not work their effect with bloodthirstiness or extreme phantasy, but rather by creating an atmosphere of uneasiness. In each one the main protagonists gets tangled up in a situation which he doesn't understand and cannot escape: a man who encounters his doppelganger or another man who is given notice of his departure from this life in the form of an obituary notice. Xabier Docampo weaves the traditional literary elements of his native Galicia into his idiosyncratic stories. He was awarded the Spanish natonal literary prize for ths work. (9+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1998 - 147
Armijo, Consuelo (text)
Gómez, Fernando (illus.)
Seráse una vez
(Once upon a time there will be)
Madrid: Espasa Calpe, 1997. 119 p.
(Espasa Juvenil; 25)
ISBN 84-239-8879-1
Cow - Pasture - Country life
A herd of wayward cows romps about the pastures of the farmer Adolfo, their eccentricity giving him all kinds of trouble and keeping the entire village on edge. In eleven episodes Consuelo Armijo describes the richly varied lives of these cows - such as an encounter with a conceited breeding bull imported from Holland, or their identity problems such as when one considers itself to be a bird, while another takes itself for a monkey. Altogether they lead a paradisical life that is then only be surpassed in the real bovine heaven. Armijo endows this absurd, witty and grotesque fairy tale-like story with a fast rhythm, corresponding to the fast tempo of her protagonists' escapades. The continuous use of the future tense seems at first glance peculiar, but is quite in keeping with the pleasures of creative storytelling, with all its speculation and disregard for plausibility. (8+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1998 - 148
Atxaga, Bernardo
Un espía llamado Sara
(A spy called Sara)
Madrid: Acento Ed., 1997. 150 p.
(Club; 1)
ISBN 84-483-0148-X
Spy - War - Senselessness - Survival - Spain/History 1833-1839
The sailor Martín, a spy for the supporters of the pretender to the Spanish throne during the Carlist Wars, delivers an important message and remains in a village, now transformed into an army camp, for several days. At first convinced of the noble cause of this war, he becomes disillusioned by its brutality, treachery, intrigues, and the vain ambitiousness of the military leaders. A mixture of historical fiction and crime story, this novel shows the dubious nature of war and reveals the powerlessness and often accidental involvement of individuals. (13+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1998 - 149
Ferrero, Jesús
Ulaluna
(<Proper name>)
Madrid: Ed. SM, 1997. 160 p.
(El barco de vapor / Serie oro [roja]; 10)
ISBN 84-348-5273-x
Odyssey - Outsider - Search for identity - Growing up
Unable to steer her boat, Ulaluna drifts away from her home, an isolated village, and makes a long odyssey through her native country, a fictictious place »in the north«, until she finally finds her way home. Her tale is a mixture of adventure, fairy tale, science fiction and coming-of-age story, making it an unusual tale in which places and people have a metamorphic significance. Hence Ulaluna's story is above all a journey through the basic patterns of lives and customs in human society. (12+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1998 - 150
Jiménez Soria, Ángeles (text)
Prestifilippo, Pablo (illus.)
El abrigo
(The coat)
León: Ed. Everest, 1996. 31 p.
(Colección Rascacielos)
ISBN 84-241-3361-7
Parent/Child - Coat - Magic - Imagination
Jeremías' coat is old and worn, but comfortable and endowed with magic. The sleeves, for instance, are caves for bewitched frogs, the collar protects him from blood-thirsty vampires. When his parents buy him a new jacket, Jeremías falls into despair until they also sense how magical the old coat is and with its help journey back to their own childhoods. The coat, a symbol of the desire for security and familiar things, also represents the power of childlike imagination. The spacious, open illustrations in soft, flowing colors leave much room for the beholder's imagination. (6+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1998 - 151
Mallorquí, César (text)
Krahn, Fernando (illus.)
El último trabajo del señor Luna
(Mr. Luna's final job)
Barcelona: Edebé, 1997. 245 p.
(Periscopio; 50)
ISBN 84-236-4578-9
Drug traffic - Organized crime - Highly gifted child - Identity - Growing up
The paths of three quite different people cross for just a brief time in Madrid. Flor Huanaco, on the run from a cocain boss, finds a job as household helper with the family of Pablo, a boy who is highly gifted but emotionally immature. Then she is tracked down by the contract killer Luna. How Flor and Pablo save their own lives - with Luna's unexpected help - is told from different perspectives in this well-structured thriller. At another level it also describes how Pablo overcomes his personal difficulties. (12+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1998 - 152
Ribera, Jaume (text)
Ballester, Arnal (illus.)
Un problema de narices
(A nose problem)
Madrid: Anaya, 1997. 93 p.
(El Duende Verde; 98)
ISBN 84-207-7559-2
Siblings - Jealousy
During his holiday in the Pyrenees, Jorge finds playmates among the other families at the guest house. The holiday mood is dampened only by the continuous fighting between two unlike sisters, Ingrid and Gina. Although Ingrid is constantly given special favors by her parents, she likes to humiliate her sister at every opportunity. When Gina is suspected of a „crime", Jorge is able to unmask Ingrid as the guilty intriguer. With a sure feeling for characters, situations, and dialogues, Ribera develops a well-paced and humorous story that convincingly captures the jealous power conflict between the two girls. (10+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1998 - 153
Timossi, Jorge (text)
Quino (illus.)
Cuentecillos y otras alteraciones
(Mini-stories and other disturbances)
Madrid: Ediciones de la Torre, 1997. 78 p.
(Alba y Mayo/Narrativa; 13)
ISBN 84-7960-180-9
Anecdote - Aphorism
The intelligent, subtle texts of this Cuban author - aphorisms, anecdotes and mini-stories - play a juggling game with simple observations and language. Unconventional turns of phrase stimulate the reader to ponder the story and how it could be continued. Much is used to send the reader's thoughts off course, to »disturb« the reader, as the title suggests. Drawings of Felipe, a friend of the famous cartoon-hero Mafalda, accompany the texts. The preface explains that Jorge Timossi continues here a long tradition of Spanish short prose. (14+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1998 - 154
Colom, Rosa Maria (text)
Canals, Mercè (illus.)
La Dama Blanca
(The white lady)
Barcelona: Edicions de la Magrana, 1997. 125 p.
(Petit esparver; 70)
ISBN 84-7410-961-2
Catalan/Folk tale
This work continues the storytelling tradition of Majorcan folk tales, drawing on their traditional setting, the historical background and figures. In a very pleasing literary style she tells six of her own new tales about kings, poor wretches, witches and gnomes. The story which gives the book its title describes a white lady who turns people to ice statues by looking at them, while another tale deals with the last, lonesome giant who would like to marry again. A glossary at the end explains the Majorcan terms. (7+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1998 - 155
Garcia i Cornellà, Dolors
Contes a una cama trencada
(Stories told on a broken bed)
Barcelona: Galera, 1997. 117 p.
(LaGalera el corsari; 28)
ISBN 84-246-8228-9
Storytelling - Imagination - Short stories
Bernat, bedridden with a broken leg, is not pleased by his cousin Cèlia's plan to help him pass the days by telling him a story. But his aversion is soon forgotten because her stories are not so uninteresting after all. And furthermore Bernat reinvents a different ending for each story, because his is never satisfied with them. This book captivates the reader with its imaginative tales in the tradition of Gianni Rodari and the use of an entertaining frame story, in which the potential and fascination of storytelling become clear. (9+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1998 - 156
Piquer, Eva (text)
Gallardo (illus.)
La noia del temps
(The weather girl)
Barcelona: Ed. Cruïlla, 1997. 127 p.
(El vaixell de vapor / Sèrie vermella; 76)
ISBN 84-8286-193-x
Mother/Daughter - Puberty - Weather - Clairvoyance
Iris causes a commotion when she applies to be the »weather prophet« at her school's own television station. Her daring forecasts („It will rain frogs") come true, thus causing problems for her mother, a professional weather forecaster at a TV station. This fantasy story is interwoven with realistic aspects in the life of the thirteen-year old girl, her relationship with her widowed mother, everyday life at home, at school, with her friends, and how she deals with the first signs of puberty. Realistic and phantastic passages flow together seamlessly to form a a fast-paced, witty story. (12+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1998 - 157
Sala-Valldaura, Josep Maria
Tren de paraules
(Train of words)
Lleida: Pagès, 1997. 57 p.
(Biblioteca de la Suda; Tansvaria; 2)
ISBN 84-7935-372-4
Children's poetry - Riddle
The cover of this book makes its subject evident - waiting for the train of words. A motley queue of people, a clock, a funnel-shaped loudspeaker. Not much, but enough to set the imagination of the beholder in motion. The art of reduction and allusion is characteristic for the texts of this multifaceted poetry book. The rhymed riddles, magic formulas, shortest-of-all poems, calligrams and much more are full of fantastic, imaginative wit and a feeling for language. Equally original and at times grotesque, the drawings round-out this enjoyable book. (8+)

Spain (Galician) - 1998 - 158
Casalderrey, Fina (text)
Rivera Ferner, Marta (illus.)
¡Prohibido casar, papá!
(Marriage forbidden, Papa!)
Vigo: Galaxia, 1996. 157 p.
(Arbore/Serie azul; 88)
Motherless child - Father/Daughter - Parent/ Romance - Jealousy
Fourteen-year old half-orphan Elia has a good and intensive relationship with her father. So she is most unhappy that he has found a new girlfriend, Berta. Lying in hospital for an appendectomy, she has much time to think about her life up to now, the new situation, and her total antipathy for Berta. Alternating between Elia's first-person perspective and the occasional, more neutral third-person observations, Fina Casalderrey develops a realistic, convincing picture of the emotional world of her young protagonist. (12+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 155
Echegaray, Marta (text)
Castillo, Jorge (illus.)
Inciértico o La rica historia del Sexto Océano
(Inciértico or The wonderful tale of the Sixth Ocean)
Madrid: Ed. Siruela, 1998. 91 p.
(Las tres edades ; 60)
ISBN 84-7844-394-0
Fantasy travel - Island - Alphabet - Language - Alice in Wonderland <motif>
Twelve-year old Marisol and her turtle Kikí reach the land of Inciértico by boat. This is a country consisting of 26 islands, each named after a letter in the alphabet, and is ruled by the slightly despotic King AyZee. With this monarch, who gladly shows her his whole kingdom, Marisol is able to conduct witty, sometimes absurd, sometimes sophisticated conversations. Consciously drawing parallels with Lewis Carroll's »Alice in Wonderland,« this story follows in the tradition of classical nonsense literature in which wordplay and games involving logic are more central to the story than any plot. (12+)

Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 156
Otero, Rodolfo Guillermo (text)
Vassallo, Stephane (illus.)
La estrella Peregrina
(The star Peregrina)
Barcelona: Noguer y Caralt Ed., 1997. 63 p.
(Ventana abierta)
ISBN 84-279-5001-2
Universe - Stars - Star of Bethlehem - Transiency - Death - Philosophy of life
A star is born and sets off along on a journey through the universe. Peregrina (which means pilgrim) meets other stars, »red giants,« comets, makes friends, learns the meaning of farewells, and gradually becomes familiar with the mysteries of life, growth and decaying, welcome and separation, life and death. This easy-to-understand and sensitive text with color illustrations is an inquiry - using stars as an example - into existential questions and the meaning of life and underscores the value of every individual being. What Peregrina's fate is, is found out in the end, as a bright star comes to shine over a small village named Bethlehem. (7+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 157
Peña Muñoz, Manuel
Mágico Sur
(Magical South)
Madrid: Ed. SM, 1998. 175 p.
(Gran Angular ; 177)
ISBN 84-348-6178-x
Chile 1940s - First love - Farewell - Memories - Returning - Homeland
Fourteen-year old Víctor Manuel travels at the end of the 1940s with his mother from Valparaíso to the tiny village Maillines in the southern part of Chile. His mother has been asked to deliver an ominous-looking blue packet from Spain to a long-lost man whom she was once in love with, during their youthful years in Spain. Maillines is a slumbering, secluded place, a world of its own that follows its own slow rhythm of life and time. In this „magical" place, which signifies the final destination of a journey to the past for the mother, and the beginning of the boy's passage into adulthood, the life stories of quite dissimilar persons are interwoven for a few days. Maillines becomes the symbol for homeland, meeting and parting, hoping and waiting. Writing in a calm, compact and atmospheric language, the author (born in 1951 in Valparaíso) helps the reader to appreciate the poesie of the moment and the moods (e.g., intense anticipation, sadness, melancholy) of the novel's figures. (12+)
(Premio Gran Angular, 1998)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 158
Piérola, Mabel (text/illus.)
No sé
(I don't know)
Madrid: Ed. SM, 1998. 30 p.
(Los piratas)
ISBN 84-348-6289-1
Naivity - Curiosity - Philosophy of life
Children are hungry for knowledge, they observe our world with their own eyes and are interested both in the big questions and the little details of life. Why don't we walk on four legs? Why do I get goosebumps? Or even: where was I before I was born? On each double-spread of this picture book one such question is posed. Each question stands alone, but together they give an entertaining and profound insight into the way children think. Mabel Piérola has created her dynamic, sparingly colored illustrations using mixed media on torn greyish brown and white paper, completely from the children's perspective. (4+)
(Premio Internacional de Ilustración de la Fundación Santa María, 1997)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 159
Plaza, José María (text)
Gallego, José María (illus.)
El paranguaricutirimicuaro que no sabía quién era
(The paranguaricutirimicuaro who didn't know who he was)
Madrid: Espasa, 1998. 131 p.
(Espasa juvenil ; 55)
ISBN 84-239-9027-3
Animals - Difference - Search for identity
A curious, adventurous little animal sets out alone, leaving parents and familiar territory behind it, in order to discover the world. On its random course it encounters a wide variety of animals who all make fun of the naive stranger. For the frog its eyes are too big, for the snake, its legs too long, for the ant it is much too large. And on top of that they all want to know: who are you? This becomes clear in the end: a paranguaricutirimicuaro - although this name gives rise to even more questions. The diversity of the animal world and the search for one's own identity are the themes of this amusing and accessible story. (7+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 160
Prada Samper, José Manuel de (reteller)
Filella, Luis (illus.)
Las mil caras del Diablo. Cuentos, leyendas y tradiciones
(The thousand faces of the devil. Folktales, legends and traditions)
Barcelona: Ed. Juventud, 1998. 246 p.
(Colección cuentos universales)
ISBN 84-261-3072-0
Devil/Folktale/Legend
The folktales and legends in this extensive anthology all deal with the figure of the devil. José M. de Prada has done a meticulous job of researching and re-telling the traditional tales from many countries and cultures. The result is an interesting mixture, that enables a multi-faceted view at a well-known, many-sided character. Using a thematic approach - such as the origins of the devil or the classical motif of the devil's pact - the author offers interesting connections. Initial vignettes, black-and-white and some color illustrations, as well as an extensive list of sources and secondary literature round out this exemplary book. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 161
Ramírez Lozano, José A.
El cuerno de Maltea
(Maltea's horn)
Madrid: Alfaguara, 1997. 102 p.
ISBN 84-204-4473-1
Goat - Superstition - Large city - Rural life
When is sister and brother-in-law move to Sevilla, Lulino has no choice but to accompany them. The crass adjustments from provincial life in the country to life in the big city are further exacerbated by the fact that the boy had insisted on bringing his goat Maltea with them. Maltea gets loose and causes various upsets, is taken for an incarnation of the devil and in the end must play with its life on account of human superstition and of being alien and intolerably disruptive to city life. Told from Lulino's naive, at times almost picaresque point of view, this is a colorful, humorous story with a sense for situational comic. (10+)
(Premio Literario Jaén, 1997)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 162
Sierra i Fabra, Jordi
Un hombre con un tenedor en una tierra de sopas
(A man with a fork in an earth of spoons)
Madrid: Bruño, 1998. 171 p.
(Paralelo Cero ; 22)
ISBN 84-216-3194-2
Chiapas (Mexico) - Aborigines - Oppression - Social Conflict - Photographer - Suicide
The younger brother of a Spanish photographer wants to find out why his brother chose to commit suicide, even though he had received an important prize for the publication of a photo of a massacre in the Mexican state of Chiapas only a short time before. The question leads him to the center of the conflict, the jungle of Lacandona. This suspenseful, ficticious story by one of today's most widely read young adult writers in Spain is based on the real suicide case of a photojournalist. The book not only sheds light on the background of this socio-political conflict but also shows clearly the implications of journalism. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 163
Ventura, Enrique
Estricnina con yogur
(Strichnine with yoghurt)
Madrid: Anaya, 1997. 129 p.
(Espacio abierto ; 51)
ISBN 84-207-7563-0
Holiday camp
Verónica only wants nothing more than to spend a romantic weekend with her boyfriend at a holiday camp for highly gifted teenagers (though she finds the camp itself terribly boring). What happens in the time between her arrival and that of her boyfriend can hardly be summarized in this short space because this fastpaced narrative is so absurd and grotesque. In less than 24 hours Verónica runs into five Doberman dogs with psychopath looking faces, is nearly killed by a catapult, and much more. All in all a rather unspectacular story but it provokes laughter again and again. The author has a masterful way with words and a conspicuous talent for unconventional, spontaneous, and imaginative ideas. (13+)

Spain (Catalan) - 1999 - 164
Garriga, Carme (text)
Giménez, Anna (text)
Giménez, Anna et al. (photos)
Ostelinda. Jo vinc de tot arreu
(Ostelinda. I come from everywhere)
Barcelona: Galera, 1998. 31 p.
(LaGalera jo vinc de ... ; 1)
ISBN 84-246-9351-5
Roma/Catalonia
This book is one title in the exemplary information book series („I come from..."), in which texts and abundant photographs offer a useful first glimpse into the life and customs of different countries - as seen through the eyes of a child who lives there and tells of his own everyday life. A notable feature of this book is that the girl belongs to the Roma, a people who are at home in many countries and are often marginalized and stigmatized. This book deserves praise in particular for showing clearly that Ostelinda is above all a child like any other. (7+) ☆ ☼

Spain (Catalan) - 1999 - 165
Parra, Ivan
Hola diari!
(Hello, diary!)
Barcelona: Ed. de la Magrana, 1997. 107 p.
(L'esparver jove ; 2)
ISBN 84-7410-940-x
Adolescence - Everyday life - Growing up - First love - Diary
During his summer holiday fourteen-year old Daniel writes in his diary, because he enjoys writing and because he wants hold on to his experiences for himself (and others). Daniel tells about typical occurences in the daily life of an adolescent: family, first love, get togethers and minor adventures that are part of growing up. This is done energetically in an humorous, entertaining manner. The book is strongly autobiographical, since the author is only sixteen-years old. He writes realistically and plausibly, and manages to avoid resorting to so-called »teenage jargon.« (12+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2000 - 147
Gallego García, Laura
Finis mundi
(The end of the world)
Madrid: Ed. SM, 1999. 207 p.
(El barco de vapor / Serie oro roja ; 17)
ISBN 84-348-6619-6
Prophecy - End of the world - Prevention - Monk - Millennium
Visions of Doomsday were widespread at the turn of the century one thousand years ago. Wars, plagues, conquests, rampages are a continual threat to mankind when the young monk Michel saves a mysterious pergament manuscript from his burned down monastery in the year 997. It contains gloomy prophecies which anticipate the end of the world if the so-called three axes of the time wheel could not be fitted together. Only this would enable mankind to live another thousand years. In his battle against time the monk travels throughout Europe with the juggler Mattius. In her debut novel Laura Gallego García tells a story filled with adventure and fantasy whose vividness and fascination stem from the interweaving of profound historical detail. (12+)
(Premio El Barco de Vapor; 1999)

Spain (Spanish) - 2000 - 148
Mallorquí, César (text)
Vila Declòs, Jordi (illus.)
La cruz de ElDorado
(The Cross of El Dorado)
Barcelona: Edebé, 1999. 207 p.
(Periscopio ; 70)
ISBN 84-236-5100-2
Eldorado - Search - Greed - Game of chance <Motif>
In 1900 a thirteen-year old boy loses his father, a gambler and swindler, in a shipwreck on their journey to Colombia. Jaime struggles on alone. When he comes into the possession of a map that shows the way to the legendary »Cross of El Dorado« he undertakes an adventurous journey through Colombia, accompanied by three people - a taciturn Arab, a cunning adventuress and his reappeared father. Told from the perspective of the sometimes naïve, sometimes crafty young protagonist, a well-paced and gripping story develops around a cast of characters who entertain the reader with witty dialogues. And the moral of the story? Life is a game in which one either wins or loses. (12+)
(Premio Edebé de Literatura Juvenil; 1999)

Spain (Spanish) - 2000 - 149
Marchamalo, Jesús
La tienda de palabras
(The word shop)
Madrid: Ed. Siruela, 1999. 255 p.
(Las tres edades ; 68)
ISBN 84-7844-451-3
Shop - Language - Word-play
The history teacher Carlos finds himself in a peculiar kind of shop that offers none of the usual kind of wares, but only words. At each of his visits he delves ever deeper into the fascinating world of language: its history, disappeared or not yet invented words, the endless possibilities of fantastic word-games are presented to him. All this occurs not in a dry and theoretical manner, but imbedded in a story that encourages the readers' creativity. This title is yet another example of the internationally successful trend that began with J. Gaarder's »Sophie's world« to present abstract topics such as philosophy or mathematics within a narrative tale. (13+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2000 - 150
Pascual, Emilio (text)
Serrano, Javier (illus.)
Días de Reyes Magos
(Three Kings' Days)
Madrid: Anaya, 1999. (2nd ed., rev.) 158 p.
ISBN 84-207-9079-6
Father/Son - Reading - Storytelling
As a result of family conflicts and his aversion against preparing for literature exams, the 16-year old first-person narrator decides to take some time out. During his »therapeutic absence« from normal life, a Madrid underground station becomes his 'school of life', and there he meets a blind man who acquaints him with the secrets of life and literature. The blind man, who in the end is killed by a subway-train, turns out in retrospect to have been his father, an actor, who had been leading a double life parallel to his family life for a long time. This intellectually challenging story is a kind of Entwicklungsroman in which the narrator looks back twenty years later at this episode in his life that helped him grow into adulthood. On the other hand the book is also a hymn to literature and the love of reading. Imbedded in the narrative are numerous literary quotations and excerpts as well as allusions to world classics such as »Don Quixote«, »Lazarillo de Tormes« or Ernesto Sábato's »Sobre héroes y tumbas«. (15+)
(Premio Lazarillo; 1998)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2000 - 151
Rubio, Gabriela (text/illus.)
Las fotos de Sara
(Photos of Sara)
Barcelona: Ed. Destino, 1999. [44] p.
ISBN 84-233-3112-1
Appearance - Dissatisfaction - Identity search
Actually Sara is quite satisfied with herself and doesn't give a darn about her appearance. There are more important things in life. But when she has her picture taken in a camera booth, she is suddenly plagued with doubts. Aren't the others much prettier than she is? Wouldn't it be nice to look different? A fairy fulfills her wish and causes confuses Sara's feelings for the rest of the day. In the end she is quite happy to be herself again. This story about wishing to be someone else is illustrated by Gabriela Rubio with very expressive, wild pictures. In the strong energetic brush strokes, the reader recognizes the personality and the imaginative powers of this willful, fantasy-loving protagonist. (7+)
(Premio Apel·les Mestres; 1998)

Spain (Catalan) - 2000 - 152
Ballester, Arnal (illus.)
No tinc paraules
(I have no words)
Valencia: Media Vaca, 1998. [122] p.
(Media Vaca ; 1)
ISBN 84-930221-0-1
Ship - Imaginary journey - Circus
With the very first volume of an ambitious new series of children's and young adult books the Media Vaca publishing house presents one of the most renown Spanish illustrators with a book that is additionally remarkable for the courage it took to complete it - for it is a book that goes against the expectations of the reader. Even through the pictures the loosely knit storyline about a dreamlike fantasy journey on an ocean liner is only vaguely understandable. Most of the pictures (in red, black and white - with red as a primary background color) are surrealistic circus scenes done in Ballester's extremely graphic style. Each one stands alone - with no immediate neighbor - autonomous. Thus the viewer can read each one in its own right, engaging in free association, fantasizing one's own story. (13+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2000 - 153
Canela, Montserrat (text)
Max (illus.)
Ioshi i la pluja
(Ioshi and the rain)
Barcelona: LaGalera [et al.], 1999. 46 p.
ISBN 84-246-3406-3
(Also published by: Barcelona: Cercle des Lectors)
Village - Grayness - Melancholy - Rain - Color - Joy of life
A gray, overcast sky lays over the village of Ioshi like the lid of a coffin. Colors are disappearing. Just as everyone begins to dispair of change, the blacksmith Xemor climbs up into the heavens to visit the ruler of the wind and storms. Vain and tempestuous, she only reluctantly admits that she has quite simply forgotten about the village of Ioshi. She sends down rain, all turns well. All except for the intrepid Xemor, whom she plays a colorful trick on. Max illustrates this fairy-tale like story in his own clear comic strip style. The scenes of Xemor's visit in heaven which are depicted entirely in grey are most fascinating with their dramatic piles and tunnels of clouds. Notable are also the meticulous layout and typography. (7+)
(Premi Hospital Sant Joan de Déu; 1998)

Spain (Catalan) - 2000 - 154
Carol, Núria (text)
Ferrer, Isidro (illus.)
En Cosme i el monstre Menjamots
(Cosme and the monster Wordmuncher)
Barcelona: Publ. de l'Abadia de Montserrat, 1999. [28] p.
(Llibres del sol i de la lluna ; 82 : Llibres de la lluna)
ISBN 84-8415-004-6
Letter <script> - Theft - Monster - Reading - Jealousy
»Not again!« Cosme is enraged. Each night he discovers that letters and even whole words have disappeared from his books. Refusing to put up with it any longer, he catches one of the culprits with a sticky trick: a curious-looking worm that has been forced by the monster Wordmuncher to go hunting for him. Cosme demands that he be led to the insatiable beast and manages to liberate all the abducted letters. High-quality, graphic style color illustrations accompany this simple fantasy tale. Some are quite abstract and form a delightful challenge to the imagination - not only for child readers. (7+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2000 - 155
Sierra i Fabra, Jordi (text)
Tubau, Victòria (illus.)
Les històries perdudes
(The lost tales)
Barcelona: Ed. Cruïlla, 1999. 109 p.
(El vaixell de vapor / [Sèrie vermella] ; 85)
ISBN 84-8286-715-6
Desert - Hermit - Misanthropy - Responsibility - Fate - Coincidence
Ashmayd has chosen a reclusive life in the desert because he wants nothing more to do with mankind. He is confronted with a dilemma when on two occasions he comes upon a person in the desert who would be lost without him. Each time he asks himself whether it would be right to help them without knowing if they are good or bad people. The basic story, which contains several shorter tales, is above all a reflection on basic philosophical issues about human existence: What is good, what is bad? What is individual responsibility? What is coincidence? Can one determine the fate of others? These questions are discussed in a clear, calm manner. (12+)
(Premi El Vaixell de Vapor; 1998)

Spain (Galician) - 2000 - 156
González, M. Lourenzo (text)
Enjamio (illus.)
Animais de compañía
(Animal companions)
Pontevedra: Kalandraka, 1998. [28] p.
(Demademora)
ISBN 84-95123-16-9
Listening - Misunderstanding - Imagination - Animal - Transformation
Using the idea of the children's game of »Telephone, « this picture book plays with the inexhaustible possibilities of wordplay by twisting syllables and words. In a village there is a rumor going around about some supposedly freaky animals that Señora Maria has brought back from a hike in the mountains. Everyone who hears about them imagines something different and pictures in his mind the most amazing creatures, though in reality the beasts are simple, harmless commonor- garden animals. The idea of cutting up and putting syllables back together again is matched in the typography of the lively color pictures: the illustrator uses the collage technique to visually interpret this rhymed text. (4+)

Spain (Galician) - 2000 - 157
Sánchez, Gloria (text)
López Domínguez, Xan (text/illus.)
O Grande Tronante
(The Great Thunderer)
Vigo: Ed. Xerais, 1998. [36] p.
ISBN 84-8302-323-7
Cloud - Wind - Ruler <political> - Treasure of Gold - Search - Pirate
Legendary stories are told about the Great Thunderer, a feared buccaneer who lives on a cloud in the sky hoarding a treasure of gold. Captain Ro and Tomcat Bo try to trick him out of the treasure but land instead in the scoundrel's stomach. There they would be stuck forever after if the Great Thunderer did not suddenly feel terrible stomach pains and unbearable flatulence.... This humorous tale is illustrated with unusual and very lively pictures. The figures, with their grotesque features and gestures, are portrayed against nearly monochromic, empty backgrounds; spindly, extenuated arms and legs stick out of baggy, puffed-out clothes. (4+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2001 - 151
Álvarez, Blanca (text)
Salmerón, Rafael (illus.)
Milú, un perro en desgracia
(Milú, an unlucky dog)
Madrid : Espasa, 2000. 139 p.
(Espasa juvenil ; 143)
ISBN 84-239-5897-3
City life - Dog - Misfortune
The narrative I, Milú, a manifest mongrel, lives happily with his human family, who has picked him off the street. But ever since the day the cleaning-lady told him that he would soon be thrown back out into the streets, Milú is completely nerve-wrecked. From the point of view of the worried »underdog«, the reader learns a lot about stuck-up, high-strung pure-breds, about humans and about life in general. The funny observations of and commentaries on everyday life derive their humorous potential from the apparently naive perspective of the protagonist, who nevertheless is endowed with shrewdness and a good dose of sarcasm. (10+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2001 - 152
Cano, Carles (text)
Calatayud, Miguel (illus.)
Columbeta, la isla libro
(Columbeta, the book island)
(Catalan orig. title: Capgirell, l'illa llibre)
Madrid : Anaya, 1999. 116 p.
ISBN 84-207-9264-0
Bestiary - Alphabet - Island
The origins of the island Columbeta's animal world go back to the day when letters, who had fled a maths book, hid in the entries of an encyclopedia on animals. Columbeta is an island, and the island is a book: a bestiary of strange species, like the fancy »elefgante« (»elephgant«), the tasty »tartaga« (»tartle«) or the mean-smelling »cacadrilo« (»cacadile«). These absurd animal portraits display much imagination and linguistic wit. Lavish, decorative illustrations, in which colours and geometric shapes combine to form artistic patterns, capture the fairy-tale-like fantastic nature of this quaint animal world. (8+) ☼

Spain (Spanish) - 2001 - 153
Mallorquí, César
La catedral
(The cathedral)
Madrid : Ed. SM, 2000. 203 p.
(Gran angular ; 202)
ISBN 84-348-7239-0
Brittany <13th century> - Cathedral - Construction - Satanism
Navarra during the 13th century: 14-year-old stone carver Telmo is sent to Brittany in order to assist in the construction of a gigantic cathedral, financed by some obscure chivalric order. Telmo is also on a secret mission: He is to find out about the underlying reason of this strange construction. When it turns out that the monstrous temple is to enable the return of Lucifer, whom the commissioners want to be their leader in the battle of Armageddon, the race against time begins. Mallorquí combines elements of historical, adventure and fantasy novels, displaying once again the mastery of his craft. The narrative flows easily, while the suspense is sustained until the very end. (12+)
(Premio Gran Angular; 1999)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2001 - 154
Martín, Andreu (text)
Martín Farrero, Inés (transl.)
Mentiras de verdad
(True lies)
(Catalan orig. title: Veritats a mitges)
Madrid : Ed. Siruela, 2000. 190 p.
(Las tres edades ; 73)
ISBN 84-7844-514-5
Father - Son - Truth - Lie - First love - Spain <1967>
Barcelona 1967: The strained relationship between 18-year-old Pep and his conservative, taciturn father threatens to fall apart completely when Pep suspects his father to have a mistress. His enquiries lead to an unexpected discovery and hold the mirror to the indignant but also selfrighteous Pep: Just like his father, he entagles himself in lies when he attempts to impress his fellow student Julia. This multi-layered, gripping novel, crafted like a detective story, explores the question of the motivations for lying. The wellknown Catalan author succeeds in describing the moods, feelings, fears, desires and anxieties of the characters with a keen sense of observation, while evoking an engaging portrait of the era. The speechlessness, the contorsions and tabus in Pepe's family reflect the restrictive, petty-bourgeois and decrepit nature of the Franco-regime, that penetrated all walks of life. (14+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2001 - 155
Moure, Gonzalo
El bostezo del puma
(The yawn of the puma)
Madrid : Alfaguara, 1999. 231 p.
(Serie roja)
ISBN 84-204-4940-7
Suicide - Guilt - St. Jacob's trail - Quest for identity
Abram is tortured with feelings of guilt, because he thinks he may be partly responsible for the suicide of Lisa, his friend. To find answers to his questions, he goes on the St. Jacob's pilgrims' trail. He is pursued by Lisa's flat mate, Tim, who considers him Lisa's murderer, and he is shadowed by the police. But along the way, he also comes upon people like French Marion or the German Jewish young woman Alma, who fascinates him and whom he falls in love with. Through the different, psychologically convincing characters, this suspenseful and touching novel explores the fundamental question of the meaning of human existence. (14+)
(Premio Jaén de Narrativa Infantil y Juvenil; 1999)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2001 - 156
Prats, Joan de Déu (text)
Filella, Luis (illus.)
Noche de Reyes
(Epiphany)
(Catalan orig. title: Nit de Reis)
Barcelona : Edebé, 2000. [28] p.
(Biblioteca religiosa Edebé)
ISBN 84-236-5802-3
Three Wise Men - Balthasar - Immigration/Europe - Xenophobia - Racism
»Do you have a working permit, and is your camel vaccinated at all?«, King Balthasar is confused. He only wanted to deliver a present in time for Epiphany in Spain, but at the borders of Europe he finds himself (black) face to (white) face with rough border police officers, who refuse him the entry permit. How he finally does reach his destination, how his camel is deported from the noparking space on the way, and how he is confronted with racist attacks – all this is related in this intelligent picture book for children and adults. Witty parodies and simple devices unmask racism and xenophobia. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2001 - 157
Prats, Joan de Déu (text)
Jiménez, Daniel (illus.)
Un safari en el salón
(A safari in the living-room)
Madrid : Bruño, 2000. 57 p.
(Alta mar ; 127 : Humor)
ISBN 84-216-3435-6
Hunter - Mouse - Big game hunt/Parody
The passionate big game hunter Lord Haselmer plans a trip to Africa to add an elephant's head to his collection of trophees. But instead, he suddenly engages in battle with a mouse who creates havock in his house. With the assistance of fellow- hunters flown in from Africa, he succeeds in cornering the animal, but the struggle against the unequal opponent turns him into an animal lover. The entertaining, fast-paced story is told with slap-stick humour. The comedy is equally evident in the crazy, cartoon-like illustrations that parody familiar stereotypes with grotesque exaggeration. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2001 - 158
Sánchez Alcón, Chema
El radiofonista pirado que desenterraba filósofos para explicarse el mundo
(The presenter of the pirates' radio station who dug out philosophers to explain the world)
Madrid : Anaya, 1999. 215 p.
ISBN 84-207-9278-0
Pirates' radio station - Philosophy
This entertaining story is all about »philosophy for everyone«. A radio presenter questions the sense of his work, and, to overcome this crisis, he secretely starts a nocturnal feature on philosophical themes, inviting listeners to participate. When a concerned husband and father complains to the station, because he doesn't want his family spending the nights philosophising around the radio, it all comes out and the presenter is sent to prison. He suspects that he was really imprisoned for inspiring people to think for themselves. The book takes the reader into the world of philosophy with wit, humour and lightness. (12+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2001 - 159
Carbó, Joaquim (text)
Gans, Francesc Luis (illus.)
Juma i el diamant
(Juma and the diamond)
Barcelona : Ed. Cruïlla, 2000. 186 p.
([El vaixell de vapor / Sèrie vermella] ; 94)
ISBN 84-8286-853-5
Africa - War - Violence - Solidarity - Refugee
13-year-old Juma works like a slave in a diamond mine. Following his escape, he meets other children, and one after another they join him in his quest for freedom. Finally, they are a group of six, and together, they struggle for survival, always hoping to see their families and homes again. Told from the perspective of children and their experiences, the misery and violence (e.g. the refugee trails) of the war-stricken African countries becomes cruelly evident. The story is realistic and never sensational. On the contrary, it gives a differentiated account of the social situation and develops a strong cast of individual characters. (11+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2001 - 160
Gisbert, Montse (text/illus.)
El bebé més dolç del món
(The sweetest baby of the world)
Valencia : Tandem Ed., [1999]. [36] p.
ISBN 84-8131-237-x
(Spanish ed.: El bebé más dulce del mundo)
Bee
Told from the perspective of a young bee, this book describes the life in a bee-colony: raising, »construction«, nectar collection, production of honey etc. A short appendix provides further information. Despite these informations, this book is first and foremost an imaginative picture book, heedlessly anthropomorphising the world of the bees. This is most evident in the brightly coloured, cheerful and wild illustrations. They show, for example, a bee swinging a broom or transporting construction material on a truck. This book is an unusual cross-over between the picture story- and reference book. (4+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2001 - 161
Rius, Lluís (text)
Ginesta, Montse (illus.)
Adormits!
(Sleepy-heads!)
Barcelona : LaGalera [et al.], 2000. 30 p.
ISBN 84-246-3410-1. - 84-226-8484-5
Parents - Falling asleep - Waking up
To wake up her parents, who once again have dosed off in front of the TV, their daughter assembles a team of very special helpers, who come from the other appartments of the house. Finally, a swaying pyramid makes its way through the stairway: the »downstairs-bringer«, the »upstairsbringer «, the »light-on-turner« and – of course – the »sleeper-waker«. The imaginative story is complemented by lively and dynamic cartoonstyle colour-illustrations. Some very original double-page illustrations with flabs folding upwards (!) catch the entire stairway of the fantastic house in its full height. (4+)
(Premi Hospital Sant Joan de Déu; 2000)

Spain (Galician) - 2001 - 162
Fernández Paz, Agustín
Aire negro
(Black air)
Vigo : Xerais, 2000. 183 p.
(Fóra de xogo ; 42)
ISBN 84-8302-502-7
Psychiatry - Autism - Anxiety - Hallucinations
Dr. Moldes, an ambitious psychiatrist, treats autistic Laura, who suffers from memory gaps and fits of fear. The reader learns from Moldes' report, interspersed with written notes by Laura, how Laura's memories are retrieved piece by piece. Because of that, both patient and doctor are confronted with a terrifying reality. The award-winning author's gripping, yet rather unpretentious narrative shows elements of the psychological thriller. It poses the question about the whence of human anxieties: are they generated by our own psyche or do they have real, external causes? (13+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2002 - 146
Ballesteros, Xosé (text/transl.)
Olmos, Roger (illus.)
Tío Lobo
(Uncle Wolf)
Pontevedra : Kalandraka, 2000. [36] p.
(Libros para soñar)
ISBN 84-8464-042-6
(Orig. text Galician)
Wolf – Little Red Riding Hood – Trick <fun> – Fear
This parody of Little Red Riding Hood drastically illustrates the risks of unbridled gluttony. The heroine, wearing a cap in the shape of a giant strawberry, has a sweet (but also rather vicious) tooth and raids »Uncle Wolf's« food basket while trying to outwit the old fellow by exchanging the goodies with donkey droppings and tepid water. A bad conscience and fear follow, but too late: In the dark of the night, the angry wolf comes down the chimney. The story's grotesque humour and its unrelentingly rising tension are congenially captured by the double-spread illustrations. They are funny, wild, vivid, and excessive. Rich colours, daring perspectives, and the play with light and shadow heighten the dynamic effect. (5+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2002 - 147
Grimm, Jacob (text)
Grimm, Wilhelm (text)
Hidalgo, Herrín (select.)
Dumas, Oliveiro (illus.)
Gálvez, Pedro (transl.)
El señor Korbes y otros cuentos de Grimm
(Mr. Korbes and other Grimm tales)
Valencia : Media Vaca, 2001. 155 p.
(Media vaca ; 9)
ISBN 84-932004-0-9
Fairytales
Do you know the fairytale of Mister Korbes? Never heard of it? Then pick up this anthology of rather unknown treasures from the Grimm fairytales, and get to meet an artist who has illustrated these tales in an exceptionally witty, unconventional way. Oliveiro Dumas' furious mix of caricaturesque drawings, irreverent cartoons, and daring collage elements brings out the often neglected subversive, hardly childlike, gruesome side of the truly »Grimm« texts. Take a close look to discover all those bizarre details, hidden visual puns, and clever allusions – you're sure to appreciate, for example, the monstrous eruption of »Sweet porridge« in the shape of a mushroom cloud or Augusto Pinochet in the role of the evil one in »The peasant and the devil«. A few years ago, the publishing house Media Vaca started producing a small, fine series with new and newly discovered texts, high-quality illustrations, and aesthetic, bibliophile design. Buy, read, and hold on to it! (6+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2002 - 148
Juan, José Luis de
Recordando a Lampe
(Memories of Lampe)
Madrid : Ed. SM, 2001. 203 p.
(Gran angular ; 216)
ISBN 84-348-8103-9
Kant, Immanuel – Prussia/1800
In February 1802, the philosopher Immanuel Kant dismissed his domestic Martin Lampe, who had served him for almost 40 years. Using this event as his point of departure, the author, well-known for his adult fiction, has created a highly entertaining novel, ingeniously intertwining fact and fiction. The story follows the further fate of Lampe, who had endured his eccentric master for decades; embittered by his dismissal, he now nourishes feelings of vengeance against his successor. Apart from developing a gripping plot, the novel offers a vivid portrait of life in Kant's hometown, Königsberg, Eastern Prussia, some 200 years ago. (14+)
(Premio Gran Angular ; 2000)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2002 - 149
Martín Garzo, Gustavo (text)
Gabán, Jesús (illus.)
Una miga de pan
(A bread-crumb)
Madrid : Ed. Siruela, 2000. 126 p.
(Las tres edades ; 77)
ISBN 84-7844-526-9
Animals – Dog – Love – Hate – Will to live
Little puppy Tana is just over a few weeks old when her mother dies. »Life is hard«, her mother admits, but she trusts in the intelligence of her pup; she knows that on the night of her birth, a fox »infected « Tana with that cleverness still sparkling in her eyes. Following this sad but beautiful and touching beginning, a tale full of unsuspected turns unfolds – a literary surprise packet somewhere between fable and fairytale. It is a story about the conflict between love and hate and about humans, who fight for one or the other side. Keeping in line with the previous books by the well-known author, the narrative is powerful and emotional. (12+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2002 - 150
Moure Trenor, Gonzalo (text)
Martín Godoy, Fernando (illus.)
Maíto Panduro
(<Proper name>)
Zaragoza : Edelvives, 2001. 93 p.
(Ala delta ; 244 : Serie verde)
ISBN 84-263-4615-4
Sinti and Roma – Gypsies – Ethnic minority – Social outcast – Father – Son
Maíto, ten-year-old son of a gypsy-family, lives with his parents and siblings in poor conditions on the outskirts of a small town. When his father Elías is taken to prison for a crime he never committed, an unusual communication begins: Maíto draws and sends pictures to the prison, while his illiterate father answers with similar »visual letters«. A dialogue without words unfolds, sustained by mutual affection and the longing for freedom. Related with great empathy, this father-son story has found an unusual and expressive way to open a new perspective on the troublesome relations between majority populations and their disdained minorities. (10+)
(Premio Ala Delta ; 2001)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2002 - 151
Nesquens, Daniel (text)
Arguilé, Elisa (illus.)
Hasta (casi) 100 bichos
([Almost] 100 beasts)
Madrid : Anaya, 2001. 207 p.
ISBN 84-667-0853-7
Animals
This highly amusing and imaginative bestiary features almost 100 entries in alphabetical order. The literary Noah's Ark is populated by a beastly lot of peculiar and unexpected species: Just when the animals start looking familiar, puns, surreal connotations and nonsense distort them. It may even happen that new species make their appearance among »normal« animals like the pig, the snail, or the whale – as is the case for the screwdriver. This delightful book is sure to captivate its readers with its spirited, light-hearted, and playful language. The small-format illustrations in different shades of brown at the beginning of each story perfectly complement this bestial collection of curious creatures. (14+)

Spain (Basque) - 2002 - 152
Landa, Mariasun (text)
Urberuaga, Emilio (illus.)
Elefante txori-bihotza
(An elephant with a bird's heart)
Bilbo : Anaya Haritza, 2001. 70 p.
(Liburu zopa ; 14)
ISBN 84-667-0625-9
Elephants – Teacher – Character – Individuality
A teacher sends a lively report to a friend about her experiences in Africa. Attracted by an advert in the paper »Elephant-News«, she now teaches a herd of jungle giants. Even though the project can hardly be said to be crowned by success, it nevertheless teaches the teacher a surprising lesson: At first sight, elephants may look alike; they are, however, endowed with highly individual characters: with tiger-, ant-, and monkey-hearts, or even, like the charming elephant lady Kikunga, with a bird's heart. The story, brimming with imagination and pleasant absurdity, is accompanied by watercoloured line-drawings that underscore the peculiar humour of the text. (6+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2002 - 153
Alapont, Pasqual (text)
Molinero, David (illus.)
L'ovella negra
(The black sheep)
Barcelona : Edebé, 2001. 136 p.
(Periscopi ; 54)
ISBN 84-236-5766-3
Family – Tradition – Independence – Self-realisation
Reportedly, it isn't easy to rebel against long-standing family traditions. Nevertheless, that is what seventeen-year-old Hermògenes does, when he decides to become an archaeologist instead of going into the medical profession. He studies History and jobs part-time as a baby-sitter when the parents' stop to give him financial support. His determination to pursue his goal, as well as the relationship to the child he baby-sits and its mother are the foundations for Hermògenes' self-assertion and self-realisation. The author relates the protagonist's process of emancipation and reaching maturity with humour and ease. His concise rendering of character is excellent and reveals deep psychological insight. (14+)
(Premio Edebé de Literatura Juvenil ; 2001)

Spain (Catalan) - 2002 - 154
Comella, Maria Àngels
Kirilova, Romi
Seix, Mercè
Bon dia, senyor Tàpies!
(Hello, Mr. Tápies!)
Barcelona : Serres, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 84-95040-97-2
Tàpies, Antoni – Arts
Because this book presents only a well-dosed number of facts about the life and work of the Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies, it can be considered to be more of a picture book than a non-fiction title. Eulàlia, a curious, art-loving cartoon-girl and great fan of Tàpies, takes us on a little journey through his paintings, sculptures, and objects. She approaches the works of art with her naturalness and presents them to the reader from her own perspective. She, in turn, is amused, surprised, or perplexed by the individual works. Thanks to the happy choice of the child's perspective (seemingly) granting immediate access to Tàpies' work, this attractive and inspiring book may succeed in breaking down the barriers between children and the »Great Masters« of Modern Art. (7+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2002 - 155
Duran, Teresa (text)
Rubio, Gabriela (illus.)
Secrets de la selva fosca
(Secrets of the dark forest)
Barcelona : Ed. Cruïlla, 2001. 60 p.
([El vaixell de vapor / Sèrie blanca] ; 35)
ISBN 84-661-0081-4
City – Metropolis – Everyday life – Imagination – Jungle
In this original story, the powers of a child's imagination transform the hustle and bustle of a big city into a marvellous adventure. Miguel, the protagonist, pictures himself and his parents surviving the dangers and surprises of a unique jungle. He is impressed that his father rides a four-wheel stallion to the palace every day, where he creates mountains of delicious cakes. And he admires his mother, who, every morning, tames a sub-terranean irondragon that winds its way through the underworld. The short, entertaining text is accompanied by many colour illustrations that creatively explore the gap between reality and imagination. (6+)

Spain (Galician) - 2002 - 156
Aleixandre, Marilar (text)
Enríquez, Lázaro (illus.)
Paxaros de papel
(Paper birds)
Vigo : Xerais, 2001. [36] p.
ISBN 84-8302-698-8
Birds – Dream – Imagination – Diversity – Difference
A fantastic world awaits Rodrigo when, one night (in a dream?), he flies to Caibarién. The island, a happy counter-world, is populated by an infinite variety of birds glistening in all colours imaginable. The birds, however, are not happy in their paradise. They, too, want to go out into the world to see and experience something new and different, such as grey things, black things, or cities. The boy takes the birds on a journey through his reality, which in turn seems fascinating to them. The special charm of this book about the appeal of the exotic and the desire for diversity lies in the partly surreal and symbolic pictures. They glow with suggestive colours and invite readers to dream and to invent their own stories. (6+)

Spain (Galician) - 2002 - 157
Moreno, María Victoria
Guedellas de seda e liño
(Curls of silk)
Vigo : Galaxia, 1999. 172 p.
(Costa oeste ; 26)
ISBN 84-8288-304-6
Family – Family conflict – Class society
This novel in the style of a family saga unfolds in fictive, yet typical and well observed settings along the Galician coast. The narrative is centred on an old and respected aristocratic family; for generations, they have played a priviledged role in the region while living practically cut off from the rest of society. Despite all the pomp and ceremony, they cannot longer maintain the pretence; the family witnesses its own irredeemable decline. With beautiful, plain words, the author draws the portrait of a hermetic society still under the spell of days gone by and cruelly confronted with the realities of a changing world. (15+)

Spain (Galician) - 2002 - 158
Sánchez, Gloria (text)
Fra, Irene (illus.)
Chinto e Tom
(Chinto and Tom <proper names>)
Madrid : SM, 2001. 78 p.
(O barco de vapor : Serie azul ; 15)
ISBN 84-348-7749-x
Friendship – Imagination – Creativity
Chinto and Tom – brothers, friends, or possibly even a couple – have inherited a bed and a piece of land in an idyllic area. With great enthusiasm, they start building a cosy home, in which they plan to live together in peace and harmony. Once the new home is built, they realise the bed doesn't fit through the door. Because the bed is indispensable – but, unfortunately, cannot be taken apart – inventiveness is called for ... The story, told with a great deal of sympathy for the protagonists, is full of imaginative, absurd, and surreal ideas, lending the book vitality and lightheartedness. The simple, humorous, and, at the same time, poetic language adds another wonderful touch. (8+) ☼
(Premio Lazarillo ; 2000)

Spain (Spanish) - 2003 - 146
Esquivias, Óscar
Huye de mí, rubio
(Run from me, towhead)
Zaragoza : Edelvives, 2002. 201 p.
(Colección Alandar ; 3)
ISBN 84-263-4618-9
Central America – Guerillas – Military – Civil war – Kidnapping
For his holidays, Ismael travels to Central America with his father, who works there for a multi-national company. When the 15-year-old boy is kidnapped and taken to a guerilla camp in the rain forest, he suddenly sees himself confronted with the violence reigning in the civil war-torn country. Faced with this extreme situation, Ismael grows more mature and develops a different perception of his problems with his family and his life in the European consumer society. The first-person-narrator relates his experiences with realism and in a direct, humorous, sometimes sarcastic colloquial tone. This narrative approach makes for a convincingly authentic psychological portrait of a boy seeking orientation. (14+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2003 - 147
Ferrer, Vicente (ed.)
Diccionario ilustrado »Mis primeras ochenta mil palabras« que contiene las palabras favoritas de 231 artistas de 20 países ...
(The illustrated dictionary »My first 80,000 words«, containing the favourite words of 231 artists from 20 countries)
Valencia : Media Vaca, 2002. 273 p.
(Media vaca ; 11)
ISBN 84-932004-3-3
Dictionary – Encyclopaedia
231 artists from 20 countries were invited to illustrate a word of their choice; they were free to associate but limited to only two colours. Furthermore, they were asked to take their favourite definition from a dictionary or encyclopaedia. The result is highly original and inspiring: On the one hand, the dictionary unites words as disparate as »no«, »hunting horn«, »insomnia«, or »whisper«, and therefore presents a multi-facetted mirror of the artists‘ individual preferences. On the other hand, it is an exciting compendium demonstrating the rich diversity of the international art of illustrating. A superb, varied enjoyment for young and adult readers! (10+) ☼

Spain (Spanish) - 2003 - 148
Gallego García, Laura
La leyenda del Rey Errante
(The legend of the Wandering King)
Madrid : Ed. SM, 2002. 215 p.
(El barco de vapor : Serie roja ; 143)
ISBN 84-348-8818-1
Arabia – Prince – Poets’ competition – Envy – Adventure
Walid, a young Arab prince, is defeated three times in a poet’s championship by a simple, uneducated carpet weaver. Overwhelmed by his thirst for revenge, he has to go into exile. He lives with Bedouins in the desert and works as rich merchant’s secretary in Damascus. The suspenseful novel combines many elements and devices of traditional oriental narratives, while the nuanced psychological portrayal of the characters adds a modern and realistic touch. Despite the geographical and cultural distance of the subject, the reader is quickly captured by the imaginative plot and by the poetic language. (12+)
(Premio El Barco de Vapor ; 2002)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2003 - 149
Pérez Escrivá, Victoria (text/illus.)
Antes, cuando Venecia no existía
(In former times, when Venice did not yet exist)
Madrid : Anaya, 2002. 181 p.
ISBN 84-667-1720-X
Short stories – Ultra-short stories – Nonsense
An aphorism by the German author Johann Christoph Lichtenberg serves as a preface to this book: »Many people only read because it saves them from being forced to think.« Well, with this beautifully designed book’s 70 short and ultra-short stories, you will hardly be able to avoid thinking, as they are bubbling over with original ideas, witty language, subtle irony, and brilliantly absurd nonsense. This is all the more astonishing, as they focus on ordinary topics which are ever so popular in children’s books, e.g. animals, giants, curses, love, fear, etc. Victoria Pérez Escrivá uses this kind of fairly unspectacular »building bricks« to create something extraordinary. A lot of the texts discuss the possibilities of storytelling itself, which are boundless – as long as you have the necessary imagination and talent to spin a yarn. Excellent children’s books offer pleasure and knowledge to young and old readers alike, in different ways. This volume is a very good example for that. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2003 - 150
Plaza, José María (text)
Pérez, Laura (illus.)
En septiembre llegó el desastre
(The disaster started in September)
Barcelona : Edebé, 2002. 164 p.
(Periscopio ; 96)
ISBN 84-236-6213-6
Puberty – Search for identity – Group – Outsider
13-year-old Fran is shocked and confused when he sees his school friends returning from their summer holidays with lower voices, peach fuzz, and some centimetres taller than him. Because they are suddenly interested in girls while he still prefers to play football, he is terrified by the thought of becoming an outsider. The fast paced novel follows Fran, who – in his desperate urge for recognition – increasingly entangles himself in a self-wrought net of white lies. The author relates the experiences and emotions of boys on the threshold between childhood and adolescence, plagued by insecurity and complexes, with realism and many comic situations and punch-lines. (13+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2003 - 151
Ventura, Antonio (text)
Morales, Judit (illus.)
Gòdia, Adrià (illus.)
La mirada de Pablo
(Pablo’s eyes)
Madrid : Ed. Siruela, 2002. 134 p.
(Las tres edades ; 93)
ISBN 84-7844-635-4
Boy – Everyday life – Siblings – Mother/Child
In 31 short chapters, this novella presents episodes of the life of nine-year-old Pablo, who experiences a time of insecurities and changes. The father no longer lives with the family, his sister Clara suffers from a disease of the lungs, and the mother has many worries. To make matters worse, they have moved and the boy has to get used to a new life in a small apartment in the big city. In a clear, subdued, calm tone and great sensitivity, Antonio Ventura depicts ordinary everyday life things and situations of a childhood dating back a few decades. It is his almost tender, poetical eye for seemingly insignificant details, which makes this book attractive to children and adults alike. (9+)

Spain (Basque) - 2003 - 152
Zubizarreta, Patxi (text)
Kruz Igerabide, Juan (text)
Odriozola, Elena (illus.)
Paularen zazpi gauak
(Seven nights with Paula)
Sondika : Giltza-Edebé, 2002. 126 p.
(Tukan ; 35)
ISBN 84-8118-709-7
Hospital – Storytelling
Paula has to go to the hospital. During the seven nights of her stay there, the girl’s sick room turns into a popular meeting place where cooks, nurses, patients, and doctors come together to tell each other stories, adventures, and riddles. Every night, someone new joins the group: The stories, all centered around friendship, love, and companionship, are continued and complemented with new details. The authors have successfully combined the short stories and the narrative frame to create a very readable book. The readers will be delighted to join in the circle of unconventional storytellers in their unexpectedl setting. (9+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2003 - 153
Desclot, Miquel (text)
Rifà, Fina (illus.)
Més música, mestre!
(More music, master!)
Barcelona : La Galera, 2001. 77 p.
(LaGalera grumets ; 124)
ISBN 84-246-9524-0
Music – Musical instrument
This anthology of poems resounds with music, or: with sounds and noises produced by musical instruments. Beginning with the organ, the trumpet and accordeon and ending with the lyre, twenty instruments introduce themselves in short, rhymed self-presentations, which relate the characteristics and sounds of each instrument. This results in humorous and »human« or anthropomorphised portraits complemented by amusing anecdotes from the world of music. Miquel Desclot’s poems have a light, playful character. Rich in puns, ambiguities, tongue-twisters and onomatopoeias, this literary lyrical concert will inspire the reader to join in the art of rhyming. (8+)
(Premio Nacional de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil; 2002)

Spain (Catalan) - 2003 - 154
Mata, Jordi
Una altra guerra per a Ney
(Another war for Ney)
Barcelona : Ed. Cruïlla, 2002. 176 p.
(Gran Angular ; 125)
ISBN 84-661-0400-3
Napoleonic Wars – Ney, Michel – USA/1819 – Slavery – Liberty – Equality
South Carolina, 1819. In a small town, the school teacher Stuart Ney leads an unobtrusive and reclusive life. When he is forced to reveal his real identity – he is none other than Michel Ney, Duke of Elchingen, one of Napoleon’s marshals during the Russian Campaign – he is eyed and revered like an exotic creature. A severe conflict arises when Ney wants to educate a black slave and thereby confronts the laws of the state with the French ideals of Liberty and Equality. Masterfully interweaving historical facts and fiction, Mata gives an authentic panoramic view of the times and a compelling portrait of a fascinating personality, whose death in 1815 by shooting from a firing squad in Paris was time and again put into question. (13+)

Spain (Galician) - 2003 - 155
Alonso, Fran (text)
Vicente, Manuel G. (photogr.)
A casa da duna
(The house in the dunes)
Vigo : Ed. Xerais de Galicia, 2002. 48 p.
ISBN 84-8302-871-9
Sea – Protection of the environment – Friendship – Dream
Little Alba lives in a small house by the vast sea. Every day, she goes outside to meet the ever changing nature which always has new surprises in store for her and her friend, the tom-cat Bicos. The author, well known for his poetry, has transposed the experiences of the child into a lyrical text, which perfectly harmonises with the expressive, dreamy photographs. A world full of fantastical references is reflected in the depicted things of the real world. The book, published shortly before the accident of the oil-tanker near the Galician coast, is also a call for the protection of the fragile nature, so that the sea will not suddenly, one day, be »the colour of bats«. (6+)

Spain (Galician) - 2003 - 156
Fernández, Ana María (text)
Cobas, Xosé (illus.)
Amar e outros verbos
(To love and other verbs)
A Coruña : Ed. Everest, 2002. 59 p.
(Punto de Encontro)
ISBN 84-403-0420-2
Love – Justice – Memory
This anthology presents 24 poems in free verse. Taking their lead from different verbs, they explore fundamental themes of human existance: to love, grow up, grow old, die, travel etc. From the first page onwards, the texts are characterised by a restrained, reflective tone. The author often uses the pronoun »we« to suggest the universality of all human experiences; with the direct address (»you«), she seeks a dialogue and exchange with the reader. The book is an ode to life as well as a reflection of themes like sadness, injustice, or social responsibility. The accompanying illustrations resonate with the tender tone of the poems. (12+)
(Premio Lazarillo; 2001)

Spain (Galician) - 2003 - 157
Sánchez, Miriam (text)
Fernández, Federico (illus.)
¿Onde perdeu Lúa a risa?
(Where has Lúa lost her laughter?)
Pontevedra : Kalandraka, 2001. [36] p.
(Demademora)
ISBN 84-8464-071-X
Animals – Laughter – Quest
One day, Lúa’s laughter disappears. Her brother Daniel sets out to search for it and asks various animals along the way for advice. In vain, until he finally finds the key to the lost laughter in form of a feather belonging to a wise owl, who sees the world from above and knows the secrets of the night. The sparse, rhythmic text, perfectly suited for reading-out-loud, is beautifully illustrated. The expressive full-spread pictures interpret the story with great imagination and fascinate with their radiant, nuanced colour spectrum. Equally remarkable is the use of pasty colours, which add a variety of different textures to the pictures. (5+)
(Premio Nacional de Ilustración; 2002)

Spain (Spanish) - 2004 - 140
Benlloch, Kike
Vázquez, Alberto (text/illus.)
Freda
(<Proper name>)
Onil (Alicante) : Ed. de Ponent, 2002. 60 p.
(Colección Solysombra)
ISBN 84-89929-39-4
Emigration – Immigration – Identity – Uprooting – Homelessness – Generation conflict
In the form of a comic, this story tells of the fate of migrant workers. Looking back, the now grownup first-person narrator relates how he was uprooted from his familiar surroundings, tried to make the foreign country his home, and was again uprooted, losing his first love, when the family returned to their old, almost forgotten home country. This story convincingly describes the scars that such events can leave and the conflict between the children who long for integration and the adults who often (partly intentionally, partly accidentally) fail to to gain a foothold. Quiet black-and-white drawings aptly capture the narrator’s melancholy and the atmosphere of the 1960s. (12+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2004 - 141
Gasol, Anna (ed./adapt.)
Olmos, Roger (illus.)
El libro de las fábulas : relatos de hoy y de siempre
(The book of fables : tales for today and every day)
Barcelona [et al.] : Ed. B, 2003. 110 p.
ISBN 84-666-1176-2
Fable
For this beautifully designed collection, fables from different sources were gathered, retold and arranged into thematic groups. Naturally, Aesop and Lafontaine are not missing, but readers will also find Spanish examples by Calderón de la Barca or Samaniego, as well as texts by the 19century Latin American writers José Martí and Rafael Pombo. Roger Olmos has created powerful unconventional colour illustrations that perfectly complement the texts. His animals, landscapes, and objects with strangely distorted proportions add a unique, expressive, sometimes even mysterious note to the fables. (8+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2004 - 142
Gómez, Ricardo
El cazador de estrellas
(The star hunter)
Zaragoza : Edelvives, 2003. 168 p.
(Colección Alandar ; 40)
ISBN 84-263-5204-9
Western Sahara – Refugee camp – Child – Illness – Imagination
12-year-old Bachir lives in a refugee camp in the Western Sahara, which has been occupied by Moroccan troops for many years already. Because of a lung disease, Bachir is confined to his tent; the sounds and noises coming through the thin walls are his only connection to the outside world. His illness is like a prison that also inhibits his inner development. But when Jamida enters into his life, the boy finally gains new hope. Thanks to the old man, who is invisible to the boy, Bachir and the readers learn about the history of his people and the distant world of the stars. Ricardo Gómez conveys the coming-ofage of this boy with great empathy and sympathy for his protagonist. (12+)
(Premio Alandar; 2003)

Spain (Spanish) - 2004 - 143
Guerrero, Pablo (text)
Urberuaga, Emilio (illus.)
Mi laberinto
(My labyrinth)
[Madrid] : Kókinos, 2003. [28] p.
ISBN 84-88342-42-x
Child – Choice of career – Feeling – Love
The text for this picture book was taken from a song. Written in a form similar to the classic concept of »When I am grown-up...,« the text consists of lovesong-like statements such as »When I am a painter, I’ll paint your almondtree-sky for you.« or »When I am a pilot, I’ll see you in every cloud.« For each verse, the internationally renowned artist has drawn a double-page picture that adds entirely new dimensions to the lyrical text by having a child speak the words and experience their meaning. The illustrations with their bright colours and imaginative details take the readers on a poetic journey through a child’s world of thoughts and feelings. (4+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2004 - 144
Muñoz Puelles, Vicente (text)
Arguilé, Elisa (illus.)
Sombras de manos
(Shadow games)
Madrid : Anaya, 2002. [28] p.
(Los álbumes de Sopa de libros)
ISBN 84-667-1725-0
Shadow – Shadow games – Imagination
One evening, Olga and her parents muse about an ordinary phenomenon that holds a lot in store: »Does everything have shadows?« »Yes, everything that exists.« The next, almost philosophical question, »Why do shadows exist?«, paves the way for handson experiments. Olga and her parents bring to life various characters on the wall: fleeting shadow creatures that inspire the imagination of both performers and audience. The simple, subdued text is perfectly complemented by the illustrations. The artist sets her doll-like protagonists off against empty black or white backgrounds. Earthy colours and soft round forms create an intriguing contrast to the stark outlines of the poses seemingly frozen in time and space. (4+)
(Certamen Internacional de Álbum Ilustrado »Ciudad de Alicante«; 2002)

Spain (Catalan) - 2004 - 145
Dalmases, Antoni (text)
Sesé (illus.)
Les cuques ballaruques
(The dancing fireflies)
Barcelona : Ed. Cruïlla, 2003. 60 p.
(El vaixell de vapor : Sèrie blanca ; 44)
ISBN 84-661-0641-3
Animals – Neighbour – Community – Differentness – Tolerance
Every night, the fireflies hold wild parties. Completely annoyed, the other animals decide to defend themselves against this disturbance and teach their noisy neighbours a lesson. Antoni Dalmases makes his animals act exactly like humans: They argue and quarrel, search for solutions, and arrive at decisions. The beautiful rhymed texts full of wit and puns emphasise the necessity of respecting others despite their otherness and of trying to live together peacefully. The bold colour illustrations aptly reflect the sound of the rhymes and perfectly translate them into partly affectionate partly aggressive pictures. (7+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2004 - 146
Duran, Teresa (text)
Bruguera, Neus (illus.)
Banyeta
(Little Devil’s Horn)
Barcelona : Destino, 2003. [36] p.
ISBN 84-9708-928-6
Colour – Climate – Devil
Banyeta, a little devil, is fed up with hell and moves to the North Pole. But this white place is definitely too cold for him. Therefore, he moves on to the dry yellow desert, to the humid green jungle, and then on to the blue sea... This entertaining chain story offers simple terms and concepts that pre-school readers can easily understand. Repeating single sentences over and over again, the protagonist arrives at the various places with their contrasting colours and characteristics. The text is accompanied by innovative abstract characters that are very different from the realistic representations commonly used for readers of this age. (4+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2004 - 147
Gisbert, Montse (text/illus.)
Les petites (i grans) emocions de la vida
(The small [and big] feelings of life)
València : Tàndem Ed., 2003. [76] p.
ISBN 84-8131-465-x
(French parellel edition: Les petites (et les grandes) émotions de la vie. Bruxelles : Alice Jeunesse, 2003)
Child – Everyday life – Feelings
What is jealousy? And what are happiness, curiosity, shame, doubt, and stubbornness? The Catalan illustrator Montse Gisbert has created a kind of encyclopaedic picture book for small readers. It describes basic human feelings and states of mind with the help of examples based on a child’s experience, such as the fear of an injection at the doctor’s or the disappointment of not being able to play outside in the sandbox with a friend because it is raining. Each double-page spread of the small square book offers a short text complemented by humorous and poetic pictures in delicate pastel colours that aptly illustrate the situations described. (6+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2004 - 148
Roca, Maria Carme (text)
Antin, Òscar (illus.)
El faedor de mentides
(The inventor of lies)
Barcelona : Ed. Barcanova, 2003. 133 p.
(Sopa de llibres ; 88 / [Sèrie blava])
ISBN 84-489-1382-5
Father – Son – Family conflict – Search for identity – Self awareness – Mental illness – Lie
Alexandre claims to be the ‘Prince of the Swamps’, son of King Albatross and Queen Fortuna. Naturally, nobody in the hospital his father is admitted to believes him. Since his father is unconscious, the nurses ask Alexandre to tell them his real name so that they can inform the relatives. This moment marks the beginning of the boy’s search for his origin, and he comes to realise that his father lied to him all his life. The highly recommendable novel mixes elements of realistic and psychological literature and empathetically describes the long process of a young man’s search for his identity. (12+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2004 - 149
Santos, Care
Ara o mai
(Now or never)
Barcelona : Empúries, 2003. 173 p.
(L’odissea ; 110)
ISBN 84-7596-600-4
Parents – Child – Youth – Friendship – Love – Sexuality
Patricia decides to put an end to her virginity. Supported by her best friend Claudia, she hatches out the plan »Now or never«, which is supposed to lead to the ideal candidate and fulfil Patricia’s wish. Despite meticulous preparations, however, the girl’s ‘première’ takes place in a completely different form and place than she expected. This novel comprises a web of interwoven chapters in which various characters tell their version of the story in the first-person. The author treats the topic of first sexual experiences in a very casual and humorous manner. (15+)

Spain (Galician) - 2004 - 150
Fernández Paz, Agustín (text)
Alonso, Juan Ramón (illus.)
O meu nome é Skywalker
(My name is Skywalker)
Madrid : Ed. SM, 2003. 89 p.
(O barco de vapor ; 27)
ISBN 84-348-9535-8
Poverty – Beggar – Indifference – Exclusion – Friendship
One day, Raquel looks out the window and sees a poorly dressed man with a tin and a cardboard sign sitting in front of the department store opposite her house. People simply walk by, and except for a few children no one seems to notice him. This leads the girl to conclude that the man must be invisible and decides to find out his secret. In his characteristic calm and simple voice, the well-known Galician author tells a gripping novel of people who live on the margins of our often indifferent and consumerist society. (9+)
(Premio O Barco de Vapor; 2003)

Spain (Galician) - 2004 - 151
Mejuto, Eva (adapt.)
Manero, Elia (illus.)
O zapateiro e os trasnos
(The shoemaker and the elves)
Pontevedra : Kalandraka, 2003. [36] p.
(Os contos do trasno)
ISBN 84-8464-212-7
Elf – Shoemaker – Helpfulness – Magic – Curiosity – Betrayal
One morning, a shoemaker and his wife make a surprising discovery: The shoes the craftsman hadn’t finished the day before are now standing all prim and proper in the workshop. From this day on, this curious event keeps repeating itself without fail – until the two people are overcome by curiosity and surprise their little helpers. They are elves, and because they don’t like publicity, they quickly disappear, never to return. Eva Mejuto recounts this popular folk tale with a great sense of humour. Elia Manero’s illustrations, imaginative collages made from various material, offer a fresh and original interpretation of the classic tale. (5+)

Spain (Galician) - 2004 - 152
Nunca máis! : a ollada da infancia
(Never again! : the wave of children)
Pontevedra : Kalandraka, 2003. [52] p.
ISBN 84-8464-188-0
Galicia/2002 – Sea – Coast – Shipwreck – Oil catastrophe – Environmental protection
This outstanding book was created after the terrible oil spill caused by the shipwreck of the tanker Prestige off the coast of Galicia in November 2002. Using texts, paintings, and drawings, local children express their emotions and thoughts, fear, sadness, and indignation concerning this »black flood« and the adults’ irresponsibility. This volume is an »appeal for more civil action and a stronger sense of community voiced by those who are usually condemned to be silent bystanders: the children.« The book is remarkable both for the urgency of the young people’s message and for the quality and creativity of their texts and pictures. (5+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2005 - 137
Arenal, Sandra (interviews/text)
Chiesa, Mariana (illus.)
No hay tiempo para jugar : relatos de niños trabajadores
(There is no time for playing : working children talk about their lives)
Valencia : Media Vaca, 2004. 115 p.
(Últimas lecturas ; 4)
ISBN 84-932004-6-8
Child labour – Children’s rights
All over the world, the work capacity of innumerable children is being exploited. For many years, Sandra Arenal from Mexico (1936-2000) desperately fought for the rights of working children. One of the numerous results of her commitment is this collection of texts based on interviews with underage workers. These children between the age of 6 and 16, who live in Monterrey in Northern Mexico, talk about their work, their lives, their dreams, and their disappointments in an open, laconic way – some are full of illusions while others have completely lost theirs. Twelve years after its first publication in Mexico, these authentic reports are just as important and topical as they were then. The black-and-white-and-red wood cuts that the Argentinean artist Mariana Chiesa has created especially for this new edition are equally impressive. Full of strength and expressiveness, they are the perfect addition to these powerful texts. (13+) ☆

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2005 - 138
Gómez Cerdá, Alfredo (text)
Segovia, Carmen (illus.)
El tigre que tenía miedo a las gallinas
(The tiger that was afraid of chickens)
Madrid : Anaya, 2004. 138 p.
(Sopa de libros ; 99)
ISBN 84-667-3988-2
Children’s home – Youth detention centre – Outsider – Friendship – Freedom
Even though he is an outsider, Antonio considers life in the detention centre to be primarily safe and dependable. His new room mate Pedro, however, disturbs this stability because he doesn’t want to be a »tiger that is even afraid of chicken«. Soon enough, his longing for freedom also ‘infects’ Antonio. The two boys decide to escape from the home and although they don’t get far, this step marks an important moment in Antonio’s personal development. Alfredo Gómez Cerdá describes the fears and wishes of the two adolescents in a realistic and convincing tone. Both the various characters and life in a detention centre are exceedingly well portrayed. (12+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2005 - 139
Martín Garzo, Gustavo (text)
Gabán, Jesús (illus.)
Tres cuentos de hadas
(Three fairy tales)
Madrid : Ed. Siruela, 2003. 131 p.
(Las tres edades ; 106)
ISBN 84-7844-733-4
Literary fairy tale
In Gustavo Martín Garzo’s novels, the readers frequently come across magical elements that are described with great casualness and naturalness. The same natural combination of real and supernatural motifs is evident in this book’s three literary fairy tales, which are of high linguistic quality and will appeal to child and adult readers alike. One characteristic example is the tale about a forest fairy that takes possession of the soul of a dead girl. Without growing any older, the fairy remains in her own body but leads the girl’s life until the soul finally deserts her when the dead child’s mother dies. Jesús Gabán’s dream-like colour illustrations wonderfully capture the melancholic and nostalgic tone that runs through all three tales. (10+)
(Premio Nacional; 2004)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2005 - 140
Neira Cruz, Xosé Antonio
El armiño duerme
(The stoat is sleeping)
Madrid : Ed. SM, 2003. 158 p.
(Gran angular ; 245)
ISBN 84-348-9609-5
Italy/16th century – Florence – Medici, Bianca di – Love – Fictional diary
In historical documents, there is hardly any information about Bianca di Medici, Duke Cosimo I.’s illegitimate daughter who was brought to her father’s court in Florence as a child. The author has taken the few indisputable facts available as his starting point for this novel. Through her diary, which was allegedly found in her coffin, Bianca directly addresses the readers, telling them about her life in the golden cage and her unhappiness in love. In this exceptional book, the fictional elements and the carefully researched and vividly described historical context are interwoven in a superb way. Another outstanding quality of this novel is its rich multi-faceted language. (12+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2005 - 141
Schimel, Lawrence (text)
Rojo, Sara (illus.)
No hay nada como el original
(There is nothing like the original)
Barcelona : Destino, 2004. [28] p.
ISBN 84-08-05261-6
Single child – Loneliness – Boredom – Cloning – Identity
Creativity knows no bounds. When a boy is left alone in his mother’s office, he spontaneously produces a bunch of copies of himself. Suddenly he has a wonderful supply of look-alikes who are going to play with him and take over all the tasks he himself doesn’t feel like completing, such as doing his homework, visiting the dentist, cleaning his room, etc. Yet, what if the lovely homunculi decide to start a rebellion? What if Mum cannot tell the original from the copies anymore? In a witty and refreshingly non-didactical way, the text and illustrations of this very original picture book play with wishes and fears that are familiar to many children of our time. (5+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2005 - 142
Ventura, Antonio (text)
Novoa, Teresa (illus.)
Dos lobos blancos
(Two white wolves)
Zaragoza : Edelvives, 2004. [36] p.
ISBN 84-263-5268-5
Winter – Wolf – Help
A starry winter night; snow-covered woods and mountains; two wolves following the call of a wounded female companion. With few words and cleverly selected voids that leave ample room for the readers’ and listeners’ imagination, Antonio Ventura creates a simple story that radiates with an almost archaic atmosphere reminiscent of ancient myths. The poetic power of the text also emanates from Teresa Novoa’s breath-taking pictures that stand out for their vastness and their fascinating perspectives. Readers can actually feel the impenetrable depth of the black-green night sky, the pale-grey coldness of the dawn, and the quiet loneliness of the forest in this exquisite picture book. (5+) ☼

Spain (Catalan) - 2005 - 143
Gisbert, Montse (text/illus.)
Vergés, Elisenda (transl.)
Salvador Dalí, pinta’m un somni
(Salvador Dalí, paint a dream for me)
Barcelona : Serres, 2003. [44] p.
ISBN 84-8488-128-8
(Spanish ed.: Salvador Dalí, píntame und sueño) Dalí, Salvador – Art – Surrealism
To celebrate Salvador Dalí’s 100th birthday in 2004, various children’s books were published in Spain that introduce young readers to the life and work of the Catalan artist and famous representative of surrealism. One of the most original examples of these is this witty non-fiction book designed – quite appropriately – in collage technique. Montse Gisbert combines reproductions of Dalí’s works with old and new photographs and fixes all of them onto her own double-page colour illustrations. The vitality of the pictures is also mirrored in the informative text that is presented as a biography told by Dalí himself. (8+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2005 - 144
Hernàndez, Pau Joan
El mussol i la forca
(The owl and the gallows)
Barcelona : Edebé, 2004. 253 p.
(Periscopi ; 69)
ISBN 84-236-6955-6
Terrorism – Disabled person
A journalist and a police officer form a powerful team for solving a mysterious criminal case. When several people go missing and the graffito of an owl appears in the very places where these people were last seen, the two of them start their investigation and end up in the sewers below the metropolis of Barcelona. In there, they uncover the preparations for a terrible attack. The novel’s characters and places as well as the social and political setting for the plot are cleverly developed. Written in an easy-going style that contains plenty of dialogues and is ideal for young adults, this gripping, fast-paced detective novel quickly grabs the readers’ attention. (14+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2005 - 145
Pradas, Núria (text)
Mallo, Diego (illus.)
Una nit de Reis boja
(A crazy Epiphany’s night)
Barcelona : La Galera, 2004. 56 p.
(LaGalera grumets ; 170 : A partir de 7 anys)
ISBN 84-246-9580-1
The Three Kings – Christmas tradition
The Spanish tradition, unlike that of many other countries, claims that it’s the Three Kings who deliver the Christmas presents for the children on January 6. Tales about this ancient custom can be found in numerous children’s book, such as this funny narrative by the well-known Catalan author. Since the kings’ pages are extremely busy, they have to hire additional helpers who, unfortunately, are not quite up to the task at hand sometimes. Under such great pressure, it’s no wonder that a few things go wrong. This fast-paced, ironical version of a familiar tale is a great read, already suitable for beginning readers. (7+)

Spain (Galician) - 2005 - 146
Docampo, Xabier P. (text)
Cobas, Xosé (illus.)
Bolboretas
(Butterflies)
A Coruña : Everest Galicia, 2004. [48] p.
(Colección Rañaceos)
ISBN 84-403-0513-3
First love – Friendship
The 12-year-old protagonist of this book has a peculiar habit: He catches butterflies and carefully puts them in his mouth to feel the fluttering and tickling of their wings in his blown-up cheeks before he finally releases them again. One day, when he tells a girl with whom he is secretly in love about his ›hobby‹, she is eager to share this experience with him. When they ›hand over‹ the butterfly, this turns into their first kiss. Xabier Docampo recounts this weightless story in a condensed, highly poetical language. The text is accompanied by equally lyrical pictures in warm colours and delicate shapes. (10+)

Spain (Galician) - 2005 - 147
Marcos, Xesús Manuel
O Brindo de ouro : a chamada do Brindo
(The golden Brindo)
Vigo : Xerais, 2004. 233 p.
(O Brindo de ouro ; 1; Fóra de xogo ; 80)
ISBN 84-9782-206-4
Adventure – Secret – Imagination
The peaceful life of young Selmo, a member of the Arxinas tribe, ends abruptly when his village is attacked and burned down by the Broncedos people. Accompanied by the albino wolf Combán, which protects him from any danger, Selmo flees. Along the way, he meets two warriors, Toimil and Oulego, who help him solve the mystery of the »Brindo de Ouro« – a magic horn that provides them with the courage and strength they need to become invincible. This gripping adventure novel combines epic and fantastic elements and leads the readers into a distant mystical past when magic was of vital importance for people. (13+)
(Premio Merlín; 2004)

Spain (Galician) - 2005 - 148
Silva, Kiko da (text/illus.)
¿Que contan as ovellas para durmir?
(What do sheep count to fall asleep?)
Vigo : Galaxia, 2004. 24 p.
(Árbore)
ISBN 84-8288-723-8
Animals – Sheep – Sleeplessness – Search
Bee, a quick-witted sheep, wonders what her fellow sheep count at night if they can’t get to sleep. Sheep? Not likely! Since no one in her flock comes up with a satisfying answer, Bee sets out to ask some other animals; yet, their comments are not particularly helpful either. However, the very moment that Bee is far too tired and exhausted to go on enquiring further about this big question, the secret is suddenly unravelled. Told in the form of a chain fairy tale, this humorous story for young readers keeps building up tension until the very end. The imaginative illustrations were created in a very original montage technique. (5+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2006 - 141
Ferrari, Andrea
El hombre que quería recordar
(The man who wanted to remember)
Madrid : Ed. SM, 2005. 139 p.
(Gran angular; 254)
ISBN 84-675-0391-2
Crime Identity – Camouflage
Santiago, an intern at a newspaper in Buenos Aires, gets drawn into a dangerous criminal case becoming a pawn in an obscure and confusing game. A slightly »mad« man, who allegedly suffers from amnesia, asks him to assist with his attempt to regain his memory in order to reconstruct his former life. Unintentionally, the young man turns into an accomplice in a sophistically staged, risky game, in which changing identities play a central role. Not only Santiago and other protagonists, but readers as well are thrown off the track by cleverly prepared red herrings. The Argentinean author skilfully juggles the various possibilities offered by the genre of crime fiction, playing with the tradition of storytelling and blurring the line between reality and fiction. (12+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2006 - 142
Liván, Paco (text)
Olmos, Roger (illus.)
La cosa que más duele del mundo
(The most painful thing in the world)
Pontevedra : OQO, 2005. [32] p.
(Colección O)
ISBN 84-934499-6-2
(parallel editions in Galician and Catalan) Animals Truth – Lie – Folk tale – Fable
This folk tale based on the oral storytelling tradition of the Ivory Coast deals with the meaning of truth and as its counter point – the pain that lies and injustice can cause. The protagonists, hyena and rabbit, discuss what might be the most painful thing on earth. When the hyena comes up with nothing but superficial arguments, the rabbit decides to teach him an unforgettable lesson. This story is rich in symbolism, as is typical for a folk tale, and radiates with humour, boldness, and witty philosophical discussions, which will also delight small children. The splendid illustrations – a symphony of bright colours – stand out both for their skilled technique and their composition. The numerous hidden allusions invite young and older readers alike to »read« the pictures on a second level. This picture book is an example of the high quality books that the new publisher OQO is producing since 2005 in Galician, Spanish, and Catalan. (5+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2006 - 143
Nesquens, Daniel (text)
Arguilé Elisa (illus.)
Una nube
(A cloud)
Madrid : Anaya, 2005. [18] p.
(Mi primera sopa de libros)
ISBN 84-667-4573-4
Coincidence
This small-format board book stands out from the big group of books for very young children, which are often of average artistic quality. The simple, original story deals with the arbitrariness of cause and effect and points out how an accident (or is it fate?) can trigger off a long chain of events. A rain drop falls on the back of a dog, who gets a fright and barks, scaring off a cat, who meets a mouse, who in turn runs into a hole, ... And whose »fault« is it? The rain cloud’s, of course! The clear and unostentatious yet elaborate pictures, which focus on the few central elements of the plot, perfectly reflect the style of the text. This book will inspire the readers’ and listeners’ imagination to continue the story. (2+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2006 - 144
Rosell, Joel Franz (text)
Torrão, Marta (illus.)
Pájaros en la cabeza
(Birds in the head)
Sevilla : Kalandraka Andalucía, 2004. [48] p.
(Tiramillas ; 3)
ISBN 84-933780-2-X
Power Politics – Wisdom – Ambition
Told as a fairy tale, this story is more of a practical parable about the art of ruling wisely. Although a king is so old and short-sighted that he wouldn’t even recognise a dragon from three steps away, he rules with farsightedness, wisdom, and always keeps nature and the interests of the whole country in mind. Not so his ministers of defence, economy, and »everything else«. Driven by ambition, they are eager to carry out their own plans, such as war, huge construction projects, and the raising of taxes. Just like a »proper« fairy tale and unlike real life – the tale ends happily. The witty text by the Cuban author is rife with poetical images and topical satirical sideswipes about the power game. The expressive, abstract colour illustrations invite readers to reflect and look closely. (8+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2006 - 145
Ventura, Antonio (text)
Nesquens, Daniel (text)
Pérez Escrivá, Victoria (text)
Ranucci, Claudia (illus.)
6-colores : tres cuentos
(6 colours : three stories)
Madrid : SPR/MSH, 2004. 96 p.
ISBN 84-609-2765-2
Friendship Individuality – Otherness
This carefully designed volume in a black slipcase contains three tales by three different authors. A child, who loves painting with »wrong« colours; a bear, who is born into a human family; the friendship between a child and a stranger, who is »different «. At first glance, the three texts do not seem to have a lot in common. Yet, the right for individuality, the right to be different, to decide freely and not to let oneself be influenced by other people’s pre-concepts these are issues common to all three stories. Another feature that binds them together are the delicate, humorous, sometimes slightly surreal pictures by Claudia Ranucci. For each tale, she uses two colours, which adds up to a total of six colours – hence the title of the book. (8+)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2006 - 146
Vicente, Marta (text/illus.)
Adelaida
(<Proper name>)
Barcelona [et al.] : Albur, 2005. [40] p.
(Libros del zorro rojo)
ISBN 84-96509-11-7 / -9795-193-X
Circus Love – Jealousy – Freedom
This fascinating picture book relates how love and the longing for freedom stand their ground against jealousy and possessiveness. Totó, member of a gang of street dogs, falls in love with beautiful Adelaida, star of a travelling circus. With the help of his mates, Totó rescues his beloved from »imprisonment« by the bird-of-prey-like circus director and magician Rampur, who is so outraged that he sets fire to the circus tent and is then consumed by the flames. The atmospheric pictures painted with powerful brush strokes by the young Argentinean artist depict a melancholic and gloomy, almost unreal world, in which the suburbs’ drabness and the magic of the glittering yet declining circus world form a special bond. (6+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2006 - 147
Carranza, Maite
El clan de la lloba
(The clan of the [she-]wolf)
Barcelona : Edebé, 2005. 382 p.
(La guerra de les bruixes; 1)
ISBN 84-236-7490-8
Magic Witch – Reality – Fantasy
This first part of the trilogy »La guerra des les bruixes« (The war of the witches) is a gripping novel successfully following in the fantasy genre, which is currently highly popular and promising. The author invents a realm full of magic, of fantasy images and ideas. The real world and the fantasy world, familiar locations and imaginary places, historical facts and para-historical myths are cleverly mixed to create an adventure well worth reading. The story, set in the present day, tells of the fight between two witch clans: the Omar, who have a close relationship with nature, and the powerful, immortal Odish. The numerous literary, historical, and geographical references make the novel all the more interesting. (14+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2006 - 148
Lienas, Gemma (text)
Luciani, Rebeca (illus.)
Busco una mare!
(I am looking for a mother!)
Barcelona : La Galera, 2005. [44] p.
ISBN 84-246-3433-0
Bolivia Poverty – Adoption – Mother – Child
A mother walks through La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, begging for food. She knows that she is too poor to care for her baby. To enable both of them to survive, she takes her child to an orphanage. At the same time, a family in Spain embarks on a journey to Bolivia to fetch this girl, whom they have adopted. Although the story ends positively, the readers are left with a feeling of sadness and bitterness not because of the adoption itself, but because of the circumstances that led to it. The double-page spreads of this picture book compare these two worlds, which are so different from each other and so far apart. Thanks to the quiet text and the vivid, graphic illustrations, which present an alienated reality, this picture book is neither overly emotional nor dramatic. (7+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2006 - 149
Tortajada, Anna (text)
Luciani, Rebeca (illus.)
A la muntanya de les ametistes
(On the Amethyst Mountain)
Barcelona : Ed. Barcanova, 2004. 81 p.
ISBN 84-489-1467-8
Human being Nature – Environmental protection
This book takes readers into a magical nature populated by real and imaginary creatures. They are all inhabitants of the Amethyst Mountain, which protects them and their world. A tree, a rock, and some animals and mythical creatures lament that the human being is not able to value, let alone protect nature. The story, full of symbols and philosophical questions, mainly addresses humankind, the Amethyst Mountain’s favourite child, and asks them to reflect upon their relationship with nature. The small black-and-white vignettes and the expressive double-page colour illustrations created by the Argentinian-born artist Rebecca Luciani perfectly complement the mysterious text full of images and written in a poetical language. (12+)

Spain (Galician) - 2006 - 150
Casalderrey, Fina (text)
Quesada, María Fe (illus.)
¿Quen me quere adoptar?
(Who wants to adopt me?)
Vigo : Ed. Xerais de Galicia, 2005. [61] p.
(Merlín; 156)
ISBN 84-9782-359-1
Old age Loneliness – Adoption – Family
After a life full of love and of books, the retired teacher Manuel feels lonely. His wife has died and his daughter works as a doctor in Africa. What can he do against his loneliness? Could it be true that nobody wants to share his life? Manuel puts up a sign: »Who wants to adopt me? I’m looking for a family with children.« Fina Casalderry has already written some other books about the coexistence of generations, in which she linked the worlds of children and elderly people. With a lot of humour but also some melancholy, she describes the feeling of loneliness that many old people are faced with. In addition, the sensitive narration also tackles the topic of new family models in the changing Spanish society. (8+)

Spain (Galician) - 2006 - 151
Gracián, Ánxela (text)
Trigo, Ramón (illus.)
Nun lugar chamado Labirinto
(At a place called Labyrinth)
Vigo : Tambre-Edelvives, 2005. 99 p.
(Ala delta : Serie azul; 13)
ISBN 84-88681-38-0
Love Death – Grief – Journey of initiation – Adventure
Seven-year-old Maru, a few animals a dog, a cat, a cow, a tortoise, a cuckoo – and the wizard Axóuxere (formerly a scarecrow) live on an island in a lake. When the wizard persuades the moon to let a seven-pointed star fall from the sky to give Maru more self-confidence and enable her to make her wishes and dreams come true, the happiness ends abruptly. The following morning, a terrifying woman with a scythe turns up and takes Axóuxere with her. The central topics of this touching story are the death of a loved one and the question of how to overcome the grief about such a loss. The tale is embedded in a frame story: Reading it helps a boy, who has lost his father, understand his own feelings and find answers to some of his most urgent questions. (8+)

Spain (Galician) - 2006 - 152
Oli (text)
Meixide, Andrés (illus.)
Conto para non comer
(A story for not eating)
Vigo : Galaxia, 2005. [32] p.
(Árbore)
ISBN 84-8288-863-3
Going to bed Eating – Mother – Child
It’s a typical family situation: At night, Antón is sitting at the table with a huge cup of steaming hot milk in front of him, which he absolutely doesn’t feel like drinking. To escape his mother, who insists he empties the cup, he first asks for his father to come, then his dog, his grandmother, his godmother, ... until he falls asleep with the now cold milk still untouched. This simple, humorous tale is told in the form of traditional chain stories: Central elements of the story are repeated again and again while the scene fills with more and more characters. The clear, simple illustrations are created in a mixed technique full of variation. With their bright colours and thick black outlines they particularly address a younger readership. (5+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2007 - 142
Blanco, Riki (text/illus.)
Cuentos pulga
(Flea tales)
Barcelona : Thule Ed., 2006. [44] p.
(Trampantojo)
ISBN 84-96473-44-9
Circus
A circus-setting offers a lot of space for fantastic events. »Cuentos pulga« is a collection of 14 ultra-short stories, each one about one member of a very special group of circus performers such as trapeze artist Regina, who is not afraid of heights but rather of the floor, or snake woman Elena, who disappears forever into her own navel. With a lot of creative energy, the author has developed these witty and absurd tales from the characteristics of the various circus professions. The full-page illustrations are mainly rendered in shades of red and brown. Thanks to their depiction of strong gestures and distinct forms, they perfectly mirror the exaggeration of this weird world. The beautiful typography skilfully complements both content and pictures. (5+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2007 - 143
Carreras de Sosa, Lydia (text)
Zabala, Javier (illus.)
Las cosas perdidas
(The lost things)
Zaragoza : Edelvives, 2006. 115 p.
(Ala delta : Serie verde; 58)
ISBN 978-84-263-6198-1
Kleptomania – Friendship – Embarrassment
Tami discovers that Uncle Daniel, a close family friend, is a compulsive thief who steals regularly. For the boy, this discovery is a huge shock. Torn between anger, embarrassment, and helplessness, Tami seeks help in order to cope with this situation. Kleptomania is a fairly unusual topic for a children’s book. Therefore, it’s all the more remarkable how sensitively and comprehensibly the author points out that kleptomania is a serious illness. In a psychologically refined and meticulously observed way, she describes the reactions and emotions of all the people involved. Both children and adults are confused and disappointed, they remain silent about the problem or try to deny it, and they are worried about their friend. This deliberately unspectacular book is well worth reading. (7+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2007 - 144
García-Clairac, Santiago
El reino de los sueños
(The kingdom of dreams)
Madrid : Ed. SM, 2006. 636 p.
(El ejército negro; 1)
ISBN 84-675-1153-2
The Middle Ages – Alchemy – Magic – Immortality – Philosopher’s stone – Parallel world – Library – Archaeology
This voluminous first volume of a fantasy trilogy tells two parallel tales that focus on the search for the philosopher’s stone and on people’s longing for immortality. Both plots – one of which is set in the 10th century, the other one in the present – are connected by their main protagonists: the alchemist’s assistant Arturo Adragón, who later becomes a knight, and a modern-day boy of the same name, whose father owns an archive of precious historical manuscripts. Step by step, the two narrative threads are woven into a refined, mysterious web that prepares the ground for further adventures in the book’s sequels. This cleverly constructed, thrilling imaginative novel features numerous interesting characters, places, and plot strands. (12+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2007 - 145
Lalana, Fernando
La tuneladora
(The tunnel boring machine)
Barcelona : Ed. Bambú, 2006. 209 p.
ISBN 84-8343-006-1
(Bambú : Exit) Tunnel – Attempted murder – Detective
This detective novel perfectly illustrates that the border between teenage- and adult literature is becoming increasingly difficult to define. It is unusual however, that not a single young character appears in the whole story. The protagonist Fermín Escartín – a private detective and former university professor in Zaragoza – is hired to search for an engineer working in the construction of underground train tunnels who has disappeared without a trace. The detective’s investigations lead the readers deep below the city. Fernando Lalana, a successful and award-winning author of teenage novels, has constructed a gripping plot. With a lot of wit and unusual ideas, he captures his readers right until the end. (14+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2007 - 146
Neruda, Pablo (text)
Ferrer, Isidro (illus.)
Libro de las preguntas : un poema
(The book of questions : a poem)
Valencia : Media Vaca, 2006. [ca. 180] p.
(Libros para niños; 14)
ISBN 84-934038-7-3
Philosophy – Reflection – Question
Is it true that amber contains the tears of sirens? Why do poor people forget what poverty is like as soon as they are no longer poor? In his book, originally published in 1974, the Chilean Nobel prize winner strings together innumerable questions, including simple, complex, political, philosophical, witty, and metaphorical ones, to create a text resembling a long poem. Just like a lyrical monologue, the text doesn’t provide any answers but rather invites the readers to look for them themselves. Isidro Ferrer’s black-and-white illustrations don’t offer explanations either. Like on a stage, the artist produces a mysterious visual tale by putting together photographs, objects, and drawings. Doors, locks, stairs, and labyrinths hint at the unsolved mysteries of our world. (8+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2007 - 147
Nesquens, Daniel (text)
Arguilé, Elisa (illus.)
Mi familia
(My family)
Madrid : Anaya, 2006. 197 p.
ISBN 84-667-4718-4
Family
With »Mi familia«, Daniel Nesquens and Elisa Arguilé, who have already worked together several times, present their most original book to date. In Nesquens’s stories, family – an inexhaustible topic – is a bizarre cabinet of curiosities of very peculiar, both ordinary and weird, characters. The author portrays the dear relatives with all their idiosyncrasies in a witty and ironical way. Nevertheless, the descriptions are never defamatory because they always point out people’s humane side. Elisa Arguilé has translated the characters into brilliant illustrations. Her collage portraits in black-white-and-red show imperfect, deformed people who breathe individuality and self-confidence. (14+)

Spain (Spanish) - 2007 - 148
Roncagliolo, Santiago (text)
Wensell, Ulises (illus.)
Matías y los imposibles
(Matías and the Impossibles)
Madrid : Ed. Siruela, 2006. 111 p.
(Las tres edades; 136)
ISBN 84-7844-988-4
Grandfather – Grandson – Outsider – Death – Storytelling – Imagination
Matías is constantly teased and bullied. The only person who loves and understands the orphan boy (and tells him wonderful stories) is his grandfather with whom he lives. When the old man dies, Matías tries to escape his grief and loneliness by hiding in the wardrobe. Quite unexpectedly, characters from his favourite stories start knocking at the wardrobe door and take the boy on an adventure in which the line between reality and the imagined world becomes blurred and eventually disappears completely. Matías’s story, which offers child readers a lot of room for identification, is not only told in a gripping and amusing way; it also shows, in a sophisticated manner, the possibilities that people have for creating new worlds for themselves. (8+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2007 - 149
Canal, Eulàlia (text)
Ruano, Sara (illus.)
Un petó de mandarina
(A tangerine kiss)
Barcelona : Ed. Barcanova, 2006. 126 p.
(Sopa de llibres; 131)
ISBN 84-489-1960-2
First love – Friendship – War refugee – Interculturality
Tavi, the first-person narrator of this narrative, falls in love with his new classmate Vanina. The girl had to leave her home in a distant country because of a war raging there. One day, when she is able to return home, she simply disappears from the boy’s life. In between, a delicate friendship develops as they slowly get to know each other better. Both children learn what being in love feels like, but they also experience the negative emotions of insecurity, loss, and grief when saying goodbye. Imbedded in a school and friendship story that also touches upon intercultural topics, this book, written in an unobtrusive, poetical language, captures the children’s feelings and the magic of love in a natural way. (10+) ☆
(Premi Barcanova de Literatura Infantil i Juvenil; 2006)

Spain (Catalan) - 2007 - 150
Farré, Lluís (text)
Gusti (illus.)
»El nen gris«
(»The grey boy«)
Barcelona : La Galera [et al. ], 2006. [44] p.
ISBN 978-84-672-2204-3
Insensitivity – Outsider – Parents – Child
When Martí is born, he is neither prawn-pink like his father, nor grass-green like his mother, but simply grey – and not only on the outside. Imperturbable, as if under an impenetrable bell jar, the boy doesn’t take part in but rather watches his own life from the outside, showing neither joy, nor fear, nor any other emotion. One day, however, his shell starts to crack and the long-subdued feelings suddenly break free. Magnificent pictures illustrate this profound, slightly mysterious story. Astonishingly enough, they are brimming with power and energy. With an ingenious mixture of materials and techniques full of original ideas and forceful brush strokes, the illustrations serve as a tempestuous counterpoint to the initial monotony of the child’s emotion-free life. (6+)

Spain (Catalan) - 2007 - 151
Sierra i Fabra, Jordi (text)
Solà, Raquel (transl.)
Trucant a les portes del cel
Barcelona : Edebé, 2006. 286 p.
(Periscopi; 60)
ISBN 84-236-8149-1
(Spanish ed.: Llamando a las puertas del cielo)
India – NGO – Poverty – Wealth – Love
Against the will of her boyfriend and her parents, Silvia, a young medical student, travels to India to work in a hospital as volunteer during her holidays. Confronted with the social reality in a country so utterly foreign to her, the young woman soon becomes aware of the responsibility of every human being in a world that is growing closer and closer together. In a realistic style, the novel describes the personal tensions that Silvia experiences »between the two worlds«. At the same time, it offers a thorough insight into the work of nongovernmental organisations and their cross-border commitment. In this book, the multi-award-winning author again proves his talent for tackling topical issues and creating a skilfully written literary text that is interesting for young readers. (14+) ☆

Spain (Galician) - 2007 - 152
Alfaya, An
A sombra descalza
(The bare-footed shadow)
Vigo : Xerais, 2006. 133 p.
(Fóra de xogo; 92)
ISBN 84-9782-426-1
Spain/Civil War – Family – Secret
This novel deals with the dark sides of a family that suffers from one thing in particular: insurmountable speechlessness. Elsa, the 16-year-old protagonist, wants to know the reason for this secrecy and starts her own investigations leading her back to the Spanish Civil War and her great-aunt Sagrario’s distressing misfortune. She finds out that her grandfather actually is a despot and the women in the family his patient victims. The recognition that her own family is far from perfect is a bitter pill for Elsa, yet it also serves as an important step in the process of growing up and finding her own identity. An Alfaya has cleverly constructed this novel told in a quiet voice. New questions and secrets that appear at strategically important points in the plot create an interesting tension right up to the end. (14+)
(Premio Lazarillo; 2005)

Spain (Galician) - 2007 - 153
Carballeira, Paula (text)
Hénaff, Carole (illus.)
Smara
(<Proper name>)
Pontevedra : Kalandraka, 2006. 59 p.
(Seteleguas)
ISBN 84-8464-549-5
Sahara – Tradition – Storytelling
The setting for this book is the city of Smara (aka Semara), which is situated in Western Sahara and formerly served as an oasis for caravans travelling through the desert. There, a Spanish boy who accompanies his father on a journey meets Avoa Ugaga (Grandmother Ugaga). The wise old woman tells him entrancing stories about ancient times. Thus Smara is not only a foreign and fascinating place for the boy; it is also a symbol for an endangered traditional culture that is rich in myths, tales, and images. The book resonates with a quiet, almost melancholic atmosphere that is also captured in the illustrations inspired by the desert landscape and the colours and shapes of local ceramics, fabrics, and spices. (9+) ☆

Spain (Galician) - 2007 - 154
Patacrúa (text)
Solchaga, Javier (illus.)
A Princesa do Caurel
(The princess from the Caurel mountains)
Pontevedra : OQO Ed., 2006. [32] p.
(Colección Q)
ISBN 84-96573-52-4
Chain tale – Ring – Theft
The type of fairy tale in which an object travels from one person to the next and eventually returns to its starting point exists in numerous different versions. The story, often written in verse, grows longer and longer with each new change of owner because all of the previous stations are repeated. In this original photo-picture-book, the object is a ring that comes into the possession of a princess, then a bird, a cat, a dog, a stick, and so on. The figures are crafted with a lot of imagination from finds such as boards, roots, screws, tiles, etc. At the start of each new episode, only a small part of the next protagonist is shown at first. Thus, these pictures arouse the readers’ interest, invite them to guess, and also allow them to closely inspect the material used. (4+)