White Ravens: Specialon

1191 books      

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1993 - 1
Funazaki, Yasuko (text)
Kamiya, Shin (illus.)
Kamehachi
(Kamehachi, the Old Dog)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1992. 236 p.
ISBN 4-03-635510-4
self-development - dog - outsider - integration - divorced parent - single parent
No one likes 12-year-old Isamu, neither his classmates nor his neighbors; in fact, they avoid him. As soon as he gets an old dog, however, his conduct changes. The process of self-development is accompanied by a fine description of the changing of the seasons, which gives this novel its particular charm. In the last few years, more and more books focusing on domestic problems (e.g., divorced parents) are being published in Japan. As a rule, the stories are set in a metropolitan milieu, not in rural surroundings as in this book. (11+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 1993 - 16
Liou, Jian Ping
Jin Nian Ni Qi Suei
(You Are Seven Years Old Now)
Beijing: Zhong Guo Shao Nian Re Tong Chu Ban She, 1990. 227 p.
ISBN 7-5007-0814-9
father's diary - everyday life - parents - only child - society
This book is one of the first Chinese novels to portray the life of a only child. Chinese children today grow up in a world surrounded by adults: they have no brothers or sisters, they are thought to be lonely, proud and self-centered. The novel is crafted in the form of a monologue, a father's diary, dealing with feelings of affection and confusion. - In the book, the author is attempting to redefine the adult-child relationship. The book deals with such an important topic that it has already been translated into Japanese. (10+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Taiwan) (Chinese) - 1993 - 18
Hao, Guang Cai (text)
Li, Han Weu (illus.)
Qi Chuang Le, Huang Di
(Get Up, Emperor)
Taibei: Xin Yi Gi Gin Chu Ban She, 1991. 43 p.
ISBN 962-240-609-2
picture book - folktale
A folktale retold In modern fashion, this book is about how a farmer boy helps an emperor get up early in the morning. The simple story line allows ample space for the lovely, handcrafted paper cuts of the creative illustrations which combine the traditional art of Chinese paper cutting and modern art techniques. - Due to the superb Illustrations, this book was awarded the first Xin Yi Children's Literature Prize. (5+)

Special Mention - Croatia (Croatian) - 1993 - 24
Vrkić, Jozo (text)
Trebotić, Matko (illus.)
Bljeli svijet
(The Wide World)
Zagreb: Mladost, 1990. 141 p.
(Biblioteka vjeverica)
ISBN 86-05-00531-9
earthquake - Dalmatia - immigrant workers - Croatia - outsiders - family
A sophisticated, melancholic children's novel set against the backdrop of the earthquake in the Dalmatian mountain country at the beginning of the 1970s. Although somewhat overshadowed by the war going on in the country, the description of life under primitive conditions in the mountainous region, family worries, the problem of the children of emigrant workers who return to their country of origin and general social problems is still current. (9+)

Special Mention - Russia (Russian) - 1993 - 41
Sef, Roman (i.e. Roal'd Semënovič Sef) (text)
Vaščenko, Jurij (illus.)
Ključ ot skazki
(The Key to the Fairy Tale)
Moskva: Datskaja literatura, 1989. 238 p.
ISBN 5-08-001994-8
poem
A fancifully illustrated edition of brilliant poems for children by a not so young Russian author (born in 1931). Roman Sef is associated with both traditional Soviet Russian children's lyric (Kornej Čukovskij, Sarnuil Maršak, Vladimir Majakovskij) as well as Russian folk literature (some of his verses remind one of "(Častuški" - a kind of Russian popular ditty) and has an excellent feeling for rhythm. From his choice of theme and the way he approaches a topic, he is not unlike Josef Guggenmoos to whom he is in no way inferior with regard to his jokes. (8+)

Special Mention - Slovakia (Slovak) - 1993 - 46
Klimáček, Villam (text)
Votava, Aleš (illus.)
Karamelky
(Toffees)
Bratislava: Slovenský spisovateľ, 1992. [96] p.
ISBN 80-220-0371-9
poem - youth culture
Poems for young people which precisely capture young people's "feeling" and their interests. A rhapsody of love and music. Hidden behind banalities and a certain flippancy, partly packaged in nonsense, the author transports deep emotions and critical thoughts here. (12+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1993 - 70
Nye, Naomi Shihab (selected)
The Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from around the World
New York: Four Winds Press/Macmillan, 1992. 212 p.
ISBN 0-02-768440-7
poetry (international)
When a topic or theme like "multiculturalism" comes into vogue, whether in children's literature or any other field, many projects develop which are clearly done just to corner a piece of the market. And then again an idea may be realized and a work produced which probably never would have come about or received such publishing support without a strong impetus. Such is the case here. In 1991, the prize-winning American poet Naomi Shihab Nye sent out a call to all corners of the earth for entries for this collection and probably never dreamed of the great response she would receive. Her immediate goal was to find more poems from contemporary poets from other "foreign" countries to share with younger readers when working as a poet-in-the-school, to help them learn more about writing poetry and to open windows to new friendships. In the end she selected 129 poems from 68 countries and arranged for excellent English translations. The poems are grouped under six general headings, although, in one sense, each poem actually stands alone just as much as it stands together with the others. As one reads one begins to feel the presence of an international community - that is the essential and special experience which this volume helps create. For those readers who feel they have found a new friend, there are biographical notes on the authors; also included are a world map, an index to countries and an alphabetical author index. As an international anthology of translated poetry, it seems conceivable and commendable that the original works also be published in other languages, taking one more step toward closing the circle. (10+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1993 - 80
Morgenstern, Christian (text)
Zwerger, Lisbeth (selection/illus.)
Kindergedichte & Galganlieder
(Children's Poems and Macabre Songs)
Saizburg: Neugebauer, 1992. [n.p.]
ISBN 3-85195-301-0
poetry - Germany - picture book
A treasure of book illustrations: children's poems allow the graphic artist much more freedom tor his own ideas than prose text. Thus we find a spectrum of inspiring ideas in artistically akribic delicate workmanship in this little book. Typeface, paper coloring, page design are diversely presented. Each page reveals a new lyrical picture world. A book which will become a classic for children and adults. (4+)
(A suggestion for the 2nd edition: Morgenstern titled his wordless poem "Fisches Nachtgesang", not "Fischer's".)

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

Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 1993 - 100
Brouillard, Anne
Le sourire du loup
(The Wolf’s Smile)
Bruxelles: Dessain / Paris: Epigones, 1992. [26] p.
ISBN 3-2-7366-3605-8
wordless book - wolves
The young artist attracts attention with an extraordinary succession of pictures. There are large-format transformation games which make use of purely pictorial elements. Forms and colors shift dramatically from one double page to the next. The perspective moves in closer and closer, sweeps downward and backs off again. The action starts with a four-pointed white landscape in front of a red heaven with black pine tree tops below. Gradually one can see into the woods more precisely: a black wolf appears between the pale tree stumps, comes closer, his head gets larger and larger, the rocks change to teeth, the heavens to a tongue, they solidify into an explosive flash of lightning, then the teeth change back again into rocks, the old order returns, the wolf goes away. (4+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1993 - 103
Duchesne, Christiane
Victor
(<Proper name>)
Montréal: Québec/Amérique, 1992. 158 p.
(Roman 37)
ISBN 2-89037-592-7
mental handicap - friendship - protective spirit
The mentally handicapped Victor apparently marches to the beat of his own drummer. He is absolutely convinced that the earth is flat. On the other hand, Mme Belon, the neighbor whom he sometimes visits, is determined to win a trip around the world. Victor is worried about her. When she comes to the end of the world, she will fall off into the abyss. He decides to build a fence to protect her from such disaster. However, the task he has set for himself proves to be unworkable. Victor's nightly appearances, his two inner protective spirits Grigou and Serpente, know what to do and hurry to help. But even the three of them are not up to the task. In the end Victor is able to be convinced that the earth is round. The author has been successful in creating a whimsical account full of empathy for child- like reasoning processes. The dialogues between Victor and his invisible friends are charming. (9+)
(Prix du Gouverneur Général 1992)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1993 - 115
Rodrigo, Jean-Michel (text)
Perdereau, Hélène (illus.)
Pérou. Destination bidonvilles
(Peru, Destination Slums)
Paris: Albin Michel Jeunesse, 1992. 60 p.
(Camets du monde 18)
ISBN 2-226-05826-5
Peru - travel report - slums - Villa el Salvador
Becoming acquainted with the world by means of fictional or authentic travel reports, sketches and adventure narratives set in the capitals of the world are in demand these days in French literature for children and young people. Thus, the 18 titles of the series "Garnets du monde" are right on target. Cultivated design, thoughtful and lively layout, the quality of the information and the immediacy of the personal reports and the travel sketches themselves all contribute to their popularity. In this volume, the trip extends from the Andes to the model city "Villa el Salvador", the densely populated poor district of Peru, built in the desert near the capital city of Lima. The author conveys a thought-provoking insight into the problems of this community which, owing to the personal efforts of its inhabitants and its clever leadership, succeeded in becoming an autonomous and workable one. Atmospheric watercolors of breathtaking landscapes and the situation sketches let us participate in the events. (11+)
(Awarded the Plaque of the "Cinquième centenaire de la rencontre des deux mondes" 1992)

Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1993 - 118
Moessinger, Pierre
Boix, Manuel (illus.)
Socrate
(Socrates)
Genf: La Joie de Lire, 1992. 32 p.
(Connus, méconnus)
ISBN 2-88258-018-5
biography - Socrates - Greek history (470- 399 B.C.)
An especially notable volume from the series "known unknown" in which personalities of Western cultural history are presented. Here we read a fictional letter from Socrates to his sons, a mental legacy in which he sums up for them his vision of good and evil, important and unimportant. The agreement between the philosophical and the aesthetic message of the lovely pictures is striking. The illustrations are arranged like theater scenes, bordered by Greek columns and temple friezes and the text is integrated into the illustrations. The motifs are based on Greek vase painting, ancient statues and ivory brooches. A book with a powerful message, once again confirming the cultural objective of this one- woman publishing house and book shop in Geneva. (10+)

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

Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 1993 - 137
Nunes, Lygia Bojunga (text)
Yolanda, Regina (illus.)
Fazendo Ana Paz
(The Making of Ana Paz)
Rio de Janeiro: AGIR, 1992. 54 p.
ISBN 85-220-0340-8
artist's life - fiction
Fazendo Ana Paz tells of the process of literary composition. While the description how of the figure Ana Paz and her environment - above all the figure of her father - consistently elude the narrator's creative designs occupies the story level, an artistically consummate story materializes on the discourse level. The individual phases of the writing process are recounted mostly in the dialogues between the child Ana Paz and the narrator. Other figures, a young girl and an old woman who extorts an optimistic view of the future at the end of her days, are discovered to be stages of a single life. L.B. Nunes frequently describes the creative process in its dramatic, even tragic dimension (Tschau, We Three), but never before with such a light touch and an earnest, self-ironical cheerfulness. The Brazil of today in which the figures are anchored, the shadows of the military past and the social conditions in which they live and move, give the story its depth and compelling power, extending beyond the purely artistic set of problems. Whoever is fortunate enough to experience Nunes in the theater with the stageplay Ana Paz - in which she assumes all four roles - will gain an additional appreciation of Ana Paz, especially where the reader's own imagination had attributed its own particular intonation to the figure. (13+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1994 - 8
Sakata, Hiroo (text)
Chô, Shinta (illus.)
Dakuchiri dakuchiru - Hajimete no uta
(Dactyl Dactyl - The First Song of the World)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1993. [32] p.
ISBN 4-8340-1220-4
Dinosaur - Loneliness - Harmony - Nature- Humanity
In spite of the roaring noise of the fire-spewing mountains all around him, the giant Iguanadon is lonely. One day he encounters a brother-like creature, the pterodactyl. Although he doesn't understand the grating language, he nonetheless is pleased to hear it- the first song in the world. Emotions are the source of poetry. Higher poetry can ultimately lead us to humanitarianism. This picture book shows connections which the young reader can readily understand since the simple pictures and brief text of this story form an ideal unity. (3+)
(Based on a poem by Valentin Dmitrievich Berestov)

Special Mention - Russia (Russian) - 1994 - 49
Jakovlev, Lev (ed.)
Kukareku: skazki i komiksy …dija detej i vzroslych
(Cock-a-doodle-doo : Tales and comics ... for children and adults)
Moskva: Slovo, 1990. 210 p. With illustrations
ISBN 5-85050-268-8
Anthology/Russian
While the individual production of Russian children's literature brings forth new and interesting works only sparingly and gradually, this first volume of an anthology from a British-Russian publishing joint venture is a true firework. Witty, naughty verses alternate with gentle fairy tales, interesting non-fiction contributions (many dealing with art topics) and funny animal tales, and so on and so forth. Young authors are included along with great names in (children's) literature, such as Marina Cvetaeva, Daniil Charms, Evgenij Švarc and ėduard Uspenskij, to name just a few. The graphic design and the illustrations are also very impressive. The contributions by numerous renown artists are skillfully arranged in a harmonious unity. (8+)

Special Mention - Russia (Russian) - 1994 - 51
Pogorel’skij, Antonij (text)
Dechterëv, Boris A. (illus.)
Volšebnye povesti
(Tales of magic)
Moskva: Detskaja literatura, 1992. 125 p.
Modern Fairy Tale/Russian
This volume contains the two romantic tales Of Antonij Pogorel'skij (pseud. Of Alexei A. Perovskij; 1787-1836), a bastard sons of the Duke A.K. Razlimovskij: "The Poppy Seed Cake Woman of Lafertovo" and "The Black Hen or The Inhabitants of the Underworld." In both tales, the portrayal of the real world and psychological studies of the characters goes hand in hand with supernatural phenomena and the description of a fairy tale world. In the first tale, set in Moscow in the 17th century, a witch has a disastrous influence on human fates, which can only be corrected after her death. The second tale takes place in a boarding school in St. Petersburg in the 18th century and deals with a boy, an outsider, who is conducted into the underworld by a black hen, who "in reality", is the mininster of an underground dwarf king. The subterrestials possess mysterious powers and can help the boy in many situations. Both tales are clearly influenced by the works of E.T.A. Hoffmann. This book is striking for its excellent design and the outstanding historicizing illustrations by Dechterëv. (10+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1994 - 58
Moloney, James
Dougy
Si. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1993. 151 p.
ISBN 0-7022-2499-5
Aborigines - Racial Conflict - Sport
The narrator, Dougy, the youngest, seemingly simple-minded child of an Aborigine family living in a small village, relates the events of one summer in which his sister, Gracey, with whom he is very close, plays a leading role. After she wins the 100m race in the state championships and subsequently a scholarship to boarding school, the white residents of the village become openly resentful. Racial tensions surface when a white girl who had been expelled from the same school is found unconscious near the river. An armed "civil war" breaks out and one person is even killed. It is ended only by a flash flood, in which Dougy helps save his brother and sister from a mysterious shadow, perhaps the Moodagudda, the river spirit in which he (but not everyone) still believes. The intricate plot has several levels which are well-developed: the Aborigine family structure, the loss of and frequent indifference to their own Aborigine cultural heritage, sibling relationships, the status structure in the racially and socially mixed village community (microcosmos), and the chances and choices which different individuals use or misuse. The role of intolerance and prejudice as motivating factors in a community is also explicitly explored. Finally, the position of Dougy in all these events is perhaps symbolic of the average, passive observer and eventual participant in a socially changing situation. (14+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1994 - 62
Yashinsky, Dan (text)
Pitt, Nancy Cairine (illus.)
The Storyteller at Fault
Charlonetown: Ragweed Press, 1992. 63 p.
ISBN 0-921556-29-2
Storytelling - Folk literature (Adaptation)
A mighty ruler who loves stories so much that he would condemn the forgetful storyteller to death after saving the 1000 tales he has told (in the files of a memory machine), A young child who hates the fairy tales his father tells because they always end happily- ever-after - and are thus not true, since death after all is life's real end. A tale which cannot be separated from its teller. In addition to his retelling of ten tales from the oral traditions of Japan, Uganda, Portugal, Great Britain, Scandinavia,orway, Israel, France and ancient Persia in such a way as to make a rich narrative tapestry, the author-father frames his bed-time storytelling ritual with philosophical reflections which remind the adult readers of the magic and significance involved in passing along stories to the next generation in a most compelling manner - by the power of the stories themselves.

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1994 - 69
Merrick, Ann
Someone Came Knocking
Barnstaple: Spindlewood, 1993. 148 p.
ISBN 0-907349-32-3
Quest - Family - Child Abuse - Nursery Rhyme <Motif>
Tod is an emotionally and physically abused child, who is rejected by his alcoholic, junk-shop owner father after the mother's death, and copes with life by creating his own reality and employing careful strategies of escape and avoidance. The reader soon understands the stone which Tod feels "in his chest where his heart ought to be." Children's rhymes often run through his mind, stirring up vague memories of long-ago; they comfort him at bedtime and influence his actions during the day, too. For Guy Fawkes Day, Tod sews an odd-looking ragdoll with which to beg for pennies, but soon notices that the face he gave it was not of a guy, but a girl. This doll becomes his alter ego, singing and murmuring in his ear. The turning point in his months-long journey is the encounter with a children's social worker in a holiday home, who gains his trust and becomes mental anchor, This is a heart-breaking novel of a boy's survival in a cruel, anonymous world. It is a well-crafted story, whose initial feeling of hopelessness is gradually replaced by a strong sense of resiliency, making it a satisfying experience for readers who appreciate emotional involvement. (12+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1994 - 89
Wolff, Virginia Euwer
Make Lemonade
New York: Henry Holt, 1993. 200 p.
ISBN 0-8050-2228-7
Teenage Mother - Babysitter - Single-parent Family - School
A "lemon," in American slang, is something imperfect or defective. A lemon is, metaphorically, how the author characterizes the initial life circumstances of Jolly, a 17-year- old single mother with two pre-school children. The novel is, at least in part, about what she learns to make out of it. She struggles bravely against the odds to run the household and hold down a job. To do so, she needs an inexpensive babysitter, preferably one with strong nerves, a flexible time-schedule and experience. Instead, her advertisement is answered by 14-year old LaVaughn, a high-school girl and daughter of a hard-working widow. LaVaughn has set her mind on getting to college. For that she needs good grades at school and money, which she plans to earn with part-time jobs. The uneasy relationship that develops between these two very different teenagers over many months, the touching relationship between LaVaughn and the two young children, and LaVaughn's tentative attempts to defend her own opinions and actions to her mother are further aspects of this extraordinary, unsentimental novel set in working-class surroundings. That education is the key to the future could seem like an overly overt moral message, if it weren't simply self- evident under the given conditions. Narrated matter-of-factly by LaVaughn, it is written in her own natural speech patterns - a masterly achievement by Wolff. (14+)

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

Special Mention - France (French) - 1994 - 129
Denis, Jean Claude (text/illus.)
L'île aux mainates
(Mainate Island)
Paris: Albin Michel Jeunesse, 1993. [32] p.
(Les contes à dormir debout du pirate Pilou)
ISBN 2-226-05786-2
Pirate - Thrush (Blackbird) - Mimicry - Humor
This is the story of the feared and terrible pirate Pitou and a mainate, a clever, talking kind of thrush which leaves its home island on board Pitou's ship going to Europe. From the beak of this intelligent bird there is much to be heard. Upon arrival in Europe the thrush learns to imitate all sounds of our civilization and almost drives Pitou crazy, until he decides to return the irksome bird to his own kind. Ever since then this otherwise paradisical island has been filled with a true cacophony of the sounds of our civilization. In this oversized picturebook in comicstrip style - the author is known for his comics for adults - Jean Claude Denis succeeds in perfectly orchestrating the easily understood text with the pictures. Exclamations and commentaries are additionally placed in balloons. A first person report and nice, absurd fun. (4+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1994 - 140
Demers, Dominique (text)
Les grand sapins ne meurent jamais
(The Evergreens Will Never Die)
Montréal: Québec/Amérique, 1993. 154 p.
(Titan Jeunesse 17)
ISBN 2-89037-627-3
Death - Mother - Daughter - First Love - Pregnancy
The first volume of this planned trilogy already received unanimous applause from the critics. It told the story of the cancer death of the protagonist's mother. In the second volume we follow the mourning period of 15-year old Marie-Lune and how she finds comfort and support from her friend Antoine. One day she discovers that she is pregnant. Should she have the baby? Antoine, who is actually too inexperienced to be of permanent help, sees no problems to a future life together. Should she give up her child for adoption? She finds no adoptive parents who please her and decides lo keep her son. The novel ends with a description of the birth, which we follow through Marie- Lune's feelings and impressions. The interesting feature of this moving and gentle novel is the psychological maturing process of the figures and their ability to go new ways. The author brings closer the confusion of conflicting feelings and Marie-Lune's sensibilities with both tact and humor. (13+)
(Governor General’s Prize 1993)

Special Mention - Portugal (Portuguese) - 1994 - 159
Losa, Ilse (text)
Modesto, António (illus.)
Miguel o expositor
(Miguel, the exhibitor)
[Porto]: Afrontamento, 1993 (1st ed. 1983).
(Colecçao Tretas e Letras 10)
ISBN 972-36-0301-2
Poverty - Art - Mother/Son
Painting as an expression of intimate needs is made immediately visible in the case of young Miguel. When the friend of his over- worked mother sends Miguel out on the street to sell his first, still unfinished picture in order to make money, he obeys him. Miguel succeeds in selling his picture for a high price. But when the mother, made happy by the money, encourages him to make more pictures to sell, something in him threatens to break. When the mother suddenly recognizes the pain her child suffers and attends to him, the effect is redeeming for both protagonists and reader. The mood of each chapter is suggested by the use of matted or bright colors. (8+)

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+)

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)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1994 - 180
Thaulov, Pia
Lille Kong Magnus
(Little King Magnus)
Kopenhagen : Høst & Søn, 1993. 30 p.
ISBN 87-14-13081-5
Only Child - Sibling - Jealousy
As a single child, one is kind, but the parents are already at work at the dethronement. Once the little baby brother is born, a highly painful process of adjustment to a new situation begins. Pia Thaulov is a vehement illustrator, the brush full of energy, the colors wild, her ideas wild and grotesque. All the actors are characterized with unerring strokes. The mother, in spite of a stomach like as kettle drum, is not pregnant wet blanket, but remains an attractive young woman. The new infant is not, as usual, drawn sugary sweetly, as if from the parents point of view, but, complete with umbilical chord as if on a fishing pole, blue and blaring, leaps toward the first-born, who falls from his disintegrating throne as if into nowhere. The book ends happily in harmonious brotherliness, while the parents are sent off to prepare bottles and make more children. (0+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1995 - 2
ltô, Hiroshi (text/illus.)
Osaru ni nani hi
(A Monkey is born)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1994. 86 p.
(Dôwa ga ippai 36)
ISBN 4-06-19736-5
The first-reader series "Little Monkey Books" enjoys great popularity and wide readership from pre-school through adulthood. Little Monkey lives on a peaceful southern island. Earlier books in the series described the everyday life, the fear of being different, and adventures at sea; in this volume Little Monkey is waiting for a new brother or sister. The story tackles existential questions about life in a casual manner. The reader will be amused by the astonishing naivety, the delightful child-like thoughts and humorous illustrations which make the simple world of the monkey children seem like an oasis in comparison to one's own complicated and hectic surroundings. The "Little Monkey Books" are ingenious in their simplicity, which is perhaps the key to their enormous success. (5+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1995 - 3
lwasaki, Kyôko (text)
lwasaki, Chihiro (illus.)
Akamanma-Tôge
(Akamanma-Mountain Pass)
Tokyo: Doshinsha, 1994. 64 p.
ISBN 4-494-02321-3
Homesickness - Grandparent/Grandchild
When her mother goes to the hospital to have her second child, young Kazuko is taken to stay in the country with her grandmother. Although she is affectionately cared for by her grandparents, and can enjoy splendid natural surroundings, sometimes she is homesick. This is a sensitive story of everyday life which nearly every child experiences in one way or another. Particularly noteworthy are the gentle illustrations by Chihiro lwasaki which aptly capture the moods of the young girl and suggest something of the nature surrounding her without making it fully visible. From both a literary and an artistic point of view, this is an outstanding book in the inimitable Japanese style. (6+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1995 - 4
Kimoto, Momoko (text/illus.)
Uzurachan no kakurembo
(Let's Play Hide-and-Seek)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1994. 32 p.
ISBN 4-8340-1230-1
Chicks - Hide-and-seek
A baby quail and a baby chick play hide- and-seek. Each searches for a hiding place resembling himself, to avoid discovery. But their play is always interrupted and they constantly find each other. Rain clouds darken the sky. Suddenly mysterious shadows appear beyond the grass - then- mothers are coming to get them. All go home together happy and satisfied. In these simple scenes of playtime, portrayed creatively in clear shapes and colors, the feelings that little children experience day after day, such as joy, fright, fear and security, are given lively, immediate expression. (2+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1995 - 5
Kimura, Shôhei (text)
Yamazaki, Takumi (illus.)
Watashi wa obâchanga suki
(Grandma, my Love!)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1994. [38] p.
ISBN 4-8340-1249-2
Grandmother/Grandchild - Old age/Illness
When Makiko's grandmother returns home from the hospital after her accident, she is mentally lamed. Makiko is greatly troubled and attempts to encourage her to speak with questions about the two of them. By looking at herself in a mirror, grandmother gradually begins to recognize herself again. This book deals with a topic rarely treated in picture books and offers a stimulus to discussion for children and their families. In order to illustrate the progress of grandmother's from confusion to self-rediscovery and also Makiko's feelings, the illustrator employs a daring, abstract style of painting. The prismatic imagery and dissolving colors are given expressive resolution thanks to the appropriate text. (6+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1995 - 6
Mado, Michio (text/illus.)
Sorekara…
(And then?)
Tokyo: Dowaya, 1994. 160 p.
ISBN 4-924684-80-5
Children's poetry - Existence
In his newest book of poetry for children and adults the 85-year-old Andersen prizewinner Michio Mado turns his attention to things and creatures that are taken for granted and hardly ever consciously experienced, such as mosquitoes, ants, grass, wind, etc. Eveything in this world has a right to be here; because of their origins, every living thing is of equal value. Mado looks at creation not from the point of view a man but from that of the living beings themselves. Hence the reader make new discoveries in his poetry over and over Again. (7+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1995 - 7
Matsui, Tadashi (reteller)
Sekino, Kikuko (reteller)
Tan, Xiao Yong (illus.)
Yanmeizu to ryû
(Yanmeiz, a boy who fought a dragon)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1994. 40 p.
ISBN 4-8340-0245-4
Folk tale/China - Dragon -Abduction - Siblings - Peace - Wealth
A village boy born under miraculous circumstances sets off to rescue his sister from a dragon. His success brings peace and wealth to his village. The prize-winning Chinese illustrator Tan Xiao Yong contributes illustrations which combine traditional Indian ink and modern coloring on wet paper; inspite of their two- dimensionality they express spatial depth and physical weightiness. The strong, dynamic brushstrokes endow both the dragon and the protagonists, who are usually portrayed in the heroic poses of Asian theater, enormous liveliness. Alongside the impressive illustrations, which are outstanding examples of the singularity of the Asian art of painting, the painstakingly prepared text is rather reserved. (4+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1995 - 8
Miyazawa, Kenji (text)
Kuroi, Ken (illus.)
Neko no jimusho
(The Cat's Office)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1994. 36 p.
(Nihon no dôwameisakusen)
ISBN 4-03-963426-9
Cat - Bureaucracy - Discrimination
A satirical, fable-like tale about small-minded bureaucracy. Five elitist cats preside in an office where self-importance, intimidation and hypocrisy blossom. The author exposes the absurdity and folly of such everyday discrimination. In the end, unceremoniously, he lets a superior being in the figure of a lion to put an end to the whole business. The illustrator Ken Kuroi succeeds in giving expression to the realistic and the phantistic aspects of the text, a task which is especially difficult to do for the works of Kenji Miyazawa, the modern classic writer who holds a unique place in Japanese children's and youth literature. (14+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1995 - 10
Nasuda, Jun (text)
Yornogida, Yasuhiro (illus.)
Orefanto.- Nippon Zaemon shônenki
(The elephant. Notes about the young years of Nippon Zaemon)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1994. 253 p.
ISBN 4-06-207251-3
Adventure - Friendship - Sincerity - Japan/Everyday life 18th century
In this suspenseful and enjoyable tale, a fictional historical novel, Nasuda skillfully weaves a historical persons and events into fictional plot. In the middle of the Edo era (mid-18th century) there was a famous robber. Nasuda's fictional account of his childhood is climaxed by an exciting encounter between an elephant and the little elephant driver from Annam. Life at the toll stations along the streets of this feudal social system are depicted in an informative and lively manner. Nasuda has adopted a new style here by writing some parts of the novel in the first person, thus making history more immediately present and directly appealing to the reader. (12+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1995 - 11
Saragai, Tatsuya (text)
Hasegawa, Shûhei (illus.)
Bokusâ shigan
(The Boxers)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1994. 179 p.
(Kaiseisha Korekushon)
ISBN 4-03-744060-1
Growing up - Self-identity - Puberty/Boy
In these short stories five boys between the ages of 13 and 15 take leave of their childhood, each in his own way. One realizes that he must distance himself from his younger playmates, the second experiences the bitter reality of life through his own failure, the third is drawn into a dubious scheme of his father's, the fourth must take his mother's place in the work of the community, and the fifth experiences first love. All of them must try to deal with newly awakened feelings and a sense of self-discovery. Along the way, the foreign readers will get a glimpse into the everyday life of Japanese school children. This literary work, which is designed with a very original, eloquent cover, will leave the reader with a certain wistfulness. (12+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1995 - 12
Senjû, Hiroshi (illus.)
Hoshi no furuyoni
(When stardust falls...)
Tokyo: Fuzambo, 1994. [36 ] p.
ISBN 4-572-00332-7
Stag - Nature - Adventure - Night - Lost
A young stag who lives in the woods with his parents gets lost one evening due to his fascination with a shooting star. Following the river in which the sparkling star is reflected, the young stag comes to an empty city and the a meadow. Only at dawn does he find his parents again. Hiroshi Senju, painting in the style of modern Japanese art, has created a wordless picture book in his own unique style. On the left side of each double-page spread there is nothing but a small map of the course being followed by the young stag. The visual interaction of map and illustration enables the observer to experience the spaciousness of nature and the stillness of the night in the same way the stag does. The fine distinction between sky, water and landscape imbues the entire picture book with a very delicate atmosphere. (6+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1995 - 13
Yamashita, Haruo (text)
Murakami, Yasunari (illus.)
Ora, Ûtan!
(Hello, Ûtan!)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1994. 63 p.
(Ohanashi kânibaru 8)
ISBN 4-03-460080-2
Racial integration - School - Child/Foreigner - Difference - Friendship
The cultural diversity which is gradually arising in Japan due to the presence of guest workers precipitated the appearance of this didactically excellent children's book. A highly unconventional beginning reader, it deals with the integration of two new first- graders, a Japanese boy and a Spanish girl, into the class. The ways in which their two cultures differ is cleverly interwoven in the story in a precise and humorous narrative, which is supported by convincing illustrations. An interesting Japanese contribution to the topic of cultural integration. (6+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1995 - 39
Kelleher, Victor
Parkland
Ringwood: Viking/Penguin Books, 1994. 255 p.
ISBN 0-670-85904-4
Fantasy - Man/Animal - Genetic experimentation - Difference/Tolerance - Extraterrestial beings/intelligence - Freedom - Friendship - Change - Survival
For nearly two centuries artificially bred humans and man-ape hybrids have lived together in harmony and docility in a high- walled enclosure, guarded by keepers who supply all their needs but also mete out sadistic punishments when necessary. The strong-willed, curious Cassie and her two intelligent, hybrid friends manage to break out of the enclosure. After their disastrous flight to freedom they return reluctantly to Parkland, where they finally break the mastery of the keepers and learn why those extraterrestrial beings had become "cosmic gardeners" with a mission to maintain diversity and harmony in the galaxy. This masterly written novel with strong characterizations challenges the imagination of the reader on every page and poses basic questions about human life, attitudes toward fellow creatures, and the ability to create and control life and society. (14+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1995 - 40
Pugh, Dailan (illus.)
Dunkle, Margaret (text)
Secrets of the rainforest
South Melbourne: Hyland House, 1994. [32] p.
ISBN 1-875657-11-8
Rainforest - Conservation - Australia/Flora and fauna
Unlike Europe or North America, children in some parts of Australia have the opportunity to walk directly from their homes into a rainforest with stunning, century-old vegetation still inhabited by rare and endangered species of animals. In this picture book for primary school children Kevin, son of a logger, takes a walk for the first time in the local rainforest with environmentally concerned classmates whom he had once dubbed "the greenie mob." Overwhelmed by its beauty, which is realistically presented in full-paged gouache paintings, Kevin realizes the need to prevent further destruction of this unique natural habitat. The at times lengthy text serves to describe the habits and needs of the various animal species, making Kevin's growing social awareness plausible. While the intention of the book is undoubtedly moralistic, it is tastefully presented in a very attractive and informative format. (5+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1995 - 41
Rodda, Emily (text)
Kelly, Geoff (illus.)
Power and glory
St. Leonards: A Little Ark Book/Alien & Unwin, 1994. [32] p.
ISBN 1-86373-677-8
Video game - Family life - Challenge
By dealing with an activity close to their hearts and high on their minds, children who are reluctant to read might be drawn to this story about a video game player. In fact an book with an unconventional layout, it employs repetitive, situational vocabulary and hilarious caricatures of family life situations. The narrative tension between the all-absorbing challenge of a video game of skill and adventure and the continual interruptions by parents, siblings and pet, each with their own demands is as hilarious as it is realistic. Geoff Kelly has chosen an avant-garde style of illustration which resembles but in no way imitates video graphics. (6-8) ☼

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1995 - 44
Fine, Anne
Step by wicked step
London: Hamish Hamilton, 1995. 135 p.
ISBN 0-241-00161-7
Stepparent - Family problems
Even if this book by one of England's best contemporary authors had appeared anonymously, its success would be guaranteed by the immediately absorbing narrative with its masterful combination of suspense and sensitive delving into the hearts and minds of appealing and believable main characters. Five twelve- year-old classmates who know each other only superficially accidentally discover the memoir of a man with a tragic family history in a hidden room of an old spooky manor. A chance find, a cryptic word from their teacher and an all-night round of storytelling begins, in which each tells about his or her own family problems and gains insight into the difficult choices and emotional turmoil facing each of the others. The common bond between them all is the presence of stepparents in their lives. This is a book which will be read in one sitting and still be (hauntingly) memorable long after. (10+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1995 - 45
Hathorn, Libby (text)
Rogers, Gregory (illus.)
Way home
London: Andersen Press, 1994. [32] p.
ISBN 0-86264-541-7
Homelessness - Boy - Cat - Friendship
His white-on-black text and the skillfully composed dark, somber illustrations immediately identify this book as one dealing with a "problem": the underside of life, street life, in a metropolitan city in a modern affluent society. It depicts an hour in the life of a boy of the street - in which such a picture book would have no place - who empathizes with and adopts a stray cat as company. Together they return through the ugly back alleys to the hole he proudly calls "home." Lacking in any didacticism, direct in its tone, impeccably designed, the book cannot fail to make a lasting impression on any reader willing to face its chilling truth. (8+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1995 - 46
McKay, Hilary
The exiles at home
London: Victor Gollancz, 1993.
ISBN 0-00674644-6
(Paperback: London: Lions/HarperCollins, 1994. 173pp)
Siblings - School - Africa - Charity - Grandmother - Elderly
This is an engrossing and well-paced family story in the excellent British storytelling tradition. The four Conroy sisters, aged between thirteen and six years, have not changed a bit in this sequel to the Guardian award-winning title The Exiles (1991). The thread running through the narrative revolves around the girls' efforts to acquire £10 month after month to send to a 10- year-old African boy whose education the girls have decided secretly to sponsor. They get involved in numerous escapades by sitting for the baby next door, selling packed lunches at school, robbing the postbank, selling their mother's books, or gardening for an elderly couple. Each of the girls has a distinctive personality within the family, and alone or together their actions and idiosyncratic reasoning ensure the reader one laugh after another. (9+) ☆ ☼
(Overall winner, 1994 Smarties Award)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1995 - 47
Ure, Jean (text)
Hellard, Susan (illus.)
Who's for the zoo?
London: Orchard, 1995 (text first publ. 1989). 64 p.
(Readalones)
ISBN 1-85213 662 6
School - Zoo - Animal rights
The Orchard "Readalone" series offer a wide range of stories written by some of the UK's most popular and humorous contemporary writers and illustrators for children, such as Rose Impey, Mary Hoffman or Jonathan Alien. With this sixth installment in her "Woodside School Stories series" the versatile Jean Ure manages to portray a cast of individual characters and tackle a topic of social concern. When one pupil in her classroom hesitantly reveals her dismay at the planned school excursion to the zoo, the teacher finds a clever way to let the rest of the pupils reflect on how it might feel to be kept in a cage and gawked at. The somewhat larger type and black-and-white sketches make these titles attractive additions for home, school and public libraries, while the choice of topics makes them suitable for readers of English as a second language. (7-9) ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1995 - 65
Bolden, Tonya (ed.)
Johnson, Charles (forward)
Rites of passage. Stories about growing up by black writers from around the world.
New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 1994. 208 p.
ISBN 1-56282-688-3
Blacks - Racial discrimination - Self- discovery
The syntax, vocabulary and content of these seventeen stories is uniquely rooted in the so-called black experience without making them any less universal, inspiring and entertaining for readers of all ethnic and racial backgrounds. The manifold effects of belonging to a minority which collectively has been economically and socially disadvantaged for so long are sometimes blatant, sometimes quite subtle elements in these poignant and finely tuned tales about crucial moments in the process of coming of age, of learning to see the real world from a new perspective. This international anthology includes authors who grew up and still write today about contemporary life in North America, Latin America, Africa, England, or Australia. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1995 - 66
Robinet, Harriette Gillem
Mississippi chariot
New York: Atheneum, 1994. 117 p.
(A Jean Karl Book)
ISBN 0-689-31960-6
USA/Racism - Friendship - Father/Prison
In this story about one hard-working black sharecropper family suddenly caught up in the wheels of injustice, racism in rural Mississippi in the 1930s is depicted realistically but without bitterness. The protagonist, twelve-year-old Shortning, is quite capable of recognizing and verbalizing his disadvantaged situation but seeks anyway to get his father released from the chain gang. By chance he saves the life of a white boy, Hawk, who begins to recognize his own prejudices and misconceptions of blacks. Though they are each still bound by strict social conventions. Hawk helps Shortening succeed in his plan. The solid plot and natural, honest dialogues create an authentic, gripping story of resilience and solidarity in the face of adversity. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1995 - 70
Kusterer, Karin (text)
Edita Dugalic (text)
Heimat ist nicht nur ein Land. Eine bosnische Flüchtlingsfamilie erzählt
(Home is not only a land. The story of a Bosnian refugee family)
Wien: Dachs, 1994. 127 p. With maps and tables
ISBN 3-85191-007-9
Bosnia/War - Refugee/Germany
The Bosnian Edita Dugalic (now 17 years old) lives with her family in Germany. In this book she relates her experiences of war in the former Yugoslavia, her childhood in her hometown of Zvornik on the Drina River - which is not lost to her - and her escape, the confusion. Her contacts to her friends in Bosnia with whom she went to school - whether Serb or Muslim children - are not broken off. This book deserves particular attention not only because of its current relevance - about which the media is full of necessarily one-sided and short journalistic reports. Here is a report of the personal experiences of younger and older people, completely lacking in sensationalism. They try to understand and survive their involuntary entanglement in the catastrophe of war. There is no mention of the gruesome acts which happened and are still happening, only of the wish of the civil population to live in peace in their homeland. The editor and co-author has included notes of history-making dates and geographical names. (12+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1995 - 71
Recheis, Käthe (text)
Holländer, Karen (illus.)
Wolfsaga
(The wolf saga)
Wien: Herder, 1994. 507 p.
ISBN 3-210-25075-8
Wolf- Dictatorship - Utopia
The great black wolf Schogar Kan, stronger than all the other wolf leaders, wants to create heaven on earth for his pack. He wants there to be only one great pack of wolves whose lives and survival is to be ensured with force against the rest of nature and other animals. He tolerates no opposition. Fighting and war crop up in Arcadia. Nonetheless or precisely because of it, the dictatorship must fall. His negative utopia of life, based on despotism, stands in contrast to the traditional, nature-given rules and to Waka, the eternal laws of creation. Schogar Kan is not conquered by counterforce, but rather loses his power through the gentle art of persuasion of a weaker one. In this narrative the author portrays the laws which nature herself has created. The animals decide for or against anti-nature and violence in the form of the great wolf and bear the consequences of their decision. Kathe Recheis impressively presents a mighty question here. With her protagonists of her saga of the natural world she dreams of an ideal, and above all of an achievable ideal world. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1995 - 72
Riha, Susanne (text/illus.)
Wir leben gern bei euch zuhaus
(We would like to live at your house)
Wien: Betz, 1994. [28] p.
ISBN 3-219-10589-0
House pet/Care
A house pet doesn't need to be a problem for parents and children. If the proper minimal prerequisites and attitudes are present and proper care is given - as demonstrated here for twelve of the most common and beloved European house pets in text and pictures - both children and adults can have pleasure in a lively and healthy pet without pangs of conscience. This is set out in an informative and detailed manner in this picture book which is suitable even for smaller children. (5+) ☼

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

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

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

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1995 - 92
Johansen, Hanna (text/illus.)
Ein Maulwurf kommt immer allein
(A mole is always a loner)
Zürich: Nagel & Kimche, 1994. 118 p.
ISBN 3-312-00778-x
Mole - Individualism - Family
The mole is a typical loner and only feels really happy when he is left alone. Hanna Johansen has made use of this fact to create a poetic case for the individualists of this world, wherever they may be hiding. Mother Mole loves her little children, her "closest to her heart little silk worms" as much as any other concerned mother. The little moles get along together, fight and battle with one another, become independent. They dig their own tunnels. The little girl mole, much to her own surprise, even tolerates a guest in her wing of the tunnel once. And soon she builds a nest of her own and has her own little "closes to her heart silk worms" to take care of, at least for a while. But the story in this book is not quite so thin. There are the most marvelous odors in the mole tunnels, they are crawling with little bugs and insects, "friends" of the moles. That is how the life of a mole is - friends are those you can eat, enemies are those who can eat you. The art of storytelling needs few words, just the right ones. Hanna Johansen uses this art to create new worlds which provide adults and children unexpected, funny and ironical insights into their own world. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1995 - 93
Schindler, Regine (text)
Jucker, Sita (illus.)
Mia, was ist ein Trip?
(Mia, What is a trip?)
Zürich: bohem press, 1994. [32] p.
ISBN 3-85581-261-6
Drug abuse - Friendship - Family
Sometimes Matthias meets Mia and Puek, the dog, on his way home from school. Mia is a junkie and one day she cannot conceal it from Matthias any longer. His parents forbid him to see her any longer. When he meets her, her condition is already incura- ble. The boy takes on a big project: some- day he will work with drug addicts. Al- though it is quite clearly a problem-centered (picture) book, conceived in cooperation with the Swiss Central Agency for Addic- tion Prevention, the text and illustrations convey an atmosphere of security in Mat- thias's home as well as the vulnerability of: homeless drug addict. This book provides an opportunity for discussion and lets even younger children know how dangerous drugs are, but also that in certain cases addicts can be cured. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1995 - 94
Tolstoi, Leo (text)
Abesinova, Elena (illus.)
Maja, Geise (German text)
Wieviel Erde braucht der Mensch?
Zürich: Speer, 1994. [36] p.
ISBN 3-85916163-6
Farmer - Greed - Death
Pachom, the farmer, tries to think of way if purchase more land. He learns about a region where one can acquire as much land one is able to mark off by walking from sun-up to sundown. He decides to take up this good bargain but overtaxes himself with his march around his future land and dies. The German version of this Russian has been shortened and adapted for children. The illustrations contain the traditional Russian folk art motifs in richly detailed and yet grandly playful, humorous and brightly colored variations. Interspersed with ironic jabs at the religious practices and everyday life in grand old Russia, there is a new picture world of men, women, angels and animals on each page. Countryside and cities are boxed inside of one another, make-believe maps with cyrillic writing draw attention to themselves. The illustrator Elena Abesinova lives and works today in Kiev. (6+) ☼
(See also Nr. 25 and 26 (Romania))

Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 1995 - 95
Elzbieta (text/illus.)
Clown
(Clown)
Paris: Pastel/L ʹEcole des Loisirs, 1994. [28] p.
ISBN 2 211 018 94
Clown - Toy - Dream - Personal Property
In his dreams a young boy sees a clown dressed in white against an alternately dark yellow and an orange background. On the right side pages the text describes all the things he owns, on the reverse side it tells what he has lost. He had a pink rose ... it was eaten up by a sheep. He had a purple pair of pants ... the dog ran away with it. He had a nice red nose ... a blackbird snatched it off. But when the clown wakes up the next morning he finds all his treasures gathered around him. Vivacious and expressive drawings betray the illustrator's gentle humor. She has succeeded in creating an enchanting book for the very young reader. (2+) ☆

Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 1995 - 96
Hellings, Colette (text)
Maes, Dominique (illus.)
L'oeuvre d'âne
(The donkey's opus)
n.p.: Pastel/L'Ecole des loisirs, 1994. [28] p.
ISBN 2-211-019-36-6
Art appreciation - Humor - Donkey - Pegasus - Genius - Painting - Self- discovery
This humorous picture book deals with a confused young donkey in his painting studio, which is empty except for three cans of paint. Yet quite unexpectedly he is able to fulfill his painter's ambitions. In the end our donkey perceives himself to be a bud- ding genius, covering not only the canvas but also himself with colorful splats of paint. On wings of joy the pointer flies through the open window, upwards toward the sun. In a simple manner the author and the illustrator succeed in presenting the creative process with all its ups and down. The reader shares in the artist's joy and learns along the way quite coincidentally something about the theory of colors. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1995 - 100
Simard, Rémy (text)
Pratt, Pierre (illus.)
Mon chien est un éléphant
(My dog is an elephant)
Willowdale: Annick Press, 1994. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55037-979-8 (French ed.) 1-55037-977-1 (English ed.)
Boy - Elephant - Friendship - Disguise Hide-and-Seek - Family Conflict
Hector takes in an elephant which has esca- ped from the zoo and hides it in his room. To protect his mother from any further sur- prise encounters with the giant animal - she faints each time - Hector tries out different disguises for his charge. But all his efforts prove to be unsuitable. In this series of slap- stick style surprises which climax in the mother's fainting spell the reader can even image hearing the thump of her fall. Such grotesque inventiveness is great fun! (5+) ☼
(1994 Canadian Governor General's Award for Illustration)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1995 - 109
Gaussen, Dominique (text)
François I er & les Châteaux de la Loire
(Francis I & the Loire castles)
Paris: Mango, 1994. 96 p. With illustrations
(Regard dʹʹaujourd ʹhai)
ISBN 2-7404-0359-3
Francis I of France - Loire/Castles - Royal Court - France/Everyday life 1494-1547
The author and successful advertising expert, Dominique Gaussen, has taken Voltaire's motto that all types of things are good except the boring ones, and proven its truth. Thanks to his humorful inventiveness we are given a well-paced and diversified glimpse into the life of the French king, life at the royal court, and the origins of the Loire castles. Gaussen cleverly embeds it into the social and historical context of the Renaissance. This illustrated informative book is designed as a stimulating piece of journalism and owes much to modern techniques of advertising. Divided into numerous short, very different chapters, the eye-catching headlines, the combination of old documents, photomontage, and contemporary caricatures awakens the reader's curiosity. This very new style of disseminating knowledge matches the times best of all. (12+)
(Prix Cercle dʹ Or Livres Hebdo 1994)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1995 - 110
Gutman, Claude (text)
Rue de Paris
(A Street in Paris)
Paris: Gallimard Jeunesse, 1994. 187 p.
(Page blanche)
ISBN 2-07-058265-5
Paris/World War II - Jews/Persecution - Homelessness - Palestine - Emigration - Search for identity
This is the last volume of a trilogy about the fate of Jews in France during the Second World War. David is filled with the desire for revenge when he learns the fate of his parents at the end of the war. He leaves Paris and the people who had given him a home. Searching for a new meaning to his life, he takes care of Jewish orphans, falls in love with Sarah, and follows her to Palestine on an adventure-filled crossing of Mediterranean by ship. But Palestine is still under British control. He experiences the hard and anonymous life in the refugee camps and kibbutz, the struggles against the occupying powers. In short, clipped sentences he tells of his bereavement, his anger, his sense of being lost, his inner vacuum. But he is drawn into the tumultuous events around him. His love of literature, his feelings for the totally committed Zionisten Sara, the solidarity of the comrades are highlights in the struggle for survival. In a final identity crisis, he decides to return to France. Claude Gutman grew up in Israel; his descriptions of the arrival of Jewish refugees and the precarious daily life in Palestine are most impressive. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1995 - 111
La Fontaine, Jean de (text)
Fables
(Fables)
Paris: Albin Michel, 1994. 66 p. With illustrations
ISBN 2-226-07042-7
Fables - Animal/Fable
This year is the 300th anniversary of the writer Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695). In commemoration, Albin Michel has issued this splendid large-sized volume of fables. Thirty well-known children's book illustrators and comic artists from France and also from other countries were commissioned to contribute illustrations. Whether traditional or idiosyncratic, their interpretations are extremely stimulating and awaken the well-known teachings of morality and cleverness to new life. The final two pages are particularly humorous. The artists have written and drawn their own biographical sketches. This volume will please both young and old; a must for every library collection. (7+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1995 - 112
Pennart, Geoffroy de (text/illus.)
Le loup est revenu!
(The wolf has returned!)
Paris: Kaléidoscope, 1994. [34] p.
ISBN 2-87767-121-6
Rabbit - Wolf- Fear - Fairy tale/Spoof- Animal Tale
The wolf has returned! Upon receiving this threatening piece of news, various well- known figures of classic fairy tales seek refuge in the rabbit's home. In a reversal of the usual course of events, the Seven Billy Goats, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Three Little Pigs, among others, arrive. The very last guest is the bad wolf himself. But all turns out harmoniously with a common vegetarian feast. To top it all off, the wolf tells them scary wolf stories. It makes merry reading for young and old to follow these funny episodes of fairy tale spoofing. Prix Saint-Exupéry 1994 - Valeurs Jeunessi (4+) ☼

Special Mention - France (French) - 1995 - 113
Pernin, Muriel (text)
Wintz, Nicolas (illus.)
Famine: l' arme des tyrans
(Famine: The weapon of tyrants)
Paris: Syros, 1994. 134 p.
(J' accuse...!)
State/Misuse of power - Oppression - Famine - Ukraine/History 1931-33 - Kosovo/History 1993 - Traveller's journal
This is one of the first titles in a new, daring and elegantly designed series focusing on human rights. The name of the series is taken from Zola's famous outcry "J' accuse!" in the French press on January 13, 1898. Its principle is simple. Two stories frame an extensive documentary middle section. In this case, the first historical report deals with the events in the Ukraine during a great famine in 1933, which was precipitated by the Soviet Union to gain access to power. The author draws on documents and eye-witness accounts of refugees in France and survivors in the Ukraine. The second historical report is a diary of a humanitarian aid project in Kosovo in 1993. Because the author succeeds in maintain a distance to the events being described, the reader is able to deal with the gruesome suffering in an objective manner. The elegant design of the volume contrasts with its content and weakens its effect to some extent. (15+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1995 - 114
Pommaux (text/illus.)
Une nuit, un chat...
(A night, a cat ...)
Paris: Lʹ Ecole des loisirs, 1994. [30] p.
ISBN 2-211-027-741
Cat - Father/Conflict - Adventure - Nighttime - First love
Even in cat families the day comes when the youngest offspring goes out at night alone. The worried father follows his son secretly and intervenes discretely and unrecognized whenever danger arises. Breathlessly the reader follows Groucho's first adventures in the darkened city, which the illustrator has masterly staged in a series of pictures. The nighttime scenery, the slanted rooftops, the motionless statues, the threatening shadows are impressive. On secret corners, on the large square, there is an active nightlife for cats. All the cat protagonists are attired in clothing and endowed with the human characteristics. Groucho has a happy and a dangerous encounter. The next night he goes out again. In this humorous and well- drawn picture book Pommaux succeeds once again in transposing general human experience to the animal world. (5+) ☼
(Sélection Livrimages 1994)

Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1995 - 115
Bille, Corinna (text)
Hainard, Robert (illus.)
Le mystère du monstre
(The mysterious monster)
Genève: La Joie de lire, 1994. [34] p.
ISBN 2-88258-044-4
Wallis/Monster - Wolf hunt - Media
In dialogue with her two little children, a mother tells about the tragicomic events which came to pass in the highest village in the canton of Wallis. An unidentifiable monster began to terrorize the inhabitants, stealing sheep and chickens night after night. The case become more and more widely known, a public disgrace, but no solution was found - until by chance months later a large wolf was shot. The story is so lively written that it really seems authentic. The personalities in this small community in the mountains are superbly characterized, the ups and downs of hope and error make the reader smile. With the help of the pencil drawings and colored prints of the well- known Swiss animal artist Hainard the publisher has succeeded in creating a minor work of art. (8+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1995 - 116
Chaillot, Nicole (text)
Europe est une femme
(Europe is a Woman)
Paris / Genève: La Nacelle, 1994. 57 p. With illus. chosen by Agnès Rosenstiehl
(Musèe Imaginaire)
ISBN 2-88393-028-7
Art appreciation - Art history - Painting - Cultural history - Feminism
In this nonfiction picture book numerous portraits and pictures by famous artists from several centuries, citations from the works of famous writers and philosophers from the Roman times up to today document the role which women have been relegated by men in society and in the arts. Two children, a boy and a girl, discover page after page the passive role of the woman, who is supposed to be young and beautiful, and the prejudices under which women suffered in past epochs. The lovely, meticulously laid-out book is not only an interesting work on cultural history but also a history of women's liberation. Its unusual perspective deserves particular attention. (11+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1995 - 117
Pef (text/illus.)
Je m' appelle Adolphe
(My Name is Adolf)
Paris / Genéve: La Nacelle, 1994. [42] p.
ISBN 2-88393-025-2
National Socialism – Hitler, Adolf - Peace/Pedagogy - Right-wing radicalism
Well-known in France for his humorous books, the author-illustrator Pef ventures to take on a serious subject, a treatment of his childhood memories during and immediately after the Second World War. Somewhere in France there is a boy named Adolf who bears a fatal resemblance to a historical figure. His easy-going parents have no time for him. He leaves home and goes alone into the woods where he meets a group of Neonazis having a wild party and a woman who survived the concentration camps. Both encounters are nearly fatal. Only when the old woman has explained to him the historical background does he begin to understand. This parable of the unreliability of memory, misleading appearances, and the necessity of passing on historical knowledge is consternating and foiling. The narrative seems to be fragmented, and little Hitler is a tragicomical figure. Nonetheless, or precisely therefore, it is a book which has a feeling of immediacy - enhanced by the style of the illustrations - and forms an important addition to the literature on this subject. (9+) ☆

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

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

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

Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 1995 - 128
Lago, Angela (illus.)
Cena de rua
(Street scene)
Beto Horizonte: RHJ, 1994. [28] p.
ISBN 85-7153-067-X
Latin America - City - Homeless Child - Poverty - Ostracization - Outsider
This wordless picture book shows scenes of everyday life of a street boy caught up in the vicious circle of poverty, hunger and theft, between the cars in the heavy traffic of a big city where he scrapes a living as a streetside seller. Though he appears to be in close contact with people, passersby react to him with fear and aggressively reject him. His yearning for security remains unfulfilled. The oppressive scenes on the black-bordered double-page spreads are bathed in an artificial light. The flat, glaring colors elucidate the aggressive, threatening atmosphere of the big city. Unusual perspectives underline the confinement and the chaos, everything is in motion, there is nothing offering him support or protection. In this book Angela Lago shows a completely new side of her many-facetted talent. The Brazilian illustrator has already won several international prizes. In 1994 she was the Brazilian nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Prize (6+)

Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 1995 - 129
Rangel, Paulo (text)
Moura, Ercília (illus.)
As uvas do Marengo : Memórias de um menino bem comportado
(The grapes of Marengo: the memoir of a well-mannered boy)
Belo Horkonte: Lê, 1993. 148 p.
(Transalivre; 15)
Brazil/Childhood/Boy - Memoir/Boy
A nine-year-old boy wants more than anything else to be allowed to spend a day at Chacará de Marengo. Actually nothing more than a resort for day excursions, he imagines it to be more tempting than paradise. Under the provision that he and his brothers not get into too much trouble, the father, a very busy gynecologist, agrees to fulfill this dream. In retrospect the nearly grown-up narrator depicts the often comical efforts the boys made to meet the father's requirement. But in the end it is all in vain. Chacará de Marengo remains an unfulfilled childhood dream. Paulo Rangel succeeds in giving a very vivid description of family life through his witty narrative and to-the-point portrayal of the catastrophes in everyday life. (14+)

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+) ☼

Special Mention - Greenland - 1995 - 147
Maqe, Elisa (reteller)
Rosing, Jens (illus.)
Tunumiit mersertini oqalittuaat
(East Greenlandic children's stories)
København: Atuakkiorfik, 1994. 75 p.
ISBN 87-558-1040-3
East Greenland/Short stories/Anthology
The lack of literature for Geenlanders and their children is often complained of in the Danish press. Only a few books are being published in Greenlandic, an Eskimo language, leaving the children of Greenland dependent upon books in Danish. Thus the efforts of a few publishing houses which take an interest in Greenland's children's literature are to be commended. Even the dialect of East Greenlandic is given a place in this collection of folk tales for children. Because it is hardly spoken anymore, these eight tales, retellings of old fairy-tale like traditional stories, are also printed in West Greenlandic, Danish and English. Knowledge of the dialect had nearly disappeared; the only one able to pass down the dialect today is the farmer Elisa Maqe, born in 1916 and granddaughter of a shaman. The realistic, slightly grotesque illustrations by a Greenland artist retain the authentic landscape of these fairy tale-like episodes. (6-10) ☆

Special Mention - Greenland - 1995 - 148
Jacobsen, Miki (reteller)
Olsen, Rosing (illus.)
Kaassassuk
(<Proper name>)
København: Atuakkiorfik, 1994. 36 p.
ISBN 87-558-0953-7
Fairy tales/Greenland
Already made known to the German- speaking reader in an anthology by Lisa Tetzner, the grotesque tale of the poor ugly orphan boy Kaassassuk, who is teased by his playmates, but helps his foster parents by way of his extraordinary strength is available here in the original version. The naive realistic illustrations of the Greenland artist give an impressive portrayal of the scenes of the tale set in an authentic, pre- industrial Greenland. (6-10)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1995 - 155
Lagercrantz, Rose (text)
Sprang Olsen, Ib (illus.)
Lilla Geo eller Flickan som kunde lura döden
(Little Geo, or the girl who fooled death)
Stockholm: Bromberg, 1994. 63 p.
ISBN 91-7608-652-6
France History 1900-1950 – Illegitimate child-Vitality
In this pleasantly short book one has all the world in a nutshell: love, death poverty, war, mercy, child-like hope, courage and good fortune. In so few pages the author unfolds, as in passing, a virtual Comédie humaine in which each episode is short story, an embryonic novel. The foil to a chunk of real family history in France, as befits our century, could hardly be more dismal than that against which Georgette, a child born out of wedlock and soon orphaned, makes her way into a secure middle-class existence. Stimulating and impressive are the illustrations - the work of an old master - which through their authenticity (he traveled to France especially for this purpose) take on an urgency that no reader, no child can escape The extremely reticent form of these black and-white pencil drawings are surprising for their concentrated atmosphere and dramatic force, which is enhanced in every sense by a nervous line of seldom found finesse, even by Spang Olsen himself. Turn-of-the-century atmosphere, cityscape, tender mother-love, but also human baseness even to exhibitionism in action (in the background, but clearly visible) - everything that makes the eye keen and the imagination winged is found in abundance on these few pages. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1995 - 156
Nilsson, Ulf (text)
Gustavsson, Jan (illus.)
Råttan kommer!
(The rat is coming!)
Slockholm: Bonniers junior, 1993. 32 p.
ISBN 91-48-52135-3
Hobo - Social isolation - Oppression - Liberation - Remorse
A hobo rat, who himself has turned mean through constant social ostracization and persecution, becomes an oppressor of weaker mice from whom he steals food. But one heroic little mouse succeeds with her child-like optimism in stirring his heart so much that he feels remorse for his deeds. With this short story, Nilsson, who by now has made a name for himself as an author of fable-like animal stories for the best Swedish illustrators, takes issue with the in times of crisis all too readily accepted motto "homo monini lupus." Its illustrations are on the same par as the story. The phy- siognomy is apt and funny, the episodes are cleverly depicted. Jan Gustavsson is among the best realistic modern illustrators. (8+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1995 - 157
Persson, Gunilla Linn (text)
Höglund, Anna (illus.)
Delfinen mellan mussia och moln
(The dolphin between shells and clouds)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1994. 32 p.
ISBN 91-638-3102-3
Loneliness - Self-knowledge - Strangeness - Understanding - Sibling rivalry
Again and again one astounds at how popular this very individualistic illustrator is with Swedish readers. The reason that she has such success with her bizarre and strongly stylized pictures may have something to do with young readers being schooled by today's grotesque comic series. Yet Persson is certainly not giving them easily understood topics. It is not possible to depict in only a few words the absurd situation of a lonely woman having a dolphin as a substitute for a child delivered to her house and getting used to its unusual wishes. He helps her to find a new will to live and she helps him to overcome his jealousy of a younger sibling. To be thrown off the track of everyday life for a few moments and thereby find one's own self is a tension-filled story that the reader will find rewarding. (8+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1995 - 158
Wahlin, Bertil (text)
Hagstrand-Velicu, Kerstin (illus.)
Småkrypsboken
(The book of small animals)
Stockholm: Tiden, 1994. 128 p.
ISBN 91-550-3899-9
Insects - Reptiles - Field guide/Animals
These two Swedes have created a clearly organized and easy to use field guide for everything that flies and crawls around us Europeans at home, in the garden and in the neighborhood day in and day out. The text is limited to naming and describing animals and their activities, without too much superfluous knowledge; included are clear, painstakingly executed color illustrations which are even more informative than photographs, since they do not confuse the reader with ingenious and decorative close- ups, which are often more for sales- promoting than illuminating. (10+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1995 - 167
Hazelhoff, Veronica (text)
van Poppel, Peter (illus.)
Veren
(Feathers)
Amsterdam: Querido, 1994. 73 p.
ISBN 90-214-6548-5
Sister/Twin - Sibling rivalry - Friendship - Loneliness
Vacation with the parents at the seashore. Nini is bored because the only child to be seen for miles around is her twin sister Maya. And she is so different from everyone else, difficult and withdrawn. When they meet Nessa, Nini wants nothing more than to have her as a friend. But Nessa feels more drawn to Maya. They seem to understand each other without many words, and Maya begins to open up a little. Feeling left out and lonely, Nini even finds herself thinking how useful it would be if Maya would just disappear. But in the end both of the twins recognize that they belong together and need each other. This complicated story of sibling rivalry and growing up is told in a gentle sensitive narrative. (12+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1995 - 168
Provoost, Anne
Vallen
(Falling)
Baarn: Houtekiet, 1994. 264 p.
ISBN 90-5240-2278-7
Grandfather/Grandson - Death - Second World War/Past/Present - Scapegoat
Fascism and racism in history and today are the main elements of this young adult no- vel. When his grandfather dies and it be- comes known that he had betrayed Jews in hiding during World War Two, Lucas dis- covers that the past can catch up with you. He is told that he has many of his grand- father's traits. When he rescues his girl- friend from a burning car, no one will be- lieve that it had been an accident. People suggest that he has a violent character. (14+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1995 - 169
Tellegen, Toon (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Mijn vader
(My father)
Amsterdam: Querido, 1994. 86 p.
ISBN 90-214-8371-8
(Dt. Ausg.: Josefs Vater. Übers. v. Mirjam Pressler. München: Hanser, 1994. 86 S. ISBN 3-446-17794-9)
Everyday life
One day a dot rolls into Josef's life, gets bigger and bigger and soon has arms and legs and a head. "I am your father," he says. And soon Josef knows that this father is someone very special. It is not just because he is taller than all other people, he can simply do anything: he can help Josef out when he is doing mental arithmetic, help him do acrobatic tricks at the gym, or even chase a scoundrel out of is bedroom. He is always there. He can be funny or sometimes just plain normal. When he finally disappears, Josef is sure that his father will return. After all, he can do thousands of things. A funny story of everyday life in an unusual family, told from a child's perspective. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 12
Nasu, Masamoto (text)
Nishimura, Shigeo (illus.)
E de yomu Hiroshima no gembaku
(The Atomic Bomb of Hiroshima in Pictures)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1995. 84 p.
ISBN 4-8340-1265-4
Hiroshima - Atomic bomb - World War 2 - Nuclear Physics - Peace movement
The title tells the reader straight away that this is no easy reading. But whoever opens up this over-sized, oblong picture book will be overwhelmed by the splendid interaction between text and illustration and by their expressiveness. The reader will be filled with a desire to learn more about this event. The text provides a wealth of information about the Second World War, the atomic bomb, radiation damage, the world-wide escalation of nuclear armaments after Hiroshima, current issues about atomic energy and about the anti-nuclear energy and peace movements. This broad and diverse subject matter is given meticulous treatment, interspersed with drawings, tables and graphic art work to make it easily understandable by anyone. Parallel to the very well-structured text segments scenes of life in the old castle town of Hiroshima before, during and after the bomb was dropped, are depicted in full-page illustrations. In all these pictures floats the soul of a victim of the atomic bomb, accompaning the reader along the »stations of this ordeal.« With their diversity and simplicity the illustrations touch the emotions through their diversity and simplicity, allowing each reader a very personal experience. This informative book includes only drawing, setting it apart from most other documentary works based on photographs. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 13
Ochi, Noriko (text)
Masai, Kei (illus.)
Terifuriyama no somemonoya
(The Dyer of Terifuri Mountain)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1995. 138 p.
(Wandârando 12)
ISBN 4-03-540120-X
Colors - Plants - Nature - Japan/Fairy Tale
During an artistic crisis a young man takes refuge in the mountains in order to begin anew his work, colors and weaving. His efforts to win the beautiful colors of nature from plant sources are intensified when he makes the acquaintance of a young girl and her father, the »dyer of Terifuri Mountain«, who has a wonderous way of performing his craft. Through this encounter and by experiencing a festival of the mountain inhabitants in moonlight he develops his very own art of coloring which makes him famous. Finally he himself becomes known as the »dyer of Terifuri Mountain.« This fictitious fairy tale is marked by a sensibility to nature, the Japanese aesthetic, and illustrated with graceful, simple pictures. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 14
Ōta, Daihachi (text/illus.)
Būtan
(Butan, the Pig)
Tokyo: Kogumasha, 1995. 34 p.
ISBN 4-7721-0128-4
Friendship - Greed - Pig - Exploitation
Colorful, earthy pictures tell about Ben and his unusually large pig, Butan. Every-one wants to see it - people from the village, from the city, from the newspaper, from television. It is the main attraction of a show in the city. For the closing celebration, Butan is to be slaughtered and Ben is offered a considerable sum of money for him. Completely enraged , Ben returns home, and from then on Butan helps out in the fields and entertains the children. Behind this naive story there is a bitter truth to be found about exploitation. (4+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 15
Ozawa, Toshio (reteller)
Akaba, Suekichi (illus.)
Nihon no mukashibanashi. Zen 5 kan
(Japanese Folk Tales. Vols. 1-5)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1995. Each 368 p.
ISBN 4-8340-1324/5/6/7/8
Folk tales/Japan - Ainu/Oral tradition - Folk tales/Okinawa
The 301 tales collected here by the leading folk-tale researcher in Japan, T. Ozawa, give a comprehensive picture of Japanese folk tale tradition. In order to give todays's children this rich store of tales in its original form, this edition has been edited with a view to the ethnographical background and literary style of oral folktales. Furthermore, the local dialects have been trans-formed into standard Japanese and the rhythm of speech adapted to enable smooth-flowing story-telling. The tales are grouped according to the four seasons and excellently illustrated with pictures by the Hans Christian Andersen prize-winner Suekichi Akaba. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 16
Satō, Makiko (text)
Ozawa, Masumi (illus.)
Watashi no himitsu no hanazono
(My Secret Garden)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1994. 270 p.
(Kaiseisha korekushon)
ISBN 4-03-744080-6
Illness/Everyday life - Nature - Garden
Written in a very concise, atmospherically dense manner, this autobiographical story describes in 21 episodes the everyday life and psyche of an 8-yearold girl who suffers from a serious case of asthma. Just as in her favorite book »The Secret Garden« by Burnett, the garden plays a central role in the life of this protagonist. It represents happiness and life even though her experiences of nature summon up conflicting feelings due to her illness. (12+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 17
Segi, Shinichi (text)
Kayama, Matazō (ed.)
Kokoro ni nokoru Meigabijutsukan. Zen 5kan.
(The Gallery of Famous Pictures. Vols. 1-5)
Tokyo: Kin no hoshisha, 1995. Each 48 p.
ISBN 4-323-02051/52/53/54/55-X
Painting - Children - Animal - Nature - Love - Pleasure -Mourning - Imagination
These five volumes contain all together 216 famous paintings from artists all over the world. The volumes are dedicated to the following themes which children are most concerned with: 1: Father, mother and child; 2: The world of animals; 3: Beauty and grace in nature; 4: Love, joy and mourning; 5: Wonderous world of dreams. This makes it easier for children to enter into the world of artistic painting. Short commentaries describe the artists, their works and the historical context. In volumes two and three the differences between the painting techniques and styles in European and Japanese art are given special emphasis. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 18
Tang, Yaming (text)
Yu, Dawu (illus.)
Saiyūki
(The Journey to the West)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1994. 69 p.
ISBN 4-06-132207-9
China - Buddhism - Ape - Demons - Adventure
The fantasy- comedy »Hsi-yu chi«, written in 1592 and recounting the travels of the monk Xuanzang to India in the 7th century, has been retold in this impressive artistic picture book. The dynamic protagonist of this classic Chinese work is the apeking, Sun Wukong, who was born from a stone. Endowed with supernatural powers, he even pushes his way into heaven where he is turned into a stone by Buddha. After 500 years he is freed by another monk whom he accompanies and helps to fight against demons who hinder believers making their pilgramage. This is a selection of the most popular episodes from the complete work consisting of 100 chapters, each accompanied by a short preface. (6+) ☆ ☼
(42nd Sankei Cultural Award for Children's Books & Publications - JR Prize, 1995)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 19
Yosano, Akiko (text)
Takabe, Seiichi (illus.)
Kingyo no otsukai
(The Gold Fish Couriers)
Tokyo: Kakusha, 1994. [24] p.
ISBN 4-906268-61-7
Goldfish - Help - Humor
Three brothers and sisters of a Tokyo family send their gold fish as couriers to another quarter of town. The fish are able to walk and speak like people, but possess all the characteristics of a fish. Thus they encounter all kinds of difficulties along the way, but are repeatedly assisted by friendly people. The notable illustrations by Seiichi Takabe for this naive-absurd story for children by the wellknown poet Akiko Yosano (1878-1942) contain a certain surreal humor in a commercial art style that was common in Japan at the beginning of this century. (5+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Republic of China (Taiwan) (Chinese) - 1996 - 20
Ceng, Yangqing (text)
Liu, Zonghui (illus.)
Yuanyuan de facai meng
(Yuanyuan's Dream of Getting Rich)
Taibei: Xinyi Jijin, 1994. [40] p.
ISBN 957-642-202-7
Wealth - Blindness - Friendship - Betrayal
Yuanyuan, the shepherd boy, dreams of becoming rich one day and marrying a princess. The enchanted chameleon in the old pagoda knows of his wish and shows him how he can make more from his money. He cheats his friends, the bird and the trees, and even gives his friend, the lily, to the princess to win her favor. But the princess spurns his advances. Blinded by his desire for wealth, he has thus lost everything. At last he awakens from his daydream. Marvellously delicate illustrations, which are easily accessible for the viewer, accompany this story and replicate the mood of each scene and its figures in subtle shadings of color. (7+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Taiwan) (Chinese) - 1996 - 21
Lin, Qingxuan (text)
Wu, Jianhua (illus.)
Wangzi he yizi
(The Prince and the Chairs)
Taibei: Xinyi Jijin, 1994. [28] p.
ISBN 957-642-207-8
Prince - Pride - Work
The spoiled prince never works, he won't even carry a chair into the garden when his fathers asks him to. He is much too high-born to lower himself in that way. But then he loses the kingdom and must learn to carry chairs and work hard. Tasteful illustrations transport the reader into an oriental fairy tale world. (5+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Taiwan) (Chinese) - 1996 - 22
Wang, Lan (text)
Zhang, Zheming (illus.)
Da hua mao
(The Large Multicolored Cat)
Taibei: Genhua, 1992. [32] p.
ISBN 4-8288-1342-X
Cat - Respect - Empathy
The large multicolored cat is very hungry. Setting out to find something to eat, she encounters first two goldfish swimming in a bowl. They lament that if she were to eat one of them, the other would be sad and lonely. The cat accepts this and leaves them alone. Suddenly a little bird falls at her feet, but the parents beg her to spare the life of their child. The same again happens with the mice. Each time there is a good reason for the cat to give up her catch. Will she ever be able to still her hunger? This colorful picture book intends to show that it always pays off to respect the life of others and find other alternatives. (3+)

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1996 - 26
Deall, Alanna (text/illus.)
Kensani's Kite
Sandton: Mike Jacklin/Knowledge Unlimited, 1995. [26] p.
ISBN 1-86839-374-7
Old Man/Boy - Friendship - Kite
An old man sits under a tree carving animal figures, peaceful but lonely. Then a little boy suddenly comes out of nowhere, flying a plastic bag as a kite. The two of them make it into a real kite and spend a mutually enjoyable day together. The gentle, poetic narrative is accompanied by pen-and-watercolor drawings which capture the character of the protagonists, their feelings and their immediate surroundings. The book is designed in an very attractive style. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1996 - 27
King, Georgiana (text)
Eloff, Friedel (illus.)
Zolani Goes to Yeoville
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1995. 48 p.
ISBN 0-624-03394-5
Father/Son - Friendship
When Zolani recovers slowly from a debilitating bout of measles, his mother decides that a change of setting would help him and decides to invest all her savings - instead of buying a cow - in making a visit to the father who works in faraway Johannesburg. Their weeks long stay there as subletters in the home of a white family makes an interesting experience for the boy used to living in a remote rural district. The peaceable relations between Zolani's family and their temporary hosts is portrayed without any moralizing overtone, and the everyday pleasures and misunderstandings make interesting reading. (10+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1996 - 28
Wyk, Chris van (text)
Callinicos, Luli (text)
Oliver Tambo
Cape Town: Maskew Miller/Longman, 1994. 66 p.
(They Fought for Freedom)
ISBN 0-636-01984-5
Tambo, Oliver/Biography - African National Congress - South Africa/Politics
This series of biographies presents southern African leaders who have been struggling for freedom and justice in this century. Short readable chapters with fictionalized conversations and meetings make these books lively and inspiring. Illustrated with photos and supplemented with maps and an appendix of vocabulary, project activities and further reading, the series can also be used in classrooms. (10+)

Special Mention - Swaziland (English) - 1996 - 29
Leggat, Gillian (text)
Heerden, Marjorie van (illus.)
The Car with Three Wheels
Manzini: Macmillan Boleswa Puublishers, 1995. [24] p.
ISBN 0-333-56004-3
Brother - Birthday present - Homemade toy
Musa wants to give his little brother a special birthday present, but he has no money. With considerable ingenuity - and some forbidden scavenging - he find enough scraps to make a red racing car. Not only does his brother find it the »best present in the world«, they both continue to collect odds-and-ends for future presents. Though this story is set in Africa, where pocket money may be scarcer than elsewhere, the idea that hand-made things are as valuable as store-bought ones, and a gift of the heart the dearest of all, is universal. The color or black-and-white full-page illustrations attractively capture the main events of this simple everyday story. (6+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Zimbabwe (English) - 1996 - 30
Proctor, André (text)
Koch, Hannie (illus.)
The school we made
Harare: Baobab Books, 1992. [24] p.
ISBN 0-908311-36-2
School - Soccer - Everyday life/Village/Zimbabwe
The villagers first get support to build a real school building and then they are granted their request for an accredited teacher. But this strict, taciturn stranger has other ideas about classroom behavior, appearances and when it is appropriate to play soccer on the school's sport field. The efforts of the parents and the heart-felt enthusiasm of the pupils for their soccer team finally win him over and he becomes integrated into village life. The gently drawn pen- and-brush drawings on each page capture the main elements of this well-written entertaining tale. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Zimbabwe (English) - 1996 - 31
Kala, Violet
Waste Not Your Tears
Harare: Baobob Books, 1994. 73 p.
(Turn about series)
ISBN 0-908311-64-9
Love - AIDS
A young woman thinks she has found the man of her dreams. After she moves into his quarters, his promises of marriage prove to be the false words of a lazy and self-centered man. When she discovers that he has infected her with AIDS, she must find the strength to live with this situation. This topic is not only of interest to Africans, but all over the world. (14+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 45
Hendry, Frances Mary
Chandra
(<Proper name>)
Oxford: University Press, 1995. 120 p.
ISBN 0-19-271712-X
India/Customs - Marriage - Family
At the age of eleven Chandra, a schoolgirl in modern-day Delhi, is married by her family to a sixteen-year-old boy, a distant relative whose traditional family lives in a remote rural area. All her dreams of a modern marriage with a boy she immediately liked vanish when he dies before she arrives at his home. But in accordance with tradition, a widow must remain in the family, staying out of sight, and work as a servant. And indeed this family is very hard on her. Chandra's spirit, however, is not easily broken, and she manages to escape from this cruel fate. Though her parents refuse to help her, her grandmother finds a way to enable her ultimately to start a new life in England. This novel touches the heart in its portrayal of a determined girl up against nearly insurmountable odds.The narrative is well-paced, the local color of the city and rural Indian life believable. Though not written by a native of India, the author has surely done considerable background research to create a sympathetic portrayal of the dilemmas of Indians torn between socially cohesive traditions and the desire for progress and individual happiness. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 46
Howarth, Lesley
Weather Eye
London: Walker Books, 1995. 217 p.
ISBN 9-7445-4305-3
Climate - Conservation - Electricity - Windmill - Computer-based communication
This novel is set in 1999 against a background of chaos in world weather patterns and reflects anxiety about the encironment and changing climate. Telly lives on a wind farm and is a member of »Weather Eye«, a club that shares information via Internet about climatic conditions all over the world. A neardeath experience during a storm leaves her with psychic powers and a clear, if daunting purpose. The third award-winning book by Lesley Howarth is a sophisticated and well-written story in which the suspense and drama are sustained throughout. (12+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 47
McKay, Hilary
Dog Friday
London: Victor Gollancz, 1994. 125 p.
ISBN 0-575-05837-4
Ten-year-old Robin and his widowed mother run a bed-and-breakfast in an old Victorian house on the Yorkshire coast. After a collision with a dog sends him to hospital, Robin is extremely wary of canines. His new neighbors, family with four children, whose wacky, unconventional and inventive way of life adds adventure to his life, help him overcome his fears of dogs and bullies. The sprightly story, full of funny episodes is a well-developed, fastpaced entertainment. (9+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 48
Stannard, Russell
Our Universe. A Guide to What's Out There
London: Kingfisher/Larousse, 1995. 96 p.
ISBN 1-85697-317-4
Universe/Origins - Astronomy
Stannard, a professor of physics, has already written several well-received and entertaining introductions to the concepts of modern physics. Beginning here with the facts and basic laws of nature on our planet, he moves from matter and gravity to the solar system and on to the theories of the origins of our universe. The design of each page is varied, using colorful illustrations, box inserts for factual details, black-and-white cartoons and quiz questions, all arranged to keep the focus on the subject matter. This informative and easy-to-follow text will appeal even to young readers who might otherwise avoid natural science topics. (10+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1996 - 54
Aura, Alejandro (text)
Gukova, Julia (illus.)
Langer, Shirley (transl. from Spanish)
Sefami, Sally Stokes (transl. from Spanish)
The Other Side
Toronto: Annick Press, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55037-405-2
Curiosity - Opposites - Reversal - Eternity
One day the king sent all the children in his kingdom out to discover what the world was like on the other side. Made curious by their reports that everything was just the same, except »sdrawkcab« he decided to see it all for himself. The surprising result is left open-ended in this playful, mindboggling tale. The author, a prize-winning poet and philosopher, is a major figure in contemporary Mexican literature. The composition of this story follows the axioms of storytelling by awakening the curiosity and imagination of the young reader with thought-provoking ideas. The illustrator, who lives in Moscow, has already illustrated many children's books and won the Third Prize at the BIB. She has expanded the text with Alice-in-Wonderland-like imagery in a surrealistic style where colors play an important role. (7+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1996 - 55
Gilmore, Rachna (text)
Priestley, Alice (illus.)
Lights for Gita
Toronto: Second Story Press, 1994. [24] p.
ISBN 0-929005-63-5
Festival - Homesickness - Friendship
A young Indian girl whose family recently moved to the chilly northern climate of Canada excitedly looks forward to celebrating Divali, the Hindi celebration of lights in honor of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth who brings good fortune and prosperity to all throughout the year. Though the day turns out much differently than she expected, she makes another step toward accepting her new surroundings. (6+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1996 - 56
Gugler, Laurel Dee (text)
Willms, Russ (illus.)
Little Wynne's Giggly Thing
Toronto: Annick Press, 1995. [24] p.
ISBN 1-55037-407-9
Family - Usefulness
Little Wynne would like to contribute to the running of the household, but all the important things in home and garden are taken care of by the adults. So she turns to making gadgets and sculptures whose only function is to stimulate laughter and enjoyment. Not successful at first, she is persistent and finally gets the others to see the usefulness of her own playful creations. The caricaturist full-page and double-spread illustrations support the zany thesis of the book. (6+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 61
Feelings, Tom
Clarke, Dr. John Henrik (intro.)
The Middle Passage. White Ships - Black Cargo
New York: Dial Books, 1995. [80] p.
ISBN 0-80377-1804-7
Africa/Slavery - North America/Slavery - South America/Slavery
The renowned US-American artist and professor of art, Tom Feelings, expresses the horror of the African diaspora - the transport of millions of black men, women and children into slavery in the New World - in 64 narrative paintings. Feelings captures here a world-shattering event while also giving expression to a highly personal experience. Leaving out any text captions helps to emphasize that this sin against humanity can only be fully realized at the visceral level. In an introduction he explains how he came to develop this project, while Dr. Clarke gives historical background to the forces that led to the slave trade. This is a highly recommendable work for showing young people that history is more than facts, illustration is much more than decoration. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 62
Garland, Michael (text/illus.)
Dinner at Magritte's
New York: Dutton, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 0-525-45336-9
Dali, Salvador - Magritte, René - Fantasy - Art
The American illustrator Garland conveys his enthusiasm for surrealist art in this simple story of a young boy living outside of Paris who breaks out of the boring, even petrifying stillness of his parent's cottage to visit his artist neighbor, Magritte. When Magritte's friend Dali also pays a visit, they help Pierre discover that there are other ways of visualizing one's immediate surroundings. Garland's colorful surrealist illustrations invite readers to open their imaginations. (4+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 63
Murphy, Jim (text)
Kiesler, Kate (illus.)
Into the Deep Forest with Henry David Thoreau
New York: Clarion Books, 1995. 39 p.
ISBN 0-395-60522-9
Thoreau, Henry David/Travels - Nature
The award-winning non-fiction writer, Jim Murphy, uses Thoreau's own journal entries about a trip through the wilderness of Maine to create an adventure story of suspense and discovery which young readers who appreciate nature will find eye-opening. Watercolor scenes of landscape and black-and-white vignettes of animals and plants attractively frame the text. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 64
Hamanaka, Sheila (comp./intro.)
On the Wings of Peace. Writers and Illustrators Speak Out for Peace, in Memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
New York: Clarion Books, 1995. 144 p.
ISBN 0-395-72619-0
Peace/Anthology
This collection of contributions from 60 wellknown authors and illustrators from numerous countries of the world is dedicated to the people who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, a terrible event which serves to remind us why we must work for peace. The written contributions are short texts about true or fictitious events or poems well-suited for reading aloud. Some speak to the mind, others to the heart, but all condemn war and its pain. The artwork includes every thinkable type of media. The pieces are excellently reproduced on full-sized pages. The book was put together with great care and dedication. It includes a valuable bibliography of resource materials on war and on conflict resolution for adults and for children, biographical notes on the authors and illustrators and step-by-step instructions for folding an origami paper crane. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 65
Scieszka, Jon (text)
Smith, Lane (illus.)
Maths Curse
London: Viking/Penguin, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 0-670-86631-8
(Orig. ed: New York: Viking, 1995)
Mathematics - School
When his teacher states that „almost everything [is] a maths problem", a boy begins to see his entire life in terms of numbers and mathematical functions. He begins to feel she has put a curse on him. Of course, for this well-known author-illustrator team that is just an excuse to give the reader a riotously funny romp through a maze of incongruous quiz questions. The artwork and design of each page are fully absorbing, and the clear typeface suggests that this is also a book for first readers. The editor has apologized for and corrected a mathematical error which was overlooked. Fans of this authorillustrator team will not be disappointed in this latest collaboration. (6+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 66
Venezia, Mike (text/illus.)
Jackson Pollock
Chicago: Children's Press, 1994. 32 p.
(Getting to know the world's greatest artists)
ISBN 0-516-02298-9
Mike Venezia believes strongly that the best way to introduce children to art or music is through fun. His wry and witty texts and matching comical, deadpan illustrations are interspersed with samples of the artist's most famous pieces. The texts highlight key biographical facts and stages in the artist's development. This series includes books on a broad range of artists from Sandro Botticelli and Rembrandt to Georgia O'Keefe and Edward Hopper. Another series done in the same style is titled »Getting to know the world's greatest composers« and includes modern composers such as Aaron Copland and earlier ones such as George Händel. (8+) ☼

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 1996 - 110
Stibane (text/illus.)
L'Arbre aux Corbeaux
(The Tree of the Ravens)
Paris: Pastel, 1995. [36] p.
ISBN 2-211-029-63-5
Raven - Enemy - Violence - Civil war - Destruction - Fable
A large swarm of ravens lives peacefully in an old tree until one of them finds a red scrap of material and decides he will become the king. A little later another raven discovers a scrap of yellow material and also wants to become king. That means war! The rival kings and their followers fall upon each other. A merciless war ensues. Finally one group sets fire to the tree to kill off the enemy. When the tree is ablaze, the ravens finally realize what they have done. The fighters unite and put out the fire. Peace returns and as an admonition, the yellow and red scraps are left to hang on the tree. This fable of the raven's civil war is expressively staged. The sparse text outlines the course of the story and lets the illustrations portray the action. The aggression of the explosively escalating forms and color are very effective means for conveying the meaning and message of the story: how violence develops, what destructive forces they encompass, which even when held in check, still exist under the surface. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 1996 - 111
Vincent, Gabrielle (text/illus.)
Je voudrais qu'on m'écoute
(Please Listen to Me)
Paris/Louvain-la-Neuve: Duculot, 1995. [28] p.
ISBN 2-203-55163-1
Loneliness - Runaway - Neglect - Parents/Daughter
This picture book illustrates the labile sensitivity of a child. Sitting in front of the mirror in her room, a little girl decides to run away from home because no one will listen to her. The steps and stubborn ideas that must be taken when running away are revealed in each subsequent picture, passing through a long landscape into the deep dark forest. Sparse lines and subdued watercolors skillfully suggest the loneliness of the wilderness in which the child becomes lost and in desparation calls for her mother. When the full moon rises, Papa finds his child and carries her home again. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - France (French) - 1996 - 126
Piquemal, Michel (select.)
Vautier, Mireille (illus.)
Paroles de fraternité
(Words of Fraternity)
Paris: Albin Michel, 1996. 64 p.
ISBN 2-226-07135-0
Fraternity - Ethics - Anthology
To share, to give, to stand together - these are synomyms for fraternity or brotherhood. Saint- Exupéry said it with an image: we must throw a ladder out into the night. Abbé Pierre, father figure for all the homeless, has taken as the motto for his life: remember to love! All the authors who are represented in this anthology know of the mobilizing power of fraternity from a deep human experience. Whether Epiket, Tolstoy, Georges Brassens - they all express with a passion their dedication to fellow man in an impressive, personal style. Their words are not merely abstract appeals, but suggest possibilities for practicing the ideas of fraternity. That makes this collection of text so seducingly convincing. It can be a vade mecum for one's own life. The illustrations, done in the style of art brut, corresponding perfectly to the spirit and immediate appellative character of the texts. Reduced to their simplest form as heads, the figures have stripped off everything that would prevent an encounter with their brothers. Their ability to smile is as convincing as the expressivness of the texts. And the vivid, flat/broadly applied colors correspond to the message of the words. The sources of the text are given in an bibliographic appendix. This series also contains other recommendable anthologies. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1996 - 127
Poncelet, Béatrice (text/illus.)
Chut ! Elle lit.
(Shhh! She Is Reading)
Paris: Seuil Jeunesse, 1995. 36 p.
ISBN 2-02-022176-4
Mother/Child - Reading - Disturbances - Tenderness
Two pairs of children's eyes peer out of the darkness - codes for the point of view from which the story is to be experienced. The children's mother has buried herself in soft pillows near the mellow light of her lamp, hoping for a quiet hour of reading. Suddenly a zooming toy grasshopper and a picturebook are pushed to the foreground. They belong to the sons, who pester their mother, demanding her affection. The cool, dark tones give way to warm, lighter colors and at last she enfolds all the children in her arms. In this suble portrayal of childlike perceptions, the artist has broken with all conventional techniques of picture book illustration. She works with an assembly of elements which can only be grasped with associative reading and encoding. (10+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1996 - 128
Ponti, Claude (text/illus.)
Tromboline et Foulbazar: Les Masques
(Tromboline and Foulbazar: The masks)
Paris: L'École des Loisirs, 1995. 20 p.
ISBN 2-211-031-77-3
Chicks - Masks - Fear - Fun
The well-known illustrator presents an attractive series for small children in small format. Reduced to a few funny effects, the graphic economy of the story develops its own sophistication. With selfmade masks two little merry chicks take pleasure in frightening each other. And the masks are so well done that they are even frightened of themselves. (3+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1996 - 129
Royer, Alain (text)
Carpentier, Georges (text)
de Seynes, Sophie (illus.)
La Résurrection
(The Resurrection)
Paris: Mango, 1995. [28] p.
(Autre regard)
ISBN 2-7404-04330-6
Bible - Jesus - Jerusalem - Last Supper - Resurrection
This new series is intended to provide little children with their first encounter with Biblical stories. The idea is correspondingly clear-cut: the easily understandable texts are kept short in comparison with the space given over to the illustrations which portray Biblical scenes in transparent watercolors. The faces are drawn with pen strokes, and showing lively real-life mimics. The colors and localized details of the Mediterranean world are carefully chosen, stimulating a closer look. This is also a suitable book for reading aloud and re-telling. (3+) ☼

Special Mention - France (French) - 1996 - 132
Weulersse, Odile (text)
Manaud, Jean-Luc (photos)
Aghali, berger du desert
(Aghali, Shepherd in the Desert)
Paris: Hatier, 1995. 62 p.
ISBN 2-218-03022-5
Sahara Desert - Touareg
The life and customs of the Touareg caught between tradition and modern demands is presented here through a fictitious tale about a young shepherd boy. High-quality documentary photos accompany the text. In an appendix further ethnographic information and explanations are provided. This is a new addition to the well-received series »Pali Mali« on modern ethnography. (8+) ☆

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

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

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

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

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+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1996 - 160
Madeleine-Perdrillat, Alain (text)
Rodari, Florian (art comp.)
Un dimanche avec Cézanne
(A Sunday with Cézanne)
Genève: Skira, 1995. 56 p.
(Un Dimanche avec...)
ISBN 2-605-00284-5
Cézanne/Biography - Painting Cézanne - Painting - Biography - Aix-en-Provence - Sainte-Victoire
The task of leading children to appreciate art resembles that of the mountain guide. He choses the route, i.e. the language, that children will understand. But the »mountain«, art, remains independent of the route. Using this motto, the art historian Florian Rodari has created the series »A Sunday with...« together with the publishing house Skira, a specialist in exquisite art-books. In this book Cezanne takes the child-reader on a long walk through, showing all his favorite places. The path ends in the »great studio«, outside in nature, vis á vis his favorite motif, the mountain of Sainte- Victoire. Along the way Cézanne addresses his young audience in a slow, impressive monologue about ways of seeing, about colors and form, about his life, his studies in the Louvre, his friends, fellow painters and writers, his wife and her manner of modelling for him. His manner of speech is simple, reduced to the essentials and vivid. The words encourage reflection and the first attempts at seeing from an artist's point of view. The illustrative material, a cross-section of Cézanne's oeuvre, is nestled with the text so that additional captions are not needed. Several photos and documents, a brief biography and a map of Aix and surroundings round out this walk through Cézanne's world of art. (12+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1996 - 161
Begag, Azouz (text)
Louis, Catherine (illus.)
Ma mère est devenue une étoile
(My Mother is Now a Star)
Genève: La Joie de Lire, 1995. [28] p.
ISBN 2-88258-065-7
Death - Mother - Burial - Father/Child
During the requiem for the mother, a father holds his child in his arms. They try to comfort each other. The text lets the child speak in the first person about what is happening in the church, about the impossibility of understanding the absoluteness of leave-taking and the roguish hope of making it all reversible. It is illustrated with abstract colors and color collages dominated by the blue and brown tones of religious panels and stained glass windows. A picture book that is only gradually accessible, and which deserves to be looked at and explained to a child over and over again. (6+)

Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 1996 - 166
Mello, Roger (text/illus.)
Uma história do boto vermelho
(A Story of the Red Porpoise)
Rio de Janeiro: Salamandra, 1995. 63 p.
ISBN 85-281-0091-X
Brazil/Amazonia -Porpoise/Transformation/ Man - Hunting - Myth/Loss
This story, which is set on a river and in a small village in a remote region of Amazonia, tells of a red porpoise who has the power to turn himself into a young man at certain times. This creature, whose legendary existence captures the imagination of the village inhabitants but also feeds their hunting instinct, makes the acquaintance of the young girl Joana. Their affection for each other grows, but for two reasons can have no future. On the one hand, neither one of them can completely and permanently overcome the boundaries of their worlds, i.e. their different elements; and on the other hand, Joana can only just barely save the porpoise from the death which her people plan for him. So in the end he leaves his familiar habitat and retreats to distant waters. In a poetic manner and changing narrative patterns, in accord with the peaceful course of life at the river or the dramatic turns of plot, this story unites old traditional stories with a story of our own times. In a simple and subtle manner this story tells how our world becomes ever poorer and more prosaic through man's dominance. There is no longer room for the extraordinary, the magical. It becomes surpressed, surviving only in the world of legends and myths. (11+)

Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 1996 - 167
Orthof, Sylvia (text)
Bilau (illus.)
Meus vários quinze anos
(My Fifteen-Year-Periods)
São Paulo: FTD, 1995. 64 p.
(Cara-metade)
ISBN 85-322-1476-2
Woman - Old age - Social role
Violeta, a 75-year-old woman from Rio de Janeiro, can look back on an active life. Her memoir is divided into five chapters, each of which covering a fifteen year period. Violeta's memories include happiness and disappointment, love, friendship, good-byes and losses, each followed in spite of it all by a new beginning. With a light humorous touch this book summarizes the life of a woman full of zest and ripened by life's experience, thereby making common clichés about marriage and old age questionable. (12+)

Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 1996 - 168
Ziraldo Vito Grandam. Uma história de vôos
(Vito Grandam. A Story of Flights)
São Paulo: Melhoramentos, 1995. 142 p.
ISBN 85-06-021188-X
Boy/Uncle - Family
At the center of this first-person narrative by a 17-year-old boy is Vito Grandam, his uncle, whom he greatly admires and worships like a hero, though he is only a few years older. In different episodes the life story of the narrator is assembled piece by piece: adventures he shares with his uncle, family circumstances and difficulties, the separation of his parents, life with his father, all his hopes and dreams. The author, an internationally known illustrator, draws here a very vivid and sensitive portrait of a boy coming of age. (12+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1996 - 178
Sarfati, Sonia
Comme une peau de chagrin
(Like Shagreen)
Montréal : La Courte Echelle, 1995. 154 p.
ISBN 2-89021-242-4
Anorexia - Friendship
Gabriele begins to notice strange changes in the behavior of her girlfriend Fréderique. Suddenly she comes to the realization that Fréderique has anorexia nervosa. With increasing uneasiness she observes the progress of the illness and discovers the psychological causes which lead to this drive toward self-destruction. The trusted face of her friend breaks to reveal a different merciless person who is driven by a revengeful obsession with power. This moving novel offers a sound exposé of the disease which is symptomatic of our times. It also shows that true friendship only reveals itself when put to the test. (13+)
(Governor General's Literary Award 1995)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1996 - 179
Sernine, Daniel
La traversée de l'apprenti sorcier
(The Journey of the Magician's Apprentice)
Montréal: Médiaspaul, 1995. 176 p.
(Neubourg et Granverger)
ISBN 2-89420-282-2
Sea travel/1595 - Bretagne/New World - Myth - Occult
This fantasy novel completes a 10-volume cycle of historical tableaus spread over four centuries with which the author has held his readers in suspense for serveral years. The scenario on which the plot is based is historically sound, solid and tightly developed. The figure of the master who has the powers of a shaman brings in mythical ideas from a prehistoric age. On the journey to the so-called New World he teaches his pupil to read world's phenomena to find traces of submerged ages and to trust the magical powers which influence human fate. (13+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1996 - 180
Vachon, Hélène (text)
Yayo (illus.)
Le sixième arrêt
(The Sixth Bus Stop)
Saint-Lambert (Québec): Héritage, 1995. 40 p.
ISBN 2-7625-7916-3
Bus - Fantasy - Adventure
»Step aboard, get your ticket, get off at the sixth stop,« Papa tells his son Somerset when he is about to take his first busride. But Somerset set off for the ride like a knight sets off on a mission. The bus is a dangerous opponent, the driver the master of the dungeons, the passangers his prisoners. Already by the first busstop unbelievable things have occurred as seen from the perspective of an imaginative child. The interaction of text and illustration is perfect even in this small paperback format with its narrow pages and large print, interspersed with plenty of colorful pictures full of »action«. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1996 - 181
Villeneuve, Michel (text)
Sylvestre, Louise (illus.)
Le castor
(The Beaver)
Waterloo: Michel Quintin, 1994. 24 p.
(Ciné-faune)
ISBN 2-920438-34-4
Beaver - Natural science
The distinguishing feature of this picture book series is the successful connection of information in the text and clever illustrations which combine realistic and anthropomorphic portrayals of the animals, in this case the beaver. In this manner the young viewer can empathize and have pleasure with the animal kingdom while subtly acquiring a precise lesson in natural history. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 199
Ekman, Fam
Dagbok forsvunnet
(The Missing Diary)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1995. [34] p.
ISBN 82-02-1526
Diary - Loss - Search/Find
Having already attracted attention with a number of original picture books, the artist shows here that she is capable of even more. While retaining her individual graphic style - a mixture of abstraction, expressive gestures and primitivist form - she employs more expansive and consistency in these pictures. This is the story of a statue that loses her diary, searches for it in various places in the city and finally finds it at the police station, it is fascinating to see how the artist can create a level of uncertainty and mystery behind the concrete figures and landscapes. She encourages the imagination of the reader who is prepared to indulge in the mood of the images. (6+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 200
Halstvedt, Tor (text)
Hansen, Thore (illus.)
Elvtyven
(The river thief)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, [1995]. 152 p.
Tramp - Transformation - Adventure travels
Kåre, the stutterer, and Johan are absolutely bored to death. But not for long, because they soon are captured by a tramp and turned first of all into fish. They have to wander around the world searching for a stolen river before they finally arrive home again safely. This is an adventure story, amusingly told, illustrated with comical cartoon illustrations that take all the trouble out of reading. (10+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 201
Hansen, Espen (text)
Sandemose, Iben (illus.)
De tre sauene som dro til byen for å ha det fett
(The Three Sheep Who Went to Town to Have a Good Time)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1995. 38 p.
ISBN 82-02-15289-5
Sheep - Hibernation - City/Country - Opposites
Almost as a travesty of the City Musicians of Bremen, the author tells here of three sheep who see the winter approaching and believe they could survive it better in the city. In a compact, fairy-tale like form the reader experiences the grotesque clashes between the animals, whose can only imperfectly behave like people (leaving behind them in the bus funny black lumps), and civilization. They advance to stardom as pop-singers because their rhythmic ba-ba-ba fits ideally into the level of pop-music. Brief and humorous, accom-panied by ingenious black-and-white illustrations in Iben Sandemose's typical, robust style - books which succeed as well as this one are not found often. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 202
Rem, Håvard (text)
Nordberg, Harald (illus.)
Tvilling brødrene
(The Twin Brothers)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1995. [28] p.
ISBN 82-03-24105-0
Good/Evil
In a very delicate manner the two opposing sides of human nature are portrayed here in twin brothers. This is a topic which is often disturbing to children when they realize that they want to be good, but instead do bad things. That both sides go to make up each person is shown in the ending when the gentle, handsome Jon and the strong, coarse Sigurd melt together into one person. Harald Nordberg's pictures portray shapes and landscapes in almost naive form, embedded in spotty, even cracked color backgrounds. Static or full of movement, the shapes and colors merge into vigorous pictures which can unfold their full effect even in a relatively small book format. (6+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 203
Sandemose, Iben
Englepels
(Angel's Skin)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1995. 32 p.
ISBN 82-02-15777-3
Cat - Death - Angel - Grief
The theme of death and grieving has certainly never been dealt with in such and ingenious and humorous manner as in this picture book. It describes how a little girl buries her dead cat and forwards all the cats letters to heaven. A fallen angel (connoisseurs of will recognize the allusion to Hugo Simberg's famous picture »Wounded Angel«), whom she carries off and nurses back to health with her also grieving older girl-friend, takes her for a visit to heaven where she can see for herself that her cat is happy. Later a new cat helps to overcome the sadness once and for all. Iben Sandemose (*1950), whose expressive style has sadly only been published to date by daring publishers in Scandinavia, has a talent for telling a story as unsentimentally but still very movingly, so that the guidance that she hopes to offer reaches the reader undiminished. Sandemose works with vivacious movement and solid lines and spaces and intensive but not garish colors. The double-paged spreads with hand-written text (the letters) excellently unfold their full graphic effect through the contrast between black-and-white, monotone and multicoloring. She is even able to make a field full of black gravestones aesthetically appealing. (6+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1996 - 239
Wilmink, Willem (text)
Ali Baba en de veertig tekenaars
(Ali Baba and his Forty Illustrators)
Amsterdam: Zirkoon (De Bijenkorf), 1995. 85 p. With illustrations
ISBN 90-71442-68-3
Arabia/Folktale
In this text, originally published in 1983, Willem Wilmink tells the story of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves in rhyme. The story is told in forty stanzas, each one a little gem of playful rhyming. »This book should please everyone who likes horror stories,« as he says in his introduction. But it is not so much the text which makes this book so special. With each stanza, a renowned illustrator has given his or her view on the story. This makes for an exuberant and colorful mosaic of illustrations in a great diversity of styles. Beneath the illustration plates, which are attached by the upper edge only, a small biography of the illustrator is included. Also, all the artists have left their fingerprint in gold next to their illustrations. The book, including its excellent design and typography, can be considered representative of the current standard of Dutch children's book illustrations. (8+)

Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 1996 - 241
Syllogê Prusê, Kosta (text)
Tsangares, Champes (illus.)
To basilopullon tês Benedias
(The Prince of Venice)
Nicosia: Tsangarês Champês, 1995. 96 p.
ISBN 9963-7590-6-8
Fairy tale/Cyprus - Multilingual text
The fascination of this impressive, large-sized book stems above all from the singular illustrations of the internationally recognized artist Champes, whose palette of colors ranges from royal blue to deep red and glowing gold. The atmosphere of Venice in the 15th and 16th century is skillfully, convincingly captured in his scenes. The ruler of Pafos, according to this old Cypriot fairy tale, once embarked on a longer journey. Choosing the present he should bring her from his journey, his youngest daughter demands three hairs from the head of the son of the Venezian king. Each time she burns one hair, he flies to her in the shape of golden eagle. But the third time is different. The text of this book is given in Cypriot, Greek and English. (8+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1996 - 246
Spyru, Dêmêtrês
O Psyllos
(The flea)
Athêna: Patakes, 1995. 157 p.
(Parusies 7)
ISBN 960-293-962-1
Newspaper - Outsider - Dreams
»O Psyllos« is the title of a small newspaper in the remote village in the mountains of Olympia, care-fully, lovingly written out by hand by twelveyear- old Elias. He and »The flea« are one: »It is a dream...the wings that will take me far far away some day.« But in the village there is almost no one who believes in him. Even the teacher treats him like an unwanted outsider. But Elias doesn't give up so easily. The film »O Psyllos« was an international success and was voted as the best European children's film in Luxembourg in 1990, won first prize in film festivals in Berlin, Chicago and Belfast. (10+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1996 - 247
Xanthulês, Giannês (text/illus.)
Aneba stê stegê na phame to synnepho
(Climb up to the roof to eat the cloud)
Athêna: Kastaniotes, 1994. 83 p.
(To kalo biblio gia paidia)
ISBN 960-03-1185-4
Citylife - Fantasy
»Zementupolê« (Cement City) everyone is getting ready for the annual celebrations in honor of their beloved cement. But this time things turns out differently than planned. Young Annula is sick of living in the stiffling metropolis.With a single jump she springs on to the highest roof. From this position she announces that she will not come down again until the mayor fulfills all her demands for ... While she is waiting, she carries on conversations with her grandmother, meets the crazy old Sunday, last year's Christmas and lives from the clouds of candy stars and snow-juice with sun-rays. (8+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 13
Sueyoshi, Akiko (text)
Fujikawa, Hideyuki (illus.)
Chi to ushio no ô
(The king of the land and the sea)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1996. 414 p.
ISBN 4-06-208015-X
Japan/Myth <Motif>- Quest - Love - Curse - Woman/Serpent/Transformation - Reconciliation - Gods
Saru, an orphaned boy travelling with a theater troupe of dwarfs, is asked by the priestess-queen of the land of Amaguni to find her daughter, Mio, who had been set out to die because of her weak physical condition. During his search, Saru also discovers the key to his own ancestry. After setting off on his quest, accompanied by a brave and clever dwarf girl, he encounters a tribal chief whose wife has placed a curse on their daughter, Nagisa, causing her to turn into a serpent every night, until the curse is lifted. To fulfill this double quest, he travels all the way to the bottom of the ocean, the kingdom of eternal life, where he finds Mio and Nagisa's mother, the daughter of the god of the sea. He succeeds in overcoming many difficulties and restoring harmony in both worlds. In this turbulent story, which contains elements of Japanese mythology, the author focuses in particular on the emotions of humans and gods regarding love. Through the detailed and colorful narrative, the reader is transported into an engrossing world of ancient times. This novel is a delightful rarity in the Japanese fantasy genre. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 14
Tomiyasu, Yôko (text)
Iino, Kazuyoshi (illus.)
Chiisana yamagami Suzuna-hime
(Princess Suzuna, the young mountain spirit)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1996. 134 p.
ISBN 4-03-528310-X
Nature god - Father/ Daughter - Independence - Challenge - Promise
Princess Suzuna wants to break out of her sheltered life and finally have at least one mountain to rule herself. Her father, the great mountain who rules over all mountains and looks after all animals and nature, decides to test the abilities of his daughter. On one day she must give all the leaves on the mountain their autumn colors so that the animals can get ready for their winter sleep. This cheery, modern fairy tale, with its clearly drawn characters, is told in a refreshing voice. The headstrong, spontaneous and energetic protagonist, as she is shown in the illustrations, makes the book especially appealing. In three sequel volumes, the princess is given further challenges to deal with. (8+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 15
Uji, Isao (text/illus.)
Tententen yukiakari
(Toot, toot, toot .... in the snow)
Tokyo: Shikosha, 1995. [24] p.
Street-car - Snow - Signal - City-landscape
A street-car passes by scenery which is shown as in snapshot photos. »Toot, toot, toot...« sounds the clear signal at the crossings, breaking the stillness of the snowy surroundings. Animals run across the tracks, street workers climb in a ditch, a thief clambers over a wall, a man is heading home. The repetition of the onomatopoetic words for the signal sound convey the passage of the street-car. The steadily falling snow and gentle reflections of light makes the reader conscious of the stillness of the snowbound city inspite of the lively movements of the characters. (3+)
(43rd Sankei Award for Children's Books & Publications [JR-Prize] 1996)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 16
Yumoto, Kazumi
Haru no orugan
(The organ in spring)
Tokyo: Tokuma shoten, 1995. 240 p.
ISBN 4-19-860250-6
Feelings - Growing up - Family conflict - Siblings - Grandfather
Twelve-year-old Tomomi is about to enter Middle School, but she feels fairly indifferent about it and cannot enjoy her spring holidays. She is dissatisfied with herself and the conflicts of her parents and with her neighbor weigh upon her mind. Her grandfather's interest in the family heirlooms seems equally senseless. The old, defective organ which her grandfather finds in the closet symbolizes the mental state of the protagonist, her passage from childhood to adolescence, but also her grandfather's silent wish to bring the family, which seems about to disintegrate, back together again. (12+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 1997 - 20
Lin, Haiyin (text)
Guan, Weixing (illus.)
Cheng nan jiu shi 1-3: Huianguan de Xiaoguizi - Women kan hai qu. Lan Yiniang - Lü dagun'r. Baba de huar luole
(Xiaoguizi of Huianguan: We are going to the sea - The conkubine Lan - The donkey tosses and turns. Father's flowers are drooping)
Taibei: Gelin Wenjua (Grimm Press), 1994. Each 64 p.
ISBN 957-754-023-7 (-024-5/-024-3/026-1)
China/Short stories
In these beautifully drawn and well-told picture books, a six-year old narrator tells about people she met during her childhood in Beijing: a lunatic woman looking for her lover and her deserted baby, an orphaned girl forced by her foster father to earn money by singing, a thief who steals for his brother's sake. Each tale is an excellent characterization of human nature. The stories have been classics for adults and young people for many years in Taiwan. This picture book edition has excellent portrayals of people, well-researched attention to details of clothing and tools, and meticulous use of light and space to create perfect harmony with the text. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 1997 - 21
Sun, Qingfeng (text)
Zhao, Guozong (illus.)
Shei chi le caihong?
(Who ate the rainbow?)
Taibei: Xinyi Jijin Chubanshe (Hsing-I Foundation), 1995. [20] p.
ISBN 957-642-204-3
Rainbow - Transformation
Wonderous things happen to the animals and the tree that come into contact with the rainbow. When Uh-oh, the rainbow is cut in half by a kite string, it is eaten by a big fish, which is in turn eaten by a duck, which lays a rainbow egg. The snake eats the egg and acquires rainbow colors. When it touches a withered tree, the tree is immediately restored to life and even bears rainbow fruit. This simple, imaginative tale is accompanied by beautiful illustrations done initially on ceramic surfaces. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 1997 - 22
Xai, Ruihong
Ashima de huisheng
(Ashima's echo)
Taibei: Shibao Wenhua (China Times Publishing), 1995. 149 p.
ISBN 957-13-1709-8
Marriage - Escape - Wizard - Echo
Based on a famous narrative poem found among the Sa-Ni peoples of Yunnan in southern China, this young adult novel tells the story of a beautiful young girl who is courted by many young men. When she turns down the landlord's only son, the landlord kidnaps her, but before the marriage can take place she is rescued by her brother. Angry and insulted, the landlord has a wizard invoke a storm which causes Ah-Shih-Ma to be lost in the mountains. When her brother and the villagers search for her and call her name, they hear nothing but an echo. This vividly descriptive narrative blends traditional poetry with modern language in an exquisitely designed volume. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 1997 - 23
Xia, Zuli
Haijiao Tianya chiziqing
(The feeling of newborns on the other side of the world)
Taibei: Minshengbao (Min Sheng Daily), 1995. 185 p.
ISBN 957-8932-48-0
Parent/Child - Separation - Loneliness
During his summer holidays, 13-year-old Vi-Shin goes to San Francisco to study. His uncle's family treats him like a lodger. He senses the separation from his family, living in a country he knew only from movies and television. More and more Taiwanese parents are sending their children abroad, where they lead the lives of semi-orphans. Mean-while their parents must work very hard to afford this. Both sides wonder at times whether it is worth all the disadvantages. The implications of this practice are told in six realistic short stories. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Zimbabwe (English) - 1997 - 32
Alumenda, Stephen (text/illus.)
How Thopo became a great n'anga
Harare: Baobab Books/Academic Books, 1996. 30 p.
(Excl. dist. by African Books Collective, Oxford)
ISBN 0-908311-89-3
Homeless boy - Village life -Identity
Thopo is an orphan, »street boy«, an outsider in a Zimbabwean village where cultural rules and beliefs still play an important role. Brave and mischieveous, he resists all efforts to find him a family or send him to school, and is, of course, secretly envied by the other children. One day he even dares to challenge the village wiseman, the »n'anga«, the only person allowed to touch the sacred python Thopo has found. Thopo negotiates a deal with the n'anga, but soon disappears for several months. Then, to everyone's surprise, a new role is established for him in the village in a ceremony organized by the old n'anga. This is a contemporary folktale about real-life relationships which are governed by traditional beliefs and practices. The unity of story with the black-andwhite illustrations, typography and layout is quite striking. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1997 - 35
Crew, Gary (text)
Woolman, Steven (illus.)
Caleb
(<Proper name>)
Flinders Park: Era, 1996. [48] p.
ISBN 1-86374-248-4
Man/Insect - Transformation - Mystery
One is immediately struck by the way the story and illustration fully complement one another. On each page the spaciously laid-out text is printed over full-page ochre-coloured chalk and pencil drawings of insects of shapes and sizes. The plot is gradually unfolded by the first person narrator as he recalls his relationship with Caleb, a highly unusual fellow student of botany who bears an uncanny resemblence to the insects they study. The various events in the course of their year together, which allow the narrator to sense just how different Caleb is, are captured in subtly revealing black ink drawings. Crew's ending comes not unexpectedly, but succeeds in leaving the reader with a spine-tingling sense of uneasiness. (10+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1997 - 36
Disher, Garry
Walk twenty, run twenty
Sydney: Angus&Robertson, 1996. 81 p.
ISBN 0-207-18814-9
Death - Grief - Family - Crime - Detective
After his parents' death, Rick must go to live with his cousins' family in the sheep-herding Razorback. His three cousins have little understanding for his grief and he can't fit into their family life. One day, Rick and his cousins try to thwart the theft of the sheep herd by three violent thieves. In order to conserve his energy and stay calm in moments of danger, Rick recalls several pieces of advice his father had given him. He is instrumental in outwitting the thieves and the bond that is formed with his cousins helps Rick to start moving on with his life. The first person narrative succeeds in capturing Rick's inner turmoil while also conveying the rural atmosphere. The suspenseful turn of plot makes great reading. (10+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1997 - 37
Earls, Nick
After January
St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1996. 195 p.
ISBN 0-7022-2823-0
Romance - First Love
While waiting to receive notice of acceptance at university in a few weeks, Alex idles away the days at their seaside cottage, punctuated by sparse communication with his single-parent mother. This mother-son companionship, which has been central to his life, shifts as Alex unexpectedly meets a girl his own age. As Fortuna and Alex begin to discover one another, with all their differences in background and aspirations, everything else in Alex's life fades into the background. This witty, first-person narrative is marked by inner monologs and detached observations which map Alex's path toward manhood and self-realization. This novel captures a period of late adolescence in an ordinary life which, notably, is not fraught with family conflicts or adverse social circumstances. (15+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1997 - 38
Kuchling, Gerald (text)
Kuchling, Gundi (illus.)
Yakkin the swamp tortoise. The most dangerous year
Flinders Park: Era Publications, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 1-86374-272-7
(Orig. publ. Chelonia Enterprises, 1995)
Tortoise - Wildlife conservation
This well-written narrative-style information book presents the life cycle of an endangered species in Western Australia, called Yakkin by the local aboriginals. While the text focusses on the environment and Yakkin's natural enemies, the boldly colored, full-sized illustrations on each facing page reinforce the text with lively, eye-catching detail. An appendix by the biology researcher, Gerald Kuchling, gives further factual information and explains the on-going efforts to protect the swamp turtle's habitat with much international support. The book has been widely prised by ecologists and wildlife conservations. German and French editions are available. (8+)
(Eve Pownall Award for Information Books Honor Book 1996)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1997 - 39
Macleod, Mark (comp.)
Ready or not
Milsons Point: Mark Macleod/Random House Australia, 1996. 308 p.
ISBN 0-09-183161-X
Australia/Short story - Sexual orientation
This anthology of 20 short stories gathers excellent short pieces on the theme of gender and sexuality by the best contemporary Australian-born or resident writers for young people, nearly all original publications. The narrative styles are as polished as they are varied: first person, stream of consciousness, shifting perspectives, or in diary or letter form. Most of the protagonists are adolescents becoming aware of their sexual orientation for the first time, or young adults seeking love and understanding. Interspersed with black-and-white cartoons which humorously portray the trials and tribulations of being gay or lesbian, the book also includes a short biography and statement by each (not necessarily homosexual) author. (14+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 51
Smith, Michael
After the darkness
London: Scholastic, 1996. 192 p.
ISBN 0-590-54260-5
France/History 1940 - Vichy Regime - Jews/Persecution
In this story-within-a-story, a modern-day French boy, Oliver, discovers the ghosts of two Jewish children from Paris who had been forced to take refuge with their parents in an unoccupied mansion in Vichy France in July 1940, just after the Vichy government agreed to turn all Jews over to the Nazi occupiers. Their mother was killed for refusing an order of the local militia and their father captured along with his underground helper. Abandoned and locked in a hideaway, the children have no chance to escape. Only Oliver's fascination with their presence in the garden of his new home gradually leads him to believe the story they tell him and find the one man who can tell them what they need to know to set their souls to rest - the old French resistance fighter who had been with their father in a concentration camp. This story combines elements of historical and magical realism to give insight into a period which forced men, women and children to choose sides, make moral decisions and take risks. The narrator weaves the different strands of this moving story together in a suspenseful manner, filling in the missing elements of the mystery step-by-step. (12+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 52
Touré, Masée
Bai Bureh's countrymen
London: Janus Publishing, 1995. 128 p.
ISBN 1-85756-189-9
Sierra Leone - Family - Small people - Power - Beliefs
The author of these three stories is a young adult born in Sierra Leone and now attending school in England. She draws upon her family background in the novella-length title story in which the power relationships of employers, religious leaders, healers, and politicians are observed by a young girl of great perceptivity and self-confidence. As she grows older - but like Oskar in Grass's »The Tin Drum«, not taller - she learns to use her observations and also becomes inspired by the legendary tribal chief Bai Bureh, a figure of resistence and integrity at the end of the 19th century. The author opens up the experiences and culture of an African people in a contemporary setting and her writing will be enjoyed for its vivid depictions and its detailed, well-paced plots. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1997 - 67
Martin, Trude
Obee and Mungadeech
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 107 p.
ISBN 0-689-80644-2
Imaginary friend - Friendship - School - Parent/ Child - Self-identity - Parental Separation
Kate is a highly sensitive and introspective young girl living in New York City. Aside from her girlfriend Beth, she confides her fears and problems in an invisible friend. Both her science teacher and a rival school friend encourage her to accept the challenges facing her - overtly in the form of a science project competion, but implicitly another one, the separation of her parents. In a fresh and captivating narrative the author explores a now common situation of a young girl coping with selfdoubt and a parental crisis which she observes but is helpless to change. The story is full of witty real-life dialogues and inner monologs, and the author makes clever use of a fantasy-like idea involving newborns' capacity to analyze the world and to speak with each other. (12+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1997 - 68
Paterson, Katherine
Jip. His story
New York: Lodestar/Dutton, 1996. 181 p.
ISBN 0-535-67543-4
USA/History 19th century - Slavery - African - American - Identity - Friendship - Quaker
Found abandoned as a small child on a country road in Vermont, Jip grows up on the town poor farm along with other social outcasts. As a healthy and intelligent young boy he bears responsibility for the handicapped and for the farmwork, receiving no recognition or even the chance for schooling. One day a stranger shows particular interest in Jip and his family origins. When at last Jip learns that he is the son of a runaway slave and her white master, who has now discovered Jips whereabouts, he receives help from Quaker neighbors to flee to Canada via the »Underground Railroad«, a secret escape network. In her usual skilful storytelling style, Paterson weaves a suspenseful tale with a cast of interesting characters against a realistic historical background. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1997 - 69
Prelutsky, Jack (text)
Sís, Peter (illus.)
Monday's troll
New York: Greenwillow, 1996. 40 p.
ISBN 0-688-09644-1
Troll - Wizard - Giant
This team of poet and painter collaborate for the second time on a volume of thematic poetry embedded on full-paged paintings which respond to and interpret each poem's ideas and tone. Told in the first-person, the poems give humorous insight into the thoughts and behavior of trolls, wizards, witches, giants and ogres. Most of the 17 poems are composed in several stanzas with measured lines and end rhyme which simply roll of the tongue. (10+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1997 - 70
Voigt, Cynthia
Bad girls
New York: Scholastic, 1996. 277 p.
ISBN 0-590-60134-2
School - Friendship - Rivalry - Pranks
The fifth-grade girls, Mikey and Margolo, find themselves next to each other, in alphabetical order, on the first day of their new school. Though they have different family backgrounds and experiences, their initially tentative friendship deepens. Each day they find ways to assert themselves against obnoxious boys and a teacher whose strict rules of order challenge their natural sense of dignity and self-identity. Voigt succeeds masterfully in portraying the thoughts and intense feelings of two high-spirited protagonists, their irreverent sense of fun and daring, and a classroom of children poised between childhood and adolescence. (10+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1997 - 78
Welsh, Renate
Disteltage
(Days of thistles)
Wien: Obelisk, 1996. 156 p.
ISBN 3-85197-301-1
(Simultaneously publ. by Nagel & Kimche. Zürich, 1996)
Mother/Daughter - Grandmother - Illness - Overburden
Sarah is overburdened with caring for her sick mother. She has to forge her mother's signature to get money for the household and a doctor's attest for missing school. Though she is helped by a fellow pupil at school, the help she gets from her grandmother at home seems instead to be a hinderance of her own efforts. With considerable sensitivity to the explosiveness of such a difficult situation, the author finds the precise narrative balance. (10+)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1997 - 108
Jaeckel, Hans
Ibo
(<Proper name>)
Zürich: Unionsverlag, 1996. 168 p.
ISBN 3-293-00233-1
Germany/Turkish youth - Crime - Family
As a very young child, the Turkish boy Ibrahim (Ibo) joins his father and brother in Hamburg. His mother and other brothers and sisters join them much later, but in the meantime Ibo has been expelled several times from school for fights and petty crimes. His is the world of the Turkish markets in the harbor district where he earns his own money with clever business »practices«. His tales betray, however, a longing for an intact family life and a knowable future, although he himself lives from day to day, deed to deed. Ibo's authentic narrative about the at times his asocial urban environment with unpolished and criminal but still likeable figures - both Germans and foreigners, his difficulties at home and his decision to enroll in job training, is an impressive reading both in terms of narrative style and content. (14+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1997 - 109
Manz, Hans (text)
Binder, Hannes (illus.)
Pantoffeln für den Esel
(Slippers for the donkey)
Zürich: Nagel & Kimche, 1996. 117 p.
ISBN 3-312-00800-X
Animals - Adventure
One day a donkey asks his farmer for a pair of slippers, because he wants to be just as happy in the evenings as his master. He is stubborn enough to get what he wants, but realizes that he hasn't done himself any favor. Proudly he parades with the splendid, but cumbersome foot-coverings back and forth in front of all the female donkeys and is happy at last to be able to present his footwear to a vain little donkey beauty - out of love, of course. Full-paged black-and-white woodcuts and largesized typeface make each of these 15 fairy tale or fable-like stories quite appealing. (5+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1997 - 110
Rowe, John A. (text/illus.)
Baumann, Peter (German text)
Ferkel Ferdinand
(Piglet Ferdinand)
Gossau: Neugebauer, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 3-85195-380-0
(Engl. ed: Peter Piglet. New York: North-South Books, 1996)
Pig - Shoes - Vanity - Helpfulness - Sacrifice
One glorious morning, the kind little piglet Ferdinand finds a pair of golden shoes just lying about in the forest. He tries them on, walks about and feels like a dancer. But to his great disappointment, the shoes have disappeared the next morning. One has been turned into a turtle's house and the other into a bird's nest. Ferdinand decides to let well enough alone and rejoices over his new-found ease of movement. From his snout to his little curly tail, this is likeable little pig inspite of his forgiveable weaknesses. In each large-size picture the golden shoes cast a glow on everything and everyone around them. As a visual sign of reward for Ferdinand's willing sacrifice, he is shown walking barefoot toward the golden depths of the page. (6+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1997 - 111
Slawski, Wolfgang (text/illus.)
Die Besucher-Sucher
(Waiting for visitors)
Gossau: Nord-Süd, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 3-314-00728-0
Loneliness - Railway station - Travel - Friendship
A man waits everyday at the railway station for someone coming to visit him - in vain. Even when he decides one day to wait at a different station - no luck. But then he finds others in a similar situation, and their number grows and grows. When all of these visitor-seekers begin to travel the world without meeting a single visitor, they finally decide to visit one another from now on. Thus the problem is solved to everyone's satisfaction. The humorous text and pictures will encourage children to set off looking for people like themselves when no one comes looking for them. (6+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 121
David, François (text)
Galeron, Henri (illus.)
Une petite flamme dans la nuit
(A little flame in the night)
Paris: Bayard, 1996. 105 p.
ISBN 2-227-704-63-2
Concentration camp - Terror - Survival - Storytelling - Parable - Hope - Resistance
Night after night a woman whispers parable tales of terror and despotism in the ear of a child to help it go to sleep. The illustrations leave no doubt as to where these absurd situations take place: a high barbed wire fence with watch-towers, surrounding the barren grounds and barracks of a concentration camp. Each story follows upon a short conversation between the rebellious child and the woman, who hopes that the forced sleep will help the child endure the coming day. The parables describe the brutal tyranny of a despot long ago. Each ends with the fragile hope that the terror, though long lasting, will come to an end if the memory of resistance and freedom is kept alive. When on the twelvth night the woman does not return to their common plank bed, the child's stony heart falls away and it can cry again. In the following night, a younger child takes the woman's place, and the older one takes on the role of the woman, telling the same stories again. The illustrations for the individual parables are extraordinary in capturing the timeless, metaphoric nature of the stories. They possess a literary power of expression by revealing the grotesque-comical aspect of totalitarian terror, thus underlining its absurdity. (10+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 122
Didier, Jean (text/illus.)
Didier, Zad (text/illus.)
Zoum Chat de traîneau
(Zoum, the sled-cat)
Toulouse: Milan, 1996. 38 p.
ISBN 2-84113-410-5
Cat - Sled - Adventure - Lie - Storytelling
This picture book has several attractions to offer. It fulfills the need of children for spooky stories with a balanced mixture of fright and relief. And it uses the well-known storytelling perspective of Grandfather telling about days gone by. And, thirdly, it offers an aesthetic delight with full-paged, striking illustrations. The idea of making the storyteller a grandfather cat who sees no reason to stick too closely to the truth give the at once merry and spooky adventures a humorous coating. Who could imagine a cat playing the part of a sled-dog! (5+) ☼

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 123
Douzou, Olivier (text)
Simon, Isabelle (illus.)
Autobus numéro 33
(Autobus No. 33)
Rodez: Éditions du Rouergue, 1996. [48] p.
ISBN 2-84156-023-6
Bus - Travel - Racial equality
The metaphor of the earth as boat in which we are all sitting inspired the illustrator to write this story about a little red bus which takes a journey around the whole world. Scattered throughout the continents are bus-stops at which a pair - in each case a human and an animal - are waiting for this modernday Noah's Ark. The photos of painted pottery figures portray the passengers, people of all races and ages in the company of an equally motley crowd of animals. The excerpts of a rudimentary world map help to give a geographical orientation. The humanistic message of this pretty little volume is quite subtle: there is no room for discrimination on this bus line. (7+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 124
Gudule
L'envers du décor
(The reverse side of the scene)
Paris: Hachette Jeunesse, 1996. 192 p.
ISBN 2-01-321338-7
Unemployment - Homelessness - Housesquatting - Solidarity - Charity
Felix and his mother have fallen upon hard times. They take refuge in a house illegally occupied by people out of work and illegal immigrants. The reader feels drawn in by the narrator and her concern for the social disadvantaged, taking part in their motley crew until they are brutally driven apart by the house demolition. Any tendency to regard the house-squatting movement as idyllic is firmly counteracted by the illustrations. With an unsettling and at times even grotesque clarity, the pictures mirror the desolate situation of society's outsiders, testing the humanity of the reader in this confrontation with unvarnished reality. (13+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 125
Hans, Marie-Pierre (text/illus.)
Monsieur William
(Mr. William)
Paris: Grasset-Jeunesse, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 2-246-51941-1
Goldfish - House - Imitation - Family
When no one else is home, Mr. William, a goldfish, takes leave of his fishbowl. He looks like a blown-up red beach ball, so fat that only half of him fits on the horizontal double-pages. He makes use of everything he finds, shaving himself, trying on Father's necktie and cruising around in the car. This is a picture book to look at with the very youngest, for whom reading means pointing and naming the colorful, haptic objects. The background, with its apparent lumps and scraps of newspaper paper maché, ideal for little fingers to fiddle with, will appeal to the tactile senses as well. (2+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 126
Hellings, Colette (text)
Jacobs, Nadine (illus.)
Un bébé tombé du ciel
(A baby who fell from heaven)
Paris: Archimède, 1996. 30 p.
ISBN 2-211038921
Giraffe
A baby giraffe falls indeed from heaven, since at birth it is dropped 2 meters to earth. In just a few minutes it can stand up and begin to suckle at its mother's udder and to discover the world. This picture book shows the experiences in the first few days of life, how it is accepted into the herd and attacked by a lioness. The impressive expanse of the African savannah is ever-present in the doublespread illustrations of this generously sized landscape-format picture book. A brief appendix supplies further information about giraffes, which are fairly underrepresented in information books. (5+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 127
Jardin, Alexandre (text)
Derobe, Alain (photos)
de Broca, Alexandre (special effects)
Cybermaman ou le voyage extraordinaire au centre d'un ordinateur
(Cybermaman or the extraordinary journey to the center of a computer)
Paris: Gallimard, 1996. 64 p.
ISBN 2-07-059412-2
Computer - Virtual reality - Adventure
A writer, a photographer and a specialist for optical effects have collaborated here, using technical equipment to create a new style of photonovel (livre cinématographique). The plot involves a virtual journey into the inner workings of a personal computer. Three brothers and sisters head off into cyberspace with their head-mounted displays after their computer crashs in order to find their favorite program which contains pictures, mementos and voice recordings of their dead mother. The oversized glossy photographs (of this oversized book) bring to view the surrealist nature of virtual space, including anti-viruses, which resembles a very real and opulent hall of horrors. (7+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 128
Judes, Marie-Odile (text)
Bourre, Martine (illus.)
Maxime Loupiot
(Maxim Wolff)
Paris: Père Castor Flammarion, 1996. 32 p.
ISBN 2-08-160327-6
Wolf - Father/Son - Career choice
Father Wolf is in despair over his young son who takes after no one else in the family. He prefers gardening to hunting! All efforts to re-educate him to the ways of a wolf fail miserably. But the joke is on Father Wolf. This animal family leads a very human-like life in the vivacious illustrations. The artist had great fun in hinting at the wolfs' nature of the inhabitants in the details of the furniture. In spite of the fundamental antagonism of the fatherson relationship, there is much love and tenderness to be seen. This allows the young reader, undisturbed by any sense of fear, to take delight in the mishaps of this clumsy father. (6+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 129
Kerisel, Françoise
Nona des sables
(Nona of the desert)
Paris: Albin Michel, 1996. 40 p.
ISBN 2-226-08236-0
Algeria - Colonization - War - Family - Memory
A young girl searches with a passion for her own roots in the family genealogy. She presses her great-grandmother to recall her past in Africa, but the old woman buries herself in painful silence, recalling how her forbears had moved to Algeria as colonizers in the 19th century, only to return to France during the Algerian war. Nona has lost her roots and yearns to return to the mimosa and the desert. But the shame over all that took place in the course of colonization and war seals her mouth. The interaction of this detective work and resistance to memory is reflected in scraps of conversation. Reproductions of historical postcards from Algeria are stitched between the leaves of this large-sized album. (10+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 130
Korkos, Alain (text)
Truong, Marcelino (illus.)
En attendant Eliane
(Waiting for Elaine)
Paris: Syros, 1996. 75 p.
(Les uns les autres)
ISBN 2-841-46-321-4
Jews - Algeria/Pogrom 1934 - Emigration - Paris/Deportation 1942
The publisher has established a series of highly literary novels which treats the events of the most recent past and present involving breaches of human rights and violence in multicultural conflicts. The novels' protagonists are fictional, but their historical contexts are authentic. This particular novel deals with an Arabic Jew from Algeria, the last of his family, who lived through the waves of anti-semitic discrimination both in his homeland and in exile in Paris. Alone one rainy evening he recalls in a moving soliloquy the events that led to his parents' and sister's deaths in Algeria and Germany. The author weaves an epic tale on several levels and helps the young reader to keep on with the story even when the narration may engender only revolt, shock and pain. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 131
Lévy, Didier (text)
Galibour, Coralie (illus.)
Peut-on faire confiance à un crocodile affamé?
(Can you trust a hungry crocodile?)
Paris: Albin Michel Jeunesse, 1996. [52] p.
ISBN 2-266-07170-9
Toad - Crocodile - Journey - Trust - Intelligence - Friendship
The answer to the question posed in the title would seem to be: no! Especially if one is a good-natured toad travelling in a balloon with a crocodile whose friendship ends where his hunger begins. But the happy end of the journey of this very odd couple proves that with a little intelligence and sympathy an enjoyable coexistence is possible, despite the extreme differences. The lively colors and surprisingly amusing viewpoints in the various sized pictures convey the humor and wisdom of this story in a high-spirited manner. (5+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 132
Merleau-Ponty, Claire (text)
Ballantine, Kevin (photos)
Sally et le voleur du rêve
(Sally and the thief of dreams)
Paris: Hatier, 1996. 60 p.
ISBN 2-7438-0055-0
Australia - Aborigines - Painting - Tabu - Cultural gap - Adventure
The story of the aborigines and their nomad culture are caught up in the history of Sally and her family. After a taboo regarding the unique paintings of the tribes is broken, the resulting intrigue is used to elaborate on the rituals, the legends of life's origins. The fragile existence of this culture is vividly depicted, located on the breaking point between tradition and modernity, threatened with perversion by tourism and greedy profit. Scattered throughout the narrative are authentic ethnographic photos which also have the charm of intimate family memories. The documentary appendix provides supplemental details and summarizes the Aborigines' problems. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 133
Mets, Alan (text/illus.)
Je suis parti!
(I'm on my way!)
Paris: L'École des Loisirs, 1996. 36 p.
ISBN 2-211-041-07-8
Cat - Night - Travel - Adventure
These travel adventures of a black cat produce a superb bedtime story. All the episodes take place at night in full-page, landscape format illustrations. Only one sentence is sufficient to explain each situation. Generous use of space and bold colors change the picture story from agitated to smooth lines, depending on the rise or decline in the drama of the scene. The lively eyes of the story's protagonists, who meet unexpectedly, have a language of their own. Peaceful cosiness prevails whenever you encounter a sleeper. (4+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 134
Morgenstern, Susie
Lettres d'amour de 0 à 10
(Love letters from 0 to 10)
Paris: L'École des loisirs, 1996. 210 p.
ISBN 2-211-03693-7
Motherless child - Loneliness - Friendship - Joy of life
Ernest's mother died at his birth and his father left him to grow up with his grandmother, who lives almost completely immersed in memories of her past. As result, Ernest's life is sad and monotonous. But this changes overnight when Victoire, the new girl in his class who has an unlimited capacity for joy as well as 13 brothers, »adopts« him and awakens his lust for life. There is none too little comedy, but the story also gives room to fine psychological insights. The transformation which takes place in the lives of Ernest and his grandmother follows the well-proven maxim: One must first enjoy life, before preparing to die. (10+)
(Prix Totem Roman 1996)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 135
Morvan, Françoise (text)
Lapointe, Claude (illus.)
La gavotte du mille-pattes
(The gavotte of the centipede)
Arles: Actes Sud, 1996. 62 p.
Animals - Nonsense poetry
Children who enjoy the sounds of words and wordplay will be well-rewarded with this droll parade of animals. Inspired by the nonsense poems which describe a colorful bestiary in the absurdest situations, the illustrator has let his imagination run wild, trumping the text with even more nonsensical pictures. With souvereignity his full-paged illustrations dominate the narrow, upright format of this handy and prettily designed little book. (5+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 136
Nozière, Jean-Paul
Une sixième en accordéon
(The sixth-grade accordeon class)
Paris: Rageot-Éditeur, 1996. 92 p.
ISBN 2-7002-2364-0
Gypsies - Differentness - Integration - Squatters
Feeling like good samaritans, the children of a sixth-grade class prepare to welcome Zoltan, a boy whose gypsy family has become squatters in the town's run-down city hall. In minutely recorded scenes, Zoltan's perceptive benchmate describes the ultimate failure of their attempts at integration. Even the teachers, who admire his talent on the accordeon and are portrayed as being unprejudiced, are unable to deal with his differentness, expressed in apathy and reserve. In the end, protests from the citizenry lead to a solution of »he gypsy problem« when the police enforce their eviction. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 137
Place, François (text)
Besse, Christophe (illus.)
Le camion fantôme
(The ghostwagon)
Paris: Hachette Jeunesse, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 2-01-223276-0
Old man - Retirement home - Mouse - Friendship - Helpfulness
When Monsieur Verchou, the vegetable seller, retires and moves into a retirement home, the four little mice who, like little elves, had always secretly loaded up his cart for the market, are sad. With cunning tricks, abetted by their friends, they manage to restore the run-down wagon and remove their protégé from the home. Large pictures in landscape format, drawn in vibrant colors and contours, reveal in abundant, realistic details the stages of this fantastical tale. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 138
Prigent, Andrée (text/illus.)
Pouloute, l'hippopotame
(Pouloute, the hippopotamus)
Paris: Les Éditions Didier, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 2-278-30013-X
Hippopotamus - Island - Sea - Colors - Painting
On a very tiny round island in the deep blue sea there is a tall chimney that looks like a cake made with an upside pail in a sandbox. A blue hippopotamus comes along every day with a little wagon full of painting tools and paints fish or starfish on its wall. Rain and moonlight turn them into lively animals that splash about in the water. Changing perspectives and picture segments lend the story its charm and surprise effects. Nothing can spoil this miniature, carefree world of play. The only question left unanswered is what color the fish will be painted tomorrow. (3+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 139
Schneegans, Nicole
Une image de Lou
(A picture of Lou)
Paris: Gallimard, 1996. 330 p.
Albert-Lasard, Louise (1885-1969) - Biography - Painting
The highly unusual life of the headstrong artist, Louise Albert-Lasard, who is usually remembered only for her friendship with Rilke, is depicted in this biography. Driven by her artistic vocation and an iron will, she overcame many obstacles which arose from her middle-class Jewish background and a handicap in walking. Eccentric and independent, her chosen life-style led from Munich, Paris, and Berlin, where she stood in close contact with the avant-garde of the art world. Spanning two world wars and travels around the world, her life took place in a lively epoch of intellectual and world history which will be of great interest to adolescent readers. (16+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 140
Sebbar, Leïla
La jeune fille au balcon
(The young girl on the balcony)
Paris: Seuil, 1996. 148 p.
ISBN 2 02 024800-X
Algeria/France - Family - Integration - Islam - Fundamentalism - Women's role
This ensemble of six tales gives a multifaceted perspective of the long-suffering and difficult relationship between Algeria and France. The fates of several persons are chosen to show the old and new wounds which stem from the colonial wars and years of immigration, from the current conflicts of identity and problems of integration, from the collision between modern times and religious tradition. The author, daughter of Algerian-French parents, gives a penetrating view of the current civil war in Algeria. Hers is the view of the protagonists and thus in immediate contact with the suffering victims. (13+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 141
Serres, Alain (text)
Mellinette, Martine (illus.)
Il y a le monde
(There is the world)
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon: Cheyne éditeur, 1996. [80] p.
Poetry/French - Travel - Observation - Life experience - Humanity
This bibliophile edition contains a collection of travel poetry written over many years. In only a few sentences the sensually recorded experiences are crystallized into an image, impressions into thoughts. Serres's travels took him from Mexico to Egypt. Brief, red-lettered lyrical notes, cross paths with graphic pen-drawings in orange and black, setting accents and awakening associations of leaves, birds, tracks and silhouettes. The fresh, very personal words reveal the author's power of perception and experience of life, for which young readers will be receptive. (12+)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Mention - Portugal (Portuguese) - 1997 - 155
La Fontaine, Jean de (text)
Modesto, António (illus.)
Sabler, António (transl.)
Fábulas
(Fables)
Porto: Edinter, 1995. [88] p.
ISBN 972-43-0264-4
LaFontaine, Jean de - Fables
This collection of 20 fables from Jean de La Fontaine includes such well-known favorites as »The Lion and the Mouse« and the »Hare and the Tortoise.« For each fable there is a full-paged (landscape format) color illustration by António Modesto, which portrays in general only the main characters. They are the focus of the artist, free against a colored background, with additional details only sporadically hinted at. The occasional landscape illustrations stand out with their organic, flowing and expressive forms. There is a conspicuous contrast between the predominant pastel tones in many pictures and the luminous shades of blue and green in others. Often the artist portrays the protagonists as if using a zoom lens, bringing them in so close that only a segment can be seen. Among the wide range of perspectives, one sees the chattering raven in the tree, while the reed is seen looking up at the mighty oak. The illustrations of the beautiful, meticulously designed book, which is bound in carmine red linen, bear a resemblance to the pictures of the Italian artist Lorenzo Mattotti. (8+)

Special Mention - Portugal (Portuguese) - 1997 - 156
Mota, António (text)
Christ, Bayard (illus.)
A casa das bengalas
(The house of walking sticks)
Porto: Edinter, 1995. 147 p.
(Edinter Jovem; 14)
ISBN 972-43-0254-7
Old age - Generational conflict - Retirement home - City/Land
A grandfather who has lived his entire life in the country moves in with his family in the big city, but doesn't get along with them - nor they with him. He returns to his village and ultimately moves into a nearby retirement home. The decision is accompanied with tears, feelings of guilt and a portion of resignation, which everyone involved learns to live with. From the point of view of the grandchild, related with laconic, dry humor, António Mota gives us sure fire, realistic descriptions that do not avoid the unpleasant parts of growing old. This excellent tale treats old age with great respect and loving kindness, without drifting off into cheap show of emotion. (12+)

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+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1997 - 169
Bille, S. Corinna
Chappaz, Maurice
L'attente des images
(Images in waiting)
Genève: La Joie de Lire, 1996. 76 p. With illustrations
ISBN 2-88258-073-8
Middle East - Islam - Miniatures - Observation
The favorite book of Corinna Bille (1912-1979) in her father's library contained miniature paintings of the islamic world of the Middle East. The fascination of this lyrical, mysterious, stylistic world in miniature remained with the author her whole life long. A collection of reflections on these pictures has now been made accessible in a bibliophile edition by her husband, the writer Maurice Chappaz. He has also added three texts of his own and a very personal afterword. In the descrip-tions there is a union of microscopic observation, that perceives even the most unlikely feaures, and of sensiive intuition, that is capable of uncovering the melancholy that is present in these pictures. Both adults and youth will be tempted by this manner of observation to enjoy this leisurely en-counter with the princesses, princes and wisemen in the gardens of oriental poetry. (13+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1997 - 170
Louis, Catherine
Le Livre
(The book)
Genève: La Joie de Lire, 1996. [24] p.
(Ciboulette et Léon)
ISBN 2-88258-097-8
Bear - Play - Book - Wordless picture book
This is an example of a series of four-inch square books made especially for little hands. Each contains a story without words in a sequence with all the charm and magic of an animated film. The two protagonists, a child and a bear, impishly show all the things one can do with a book besides reading it and how to perfect the art of playing with illusions. (3+)

Special Mention - Venezuela (Spanish) - 1997 - 179
Cotte, Carlos (illus.)
Chumba la cachumba
(<Nonsense song>)
Caracas: Ekaré, 1995. 28 p.
(Colección Clave de sol; Canciones tradicionales para cantar y contar)
ISBN 980-257-114-8
Venezuela/Folk song - Cemetery - Skeleton
Thirteen verses of a traditional Venezuelan nonsense song give structure to this amusing and very originally designed picture book. The catchy rhythm of the monotonous melody encourage everyone to sing along, to dance and clap along. The rhythm is also evident in the dynamic of the double-sided illustrations, which are a mixed technique of computer graphic and hand-painted pictures. The song gives answer to the question as to how the dead keep from being bored to death. They let their imagination run wild, they put on plays, dance and sing. These pale, boney figures dance their funny-scary roundabouts against the background of the cemetery with its stylized, interlocking crosses and gravestones in varying shades of grey under a petroleum green sky, facing the eye of the beholder as if on a stage or in front of a camera. Between the grotesque contortions, grimaces and funny props the adult reader will discover sophisticated citations from literature, art and popular culture such as the Mona Lisa or the Infanta from Velázquez's »Las Meninas«. The most irreverent reference is surely the parody of Da Vinci's »The Last Supper« in which the skeletons are found devouring tasty deserts while in the background a stained-glass window portrays the saints of our modern consumer society: sport heros and Mickey Mouse. (3+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1997 - 180
Desrosiers, Sylvie
Le long silence
(The long silence)
Montréal: La courte échelle, 1996. 146 p.
ISBN 2-89021-256
Suicide - Bereavement - Friendship - Puberty
Alice is dead. The beautiful, talented and popular young girl committed suicide. Matthew stands at her coffin, angry and confused, just one hour before cremation. He calls to mind all the things he did together with Alice: in kindergarten they were playmates and then inseparable friends at school, daring and full of life. For him, a shy young boy, their friendship had turned, unawares, into love. But Alice had pulled back. Her friend only comes to realize what dangers and sensitivity hovered behind her self-assured facade, after she took that final step. Through his grief, Matthew is certain at last, that Alice will remain a part of his life. This hour of leave-taking becomes for him a rite of initiation. He knows now, that to love does not mean to possess. The psychological insight of the author into her protagonists state of mind give the novel its credibility. Especially convincing from a literary perspective are the monologues which shift between the past and the present. The narrative voice reflects the hero's manner of thought. By being honest with himself he gains the reader's empathy. (13+)
(Prix Brive-Montréal 12/17, 1996)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1997 - 181
Lamontagne, Michel
L'arbre noir
(The black tree)
Montréal: Médiaspaul, 1996. 163 p.
ISBN 2-89420-329-2
Planet/Lizard - Immigrants - Assimilation -
Cultural conflict - Adventure - Science Fiction This first novel is set in extraterrestial fields and uses all the tricks of science fiction with humor and intelligence. Twelve-year-old Jean has emigrated with his parents to the lizard planet of Tiäne, where he is now a guest and forced to adapt to the different life-style and disgusting eating habits of the »natives.« Jean's commentaries on these very funny collisions of two different cultures give young readers, indirectly, some insights into problems of integration and cultural conflicts. (11+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1997 - 182
Noël, Michel
Pien
(<Proper name>)
Waterloo: Ed. Michel Quintin, 1996. 195 p.
ISBN 2-89435-084-8
Northern Canada/1950s - Childhood memories
These are well-written memories of a childhood in the northern region of Canada which read like a historical novel. How long past the 1950s seem today, when a youth grows up in the northern region of Canada where the Indians still live as nomads in the forests and the Whites almost like colonialists. Such a life has its hard but fascinating side, but the modern-day technological advances are unstoppable and bring radical changes with them. The individual protagonists are well-drawn character portraits and still untouched nature is experienced as a wonderful mystery. (12+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1997 - 183
Tibo, Gilles
Noémie, le secret de Madame Lubago
(Noémie, Madame Lubago's secret)
Boucherville: Québec/Amérique Jeunesse, 1996. 164 p.
ISBN 2-89037-698-2
Child/Old Woman - Friendship - Tenderness - Play - Learning - Wordly wisdom
Young Noémie, lively and full of antics, is absolutely convinced that her neighbor, the kindhearted Madame Lumbago, has a hidden treasure in her apartment. Noémie tries out every possible trick, but her ultimate finding of the treasure is only secondary to the storyline. More important is the tender friendship between the two of them, which unfolds in so many ways - in rollicking nonsense at play, gazing at the wonders of the world together or being with each other without need for words when Monsieur Lumbago dies suddenly. (8+)
(Prix du Gouverneur Général catégorie littérature de jeunesse [texte], 1996)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1997 - 185
Clausen, Jacob
Som et lille himmerige
(Like a little piece of heaven)
København: Forum, 1996. 130 p.
ISBN 87-553-2496-9
Escape - Farmer - Friendship
After twelve-year-old Jim defends himself with a knife against three stronger boys, he must flee for fear of being followed. He goes to an old solitary farmer who readily lets him help with the work and gives Jim the sense of being needed. When Alfred falls ill and is taken away in an ambulance, Jim has to find his own way. In a plain, sober but for that reason quite remarkable tone, the author develops this moving comradship that is based on mutual help and creates a little idyll outside of the threat-filled world. (12+) ☼

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1997 - 186
Karrebæk, Dorte (text/illus.)
Pigen der var go' til mange ting
(The girl who could do so many things)
København: Forum, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 87-553-2389-8
Parent/Child - Conflict - Personality development
This is a story of a girl who has to do everything for herself because her parents are completely occupied with themselves and their arguments. She proposes that they hold a masked ball and her parents actually turn into a cat and dog, corresponding to their behavior. She soon grows up and goes her own way - »sooner or later all children leave home, she left sooner.« The illustrations are fascinating in their mixture of grotesque exaggeration and charming portrayal of the heroine. The events take place in recognizable settings which are reduced to simple, expressive caricatures. The artist uses bold colors but has limited herself to only a few tones. Dorte Karrebæk is an artist well worth discovering. (10+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1997 - 187
Lundbye, Vagn (text)
Edeltoft, Anne Mette (illus.)
Karolines dyrejeg
(Karoline's Me-animal)
København: Thorup, 1996. [34] p.
ISBN 87-899-4355-4
Zoo - Animals - Protection
While visiting the zoo, a little girl learns that every person has an animal that is supposed to protect him or her. After considering a number of animals, the warthog is the one which appears to her in a dream. Both the author and illustrator make their debut in the picture book world. They succeed in depicting the relationships between man and animal in an original manner while sparking the imagination with realistic, sometimes somewhat uncanny, but not mawkish illustrations. (6+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1997 - 188
Petersen, Palle
Najas sommer. En historie fra Grønland
(Naja's summer. A story from Greenland)
Risskov: Klematis, 1995. 32 p.
ISBN 87-7721-637-7
Greenland - Childhood - Everyday life
Greenland is a part of the world we should be interested in getting to know. But there are few books about life there. This photography book gives an interesting glimpse at the everyday life of a child in Greenland. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1997 - 189
Saxild, Jørgen
Og det var Løkken!
(And that was Lokken!)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1996. 201 p.
ISBN 87-411-5791-5
School holiday - First romance
The first-person narrator enjoys a school holiday without parents at the seaside with three friends. Emotional turbulences are inevitable when, how could it be otherwise, a girl by the name of Linnea, enters his scope of view. Like several other Danish writers, Saxild is very skilled in depicting the inner moods of adolenscents, whose hopes are as intense as their doubts. (14+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 214
Thor, Annika
En ö i havet
(An island in the sea)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1996. 196 p.
ISBN 91-638-3306-9
Sweden - Immigration - Jew - Xenophobia
Certainly books about the crimes of the German Nazis are destined to find a wide readership, not only on account of their political content, but unfortunately also because they hold out promise of a particular suspense. That is all the more reason to recommend this book. It portrays the fate of two Jewish girls from Vienna who are sent to foster parents in Sweden. Hence the theme is not persecution or escape in Germany, but rather how children are at the mercy of others in a foreign country. Of course, they find friendly, helpful people, but their integration is not easy. Remarkable is the manner in which the author also includes in her fascinating narrative the aggressivity shown to strangers - whether they are Jews or not - and thus contributing to a coming-to-terms with a part of Swedish history which has long been tabu. (12+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 215
Torudd, Cecilia
Vi måste bada!
(We have to take a bath!)
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1995. [26] p.
ISBN 91-29-63093-2
Toddler - Brother - Play
A little boy decides to help his even smaller brother because his mother wants to sleep in one morning. In the end the mother needs to spend much more time putting things back in order, than if she had gotten up and done everything herself. This book by the well-known caricaturist is an example of the outstanding Swedish books for small children, which are so witty that adults can take pleasure in them, too. (4+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 216
Wahl, Mats
Emma och Daniel. Mötet
(Emma and Daniel. The meeting)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1996. 154 p.
ISBN 91-638-3340-9
Tolerance - Single-parent family
Emma's single-parent father has invited Daniel and his mother, whom he became acquainted with through a newspaper ad, to his holiday house in the moun-tains. His daughter protests, but has to put up with the situation. Through their joint experiences, the two very different children get to know each other just as well as the adults. As in his earlier works, Wahl has an excellent manner of drawing his characters and portraying their development. (12+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1997 - 236
Kuiper, Nannie (text)
Hopman, Philip (illus.)
Het kleuterwoordenboek
(The toddler's dictionary)
Amsterdam: Piramide, 1996. 112 p.
ISBN 90-245-2584-5
Vocabulary - Short story
In nearly one hundred short stories, each dealing with a particular word, children are taught to extend their vocabulary in a playful manner. The stories are divided into five chapters in which various subjects are dealt with in alphabetical order. Sophy and Martin, who are friends, are the main characters in each story, which means that the book can also be read as a whole. In a very clever way Nannie Kuiper is able to make ideas, emotions, words understandable to very young children. The cheerful, colorful illustrations by Philip Hopman are an excellent complement to the stories, even giving them an extra dimension by treating an idea with humor. (4+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1997 - 237
Geelen, Harrie (text/illus.)
Jan en het gras
(Jan and the grass)
Amsterdam: Van Goor, 1996. 36 p.
ISBN 90-00-03095-1
Ability - Self-confidence
Jan is good at nothing. At least, that's what he thinks. The grass philosophizes with John about what 'nothing' is. 'Nothing' can also be 'very, very much'. Jan can tread on the grass, pick flowers, play pirate games, and find a buried treasure. He even saves a worm and also 'a funny little animal which lay on its back and couldn't get up anymore'. These heroic deeds are written in the sky in big letters, so that everbody can read about them. A deceptively simple tale, the plot works very subtly. In words and pictures, Geelen places his readers right in the middle of Jan's world. He uses recognizable elements from the world of children in order to explain an abstract notion like 'nothing'. (5+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1997 - 238
Leeuwen, Joke van (text/illus.)
Iep!
(Peep!)
Amsterdam: Querido, 1996. 151 p.
ISBN 90-214-7326-7
Bird - Assimilation - Freedom
Viegeltje, a »bird-girl«, looks like a human, except for her wings, but has very birdlike habits. Her foster parents, Warre and Tinne, try to raise her as a human child, but Viegeltje keeps her distance from them. Nobody knows what is going on in her mind, but it is clear that she has an enormous longing for freedom, which in the end leads to a nonetheless surprising departure. In order to say goodbye, Warre and Tinne follow her, having some bizarre adventures along the way. The longing for freedom and independence and the fear of being deserted is movingly expressed. The illustrations form an inseparable whole with the text. (10+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1997 - 239
Lier, Bas van (text)
Braamhorst, Jan (illus.)
Het VOC-schip »De halve maan«
(The East Indian Company's ship »The half moon«)
Amsterdam: Ploegsma, 1996. 80 p.
ISBN 90-216-1199-6
The Netherlands/History 18th century - Trading ship
This story deals with the maiden voyage of »The Half Moon« (a fictitious ship which bears a great deal of resemblance to well-known 18th century ships), which served the United East Indian Company. In this successful combination of fiction and nonfiction, a glorious era in Dutch history is brought to life through the story and in the informative passages dealing not just with heroic deeds, but everyday life as well. The engrossing and historically accurate illustrations are complementary to the text and provide the reader with a great deal of pleasure. (10+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1997 - 240
Schubert, Ingrid (text/illus.)
Schubert, Dieter (text/illus.)
Abracadabra
Rotterdam: Lemniscaat, 1996. 26 p.
ISBN 90-5637-046-4
Forest - Magician - Threat - Animal - Solidarity
Although the animals in Darkwood had never had any trouble with the wizard Macrobius before, suddenly no animal was safe from him. The animals come up with a marvellous magic trick in order to settle accounts with the bad wizard. Together, appearing as one great monster, they scare the living daylights out of the wizard, who flees into the forest. But in the end, they make peace with each other again. This wonderful picture book uses a well-constructed dramatic tension, which resolves into a very satisfactory ending. The illustrations accompanying this amusing story are very detailed, which makes for a beautiful book. (4+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1997 - 241
Vijgen, Theo (text)
Nuyten, Peter (illus.)
Tipi's, totems en tomahawks. Het leven van de Noordamerikaanse Indianen
(Tipis, totem poles and tomahawks. The life of the North-American Indians)
Nijmegen: SUN, 1996. 183 p.
ISBN 90-6168-459-5
North America/Indians
The way Indians are depicted in many children's books is very remote from the truth: from good, noble folk to bloodthirsty savages. This book rectifies this prejudice by providing a clear history of the life of the North-American Indians from the very beginning, about 40,000 years ago. In words and pictures ample attention is paid to the Indians' everyday life, to the various tribes and their chiefs, and to the relationship between Indians and whites. The book concludes with a chapter on life in the reservations, and the current Indian protests with regards to territorial rights. A very full, informative and entertaining history which does full justice to the North-American Indians. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1997 - 242
Vriens, Jacques (text)
Schaap, Annet (illus.)
Meester Jaap
(Mr. Jaap)
Houten: Van Holkema en Warendorf, 1996. 45 p.
ISBN 90-269-8883-4
School - Teacher - Short story
Every day, something funny happens in Mr. Jaap's classroom. A fight with toilet paper, a Christmas dinner with green cabbage on the menu, or a dressup party which ends in complete chaos. Sometimes, less pleasant things occur as well, but in these situations Mr. Jaap usually finds an amusing solution. In these twenty stories, Vriens paints a sparkling picture of a classroom with 10- or 11-year-old pupils. All the events are very recognizable, even though it's not every child who has a teacher like this. (10+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1997 - 245
Balabanes, Panos
Athla, Athletes kai Epathla. Olympiakoi agones kai athletismos sten archaia Ellada
(Championships, athletes, and medals. The Olympic Games and sports in ancient Greece)
Nea Smyrne: Ereunetes, 1996. 104 p.
ISBN 960-368-023-0
Greece/Olympic games - Sports
The author, a professor of archeology, not only presents the ancient types of sports, their history and rules, but also puts them in a social context. He endeavors to show the importance of each athletic competition and help the modern reader understand the atmosphere of those times. Striking in both text and illustration, the book will satisfy the needs of a demanding reader. An appendix which includes an international bibliography and additional information on this topic encourages further reading. (10+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1997 - 246
Grimane, Anna (adapt.)
Mia Kyriake me ton Demetre Mytara
(A sunday with Demetres Mytaras)
Athena: Ammos, 1996. [34] p. With illustrations
(Mia Kyriake me...)
ISBN 960-202-134-9
Mytaras, Demetres - Painting
In this richly illustrated book the artistic development of one of the most important contemporary Greek artists, Demetres Mytaras, is told from the first-person point of view. In a very individual tone, the artists leads the reader through his various periods of creation and explains the background of his works. Furthermore he endeavors to make his approach to art more accessible und understandable to the interested reader. In an appendix, further biographical information about Mytaras as well as other artists who he refers to in the text are given. (10+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1997 - 247
Marra, Eirene
To adeio mpukali
(The empty bottle)
Athena: Patakes, 1996. 168 p.
(Peristeria; 52)
ISBN 960-360-930-7
Greece/World War II - Family - Everyday life - Resistance
In this vividly told story about a Greek family living in occupied Athens during the Second World War, a mother and her two sons, aged eight and sixteen, struggle day-by-day to survive after their father has become a resistance fighter in the Greek underground. Particularly the younger boy gradually comes to a greater understanding of the conditions in which they are living during the course of the story. The characters and the setting are very realistically drawn and remain believable throughout the story. (10+) ☆
(Greek IBBY Section Award 1996)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1997 - 248
Sarantite, Elene
Kapote o kynegos ...
(Once a hunter ...)
Athena: Kastaniotes, 1996. 170 p.
(Ephebike Bibliotheke)
ISBN 960-03-1542-6
Greece/Civil War - Emigration - Homecoming - Prejudice
This realistic novel about a Greek family begins at the time of the Civil War at the end of the Second World War and describes their odyssee-like journey toTashkent, where they remain for forty years. Upon returning to their homeland, their hopes of putting down roots again in modern-day Greece are met with disappointment when they are confronted with prejudice against people who had fled the country. In spite of its serious topic, this is a thoroughly enjoyable youth novel and will also appeal to adult readers. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1997 - 249
Simopulos, Dionyses
E gennese ton Astron
(The birth of the stars)
Nea Smyrne: Ereunetes, 1996. 105 p.
(Ta mystika tu sympantos)
ISBN 960-368-022-2
Astronomy - Space
This first volume of a series titled »The secrets of space«, written by an internationally renown astrophysicist, describes how the universe began. Using many color photos and drawings, the complicated subject matter of astronomy, as well as the development of astronomy as a science, is made understandable in a thoroughly humorous manner. (10+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1998 - 14
Tang, Yaming (= Tô, Amei) (text)
Yu, Dawu (= U, Taibu) (illus.)
Jûmanbon no ya
(The hundred thousand arrows)
Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 4-00-110636-1
China/History 220-265 - General - Jealousy - Intrigue - Cleverness
This original Japanese picture book is an easily understandable retelling by a Chinese writer and Chinese illustrator of the 46th episode of the historical novel »The three kingdoms« (San-guo zhi yan-yi or San-kuo chih yen-i) by Luo Guanzhong (or Lo Kuan-chung) dating from the Ming dynasty. A famous general known for his cleverness must supply one hundred thousand arrows within ten days without being given any materials or laborers. Against all expectations he fulfills this devious task brilliantly by the third day. The visual interpretation of the text in the style of royal, scholastic Chinese painting is a feast for the eye. Extremely fine brush strokes, transparent colors and unusual proportions present the classical heroic period of ancient China in stunning picture compositions which satisfy both aesthetically and humorously. (9+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1998 - 15
Yamamoto, Yôko (text/illus.)
Okochan
(I, Okochan!)
Tokyo: Shogakukan, 1996. (2nd ed.) [32] p.
ISBN 4-09-727075-3
Individuality - Childhood memories - Parody
The young girl Okochan has a strong personality that just radiates with vitality. She acts in accordance with her own imagination, impulses and logic, causing her parents and grandparents such amazement that they are nearly bowled over time after time. These delightful episodes from the author and graphic artist's own childhood are rendered here in short sketches which parody the well-known Japanese children's song »Zôsan« (Little elephant) by Michio Mado (Hans Christian Andersen Prize winner) and Ikuma Dan. This is an unconventional autobiography that sparks the reader to laughter again and again. (5+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1998 - 16
Yumoto, Kazumi
Popura no aki
(A poplar tree in autumn)
Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1997. 218 p.
(Shincho bunko Yu-6-2)
ISBN 4-10-131512-4
Old/Young - Friendship - Death - Letter-writing - Withdrawal - Fear
Seven-year old Chiaki struggles to deal with the death of her father, her mother's suffering, and a new home and school. Feeling quite at a loss herself, she becomes acquainted with their landlady, a very old woman who explains that she is collecting letters to the dead which she will personally deliver to the afterworld when she dies one day. Upon hearing this, Chiaki begins to write to her father and thus finds a way to free herself from her fear of death, from her grief, her inner withdrawal, and all her worries. Chiaki's strange but wonderous friendship with the old woman is told in a gentle, melancholy tone in flashbacks. (13+)

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1998 - 21
Beake, Lesley
Jakey
(<Proper name>)
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1997. 132 p.
ISBN 0-624-03566-2
Death - Grief - Family violence - Friendship - Suicide attempt - South Africa/History 1994 - Race relations - Alzheimer's disease
After his beloved stepfather is victim of a random street murder, Jakey and his mother move to a middle-class neighborhood where his mother has become the housekeeper of an older widow who is beginning to suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Still in weak health from his grief, Jakey takes lessons at home from this warm-hearted, independent woman. And Jakey soon becomes friends with the lonely white boy next door, who is being mishandled by his unhappy father, and helps Hendrik run away from home.When this fails, Jakey's sensitivity helps to prevent Hendrik's suicide.This is a realistic story about tension, grief and unhappiness in several families, but there is also an undercurrent of hopefulness and joy at the personal and political level. The day of the first free elections in 1994 is a significant event in the narrative. Beake weaves a well-balanced story with several narrative threads and an interesting array of characters caught up in a rapidly changing society. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1998 - 22
Pinnock, Patricia Schonstein
Saturday in Africa. Living history through poetry
Cape Town: African Sun Press, 1996. 70 p.
ISBN 1-874915-05-9
Poetry - South Africa/History - Everyday life
This collection of poems written in various styles and meters draws upon many aspects of life and memories in South Africa, focussing especially on the joyful anticipation of the new era beginning under Nelson Mandela's presidency. Many poems are accompanied by well-chosen, expressive blackand- white photographs taken from numerous sources. Unusual words and historical contexts are explained in endnotes. This is a very attractively produced volume which will enrich library collections. (10+)

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1998 - 23
Turkington, Nola (text)
Mathew, Gillian (illus.)
Matilda and Meggie
(<Proper names>)
Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 1997. 23 p.
ISBN 0-7981-3514-X
School project - Role play - Egg - Parent/Child - Responsibility
Matilda's fourth grade class end-of-year project is learning how to take responsibility by caring for an egg for one week. Unlike many of her classmates, Matilda is quite fastidious, and learns quite a bit about the burdens of „child-rearing", but in a surprise turn of events she uses the egg to foil a supposed burglar. The humorous, tale in paperback format is complemented with very attractively stylized black-and-white pen-andwash illustrations. (7+) ☼

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1998 - 28
Carmody, Isobelle
Greylands
Ringwood: Penguin Books Australia, 1997. 174 p.
ISBN 0-14-038749-8
Mother - Death - Grief - Brother/Sister - Love - Dreamworld - Symbolism - Aliciade
Greylands is the place where someone goes when they are sad or scared. That is the interpretation which Jack, the youthful author-protagonist of the story within a story, finds for himself and his sister at the end of his symbol-filled tale. After their emotionally ill mother suddenly dies, he works through his grief by writing a fictional story, sharing it at times with his sister. Emotionally deserted by their father, who has retreated into his own world of grief, the two teenagers struggle to come to terms with their mother's death in this very moving and illuminating story. Carmody skilfully employs literary devices to propel the narrative and captivate the reader. (12+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1998 - 29
Caswell, Brian (text)
Chiem, David Phu An (text)
Only the heart
St. Lucia: University of Queensland, 1997. 212 p.
ISBN 0-7022-2927-X
Vietnam/Emigration - Australia/Immigration - Postwar trauma - Family - Escape - Diary
Though Caswell uses his characteristic style of alternating perspectives to expand the horizon of the narrative, the content of this fictional story with real-life background comes from Chiem, a Vietnam-born Australian filmmaker of Chinese descent. The four-generation family tree at the outset is useful in following the diary-like entries - in both first and third person voices - of two main protagonists, cousins, and several other characters in this saga which spans from 1977 to 1996. This is a very immediate, gripping story of survival and coping in the face of the abominations of war and its traumatic consequences. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1998 - 30
Crew, Gary (text)
Woolman, Steven (illus.)
Tagged
Flinders Park: Era, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 1-86374-292-1
Vietnam - War - Veteran - Friendship - Death - Memory
This artistically innovative graphic novel deals with the tragic effect of war. Ironically, it begins with a young boy phantasizing about the heroic aerial attack of a war pilot while he explores the ruins of a deserted factory. He comes upon an old man, a war veteran who has lost all hold on life, wallowing in the memories of his fallen buddy. Jimmy hears his tale and learns about the terrible price paid by combat soldiers. Visually the book resembles a graphic comic, though with more variety and creativity; the text is also more richly descriptive. (10+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1998 - 31
Lester, Alison (text/photos)
The quicksand pony
St. Leonards: Allen & Unwin, 1997. 162 p.
ISBN 1-86373-931-9
Death - Disappearance - Single parent - Island - Pony - Robinsonade - Adventure
This is the first full-length children's book by a well-known picture story book author. An adventure story set in the bush, it weaves together the fascinating, but quite different tales of two child protagonists. Joe was taken to an uninhabited island as a baby by his grief-stricken, widowed mother and they live a secret Robinsonesque life until she dies, leaving him alone. When Biddy's horse is trapped in quicksand she is forced to abandon it, but later finds it had been rescued. Her search leads her to Joe and to his reintegration into the community. This is an unusual story that will appeal to many young readers. (10+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1998 - 32
Marsden, John
Prayer for the twenty-first century
Port Melbourne: Lothian, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 0-85091-814-6
Peace - Future
John Marsden is an internationally renown author of controversial, challenging novels for mature teenagers as well as humorous works for children. This beautifully designed picture book shows another dimension of his obvious interest in the growth and well-being of the next generation. In lyrical, partially rhymed verses he gives expression to heart-felt concerns about human civilization and nature. A fascinating diverse selection of artwork from photographs to modern paintings from museums in Australia, set off against a stylized background, illuminate the individual thoughts. (8+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1998 - 33
Morris, Jill (text)
Muir, Lindsay (illus.)
Green air
Maleny: Great Glider, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 0-947304-30-4 (pb)
Australia - Wildlife - Frog - Instinct
Australia's gastric-brooding frog was discovered in a sub-tropical area of Queensland in 1974. By 1981, as the afterword of this informative picture story book reports, it had disappeared. Without any live frogs to photograph, this book makes use of a stunningly life-like alternative. Muir has created three-dimensional pictures of the frogs and their environment from glazed and kiln-fired clay. In a very attractive page design accompanied by a slightly oversized typeface text, the life and adventures of a frog named Silus is entertainingly told in such a way that could be read aloud to children of any age group, from four to twelve. (4+) ☼
(Shortlist, Crichton Award, 1996)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1998 - 34
Winton, Tim (text)
Louise, Karen (illus.)
Blueback
(<Proper name>)
Sydney: Pan Macmillan Australia, 1997. 151 p.
ISBN 0-330-36038-8 (pb)
Mother/Son - Snorkel diving - Fish - Nature - Oceanography - Growing up
Abel grows up on a remote coast of Australia alone with his widowed mother. He loves their almost daily snorkel diving, whose abalone harvest gives them just enough to survive, and treasures his lifelong relationship with a large pet-like blue groper. But Abel must leave this idyll for further schooling and his decision to become an oceanographer takes him far away for years, until he returns to his roots to establish a natural oceanwater preserve. This is a poetic story of growing up which spans decades of one individual's life, a captivating and unusal biographical narrative. (10+)

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 1998 - 38
Boock, Paula
Dare truth or promise
Dunedin: Longacre Press, 1997. 180 p.
ISBN 1-877135-08-9
First love - Lesbian - Homosexuality - Mother/Daughter - Homophobia - Identity
Louie is a fast-talking, witty girl who likes acting and plans to be a lawyer. Willa is quieter, has a dog as a constant companion, likes fencing and hopes to become a chef. In two marvellous early scenes of the skilfully told narrative, which alternates, in the third person, between Louie and Willa, each personality is brilliantly captured. The ups and downs of their gradually acknowledged feelings - which give way to passionate romance - and the varying reactions of others are authentically portrayed. Not only does Boock depict each scene with much insight and vivid detail, she also brings in a large supporting cast of well-drawn characters - friends, family, schoolmates and working colleagues - to create a very realistic background. As in many relationships that break norms, there is a long painful separation as Louie copes with the negative reactions of her family and re-examines her feelings. Unlike earlier books about homosexuality in which anxiety and conflict prevail, here the joy of finding a kindred spirit is portrayed, making it evident that love and romance can take the same course regardless of the sex of the partners. (14+)

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 1998 - 39
Buxton, Jane (text)
Newman, Penelope (illus.)
Donkey dust
Wellington: Mallinson Rendel, 1997. 144 p.
ISBN 0-908783-16-7
Runaways - Donkey - Adventure - Parentage - Secret
When three children between fourteen and six years of age learn that their mother has left suddenly for Australia to help a sick aunt, they decide to set off to visit the father they have not seen in six years. Travelling in a cart pulled by their pet donkey they learn to deal with each other and fend for themselves on the 100 kilometer journey. Covertly followed and indirectly helped by a family friend, they arrive safely in the end and learn from their father the true circumstances of their parents' marriage and separation. Illustrated with attractive black-and-white sketches, this vividly told adventure story is a real page-turner. (+9)

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 1998 - 40
Hill, David
Treasure deep
Wellington: Mallinson Rendel, 1997. 112 p.
ISBN 0-908783-22-1
Friendship - Maori culture - Prejudice - Step-father - Betrayal
Glyn's best mate is a Maori, much to the dismay of his future stepfather, an omnipresent representative of the local police. During summer holidays Glyn and Api make two valuable archeological finds, over which Api's grandmother is quite excited. When she is then brutally beaten and robbed, the police first arrest an innocent Maori before discovering that the rich white young man who had slyly befriended Glyn and Api is the real culprit. The local flavor of New Zealand's people and social fabric adds to the reading pleasure of this richly textured adventure story, with its colorful characters and romantic subplots. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 1998 - 41
Lasenby, Jack
Because we were the travellers
Dunedin: Longacre, 1997. 155 p.
ISBN 1-877135-02-X
Survival - Old/Young - Mutual aid - Growing up
In an unnamed country a clan of people wander as nomads in a circular cycle through a rough, scorching landscape that can scarcely support them, governed by the rules of survival of the fittest. When the lame Ish's father is murdered by a rival and his protective older sister taken as booty, he has to survive outside the group, learning what he needs to for himself and an wise old woman he joins up with. This skilfully developed futuristic fantasy gives a realistic view of human society in primitive conditions and the maturation of a boy whose future course will be eagerly followed in the announced sequel. (12+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 43
Browne, Anthony (illus.)
Willy the dreamer
London: Walker, 1997. [24] p.
ISBN 0-7445-4972-8
Dream - Imagination - Art history - Popular culture
With his patterned vest, green corduroy trousers and hair parted down the center, Willy has acquired the quality of instant recognition. His mildmannered way of meeting all the challenges of this world has a sense of universality. Now taking a different tack, Browne offers no narrative but takes a visual journey through Willy's surrealist dreamworld. It is filled, of course, with the omnipresent banana, but also with allusions to familiar literary works and cultural heroes, and spiced with visual jokes. Browne pays hommage to famous artists from Dalí to Sendak, giving children a first taste of art they will recognize again. (5+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 44
Doherty, Berlie (text)
Bailey, Siân (illus.)
Daughter of the sea
London: Hamish Hamilton, 1996. 115 p.
(Text French and German)
ISBN 0-241-13614-8
(USA ed. New York: DK, 1997)
Sea/Legend - Selkie - Seal - Island - Fishing - Childless couple - Adoption
This is an absorbing, atmospheric tale of an older childless fisher couple who adopts a baby found on the shoreline on a stormy night. It is also a frame story in which numerous sea legends dealing with the relationship of man and seals are embedded. The well-drawn characters of this tight-knit fishing community on a remote windy island come alive in Doherty's narrative. One imagines the smells and sounds, and feels the emotional pull of the now teenaged selkie child toward her own people, setting the mood for the suspenseful climax. (10+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 45
Dowswell, Paul (text)
Tomlins, Karen (illus.)
The Roman Record
London: Usborne, 1997. 32 p.
ISBN 0-7460-2753-2
Rome/History 753 B.C.- 500 A.D. - Newspaper
Read all about it! Buy the »Roman Record« and you, reader, can learn everything you always wanted to know about the trials and tribulations of life as a slave - if you are so dumb - or as a senator - thank your favorite goddess - in Roman times. Find out all about those battles and conquests! Read about the fall of Rome! Ladies, check out the latest kitchen facilities and newly arrived shipments of jewelry! Find out how predictions are made! Page after page of the latest news, concisely laid-out facts and analyses. Colorful mosaics and paintings from-on-the scene reporters make your reading pleasure complete. (10+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 46
Moore, Robin (text)
Ambrus, Victor (illus.)
My life with the Indians. The story of Mary Jemison
London: Franklin Watts, 1997. 32 p.
ISBN 0-7496-2363-2
North America/Indians - Abduction - Adoption - Cultural conflict
The biography of Mary Jemison, based on the account she told at the age of 80 in 1823, spans a turbulent period of North American history. The sole survivor of an Indian raid on her home in Pennsylvania - a result of the French and British war for territory - she was adopted by another tribe, married twice and mother of a large family. She choose to remain with her Indian family and friends, rather than return to a bigotted white civilization, but still suffered many family sorrows through the changing times. Masterly pen-andwash illustrations adorn this fascinating documentation, followed by factual information in an appendix. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 47
Nimmo, Jenny (reteller)
Jones, Jac (illus.)
Branwen
(<Proper name>)
Llandysul: Pont Books/Gomer, 1997. [32] p.
(Legends from Wales)
ISBN 1-85902-322-3
Wales/Legend - Ireland - Alliance - Marriage - Intrigue - Revenge
In this tragic tale from the Mabinogi, the Welsh heroic saga, a wise and mighty king of Britain gives his lovely sister Branwen in marriage to the king of Ireland, but the wrath of their half-brother, Efnisien, and the jealousy of the Irish court breaks the young couple's happiness. The exigencies of power lead to the bloody war between the two armies, and to many deaths, including the British king, the rueful Efnisien, Branwen's child, and broken-hearted Branwen - the high price of family loyalty. The readable telling of this tale is accompanied by beautiful watercolor illustrations which convey the emotions and dramatic action of the tale. (8+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 48
Tomlinson, Theresa
Dancing through the shadows
London: Julia MacRae, 1997. 120 p.
ISBN 1-85681-713-X
(USA ed.: New York, DK, 1997)
Mother/Daughter - Breast cancer - School - Dance - Well - Legend
A school girl learns to deal with the fears and uncertainties of her mother's breast cancer operation and her moodiness during the subsequent chemotherapy. She becomes absorbed in helping a teacher with the renovation of an ancient well near her school and performing modern dance routines with a group of school mates. The events of everyday life in a normal family and suburban neighborhood setting make an enjoyable backdrop for the development of the likeable main character. This is a heartwarming family story with an authentic ring. (10+)

Special Mention - Ireland (English) - 1998 - 51
Parkinson, Siobhán
Four kids, three cats, two cows, one witch (maybe)
Dublin: O'Brien, 1997. 192 p.
ISBN 0-86278-515-4
Island - Friendship - Recluse - Adventure
The winner of Ireland's annual Bisto Award for Children's Literature in 1996 gives us another highly readable story about lively, appealing young adults who are caught in the throes of growing up, gradually gaining self-confidence and valuable experience along the way to adulthood. During summer holidays two girls and two boys are thrown together, partially by chance, and embark on an adventure which leads them to an island. There they make the acquaintance of an eccentric recluse and learn to see life with different eyes. One special part of their adventure story involves the highly revealing »fairy tales« each one must make up and tell to the others, stories within a story. In this way Parkinson can introduce tension and conflicts with which any person could be faced with, while still portraying teenagers whose lives are fairly »normal«, like those of many of her readers. (12+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 58
Cowan, Catherine (transl./reteller)
Paz, Octavio (story)
Buehner, Mark (illus.)
My life with the wave
New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard/Morrow, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 0-688-12660-X
Ocean wave - Friendship
This deliciously absurd tale by the Nobel Prize winner, Octavio Paz, is beautifully rendered in fullpage color paintings, which speaks to the fantasy in all of us. On his first trip to the seashore, the boy narrator is befriended by a small but most playful wave. The wave cajoles the boy's father into taking her home with them and at first all goes well. But when the wave's wild moods and ghastly nightmares become unmanageable, they have to return her to the ocean. Buehner's illustrations capture the nuances of this poetic, yet straight forward text and expands on them exquisitely with many ironical touches. A delightful gem to be reread many times. (4+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 59
Gallo, Donald R. (ed.)
No easy answers. Short stories about teenagers making tough choices
New York: Delacorte, 1997. 323 p.
ISBN 0-385-32290-9
Conflict - Moral choice - Guilt - Atonement - Growing up
This anthology contains sixteen short stories, written for this collection, by some of the leading writers for young adult in the U.S. and Canada. As the title makes clear, each of the protagonists is faced with a choice between alternative actions. Often the difficulties lie in the conflict between ambition or fulfillment of a dream and the reality of hurting other people. The situations they find themselves in involve drugs, pregnancy, blackmail, handicapped victims, or revenge. At the end of each short story, a two-page biographical sketch lets the reader know what other books by the author are available. (12+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 60
Hausherr, Rosmarie (text/photos)
Celebrating families
New York: Scholastic, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 0-590-48937-2
Family - Adoption - Divorce - Single parent
Many varieties of family structure are presented here in fourteen double-spread pages. Each portrait includes a photo of a child with the members of his or her family and one of a typical favorite activity - whether gardening, repairing a bicycle, visiting Dad in prison, or playing games on the computer with an older foster brother. Short, descriptions reveal the many ways families may be formed (including bi-racial and same gender parents) and formed again after change (divorce, separation, adoption). (7+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 61
Hearne, Betsy (text)
Andersen, Bethanne (illus.)
Seven brave women
New York: Greenwillow, 1997. [24] p.
ISBN 0-688-14502-7
Genealogy - Biography - Courage
With the intention of showing that history is also »her« story and our common history is not necessarily one of war and aggression, this picturebook biography gives brief portraits of seven women ancestors, telling what made each of their lives remarkable and memorable. This short firstperson chronicle of one woman's family history, which is also set in a wider context of world events that are mentioned in passing, makes a lasting impression. The naive-abstract double-page oil paintings capture the main elements of each life and the times. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 62
Henkes, Kevin
Sun & Spoon
New York: Greenwillow, 1997. 135 p.
ISBN 0-688-15232-5
Grandmother - Death - Grandfather - Bereavement - Family life
Two months after his grandmother's death, Spoon (his family nickname) realizes that he needs to find a special memento to remember her by. This gentle story of his search is set against the background of warm, caring relationships. But even these need to be cultivated, like the family garden, and the grief of both grandson and grandfather lead them to a new understanding. Henkes has a remarkable talent for depicting the nuances of his subject in dialogues, inner reflections that ring true, and simple situations weighty with meaning. His natural, crafted prose seems to flow effortlessly. (9+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 63
Koller, Jackie French (text)
Lewin, Betsy (illus.)
No such thing
Honesdale: Boyds Mills, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 1-56397-490-8
Bedtime - Monster - Fear
When a little boy moves into an old house he has trouble falling asleep because of the monsters living under it. In this delightful twist on a familiar plot, both little Howard and the charming little green monster exasperate their mothers with their fears until they finally find the courage to talk to each other and discover neither wants to harm the other. In an open-end conclusion they call out to their mothers once again - and the reader must guess what will happen. Full page watercolors with bold black contour strokes capture the universal child's nighttime fears with a dose of humor. (4+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 64
Lelooska, Chief (reteller/illus.)
Normandin, Christine (ed.)
Echoes of the elders. The stories and paintings of Chief Lelooska
New York: Dorling Kindersley (DK) in assoc. with Callaway Editions, 1997. 38 p.
ISBN 0-7894-2455-X
Kwakiutl/Tales - North America/Northwest coast - Animals/Myths
This beautifully designed oversized book of five animal tales is a tribute to the decades of oral storytelling and intensive efforts to preserve the Northwest Coast Indian culture by Chief Lelooska, a descendent of the Cherokee who was adopted by the Southern Kwakiutl tribe. The large two-dimensional ornamental renderings of the animal protagonists enhance the lengthy, didactic but entertaining stories. A compact disc included with the book gives proof of the famous storytelling powers of Chief Lelooska, who died in 1996. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 65
Myers, Walter Dean (text)
Myers, Christopher (illus.)
Harlem
New York: Scholastic, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 0-590-54340-7
Harlem - African-Americans
This stunning picture book is a visual and lyrical hymn to the persistent hopes and dreams of African-Americans living in Harlem, that famous section of New York City. Harlem was an important gathering point where jazz and Black culture began to blossom in the early part of the 20th century. Its pulsating vitality is given bold expression in the assembled multi-media collages by the artist son of Walter Dean Myers, the wellknown young adult writer who grew up in Harlem. (6+) ☆
(Caldecott Honor Book 1998)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 66
O'Connor, Barbara
Beethoven in Paradise
New York: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. 153 p.
ISBN 0-374-30666-4
Father/Son - Grandmother - Music - Expectations - Conflict - Friendship - Identity
Twelve-year old Martin lives with his parents in a trailer park name Paradise. His permanently unhappy father has placed all his hopes in Martin becoming a „normal" boy he can be proud of. But Martin is a loner whose real natural talent lies in music. His grandmother and a neighbor encourage him in different ways to develop himself, and after numerous angry scenes and much anguish, he is finally able to stand up to his father. O'Connor captures the sweltering atmosphere of this close, lower-class setting and depicts the hopes and limitations of the main protagonists with great sensitivity. (10+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 67
Pinkney, Andrea Davis (text)
Pinkney, Brian (illus.)
Duke Ellington
New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7868-2150-7
Ellington, Duke - Jazz - African-Americans
The picture book biography of the world's most famous jazz pianist, band leader and composer, Duke Ellington (1899-1974), is told succinctly for children in an upbeat contemporary vernacular with African-American idioms that capture the natural swing, wit and esprit of modern times. The musical rhythm of the text is reflected and extended in the ideally suited, brightly colored twopage spreads done in Brian Pinkney's hallmark scratchboard paintings. The reader is offered factual information but may also feel inspired to hear and learn more about this musical genius and about jazz. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1998 - 69
Herfurtner, Rudolf (text)
Boratyński, Antoni (illus.)
Waldkinder
(Forest children)
Mödling: St. Gabriel, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 3-85264-544-1
Garden - Captivity - Escape - Cultural contact - Community
One day a sheltered child finds, quite literally, a »hole in the wall« of his untouched world. Outside the wall he finds children who have had completely different experiences. Yet they find a common language. Now they all return to the well-tended garden, but are no longer in captivity. This is a book about growing up and becoming independent which makes use of an unusual visual language. Until unity is created, it is monstrous shapes that encounter each other. Once they have formed a community the little gnomes become elves. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1998 - 70
Janisch, Heinz (text)
Oberdieck, Bernhard (illus.)
Sarah und der Wundervogel
(Sarah and the magic bird)
Wien: Betz, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 3-219-10644-7
Bird - Miracle - Captivity - Help - Rescue
The splendid magic bird has lost its colors and its magic powers during captivity. A little girl brings life back to him through her questions. It tells her all about freedom. With each tale one of the ropes that is holding it falls away and one day he has disappeared from its cage. Tired, earthy colors depict its captivity, light colors stand for life and freedom. The reader may be reminded of the Andersen tale of the Emperor's Nightingale, but fortunately this story ends happily. (6+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1998 - 71
Reinl, Edda (text/illus.)
Adam der Gaukler
(Adam the juggler)
Innsbruck: Tyrolia, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 3-7022-2079-8
Juggler - Monastery - Music - Dance - Prayer
The Adam from the legend »The juggler and the good Lord« performs his colorful stunts for little children until the snow comes and he finds shelter in a monastery. All the colors there are in the monotone brown of the monks' habit, until one night Adam cannot stand it any longer. He stands at the chapel altar and plays his violin for the good Lord. All the monks come running and are amazed at the intensity with which he plays. It is not known whether the dear Lord ever punished Adam for this caper. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1998 - 72
Treiber, Jutta (text)
Blazejovsky, Maria (illus.)
O, sagt der Ohrwurm. Ein Anti-Lärm-Bilderbuch
(Oh, said the noisy-worm. An anti-noise book)
Wien: Betz, 1997. [36] p.
ISBN 3-219-10669-2
City life - Noise - Responsibility
The noisy-worm comes out of the radio and makes itself at home in a the human ear. It lives from noise. The fatter he has gotten, the louder things are, until noise is ready to explode. Now everyone is called upon to take responsiblity. People must learn again to be still. Then the noisy dragon-worm becomes smaller and quite humble. And it is easier to take care of him. This more and more urgent problem is taken up in an easy and understandable manner. The illustrations change from earthy, still colors to bombastic, loud tones, emphasizing the message of the text. (6+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1998 - 73
Walbrecker, Dirk (text)
Poppel, Hans (illus.)
Bennys Hut
(Benny's hat)
Wien: Betz, 1997. [28] p.
ISBN 3-219-10668-4
Hat - Loneliness - Metamorphosis - Play
Papa's hat and papa's little boy have one thing in common - loneliness. With a little fantasy, this becomes a wonderful day. The hat transforms itself into a football, a drinking cup, a magical machine and much more. Until the little boy lays down his head in the evening and falls asleep. At first the overtaxed hat resists such impertinence, but then after all Papa can get himself a new headpiece. The pictures of peacefulness and dynamic movement alternate according to the game and the hat's function. (5+) ☼

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1998 - 102
Janisch, Heinz (text)
Zwerger, Lisbeth (illus.)
Die Arche Noah
(Noah's Ark)
Gossau: Neugebauer, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 3-85195-572-2
Noah's Ark
The centaur and the unicorn have been extinct ever since - if one is to believe this wonderful picture book - and on account of Noah, because they found no place on the Ark. A skilful narrative and inimitable pictures lead the reader through two levels of the story. On the one hand, in the obvious one as it has been handed down - with imaginative artistic enhancements - and on the other hand, strewn in perhaps as a reminder of the earnestness of God's intention to preserve one pair of each species, leaves reminiscent of old natural science books portraying the types and classes of animals. And also something usually not remembered - the sole beneficiaries of the great water were the fishes and creatures of the sea, who could now play in the cave-like windows of the flooded houses. The book radiates the contemplative clarity and serenity which often accompanies the inevitable. (6+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1998 - 103
Maar, Anne (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
Der Käfer Fred
(Fred the Beetle)
Zürich: Pro Juventute, 1997. [31] p.
(Atlantis-Kinderbuch)
ISBN 3-7152-0378-1
Dung beetle - Stag-beetle - Costume - Competition - Victory - Identity
Fred the dung beetle is considered dirty and has few friends. And yet he wins first prize in the costume competition at the party of the arrogant stag-beetles. But when the rumor that a proletarian dung beetle is among them horrifies the noble group, Fred takes his leave of them with a defamatory song and gladly returns to his old - and clean - life as a dung beetle. Gentle insets, at times reminiscent of Ernst Kreidolf's creations, populate the pages of this book; the occasionally garish tones allude to the plot's image of a precarious social fabric. (8+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1998 - 104
Reider, Katja (text)
Roehl, Angela von (illus.)
Vom Glück ein dickes Schwein zu sein ... Eine Geschichte
(How lucky to be a fat pig... A story)
Gossau: Nord-Süd, 1997. [28] p.
(Ein Nord-Süd-Bilderbuch)
ISBN 3-314-00758-2
Animals - Individuality - Insult - Apology - Joy of life
»To each his own« is the wish behind the text and pictures of this life-affirming book. Before a snail can imagine what it is like to be a pig, or a spider to be a goose, each of them insults the other out of pure ignorance. The initial lack of understanding is followed by thoughtful reflection and a round of mutual apologizing, thus assuring the individual joy of each protagonist. The paths of the animals shown here are paved with dramatic action and movement, earthy colors characterize the complacency of the individual realms, each with their own special pleasures. (5+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1998 - 105
Steiner, Jörg (text)
Müller, Jörg (illus.)
Was wollt ihr machen, wenn der Schwarze Mann kommt?
(What will you do when the Black Man comes?)
Aarau: Sauerländer, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 3-7941-4305-1
Rumor - Play - Threat - Mischief - Everyday life
The »Black Man« is both a children's game and a form of parental threat for misbehaving children. But one day the children make believe what it would be like if he really came. Suddenly there are black footsteps around town, for instance, though no one is able to see him. Security measures are implemented, people lock themselves inside. This goes on for a while, and then things return to normal. What really happened is never quite clear, but the fear of strangers and the security precautions remain. In one especially memorable full-size illustration scary nightmares are depicted in which black shapes creep out from the cracks in the wall, windows and even the pavement. This book can also be read as a bitter persiflage on today's craving for security. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1998 - 106
Ungerer, Tomi (text/illus.)
Cramer-Klett, Anna von (transl.)
Flix
(<Proper name>)
Zürich: Diogenes, 1997. 30 p.
ISBN 3-257-00842-2
Cat - Dog - Offspring - Outsider - Fraternity
A lovely child is born to cat parents. It is a little dog. (Wasn't there a pug dog in the family...?) The fact is that (parental) love alone is not enough for a child's well-being. So young Flix is an outsider in Cat City, until fate leads him to rescue a little cat child (fame in Cat City!) and a young poodle lady (love in Dog City!). They get married and have a baby. It's a little girl and its first cry is »Meow!« The story could continue this way forever. Just as in real life. With Ungerer's pictures it wouldn't be boring either. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1998 - 107
Waechter, Friedrich Karl (text/illus.)
Da bin ich
(Here I am)
Zürich: Diogenes, 1997. [40] p.
ISBN 3-257-00843-0
Cat - Offspring - Drowning - Rescue - Irony
A young cat gives an account of its path of destiny in a brief text and expressive illustrations. The large litter is drowned by the fisher or eaten by sharks - all except one. In a reversal of roles the little cat kills the shark, eats from him to grow big and strong before returning to shore. As if a human being, it travels for a time by train all about Germany and then rings the bell at the right door and announces: »Here I am!« Full of irony, the text and the cat's facial expressions reduce all of our sentimental love for animals and mankind to absurdity and life itself to the law of »survival of the fittest.« In one sense, this message could even be called fatalistic. (9+)

Special Mention - Cameroon (French) - 1998 - 108
Njeng, Pierre Yves (text/illus.)
Vacances au village
(Vacation in the village)
Yaounde: Akoma Mba, 1996. [24] p.
Cameroon - City life - Country life - School holidays
A city family spends its holidays in a country village with the grandparents. The leisurely pace of life leaves much time for playing outdoors, excursions into the woods and fishing along the river. In the evening by the shine of petroleum lamps grandfather tells traditional tales about heroes while grandmother prepares supper over an open fire. The rural scenes are rendered in strong earthy tones, arranged in an authentic sequence like snapshots in a photo album. The subtitles below the pictures are provided by Nwemb, the son. Candidly he admits his initial fears of the new and unknown situation. By the time of departure, he has grown to love and appreciate it. Promising to return, he exchanges gifts with his new-found playmate - his books for a turtle. The album acquires its particular charm through this youthful perspective. (6+)

Special Mention - Cameroon (French) - 1998 - 109
Nomo, Vincent (text/illus.)
Le cri de la forêt
(The cry of the forest)
Yaounde: Akoma Mba, 1995. 24 p.
Jungle - Deforestation - Wildlife
With screeching chainsaws and tractor trucks, with stinky fumes and deafening noise civilization forces its way into the jungle forest to begin clearing and destruction. The animals join together in a counterattack and drive the invaders from their severely wounded paradise this time. In artistically confident illustratrations Nomo makes tangible the contrast between the mysteriously teeming, pristine forest, whose highest trees go beyond the doublepaged format, and the massive, angular bulldozer that ruthlessly sets about to devour Nature. (6+)

Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 1998 - 111
Nottet, Pascal (text)
Girel, Stéphane (illus.)
La princesse de neige
(The snow princess)
Paris/Bruxelles: Pastel/L'École des Loisirs, 1997. [30, xi ] p.
ISBN 2-211-041418
River traffic - Tugboat - Winter - Puppet-theater
A sloop is locked in the ice of the Canal du Midi. Abel, the son of the barge-master, performs a puppet theater for Alys, the daughter of the lock-master. When the ice begins to melt, the barge sets off again. Abel's final play deals with a princess and a sailor, ending with a romantic promise of faithfulness. Meticulously composed illustrations, rich in mood, make this wintertime idyll a multilayered picture story with little Abel playing the leading role. An informative appendix with colored drawings describes the fact of shipping life on the canals of Europe. (5+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1998 - 123
Nadja (text/illus.)
Le livre des créatures
(The book of creatures)
Paris: École des Loisirs, 1997. 120 p.
ISBN 2-211-043-04-6
Myth - Legend - Supernatural
The myths and legends of all the cultures of this world tell about fabulous beings, monsters, and spirits which bring either blessings or curses to mankind. Nadja provides us with portraits and short narrative characterizations so that we can recognize them when we meet them. Presented on pitch-black paper they appear at once fascinating and horrifying. The artist makes rich use of earthy tones, appropriate to those monstrous products of our fears and premonitions. The texts offer sober suggestions based on traditional wisdom about how to escape the often destructive demonism or how to capture the rarer magical powers of such creatures. In the appendix a table gives a geographic overview of the different cultural sources. This most unusual book goes along well with the current fashion of horror stories by satisfying the desire for the thrills of shock and disgust in a way that is only made possible through the rich imaginative powers of all mankind. (13+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1998 - 124
Noël, Geneviève (text)
Le Goff, Hervé (illus.)
Je m'ennuie dans mon lit
(I am so bored in my bed)
Paris: Père Castor Flammarion, 1997. [28] p.
ISBN 2-08160443-4
Sleeplessness - House mouse
It is midnight. The mouse child can't sleep. She wakes up mother mouse and then begins the ritual of diversionary tactics to avoid having to go to bed that every child knows so well: going to the potty, singing, playing, hunger and thirst. In the end slumber comes of its own accord. But now mother mouse is wide awake and gleefully repeats what the child had been through. Now it is father mouse's turn to help bring on sleep. One can well imagine how the story continues, by going once again page for page through the humorous illustrations of the mouse house. (3+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1998 - 125
Perec, Georges (text)
Pommaux, Yvan (illus.)
Je me souviens
(I remember)
Paris: Éditions du Sorbier, 1997. [36] p.
ISBN 2-7320-3523-8
France/1950s - Memory - Everyday life
In 1978 Georges Perec (1936-1982) published a collection of 480 sentences which began with the phrase »I remember...« and named things which were characteristic of the everyday life and experiences of his age group (today's grandparents). Twenty of these sentences have been chosen by Yvan Pommaux and illustrated in his typical comic-book style. This album invites browsing and offers a wealth of authentic details which give the older readers pleasure of rediscovery and show the younger ones a quite foreign, long forgotten way of life. (6+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1998 - 126
Piquemal, Michel (text)
Bloch, Serge (illus.)
Nul en pub
(Failed in advertising)
Paris: Rue du Monde, 1997. 36 p.
ISBN 2-912084-02-4
Consumption - Advertising
Ludo is derided by his friends because he is completely ignorant of campaign slogans and brandnames. In order to redeem himself, he studies long and hard and even wins a silly game contest. But the main prize turns out to be a hoax. Disgusted, Ludo can at last return to his favorite hobby, fishing with his grandfather. The burlesque watercolor drawings, which are interspersed like ads on television, carica-ture the idiocy of advertising. The peppy brush strokes become more subtle when they give expres-sion to the emotional sensitivity of the child. (6+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1998 - 127
Prual-Reavis, Roberto (illus.)
Une idée de chien. Dans les air
(A dog's idea. In the air)
Paris: Les Éditions Didier, 1997. [76] p.
ISBN 2-278-30048-2
Drawing - Illusion - Dog - Bird - Flight
Attractive line drawings without text tell this circular story with no ending. A dog gazes after a bird. Then it jumps on the back of the next bird flying by and they land on an island where a bird magician draws the dog a pair of wings with which it can fly back to where it started. Here it turns over its wings to a chicken who trots by and gazes after it flying away. The final image is identical to the first; the story can begin again - in the same way or differently, wherever the inspiration of the reader-child leads. (3+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1998 - 128
Serres, Alain (text)
Blondon, Hervé (illus.)
Un grand-père transformidable
(A transformidable grandfather)
Paris: Albin Michel, 1997. [36] p.
ISBN 2-226-09036-3
Grandfather - Grandson - Love - Imagination - Metamorphosis
The perspectives of the illustrations in this oversized book parallel the nearly unlimited willingness of the grandfather to fulfill the wishes of his grandson, who transforms him into a dinosaur, a giant apple pie, etc. The results, depicted in bizarre, earthy toned dreamy images, are always reversed with a kiss. But when grandfather is turned into an intergalactic warrior against his will, the reversal fails. Yet in the happy ending the two of them together again without the help of any magic. (7+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1998 - 129
Taravant, Jacques (text)
Sís, Peter (illus.)
Le marchand d'ailes
(The wing dealer)
Paris: Grasset & Fasquelle, 1997. [36] p.
ISBN 2-246-54421-1
Bird - Wings - Angel
The lovely idea that the good lord forgot to give birds wings when he created the world and thus had to send out a messenger boy to distribute them is the ideal material for this well-known illustrator. His favorite figures are the messengers between two worlds. Sís gives the young wing dealer an aura of pure naivity and sends him into a wide, unpopulated world, depicted in gentle tones on a plain background in his inimitable pointilistic style, giving it the virgin freshness of the first day of creation. The last pair of wings let the young messenger become the first angel, bringing genesis to its completion. (4+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1998 - 130
Tullet, Hervé (text/illus.)
Comment j'ai sauvé ma maman
(How I saved my mother)
Paris: Seuil, 1997. [60] p.
ISBN 2-02-030920-3
Mother - Everyday life - Bad luck - Sympathy - Love
Today is mother's bad luck day. The turbulent, chaotic pictures, rendered in the style of a child's drawings, recapitulate how everything she tries to do goes wrong. What fun it is to watch. At each turn of the page round peep holes make for new surprises. Every time the sympathetic child tries to cheer mother up, the confusion only becomes greater. But with a little cuddling, everything turns out well in the end. (3+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1998 - 131
Wagneur, Alain (text)
Fleutiaux, Pierrette (text)
La maison des voyages
(The house of travel)
Paris: Gallimard, 1997. 102 p.
ISBN 2-07-050964-8
Puberty - Father - Daughter - Childhood memories
Sonia is in the middle of puberty. She is moody and feels lonely. Her mother is long dead and she thinks her father, a sea captain, doesn't understand the younger generation. Quite by chance, during a trip they take together, her father returns to the scene of his youth. Memories come rushing back and he tells her, at first shyly and hesitantly, about himself, his dreams, his friends and his first love. Sonia listens with growing interest and learns that her father, through his own experiences, has known the same feelings and problems and can thus understand his daughter. (13+)

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

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

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

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

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+)

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 1998 - 161
Andruetto, María Teresa (text)
Stefano
(<Proper name>)
Buenos Aires: Ed. Sudamericana, 1997. 106 p.
(Sudamericana jóven)
ISBN 950-07-1302-0
Italy/Emigration - Argentina/Immigration
At the age of 19 Stefano leaves his home in Italy to emigrate to Argentina. This novel begins with his farewells and describes the sea passage, the first difficult years on a farm and ends when he meets his future wife, Ema. Narrated in the third person, the tale is occasionally interrupted by short passages in which Stefano speaks for himself. In these monologues to Ema, Stefano recapitulates and reflects upon the loosening of his ties to his mother. Her at times wordless, at times bitter reproaches at being left behind in Italy run through the entire story like a red thread. Stefano's story is narrated in a sparce language. And yet, the feelings of lonesomeness, sadness and hope shine clearly through the realistic, seemingly emotionally dry text. It is precisely this reticent tone and the underlying thoughts and emotions that make this novel so touching and memorable. (12+)

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 1998 - 162
Pescetti, Luis María (text)
O'Kif (illus.)
Caperucita Roja (tal como se la contaron a Jorge)
(Little Red Riding Hood [as told to Jorge])
Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 1996. 30 p.
(Infantil)
ISBN 950-511-269-6
Little Red Riding Hood/Parody - Storytelling - Reader response
In a simple and intelligent manner this book demonstrates how stories can be understood in a new and different way through the imaginations of the teller and listener. As a father tells his son the story of Little Red Riding Hood the reader of this book sees in the cartoon-bubble illustrations that quite different ideas are going through each one's mind. While the father thinks of tradional fairytale images, the boy - influenced by comics and cartoons - imagines a »modern-day«, actionfilled version. Since only the reader ever notices how their experiences differ, this very original picture book is all the funnier. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 1998 - 163
Roldán, Gustavo (text/illus.)
Cómo reconocer a un monstruo
(How to recognize a monster)
Buenos Aires: AZ Ed., 1997. [28] p.
(Serie del tipito)
ISBN 950-534-453-8
Monster - Identification
A little man with a tall green hat tries to answer the question of how to recognize a monster. Rather timidly Tipito approaches a giant red fabulous creature and discovers armoured plates, hard as steps, ears from which long black hair grows, a mouth as big as an eggplant. After that there is no doubt more: a real monster! The charm of this story lies in the minimalist, seemingly scribbled illustrations. Done in vivid colors, each one shows only an excerpt of the monster, allowing the viewer to replicate the limited, dwarfed perspective of the story's hero. (4+)

Special Mention - Mexico (Spanish) - 1998 - 170
Gedovius, Juan (illus.)
Trucas
(<Proper name>)
México, D.F.: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1997. [28] p.
(Los especiales de A la orilla del viento)
ISBN 968-16-5410-2
Imagination - Creativity - Oppression
Juan Gedovius' wordless picture book leaves much room for fantasy and choice of interpretation, thus setting in motion what the pictures illustrate: imagination. Creativity that cannot be held back, won't be cut down to size, and always finds a way to be expressed is the focal point here, personified as a bubbly, green, disheveled gnome. He smears color on the walls, is chastised by a »heavenly« hand, then plopped into a bathtub to get clean, threatened by the thick pencil tail of a dragon and singed by its blazing flames. And in spite of it all, he begins to decorate the walls again, this time with his sooty body. Although there seems to be little to see in this very original, attractively illustrated book, it calls for a closer look. Then it is possible to discover the wit and to become curious about what else might be hidden behind these pages. (6+)

Special Mention - Mexico (Spanish) - 1998 - 171
Rojo, Vicente (illus.)
Escenario múltiple
(Multiple stage)
Zapopan, Jalisco: Petra Ed., 1996; Supplement by Hugo Hiriart: Castillos en el aire.. 23 p.
(Arte y lenguaje)
ISBN 968-6445-17-x; 968-29-9587-6
Castle - Palace - Paper theater
Upon opening this folder one finds nine pieces of colored cardboard: round, rectangular, pointed forms, openings and slots. Are they to fold, stand up, look through - a castle, a temple a theater? Portals, merlons? Anything is possible, for this paper scenery gives few instructions; it is merely an invitation to play and experiment to one's heart's desire. An attractive brochure provides additional suggestions about theater and paper theater, about transforming and fabricating, and about abstract pictures and forms. (7+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1998 - 177
Simard, Benjamin
Ben
(<Proper name>)
Waterloo: Éditions Michel Quintin, 1997. 144 p.
ISBN 2-89435-100-3
Veterinarian - Nature park - Animal preservation - Adventure
Simard and his team work toward wildlife protection and the nature conservation in the forests and on the large lakes of Canada, where they have close contact with bears, wolves, and reindeer. The prerequisite for their adventurous lives is a minute knowledge of nature and a rich store of experience in the wilderness. The narration of such episodes in the lives of the conservationists is thoroughly absorbing. Simard avoids any theorizing and moves entirely within the realm of real events. These give him vast opportunity to inform, to casually instruct and to show nature in her role as the great teacher of mankind. Nature satisfies man's curiosity, grants us fascination and mobilizes our mental, practical and social abilities to reach the level of perfection that marks a mature individual. (12+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1998 - 178
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Poulin, Stéphane (illus.)
Choupette et son petit papa
(Choupette and her little papa)
Saint-Lambert (Québec): Héritage, 1997. 43 p.
ISBN 2-7625-8465-5
Play - Mother - Authority - Growing up
Papa's standard phrase that he was always tied to his mother's skirts is taken quite literally by his young daughter, who pictures him in absurd, droll situations, smothered in the folds of the imposing skirt of a matronly mother. Having had such a sheltered childhood, Papa now has a lot to catch up on. And he does so to excess, while his daughter stands by and watches, slightly unnerved, but with understanding and affection. The author and illustrator, both renown for their past accomplishments, outbid one another in inventiveness and let Papa enjoy rollicking childlike capers. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 183
Jensen, Helle Vibeke (text)
Schnack, Asger (illus.)
Hoved & hale. En billedbog om modsætninger
(Head and tail. A picture book about opposites)
København: Høst & Søn, 1997. [28] p.
ISBN 87-14-19430-9
Opposites
The theme of this book is oppositeness - large and small, high and low, few and many, open and closed. But the intention of this outstanding picture book is not a didactic one, but rather to present the beholder with a creative, aesthetic game. The hero, a fish-headed girl, traverses the world of opposites in search of a new playmate. This simple construction gives the artist occasion to create richly contrasting pictures which unite the decorative elements from the turn-of-the-(20th)century - powerful contours - and surrealistic components - especially from Max Ernst and his collages in stimulating new compositions. (6+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 184
Johansen, Anders
En splint af korset
(A splinter from the cross)
Århus: Modtryk, 1997. 222 p.
ISBN 87-7394-450-5
Children's Crusade <1212>
The first-person narrator, 15-year old Isabel, describes the fate of a group of children in a crusade who end up as slaves in Alexandria. Isabel is only able to survive by escaping. A thrilling and impressive psychological narrative, this is an example of the wide range of historical novels for young adults being written in Scandinavia, which more often deal with the period of the Vikings. (12+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 185
Rasmussen, Bent (text)
Bourgeat, Lene (illus.)
Den gode dværg
(The good dwarf)
København: Alinea, 1997. 60 p.
(Læs dansk bøgerne/Blå serie)
ISBN 87-23-00237-9
Dwarf
The author is also the editor of this new series for beginning readers and readers with reading problems. The series consists of three levels of difficulty. Following the postulates of reading teachers, the sentences use simple grammatical constructions laid out in short lines. And still the legend-like stories about dwarves are, thanks to the author, readable and exciting. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 186
Seighali, Morteza (text)
Rød, Signe (illus.)
Lagkage på flugt ( = Kolac u bijegu)
(The cake on the run)
Århus: Husets forlag, 1997. 29 p.
ISBN 87-7483-379-0
Despotism - Resistance
The birthday cake of a king, who has let his country starve in order to gorge himself, runs away and lets itself be eaten up by those who helped to make it. This fable - written here in six languages (Danish, Croatian, Persian, Somalian, Arabic and Turkish) - and accompanied by naive but unerring illustrations, brings the Danish democracy into play for children who have come to Denmark from those countries where dictatorship rules. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 187
Vebel, Susanne (text)
Edeltoft, Anne Mette (illus.)
Manden og katten
(The man and the cat)
Hillerød: Alma, 1997. 30 p.
ISBN 87-7243-167-9
Love - Cat - Metamorphosis
This ancient fable tells of a man who falls in love with a cat who, even after she has been transformed by Venus into a lovely young girl, is unable to renounce her true nature. The moral of the story still holds today: one should let each individual live according to his or her nature. And a further, rather bitter truth: love alone cannot overcome any barriers. In this first picture book created completely on her own, Anne Edeltoft has refined her typically vigorous contour lines to attain a light touch of caricature, but retains her rather somber palette of colors. (5+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 188
Winding, Thomas (text/illus.)
Hentze, Peter (illus.)
Emile og naturens orden
(Emile and nature's order of things)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 87-411-5773-7
Order - Imagination
For an African boy whose parents are artists, home is the quintessence of order and Nature that lies beyond it the quintessence of chaos. As a way of explaining that every part of Nature carries its own order within itself, even if not immediately evident, the illustrations which are at first fairly naive are then followed by a series of almost abstract compositions in which the shape of animals is only barely recognizable in the chaos of colors. A cow stung by a bee that ultimately tramples over the mother's jars of paint does indeed bring about a real chaos, the breakdown of order. (6+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1998 - 197
Nyquist, Arild (text)
Graff, Finn (illus.)
Gullens drøm om en øy
(Sweetie's dream of an island)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1997. [61] p.
ISBN 82-03-24182-4
Father/Daughter - Sexual abuse
A young girl, who is at the mercy of her father's advances because she gets no support from her weak-willed mother, dreams of being rescued by a dog, a sailor and a bird and finally fleeing from her somber home to live in peace on an island. Both text and illustrations handle this delicate topic neither in a blunt way, nor in awkward or crude manner, as in some other works, but in a poetic, alluding narrative with even more direct insinuations in the illustrations. These pictures make it clear that the father's fixation on his daughter may well be accompanied by an erotic ambivalence. The artist gives expression to this through the surreal scenes in which the very relaxed posture of the daydreaming girl - the composition copies a painting by Balthus - do not portray a suffering child, but a creature with an erotic aura. (12+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1998 - 198
Sortland, Bjørn (text)
Hiorthøy, Kim (illus.)
Den solbrente mammaen som blei bytta mot ti kamelar
(The sun-burned mother who was traded for ten camels)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1997. 83 p.
(Lesehesten)
ISBN 82-03-24208-1
Jordan - Vacation - Culture clash
An unplanned vacation in Aqaba, in Jordan, leads to a surprising cultural experience for a Norwegian family when the mother, in good fun, accepts the bride price being offered by a native Jordanian. This is a burlesque novel with a touch of exotic by the now internationally renown author Sortland. It won the publisher's prize as best children's book in 1997. Just as unusual as the story are the binding and illustrations in a strictly linear style, which are a welcome change from the average naturalism of many children's book illustrations. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 203
Larsson, Mona
August Strindberg. Bilder ur hans liv
(August Strindberg. Pictures from his life)
Stockholm: LL-Förlaget, [1997]. 74 p.
ISBN 91-88180-35-2
Strindberg, August/Biography
In a very simple and factually condensed form, that is nonetheless quite interesting to read, this book presents Strindberg's life, documented with historical photographs, and creates a portrait of his times. This citation is also meant to give recognition to the remarkable publishing program of LL (Lättläst stands for ), which produces books that take their readership seriously. Some titles deal with developmental disorders, autism, aphasia or dyslexia, fighters, reluctant readers or immigrant children. Among LL's specialities are the heavily abridged re-editions of classics such as by de Maupassant, Shelley or Lagerlöf. Photodocumentary stories tell about the vacation of two developmentally retarded young women or about the love relationship of a woman in a wheelchair. The books are exceptionally attractive, well-illustrated, printed on good paper and nicely bound. Also the didactic conceptualization of the information books is excellent, their graphic design of lovely pictures and photographs is clearly arranged, and the text is kept as concise as possible. (12+) ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 204
Lekander, Nina (text)
Zweigbergk, Helena von (text)
Ahlbom, Jens (illus.)
Pojken och staden
(The boy and the city)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1997. [28] p.
ISBN 91-638-0657-6
City life - Everyday life
Books which depict life in the city are still a relatively rare thing. All the more reason to welcome this picture book in which the daily troubles of city kids and their vexed parents are portrayed in witty, exuberant scenes of life. The city of Stockholm is readily recognizable, but the episodes involving parking violations, busses full of children, dog poop, and grocery shopping can be found in many similar cities. Typically Swedish is, however, the touch of local color, for instance, in the state-run alcohol shop with the advertisement »Buy a little less, be happy in moderation. (6+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 205
Lindgren, Barbro (text)
Höglund, Anna (illus.)
Nu är vi gorillor låssas vi
(Now let's pretend we are gorillas)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1997. [28] p.
ISBN 91-87805-10-3
Play - Patronization
With their »alternative« picture books for the youngest readers, not those sweetish and ridiculous ones, Scandinavian publishers are still far advanced. This one deals with children at play, deftly illustrated with naive pictures that focus on the essentials of the plot. While adults are always faulted in children's books for being so patronizing to children, here the older child is allowed to get away with playing the »father« to the younger one, much to their mutual delight. (4+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 206
Ollars, Janne (text)
Örtengren, Lisa (illus.)
En onsdag i Karl Grans liv
(A Wednesday in the life of Karl Grans)
Stockholm: BonnierCarlsen, 1996. 95 p.
ISBN 91-638-3296-8
Personality development
Karl Gran, a boy who cannot yet tell the difference between fantasy and reality, brings confusion to the adult world around him with his ideas. The naive tone of the narrative, told from Karl's perspective, is an ironic portrayal of adult fallibility. The traditional style line drawings are skilful caricatures. The author won the publisher's competition with this book in 1995. (8+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 207
Schenkmanis, Ulf (text)
Johansson, Sven-Gösta / Forsberg, Lasse (photos)
Waltmark, Barbro (recipes)
Vanliga bär
(Common berries)
Stockholm: LL-Förlaget, 1997. 72 p.
ISBN 91-88180-90-5
Berries
The brief text gives a minimal explanation of the essential botanical details and other practical information. Very beautiful photographs of the individual berry sorts (including the well-known kinds of currants, wild and cultivated strawberries, and Scandinavian specialities such as blueberries, cranberries and others) make them easily recognizable. Several easy recipes which young adults will not hesitate to try are included at the end of the book. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 208
Toss, Anna (text)
Ahlbom, Jens (illus.)
Jag, mamma och Socka Musen
(I, Mommy, and Sockamouse)
Stockholm: Alfabeta, 1996. 77 p.
ISBN 91-7712-744-7
Mother/Child - Storytelling
A mother tells her young son phantastic stories in which the younger sister always plays a heroic part. The stories are understandable without being laboredly childlike and written with a dry humor that older children will also appreciate. This is an unpretentious read-aloud book with simple but skilfully drawn black-and-white illustrations. (6+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 209
Wahl, Mats
De övergivna
(The forsaken)
Stockholm: BonnierCarlsen, 1997. 206 p.
ISBN 91-638-3461-8
Juvenile delinquency
The by now widely-known author could not resist the temptation to write a sequel to »Vinterviken« as the middle volume of a trilogy. But Wahl's narrative skill, his inimitable portraits drawn from the oppressive milieu of social misfits, which he once knew first-hand as a social worker, and his dialogues are so captivating that one gladly gets drawn into his stories. Naturally the focal point is once again the socially marginalized hero, 19-year old John-John, who together with two friends becomes petty thief and runs up against big-time criminals, who force the boys to take part in a kidnapping. (14+)

Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 1998 - 219
Musierowicz, Małgorzata (text/illus.)
Córka Robrojka
(The Rob-Roy girl)
Łódż: Akapit Press, 1996. 219 p.
(Musierowicz, Małgorzata: Jeżycjady; 11)
ISBN 83-86129-80-8
The first young adult novels by the graphic artist
Małgorzata Musierowicz which she wrote at the end of the 1970s represented Poland's first significant modern novels for teenage girls. In this book, Robert, a distant relation of Walter Scott's novel hero Rob Roy, returns to his home town of Posen (Poznań) together with his daughter Arabella. At one level, the narrative describes the activities of the not especially pretty, but quite dynamic and assertive Arabella and day-to-day life of adolescents in Poland. On another, inserted into the narrative as flashbacks, one learns of the unhappy story of Robert. The individual episodes ultimately fit together like a puzzle to form an overall picture. Musierowicz employs a very vivid language and does not avoid addressing problems or making allusions to current political issues. (12+)

Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 1998 - 220
Thor, Piotr Robert (arrangement)
Szancer, Jan Marcin (illus.)
Kolędy. Chwała na wysokości a pokój na ziemii
(Christmas songs. Jubilee on high and peace on earth)
Poznań: GMP, 1997. 144 p.
ISBN 83-8511-14-9
Christmas songs
This very beautiful Christmas song book contains both songs from the different regions of Poland and internationally known songs which are widely sung in Poland (in Polish translation). The illustrations, which transplant the Christian motifs and setting to Central Europe and also make use of Polish folk customs, are by the great Polish graphic artist Jan Marcin Szancer (1902-1973). (5+)

Special Mention - Slovakia (Slovak) - 1998 - 224
Plická, Karol (text)
Valíček, Karol (storytelling)
Ševellová, Katarína (illus.)
Zámok na horúcom mori. Slovenské ropzprávky z Rumunska
(The castle at the hot sea. Slovakian tales from Romania)
Martin: Osveta, 1996. 182 p.
ISBN 80-217-0565-5
Romania/Slovakian/Tales
After the Second World War a small Slovakian minority in the Transylvanian Alps returned to the land of their forefathers, where they were discovered by Karol Plická in 1953 during a photography tour of northern Moravia. The tales of this ethnic group that he recorded then remained unpublished until now. Because these Slovakian storytellers had been isolated for nearly 150 years from the rest of their people and the influences of modern civilization, the language and narrative structures that were passed along retained their authenticity. The tales about witches, wizards, fairies, werewolves, talking animals and trees, dragons and golden castles are depicted in especially beautiful illustrations. The watercolors, both full-paged and vignettes, are full of atmosphere and the figures portrayed in a style reminiscent of Amedeo Modigliani. (8+)

Special Mention - Slovakia (Slovak) - 1998 - 225
Sliacky, Ondrej (adapt.)
Končeková-Veselá, L'uba (illus.)
Biblia pre deti a mládež. Čitanie zo Starého zákona
(The Bible for children and young people. Stories from the Old Testament)
Bratislava: D&D Studio, NONA, 1996. 248 p.
ISBN 80-967622-0-6
Children's Bible
This very attractive children's Bible is notable for its excellent text version by Ondrej Sliacky, who has kept close to the traditional Slovakian translation. Modern phrasing has been used cautiously, without endangering the biblical style of expression. Remarkable is also that the editor addresses both Christian and atheist families in his foreword, stressing not only the religious but also the literary, philosophical and cultural significance of the biblical texts, thus orienting them around modern social reality. This volume is beautifully designed with an imitation vellum binding and antique-style gilt edge. Some of the illustrations by the popular Slovak painter L'uba Končeková-Veselá may well be considered masterpieces of art. (8+)

Special Mention - Belgium (Dutch) - 1998 - 227
Dreesen, Jaak (text)
Heymans, Annemie (illus.)
Marieke, Marieke
(<Proper name>)
Averbode: Altiora, 1997. 44 p.
ISBN 90-317-1269-8
Death/Child - Grief
In this magnificent poetic picture book the firstperson narrator is waiting, desparately missing Marieke. He has laid out all kinds of things under the apple tree, waiting for her to come and play. The combination of a melodious rhyming text and grey-tone illustrations evokes an atmosphere of increasing tension. Then, with the arrival of Marieke's mother, it becomes clear that the girl will never come again, though this is not stated explicitly. In spite of the tangible sense of emptiness, the open ending provides some comfort - Marieke is gone but will always be present in another way. (6+)

Special Mention - Belgium (Dutch) - 1998 - 228
Driessen, Iny (text)
Westerduin, Anne (illus.)
Bruine ogen, Blauwe ogen
(Brown eyes, blue eyes)
Hasselt: Clavis, 1997. 43 p.
ISBN 90-6822-487-5
Adoption - Cultural identity
Six-year old Benjamin doesn't share the excitement of his parents and three brothers about the coming of two new sisters and it takes some time for him to accept the new situation. Simone and Erlan, the two sisters from Haiti, must take leave of their mother to join their new well-to-do family in Belgium. From Simone's perspective we learn about their sense of grief and difficulties of adjusting to their new lives. The two narratives in this book give an excellent picture of the experiences of adopted children and their families. It is written with warmth and respect while also providing useful background information. (8+)

Special Mention - Belgium (Dutch) - 1998 - 229
Elias, Bettie (text)
Westerduin, Anne (illus.)
Water van zout
(Bitter tears)
Mechelen: Bakermat, 1997. 108 p.
ISBN 90-5461-133-2
Death/Father - Grandfather - Grief
When their father dies in a car accident, eight-year old Dries and his sister have a very difficult time coping with their grief. In simple short sentences recorded in his diary, Dries is able to work through feelings of disbelief, anger, confusion and guilt. His grandfather is a constant presence and full of understanding. Both he and Dries' sister help him to come to terms with his sorrow. The attractive black-and-white pen drawings render the atmosphere of this sensitive story very well. (8+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1998 - 237
Mileau, Sofie (pseud. of Carry Slee) (text)
Heymans, Margriet (illus.)
De verborgen prins
(The hidden prince)
Houten: Van Holkema & Warendorf, 1997. 36 p.
ISBN 90-269-8923-7
Lesbian - Romance - Eroticism
Inside herself, Lotte hides a second person, a prince who demands to be dressed up in a cape and cap secretly in the attic. One day Lotte's new neighbor, Eva, stands in front of her window, dressed as a princess. Later she persuades Lotte to visit her garden house and begins a ritual which has veiled erotic overtones. Yet Lotte's initiation is not innocent, as Eva turns their relationship into a power struggle, with the naive Lotte in a subservient role. Their fairy tale-like ritual turns malicious when Lotte breaks the barrier between fiction and reality and kisses Eva in the schoolyard. Eva betrays their »lesbian romance« by laughing at Lotte. This is a short story magnificently rendered in a strongly stylized narrative. (11+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1998 - 238
Sluyzer, Betty (text)
Hout, Mies van (illus.)
Dierentuin
(Zoo)
Naarden: Kimio, 1997. 19 p.
ISBN 90-71368-65-3
Zoo - Animals - Grandfather - Human behavior
A black girl and a white boy visit the zoo together with the boy's grandfather. They observe how the behavior and appearances of the different animals resemble those of human beings. In this simple picture book funny sketches consisting of black outlines filled in with fresh colors on the left-hand pages are set off against short rhyming texts and small colored drawings on the right side, in which the two children comment on what they see. The author and illustrator capture the experiences of the children in a very appealing way. (4+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1998 - 243
Krontēra, Lēda (text)
Liapē, Bally (illus.)
Protē gnōrimia me tus Delphus tu Apollōna
(First encounters with the Apollo Temple in Delphi)
Athēna: Ekdotikē Athēnōn, 1996. 142 p.
ISBN 960-213-350-3
Delphi - Greece/Ancient times - Archeology
This is the fourth volume in the series about cultural sites in ancient Greece. It takes the reader to the fascinating landscape and mythology surrounding Delphi and tells, for example, about the religious significance of the competitions held in honor of Apollo. This book tells the history of this holy site from its founding up to the modern day and also offers an excursion into the world of musical instruments. With its rich assortment of visual documentation, this volume stands out as an all-encompassing survey. The excellent selection of illustratory materials, for which the publisher is well-known, is further proof that children's books can be appreciated by all ages. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1998 - 244
Pyliōtu, Maria
Tziapher Giasint Alē
(<Proper name>)
Athēna: Patakēs, 1997. 170 p.
(Syllogē kyknoi; 26)
ISBN 960-600-022-2
Cyprus - Friendship - Political conflict
This novel by one of Cyprus' best-known authors depicts the effects of the division of Cyprus on the daily life of the younger generation. The friendship between two young woman is put to the test when one of them gives shelter to a young Turkish man (in fact, Kurdish) and falls in love with him before helping him to flee to Germany. Her girlfriend doubts his claim of having a degree in agriculture because of his interest in poetry and the nature reserves on the island and has to decide whether to betray him (and her friend) to the police. Pyliōtu tells an exciting, suspenseful tale against an authentic background. (12+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1998 - 245
Simopulos, Dionysēs P.
Ho thanatos tōn astrōn
(The death of the stars)
Athēna: Ereunētes, 1997. 102 p.
(Ta mystika tu sympantos)
ISBN 960-368-062-1
Astronomy - Stars
The second volume of the series »Secrets of the universe« by the internationally renown astrophysicist Dionysēs Simopulos describes the origin and death of stars. In the wide selection of color photos and drawings, he presents complicated questions of astronomy such as the significance of mass for the origins and death of stars, what a black hole is, where matter goes when it disappears into a black hole, or what a red giant is, in an easily understandable and humorful manner. (10+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1998 - 246
Skiadaresē, Maria E.
Kōnstantinos Kanarēs
(<Proper name>)
Athēna: Ammos, 1997. 55 p.
ISBN 960-202-156-x
Greece/History 1821 - Sea battle - Fire ship - Kanarēs, Kōnstantinos
This book is an interesting account of an episode in the life of Kōnstantinos Kanarēs, a hero of the Greek revolution against the Turks in 1822, who was highly respected even by his enemies and later became a prudent and moderate politician. At the request of a Russian admiral, he relates in the first person his version of the attack which used burning ships set to explode after being tied to the enemy ships - a retaliatory measure following the massacre of Chios in 1822. The well-researched narrative brings a piece of European history alive and is accompanied by excellent visual graphics from several museums and a short biography of Kanarēs. (8+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1998 - 247
Zacharopulu, Katerina (ed.)
Tsoklēs, Kōstas (illus.)
Ho hagios Geōrgios kai ho pythōnas
(Saint George and the Python)
Athēna: Kastaniotēs, 1996. [32] p.
(Paichnidi me tēn technē)
ISBN 960-03-1749-6
St. George and the Dragon - Python - Art appreciation - Modern art - Tsokl's, KÇstas
The editor of the series »Fun with Art«, herself an artist, endeavors to acquaint younger children with contemporary Greek art. In this volume she offers an appreciative portrait of the internationally known artist Kōstas Tsoklēs. It is not only an activity book, but also an opportunity to let children be creative and interact with modern art in an uninhibited manner. (6+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 10
Nishida, Toshiya
Ryōte no naka no umi
(The sea in one's hands)
Tokyo: Tokuma shoten, 1997. 200 p.
ISBN 4-19-860673-0
Father/Son - Transvestite - Self-fulfillment - Father image - Tolerance
While his mother is away on a long business trip, Kazumi's father, who had left the family four years earlier after a personal identity crisis, suddenly appears. Kazumi is disgusted to find him living as a woman and using the female form of speech. Against Kazumi's will his father stays and takes over the household work. The more Kazumi learns about the earlier, inner conflicts his father experienced and his conviction that a person must be honest with himself, the more he can understand and accept his transformation. Before Kazumi's mother returns, the father disappears again forever, leaving Kazmi behind with a positive father image and a new perspective on life. This comical novel offers many amusing scenes with substantial dialogues between father and son. A remarkable testimony for self-fulfillment and tolerance toward those who are supposedly different. (15+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 11
Oka, Shūzō (text)
Tachibana, Naonosuke (illus.)
Boku no jinsen. Shigeru no baai
(My life. The case of Shigeru)
Tokyo: Popular-sha, 1997. 143 p.
(Junia bungakukan ; 29)
ISBN 4-591-05524-8
Handicap - Muscular atrophy - Love - View of life - Self-confidence
Life for twelve-year old Shigeru is extremely limited due to muscular atrophy and outside of his special school he is completely dependent upon the care given by his mother and younger sister. Sometimes he wishes they would devote more time to him, although he realizes they are overburdened ever since their father deserted the family. Desires and feelings of resignation haunt his mind, filling him with self-depreciation. A talk with a teacher and then the realization that his mother loves him in spite of everything help to change his view on life one day, leaving him with more self-confidence. The realistic portrayal of Shigeru's emotional life brings the reader face to face with the life circumstances of a handicapped youth. (11+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 12
Sekiguchi, Shun (text/illus.)
Hoshizora no hanashi
(Night Sky Watching)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1998. 48 p.
(Kagaku no hon)
ISBN 4-8340-1549-1
Constellation (Star) - Stargazer - Mythology
At sunset two children hurry impatiently to the mountain top where they will be able to gaze at the stars a whole night long with their amateur astronomer grandfather. The magnificent starry sky holds many secrets. Grandfather begins to tell them about the constellations, their movements, mythology and horoscopes. Designed for the young reader's first encounter with astronomy, this information book is easy to follow and entertaining. The night-time hue of blue, especially in the illustrations of mythological figures and in the glowing star map on the reverse side of the foldout bookcover is particularly aesthetic. (8+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 13
Sueyoshi, Akiko (text)
Komine, Yura (illus.)
Amefuribana saita
(Where the rainflowers bloom)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1998. 278 p.
ISBN 4-03-727070-6
Japan - Goblin - Friendship - Help - Time travel - Love - Self-knowledge
Eleven-year old Yuka makes the acquaintance of the goblin living in a guest house during her holidays in the mountains. Together with him, she finds herself travelling 150 years back in time. There she is an observer of the very difficult lives of a young woman and her daughter, and realizes how precious life is. As a result, she is prepared to deal more seriously with her own life. In Japanese children's literature the goblin known from Japanese traditions is seldom to be found, and thus it is all the more enjoyable to find him »revived« in this suspenseful and mysterious story. (12+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 14
Tajima, Yukihiko (text/illus.)
Sōbē makkurokenoke
(Sōbē in space)
Tokyo: Doshinsha, 1998. 40 p.
ISBN 4-494-01236-X
Tightrope walker - Moon - Stars - Adventure
The rabbit in the moon asks the earthlings to visit its master, the moon, to cure her illness. Out of curiosity an doctor, a monk from the mountains and the tightrope walker Sōbē follow it. To fulfill their task, the battle with the spira nebula, they get involved in a dispute among the stars, and have a jolly time. The artist, who has won several international prizes, is known for his unique technique of patterns and dyes. This is his third adventure story about Sōbē, which is set in the pre-modern day Japan, and illustrated with dynamic pictures in folk-tale style. Particularly inventive is the portrayal of the moon and the constellations as well as a text consisting only of dialogue. (7+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 15
Tanikawa, Shuntarō (text)
Nakatsuji, Etsuko (illus./photos)
Yoru no yōchien
(Kindergarten by night)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1998. [40] p.
(Nihon kessaku ehon shirīzu)
ISBN 4-8340-1539-4
Monster - Kindergarten - Nighttime - Imagination - Onomatopoeia
Even the title and cover of this book, with its unusual color contrasts, give cause to suspect that this book will be full of surprises. And indeed it is highly amusing, thanks to the congenial cooperation between author and artist. At nighttime little monsters appear in the kindergarten, only to disappear again at dawn. Scenes of their boisterous activities are paralleled in very brief, onomatopoeical phrases. In fact, the names of these comical figures are matched with astonishing perfection to their movements and action - a delight of melody and word sounds, for listening and looking. The illustrations are based on actual black-and-white photographs of a kindergarten, to which have been added colors and additional details - making a clever contrast to the colorful and naive-style monsters. (3+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1999 - 16
Tokyo kodomo toshokan (ed.)
Ōkoso, Reiko (illus.)
Namakura Tokku
(Tokku, the lazy girl)
Tokyo: Tokyo kodomo toshokan, 1998. 171 p.
(Aizōban ohanashi no rōsoku ; 2)
ISBN 4-88569-051-X
Modern fairy tale - Children's poetry - Storytelling - Reading aloud
This anthology, in an attractive pocket-sized format, is a compilation of folktales and modern fairy tales as well as poetry from Japan and other countries. These are select tales which the director of the Tokyo Children's Library, Kyoko Matsuola, and her storyteller co-workers have carefully prepared to oral presentations and already put to use with great success. For the first time these stories are being published with black-and-white illustrations in a bibliophile edition, in order to reach a wider audience of children and adults who appreciate the lively style of narration. (8+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 1999 - 20
Zhou, Hui-zhu (= Chou, Hui-chu) (reteller)
Lin, Hong-yao (= Lin, Hung-yao) (illus.)
Lehunle tou. Meinaodai de Afu
(Silly With Joi. Foolish Ah Fu)
Taibei: Fuguang Chubanshe (Fokuang Publishing), 1995. [33] p.
(Baiyujing Tuhuashu ; 20)
ISBN 957-543-384-X
China - Buddhism - Sutra/Adaptation - Passion - Discipline
The two stories in this picture book have been taken from the Buddhist book of »The Illustrated Sutra of the One Hundred Parables« and retold for children. In the first story a foolish man has cooked a sweet syrup for his guest and tries to cool it off with a fan although the fire is still burning under the pot. The lesson is that a person who cannot tame the fire of his passions, will not find peace and enlightenment. The second story is about a man who prepares fire and water in the evening in order to cook dumplings, only to find the fire extin- guished and the water evaporated the next morning. This teaches that a person who cannot give up worldly pleasures will always be tormented by them. The vivid narrative style relays the spirit of the original text in a clear and simple form. The pictures by the prize-winning illustrator are done with fine contours and gentle colors, which resemble paintings from the Tang Dynasty, making these Buddhist teachings pleasurably accessible. (7+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1999 - 30
Toft, Kim Michelle (text/illus.)
Sheather, Allan (text)
One less fish
St. Lucia: University of Queensland, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7022-2947-4 (paperback)
Counting - Fish - Great Barrier Reef - Environmental protection
Using the melodic chant of a counting rhyme which descends from twelve to zero, the authors present a multi-faceted introduction to the dangers facing the ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef, which is the habitat of twelve stunningly beautiful species of fish. The young reader can actively follow the countdown by noting the disappearance of one fish at each number and comparing the nearly identical illustrations on the recto and verso sides of a page. The countdown chant on the recto shows the playful fish confronted with an intruder. In a brief text on the verso, facts about the effects of human behavior on marine life are discreetly presented below the illustration. Along with the informative text, an attractive layout and a glossary of scientific terms on the last page, the book's most stunning feature is the brightly coloured silk-screen paintings of marine life. Taken together, all these features synthesize into a captivating reading experience and will encourage reflection and re-reading. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1999 - 31
Weare, Romayne
Malanbarra
Broome: Magabala Books, 1997. 168 p.
ISBN 1-875641-36-X
Australia/History 1900 - Stolen children - Cultural identity - Racial tension
Set in a period of Australian history when children of mixed racial parentage were given up or taken forcibly by white authorities for preferential treatment such as better schooling, this story tells about one family caught between the fronts. Attempting to keep her children but unable to flee with them, a mother sends her son and half-white daughter to hide in the bush. After dangerous adventures, they are finally brought to the ancestral village. A tribal rebellion is barely avoided when authorities try to enforce their policies. The Australian setting and cultural background of the Aboriginal way of life are especially well-drawn. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1999 - 32
Wild, Margaret (text)
Argent, Kerry (illus.)
Miss Lily's fabulous pink feather boa
Ringwood: Viking, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 0-6700-88004-3
Loneliness - Friendship - Confidence - Quest
In this parable-like tale about individuality and the quest for fellowship, a small Australian creature, that thinks itself to be The Last Potoroo, spends a month at a guest house run by a huge, warm-hearted, merry-making crocodile. Miss Lily's gentle sympathy and tacit understanding of the shy, lonely Potoroo finally inspire it to go off in search of other Potoroos. The exquisite watercolor illustrations beautifully capture the house's ambient and the emotions of the main characters in this strikingly well-designed, oversized picture book. (6+)

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 1999 - 37
Lasenby, Jack
Taur
Dunedin: Longacre, 1998. 160 p.
ISBN 1-877-135-18-6
Post-apocalypse - Good/Evil - Love - Death - Grief - Friendship - Survival - Nomad
With the inner strength gained through his years of survival in a post-apocalyptic barren land and the wise teachings of his old companion (Because we were the travellers, 1997), Ish is able to overcome his grief at the murder of his dearest friends and intended wife. He befriends a slave castrated by the cruel leaders of the Salt People and they continue their odyssey in search of a peaceful, settled life while being relentlessly pursued by the enemy tribe and endangered by new enemies. This vivid, engrossing adventure story, told in the first-person, depicts a bleak, danger-filled life where survival is only possible through sheer will-power and belief in the future. (12+)

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 1999 - 38
Lay, Graeme
Leaving One-Foot Island
Wellington: Mallinson Rendel, 1998. 73 p.
ISBN 0-908783-33-7
Family/Separation - Outsider - City life/Rural life - Cook Islands - Island - Diary
Tuaine has grown up in a sheltered, tight-knit family with her grandparents on Aitutaki (One-Foot Island), one of the Cook Islands. Because of her high marks at school, a New Zealander teacher recommends that she go to Auckland to complete her schooling. After two months with her widowed aunt's family, Tuaine begins to record in an excercise book - inspired by Anne Frank's diary - her experiences of being caught between two worlds as she tries to adjust to a new school life and to the stressed family life in a impoverished family in a big, cold city. The story has a naturalness of language and an authenthic ring that gives immediacy to the feeling of being a guest and a stranger in a foreign place. (12+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Philippines (English) - 1999 - 42
Reyes, Severino (text)
Lumbera, Bienvenido (comp.)
Cordero-Fernando, Gilda (transl.)
Gamos, Albert (illus.)
The best of Lola Basyang. Timeless tales for the Filipino family
Manila: Tahanan, 1997. 244 p.
ISBN 971-630-034-4
Philippines/Modern folktales
More than 400 tales were written under the pseudonym of Lola Basyang (a well-known storytelling old matriarch in Manila) by the businessman, folklorist, dramatist and editor Severino Reyes (1861- 1942) and published in the vernacular Tagalog in a weekly magazine, »Liwayway«. Twelve of the best stories appear here for the first time in an English translation, which tries to preserve the richness and the spirit of the original, along with an introduction which explains the special qualities of these narratives and the author's intention to capture the nighttime storytelling ambience. The reader will recognize familiar folktale themes (such as Cinderella and Bearskin) woven into these elaborate, well-structured tales. Albert Gamos received an honorable mention at the 1985 BIB and was a runner-up at the 1992 Noma Concours for Picture Book Illustrations. His richly detailed twotone pictures in decorative frames resemble the elaborate illustrative style of the late 19th century. (8+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 45
Leapman, Michael
Witnesses to war. Eight true-life stories of Nazi persecution
London: Viking, 1998. 127 p.
ISBN 0-670-87386-1
Germany 1933-1945 - Persecution - Childhood/War - Stolen children - Survival
Along with the story of Anne Frank, the world's best-known story of a childhood destroyed by political persecution and war, this book by an awardwinning British journalist depicts the devastating experiences of seven other children who were born in Germany, France, Czechoslovakia, Poland and England and survived terrible ordeals in World War II. Leapman writes highly readable accounts of their experiences - at once informative and moving - based both on his interviews with them and general background information, which can also provide a well-grounded, sober introduction to the Holocaust. The intention of the book is to speak to the humanity of every (young) reader, preparing them for the sad realization that »war and conflict persist, in Europe and elsewhere, and children are still the innocent victims.« (14+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 46
MacDonald, Alan (text)
Williamson, Gwyneth (illus.)
Beware of the bears!
London: Magi, 1998. [30] p.
ISBN 1-85430-456-9
Fairy tale - Bear - Visitor - Wolf - Mistake
In this clever continuation of the famous fairy tale about Goldilock's visit to an unattended house, her victims, the three bears, seek revenge. After Little Bear follows her to a house across the forest, Mother Bear and Father Bear join him to ransack the unlocked house. The merrily colored watercolor illustrations of their zany antics - in sets of three, of course - make great visual entertainment. When Goldilocks comes back to retrieve her forgotten teddy bear, they all just barely escape discovery by the house's real - big, bad - owner. The surprise ending may encourage the young story-hour listeners to create further possible sequels. (4+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 47
Manning, Mick (text/illus.)
Granström, Brita (text/illus.)
Out there somewhere it's time to...
London: Watts, 1998. [31] p.
(Wonderwise)
ISBN 0-7496-3037-X
World - Time zones
In the cheerful watercolor illustrations of these double-spread scenes of everyday activities in cities or spots around the world, the concept of time is introduced to young readers. They show what different people are doing simultaneously because they live in different time zones of the earth. Each picture is accompanied by short texts in two type faces, a running story narrative and an informative fact about the place. A world map with picture captions and a glossary of helpful words conclude the book. The author-illustrator team won the silver Smarties Award in 1996 for another book in this series. (5+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 48
Oldham, Mary
Alwena's garden
Llandysul: Pont Books/Gomer Press, 1997. 206 p.
ISBN 1-85902-438-6
Handicap - Shyness - Parental conflict - Romance - Arthritis
A teenage girl lives with her parents in a ruined mansion in a remote area of Wales. She has become too shy to meet new people or go to school, fearing others' reactions to her severely disfiguring rheumatoid arthritis. By chance a young man with dreams of becoming an architect becomes a regular visitor to the house on a school assignment and helps Mary overcome her fears and face family secrets. The author, a school librarian, draws on historical events in a real mansion in Wales to create an authentic Welsh setting. (13+)
(Tir na n-Og, 1998, Shortlist; NASEN Special Educational Needs Children's Book Award, 1998)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 49
Onyefulu, Ifeoma (text/photos)
My grandfather is a magician. Work and wisdom in an African village
London: Frances Lincoln, 1998. [28] p.
ISBN 0-7112-1211-2
Nigeria - Family life - Herbal medicine - Grandfather/ Grandson
This picture information book presents a child's view of his family's professions in a village of southeast Nigeria. The boy's first-person narrative is accompanied by attractive photos of adults at work. In his childlike way, the boy ranks the skills of his grandfather, an expert in tribal medicine, above all the other important professions (such as lawyer, baker, or blacksmith) he observes and hopes to continue one day in his grandfather's footsteps. A brief afterword gives scientific details about the herbs presented. This very personal approach to a multidisciplinary topic (family, professions, medicine) represents an interesting way of portraying cultural facts to children. (6+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 50
Stannard, Russell (text)
Levers, John (illus.)
Ask Uncle Albert. 100½ tricky science questions answered
London: Faber and Faber, 1998. 197 p.
ISBN 0-571-19436-2
Science - Nature - Curiosity
The author, a former professor specializing in high energy nuclear physics, offers another volume in his highly acclaimed series of question-and-answer books for young readers on scientific subjects. Here one finds 100 questions grouped in 19 categories of subjects ranging from the universe, materials, time, computers to human and animal life. Stannard writes in a conversational style, directly addressing his real-child correspondent, and cites both facts and various scientific opinions as well as giving his own conjectures. He often draws connections between other numbered questions and has added 38 quiz questions to chew on throughout the text. This informational book makes for most entertaining reading. (10+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 54
Bell, William
Zack
Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1998. 165 p.
ISBN 0-385-25711-2
Interracial marriage - Search for identity - Grandfather - Prejudice - African slavery
Zack's adolescent discontent with life in his last year at school is compounded by a move from the middle of an exciting big city to a remote rural area. It is gradually assuaged when he takes on a school project that leads to historical detective work involving African freed-slave settlers and also gets romantically involved with a girl. His identity as the son of a black blues singer and a white Jewish historian was never an issue, but his new knowledge about the treatment of the former slaves leads him on a secret odyssey to meet his mother's estranged father in Mississippi. In a taut and plausible plot, the first-person narrator makes decisions that help him to gain maturity and a better understanding of other people. While the family rift is left open in the end, Zack is now ready to face adulthood and pursue academic studies. Much ground is covered in this well-constructed novel, made especially readable by the witty, perceptive narrative tone. (14+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 55
O'Brien, Lisa (text)
MacEachern, Stephen (illus.)
Lights, Camera, Action. Making movies and TV from the inside out
Toronto: Owl Books/Greey de Pencier, 1998. 64 p.
ISBN 1-895688-75-2
Film-making - Television production
As a creator, writer and producer of TV shows for children as well as an acting teacher, the author brings a well-grounded insider's perspective on a topic which is of great interest in the modern media age. This information book is packed full of facts and vignettes organized into six chapters. The attractive layout of the landscape-sized pages uses a wide variety of visual presentation styles, lively cartoon- like illustrations, and different type fonts to set off the many different capsules of information. Throughout the book terms are explained clearly and quiz questions given which reveal interesting film trivia. (10+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 56
Raskin, Lawrie (text/photos)
Pearson, Debora (text)
52 days by camel. My Sahara adventure
Toronto: Annick, 1998. 88 p.
ISBN 1-55037-519-9
Sahara - Travel - Adventure
A Toronto man's boyhood fascination with the desert (triggered by a Donald Duck comic and nurtured later by David Lean's film of Lawrence of Arabia) and his unwavering pursuit of his evermore concrete dreams led him to the Sahara. Finding an old road sign »Timbouctou 52 Jours« inspired him to seek out this ancient, mysterious city. Here he documents his journey in exquisite photographs, hand-drawn maps, and a running narrative interspersed with boxed explanations on topics related to the people, language and geography of the desert. The layout design of text and illustrations is pleasantly varied and adds a special dimension to this travel adventure book. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 57
Matas, Carol
Telling
Toronto: Key Porter, 1998. 120 p.
ISBN 1-55013-933-9
Single mother - Siblings - Growing-up - Peer pressure - Love relations
Three sisters, each very different from the other, ranging in age from thirteen to seventeen have a close relationship, partly due to their divorced mother's long working hours. They have a ritual of sharing their experiences in nighttime truth-only »telling« sessions. As each in turn recounts the events of recent weeks during one summer holiday, issues arise - drinking too much alcohol, going along with a group decision one disagrees with, coping with ego problems of a boy one likes, keeping a gay friend's secret, having sex - that make them grow up and see things better by talking them over. This first-person narrative flows easily and gives much food for thought. (12+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 58
Withrow, Sarah
Bat summer
Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998. 174 p.
(A Groundwood Book)
ISBN 0-88899-351-X
Boy/Girl - Child/Death - Friendship - Outsider - Imagination - Bat - Child neglect
When summer holidays arrive and his best friend, Tom, is gone to camp, Terrence finds himself drawn to Lucy, a strange girl his age who hangs around the same city park and thinks she is a bat. Not only does he begin to understand and enjoy her make-believe world, he also gets caught up in the crisis triggered in part by her family's chaotic and neglectful style of life. The situation escalates when she hides for days in a cave and he is torn between feelings of loyalty and concern for her wellbeing. This first novel is an absorbing read with a child-like (first-person) perspective, sharply observed details, and wide cast of believable characters. (10+)
(Groundwood twentieth anniversary first novel for children contest winner, 1997; Governor General's Literary Award, 1998, Shortlist)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 59
Wynne-Jones, Tim (text)
Petričič, Dušan (illus.)
On Tumbledown Hill
Red Deer: Red Deer College Press, 1998. [32] p.
(Northern lights books for children)
ISBN 0-88995-186-1
Monsters - Hide-and-seek
The theme is monsters (or else »painting-on-awindy- afternoon-amidst-chaos«). The literary form consists of sentences, each having one word less than the previous one. The eye-catching graphic format is made up of six rows of black block-letter words, one word to a square, which progressively disappear to reveal more of the underlying illustrations. The zany scenes of events on Tumbledown Hill are done in pastel watercolors, the whimsical narrative has a melodic, lyrical flow. At the end of the day the protagonist's painting and the story converge at a question which every young viewer will delight in answering. This two-layered anecdotal tale is a congenial collaboration between an esteemed writer and a talented artist who began his artistic career in Yugoslavia. The book is highly suitable for reading aloud and intensive looking over and over again. (4+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1999 - 69
Wells, Rosemary
Yoko
(<Proper name>)
New York: Hyperion, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7868-0395-9
School - Ethnicity - Sushi - Rejection - Curiosity - Friendship
In this charming animal fantasy Yoko is a Japanese girlcat who attends first-grade at a multi-cultural school. When Yoko unpacks her Sushi at snack-time, her fellow classmates join together in a chorus of teasing. Inspite of the teacher's intermediary efforts, only one child is finally tempted to try Sushi (and loves it) at their International Food Day. Wells relates a common childhood experience - differentness and rejection - based on experiences of her own and of her daughter as young school children. She chose to make Yoko an animal because she finds they »are better than humans in conveying certain ideas and feelings«, and a cat to reflect her quiet, sweet nature and emerging independence. True to her intent, as stated in the journal »Book Links« (September 1998), Wells superbly succeeds in expressing the »emotional connection« between her characters in carefully colored, precisely composed picture portraits. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1999 - 72
Janisch, Heinz (text)
Kállay, Dušan (illus.)
Die kleine Marie und der große Bär
(Little Marie and the big bear)
Wien: Betz, 1997. [24] p.
ISBN 3-219-10693-5
Bicycle - Accident - Unconsciousness - Fabled animal
Marie has had an accident while riding her bike, but the reader learns this only at the end of the text. At first she dreams, while still unconscious, that her big Teddybear wants to dance with her. As she twirls and dances she sees many other familiar and unfamiliar fabled animals and even herself, though much older and wearing glasses. At least she becomes dizzy and falls into a deep sleep. When she awakens, she is surprised to find her parents standing at her bedside next to people in white overcoats. In these dream and phantasy scenes Dušan Kállay has taken a theme that no other artist could capture better. Earthy tones, bizarre shapes and figures, in all sizes and crowded together, take the reader-viewer along to a world of fantasy. (6+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1999 - 73
Klement, Robert
Sieben Tage im Februar
(Seven days in February)
Wien: Jungbrunnen, 1998. 141 p.
ISBN 3-7026-5698-7
Burgenland (Austria) - Bomb attack - Father/Death - Roma - Ostracism - Racism
In the Austrian province Burgenland four men from the Roma settlement at the edge of town are killed in a bomb attack. Josef's father is one of them. Why? A well-respected, inconspicuous elderly gentleman considers this settlement a thorn in the side. All of his negative emotions intensify into an obsession. He wants to destroy these idle vagabonds. He manages to build a bomb without anyone taking notice. The plot of this story is based on an actual occurence which received media coverage. The author succeeds in depicting the gulf that can develop between people which cannot be bridged by even the best of intentions and good will. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1999 - 74
Konsek, Dieter (text/illus.)
Vincent und das Farbenwunder
(Vincent and the miracle of color)
Wien: Picus, 1998. [28] p.
ISBN 3-85452-816-7
Magician - Colors - Music
Long ago, when the world was still grey and colorless and music had not yet been invented, the magicians held a gala party once a year. Each presented what he could do best. Only little Vincent had nothing to show off. Then one day he noticed that when he blew into his reed pipe, the world was bathed in a rainbow of colors. Soon he convinced the singing birds to help him with his presentation. And hence he discovered the most valuable magic trick of all. The artist renders his story in archaic shapes and earthy tones. (5+)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1999 - 108
Mühlenweg, Fritz (text)
Berner, Rotraut Susanne (illus.)
Nuni
(<Proper name>)
Lengwil: Libelle, 1997. 142 p.
ISBN 3-909081-83-5
Journey - Homecoming - Imagination - Constellation - Animals
Nuni is kidnapped from her parent's yard. She has to transverse imaginary worlds with names like »Desert Dull« and the dangerous »Forest Evergreen.« She makes exciting new friendships when the animals in the zodiac help her find her way home and the calendar man mixes up the course of time. Naturally Nuni is filled with fear. But in the end she finds her way home. The author packages little rules of life, which are hardly recognizable to children, into the fascinating plot, which takes its course, so to speak, between heaven and earth and essentially represents the maturation of a childlike consciousness. Moreover, the dynamic pictures and lovely layout are a delightful enhancement of this new edition of the classic Nuni story, which was first published in a different format in 1953. (6+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1999 - 109
Schendel, Andreas (text)
Renn, Lola (illus.)
Die Geschichte von Gina und Herrn Seeger
(The story of Gina and Mr. Seeger)
Zürich: Palazzo, 1998. 53 p.
ISBN 3-907588-04-5
Old/Young - Friendship - Play - Death - Comfort
Gina is seven years old and Mr. Seeger's best friend. Mr Seeger is retired and lives with his wife live on the groundfloor of the same house. They love to tumble about together, playing makebelieve lion mother and lion baby. Then one day Mr. Seeger is no longer there. Gina dreams often of their afternoon walks and how she had to rescue him from his musty old books. An unsentimental story about friendship and leaving-taking. (7+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1999 - 110
Waechter, Friedrich Karl
Der rote Wolf
(The red wolf)
Zürich: Diogenes, 1998. 58 p.
ISBN 3-257-00848-1
Wolf - Dog - Learning - Death
A young dog is brought up by wolves and learns to hunt and catch his prey just like any wolf. When he is wounded by wolf-hunters, he finds a new home with a young girl. She promises to take him back to the wolves' den, to his friends, when it is time for him to die. But if that were the whole story, it wouldn't be by Waechter. It so happens that this animal's fate takes place at the end of World War Two, when man and animal are on the run, some to the West, others - the wolves - to the East. In moving, lyrical images and text an unusual dog's life passes before the reader's eyes. (8+)

Special Mention - Mali (French) - 1999 - 113
Kulubali, Baabilen (text)
Aaron, Fatinia (illus.)
Diyenkoroba ou Vieux-comme-le-monde
(Diyenkoroba or As old as the world)
Bamako: Donniya, 1997. 26 p.
(Text in French and Bambara)
ISBN 2-911741-07-2
God/Man - Illness - Healing - Ingratitude
Ethical-religion instruction is the purpose of this classical story about God when he travels the earth disquised as a vagabond and receives nothing but ingratitude from the people he heals of their illnesses. The only thankful person he encounters is rewarded with rich blessings. All the others are punished again with their old sufferings. In addition to the text in Bambara and French, citations from the Koran and the Bible are given in an appendix. The illustrations have dignity and brilliancy. The key scenes of the story are set in the foreground while in the background the leisurely rhythm of everyday life continues, women go about their tasks, children play their games. The daily habits, living styles and traditional garb of the Mali culture are made visible inobtrusively. The meticulous, artistic layout underscores the timeless wisdom of this legend. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 1999 - 116
Norac, Carl (text)
Joos, Louis (illus.)
L'espoir Pelican
(Hope Pelican)
Paris/Bruxelles: École des Loisirs, 1998. [36] p.
(Pastel)
ISBN 2-211-04675-4
Africa - Illness - Hope - Magic
A city, a village and the jungle of Africa are the settings for this story, and the stations for the rites of passage which the young heroine must go through. An ambulance has taken the dangerously ill mother off to a clinic, the child remains behind, alone. But she is not helpless. »My hope is bigger than I am,« she says, and sets off to find a way to save her mother. The miracle worker gives her a magical bundle that she must carry to the end of the world. Her path is marked by the messengers of death, the vultures and jackals. But as she reaches the final abyss, a pelican appears as the bird of life. And here the story ends. Joos' illustrations are steeped in magic and conjuring spells. The rich contrasts, created through the very different drawing and painting techniques, has the powerful effect of giving even the more abstract pictures an atmosphere of intensity. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 133
Mwankumi, Dominique (text/illus.)
La pêche à la marmite
(The catch of fish with the pot)
Paris: École des Loisirs, 1998. 37 p.
(Archimède)
ISBN 2-211-04458-1
Congo - Fishing - Rural life
Two hundred kilometers from Kinshasa there is a fishing village called Panu. In the rainy period the river is overflowing with fish. Kumi and his friends set out to fish. It is not without danger. Suddenly a crocodile approaches. Fortunately, Kumi is alert enough to scare it off. The luminous power of these illustrations of this true story which capture the lively experiences of Congolese children let the reader know that these are scenes from the childhood of the Congolese painter now living in Brussels. Parallel to the story, the mood of the story is unfolded as the color tones shift the yellow of the hot midday to the shadowy hues of evening and nighttime. The reader is transported into a world of childhood far beyond the routine of school-days and safety-inspected playgrounds. A brief afterword describes the current living conditions of Congolese fishermen and their families. (5+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 134
Ottenheimer, Laurence (conception)
Truong, Marcelino (illus.)
Une journée à Hanoi
(One day in Hanoi)
Paris: Hachette Jeunesse, 1997. [34] p.
(Demi page)
ISBN 2-01-291618-X
Hanoi - Family life - Daily routine - Traditions/Modern life
The seven landscape-sized tableaus show a day in the life of the family Tran in bustling Hanoi. The traditional and modern ways of life are intermingled. One observes ceremonies of ancestor worship taking place adjacent to relics from the French colonial period, such Baguette from the bakery or steam engines. The recent past is called to mind by a passer-by crippled during the war. Ricksha drivers, apparently unemployed intellectuals, read while waiting for customers. Illnesses are also in evidence. The extreme closeness of the living quarters is made relative by the unperturbed cheerfulness of the residents. In an appendix there is a photodocumentary afterword. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 135
Perez, Serge
La pluie comme elle tombe
(Raindrops keep falling)
Paris: École des Loisirs, 1998. 179 p.
(Médium)
ISBN 2-211-04282-1
Boy/Girl - Holiday camp - Puberty - Communication problems
In alternating inner monologues, a girl and a boy reflect upon their experiences at a holiday camp. Both loners, they hate the way their social activities are strictly organized. Although the girl makes an effort to win the boy as a friend, their monologues never manage to become one dialogue. Each remains the focus of his or her own thoughts. The casual style of teenaged jargon only appears to cover up each one's inability to communicate, and especially the boy's nearly pathological introversion. The compelling literary rendering of each protagonist's inner life involves the reader in the oppressive disasters of unsuccessful encounters in numerous variations. (14+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 136
Roger, Marie-Sabine (text)
Roca, François (illus.)
A la vie, à la vie...
(To life, to life...)
Paris: Nathan, 1998. 118 p.
(Pleine Lune ; 83 : Roman réaliste)
ISBN 2-09-282231-4
Illness - Pain - Fantasy/Reality - Dying
The young protagonist of this novel knows that he will die soon. The narrative describes his last days from his point of view. Gentle dialogues with his mother and fantasy games with his neighbor, an old sea captain and great storyteller, intermingle with the nightmares of pain, feverish dreams and longings. The illustrations done in black-and-white-and-grey maintain a balance between distorted and realistic drawing, in keeping with the pulse beat of this invalid story, in which the fatal end of the child is experienced as a happy embarkment as ship's mate on the captain's pirate schooner. (10+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 137
Sadeler, Joël (text)
Robin, Ségolène (illus.)
L'enfant partagé
(The shared child)
Chaillé-Sous-Les-Ormeaux: Dé bleu, 1998. 47 p.
(Le farfadet bleu)
ISBN 2-84031-073-2
Father/Child - Poetry
On the title page of this poetry collection on the theme of father and child one sees two little houses. They belong to mother and father who live separated. Between the houses there is a narrow foot-bridge. The child is standing there with a heart »between two doors.« The poems speak of the bitterness of a double- life, but also from all-absorbing game, day-dream phantasies and having fun. From his adult point of view, the father sensitively observes the charm and incalculable self-reliant nature of his child. (12+)
(Prix Poésie Jeunesse, 1997)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 138
Teisson, Janine
Au cinéma Lux
(In Cinema Lux)
Paris: Syros Jeunesse, 1998. 74 p.
ISBN 2-84146-549-7
Cinema - Blindness - First love
The logical explanation for the gentle narrative tone of this novel is found only in the final pages when the reader learns that both protagonists, a young girl and young man, are blind. The unbiased reader encounters them in the cinema - a very unusual place, considering their handicap. As members of a film club, they get emotionally involved week for week, side by side, in each screen story. Shy and with tender deference they become closer friends, their accidental acquaintanceship turns into love. The happy ending is moving and shows an astonishing zest for life that is beyond any form of pity. (13+)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1999 - 166
Martingay, Claude (text)
Cardinaux, Xavier (illus.)
La rivière
(The river)
Genève: Joie de Lire, 1998. 22 p.
(Dialogues avec grand-père)
ISBN 2-88258-112-2
Grandfather/Grandchild - Love - Imagination
Grandfather is sitting in his chair. His little grandchild insists, »Teach me how to fish!« »First you must sit still for a long time next to the river until it begins to talk to you,« the grandfather answers, because it will then be possible for the young child to tell about his river, the words becoming like living fish that the grandfather can catch and eat. This short, gentle intercourse is accompanied by illustrations in shining gold-tone reflections of light and color, as segments taken from the several meters high abstract triptych by the Genevan painter Xavier Cardinaux. They encompass the patterns in both the carpet and grandfather's chair in the room, interwoven with the changes tones of a sun-flooded river. It awakens the association with the dreamy look of a child with half-closed eyes, drifting off into a fantasy world. (5+)

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 1999 - 168
Wolf, Ema (text)
Sanzol, Jorge (illus.)
Pollos de campo
(Country chickens)
Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 1997. 150 p.
(Infantil - juvenil)
ISBN 950-511-290-4
Circus - Circus artists - Odyssey (Journey)
Big Rita, Lithe Mimí, the Magician Jesús and the Bear (who, one never knows, is perhaps human after all) are in a terrible quandary. The other members of their circus troupe have moved on to the next engagement without them. That wouldn't be much of a problem if only one of the four could only remember where it is. When the 13-year old circus acrobat Pedro suddenly turns up in their rickety old circus wagon, they begin an adventure-filled odyssey through the Argentine province searching for their colleagues and Pedro's missing brothers. In the course of their travels, during which they earn their keep with impromptu performances, the five highly individualistic characters encounter a large number of no less unique people. Ema Wolf's story burst full of amusing ideas and scenes. As already proven in previous children's books, her sense for absurd and screwy situations and rich imagery are successfully united here in this highly entertaining book. (12+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1999 - 185
Pelletier, Maryse
La musique des choses
(The music of things)
Montréal (Québec): Courte Échelle, 1998. 150 p.
(Roman+ ; 52)
ISBN 2-89021-319-6
Puberty - Musical talent - Self-discovery
A sixteen-year old boy, son of highly respected professional musicians and himself musically talented, is caught up in a crisis of identity. Searching to find his own way in life, he begins to doubt his artistic talent. The unexpected encounter with his previously unknown grandparents helps to correct the image of his deceased father that had been conveyed by his mother. He learns to enjoy the company of his peers and appreciate their points of difference. Growing in maturity, he recognizes that his talent lies in music. The sensitively constructed psychological perspective of a young man's problems conveys to its readers an insight into the at once precarious and protective interconnectedness of human relationships within a community. (13+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1999 - 186
Simard, Rémy (text)
Pratt, Pierre (illus.)
Monsieur Ilétaitunefois
(Mr. Onceuponatime)
North York, Ont.: Annick Press, 1998. [26] p.
ISBN 1-55037-545-8
Storytelling
The many storytellers in the town are quite annoyed with the little man who calls himself »Mr. Onceuponatime «. As soon as the magical introductory phrase used by every storyteller is spoken, he suddenly appears and announces, »You called me!« To preserve the peace, they lock him up and then finally rebaptise him with the name »The End.« From now he appears, politely donning his hat, at the end of every story. And so it is possible to keep this little man, the amusingly grotesque personification of storytelling, under control. This tall-tale from a pre-television age is illustrated in the style of colorful woodcuts with black outlines. (6+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 1999 - 194
Kouros, Alexis (text)
Reichstein, Alexander (illus.)
Gondwanan lapset
(Gondwana's children)
Helsinki: Lasten Keskus, 1997. 120 p.
ISBN 951-627-157-X
Search for identity - Personality development
Alexsis Kouros, an Iranian living in Finland, won the premier children's literature prize »Finlandia Junior« in 1997 for this title. The story tells about a little penguin who by chance is born in an albatross' nest. Of course he wants to learn to fly like the others. Pursuing one of the classic themes of children's literature, »Who am I? Where do I come from?«, Kouros explores the question of identity and foreignness and shows that there are different ways to see the problem. Alexander Reichstein's mixed media photos give his own interpretation of the story. It can be the bedrock which gives safety, carrying both the past and the future, but also opens up the possibility for a new life. (10+)

Special Mention - Finland (French) - 1999 - 195
Laulajainen, Leena (text)
Hakkarainen, Anna-Liisa (illus.)
Kultamarja ja metsän salaisuudet
(Kultamarja and the secrets of the forest)
Helsinki: Tammi, 1998. 32 p.
ISBN 951-31-1242-X
Boy/Girl - Coldness - Adventure - Friendship
This mythical fantasy book won the »Finlandia Junior« prize in 1998. It is a fascinating modern fairy tale of friendship between Kultamarja and Reidar, who try to save their village from coldness of the blue horse. This story is based on Finnish motifs of forest, darkness and coldness. The illustrator Hakkarainen tells her story in naive pictures which are colorful, bright and full of secrets. (7+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 1999 - 196
Levanto, Marjatta (text)
Vuori, Julia (illus.)
Nykytaide suurin piirtein
(All about modern art, sort of)
Helsinki: Otava, 1998. 80 p.
ISBN 951-1-15005-7
Modern art
This information book introduces the young reader to modern art through a chronological overview of the most important periods and major works of the modern art. The author and illustrator describe how an artist approaches, among other things, a human being, the world, harmony, dreams, thoughts, the past and memories. Their personal voices and well-chosen examples form an interesting dialogue on art. The illustrator Julia Vuori also contributes to the dialogue in a humorous way with her own fantastic animal illustrations. (10+)

Special Mention - Finland (French) - 1999 - 197
Majaluoma, Markus (text/illus.)
Olavi ja Aapo. Merten urhot
(Olavi and Aapo. Heroes of the sea)
Helsinki: Tammi, 1998. 28 p.
ISBN 951-31-1312-4
Ocean - Dream - Ship travel - Adventure
Markus Majaluoma is an original Finnish illustrator who tells fantasy stories about two small boys in this new picture book series. Their exciting journey through the ocean starts when the boys fall asleep. Majaluoma uses a light and harmonious palette of colors. His illustrations are expressive and slightly grotesque, but also let the child reader feel that he is being taken care of. (4+)

Special Mention - Finland (French) - 1999 - 198
Nopola, Sinikka (text)
Nopola, Tiina (text)
Toivonen, Sami (illus.)
Havukainen, Aino (illus.)
Risto Räppääjä ja kauhea makkara
(Risto Räppääjä and the horrifying sausage)
Helsinki: Tammi, 1998. 96 p.
ISBN 951-31-1145-8
Aunt/Nephew - Adventure - Parody
The sisters Sinikka and Tiina Nopola are wellknown Finnish children's fiction writers. Their stories are often parodies on adults and their everyday life. Risto Räppääjä is the hero of this new fiction series. In this second fantastic story, their search for a green pepper sausage leads Risto and his aunt on a great adventure to Budapest. Their journey is filled with absurd and comical happenings. Modern style illustrations interpret the text in an ironical spirit with an emotional touch and would lend themselves well to animation. (6+)

Special Mention - Finland (French) - 1999 - 199
Väyrynen, Taru
Väyrynen, Tarmo
Karri ja öiset valot
(Karri and the night lights)
Helsinki: Tammi, 1998. 137 p.
ISBN 951-31-1322-1
Boy/Girl - Friendship - Divorce - Single father - Narcotics - Tolerance
This young adult novel is one of a new detective series. Karri is a teenage boy who has just moved from the country to a large city after his parent's divorce. Karri meets a girl, Kirsikka, who often avoids going home to her alcoholic parents. Karri, sensitive and caring, takes an interest in Kirsikka and they become best friends. The suspenseful plot finds a happy end when Karri and Kirsikka help to expose a drug dealers' ring in their neighborhood. (12+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 205
Sandemosse, Iben (text/illus.)
Hva med meg, da?
(What about me?)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelens Forlag, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 82-02-17916-5
Falling in love - Insecurity
The self-doubts of a young boy in love could hardly be portrayed more concisely than the artist does in these few pictures. By using a make-believe animal as protagonist instead of a human figure, with all its limitations, she turns the eternal problem of successful flirting into a universal one. The boys dissatisfaction with his looks and his helpless attempts to elicit attention by changing his appearance are depicted in impressively uncompromising and quite witty pictures set against a white background. Only when he offers his heart (a touching, old-fashioned figure of speech that still holds true) does he find his love reciprocated. It is high time that the books by this original illustrator become known outside of Norway! (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 206
Svalheim, Peter (text)
Moursund, Gry (illus.)
Himmelkua
(The heavenly cow Kua)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelens Forlag, 1998. [40] p.
ISBN 82-02-17896-7
Cow - Friendship - Sun - Wish - Horse - Transformation
Kua the cow can no longer bear staying in the barn all winter because she misses her friend, the sun, so much. So she moves into the horse stables. There she is advised to quit dreaming and make her dream come true. So the next day Kua rides off with the horse-loving young girl Ingunn and flies toward the sun. And when her overflowing udder gives painful reminder of her true cow nature, she lets her milk rain down upon earth, directly into people's mouths and jugs. Then Kua is content to return to the other cows, who are now grazing in the meadows. This idyllic story is told in quite non-idyllic, bizarrely comical pictures whose strong colors and distorted shapes cleverly draw on upon stylistic elements of modern painting. (7+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1999 - 230
Kuyper, Sjoerd (text)
Haeringen, Annemarie van (illus.)
Malmok
(<Proper name>)
Amsterdam: Leopold, 1998. 28 p.
ISBN 90-258-3789-1
Pelican - Secret - Lost child
Everybody asks Malmok the pelican about the storm, but he keeps his beak closed. Even when they try to get Malmok talking by offering him all kinds of delicious things. Finally, when a women comes to the pelicans, looking for her son who is lost in the storm, he reluctantly opens his beak and the little boy that Malmok had picked up during the storm can be returned to his mother. In this touching and fairly original story the author uses the continuous building of tension followed by an anticlimax starting with »...but Malmok...«. In particular the illustrations make the book special. Van Hearingen is able to sketch the situation with a few, well-chosen lines and the illustrations are one continuous movement of tension from the beginning to the end. The colors are subdued, but therefore especially convincing. (4+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1999 - 231
Meinderts, Koos (text)
Fienieg, Annette (illus.)
Hoe Sjoerd in een hond veranderde
(The way Sjoerd changed into a dog)
Tilburg: Zwijsen, 1998. 47 p.
ISBN 90-276-3951-5
Parent/Child - Child abuse - Boy/Dog - Transformation
Sjoerds parents definitely agree on one thing: children only exist to be able to draw child support or to earn some extra money, for example, through sport competitions. But Sjoerd is not good at anything. The only useful thing he does from his parents' point of view is run the entire household almost singlehanded. Sjoerd is very unhappy and would preferably be a dog. Then suddenly this wish comes true and everything changes drastically. An absurd story in which characters have extreme opposite characteristics. The parents are extremely bad and Sjoerd (a kind of male Cinderella) is extremely nice. The narrator is clearly present in the story and sometimes addresses the readers directly, involving them in the story even more. (8+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1999 - 232
Oomen, Francine (text/illus.)
Stoute Sammie
(Naughty Sammie)
Amsterdam: Van Goor, 1998. 28 p.
ISBN 90-00-03170-2
Anger - Tolerance - Co-existence
The mother of Sammie, the rabbit, is angry at him, but Sammie does not understand why. That makes Sammie angry, too, and, without further reason, he starts teasing his friends. And his friends don't put up it. Little by little everybody is angry at everybody and nobody knows exactly why. The simple story is unfolded very nicely in the form of an accumulation of occurrences on the theme of 'arguing and making up' and lends itself perfectly to exploring together with pre-school children. The full-page, colorful illustrations definitely appeal to the viewer, fit in with the story seamlessly and add an extra dimension to the story. (3+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1999 - 233
Veldkamp, Tjibbe (text)
Hopman, Philip (illus.)
22 wezen
(22 orphans)
Rotterdam: Lemniscaat, 1998. 26 p.
ISBN 90-5637-109-6
Orphanage - Play
The twenty-two orphans of the orphanage know how to play readily with everything they find, or enjoy doing nothing and going about their own business. But one day, a new, sincerely concerned director arrives and makes the orphans go to bed right away. They are bored and together they dress up as a huge elephant. The director cannot find her wards and - together with the elephant - she starts looking for them. In an inventive manner it is made clear that adults should not interfere with children and that an exaggerated concern and too much protection is not good for them. The well-composed text and highly detailed illustrations are matched to one another magnificently. (4+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 236
Apostolakē, Alexa
Stampoglē, Helenē
Alphabētari tēs Kypru
(An alphabet of Cyprus)
Athēna: Kaleidoskopio, 1997. 119 p.
ISBN 960-7846-00-1
Cyprus/History - Culture - Archaeology - Art - Political history
Using the alphabet to give form to the book, the history, rich culture, customs and everyday life of Cyprus are made vivid and accessible for readers of all ages. Writings ranging from the classical period to modern times document the eventful history of an island which has often been occupied during its history, but is still largely unknown beyond its borders. Short, pithy texts, enrichened with excellent, attractively designed illustrative matter have been chosen by experts for this excellent introduction to Cyprus that invites repeated browsing. A chronology of historical events rounds out this compact handbook of a country which will soon become a member of the European Union. It may be hoped that this new publishing house continues to present such meticulously edited books. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 237
Basileiu-Maninēs, Dēmētrēs (text)
Dugalē, Paschalē (illus.)
Stis pēges tēs historias: Megas Alexandros
(Alexander the Great V. 1-5)
Nea Smyrnē: Ekd. Akritas, 1997. 122 p.; 127 p.; 129 p.; 128 p.; 133 p.
ISBN 960-328-079-8; 960-328-080-1; 960-328-081-x; 960-328-082-8; 960-328-083-6
Alexander the Great
Demetres Manines, who is well-known for his translations from Ancient Greek, introduces children to the life of Alexander the Great through original texts from the antiquity. In particular he draws upon the writings of Arrianos, Plutarch and Ruphos without making any additional comments, thereby also encouraging the young reader to delve into the original writings by Alexander's contemporaries. The descriptive texts are translated word-for-word, and only the overly lengthy passages were carefully abridged without interrupting the flow of the story. (8+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 238
Chatzē, Giolanta (text)
Aigyptos. Hoi hellēnes zōgraphoi tu Phagium
(Egypt. The Greek painters of Al-Faiyūm)
Athēna: Ammos, 1998. [48] p.
ISBN 960-202-188-8
Egypt/Art history 30 B.C. - Al-Faiyūm - Greek portrait painting
Beginning with a general introduction into Egyptian history and culture, with special emphasis on the Hellenistic Period, twelve portraits from this period, which have been splendidly preserved due to the dry climate, are presented and explained in a superlative manner. The reader learns how the clothing and jewelry of the naturalistically portrayed persons give indication of their social rank and about the painting techniques used. The editor, Euphrosyne Doxiade, a painter herself, has been working in this field for many years and has published the only internationally known scholarly work on these portraits. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 239
Kalerante, Euangelia (text)
Tsekura, Charis (illus.)
Me ton Elytē stēn Hellada
(With Elytis in Greece)
Athēna: Peribolaki, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 960-7412-57-5
Elytis, Odysseas - Poetry/Greek
This is a highly successful attempt to present children the poetry of Odysseas Elytis, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1979. The author accomplishes the nearly impossible task of re-telling the themes, motifs and rhythms of his poetry without losing the vivid language and originality of his work, which draws on folk tradition. The illustrations are also modelled on the poet's works and harmonize well with the text. (8+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 240
Kapantaē, Ismēnē (text)
Desphiniōtu, Melina (illus.)
Sto krypho scholeio
(In the underground school)
Athēna: Potamos, 1997. [28] p.
ISBN 960-7563-14-x
Greece/Turkish occupation 1453-1821 - Resistance - Child - Everyday life - Rural life
This picture book puts an end to the myth originated in the 19th century about the clandestine Greek schooling which was said to have existed during the Turkish period of occupation (1453-1821). Beginning with a famous painting on this theme by Nikolaos Gyzes, the author allows two children come to life and take the reader on a tour of the everyday life of the rural society during the period of occupation. The children are fascinated not only by their early morning walk to school, but also by the story of Odysseus which they learn there and later tell to their uncle, a Klephtes, a Greek nationalist living in the mountains. The pictures by the young illustrator, Melina Desphiniotu (*1962) have a fascinating power of expression and hold promise for future children's books. (5+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 241
Muntes, Matthaios (text)
Kordēs, Giōrgos (illus.)
Histories apo tē Biblo. Palaia Diathēkē
(Stories from the Bible)
Athēna: Kastaniōtēs, 1998. 140 p.
(Neanikē bibliothēkē ; 192)
ISBN 960-03-1372-5
Old Testament - New Testament - Children's Bible
Stories from the Old and the New Testament are re-told here in two volumes by the highly esteemed Byzaninist Matthaios Muntes and fill a significant gap in the Greek children's literature. Both volumes are greatly enriched by the illustrations of the well-known icon painter Giōrgos Kordēs (*1956). (9+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 242
Psilakēs, Nikos (text)
Papadēmētriu, Angelo (illus.)
Krētes theoi
(The gods of Crete)
Hērakleion: Karmanōr, [1998?]. 117 p.
(Mythologia / Nikos Psilakēs)
ISBN 960-7448-14-6
Crete/Mythology - Crete/Sculptures
In this re-telling of the Greek mythology, the journalist and writer Nikos Psilakēs gives a highly vivid narration of the legends of the ancient gods of Crete. A particularly noteworthy feature of the book is its illustration with photos of sculptures which were created especially for this project, making this an nonpareil bibliophilic edition . (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 243
Schizas, Giannēs
Attikē. Mia oikologikē periēgēsē sto parelthon kai to mellon
(Attika. An ecological tour through the past and future)
Athēna: Sabbalas, 1996. 271 p.
(Anoiktes epistēmes ; 11)
ISBN 960-460-174-1
Attika (Greece) - Ecology
This is just one title in a series of information books for young adults which offers well-founded treatments on an astonishly wide selection of themes, ranging from topics such as earthquakes, the universe and cosmology, to the values of ancient Greek civilization. This volume, prepared by a writer with a strong commitment to ecology and a clear, concise style of writing, deals with the history of Attika and its multi-faceted ecological situation in historical and contemporary contexts. The reader becomes acquainted with scholarly writing while acquiring a clear overview of the topic, which is also documented in an extensive bibliography. (14+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 244
Skiadaresē, Maria E. (text)
Zarkada, Marilē (illus.)
Ho thēsauros tu Asprogenē
(Whitebeard's treasure)
Athēna: Patakēs, 1998. [40] p.
ISBN 960-600-419-8
Island - Individualism - Consumerism - Homecoming
Fed up with life in the big city, a man returns to his home on an island, only to find it thoroughly changed. No longer does one find the old folk gathering at the central square, there is no bread to be found at the bakery, no fishermen in their boats. The only familiar figure still remaining from once-told stories seems to be the beard of the pirate Asprogenes (»Whitebeard«) and this helps the story's hero to re-introduce happiness and a sense of community among the inhabitants of the island. (5+)

Special Mention - Iran (Persian) - 1999 - 248
Murādī Kirmānī, Hūšang
Murabbā-i šīrīn
(The sweet jam)
Tihrān: Intišārāt-i Muʻīn, 1998 (= 1376 h.š.). 92 p.
(In Arabic letters)
ISBN 964-5643-32-5
Indifference - Persistence - Civil courage
Evidently no one feels concerned that the jar tops of one jam and marmalade producer do not screw on tightly. Not only because of this technical defect, but also incensed at the apathy of fellow citizens, a twelve-year old pupil decides to sue the production company even against his mother's will. The company makes an investigation, corrects the production error and rewards the boy for his civic involvement. This entertaining story takes issue with the indifference of so many people who find it easier to accept bad or inadequate conditions out of pure laziness and ignorance or for fear of causing trouble for themselves. (12+)

Special Mention - Iran (Persian) - 1999 - 249
Šaʻbānī, Asadallāh (text)
Husrawī, Nasrīn (illus.)
Pūlak-i māh. Maǧmūʻa-i ši'ar
(The moon's scale)
Tihrān: Kānūn-i Parwariš-i Fikrī-i Kūdakān wa Nūǧawānān, 1996 (= 1375 h.š.). [24] p.
(In Arabic letters)
Poetry/Iran
This is an illustrated selection of ten poems for children by Asadallāh Ša'bānī. Each poem is accompanied by a full-page, dreamy color illustration. (6+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 9
Ogawa, Mimei (text)
Takano, Reiko (illus.)
Ushionna
(The cow woman)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1999. 36 p.
(Nihon no dōwa meisakusen)
ISBN 4-03-963700-3
Japan - Death - Soul - Motherly love - Justice
For his efforts to give artistic shape to stories for children the author Mimei Ogawa (1882-1961) is called the patron of modern Japanese children's literature. »The cow woman« (first published in 1919) describes a deaf-mute mother who is given this title by the other villagers due to her physical size and gentle character. After her death, her soul is unable to rest because her young son is left all alone in wretched poverty. She appears in various guises to help and guide him. The literary speciality of Ogawa lies in expressing the Oriental religious philosophy symbolically, revealing the continuity of life. The decay of living things is not an absolute, as life takes on another form of expression, as in this example of motherly love. In mixed media technique, including copper-plate etchings, the artist interprets the mystical effects of the soul of the deceased mother in palpable, atmospheric illustrations, while also depicting the people and landscape of northern Japan. (10+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 10
Saragai, Tatsuya (text)
Hasegawa, Shūhei (illus.)
EE' shōkōgun
(Children of the »EE«-syndrome)
Tokyo: Komine Shoten, 1998. 159 p.
ISBN 4-338-10712-X
Teacher - Pupil - Conflict - School performance
In order to gain recognition for the best class of pupils, a teacher transforms his weaker pupils into gold fish and sells them at the market. In an elite school many pupils are found to suffer from the »Empty-Elite Syndrome« which is a bad conscience from not being ambitious enough. A practice teacher who is being bullied by his pupils gets unexpected help one day from his strong, but long-dead brother. Inspired by his sceptical views of the strict, performance-oriented school system in Japan, the author wrote these four spooky and phantastically absurd short stories. They are sure to keep the reader thinking long after reading. (11+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 11
Shingū, Susumu (illus.)
Chiisana ike
(Little pond)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan Shoten, 1999. [32] p.
(Nihon kessaku ehon shirīzu)
ISBN 4-8340-1594-7
Pond - Water surface - Nature - Reflection
Deep underneath the clouds there lies a wee pond. But a closer look reveals a wonderful dramatic world of nature. The wind, the animals - both in and over the water's surface -, the rain drops, the glowing hot sun, the swimming leaves, and the star-strewn sky constantly cause the surface of the water to change its appearance. In the end the pond lies once again deep below the clouds, barely recognizable in the blue nighttime stillness. The question that Susumu Shingu asks at the beginning and the end of the book - »Can you see a little pond?« - could just as well be »Can you see the universe?« With all its expressiveness, the natural world lets us sense the cosmic greatness of the universe in this wordless picture book. (6+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 12
Tada, Satoshi (text/illus.)
Kabutokun
(My friend the Beetle)
Tokyo: Kogumasha, 1999. [40] p.
ISBN 4-7721-0153-5
Insect - Friendship - Habitat
One winter day a boy finds an insect larva in the woods. He takes it home and builds a »beetlehouse « of leaves and earth for it in his garden. In the summer it transforms into a splendid beetle as big as the boy himself. They become friends, eat watermelon together, play and take a bath together. The glorious days end, however, when the boy has to accept the fact that his home is not the proper habitat for a beetle. So he lets his friend fly back to the woods after he promises they will meet again. The author, who like most boys was fascinated by big beetles as a child, depicts his »beetle-dream« in warm, child-like naive pictures. (6+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 13
Terada, Shiori (text/illus.)
Higashi, Nana (transl.)
Muttan no umi
(Muttan's ocean)
Tokyo: Kumon Shuppan, 1999. 32 p.
(Kumon no edōwa)
ISBN 4-7743-0310-0
Japan - Mud-flats - Dehydration - Animal life - Environmental damage
In 1997, despite the protests of citizen action groups, a gigantic dyke was built up off the Isahaya Bay near Nagasaki. As a result, many species of animal life lost their habitat. This event led one school girl, then nine years old, to draw a picture book in which the little fish Mutusugor (Mudskipper), a rare and beloved fish in the bay, plays the leading role. This portrait of environmental destruction and the suffering and the hopes of the animals for a better future is impressively told in the words and images of a child. At the same time the young writer cleverly manages to inform the reader of the natural food-chain of the animals, which humans are ultimately dependent. The text is in Japanese and English. (6+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 14
Umeda, Shunsaku (text/illus.)
Umeda, Yoshiko (text/illus.)
14sai to Tautausan
(The fourteen-year old boy and Mr. Tautau)
Tokyo: Poplar-sha, 1999. (2nd ed.) 299 p.
ISBN 4-591-05874-3
School - Bullying - Truancy - Self-discovery - Old age
In their previous, prize-winning picture book (»Shiranpuri«, [»Ignore it!«]) the husband-wife writing team Umeda portray the inner conflicts of a boy who refuses to take part in school bullying. In this book the main character is the victim. The solution to the problem here involves going beyond the school setting and getting other people in the victim's surroundings involved - a strange old man named Tautau, the grandparents, a neighbor child, and the sea. They all play a significant role in the boy's healing process. In the colored wood-block pictures, the grainy texture supports the psychological state, the situation and the landscape, giving each scene its own unique depth. (13+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2000 - 15
Ban, Ma
Wushi-de-chenchuan
(The sunken ship of the wizard)
Jiangxi: 21-Shiji-Chubanshe, 1998. 5, 5, 171 p.
(Dahuanxiang-wenxue : Zhongguo-xiaoshuo)
ISBN 7-5391-1323-5
Ancient prince - Qiang - Ship
Two thousand years ago a prince of the Qiang - an ancient tribe in western China - produces a large, many layered ship from a magic tree and calmly sinks it in the Three at the river bend in the unpopulated middle reaches of Yangtze River. 2000 years later the ship is discovered by a little girl called Hong and her cormorant. Laomu, a »psychologist « of the ancient and an expert in uncovering mysteries using emotional wisdom instead of mental knowledge and high-technology, befriends Hong and her cormorant and learns that they, as former servants of the prince, can travel back and forth in time. The ship is the soul of the prince, a wizard who has been sleeping under the river for 2000 years, and hence the proof that this ancient dynasty Qiang really existed. The story combines legends and historical facts perfectly and draws readers to a fantastic world which is full of poetic atmosphere, and sparks the imagination with unresolved mysteries. (12+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2000 - 16
Bing, Bo (text)
Zhou, Xiang (illus.)
Xiaoqingchong-de-meng
(The caterpillar's dream)
Hunan: Hunan-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe [et al.], 1997. [40] p.
(Heiyanjing-congshu)
ISBN 7-5358-0959-6
Caterpillar - Music - Dream - Butterfly
An ugly caterpillar loves music and likes listening to the cricket's singing. The cricket always drives her away because the music is beautiful but the caterpillar is ugly. The caterpillar is so sad that she hides in a cocoon. She falls asleep while listening to the music and has a wonderful dream. When she wakes up she finds herself turned into a beautiful butterfly and her wings are full of pictures of the moon and stars. The cricket is enchanted by this fairy-like maiden. This is an »ugly duckling« story with a poetic narrative and dreamlike pastel illustrations against a delicate translucent blue background. (6+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2000 - 17
Shen, Shixi (text)
Xiao, Aozi (illus.)
Honghuli
(Red fox)
Jiangsu: Jiangsu-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 1998. [24] p.
(You'er-wenxue-xinzuo-huaku)
ISBN 7-5346-1949-1
Fox - Hunter - Greed - Revenge
A hunter catches a small red fox about two weeks old and puts it in a cage. In the evening mother fox comes to rescue her child but the cage is too solidly made. On the second day the mother fox sends a colorful pheasant to the hunter as an exchange - and again the third day. But the hunter keeps the baby fox as a ready source of income and adds one more lock to the cage. On the fourth day the hunter finds a dead mouse near the cage; on the fifth his roof has a hole; on the sixth all the hunter's cocks have lost their neck feathers. At last the hunter sets the baby fox free. This humorous story criticizes human greed and appreciates the wisdom of animals. This is a recurrent theme of the most important animal-story writer in China. (6+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2000 - 18
Ye, Shengtao (text)
Xu, Dungu (illus.)
Daocaoren
(The scarecrow)
Hebei: Huashan-Wenyi-Chubanshe, 1997. 171 p.
(Zhongguo-ertong-wenxue-mingjia-jingpinwenku)
ISBN 7-80611-536-6
Scarecrow - Metaphor - Intelligentsia
This is the first collection of 23 short stories which were written especially for children in China and first published in 1923. The most well-known - »Daocaoren« (The scarecrow) - describes a scarecrow standing in the field. He sees many tragic and unjust things happening around him and is pained because he can not do anything to change society. The scarecrow is regarded as a symbol of Chinese intellectuals in the 1920s. Though it also contains some beautiful romantic stories, this book was controversial. It was out-of-print for a long time, but the author revised it in 1986, when he was 92 years old, and finally included the stories in a compilation of his complete works. This reprint edition includes illustrations from the 1923 edition. (7+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2000 - 19
Meng, Haoyan [et al.] (comp.)
Xiao Yu [et al.] (illus.)
Chuchu-wentiniao. Gei-haizi-de-100-shou-gushi
(Birds singing everywhere. 100 Chinese classic poems collected for children)
Taibei: Xinyi-Jijin-Chubanshe, 1997. 116 p. (With 2 CDs and playing cards)
ISBN 957-642-388-0
Poetry/Chinese
This volume of poetry is part of a set which includes two picture books (the companion book is called »Fish playing among lotus leaves«), three CDs that demonstrate the ways of singing classic poetry, and one »Guide and games« book. The compilers have consciously chosen three kinds of poems - pictorial poems, poems describing common human feelings and poems about children's everyday life - and provide after each a readable essay explaining its meaning. Each is accompanied by a striking ink-and-wash illustration. The publisher introduces splendid Chinese traditional arts to the young readers with modern multimedia. And the whole set of books strives to fulfill the Chinese saying: »Pictures in the poems and poetry in the paintings.« (6+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2000 - 20
Cao, Junyan (text/illus.)
Jiabeidai
(The doubling bag)
Taibei: Xinyi-Jijin-Chubanshe, 1998. 27 p.
(Cao-Junyan-chuangyi-tuhuashu)
ISBN 957-642-465-8
Greed - Cloning
The colorful doubling bag is a great treasure since it can make a duplicate of anything one puts in it. A greedy person steals this cloth-bag and gets into it. Behold! Two gluttons come out and they immediately begin fighting over the magic bag. The author has a gift for rendering his philosophy of life into simple but interesting stories. He uses different illustration techniques in each book. The stylized figures of this book resemble shadow-puppets and paper cuttings, traditional Chinese forms of art, so that the characters look stiff but appealing. In a note he explains that he wants to give children a wider visual and aesthetic experience. (6+)

Special Mention - India (English) - 2000 - 35
Ravishankar, Anushka (text)
Ramanathan, Rathna (illus.)
Anything but a grabooooooberry
Chennai: Tara Publ., 1998. [48] p.
ISBN 81-86211-43-8
Poetry/English - Daydream - Imagination - Nonsense
The green and red graphic illustrations of this book play with the words and ideas of a simple, melodic nonsense poem about »what I want to be.« Beehive is written letter for letter into a honey cone, the word elephant looks like one, the letters of the rocking chair move up and down. Both the poem and the highly imaginative play with shapes and forms are so enchanting that one wants go right back to the beginning. This recently founded publishing house is developing an ambitious program of well-designed books for all age groups. (4+)

Special Mention - India (English) - 2000 - 36
Sadykov, Turat (text)
Roy, Subir (illus.)
Singh, Varyam (transl.)
Manas
(<Proper name>)
New Delhi: Children's Book Trust, 1998. 32 p.
(Transl. from Kirghiz)
ISBN 81-7011-815-8
Folk tale/Kirghizia - Hero
Late in life an old, rich man became father to a child. Shortly before the birth of the child who would be named Manas a wandering doctor and seer who was passing by fed the mother meat from an ancient animal that destined the child to have extraordinary powers. Even as a child he used his incredible strength to perform useful, heroic deeds that are still told today. This attractively illustrated booklet contains three tales that reveal the customs and traditions of the pre-dominantly Muslim, worldly open mountainous country of Kirghizia, which became an autonomous republic after nearly 130 years of Russian rulership. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - India (English) - 2000 - 37
Saxena, Ira (text)
Gayen, Prithvishwar (illus.)
The virus trap
New Delhi: Children's Book Trust, 1998. 144 p.
ISBN 81-7011-797-6
School - Computer software - Hacker - Theft - Detective
Anshuman attends a special school well-equipped with modern computer facilities where he and his two friends spend so much time that they are considered »geeks«. Computering is also the special bond between Anshuman and his adopted uncle Deepak, a computer company executive who develops network software. When it becomes clear that someone is trying to steal or sabotage Deepak's new systems software, Anshuman and others become the target of attacks. While tracking down the culprits, he realizes that he needs to expose the thief with the help of a computer virus. This is fast-paced, action-filled mystery story that is filled with the details and jargon of the computer world. The manuscript won first prize in a writer's competition by the Indian IBBY section. (12+)

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 2000 - 40
Holcroft, Anthony (text)
Preiss, Leah Palmer (illus.)
A visit to the orchards of heaven
Christchurch: Hazard Press, 1998. 76 p.
ISBN 1-877161-26-8
Fairy tale - Desire - Character - Justice - Contentment
This is a delightful collection of nine literary fairy tales narrated as only an experienced storyteller can do. There is magic and suspense in each plot, mostly set in realistic but different places around the world. In some tales the main character is a magician or witch; in others the hero - a child, a young husband, or old man - encounters a creature - a bird, a leprechan, or enchanted dancer - who uses supernatural powers for good or evil purposes. A common thread in these tales is the lesson of contentment. The heroes often experience the consequences of following temptation and impetuous desire and, in most tales, finally recognize the satisfaction to be had at home and in human companionship. Each tale is distinct enough in setting, cast of characters and unpredictability of plot to remain memorable. Illustrated only with singular, characteristic vignettes, these tales need only their words to create lively pictures in the mind of the reader or listener. (8+)

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 2000 - 41
Mataira, Kāterina (text)
Huége de Serville, Sylvia (illus.)
Kapa Haka
Raglan: Ahura Enterprises, 1999. 31 p.
ISBN 0-908692-05-6
Father - Daughter - Separation - Dance - Imagination
Kereana and her mother experience terrible unhappiness when their father and husband leave them behind in New Zealand to work overseas. When Kereana takes up practicing Maori dances, the waiata-a-ringa, the pain in her heart begins to subside. Soon she enters school and learns the welcoming songs and dances of the kapa haka group, but still feels sad that her father never sees her. Her grandmother suggests that she could imagine her father in the audience and this helps Kereana become a very good performer. This read-aloud story about adjusting to separation is universally appealing, while the colorful pencil illustrations opposite each page of text provide an appealing view into a modern Maori childhood. (5+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2000 - 69
Philip, Neil (ed.)
McCurdy, Michael (illus.)
War and the pity of war
New York: Clarion Books, 1998. 96 p.
ISBN 0-395-84982-9
Poetry/English - War - Heroism - Idealism
This anthology by a British writer and folklorist draws together a wide and well-chosen range of poems from all historical epochs. In a valuable introduction he points out his criteria and intentions. Because of the wisely limited number of entries, the reader can become absorbed in the subject matter without feeling inundated. The poems include translations from Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Ojibwa, Polish, and Russian. Most striking is the layout of each page. The large, solidly black sanserif typeface on stark white paper and generous linespacing please the eye, while the scratchboard illustrations and ornamental vignettes by the distinguished illustrator set an aesthetic accent. This is a highly commendable and very moving treatment of a perennial, tragic theme. (12+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2000 - 70
Silverman, Erica (text)
Gaber, Susan (illus.)
Raisel's riddle
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999. 34 p.
ISBN 0-374-36168-1
Folktale/Jewish - Cinderella <motif> - Kindness - Wisdom
When Raisel's grandfather, a Talmudic scholar, dies, she must give up her learning and find work as the kitchen helper of a well-to-do rabbi in the town. In return for her kindness, a beggar woman grants her three wishes which she wisely uses to win the heart of the rabbi's son. First she attends a Purim party dressed as Queen Esther in order to meet him. But he must also use his wits to answer her clever riddle. The full-page pastel colors use a variety of perspectives to characterize persons and situations. This is a memorable, culturally centered re-telling of the Cinderella tale with an intelligent female protagonist. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2000 - 71
Wiesner, David (text/illus.)
Sector 7
New York: Clarion Books, 1999. [48] p.
ISBN 0-395-74656-6
School excursion - Cloud - Empire State Building - Innovation - Adventure - Friendship
This wordless picture book follows one boy's bizarre adventure with a playful, perhaps bored, but uncommonly persistent young cloud when they meet on the top of the Empire State Building. After a bit of playful teasing the cloud carries the boy off to the central cloud terminal of sector 7 (which designs and routes clouds off the eastern coast of North America) and soon has him shaking up the old, staid cloud designers with blueprint patterns of exotic fish. Wiesner uses panels of different sizes to portray the fast-paced events, and his visualization of the renegade young cloud is completely delightful. Fans of Wiesner's previous wordless fantasy picture books or of Raymond Brigg's »The Snowman« will be especially enchanted. (6+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2000 - 72
Wolf, Bernard (text/photos)
Cuba: After the revolution
New York: Dutton, 1999. [64] p.
ISBN 0-525-46058-6
Cuba - Family - Everyday life
Photojournalist Bernard Wolf prefaces his beautiful photo-essay about life in contemporary Cuba with a two page summary of Cuba's long and difficult political and economic history. This is, of course, essential to establishing the context of the problems of daily life in Cuba today and the lack of knowledge about Cuba in many countries of the world. Wolf focuses on one artistically talented family in the days around the New Year celebrations. One to three excellent, often candid photos per page, draw the viewer into family life, while the accompanying text comments on the social significance of those events. By going beyond the factual documentation, the photographer opens up the readers' hearts and minds to the life and customs of this politically isolated island country. (10+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2000 - 74
Domenego, Hans (idea/coord.)
Baumann, Hans [et al.] (text)
Werwiewas. Das Lexikon für Kinder
(Who, how, what. The children's encyclopedia)
Wien: Jugend & Volk, 1998. 352 p.
ISBN 3-7100-0214-1
Encyclopedia
»An encyclopedia for children between eight and twelve years of age and a bit above and below.« This claim is well-met in this considerably improved and expanded edition of an encyclopedia which has grown with the times. The number of terms has been highly increased, the content remains concise, length and layout are accessible, and it includes excellent visual materials and understandable references. A pleasant atmosphere is achieved with little side features such as quotes from school essays or short poems and word-plays in specially marked boxes. Short excerpts from books by children's book authors create a bridge to children's literature. This attractively designed and sturdy-bound book is guaranteed a long and useful life. Both young and old will profit from dipping into this mighty compendium of knowledge. (7+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2000 - 75
Grosche, Erwin (text)
Junge, Norman (illus.)
Der Schlafbewacher
(The sleepwatcher)
Wien: Gabriel, 2000. 32 p.
ISBN 3-7072-6614-1
Sleep - Guard duty - Fear - Daydream
Tobias has nasty dreams - only the sleepwatcher can help. Grandma Gersdorfer can't fall asleep - and he helps her, too. And he can give warning not to fall asleep - at school, as soon as a teacher approaches a sleepy-head. Norman Junge's spaciously pictures of the bizarre figure of the sleepwatcher correspond to the dream of a benevolent helper for everyone who, unfortunately often at the wrong time, wants to sleep or cannot sleep. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2000 - 76
Jung, Reinhardt
Das geheime Wissen der Pinguine; 4
(The secret knowledge of penguins; 4)
Wien: Jungbrunnen, 1999. 150 p.
ISBN 3-7026-5712-6
Question - Paradox - Penguin
Penguins are probably so intelligent because they live on the South Pole - where things stand on their heads and follow their own laws. So, consequently, there can be no question that is too complicated for penguins (some would say none »too dumb«). They just turn the questions in and out and turn it on its head and are then sure to find a solution. Their spokesman is Mr. Humboldt Penguin, who is also prepared to travel around the world to get an answer. No paradox is too illogical for him, no slip of the tongue too ill-timed. This is the way to put together a thick compendium of (penguin's) know-ledge, and the reader must spin out the riddles to discover more about it. (10+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2000 - 77
Jung, Reinhardt (text)
Sönnichsen, Imke (illus.)
Das kleine Nein!
(That little No!)
Wien: Jungbrunnen, 1999. [28] p.
ISBN 3-7026-5707-x
Stubbornness - Curiosity - Search for identity
That little No! is actually already quite big and can do everything by itself. But there is one thing it cannot do, namely say Yes! Even the good Nanunana has to explain and ask questions for a long time until there is no little No! left and finally a Yes! comes from its mouth. This humorous book is for all inquisitive children, big and little, who are not satisfied with quick explanations from adults. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2000 - 78
Nöstlinger, Christine
ABC für Großmütter
(An ABC for Grandmas)
Wien: Dachs-Verl., 1999. 125 p.
(Edition Christine Nöstlinger)
ISBN 3-85191-165-2
Dictionary/German - Grandmother
Grandmothers are very, very different, claims Christine Nöstlinger quite correctly. Thus, with a twinkle in her eye, she offers this dictionary of some of the episodes in her own grandmotherly existence that is open for further contributions. For example, take the chapter K - for »Klamotten« (clothing) - with grandmotherly duels in an »in« shop, and her subsequent commentary: »Heavens, Heavens, I won't say another word about that pretty grave-diggers cloak that I bought him… «. An entertaining compilation of risky habits found among grandmothers - and their children's children - and strategies for getting along with each other. (12+)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 105
Pausewang, Gudrun (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
Barfuß durch die große Stadt
(Barefoot through the big city)
Zürich: Nagel & Kimche, 1999. 153 p.
ISBN 3-312-00839-5
Moving house - Confusion - Dog - Death - Runaway - Returning home
David and his mother have moved house and he is alone in their new home. When he runs out of the flat in fright, the door slams behind him and he has to go off barefoot in search of his mother's workplace. On the way he has a long chain of experiences as he is sent on from one place to another. A strange dog joins him along the way. Due to David's carelessness, the dog is run over. At last he finds his mother again - but she will never be able to know about the wonderful dogfriend that he has lost. Realistic and unsentimenal, Gudrun Pausewang tells a lyrical tale for younger children. (7+) ☼

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 106
Procházková, Iva
Carolina. Ein knapper Lebenslauf
(Carolina. A short biography)
Aarau: Sauerländer, 1999. 175 p.
ISBN 3-7941-4496-1
Prague - Theater - First love - Separation
Carolina writes down her own autobiography and a sketch of her family history for her teacher. This gives the reader, quite incidentally, an insight into the effects of historical and political events on the lives of the citizens of Prague. The reader also accompanies Carolina through the ups and downs of her first great love affair while she and her boyfriend are involved in a school theater group. In this novel the author easily finds the right register to arouse sympathy for Carolina. With this hero she creates an interesting figure that young readers will be able to identify with. (14+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 107
Schroeder, Binette (text/illus.)
Laura
(<Proper name>)
Gossau, Zürich: Nord-Süd-Verl., 1999. [28] p.
(Ein Nord-Süd-Bilderbuch)
ISBN 3-314-01002-8
Play - Night - Storm - Fear - Egg - Bird - Bad luck/Misfortune - Surprise
In the woods Laura finds a real Humpty Dumpty to play with. One stormy night she goes out to protect him. In the morning she finds only his broken shell, but next to it, unexpectedly, there is a lovely bird of paradise. Delicate, pastel-colored pictures show the theme of a unshapely thing being transformed into a beautiful creature. Mysterious dark tones emphasize the fairy tale-like nature of the events. (4+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 108
Siegfried, Anita (text)
Binder, Hannes (illus.)
Kleine Schwester der Nacht
(Little sister of the night)
Zürich: Nagel & Kimche, 1999. 123 p.
ISBN 3-312-00877-8
Friendship - Older man - Night - Imagination
Lynn is curious about what goes on at nighttime but at the same time she fears its multitude of noises and eerie secrets. Nighttime is her common bond with Josef, who tends the roses by day and tinkers around on his motorcycle at night. He offers to take Lynn for a nighttime ride. This is a special compensation for Lynn, who struggles daily with her jealousy of Olga, the pretty, friendly Olga who owns incredibly beautiful red sandals - and everyone finds loveable. In the slow sequence of pictures and events this book tells of the child-like conflicts and yearnings of the early teenage years and offers a good solution for some of them. (10+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 109
Wolfsgruber, Linda (text/illus.)
Kuckuck! Kuckuck!
(Cuckoo! Cuckoo!)
Zürich: Bohem-Press, 1999. [26] p.
ISBN 3-85581-310-8
Child - Search for identity
For a change, a cuckoo egg is pushed out of the nest by the owner and the little thing must go off in search of its true identity. It tries crowing, meowing, bleating and more, but nothing is really fitting. Its search goes on for all its childhood. Finally the little one scratches its little beard and discovers that it only needs to swim in its egg shell toward land to find the right family at last. Bizarre pictures for a bizarre journey through life. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Ivory Coast (French) - 2000 - 110
Bebey, Kidi
Dans la cour des grands
(In the courtyard of the grown-ups)
Abidjan: CEDA [et al.], 1999. 86 p.
(Collection lire au présent)
ISBN 2-86394-297-2
Puberty - Self-determination - Sexuality
At the age of 17 one wants to be considered an adult and be free to make one's own experiences in all the areas that had once been taboo. That is Stella's situation. She lives in Abidjan. Until now she has obeyed her parents, but now she rebels. In her diary she writes out the anger of the difficult struggle to assert herself. She comes into conflict with herself when a school friend talks her into having a love affair. Stella is clever enough to know that she will need advice in any case. A frank talk with a gynecologist is fundamental in helping not to take this decision too lightly, but in accord with her inner feelings, which tell her to wait. The novel is accompanied by a questionanswer section that deepens the reading experience and makes the problems of puberty accessible to discussion. (15+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 126
Hoestlandt, Jo (text)
Novi, Nathalie (text/illus.)
Et les petites filles dansent ...
(And little girls go on dancing ...)
Paris: Syros Jeunesse [et al.], 1999. [26] p.
ISBN 2-84146-663-9
Dance - Joy of living - Freedom
Little girls just can't help but dance! And beneath their feet the earth begins to pulsate with the rhythm of the seasons. Their dance embodies the right to carefreeness, happiness and joy of living - even when elsewhere bombs and other catastrophes bring tears and death to other people, as shown in an inserted darker passage. When adults try to put a halt to this dance, the earth becomes paralyzed. It needs the joyfulness of little girls to keep on turning. The text, rhymed in merry-goround rhythm, accompanies the pictures that convey with color the twirling merry-go-round of little girls. (5+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 127
Malineau, Jean-Hugues (text)
Morin, Patrick (illus.)
»Ouek, Ouek«, au secours! Histoire du caneton Kouac
(»Quack, quack,« Help me! The story of duckling Kouac)
Paris: École des Loisirs, 1999. 29 p.
(Archimède)
ISBN 2-211-04905-5
Riverlife - Duck - Survival
Spacious, richly detailed double-spread pictures show life on the riverside. Focal point of the book are the experiences and dangers for a duckling which has lost its family. There is an equal portion of animal story and information book. In the end two variant endings are offered. After a happy ending in a picture book sunset, there is a short supplementary explanation that this duckling would have had no chance for survival in the natural world. The adult who reads the book aloud can decide whether to give the child who cannot yet read alone this shocking piece of truth and prepare it for a different view of nature beyond the safe and sound animal story. (5+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 128
Peltier, François (text/illus.)
L'arche de Noé
(Noah's ark)
Dauphin: Le Sablier Éd., 1997. 14 p.
ISBN 2-84390-000-x
Noah's ark
This clearly printed text sticks closely to the Biblical version. The illustrations that are interspersed are mysteriously fragmentary, as if taken from an archeological find. They show animal motifs, such as the eyes of an owl, or a detail drawing of a stork, with outspread wings that seems to be awaiting the end of the flood at the top of each page. A wide, fold-out poster in the back cover of the book fits the fragments together into an overall, mosaic-like view of the ark. The swarming crowd of animals on the ark can be studied for quite a while before all the details, down to the human figures, are discerned. Thus there is an incentive to take up visual projection into the symbolism of this myth again and again. (6+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 129
Quinta, Philippe (text)
Schnell, Cécile (illus.)
L'arbre de Joachim
(Joachim's tree)
Bats: Utovie Jeunesse, 1999. 31 p.
ISBN 2-86819-533-4
Tree - Growth - Catastrophe - Tall tale
As part of their biology lesson pupils plant seeds of the most familiar types of trees. But Joachim's seed is of unknown origin. It explodes into a monstrous tree that brings the city to a halt, and finally ruins it. Olivier makes a wittily sarcastic record of all the details of this catastrophe in his diary, illustrating it with flowing sketches from unusual perspectives. The vividly concrete text and illustrations become so convincing that the unmasking of the chronicler Olivier as a fibber in the end is quite a surprise. The final diary entry is at once the beginning of a new tall tale. This time our friend Joachim will have to deal with a whole army of adders. (8+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 130
Serres, Alain [et al.] (text)
Zaü (illus.)
Le grand livre contre le racisme
(The big book against racism)
[Paris]: Rue du Monde, 1999. 115 p.
ISBN 2-912084-19-9
Racism
It is not genes that make people of different skin colours different, but rather traditions, religious practices and the everyday customs of the respective cultures. This is shown by a collective of renown authors in this substantial documentation for young adults, with its 120 photos. The focus unites historical and sociological viewpoints on slavery, holocaust, xenophobia, migration and marginalization in the past, with the banality of everyday life in our cities, in which behaviour toward those who are different is often easily and unconsciously diffamatory. The colored sketches by Zaü that are interspersed in the text expose the absurdity of behavioral clichés in humorous visual anecdotes. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 131
Ventrillon, Brigitte (text)
Bloch, Serge (illus.)
La peur bleue d'Arthur. 17 questions-réponses pour savoir si tu es un champion de la sécurité à la maison.
(Arthur's frightful fears. 17 questions and answers to determine if you are a champion of home security)
[Paris]: Hatier, 1999. [28] p.
(Zéro Bobo)
ISBN 2-7438-0231-6
Household appliances - Danger - Prevention
How to feed the pet, how to correctly open a tin can or use a hair dryer or a microwave oven - all these things can be learned in this turbulent picture story of Arthur and his kitty. The illustrations are filled with vibrant action and childlike motion. They elaborate in a playful but incisive manner the dangers that may ensue with improper usage of household appliances. A question-andanswer quiz accompanies each scene, mixing together fun and learning. (5+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 132
Vilcoq, Marianne (text/illus.)
J'attends un petit frère
(I am expecting a brother)
Paris: École des Loisirs, 1999. [20] p.
(Matou)
ISBN 2-211-05483-8
Pregnancy - Sibling rivalry
Maud is sulking because she is supposed to get a little brother. Watching her mother's tummy getting fatter and fatter, she experiences all the phases of jealousy mixed with curiousity about what is happening inside. By lifting the flaps on each page, the reader sees inside mother's tummy, where the little brother is growing and moving about. Maud can listen and even feel how the baby gives her a signal. Sensitive, gentle and enlightening all at once, this book solves the crisis of a toddler. (3+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 133
Wabbes, Marie (text/illus.)
Petit Doux n'a pas peur
(Sweet little one, have no fear)
Paris: De La Martinière Jeunesse, 1998. [28] p.
ISBN 2-7324-2470-6
Violence - Fear - Sexual abuse
Enlightenment and supportive help on this delicate subject are offered here in a discreet but unambiguous manner. The role play taking place between the big wolf (an adult) and the little bear (a child) is quite clear. It begins with caressing and ends with pushy advances and bodily harm. The range of colors in the spacious double-page spreads in pastel chalk begins with light orangered tones and increasingly darkens into brownblack- and-grey, in accordance with the change in the child's feelings - from peaceful playing and pleasure to disquiet and panic. An escape from this situation is in the end only the urgent appeal to talk openly and without fear about the evil deeds of the grownup. (3+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 134
Witschger, Anne-Laure (text/illus.)
Deux yeux, un nez, une bouche ...
(Two eyes, one nose, a mouth...)
[Montrouge]: Éd. Frimousse, [1999]. [20] p.
(Collection mini-frimousse)
ISBN 2-911565-14-2
Sense organs - Body - Perception
The pleasure children have in exploring their own bodies is reflected in the colored drawings of this square little book. A vivacious creature, halfmouse, half-human, demonstrates how the world can be perceived with all the senses and parts of the body from the eyes to the belly-button and how daily life can be fun, even when such unloved tasks as going to the potty or being washed are required. (2+)

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

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

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)

Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 2000 - 162
Alphen, Pauline
A odalisca e o elefante
(The harem slave and the elephant)
São Paulo: Cia. das Letras, 1998. 100 p.
ISBN 85-7164-800-x
Harem - Elephant - Love - Freedom
In the palace of a smug Sultan, Laila is being prepared for her future role as a Harem wife whose only purpose is to please the eyes and heart of her master. It is Leila's ears that cause the Sultan's almost religious ecstasy and let him forget that Leila has quite peculiar habits. She prefers to retreat into a quiet tower and become engrossed in books or gaze at the caravans traveling out into the endless desert. When Leila is 15 years old she becomes enamored with a white elephant. Her un- wavering affection makes it clear to the jealous Sultan that love and the wish for freedom cannot be tamed. This unusual but quite natural story of unconditional love is told in an extraordinarily lyrical and yet unpretentious and flowing voice. The joyful, nearly weightless prose is laced with a finely ironical tone. (12+)

Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 2000 - 163
Lago, Angela (text/illus.)
ABC doido
(Crazy alphabet)
São Paulo: Melhoramentos, 1999. [96] p.
ISBN 85-06-02864-7
Alphabet/Portuguese
This is yet another proof that there is no limit to the artistic ways of playing with the alphabet. The square book - small-sized with a sturdy cardboard cover and robust spiral binding - approaches its subject both through the text and the illustrations. On each of the bluish anthracite double spreads there is a challenging word riddle for a certain letter on the left side; the whole alphabet appears on the right side, in which several - depending upon the question - are portrayed as objects and figures. By opening up a flap, one finds the solution, supplemented by saucy, witty illustrations that are related in an imaginative way to the question and the letters - encouraging the reader's own creative impulses. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 2000 - 164
Lembi, Eustáquio (text)
Mello, Roger (illus.)
Eu me lembro
(I remember)
Belo Horizonte (MG): Ed. Dimensão, 1997. 30 p.
(Coleção eu me lembro) (Coleção navegar)
ISBN 85-7319-190-2
Child - Everyday life - Memory
A young girl relates to the reader short anecdotes and episodes from her life. Like mosaic stones they fit together to form a whole to reveal the specialness of unspectacular, ordinary things. Written in a lyrical prose, this tall, narrow book is accompanied by full-paged color illustrations. The illustrator plays with color and soft, stylized shapes in an imaginative, surrealistic manner, overstepping the basic rules of accurate perspective. (10+)

Special Mention - Brazil (Portuguese) - 2000 - 165
Quintella, Ary (text)
Negro, Maurício (illus.)
Alemão
(<Proper name>)
São Paulo: Global Ed., 1998. 22 p.
(Coleção magias infantil)
ISBN 85-260-0590-1
Puberty/Male - First love - Cat
Fourteen-year old Beto gets a new housemate, a red tomcat named Alemão. He watches this very individualistic cat that gradually begins to adjust to its new surroundings and takes its first steps »outside«. The boy recognizes certain similarities between himself and the animal. Both of them are in a confusing phase of growing up and having their first experiences with the opposite sex. This short narrative is told in the first person from Beto's perspective, divided into 33, at times very short chapters of only a few lines, depicting single episodic situations that are linked together. This book for older readers is designed in the unusual format of an oversized picture book. (13+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 179
Hartmann, Nils (text)
Brøgger, Lilian (illus.)
Verden løber løbsk. Fra bilens barndom til rumalderen. Omkring 1875-2000
(The world goes crazy. From the birth of the car to the space age: World history 1875-2000)
København: Gyldendal, 1999. 66 p.
(Børnenes Verdenshistorie ; 4)
ISBN 87-00-33242-9
World/History
The fourth volume of this world history series for children gives a brief, apt portrait of the crazy, bloody century that is coming to an end. Children will find in this volume (and in the previous three volumes, each illustrated by different artists) a readable summary about the world in which they are living - in the appropriate and desired brevity. The careful choice of facts ensures that the reader never gets lost. By doing without the documentary and factual photos that are common in nonfiction books today, as well as any kind of - often rather ridiculous - narrative main characters used to guide children through the course of events, this volume acquires a unity, conciseness, and agreeable sobriety and employs a cautious dose of humour only where it is possible. (10+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 180
Inuk, Lotte (text)
Gantriis, Ida (illus.)
Katarinas værelse
(Katarina's room)
[København]: Haase, 1999. 95 p.
ISBN 87-559-1115-3
Friendship
Inspite of its external, rather jumbled and noncommittal appearance that promises merely light and more or less trivial reading matter, this book contains a story of unsuspected depth. The firstperson narrator, who is never named, tells of her friendship with her rather mysterious and thus quite fascinating new classmate, Katarina. The reader is caught up in the suspenseful story of how the initially hard-won friendship that then becomes filled with imaginative games, gradually turns into a devoted, childlike love relationship. Katarina takes on the role of the domineering leader who shows sympathy for her friend's strong emotions, and is not against being worshipped. That the beloved one disappears in the end is nearly inevitable in a story that is told entirely from the subjective point of view of the enamored girl. The superficial style of the illustrations is unfortunately mismatched to the story's tenor. (10+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 181
Johansen, Anders
Jordens skød. Raklos rejse; I
(Earth's womb. Raklo's journey, vol.1)
Århus: Modtryk, 1999. 219 p.
ISBN 87-7394-554-4
Yugoslavia - Circus - World War II
While Belgrade is being bombed from the air by the German Luftwaffe, the Circus Gloriosa flees to the countryside, taking along with them the 14- year old boy Raklo. During their odyssey the circus people experience the chaos and horrors of war, ending up finally in the ruins of post-war Germany. The circus, whose artists form an international menagerie of Serbs, Croats, Montenegrins, Greeks, gypsies and other nationalities, is an aptly chosen symbol for the multi-ethnic, everbickering status of south-east Europe - both then and now - but also a forum that gives hope for a peaceable co-existence. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 182
Larsen, Steffen
Næsten. En lille bog om Ja & Nej
(Almost: a small book about yes and no)
København: Høst, 1999. 75 p.
ISBN 87-14-19723-5
Civil courage
The author, who works professionally with conscientious objectors to military service, has assembled a series of episodes and written brief texts that show how courageous individuals have had to say »yes« or »no« at the right moment and thereby made a difference to the course of event. The persons presented include Hans Christian Andersen, Mahatma Ghandi, Janusz Korczak, Desmond Tutu, Willy Brandt and many others. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 183
Lauridsen, Irma (text)
Hartmann, Susanna (illus.)
Leo finder en hund
(Leo finds a dog)
København: Alinea, 1999. 23 p.
(Let ps)
ISBN 87-23-00512-2
Wish - Dog
Young Leo feels sorry for the dog tied up outside a local shop. He unties the leash, plays with the puppy and takes him home. His mother must explain to him why he behave unjustly, even though she understands his longing for a dog of his own. He then takes the dog back to its owner. All the titles in this series offer intentionally simple stories in order to help beginning readers and give them courage. The abundance of color illustrations are all equally simple and have the sole purpose of keeping the reader's interest, but are nonetheless not without artistry. (6+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 184
Madsen, Peter (text/illus.)
Historien ob Job
(The story of Job)
[København]: Danske Bibelselskab, 1999. 102 p.
ISBN 87-7523-413-0
Misfortune - Self-doubt - Religious doubts - Religious faith
The ability of this Danish comic artist to make Bible stories exciting and even convincing to those readers otherwise aloof to religion has already been proved in another volume about the life of Jesus and seems even stronger here. The story of Job is also a worthwhile theme, because Job's doubts about the world, about himself and about his God also give eloquent expression to the fears people have today. In gloomy, consistently large-sized pictures that take in the landscape and atmosphere, the modern-day reader can find his own self-doubts mirrored and understood, and in the end be strengthened and comforted. (14+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 185
Mørch-Hansen, Anne (ed.)
Men far... Historier om børn og fædre
(But Father... Stories about children and their fathers)
København: Høst, 1999. 112 p.
ISBN 87-14-19683-2
Father/Child
This anthology contains eleven stories by wellknown children's book authors, including Bent Haller, Bent Rasmussen and Kim Fupz Aakeson. The stories depict fathers and their children in all states of life - as widowers, tyrants, creatures to be admired or pitied, and cast light upon a species that is usually found rather on the shadowy sidelines of children's literature. (12+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 186
Petersen, Palle (text/photos)
Nuka bliver fanger
(Nuka becomes a hunter)
København, Valby: Borgen, 1999. [28] p.
ISBN 87-21-01092-7
Greenland/Everyday life - Hunting - Fishing
The everyday life of a twelve-year old boy is heavily influenced by the hunt and his traineeship to become a hunter. The reader learns to what extent this country, where winter lasts more than half the year, is dependent upon hunting and fishing. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 187
Reuter, Charlotte (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
Aja Dobbo
(<Proper name>)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1999. 64 p.
ISBN 87-411-5829-6
Cat - Adventure
This first title in a new series is further evidence of the knack that Scandinavian children's books authors have for creating books for beginning readers between the ages of five and seven. These are easy to read and to understand, but manage to avoid ridiculous cuteness and thin jokes. Charlotte Reuter describes the first days in the life of cat baby Aja Dobbo without finesse, but with so much wit that any adult reading it aloud will also be entertained. Nearly surpassing the text are the colorful illustrations by the renown Dorte Karrebæk. While the cats' personalities are drawn in an acute persiflage, the mirror she holds up to her female contemporaries is even more revealing. In this case the cat owner, a self-confident woman, well over fifty, wears much too skimpy fashions, and unsparingly reveals the discrepancy between wanting to be young but being young no more. (5+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 191
Sandman Lilius, Irmelin (text/illus.)
Sagor från Främlingsgatan
(Tales from Foreigners's Street)
Jyväskylä: Schildts Förlags Ab, 1999. 163 p.
(Text Swedish)
ISBN 91-87805-76-6
(Swedish co-ed.: Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1999)
Helsinki/History 1942-1950 - Childhood memories
Some children like to read or listen to »true« childhood stories, and others don't, but adults are almost always fascinated by this topic. One becomes especially curious at the possibility of getting an authentic story, when the narrator happens to be the famous, now nearly classic Swedish- Finnish author of fantasy novels for children. These 18 short stories contain episodes from the war and post-war years in Helsingfors. Focal point is the family around which the stories unfold; the active heros are the author and her sister Heddi. And, as is to be expected from Irmelin Sandman Lilius, the stories shift without warning from the only just bearable reality of war into fantasy, only to return to everyday life again. If one were to compare Sandmann Lilius to the other two great Scandinavian writers of the post-war generation, with Astrid Lindgren, who often describes the real world as fantastic, and with Tove Jansson, who describes an entire fantasy world as real, then this author would seem to move very subtly between these two fixed stars. (10+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 192
Suhonen, Ville (text)
Louhi, Seppo (photos)
Poika ja ilves - Seikkailu erämaassa
(Tommy and the wildcat)
Helsinki: Otava, 1999. 49 p.
ISBN 951-1-16288-8
Lappland - Lynx - Friendship - Adventure
This debut work is the novelization of a successful family film released in 1998. An adventure story set in Lapland, it describes the friendship between Leevi, a lynx born and raised in the world's northernmost wildlife park in Northern Finland, and a 12-year old boy. Tommy promises to help his father, an animal biologist, to release the wildcat back into the wilderness, and develops strong feelings of affinity with the Leevi. The wilderness and landscape make a striking, exotic background in both book and film. An illustrated version of the story with numerous stills from the film is also available for younger readers. (5+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 193
Tiainen, Marja-Leena
Rakas Mikael
(Dear Mikael)
Helsinki: Tammi, 1999. 263 p.
ISBN 951-31-1330-2
First love - Drug abuse - Bicycling - Abortion
This dramatic young adult novel about two fifteen- year olds is narrated by Mikael, a boy from a middle-class family who dreams of a career as a rock musician. His girlfriend Roosa is an orphan from a working class background. One fateful evening Mikael has a fight with his friends and takes a drug trip. A bicycle accident leads to his death, leaving Roosa behind with an unborn child that she doesn't want to keep. In the novel, Mikael follows the events after his death. When his parents and brother try to talk Roosa out of having an abortion because the child will be a memory of Mikael, the narrator wonders whose life is at stake and whom the baby really belongs to. (14+)
(Topelius Award; 1999)

Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 2000 - 214
Kotowska, Katarzyna (text/illus.)
Jeż
(The hedgehog)
Warszawa: Egmont, 1999. [36] p.
ISBN 83-237-0274-8
Adoption - Otherness - Love
This picture book is a tale about an adoption with a happy ending. A couple whose hope of having a child find that the colors are slowly disappearing from the world around them. Only after they have adopted a hedgehog-boy do the colors return. But there are problems for both parties. The parents are not sure if this prickly being is really »their« child, and the child needs time to get used to his new surroundings and new parents. But the greater the love of the parents and greater the trust of the child, the more he loses his prickly needles. This very sensitive, but completely unsentimental text is illustrated with highly stylized collages spaciously composed with unbroken colors that convey much feeling despite their affinity to constructivism. (4+)

Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 2000 - 215
Terakowska, Dorota (text)
Glinski, Jahoo (illus.)
Lustro pana Grymsa
(Mr. Gryms' mirror)
Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1998. 143 p.
ISBN 83-08-02842-x
Parallel world - Life force - Apathy - Savior - Red <color>
Dorota Terakowska's latest suspense-filled fantasy is concerned in essence with the immortality of the soul and the Great Conscience of the world. While searching for her dog, 13-year old Agata enters through a mirror into another world in which the people are strangely emotionless and apathetic and where everything seems to be gloomy and meaningless. In the course of her odyssey through this strange world Agata recognizes that its inhabitants have lost the color red and, thus, their life force. This is the very reason that someone had summoned the red-haired Agata to be their savior. (10+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2000 - 231
Simoen, Jan
En met Anna?
(What about Anna?)
Amsterdam: Querido, 1999. 216 p.
ISBN 90-214-8216-9
Death - Grief - Family - Bosnia/Civil War
Anna is 16 years old and has already lost two brothers. In 1994 Jonas died of AIDS and in 1997 her brother Michael was reported missing in Bosnia, supposedly killed when his landrover hit a land mine. One day, however, Anne receives a letter from Hugo, a friend of both her brothers. He has met Michael's girlfriend and believes there is a possibility that her brother is still alive. Anna is completely confused. She sets out to get more information and in the end meets Marta, Michael's girlfriend, and their little son. Jan Simoen describes beautifully how Anna copes with the sparse information. He accelerates the pace of the plot until all pieces of the puzzle are put aright. The author has a brilliant way of developing the story from different points of view, making this a very moving and honest youth novel. (12+)

Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 235
Bratits, Karolos (text)
Mytaras, Dēmētrēs (illus.)
Saranta hellēnika kochylia
(Forty Greek mussels)
Athēna: Kastaniōtēs, 1998. 89 p. (with 1 CD: Mytaras, Aristeides: Ho echos to bythu)
ISBN 960-03-1844-1
Sea - Mussels
The author, who is known for his underwater photographs, offers children and adults easy-tounderstand information about the mysterious life of mussels in such a way that it can be called to mind during the next walk at the sea. The carefully designed book offers information for further investigation and browsing. The well-known artist contributes impressive pictures, while the music by the young musician Mytaras Aristeidēs offers a multimedial experience, that brings the ocean to mind. This is not a dry information book, but demonstrates a love and respect for the wonders of nature in an aesthetically pleasing manner. (8+)

Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 236
Kynēgu-Phlampura, Maria (text)
Berberidēs, Nikos (illus.)
Laïka musika organa tu kosmu
(Folk music instruments of the world)
Nea Smyrnē: Akritas, 1998. 103 p. (mit 1 Spielplan + 1 CD)
(Akritas paidika)
ISBN 960-328-096-8
Folk music - Musical instrument
Drawing on her long-time experience as a music teacher and instructor of music teachers, the author offers children information about various musical instruments in a lively manner. Beginning with the instruments of Greek folk music, the drawings by the young illustrator Nikos Berberides document the great diversity of instruments in the world. This is an activity book that will capture the interest of the young reader, while the music cassette provides selected examples of music it describes. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 237
Mamalinka, Maria (text)
Papanikolau, Kōstas (illus.)
Hē phidogennētē basilopula kai alla paramythia
(The king's daughter who was born of a snake and other tales)
Athēna: Bibliopōleion tēs »Hestias«, 1998. 77 p.
ISBN 960-05-0817-8
Folktales/Greek
The well-known young author (b. 1960) narrates four literary folk tales in which the main characters are able to decide consciously which path to take to reach their goals and achieve new maturity. In this carefully edited edition with expressive illustrations by Kōstas Papanikolau both text and picture are notable for their clarity. (6+)

Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 238
Minasian, Kuēn (reteller)
Paramythia apo tēn Armenia. Mia stagona meli apo tēn Armenikē logotechnia
(Tales from Armenia)
Athēna: Apopeira, 1998. 159 p.
(Tu kosmu ta paramythia ; 15)
ISBN 960-537-013-1
Folktales/Armenian
This volume in the meticulously edited series »Tales from around the world« is the first time a selection of the most widely known Armenian tales has been published in Greek. It endeavors to give a re-telling of those tales that have been passed down orally for generations in Greece, in order to make them available to a greater Greekspeaking audience. The second-generation Greekborn editor is herself Armenian. The illustrations, which are to be found in the National Pinakothek Yerevan, are a congenial enhancement. The book includes exact notes of written and oral sources, other secondary literature and an index of the painters whose works are included. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 239
Pulcheriu, Kika
Ta megala paputsia
(The big shoes)
Athēna: Patakēs, 1998. 123 p.
([Synchronē logotechnia gia paidia kai gia neus / Syllogē peristeria] ; 72)
ISBN 960-600-450-3
Unemployment - Detective - Fantasy/Reality
The well-known Cypriot children's book writer Kika Poulcheriou writes a humorous tale about ten-year old Aris who tries to come to terms with his father's sudden unemployment by retreating into an imaginary world of fantasy. He hopes to prove that his father is innocent of the accusations that led to his dismissal, and believes that he can recognize the true culprit on the big shoes he wears. (10+)

Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 240
Stampoglē, Helen
Prosklēsē se geuma
(An inviation to dinner)
Athēna: Kaleidoskopio, 1997. 57 p.
(Stus dromus tu Byzantiu ; 1)
ISBN 960-7846-03-6
Byzantium
In this first and exquisitely illustrated volume of the projected series »In Byzantine Streets« the Byzantine eating habits become an introduction to the geographical and climactic prerequisites as well as the historical patterns of agriculture and trade, included the relationships between town and country, food and religion. The text draws upon original legal documents, religious texts and travel journals. A map and chronology complete this very well-prepared volume, which is illustrated with original prints of Byzantine art from major art collections. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 241
Tribizas, Eugenios (text)
Kunturēs, Michalēs (illus.)
Phrikantela hē magissa pu misuse ta kalanta
(The witch Phrikantela, who hated happy songs)
Athēna: Ammos, 1998. [56] p.
ISBN 960-202-196-9
Christmas/Greece/Cyprus - Witch - Song
In his usual humorous style of story telling that is filled with word-play, the internationally known Greek author Eugene Trivizas (i.e. Eugenios Tribizas) describes the life of the witch Phrikantela. She cannot stand the merry songs that children sing during their parades before the Christmas and New Year holidays and tries to transform the children in order to silence them. She captures their voices in balloons and hoards them in her castle, but the children find a way to free them. Afterwards Phrikantela begins to enjoy the children's singing and becomes a friendly, happy witch. A triangle, a typical instrument of children's parades in Greece, and the text and music of common songs from different areas of Greece are included with the book. (4+)

Special Mention - Hungary (Hungarian) - 2000 - 244
Katona Imre (ed.)
Vida, Gyözö (illus.)
A Zöldszakállú király
(The king with the green beard)
Budapest: Móra, 1999. 125 p.
(Móra aranykönyvekw)
ISBN 963-11-7510-3
Folktales/Hungary
This book in the series »Mora's golden books« claims to draw upon the entire range of Hungarian folktales. Although these are re-tellings, one can sense the originality of this story-telling folk in each story. The excellent illustrations by the graphic artist Vida Gyözö are done in the style of the old »picture broadsheets« and use elements of Hungarian folk art. This underlines the expressiveness of the tales. (7+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2001 - 17
Yamashita, Haruo (text)
Sugiura, Hanmo (illus.)
Umi o kattobase
(Bash the sea!)
Tokyo : Kaiseisha, 2000. [36] p.
ISBN 4-03-330790-7
Boy - Baseball - Training - Will force - Wishful dream - Sea
Wataru got up very early to run down to the deserted beach, his baseball bat in hand to practice a few blows. The wind also blows hard, stirring the scattered flotsam. Wataru is afraid, but he is even more determined to play in the big match. Even without a ball, he relentlessly swings his bat against the wild waves. Exhausted, he sees a small, wondrous child trying to help him and then disappearing back into the sea. Hanmo Sugiura effectively illustrates the well told and gripping story about the enthusiastic sports-boy using the stylistic devices of television and magazines. While the pictures always remain concrete, they are surprisingly unconventional and poetic. Bold acrylics convincingly convey the determination and the fanatic dreams of the persevering protagonist. (6+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2001 - 18
Yokoyama, Mitsuo (text)
Fukuda, Iwao (illus.)
Hikatchoru zeyo! Bokura : shimantogawa monogatari
(We live our life – The story on Shimanto River)
Tokyo : Bunken Shuppan, 1999. 183 p.
(Bunken juben§ru)
ISBN 4-580-81251-4
Japan - School children - Childhood memories - Home - History 1964-1965
Japan experiences economic growth in the 60s. Set against this historical backdrop, the author tells the story about children's day-to-day existence in a provincial town on Shikoku. The partly autobiographical, first-person narrative is centered on an eleven-year-old boy. He sets out on adventures with his friends, exploring the beautiful nature along the Shimanto-River. Their experiences in the home town and surroundings, including encounters with social outcasts, enrich the children and are of great importance to their further lives. The author evokes his vivid childhood, which he and his friends spent each in their own way, with great realism and detail. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2001 - 20
Sun, Youjun
Sun-Youjun-tonghua-quanji; 1
(The complete works of Sun Youjun, Vol. 1)
Hunan : Hunan-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 1996. 29, 6, 698 p.
ISBN 7-5358-1176-0
Fantastic tales - Magic - Everydaylife - Humour
This first of four volumes is representative of the complete works of Sun Youjun, one of the most important fantasy writers in contemporary Chinese children's literature. He has won many awards and was nominated for the H.C. Andersen Award in 1990. His complete works consist of 42 short stories, among them his first work »Xiaobutou qiyuji« (»The adventure of a ragdoll «), originally published in 1961, which established his reputation in children's literature. Sun has a gift for developing magical plots in the midst of everyday-life circumstances. His narratives are full of humour, innocence and tenderness. (10+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2001 - 21
Yang, Hongying (text)
Huang, Bixia (illus.)
Liao, Wei (illus.)
Xiao-hong-chuan
(The small red boat)
Jiangsu : Jiangsu-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 1998. [24] p.
(You'er-wenxue-xinzuo-huaku)
ISBN 7-5346-1953-x
Shoe - Forest - Bird - Wound - Rescue
A little girl loses one of her red shoes in the forest and a blue bird, wounded by a wild cat, finds shelter in it. A tortoise pushes the red shoe to the river and it starts floating down the river like a boat. The red carps escort the boat until it passes the house of Xiaoya. She takes the red »boat« and the little invalid passenger home. This simple story creates a fantastic world in warm tones, full of decorative patterns and with colourful, stylised figures. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2001 - 29
Tan, Shaun (text/illus.)
The Lost Thing
Port Melbourne, Victoria : Lothian, 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7344-0074-8
Essence - Belonging - Naming - Identity - Aesthetic pleasure
The story begins when Shaun, a passionate bottle top collector, encounters something defying classification: without a name and without an apparent purpose, the »Lost Thing« is completely out of place in the mechanical world of busy Suburbia. Shaun tries to find somewhere it belongs. Finally, they come upon a realm of free aesthetic pleasure which literally turns the book upside down: weird, incongruous shapes reminiscent of works by Dalí, Miró or Bosch populate the large double-spread. At last, the »Lost Thing« feels at home. This highly original, ingeniously designed picture book pays a homage to Art – to our capacity for noticing the special. The striking visual narrative combines a painterly style with a clever use of comic conventions. Breathtaking perspectives, humorous lines and a continually varying layout result in a complex layering of visual and verbal narratives. (8+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2001 - 30
Wild, Margaret (text)
Brooks, Ron (illus.)
Fox
St Leonards : Allen & Unwin, 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 1-86448-465-9. - 1-86448-933-2
Dog - Bird - Friendship - Betrayal
Magpie's wing was burned in a bushfire, but oneeyed dog rescues her and a partnership forms: »I will be your missing eye, and you will be my wings«, Magpie exclaims, as Dog carries her on his back. But one day, lonely, envious Fox appears. He tempts Magpie to leave Dog. They »fly« across the grasslands, into the desert, where Fox abandons her, so that she and Dog »will know what it is like to be truly alone«. Thinking of her friend, Magpie starts the long, slow journey home. Wild's lyrical text complements Brook's superb mixed media and collage illustrations; imaginatively placed hand-lettering adds interest. This is a marvellous, multi-layered, thought-provoking tale of friendship, loneliness, betrayal and guilt for all ages. (6+)

Special Mention - India (English) - 2001 - 34
Wolf, Gita (text)
Ravishankar, Anushka (text)
Sen, Orijit (illus.)
Trash! : on ragpicker children and recycling
Chennai : Tara Publ., 1999. 112 p.
ISBN 81-86211-04-7
Ragpicker child - Child labour - Environment
Despite its title, this book is a true gem in the Indian publishing landscape: attractive book design, intelligible lay-out with information-boxes, lucid and sound definitions, startling colour-illustrations using intriguing photo-collage techniques, and humorous treatment of serious issues. It tells the story of Velu, a young ragpicker and addresses the problems of child labour and environment. »Trash!« evolved from a series of workshops conducted with ragpicker children and was produced in collaboration with »Books for Change«, an initiative in publishing aiming at raising controversial issues, informing children about social realities and sharing ideas for a better world. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2001 - 43
Pullman, Philip
The amber spyglass
London : Scholastic Children's Books, 2000. 548 p.
(His dark materials ; 3) (David Fickling Books)
ISBN 0-590-54244-3
Good - Evil - Quest for paradise
»The amber spyglass« completes the trilogy »His Dark Materials«. This postmodern science fiction novel journeys between fantastic worlds, including a version of Hades, as Lyra, (the new Eve), and her helpmates seek her dead friend, and the secret of the mystery of »dust«, the source of life. The context is the moral battle of the heavens bringing together Angels, Witches, Ghosts and Bears, in the venture. Pullman spins together moral, philosophical and environmental concerns in lyrical prose which resonates with intertextual references to Milton and Blake amongst others. The parallel narratives produce a gripping adventure story which deals with love, death, loss and a vision of a New Eden as the children venture into their future. (12+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2001 - 44
Wilson, Jacqueline (text)
Sharratt, Nick (illus.)
Vicky Angel
London : Doubleday, 2000. 154 p.
ISBN 0-385-60040-2
Grief - Death - Feelings of guilt - Self-affirmation - Friendship
Vicky has died but returns as a ghost to haunt her best friend with feelings of guilt. Jade has to learn to cope with grief and to live her own life. This »deadly funny« and subtle book doesn't only confront the reader with the death of a bright, young girl but also with wit and (at times black) humour – which might seem oddly out of place. But Wilson has a rare gift for writing amusingly about sensitive issues: She uses the comic element and the saucy colloquial tone to explore complex emotional themes. The unusual and sometimes unsettling blend of wit and warmth makes this a remarkable read. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2001 - 51
McKay, Sharon E.
Charlie Wilcox
Toronto : Stoddart Kids, 2000. XI, 221 p.
ISBN 0-7737-6093-8
World War I - Infirmity - Heroism - Growing-up - Friendship - Newfoundland
Charlie Wilcox is born into a family of captains and sealers in Newfoundland. But weak and with a club foot, he is not to go to the ice. Charlie is determined to prove himself. He tries stowing away on a sealing ship, only to find he is headed for war! Tending to the wounded at the army hospital, Charlie proves his worth in the trenches of World War I. When he returns home, he is no longer a boy, but a young who has found his way. McKay, great-niece of the »real« Charlie Wilcox, masterfully blends fact and fiction, developing an unforgettable cast of characters against a fully realised setting. Every minor character comes alive, and one can share in the lovable protagonist's excitement, fear and nascent love, admire his determination and heroism and smile at his little worries. This touching historical novel is written with a deep awareness of human emotion and a fine sense of humour. (10+)
(Governor General's Award; 2000)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2001 - 52
Schwartz, Roslyn (text/illus.)
The Mole Sisters and the busy bees
Toronto : Annick Press, 2000. [28] p.
ISBN 1-55037-663-2. - 1-55037-662-4
Sisters - Bee - Laziness - Business
When a busy bee buzzes by, the irresistible Mole Sisters stop doing nothing. They begin smelling flowers and get their noses covered in pollen until they look like flowers themselves. An enormous sneeze, splashing all over the page, puts everything right in the end. The short, lively text brims with imagination and resounds with onomatopoeia. The playful pastel-chalk illustrations capture wonderfully amusing situations, such as the Mole Sisters' noses sticking out of the tall grass. This is a charming new series whose humour and refreshing simplicity will not only delight preschoolers. (4+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2001 - 53
Waboose, Jan Bourdeau (text)
Deines, Brian (illus.)
Skysisters
Toronto, ON : Kids Can Press, 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55074-697-9
Sisters - Northern Lights
This is a quiet book, for it cherishes the wisdom of previous Ojibway generations. As the two sisters go out into the night to see the Northern Lights, they remember grandmother's words: »Wisdom comes on silent wings«. Waboose's knowledge of the northern landscape has created a gentle yet powerful story about a journey into a silent night. It is about the bonds between sisters, between generations and between humans and nature. Deines's oil on canvas illustrations capture the chill of a silent northern night, the warmth of the family circle and the radiance of a child's wonder. (6+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 54
Aronson, Marc
Sir Walter Ralegh and the quest for El Dorado
New York, NY : Clarion Books, 2000. XVIII, 222 p.
ISBN 0-395-84827-x
Raleigh, Walter - Biography - Great Britain - Court and courtiers - El Dorado - New World - American Dream
This multifaceted biography of Sir Walter Raleigh (or: Ralegh), explorer, writer, court favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and adventurer, is a publishing landmark, questioning some of the assumptions about children's nonfiction and setting new standards. This book reads like a Shakespearean drama: The search for El Dorado is the pursuit of the dream for a better world that still nurtures the American dream. It sets the stage for a man who was both a product of his times and a creator of them. Aronson allows the reader to share in the excitement of discovery and in the pleasures of critical thinking. He doesn't just present his material but shows how he arrives at it. His careful evaluation of well-selected written and visual sources (including maps, Raleigh's poetry and historical reproductions) pays tribute to the complexity of historical issues. Well-documented endnotes and a time line complete this intelligent work of scholarship. (12+) ☆
(Boston Globe Horn Book Nonfiction Award Winner; 2000)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 55
Falconer, Ian (text/illus.)
Olivia
New York, NY : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2000. [36] p.
(An Anne Schwartz book)
ISBN 0-689-82953-1
Pig - Art -Dancing - Singing - Imagination
Falconer illustrates for the New Yorker and designs sets and costumes for renowned opera houses. Now he sets the stage for Olivia, the ever-active porcine heroine of his first book for children. Both his love of drama and keen sense of humour make this a highly delightful book. Olivia is good at lots of things: the little pig with the big ears is constantly on the move, hopping, dancing, jetéing across the pages, singing 40 very loud songs, emulating Jackson Pollock on the bedroom walls, and trying on every single piece her wardrobe holds. Bright, splashes of red are the only touches of colour, accentuating Olivia's high energy. The understatement of the brief and funny text highlights the wonderfully amusing charcoal and gouache pictures. (4+) ☼
(Caldecott Medal [Honor Book]; 2001)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 56
Fleischman, Paul
Mind's eye
New York, NY : Holt, 1999. 108 p.
ISBN 0-8050-6314-5
Imagination - Physically handicapped - Self-perception
»A person's mind is like a pantry. Every poem or book or painting you know is another jar on the shelf«, Elvira tells Courtney. Elvira is old and half-blind, Courtney is 16 and paralysed, but they know of the power of the mind. A Baedeker guidebook from 1910 takes them on an imaginary journey to Italy. In this outstanding multivoiced and richly intertextual novel, entirely written in dialogue, Fleischman uses the open form of drama to reflect on the healing and destructive powers of imagination. »Mind's eye« is food for thought that will sustain your mind. (14+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 57
Gantos, Jack
Joey Pigza loses control
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. 195 p.
ISBN 0-374-39989-1
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder - Father - Son - Baseball - Alcoholism
This is a believable, sometimes sad story about a boy with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, who needs medication to maintain emotional equilibrium. Joey is the product of a broken home. For the summer, he goes to visit his father, who is a larger version of himself – also hyperactive. His father lives vicariously through him, and wants Joey to be the success that he is not. He cannot give the boy the kind of leadership he deserves, because of his alcoholism. At one point, he decides his son is well enough and takes him off the drugs. That's when the pandemonium breaks loose. Joey, the »wired« narrator, is a likeable character in a desperate situation. This book is a great read that will appeal to both boys and girls. (10+)
(Newbery Medal [Honor Book]; 2001)
(Sequel to »Joey Pigza swallowed the key« [1998])

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 58
Harley, Avis (text/illus.)
Fly with poetry : an ABC of poetry
Honesdale, Pa. : Wordsong, Boyds Mills Press, 2000. 48 p.
ISBN 1-56397-798-2
Alphabet - Poetry - Imagination
This clever and original ABC-book by the Canadian writer Harley invites all readers to explore the playful ways of poetry, to experiment with its forms and techniques and to ponder the potential of poetic language. Each letter of the alphabet introduces a poetic term, gives an accurate definition and exemplifies it with humorous verse: A demonstrates the abecedarian and the acrostic, B the blank verse, S the sonnet. Readers can discover and create meanings as they explore the images and ideas of each poem and as they absorb the various forms, meters, rhymes, and arrangements. Pleasant illustrations contribute to make this highly inspiring book accessible to children. (10+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 59
Isadora, Rachel (text/illus.)
1 2 3 pop!
New York, NY : Viking, 2000. [36] p.
ISBN 0-670-88859-1
Counting - Pop-art
Count up to 3 and you will face three monkeys on a bold Lichtenstein-inspired background of huge yellow dots covering eyes, ears, and mouth respectively. Count from 1 to 1,000,000, and this dynamic book will give you plenty to see (4 medieval gargoyles, 8 supermen and -women), to hear (Pop! Boom! Cock A Doodle Doo!) and to talk about (How many ants does it take to carry a burger?). From 1 man on the moon to 1,000 jellybeans to 1,000,000 stars, the intriguing images give vibrant visual life to numbers. Following the success of »ABC pop!«, Isadora continues the homage to pop-art. Not only children will respond to the graphic energy, surprising colour choices and striking rhythm of this book. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 60
Konigsburg, Elaine L.
Silent to the bone
New York, NY : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2000. 261 p.
(A Jean Karl book)
ISBN 0-689-83601-5
Mutism - Emotional problems - Remarriage - Friendship - Shame
SIAS – that's short for »summarise in a sentence«, a game Branwell and Connor used to play. Used to, because Branwell is struck mute when his infant half-sister falls into coma. The novel is narrated by Bran's best friend, Connor, who uses a set of handwritten flash cards to cut through the silence. As the skilfully crafted novel unfolds layer after layer, the reader has to join Connor in his effort to reconstruct what happened on the day of the accident and to understand the causes leading up to it. SIAS: This gripping psychological novel that reads like a mystery »breaks the silence« by intelligently addressing the problems of shame, jealousy and remarriage. (11+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 61
Marrin, Albert
Sitting Bull and his world : Tatan'ka Iyota'ke
New York, NY : Dutton Children's Books, 2000. 246 p.
ISBN 0-525-45944-8
Sitting Bull - Indians/North America
How does one understand a nation without a recorded history? How does one evaluate the life of the vanquished when the records come almost entirely from the victors? These two critical questions guide Marrin's careful and compelling reconstruction of the life and times of Sitting Bull, great leader of the Plain's Indians and witness of his nation's ethnocide. Marrin, author of a number of award-winning works of nonfiction, is well aware of the »danger of judging one society by the ideas of another«. Consequently, he gives a nuanced portrait of a »uniquely American story« – which is that of the first Americans as well as that of the later arrivals. Includes notes, suggestions for further reading, and an index. (12+)
(Boston Globe Horn Book Award [Nonfiction Honor Book]; 2000)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 62
Rappaport, Doreen (text)
Collier, Bryan (illus.)
Freedom River
New York, NY : Hyperion Books for Children, 2000. [28] p.
(Jump at the sun)
ISBN 0-7868-0350-9. - 0-7868-1229-x. - 0-7868-2291-0
Slavery - Abolitionists - Parker, John <1827-1900>
Stylised drawings complement the text of this dynamic book chronicling the work of a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Collier uses vivid collage and watercolour to bring to life this story of a freed slave who risked his neck many times to go to Kentucky and transport slaves to freedom in Ohio. The reader feels like he is actually on the scene as Parker steals a Black baby from the slavemaster's bedroom. We know a lot about Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman: here is a less well known Black figure who became prosperous, employed Blacks and Whites, and never gave up on his enslaved brothers and sisters, helping to freedom as many as 900 slaves. A worthwhile book that dishes up a slice of life for the American Black Man, enslaved or free, during slavery times in the 1800s. (6+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 63
Sís, Peter (text/illus.)
Madlenka
(<Proper name>)
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. [44] p.
(Frances Foster books)
ISBN 0-374-39969-7
New York - Neigbourhood - Multiculturalism
Sís is known to take his readers on visual adventures to explore mysteries of far-away places. In this book, Madlenka, the little girl-protagonist, just goes around the block of her Manhattan-neigbourhood. And yet, she can say: »I went around the world«. She shares the news of her loose tooth with a French baker, an Indian news vendor, German Ms. Grimm or her Egyptian school friend. Sís evokes this urban microcosm with his distinctive, multi-layered style and ingenious layout. Die cuts open windows to fascinating worlds – rich, intriguing tableaus of cultural icons. The meaningful play with perspectives reflects the relations between the individual and the universal, the countries of origin and multicultural New York. (5+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 64
Winter, Jonah (text)
Winter, Jeanette (illus.)
Once upon a time in Chicago : the story of Benny Goodman
New York, NY : Hyperion Books for Children, 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7868-0462-9. - 0-7868-2404-2
Goodman, Benny - Music - Jazz - Immigrants
This truly poetic picture book is more than a homage to Benny Goodman. It is an engaging story about a quiet boy who cannot put his love for his Jewish immigrant parents into words – until he finds his very own way of expression: music. The clarinet consoles him and his family when the father suddenly dies, and it can make people all over the world want to get up and dance. The story of the legendary »King of Swing« has found its own congenial expression in the wellpaced words and naive pictures of the awardwinning mother-and-son team. Even the »swing« of the music is suggested by swinging borders, whose chromatic scales perfectly capture the emotional rhythm. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2001 - 68
Kooij, Rachel van (text)
Wechdorn, Susanne (illus.)
Jonas, die Gans
(Jonas, the gander)
Wien: Verl. Jungbrunnern, 2000. 114 p.
ISBN 3-7026-5721-5
Goose - Poultry farming - Captivity - Accident - Naiveté - Freedom
The geese at the plant may have plenty to eat and they may be clean, but their lives in the narrow coops consist of awaiting their turn at the butcher's. Only Jonas dares to ponder the why and wherefore of existence. And he of all geese is to serve as Anna's and Alois' Christmas roast! But things take an unexpected turn: the transport crashes, Jonas tries to find his destination on his own, escapes the fox and finally finds Alois. The farmer is relieved: his Christmas dinner seems secured. But Anna adopts Jonas into her family of pets. They will have carp for Christmas dinner instead – like every year. A suggestive and humorous story about a gander whose life is saved by his belief in the intrinsic goodness of the world. (8+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2001 - 69
Lukas, Leo (text)
Haderer, Gerhard (illus.)
Jörgi, der Drachentöter : ein Bilderbuch für Kinder und Erwachsene
(Jörgi, the dragon fighter : a picture book for children and adults)
Wien : Ueberreuter, 2000. [40] p.
ISBN 3-8000-3792-0
Boy - Dragon - Abuse of power - Racism - Democracy
Jörgi knows precisely what he wants to be when he grows up: a dragon fighter. To make things complicated, the king himself is a dragon – and Jörgi helps to depose him. The crown prince has hardly taken up his office, when he, too, turns into a dragon. Now it is Jörgi's turn to rule the country – and once again things turn out dragonly bad. The observant subjects conclude: the crown creates the dragons – let us get rid of it! That is what happens, and now (democratic) peace and happiness return. Older readers will rejoice at the caricatures of reallife contemporary politics and appreciate the satirical undertone. Cleverly enough, however, the fairy tale pictures show – for children – scenes from the times of chivalry when killing and dismissing dragons still helped. (6+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2001 - 70
Sklenitzka, Franz Sales (text/illus.)
Die Bibliothek : ein interaktives Leseabenteuer
(The library : an interactive reading-adventure)
St. Pölten : NP-Buchverl., 2000. [180] p.
ISBN 3-85326-156-6
Library - Theft - Detective - Interactive reading
Strange things happen in the local library: valuable volumes disappear, but even though the librarian might be very wise, he is also quite helpless. That's what the protagonist of these »library mysteries« discovers during his research for a German presentation. In the end, the mystery is solved and the researcher wins a trip to Ireland to have a look at the original »Book of Kells«. The term »interactive reading« probably relates to the text's affinity to the new media – it offers links which allow the reader to zap his own, unique way through the narrative. In any case, this entertaining volume states the case for a renewed discovery of books and libraries. (12+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2001 - 71
Treskatis, Barbara (text/illus.)
Wenn ich eine Katze hätte
(If I had a cat)
Wien : Dachs, 2000. [28] p.
ISBN 3-85191-186-5
Girl - Love for animals - Wish - Cat - Imagination
A little girl longs to have a kitten, but her mother and father keep putting the wish off. And then – what a surprise – her wish comes true without the slightest assistance of her parents: one kitten appears to play with Lena, one to protect her during the night, another one to keep her company on the way to kindergarten. Naturally, she insists on keeping these friends when she finally gets a real pet – and they promise to stay close to her. A book for the little ones with spacious, calm pictures in saturated colours encouraging trust in the world and most especially in the power of imagination. (5+)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2001 - 105
Limacher, Roland
Meines Vaters Haus
(My father's house)
Zürich : Diogenes, 2000. 138 p.
ISBN 3-257-06229-x
Boy - Family - Rural life - Natural disaster - Death
A small family moves into an abandoned house by the forest. The house used to be an orphanage: 40 children lived there, now there are only four people. But things soon change: the grandmother, Hanna, a geologist, Oregano, a homeless man, and finally some of the former inhabitants – by now grown up – all come to celebrate Christmas there. But the wonderful times in the house by the forest come to a sudden and terrible end: the river overflows and washes people to their death. This sad story is told from the perspective of the only survivor. However, listening to him as he relates his memories to his children, the reader will wonder at the overwhelming impression of comfort, happiness and love of life one is left with. (14+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2001 - 106
Maar, Anne (text)
Mölck-Tassel, Bernd (illus.)
Pozor
(<Proper name>)
Zürich : Bajazzo-Verl., 2000. [28] p.
ISBN 3-907588-16-9
Dog - Boy - Stature - Looking for a home - Training - Friendship
Pozor, the dog, is looking for a home with friendly people. But as he is so very big, people are afraid of him. Luck turns his way when he meets tiny Lukas, who wants to join the circus one day and trains guinea pigs in the meanwhile. When he gives a performance with Pozor, the »ferocious animal«, and even puts his head between the dog's jaws, everything is won: a home for Pozor, a strong friend for Lukas and a housekeeper for Lukas's Mom. Because Pozor certainly is qualified: he can wash the dishes, do the ironing, pass the vacuum cleaner. Life can be so beautiful! The pictures and the graphic design of the book lead the way to a happy, somewhat quaint and quirky imaginary world. (5+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2001 - 107
Pausewang, Gudrun
Roller und Rosenkranz
(Motor scooter and rosary)
Aarau : Sauerländer, 2000. 219 p.
ISBN 3-7941-4611-5
Granddaughter - Grandmother - Loneliness - Community - Creativity - Death - Love
Mimi has lost her parents in a car accident and goes to find her grandmother who knows nothing of her existence. The strictly religious old lady lives in a little house and owns a small, run-down shop of devotional objects. Mimi moves in, modernises the house with youthful enthusiasm and great success, falls in love and seeks comfort, love and security. When her grandmother dies after a fulfilled time spent together, Mimi has found her own way. With great empathy, Gudrun Pausewang describes an unusual, unconventional young woman who does not capitulate to difficult personal situations on her quest for her origins and her future. Maybe, this could be a way to reach across the generation gap. (16+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2001 - 108
Tielmann, Christian (text)
Knappe, Joachim (illus.)
Wie Gutenberg die Welt bewegt : von der Kunst, Bücher zu machen
(How Gutenberg moves the the world : on the ar)
Aarau : kbv Luzern, 2000. 32 p.
ISBN 3-276-00218-3
Gutenberg, Johannes - Book printing - Development - Spread
This attractively illustrated and well designed reference picture book extensively and clearly informs the reader with words and pictures about the development of book printing. Even though the possibilities of modern media are mentioned, the author expressively focusses on the good, old book: it never crashes, it doesn't need electricity or access to the net. A remarkable and knowledgeable contribution to the 600th birthday of Johannes Gutenberg. (8+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2001 - 109
Waechter, Friedrich Karl (text/illus.)
Die Geschichte vom albernen Hans
(The story of foolish John)
Zürich : Diogenes-Verl., 2000. 92 p.
ISBN 3-257-06232-x
Girl - Cat - Metamorphosis - Fool - Love - Trial - Rescue
A witch turns the entire court into cats. In a dream, the princess finds a way to lift the spell: Foolish John, the youngest of three brothers, can help. Classical fairy tale elements are put to use: the foolish, youngest brother who ends up marrying the princess, trials, which seem unsolvable, but are overcome with the help of loyalty and perseverance, the tower, emprisoning the princess, and, last but not least, many a great temptation along the way. The author repeatedly confronts the reader with reversals and encodings of these motifs, making this inventive story in the rare genre of a non-rhyming verse narrative an amusing and entertaining read. (16+)

Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 2001 - 113
Ramos, Mario (text/illus.)
Nuno, le petit roi
(Nuno, the little king)
Paris; Bruxelles : École des Loisirs, 2000. [36] p.
(Pastel)
ISBN 2-211-05709-8
Responsibility - Decision - Advice - Adulthood
Which child wouldn't want to have its say and make decisions like the grown-ups? The little lion prince learns what that really means. A rock has killed his father – only seemingly as it fortunately turns out – and the little one has to wear the crown and carry the responsibility for all the animals, for their problems and conflicts. But the little would-be-king can hardly look out from underneath the much too large crown, let alone advice and arbitrate. He is terribly intimidated by his helplessness and all the more relieved when his father reappears. The generous, coloured gouache illustrations give the story a droll and lighthearted touch. They reflect the restricted perspective of the royal apprentice thereby deflating the discrepancy between childlike impotence and real conflicts of decision. (4+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2001 - 132
Murail, Marie-Aude
Oh, boy!
Paris : École des Loisirs, 2000. 207 p.
(Médium)
ISBN 2-211-05642-3
Orphan - Social discrepancy - Illness - Brotherhood - Humanitarian spirit
The children (14, 8, and 5 years old) are in bad luck: their father disappeared, their alcoholic mother committed suicide and social welfare put them in a home. Not enough: the oldest is taken ill with leukemia. But somehow they cope with this accumulation of misery, because they stick together like glue. Their homosexual half-brother and his established sister offer to foster them but only make things worse. The contrary milieus in which the children move show life in all its different facets – and always on the narrow dividing line between happiness and despair. Social pretence crumbles under the attacks of the subversive humour, while the reader is relentlessly confronted with extreme situations in turn heartbreaking, irritating or simply hilarious. The reader will understand that everyone possesses his or her own truth and humanity. (12+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2001 - 133
Serres, Alain (text)
Zaü (illus.)
Une cuisine grande comme le monde: 60 recettes pour voyager tout autour de la terre
(A kitchen the size of the world : 60 recipes to travel around the world)
[Paris] : Rue du Monde, 2000. 58 p.
ISBN 2-912084-36-9
International cooking
This large formatted travel-guide cookbook invites you to taste and smell your way around the world. There are 25 traditional dishes to choose from. Full-page pictures in pastel colours convey impressions of distant landscapes, cities and markets and celebrate the diversity of the peoples and menues. Some of the recipes can be prepared by children on their own. Brief information about exotic products and their preparation, about spices, fruits and their role in colonial history widen the horizon. They also remind us that – despite our different customs and traditions – we are all guests at the one table of our world. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2001 - 134
Stolz, Joëlle
Les ombres de Ghadamès
(The shadows of Ghadamès)
Paris : Bayard Jeunesse, 2000. 174 p.
ISBN 2-227-73908-8
Libya - Muslims - Women - 19th century
This novel tells of the life of Muslim women on the threshold to modernity from the perspective of an adolescent girl with great empathy and respect for the cultural and social conditions of late 19th century Libya. The first wife is bound by tradition and a prisoner in her own house. The second wife is open-minded, intense and prepared to take risky decisions. As for the girl, she ardently wishes to learn to read and to be allowed to travel. She successfully takes her first steps towards emancipation. Three male characters, the smaller brother, the father and a religious zealot complement the image of the secret female world from a male point of view. (12+) ☆

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

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

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

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

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+)

Special Mention - Venezuela (Spanish) - 2001 - 175
Skármeta, Antonio (text)
Ruano, Alfonso (illus.)
La composición
(The composition)
Caracas : Ed. Ekaré, 2000. 36 p.
ISBN 980-257-215-2
Dictatorship - Suppression - Police state - Betrayal
The text by the famous Chilean author, originally written as a radio play, is published for the first time as a book. The story, which surely incorporates autobiographical elements of the author who lived in exile for many years, is set in a not further specified military dictatorship. Schoolboy Pedro knows that his parents oppose the regime and secretly listen to forbidden radio stations in the evening. Danger looms when an officer comes to the school and commands the children to write a composition on the evening pass-times of their family. The dramatic tension of Skármeta's story very gradually rises with the build-up of the atmosphere, suddenly to be released at the very end, when one understands that Pedro has instinctively decided against the truth, and thereby against betraying his parents. The realistic illustrations seem like frozen moments. Their static and serious nature captures the inner state of a society paralysed with fear, violence and denunciation. (9+) ☼

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2001 - 177
Gravel, François (text)
Burcev, Anatoli (illus.)
L'été de la moustache
(Moustache-Summer)
Ville Saint-Laurent (Québec) : Les 400 Coups, 2000. 48 p.
(Les grands albums)
ISBN 2-921620-46-4
Hat - Moustache - Fashion - Friendship
All the male world indulges in the capricious caprioles of moustache fashion. Monsieur Antoine with his »moustaches à la mode« caters for all their needs. His barber shop thrives. However, the spirit of the times disdains the hat shop of his friend Monsieur Vincent. Hats are »out«. A miracle is brought about by one of those rare living moustaches which Antoine sells only to very special customers: Gently, it smoothes down on Vincent's upper lip, caresses him like a cat and makes him happy. From now on, customers come streaming in and business booms. At the end of the summer, all living moustaches fly down south – just like migratory birds. Business resumes to normal. Author and illustrator evoke the charm of ancestral coquetteries with refined skill. The watercolour drawings stage the fashion fancies in the style of the Belle Epoque and follow the lighthearted slogans and puns of the text. One might smile upon these men with their modish musings – but because they are true gentlemen they never lack dignity. (9+)
(Governor's General's Literary Award; 2000)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 183
Karrebæk, Dorte (text/illus.)
Mesterjaegeren : en bog om arv og miljø; dedikeret til jer der hele tiden overtager verden
(The master-hunter : a book about inheritance and the environment, dedicated to you, who continually take over the world)
København : Forum, 1999. [32] p.
ISBN 87-553-2762-1
Environment - Education
A hunter – a primordial character of great authority – takes away the son from his wife as soon as he is born and brings him up in the wilderness. They come upon a cat-mother whose milk-producing organs have a striking similarity with wellformed human female features, nurturing sweeter dreams in the little boy than the miserable teats of previous foster animal mothers. Happiness reigns for some time, but Tannhäuser-like, the hunter is drawn home from his feline Venus mountain. In place of his son, he takes a kitten along, which is brought up by his resigned wife. Unfortunately, puberty hits the kitten in the first school year, manifest to all with eight rapidly growing breasts, which have to be squeezed into a specially designed bra. The exchange is reversed, the further development subject to parental arbitrariness: while the cat-girl terrorises her mates with human mating-calls, the matured boy finds a wife, happily sinking into her generous bosom. The excellent quality of Danish picture books is largely due to Dorte Karrebæk's important contributions. In this book, she renders her characters once more with absurd and grotesque elements, thus opening up new and highly original dimensions of children‘s book illustration. (10+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 184
Rasmussen, Bent
En godt bryst hænger ikke på træerne
(A decent breast doesn't grow on trees)
København : Høst & Søn, 2000. 207 p.
ISBN 87-14-19778-2
Puberty - Character development
Niko got a camera for his birthday – the perfect medium to focus on an »outstanding« part of the female body which attracts all his attention – in fact, it seems to have a life of its own. The author, a well experienced writer of young adult fiction, may lead some equally obsessed readers to understand that the individual personality counts more than all physical facts in a relationship. Author and publishing house seem well aware of the young adults' reluctance to pick up a book – this slender volume and the accordingly reduced amount of text might help to overcome these reservations. (14+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 185
Rasmussen, Søren (text)
Tom-Petersen, Jesper (illus.)
Manden som gravede ned til kineserne
(The man who dug himself all the way to the Chinese)
København : Carlsen, 2000. [28] p.
ISBN 87-562-8708-9
Cultural exchange - Friendship
This unbelievable tall tale comes along in the guise of rather conventional illustrations: A curious and witty man begins to dig a hole through the earth in his backyard. Almost half way, he meets a Chinese (naturally standing on his head) with a drill, who had come up with the same idea. They decide to let their fellow countrymen jump through the hole to the other side for a small fee. This is their – truly profitable – contribution to international understanding. Because mainly the Chinese seize this opportunity (Danes seem to be less curious), the Chinese problem of overpopulation is relieved. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 186
Schnack, Asger (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
Bløde punkter
(Sensitive points)
København : Høst, 2000. [40] p.
ISBN 87-14-19794-4
Everyday life - Expression
This book is for those who read little but think a lot. 28 expressions frequently used by adults and the seven days of the week are explored for their philosophical content and explained from an unexpected point of view accessible to children. The choice is unusual for a children's book: alarm clock, funeral, divorce, insomnia, summer-nights in August, democracy, cleaning and more. The book design with its convenient format, halfglossy cover featuring a well placed, intriguing illustration, the discrete but original vignettes in the main text on grounds of soft hues and framed by a white border, certainly meets bibliophile standards. (10+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 187
Winding, Thomas (text)
Brøgger, Lilian (illus.)
Nattekjolen
(The nightdress)
[Frederiksberg] : ABC, 1999. [28] p.
ISBN 87-7916-012-3
Feverish dreams - Imagination - Chicken pocks
The little girl cannot put on her beloved blue dress, because she has fallen ill with fever. In her dreams, she flys across a fantastic world wearing her dress. Lilian Brøgger evokes this world with muted colours, avoiding any oppressing visions. The chicken pocks covering the girl's body the next morning seem starry remains of this fantastic dream. (5+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2001 - 194
Levanto, Marjatta
Hugo Simbergs värld : 1873 Fredrikshamn - 1917 Etseri
(Hugo Simberg's world)
[Helsinki] : Statens Konstmuseum, 2000. 39 p.
(Valtion Taidemuseo <Helsinki>: Museopedagogisen yksikön julkaisuja ; 16)
ISBN 951-53-2196-4
Simberg, Hugo - Finland - Visual Arts
This volume was conceived as a companion to the big retrospective exhibition of Hugo Simberg's work (1873-1917) in spring 2000 at the Atheneum in Helsinki. It features some of his naive, grotesque miniatures. The selection will certainly raise the interest of children: »The Sleeping King of Dwarfs«, »The Old Woman and the She-Devil with Twins«, »Devil with Cauldron« and others, amongst them the most famous and mysterious painting: »The Wounded Angel«. Each painting comes along with short, explanatory annotations. Children are at leisure to contemplate the paintings in the book. They will be drawn in by their peculiar atmosphere so excitingly different from today's common everyday surroundings. This little book familiarises children with Simberg's œuvre in an especially welcoming way. Furthermore, it will give the opportunity to get acquainted with one of the most remarkable artists from the productive period of Finnish painting between 1850-1920. (8+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2001 - 195
Majaluoma, Markus (text/illus.)
Sairaan siisti kipsi
(The sick and tidy plaster cast)
Helsinki : Lasten Keskus, 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 951-627-313-0
Hospital - Fear - Adventure
This picture book is based on children's experiences in hospital. The aim of the story is to familiarise children with the strange and often frightening atmosphere of hospitals by letting them follow a cat's first visit to hospital. The poor cat had broken his foot in a bike accident. He has to cope with the fears and pains all by himself. Finally, he overcomes his fears by going on adventures in his dreams. Markus Majaluoma has told and illustrated this story about the powers of the imagination with skill and humour. The illustrations feature a light and harmonious palette of colours. His grotesque caricatures of cats and of the hopital staff are graphically fascinating – not only in comparison with Finnish children's book. (7+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2001 - 196
Surojegin, Pirkko-Liisa (ed./illus.)
Suomen lasten hölmöläissadut
(Finnish children's folktales of foolish people)
Helsingissä : Otava, 2000. 138 p.
ISBN 951-1-16302-7
Finland/Folktales Finland/Folklore - Foolish people
This collection of Finnish folktales offers a new perspective on the tradition of folklore. Pirkko- Liisa Surojegin's caricaturesque illustrations succeed in rendering the life of the peasantry. The poor are represented as a somewhat stupid, but happy, warm-hearted and hardworking lot. The humorous tales come from the tradition of oral storytelling. They stage the peasants' attempts to improve their working skills. Of course, they fail most of the time, but the peasants are endowed with an innate ability to make the best of things – even unfortunate events are turned into positive experiences. The illustrator has created characters of old Finnish peasants, animals and rural life with great skill. (12+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2001 - 199
Renberg, Tore (text)
Hiorthøy, Kim (illus.)
Hando Kjendo søndag
(Hando and Kjendo on Sunday)
[Oslo] : Gyldendal Tiden, 1999. [42] p.
ISBN 82-478-0406-9
Friendship - Walk
This book is an insult – because of its painterly style, its obstinate choice of colours, the raw forms, one usually attempts to avoid in museums, and its »plot«: a peaceful, eventless void of a sunday afternoon. An insult, however, only to adults. Children may have experienced this void, they recognise the atmosphere and turn the pages with great curiosity. After all – something does happen: a biblically burning bush (which means that it does not burn down) brings forth two flowers, a real event for the two befriended protagonists – abstract forms, one long, one short. But the really unusual event of this book are the pictures, inspired by the unspoiled, nearly raw art of the KOBRA-group. Rather than an insult, then, this book is an indirect contribution to the aesthetic education of children. (8+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2001 - 200
Vatle, Sylvelin
Ville liljer
(Wild lilies)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2000. 215 p.
ISBN 82-02-18869-5
Bulemia - Love
What should not happen in reality, is what makes a novel really interesting. Young bulemic Rebekka falls in love with her psychiatrist – and her love is returned. Far from feeling any scruples, they run off to an island. It is common (literary) knowledge that the normal state of affairs may be temporarily suspended on islands. A lover, a product of Rebekka's childish fantasies, makes his appearance, and the scene verges on the mystical. In the end, there is a welcome return to sobriety which does not threaten their love, however. Scandinavian young adult fiction gives the readers what they ask for; but more importantly, it refrains from constraining educational ambitions, taking the audience more serious than many others. (16+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2001 - 202
Bodecker, N. M. (text)
Blegvad, Erik (illus.)
Hellsing, Lennart (transl.)
Skynda, skynda, Nilla lilla!
(Hurry, Little Nilla, hurry!)
Stockholm : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 91-87805-77-4
Winter - Preparation - Wife - Couple - Roles
This unusually original picture book, a delightful blend of idyll and striking caricature, could be considered a multi-cultural product: written and illustrated by two Danish immigrants in the USA it has been ingeniously translated by Lennart Hellsing, the renowned poet for children's literature – his text reads like an original poem. The still current topic of women's emancipation is transported back to the 1900s: The ever serving wife dutifully pursues her housework while her husband, relaxing in a rocking chair, commands her about. The historical setting serves the authors' ironic purpose: firstly, manual labour is more apt to demonstrate a housewife's diligence than the handling of electrical kitchen appliances. Secondly, the traditional backdrop of the 19th century allows for a more convincing portrayal of a husband's patriarchal claims than modern day life with its rather subdued forms of male dominance. (8+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2001 - 203
Erberth, Stig (text)
Alvner, Christina (illus.)
Barnens djurbok A - Ö
(The child's Animal ABC)
Stockhom : BonnierCarlsen, 2000. 120 p.
ISBN 91-638-3681-5
Animals - Alphabet
The expectations raised by the old-fashioned title, reminiscent of non-fiction books of the 19th century, are countered by a very modern concept. Modern, not in the sense of a scientifically meticulous and naturalistic representation of the animals, but rather in the choice of unusual postures. While the characteristic anatomy of the individual animal is never neglected, it is the mimicries and little jokes the animals perform which will intrigue children much more than sober, zoological depictions. One can see a lion cub romping about on its father's head, the behind of a sleeping elephant, a swan gliding in for a landing, a wallowing horse and many other enjoyable scenes. (6+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2001 - 204
Stark, Ulf (text)
Nordström, Jockum (illus.)
Ensam med min bror
(Alone with my brother)
Stockholm : BonnierCarlsen, 2000. 44 p.
ISBN 91-638-1684-9
Siblings - Childhood memories
The well-known author has been transposing his childhood memories into literature for quite some time already. In this text, he relates how he and his older brother spent their holidays away from their parents with friends. Gifted with a fine intuition for a child's way of seeing the world, he allies the humour of simple situations with a deep sense of humanity and high literary craft. For example: The children send off a half-starved firefly on a bark raft, while innocently calling after it: »Have fun!« The artist, inspired by contemporary art movements, assembles rough, large pieces of different material to a collage, breaking the edges with drawn lines. Even though the illustrations are strong of character, they complement the text without ever imposing themselves. (8+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2001 - 205
Widerberg, Siv
Walter-Lax, Lena
Wennerstrand, Carl
Vända livet
(Turn life around)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2000. 171 p.
ISBN 91-29-6582-0
Drug abuse - Radical right - Violence
The well-known author Siv Widerberg adopts the role of a mediator for two authentic young adults' voices who relate how they succeeded in giving up their previous lifestyle and to take steps in a more positive direction. Lena, who grew up in a proletarian environment with an alcoholic father, hoped to find recognition and self-affirmation in drugs; Carl sought support amongst gangs of young adults who attempted to fight life's crises with racist slogans. These authentic accounts are free of literary stylisation and of greatest impact if read as sober non-fiction texts. (12+)

Special Mention - Mongolia (Mongolian) - 2001 - 213
Dašdondog, Žambyn (text)
Ovdogmid, D. (illus.)
Solongo, M. (illus.)
Örgöö
(The yurt)
[Ulaanbaatar] : Hüühdijn Nomyn »Altan Ülg'er« Nöhörlel, 2000. [14] p.
ISBN 99929-5-118-4
Mongolia - Everyday life - Children's poetry
This picture book featuring rhythmic and visual poems by the highly popular Mongolian author of children's literature, Žambyn Dašdondog, comes in the shape of a yurt – a Mongolian tenthouse. The first pages show the set-up of a yurt and the life within. The concrete poems (poems, whose graphic form imitates the concrete form of their subject) are about objects of Mongolian everyday life: haystacks, sleigh hills and New Year's Eve. (5+)

Special Mention - Slovenia (Slovenian) - 2001 - 219
Prap, Lila [i.e. Liljana Praprotnik-Zupančič] (text/illus.)
Male živali
(Little animals)
Ljubljana : Mladinska Knjiga, 1999. [32] p.
ISBN 86-11-15689-7
Insects - Spider-family - Nursery rhyme
This picture book for beginning readers presents little animals in witty verses. The ladybug and the firefly will be among the happy few to arouse affection. They are followed by less likable fellows like the daddy-long-legs, the moth, the maggot, the book-worm, the spider, the flea, the potatoe beetle, the tick, the drone, the woodworm and the louse. The amusing rhymes and the simple, anthropomorphised animal-illustrations will join in the effort to relieve children of their fear or digust at these fine little creatures. (3+)

Special Mention - Belgium (Dutch) - 2001 - 222
Sollie, André (text)
Cotteleer, Erika (illus.)
En alles is echt waar
(And everything is real)
Wielsbeke : Uitg. de Eenhoorn, 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 90-5838-022-x
Loneliness - Fear - Life - Children's poetry
What is life like when you are a child? You simply say »I am the gardener« and then you really are one. Sollie's poems in this poetry-picture book are of a moving simplicity. At once comprehensible to everyone and playfully incomprehensible, they pay tribute to the imagination of young children and their associative ways of thinking. The illustrations present little miniatures, in which no brushstroke is too much or too little. The colours are chosen very carefully. Text and illustrations collaborate in a poetic, imaginary play: A teddy bear turns into a man and a doll into his wife. The bed is a dune, the gate a door, the sky a roof. Imagination and reality mingle, but seen through the eyes of a child, everything is real. A very special picture book about loneliness, longing, work, fear, reconciliation, and love. (5+)

Special Mention - Belgium (Dutch) - 2001 - 223
Vandewijer, Ina
Witte pijn
(White pain)
Leuven : Davidsfonds/Infodok, 2000. [106] p.
(Davidsfonds/Infodok jeugdboek)
ISBN 90-6565-971-4
Inuit - Family - Grandfather
Together with his grandfather, Tim is travelling through the land of the Inuit, the Indians from the high North of Canada. Tim has grown up in Montreal, far away from the desolate snowfields. Tim admires his grandfather's talent for survival in the snowstorms and the cold. This novel is an impressive debut, in which the life, the culture, and the habits of the Inuit, like hunting seals, nose rubbing, building igloos, slurping fat and always telling stories, are very well represented. The relationship between Tim and his grandfather is described in a very subtle and carefully sensitive tone. A warm story about the solidarity with family and nature. (13+) ☆
(Knokke-Heist Prize [Youth Book]; 2000)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2001 - 226
Dematons, Charlotte (text/illus.)
Ga je mee?
(Are you coming with me?)
Rotterdam : Lemniscaat, 2000. [28] p.
ISBN 90-5637-288-2
Adventure
The boy-narrator of this picture book lives in a particularly child-friendly neighbourhood, in a house with an immense garden. The reader is taken in tow by the young narrator in an original, highly imaginative way as a travelling companion on an adventurous trip and gets a number of assignments. The reader has to indicate to the boy the way between the freakish rocks to the open sea, distract the robbers with some firm abuses, or turn the pages really quietly, so that the snoring giant, hiding in the bushes, will not wake up. The fully explored, double-spread illustrations catch the eye immediately. Details and unexpected surprises call for accurate observation. The story keeps reminding the reader how important his contribution to the story is. (5+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2001 - 227
Hagen, Hans (text)
Hagen, Monique (text)
Törnqvist, Marit (illus.)
Jij bent de liefste
(You are the sweetest)
Amsterdam : Querido, 2000. [52] p.
ISBN 90-214-6478-0
Pre-schooler - Everyday life - Children's poetry
This anthology features poems on subjects preschoolers are very fond of sweet-hearts, dreams, the longing for a dog, or staying over at a friend's. The rhymes are characterised by boundless imagination akin to the pre-schoolers' way of thinking. The expression excells in simplicity, while the rhythm never declines to a boring drone. The exuberant and festive illustrations create loving characters and tell mostly their own story, incorporating the subject of the poems in a creative way. (4+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2001 - 228
Kolk, Anton van der (text)
Straaten, Harmen van (illus.)
De dag dat er niets bijzonders gebeurde
(The day that nothing special happened)
Tilburg : Zwijsen, 1999. 37 p.
(Spetter : 7+)
ISBN 90-276-4300-8
Friendship
In the reflection of a window Bas sees that the light is different today. This must be a sign giving promise of exciting events on a day on which nothing special was going to happen! And truly, Bas goes on an adventure with a friend. It's a voyage of discoveries that leads to new insights and a solid friendship. A simple, well set up story that explores the different meanings and understandings of the word »special«. The linguistic level has been adapted to beginning readership. The principal characters really come to life and will be very recognisable to the young reader. The illustrations complement the story, giving it an extra dimension. (7+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2001 - 229
Schaap, Peter
Beeldhouwer voor de farao
(Sculptor for the pharaoh)
Amsterdam : Uitg. Piramide, 2000. 239 p.
ISBN 90-245-3608-1
Egypt/History - Pharaoh - Sculpture
By coincidence, the young water carrier Joeti meets sculptors who work for pharaoh Echnaton and his wife Nefertiti. It is a turbulent time, and fairly quickly Joeti gets involved in a complot against the ruling authority. Espionage, changes of power, but also the love for a beautiful girl add to the confusion of the protagonist. This novel incorporates a wealth of information about the life of the Egyptians; sometimes, the excess of information disturbs the flow of the story. Overall, however, this is an exciting story unfolding against a rich historical backdrop. (11+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2001 - 230
Verschoor, Diet
Emma's noorderlicht
(Emma's northern lights)
Haarlem : Uitg. Holland, 2000. 191 p.
(Life)
ISBN 90-251-0840-7
Holidays - Grandmother - Love
Fifteen-year old Emma is at a turning point in her life: Her mother suffers from depression and goes to a Frisian island and Emma is left with her father, a minister, with whom she cannot really talk. Against her will, she accompanies her grandmother to the family home on Texel. This is where she learns about her mother's big secret from the letters of her great-grandmother and where she lives her first passionate love. Emma's confused feelings are described with understanding and psychological insight. Convincing parallels are drawn between her experiences and those of her mother. Fragments of poetry complement this romantic story very well. (14+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2001 - 231
Westera, Bette (text)
Straaten, Harmen van (illus.)
Een opa om nooit te vergeten
(A grandfather to never forget)
Amsterdam : Hillen ; Leuven : Davidsfonds/Infodok, 2000. [28] p.
ISBN 90-76766-05-3. - 90-6565-942-0
Grandfather - Death - Funeral - Grief
While he waits for his grandfather's funeral, Joost thinks about all the nice things they did together. To be honest, he does not want to go, and, to soothe him, his mother plays peekaboo with grandfather's red handkerchief. Her question »Do you remember?« brings vivid memories back to life: how Joost and grandfather played cowboy or pirate together, how grandfather taught Joost to ride his bike and how every stay with him was like a party. At the churchyard he notices how slowly the grown-ups walk and his mind is full of questions. The realistic illustrations are provocative and original and fit the story about taking leave and the power of memories perfectly. They are characterised by a plain, impressive use of colours and very strong composition. (4+)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 2001 - 240
Remundos, Giannēs (text)
Kapatsulia, Natalia (illus.)
Pōs ta perases sto Bolo, Kōstak‘?
(How did it go in Volos, Kōstak‘?)
Athēna : Psychogios, 2000. 188 p.
(Xinomēlo ; 2)
ISBN 960-274-494-4
Boy - Summer - School holidays - Rural life
Giann‘s Remundos (born 1950) tells the humorous and entertaining story of a boy's adventures during the summer holidays which he spends with relatives in the country. He develops the characters with all their little shortcomings and weaknesses; the fine illustrations by Natalia Kapatsulia have their share in giving an ironic touch. This witty text offers unrelenting reading-pleasure to children and adults alike – the smile will not leave the reader's lips. (9+)
(Gynaikeia Logotechnike Syntrophia Award; 1999)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 3
Itō, Yū (text)
Æta, Daihachi (illus.)
En no matsubara
(The pine grove of rage)
Tokyo : Fukuinkan Shoten, 2001. 405 p.
ISBN 4-8340-1758-3
Boy – Prince – Unborn – Ghost – Soul – Rage – Curse – Release
This novel is set in the golden age of Japan's courtly culture between the ninth and twelfth century, when people still strongly believed in the existence of ghosts and demons. The young crown prince suffers because of a vengeful ghost that tortures him at night. One day, at the imperial palace, he meets fourteen-year-old servant Otowa and the two boys become friends. To release the prince from the ghost's curse, Otowa enters the pine grove near the palace, where the angry souls of the dead dwell. Years ago, because of the rules of succession, the unborn child of the emperor, originally conceived as a princess, was manipulated by a monk's magic powers and the male prince was born instead. Now, both souls finally become reconciled and are released from the curse. The aesthetic, traditional cover-illustration, conveying the eerie atmosphere of the story, and the other pictures, illustrating the aristocratic way of life at that time, form an authentic frame for this fantastic historical novel. (13+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 4
Matsutani, Miyoko (text)
Toyota, Kazuhiko (illus.)
Ringo korokoro
(Roll, roll, roll … apples are rolling around)
Tokyo : Doshinsha, 2001. [24] p.
(Akachan no oishii hon)
ISBN 4-494-00172-4
Girl – Apple
A small girl hears an apple tree cry because it is full of apples that nobody wants to eat. When the girl climbs up the tree and shakes the branches, all the apples fall to the ground and roll away – but where to? Suddenly, she feels very lonely. Where are all the apples gone? In this picture book, drawn in a plain, naïve, and clear style, small children can get involved in the girl's adventure; in the end, the protagonist feels delighted that she has a wonderful delicious red apple for herself. Miyoko Matsutani tells this story in a brief yet melodious style which touches children's minds and clearly shows the girl's compassion for the sad tree. Adults reading this tale to children will enjoy the language and interpret the story in their own way. (2+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 5
Murakami, Yasunari (text/illus.)
Aoi yadokari
(The blue hermit crab)
Tokyo : Tokuma Shoten, 2001. [40] p.
ISBN 4-19-861374-5
Sea – Diving – Fear – Courage – Marine fauna
A boy with diving goggles and a snorkel hesitates to jump into the water. Yet, when he finds a sea shell and holds it close to his ear, he hears the voice of the sea inviting him in. Immediately, his fear of the water gives way to curiosity. Led by an octopus, he dives to the bottom of the sea, where fabulous creatures dwell. After the octopus has accompanied the boy back to the surface, it says goodbye and jokingly sends out a cloud of black ink. On this summer evening, the sky is aglow with a goldenorange light. Composing his pictures in a varying selection of colours, the nature-loving artist makes shades of blue the dominant background colour. It adequately transports the emotions of this humorous yet poetic picture book, painted in a spacious manner on large-format pages. (5+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 6
Oikawa, Kazuo (text)
Nakamura, Etsuko (illus.)
Namida no kohaku no nazo
(The mystery of the tear-shaped amber)
Tokyo : Iwasaki Shoten, 2000. 181 p.
(Bungaku no izumi ; 8)
ISBN 4-265-04148-5
Grandmother – Granddaughter – Search – Parents – Origins – Social bonds
Fifty-five years after the end of the war, Grandmother, who lost her parents when she was eleven, and her granddaughter Misaki travel to a coastal region in the north of Japan searching for her family's roots. The only keepsake reminding her of her mother is a piece of amber that has belonged to her family for generations. It is said to originate from this region and might help to shed light on a part of her parent's life completely unknown to her. The two women are eagerly supported in their arduous search by the village people. Misaki begins to feel more and more sympathy for her grandmother and comes to understand the old woman's longing for her parents. Powerful human relations and worship of the ancestors are evident throughout the impressive story. (12+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 7
Satō, Satoru (text)
Tanaka, Kiyo (illus.)
Donguri, atsumare!
(Acorns, gather together!)
Tokyo : Akane Shobo, 2001. 76 p.
(Wakuwaku yōnen dōwa ; 1)
ISBN 4-251-04011-2
Girl – Acorns – Football – Imagination – Creativity
It is sometimes quite difficult to find books of high literary quality for beginning readers that correspond to the reading ability and competence of the target group. This appealingly illustrated book about a girl who wants to make her own picture book and, therefore, has to invent a story first, meets these demands. The author manages to communicate the fact that imagination is the source of creativity; he describes how the girl within her daily routine uses some acorns she collected in the park to spin a story. Each of her steps can be traced by the readers and is told by renowned children's book author Satoru SatÇ, in a short and exciting story with fantasy elements. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 8
Takayama, Yūya (text)
Okamoto, Jun (illus.)
Ojīsan to boku no mitsubachi
(The bee of my grandfather and me)
Tokyo : Poplar-sha, 2001. 47 p.
ISBN 4-591-06799-8
Grandfather – Grandson – Bee – Sympathy – Death – Grief
Ten-year-old Takuo is a little afraid of his grandfather and rather tries to avoid him. The first hours he really spends with him, which are also the last, are when he visits him in hospital. Secretly smuggling in grandfather's favourite food, honey, is a nice little adventure for Takuo, because then a bee always flies in by the window and grandad lets it share the honey without getting stung. The more new sides Takuo discovers to his grandad, the more sympathy he feels for him. In a short pithy text, written from the young protagonist's point of view, the author describes how the boy's feelings slowly change from a child's aversion into deep love, and how, in the end, the boy grieves for the sad loss. (9+) ☼

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 9
Takeshita, Fumiko (text)
Kondō, Rie (illus.)
Tsukiyo ni irasshai
(Invitation to the moonlit night)
Tokyo : Kinno Hoshisha, 2000. 126 p.
(Kizzu dōwakan)
ISBN 4-323-05231-6
Moon – Girl – Imagination
This »casket of treasures« contains four separate sympathetic moon-tales for girls. Their protagonists are Miyu and her mother, who love the moon and know that it enables them to turn their everyday life into happy moments. Once, they are allowed to wear a small silvery brooch that should actually be up in the sky as the moon crescent. One night, when the moon is full, a cat is saved and Miyu becomes friends with a boy from her class whom she did not like before. Another time, the girl dreams about going on a balloon journey to take a closer look at the moon. And in the last story, she meets a woman who dyes the moonlight several different colours. Tender atmospheric pictures accompany the amusing fantastic tales. (9+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 10
Tatematsu, Wahei (text)
Yokomatsu, Momoko (illus.)
Tanbo no inochi
(Life in the paddy fields)
Tokyo : Kumon Shuppan, 2001. 32 p.
ISBN 4-7743-0462-x
Farmer – Rice-growing – Nature – Vitality – Professional conscience
A winter landscape covered in snow forms the overture to this book, leading to the life-story of an old couple. Because of the migration to the cities, they are the last rice farmers in this area. In the following scene, the old couple come onstage as ballet dancers dancing together in the spotlight: this metaphoric picture expresses the old people's love for their profession and can also be interpreted as a plea for the importance of nature. The natural power of the rice plant lends them vitality and makes them cope with many a problem in their everyday life. The well-known author describes the couple's busy life and their detailed knowledge about rice-growing in a literary style. All the events are staged in a theatre-like manner by the artist's colourful and partly mosaic abstract pictures. This is an innovative picture book. (9+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 11
Tomiyasu, Yōko (text)
Hirose, Gen (illus.)
Sora e tsuzuku shinwa
(The Sky Myth)
Tokyo : Kaiseisha, 2000. 285 p.
ISBN 4-03-727080-3
God of Nature – Identity crisis – Assistance – Girl – Local geography and history
When pupil Satoko accidentally touches an old document about local history in the school library, a slightly withered old man with a snow-white cloudy beard suddenly appears before her. He woke up because the holy tree worshipped for centuries, inside which he had silently dwelled for almost a hundred years, was cut down. As local god of this village he lost his identity because the village had completely changed. To help him, Satoko now eagerly studies her community's history and, eventually, she restores the saint's nature and position. This tragicomical tale is strongly rooted in popular belief. The time of Japan's modernisation when basic primary and secondary schools were founded all over the country provides the background for this story. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 12
Tonda Kikitori Ehon Seisaku Jikkō Iinkai (text)
Okajima, Reiko (illus.)
Yubikiri genman : Ume-bāchan no hanashi
(Promised! : the story of old Ms. Ume)
Osaka : Kaiho Shuppansha, 2000. [42] p.
ISBN 4-7592-2224-3
Japan/1920-1935 – Minority – Old woman – Childhood memories – Social background – Discrimination
The cheerful illustrations of this book, picturing the childhood memories of an old woman from an underprivileged social class, are drawn in bright colours in the style of popular commercial art. Instead of relating the old woman's misery, they are intended as a proof for the vitality of the so-called Burakumin, a group of people who have been excluded from the Japanese society for centuries because of their social background. The flexibility of the picture book as a medium is evident in this work published by a team of committed people who are striving to shed light on old people's experiences and keep them alive. This topic, hardly ever tackled before, the unusual form of expression in pictures and words alike, and the additional information provided in the appendix will spark off further discussion. (9+) ☼

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 13
Toyoshima, Yoshio (text)
Nagahama, Masako (illus.)
Emirian no tabi
(Emirian's journey)
Tokyo : Ginkasha, 2000. 132 p.
(Toyoshima Yoshio dōwa sakuhinshū; 2)
ISBN 4-434-00028-4
Adventure – Secret – Cleverness – Courage – Open-mindedness
The liberal novelist Yoshio Toyoshima (1890-1955) also left several timeless stories for children and teenagers, which are now being reissued after a long time. This volume contains »Emirian no tabi« (1932) and »Shiro Kuro monogatari« (»The story of the black and the white cats«, 1938). Emirian, an orphan, wanders around the East and the West as an entertainer. He meets robbers, a bat and a hermit, an old woman and the god of death, and many others. With his cleverness and open-mindedness, the boy faces dangers and solves many conflicts. The second tale, a detective story about cats, tackles the secret of an antique dealer. An atmosphere of freedom and cheerfulness is evident in both stories. The text is accompanied by detailed blackand- white illustrations. (12+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 14
Yabe, Mitsunori (text/illus.)
Kaba-san
(Hippos)
Tokyo : Kogumasha, 2001. [36] p.
ISBN 4-7721-0161-6
Father – Daughter – Hippopotamus – Security – Image of the father – Imagination
The small girl is so delighted about the big hippo and its baby in the zoo, that on their way home all people look to her like hippos. As soon as she arrives at home, she wants to copy the two great animals she just watched. A bedsheet is spread out as the pool, and then she forces her father, who would rather have a rest, to »swim« around with her, climbing on his back, on his belly, etc. For small children, the boundaries between reality and fantasy often blur. They are perfectly happy as long as they can live out their own fantasies and enjoy themselves. The author's simple naïve drawings convey the playing girl's huge pleasure and enthusiasm, as well as the feeling of security provided by her father. (2+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 15
Yoshihashi, Michio (text)
Satake, Miho (illus.)
Ryū to maihime
(The dragon and the dancer)
Tokyo : Kodansha, 2000. 325 p.
Japan/630-792 – Embassy <China> – Boy – Going to Sea – Future expectation – Fate
In the year 777, the Japanese imperial government once again sends ambassadors to China. Fourteenyear- old Komaro, who accompanies the court physician as his servant, intends to stay there and study medicine. In Changan, the capital of the Tang-empire, he meets Kojō, the daughter of a former Japanese ambassador. Yet, fate intervenes, and talented and ambitious Komaro's plans for his future fail. Back in Japan, he loses his position at court and, thus, starts a new life with Kojō caring for people's health. The dangerous crossing, the hustle and bustle in the Chinese capital, the conspiracies at court, etc., are based on sound research and described in a lively style full of details. The surprising outcome of this historical novel is particularly impresssive. (13+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2002 - 17
Qin, Wenjun
Tian-tang-jie-san-hao
(3, Tian Tang Street)
Nanjing : Jiangsu-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 2001. 226 p.
ISBN 7-5346-2437-1
Cowardice – Friendship – Violence – Self-affirmation – Reconciliation – Everyday life
This book is the latest novel of Qin Wenjun, a wellknown and much-loved author in China. She began writing for children in 1981 and so far more than 3 million copies of her books have been published in China. »Nan-sheng-Jia-Li« (»Jia Li in Junior High«), »Shi-liu-sui-shaonu« (»A 16 year old girl«) and »Gu-nu-julebu« (»The Orphan Girls Club«), among others, have been awarded prizes for children's literature and in 1996 she won the Italian International Mondello Special Prize. Moreover, many of her books have been adapted for films and TV series. Her works always keep the balance between quality and popularity. Like many of her other novels, the poignant narrative of this book does not look for the spectacular but focuses on the joys and sorrows of everyday life. Family, school, friendship, and emotional problems of Lang Lang and his friends are in the centre of these vividly told stories. The subtle description of their feelings, told with a deep understanding makes the book a remarkable read. (10+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2002 - 18
Zhang, Zhilu (text)
Ai, Di (illus.)
Fei-fa-zhihui
(Unlawful wisdom)
Beijing : Beijing-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 2001. 266 p.
ISBN 7-5301-0885-9
Death – Mystery – Computer
There are strange things happening in a middle school: Lu Yu changes his name and behaves as if he was a completely different boy. His father, a famous specialist in brain surgery, suddenly dies at a gas explosion in their kitchen and mysterious pictures of ladybirds turn up in the collars of Lu Yu's classmates. Sang Wei, the main protagonist of the book, is fascinated by the events and sets out to solve the mystery. As an established screenwriter, the author knows quite well how to catch and hold the attention of young readers. Concentrating on speed, excitement, and imagination, the author has written a well-paced, edgy science fiction story about high-tech computer crimes in a simple and clear style. (10+)

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2002 - 19
Zheng, Chunhua (text)
Shen, Fan (illus.)
Kong, Binglei (illus.)
Youeryuan-de-nan-laoshi
(The male kindergarten teacher)
Beijing : Beijing-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 2001. 95 p.
(Guan-guan-tushu) (»Da-tou-erzi«-mama-jianggushi)
ISBN 7-5301-0870-0
Kindergarten – Teacher – Everyday life
Brother Ou Yang is a male kindergarten teacher. Every child loves him, because he is so different from the female teachers. He is extremely tall and strong and can easily lift the children with his huge hands. He tells them funny stories, teaches them how to have a sand-bath, and how to fight against bad guys. Yet, when a frog suddenly jumps out of a box, he is as scared as a little child. Now it is the children who surround him and calm him down. In this charming picture book, which is part of a new series called »Stories of Big Head Son's Mama« and written especially for kindergarten children, text and illustration form a perfect unity. The author's most famous book »Da-tou-erzi-he-xiao-toubaba « (»Big Head Son and Little Head Dad«) has been adapted for a TV series. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 2002 - 20
Yang, Hongying
Nu-sheng-riji
(A girl's diary)
Beijing : Zuojia-Chubanshe, 2000. 367 p.
(Zhonghua-ertong-wenxue-jin-jiang-shuku)
ISBN 7-5063-1702-8
Girl – Diary – Family – School – Everyday life – Coming of age
The author of this book has a daughter in grade 6 of elementary school. In this vividly written diary she narrates events of her daughter's busy and colourful daily life. Readers dive into the girl's world, they meet her classmates, experience her feelings, and share her secrets and troubles. They witness the girl's surprise when she feels the changes of her body for the first time and see her grow into a young woman. The girl's graduation from elementary school eventually marks the end of her childhood. Full of love and understanding, the author carefully records even minor details and includes witty remarks and real-life dialogue. Thus she allows the reader to share the pains and pleasures of growing up. (8+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 22
Base, Graeme (text/illus.)
The waterhole
Ringwood, Victoria [et al.] : Viking, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 0-670-88928-8
Animals – Seasons – Wildlife – Counting
Famous Australian illustrator Graeme Base has created yet another ingenious picture book. His delightful mixture of counting book, puzzle book, story, and information book, »The Waterhole«, offers children of all ages something to enjoy. The colourful doublespreads invite readers to examine different landscapes, each one typical of a particular continent or region and its wildlife. Yet, while various animals gather on the pages for a drink, the waterhole in the middle slowly dries up. So, in the end, the animals are forced to leave; they return, however, as soon as the rains start pouring down announcing the end of the dry season. The simple storyline is interspersed with humourous sidecomments from the animal »protagonists«. And with its additional animals depicted in the tiny page borders, which can also be spotted melting into the landscapes of the main picture, this stunning book provides readers with new delights every time they return to it. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 23
Carmody, Isobelle (text)
Woolman, Steven (illus.)
Dreamwalker
Port Melbourne, Victoria: Lothian Books, 2001. 46 p.
ISBN 0-7344-0007-1
Imaginary travel – Dream – Other World – Outsider – Love
Ken, an avid comic collector, also likes to draw his own comics. His new story, however, suddenly gets out of control: He is summoned to his fantasy world by dream magic and asked to help his heroine fight against an evil sorceress. The only person who can save him is Alyssa, a girl from his class. Together they manage to bring both stories – the imagined one and their own – to a happy ending. In this unusual mixture of fantasy novel and comic, where reality and dream are hard to tell apart, text and illustrations are closely intertwined; even the colour of the paper changes from cream symbolizing the »real« world, where Ken is in control, to black with white print when he is plunged into dangerous adventures in his fantasy world. (12+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 24
Eaton, Anthony
A new kind of dreaming
St Lucia, Queensland : Univ. of Queensland Press, 2001. 229 p.
(UQP young adult fiction)
ISBN 0-7022-3228-9
Juvenile delinquency – Social integration – Outsider – Friendship – Murder
After having been arrested for car theft, 17-yearold Jamie is sent to Port Barren, a small desert town, to live in isolated care. At first, his plans are to quietly serve his two-year sentence with as little fuss as possible. Yet, from the moment of his arrival, he feels ill at ease. The children at his new school carefully keep their distance, the social worker seems to be afraid of something, the local police officer, Butcher, tries to arrest him without proper reason, and Jamie keeps hearing a girl's voice in his head. Made suspicious by the strange events, the boy starts to ask questions about the town's past; all of a sudden, the easy-going narrative of the beginning picks up speed and does not release its grip on the reader until the very last page. (14+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 25
Kelly, Laurene
The crowded beach
North Melbourne, Vic. : Spinifex Press, 2001. 218 p.
(Young adult fiction)
ISBN 1-876756-06-3
Domestic violence – Father – Alcoholism – Murder – Coping with fear – Everyday life
This sequel to Laurene Kelly's highly praised first novel »I started Crying Monday«, sensitively and convincingly describes the turmoil of feelings the two protagonists are struggling with. After their mother and younger siblings are killed in a family tragedy, Julie and her brother Toby are forced to move to their aunt's place in Sydney and start anew. Whereas Julie tries to adjust to the hectic city life as quickly as possible and forget about the past, Toby desperately misses his friends and the relaxed country-living. Both of them have to cope with their fear of the violent father, fight their loneliness, and deal with the normal burdens of teenage life. Yet, at the end of this novel with its quiet and very subtle descriptions of the protagonists' insecurity and sudden mood changes, Julie looks at her life with new optimism. (12+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 26
Moriarty, Jaclyn
Feeling sorry for Celia
Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia, 2000. 262 p.
(Pan : Fiction)
ISBN 0-330-36210-0
Friendship – Divorce – Sexual relationship – Disappearance – Suicide attempt
Elizabeth's life is a chaos. Her mother is hardly ever at home but leaves messages for her everywhere, her father refuses to introduce her to his new wife and son, her best friend Celia disappears yet again and leaves Elizabeth worrying about her, and, to make matters worse, the boy she is in love with falls for her best friend. If it wasn't for her new penfriend Christina, Elizabeth might even take the advice of the Association of Teenagers and hide away in the fridge forever. This hilarious novel in »real« and imaginary letters and notes, written in a witty and ironic style, makes the readers laugh out loud on every page. But beneath the funny surface some serious issues, such as divorce and suicide, are also tackled. (12+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 27
Russell, Elaine (text/illus.)
A is for aunty
Sydney, NSW : ABC Books, 2001. [36] p.
(1. publ. 2000)
ISBN 0-7333-0729-9; 0-7333-0872-4
Australia – Aborigines – Everyday life
The letters in this unusual ABC book cleverly serve as an impulse triggering off Russell's memories of her life as a child in an Aboriginal mission. She recalls happy moments, such as a billycart race with her brothers and friends, and tells about daily routines at the mission. A closer look at her powerful pictures, painted with bright acrylic and gouache in naïve style, also reveals her being one of the few fair-skinned Aborigines; as she mentions in the short biographical sketch included in the back of the book, these children were often taken away from their families by the white government at that time. An additional treat for the readers is the book's dustjacket, which can be unfolded to a large format and put up on the wall as a poster. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 28
Savvides, Irini
Willow tree and Olive
Sydney, NSW : Hodder Headline Australia, 2001. 260 p.
(A sceptre book)
ISBN 0-7336-1306-3
Immigration – Outsider – Sexual abuse – Friendship
Born in Australia as the child of Greek parents, Olive sometimes feels torn between two worlds. One day, triggered by a lecture Olive attends at school, suppressed memories of some past event suddenly surface and cause a mental breakdown. Step by step, through Olive's letters to her psychologist and her poems and thoughts, the reader discovers that she was raped at the age of five. In order to recover and face the past, she travels to Greece for a few months. This time, her bond with nature and Greek culture and tradition enable her to leave the past behind and look towards a new future. The powerful and moving story is told in fragments of poetry and prose that the reader has to piece together as Olive slowly starts healing. (14+)

Special Mention - India (English) - 2002 - 31
Wolf, Gita (text)
Rao, Sirish (text)
Ramanathan, Rathna (illus.)
Ladha, Rachana (illus. concept)
In the dark
Chennai, India : Tara Publ., 2000. [34] p.
ISBN 81-86211-54-3
Fairytale – Perspective
In this witty version of a well-known traditional Sufi folktale (folktales with a similar plot also exist in other countries) five men bump into a huge and very strange object on their way home one pitch dark night. Since each of them has his own opinion about what he has encountered (a wall, an octopus, a bugle, etc.), the stubborn men soon start quarrelling. Only the next morning, when the sun rises and reveals the object's true identity, do they become aware that neither of them had adequately named it – even if neither of them was wrong, either. This small square book is a handcrafted treasure with simple, two-colour pictures printed in silkscreen technique. Each picture depicts only that part of the mysterious object, which perfectly matches the respective person's description; thus, it leaves the readers as puzzled as the protagonists. The pictures and the short calligraphic text, written on handmade paper, and the small bag in which this book is sold, make it a special treat for children and book collectors alike. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 34
Blackman, Malorie
Noughts & Crosses
London [et al.] : Doubleday, 2001. 446 p.
ISBN 0-385-60008-9
Class society – Discrimination – Justice – Terrorism – Love
Sephy and Callum have always been best friends; but their friendship and growing love is threatened in this fictional class society. Being a Cross, Sephy, the daughter of an ambitious and ruthless politician, leads a comfortable life, whereas Callum's family are noughts, second class citizens, who have hardly any rights. When Callum and three other nought teenagers are accepted into Sephy's high school as a test case, hostilities break out and she suddenly finds herself forced to take sides. Confronted with hatred and prejudices from both noughts and Crosses, Sephy's naïve view of the world changes rapidly. In the end, when Callum's fight for justice fails and Sephy is left with their unborn child, she sets her hopes on a better future. Through the reversal of traditional roles – the ruling Crosses are black while the suppressed noughts are white – this thought-provoking novel of racism, discrimination and love encourages the readers to challenge traditional conventions. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 35
Blake, Quentin (text/illus.)
Tell me a picture
London : National Gallery Co., 2001. [ca. 120] p.
ISBN 1-85709-930-3
Arts – Artist – Painting – Museum
In 1999, while Quentin Blake was Britain's first Children's Laureate, he initiated an unusual exhibition in London's National Gallery. He selected 26 paintings by famous artists and well-known illustrators and arranged them on the museum walls (at a child's eye-level) in alphabetical order from Avercamp to Lisbeth Zwerger. On the walls between all these art works, he painted crowds of children looking at the pictures and added their comments. The children's typical straightforward remarks invited Gallery visitors to express their own spontaneous feelings about the paintings. This book »recreates« the exhibition, adding suggestions of how to use the book and giving further information about the artists and their pictures in a short appendix. (6+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 36
Doyle, Malachy (text)
Hess, Paul (illus.)
Hungry! Hungry! Hungry!
London : Andersen Press, 2000. [28] p.
ISBN 0-86264-928-5
Boy – Monster – Goblin – Eating – Fear
The two protagonists of this humorous picture book, a small boy and a »grisly, ghastly goblin« are certainly having a weird conversation reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood's talking to the wolf. The large-format colourful illustrations depict the scenes from unusual angles, zoom in on the ugly green goblin and out again, and follow the monster chasing the boy through all of the rooms of his cozy home; thus, they highlight the child's growing uneasiness and fear about being eaten. The monster's repetitive chant »Hungry! Hungry! Hungry! «, set in huge letters printed in bold type, further increases the tension – until it is suddenly resolved into a completely unexpected and highly amusing twist. (4+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 37
Ibbotson, Eva
Journey to the River Sea
London [et al.] : Macmillan Children's Books, 2001. 296 p.
ISBN 0-333-94740-1
Orphan – Amazonas/1910 – Indians/Brazil – Adventure
Two years after her parents' death, Maia's guardian has finally managed to dig up some distant relatives. Therefore, Maia suddenly finds herself whisked away from her safe girls' school in London and put onto a ship heading for the Amazonas jungle. Her excitement and curiosity, however, are soon smothered. Arrogant and greedy Mrs. Carter and her mean, envious twin daughters make Maia's life miserable. Nevertheless, when Maia befriends an Indian boy and helps him escape from two dreadful »head-hunters«, the long-awaited adventures finally begin. Set in the 1910s, the engaging novel easily transports readers back in time. The humorous language and the slightly ironic characterisation, make this gripping adventure story an entertaining read. (10+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 38
Kelly, Mij (text)
Jay, Alison (illus.)
William and the night-train
London : Hodder Children's Books, 2000. [26] p
ISBN 0-340-73308-x; 0-340-73250-4
Boy – Sleep – Waking up
Everybody aboard the night-train is sleeping – except wide-awake William. He is so anxious to get to tomorrow as quickly as possible that he squirms and kicks and runs around waiting for the train to take off. Kelly's short lines of text and Jay's characteristic vibrant pictures brimming with funny details perfectly capture William's excitement and restlessness. Painted in rich warm colours, an absurd accumulation of people, animals, and objects are crowded together inside the train, such as a boxer in leopard-trousers, an elephant with two monkeys on its back, and a huge ice-cream cone. Children will eagerly follow William around the train, and maybe, just like William, they may finally fall asleep. (3+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 39
McCaughrean, Geraldine
The kite rider
Oxford [et al.] : Oxford Univ. Press, 2001. 212 p.
ISBN 0-19-271860-6
China/13th century – Mongols – Rebellion – Father – Death – Obedience – Circus
Twelve-year old Hayou grows up in a society based on strict obedience and respect towards the elders – values he never dares to question. But after his father's death life becomes extremely difficult. Joining the Jade Circus as its new attraction – he rides a kite among the clouds – offers him a chance to escape from his problems, travel the country, and earn his own money. In this engaging novel, McCaughrean convincingly describes the hero's feelings and adventures, making the readers experience life in 13th century China through the eyes of a young boy who is constantly exploited by his greedy uncle and learns, step by step, that it is always better to rely on your own judgement than to blindly obey other people. (12+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 40
Rai, Bali
(Un)arranged marriage
London [et al.] : Corgi Books, 2001. 271 p.
ISBN 0-552-54734-4
England – India/Punjab – Multicultural society – Family – Traditional education – Conflict
Manjiit, or Manny as he calls himself, was born in Leicester into a strictly traditional Punjabi family. His father, a proud man with a lot of racial prejudice, expects his sons to honour the old family traditions and, if necessary, he will use force to make them obey. But Manny wants more from life than an arranged marriage at seventeen and a future set out for him by his parents. His anger and frustration are easily shared by the readers as they follow Manny's fight to free himself from family expectations and live his own life – even if this means a complete break with his family. Although the teenage slang seems strained at times, the author's fresh style and the quick pace of the narration make this a strong first novel. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 41
Spates, Tracy V.
Picture the world : children's art around the globe
London : Milet, 2001. 63 p.
ISBN 1-84059-296-6
Children's art – Cultural diversity – Everyday life
This large-format book does not only contain fascinating examples of children's art, it actually takes the reader on an informative journey around the world, visiting eight different countries. In each chapter, several pictures created by children of the respective country are presented. In addition, a small map, photographs of people, buildings, animals, etc., as well as examples of local folk art offer a brief introduction to the countries with small units of text providing further insights. Each section ends with a suggestion for an interesting arts activity for children to try out. This is a truly innovative and enjoyable way of looking at cultural diversity around the globe and enhancing children's creativity. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 42
Tadjo, Véronique (ed./illus.)
Talking drums : a selection of poems from Africa South of the Sahara
London : Black, 2000. 96 p.
ISBN 0-7136-5815-0; 0-7136-5397-3
Sub-Saharan Africa – Poetry – Animals – Independence
»Talking Drums« is a vivid collection of traditional and contemporary African poetry beautifully illustrated by Véronique Tadjo. Her black ink drawings, reminiscent of traditional African paintings, perfectly complement the short moving verses. Arranged in seven chapters entitled Our Universe, The Animal Kingdom, Love and Celebrations, People, Death, Pride and Defiance, and The Changing Times, this collection tells the story of Africa, its creation and history, its people and their fight for independence, from an African point of view. The authors' love for their countries can easily be perceived in each text. A map of Africa and a glossary of African words are added for further information. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 43
Ward, Helen (text)
Anderson, Wayne (illus.)
The tin forest
Dorking, Surrey : Templar Publ., 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 1-84011-311-1
Loneliness – Dream – Happiness
»There was once a wide, windswept place, near nowhere and close to forgotten, that was filled with all the things that no one wanted.« The old man living in this sad grey place dreams of turning it into a beautiful tropical forest. Step by step, he creates a jungle of tin trees, flowers, and animals, and – because he never stops dreaming – his dearest wish finally comes true. Ward's quiet and poetic text is perfectly complemented by Anderson's stunning colour-pencil drawings. The monochrome illustrations at the beginning ingeniously depict the garbage heap's icy greyness and the tin forest's artificiality. With the arrival of the first two real birds, however, the setting is slowly transformed into a colourful garden of joy and happiness. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 49
Slade, Arthur
Dust
Toronto, Ontario : HarperCollins, 2001. 168 p.
(Young adult fiction)
ISBN 0-00-648593-6
Coming of age – Imagination – The Evil – Reality/Fantasy
»You are on the cusp […] between boy and man, the dreaming and the reality«. That's what Abram Harsich, an uncanny stranger who mesmerises a little Saskatchewan prairie town, explains to Robert. The eleven-year-old still possesses the deep intuitive understanding of a child which allows him to unravel the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of his little brother. But he equally has the strength to confront Harsich, who steals children to collect their »dust« – their souls. In this intellectually and emotionally engaging novel, Slade masterfully explores this realm of transition in which the boundaries between reality and fantasy blur. He draws on elements from horror tales and science fiction, fantasy and coming-of-age stories. Action-packed and yet full of reflexion, Slade's writing brims with dazzling imagery and literary references ranging from the Bible to science fiction. This is a thrilling page-turner of high literary quality. (12+)
(Governor General's Award; 2001)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 50
Swanson, Diane (text)
Clark, Warren (illus.)
Nibbling on Einstein's brain : the good, the bad & the bogus in science
Toronto [et al.] : Annick Press, 2001. 104 p.
ISBN 1-55037-686-1; 1-55037-687-x
Science – Fraud in science – Scientific literacy
Science determines many choices we make and the way we understand the world. However, not everything that looks like science is reliable. It is difficult to distinguish between sound science that is based on proper research and phony science that is false or misleading. That is why this book advocating scientific literacy is particularly welcome. It doesn't give answers but shows what questions to ask. It doesn't accumulate facts but demonstrates how to evaluate them. It's a guide to critical thinking, teaching awareness of media and mind traps. Swanson's accessible writing, Clark's zany illustrations and the effective layout make this book – complete with assignments, index, glossary, and references – an enjoyable interactive read. (12+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 51
Toten, Teresa
The game
Calgary, Alberta : Red Deer Press, 2001. 208 p.
ISBN 0-88995-232-9
Emotional trauma – Guilt – Friendship
Fragmented memories trouble Dani's mind as she regains consciousness in Riverwood Psychiatric Clinic. Distant ones of her loving mother, haunting ones of her father, and powerful ones of the »Game« she and her sister Kelly used to play – a game of Good against Evil which holds the key to her emotional trauma. With the help of Doctor Thurber and new friends, Dani can finally confront it. Toten effectively explores various narrative techniques to convey the psychological complexity of guilt, angst, craving for love and acceptance: nonlinear unfolding of the plot, shifting points-ofview, inclusion of letters and interviews. In short: a stirring, well-crafted novel. (16+)
(Governor General's Award; 2001, Finalist)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 52
Watt, Mélanie (text/illus.)
Leon the chameleon
Toronto, ON [et al.] : Kids Can Press, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55074-867-x
Difference – Colour – Loneliness
Leon the chameleon is different from all the other chameleons. On a green leaf, he turns red, on yellow sand, he turns purple, and in the blue pond, he turns orange. No wonder Leon feels lonely! Apart from illustrating the principles of complementary colours in a strikingly original way (the book started off as a university project on colour theory), Leon himself learns an important lesson: What makes him different is also what makes him special. Watt's vibrant acrylic and black ink illustrations perfectly capture Leon's moods and strongly bring the message of acceptance and self-confidence across. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 54
An, Na
A step from heaven
Asheville, NC : Front Street, 2001. 156 p.
ISBN 1-886910-58-8
America – Immigration – Alcoholism – Poverty – Coming of age – Multicultural society
When four-year-old Young Ju's family emigrate from Korea to America, she firmly believes they are going to heaven. Soon, however, she comes to realize that life in this foreign country is going to be all but »heavenly«. She is torn between her desire to assimilate and to obey her father who is determined to strictly hold on to Korean traditions. The short chapters, written in a powerful authentic language, give a compelling portrait of the family's struggle against poverty and disappointments, especially against the father's growing despair and violent alcoholism. Despite the family's bitter loss when the father finally leaves them to return to Korea, the engaging novel ends on a hopeful note with the mother and brother buying their own home and Young Ju looking forward to studying. An Na's moving narration inevitably draws the readers into her story and makes them share the protagonist's painful growth from a shy and fearful little girl into a confident young woman. (12+) ☆
(Michael L. Printz Award; 2002)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 55
Deans, Sis Boulos
Racing the past
New York, NY : Holt, 2001. 151 p.
ISBN 0-8050-6635-7
Father – Son – Alcoholism – Violence – Death – Bullying – Running
At first, running all the way to school and back each day is simply a way of avoiding school bully Bugsie's attacks. Yet, one day Ricky realizes that running also helps him to cope with his own problems. A mixture of present thoughts and past memories welling up inside the boy provide a deep insight into the family's extremely painful life. Through his running, Ricky starts fighting the memories of his dead father's alcoholic rages and regular beatings which still haunt him and his younger brother Matt. The engaging emotional narration also reveals that he is fed up with being the town's scapegoat for anything bad that happens. So when he finally manages to race the schoolbus, he wins in more than just one way. (10+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 56
Hesse, Karen
Witness
New York : Scholastic Press, 2001. 161 p.
ISBN 0-439-27199-1
Vermont/1924 – Racism – KuKluxKlan – Everyday life
In 1924, when the KuKluxKlan settles down in a small Vermont village, hatred suddenly spreads among formerly friendly neighbours. The father of little Esther, a Jewish girl, is shot at, the well belonging to the Sutters, an Afro-American family, is only just saved from poisoning, and law-abiding citizens are turned into criminals. Award-winning author Karen Hesse makes eleven ordinary village people voice their secret feelings in a uniquely convincing and touching language. Written in free verse, the short texts illuminate the events from different angles and implicitly comment on each other. The small black-and-white photographs of the protagonists at the beginning of the book lend authenticity to the short novel. (10+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 57
Hoose, Phillip M.
We were there, too! : young people in US history
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001. VII, 264 p.
(Melanie Kroupa books)
ISBN 0-374-38252-2
America <USA>/1492-2000 – Development – Young people
There is certainly no shortage of books about American heroes who have contributed to the history of the USA since its discovery more than 500 years ago. Hardly any of these books, though, mention the role that young people played in it or honours their amazing achievements. Hoose now comes to their rescue. In chronologically arranged chapters, each with its own introduction, this extraordinary book brings to life the boys who sailed with Columbus, the Cherokee girl who developed a written language for her people, or the »newsies« (small boys and girls selling newspapers on the streets) whose strike almost brought down the big publishers. Black-and-white photographs, maps, and memorabilia accompany the well-written, informative text. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 58
Horvath, Polly
Everything on a waffle
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001. 149 p.
ISBN 0-374-32236-8
Orphan – Foster home
Deep in her heart, eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp simply knows that her parents have not drowned in that terrible typhoon. In a uniquely confident voice, the orphan herself talks about life with old mothball-scented Miss Perfidy, who usually leaves the room in the middle of Primrose's sentences, and about her new home with adventure-loving Uncle Jack. Luckily enough, there is always Miss Bowzer at her small restaurant, The Girl on the Red Swing, where everything is served on a waffle. She lends an open ear to all of Primrose's problems and offers advice as well as a number of delicious recipes. Canadian author Polly Horvath's lovable heroine, and all the other eccentric characters, will win over the readers of this magnificent novel in no time at all. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 59
Janeczko, Paul B. (select.)
Raschka, Chris (illus.)
A poke in the i : [a collection of concrete poems]
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2001. 35 p.
ISBN 0-7636-0661-8
Poetry
This hilarious anthology presents a selection of concrete poems from the last four decades ranging from simple to complex ones, from a single word to longer texts, from nonsensical lines to serious and thought-provoking poetry. The poems are arranged on a new page each and are perfectly complemented by Chris Raschka's stunning illustrations. His vivid collages of rich watercolours, ink, and patterned paper torn into different shapes, lend freshness to the poems, often adding new meanings to them or giving them an unexpected twist. Pictures and poems alike will inspire young (as well as older) readers to play with the language and let their imagination lead them to new horizons. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 60
Scieszka, Jon (text)
Smith, Lane (illus.)
Baloney (Henry P.)
(<Proper name>)
New York, NY [et al.] : Viking, 2001. [36] p.
ISBN 0-670-89248-3
School – Being late – Excuse – Imagination
Although Henry P. Baloney obviously lives on some foreign planet, he is faced with a very common human problem: He desperately needs a believable excuse for being late for his class. The cheeky little green lad, however, quickly comes up with such an absurd and confusing story that his stern-looking teacher cannot but marvel at his imagination. The numerous weird-sounding expressions taken from 13 different languages (such as Finnish, Swahili, or Esperanto) as well as the imaginative mixed-media illustrations, which depict an alien world in varying formats, further add to the tale's crazy and funny atmosphere. (6+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 61
Turner, Sandy (illus.)
Silent night
New York, NY [et al.] : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2001. [34] p.
ISBN 0-689-84156-6
Christmas – Santa Claus – Invisibility – Dog
As its name suggests, the Silent Night is supposed to be peaceful and quiet. The small white dog in this picture book without text, however, furiously tries to make the sleeping family notice a particularly brazen »burglar«. Unfortunately, the intruder in his bright red cloak is invisible to everyone but the dog. This barking security guard gets so carried away by its own agitation that one double-page is completely covered in barks. Sandy Turner's turbulent sketchy black charcoal drawings on a creamcoloured background ingeniously depict the dog's desperate attempts to corner the enemy (the dog is often drawn in various positions within the same cartoon-like picture) and the family's wordless astonishment at their pet's incomprehensible behaviour. Simply hilarious! (3+) ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 62
Waldman, Neil (text/illus.)
They came from the Bronx : how the buffalo were saved from extinction
Honesdale, Pa. : Boyds Mills Press, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 1-56397-891-1
Indians/USA – Buffalo – Extinction – White settlers – Wildlife conservation
This impressive large-format picture book opens with an elderly Comanche woman; while sitting on an Oklahoma hilltop with her small grandson in 1907, she recalls her people's former way of life, the importance of the buffalo, and the animal's near extinction by the Whites. On every other page, her narration is interrupted by a second story commemorating the efforts of a group of Wildlife Conservationists to bring the American bison back from the brink of extinction. In order to achieve their aims, they ship a herd of buffalos from the Bronx Zoo to the plains of Oklahoma. The unusual earth-colour illustrations in the style of old handcoloured photographs graphically unite both stories while lending historical authenticity to the informative and engaging text. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 63
Wiesner, David (text/illus.)
The three pigs
New York : Clarion Books, 2001. [40] p.
ISBN 0-618-00701-6
Fairytale – Pig – Wolf – Adventure
Everybody knows the story of the three little pigs. In this hilarious new version of the classic fairy tale, however, when the big bad wolf arrives to blow down the houses and swallow the poor little chaps, a big surprise awaits him. The pigs have jumped out of their own story onto the dazzling white pages of the book. They fold the page with the puzzled wolf into a paper plane, and embark on new adventures. David Wiesner's ingenious illustrations show the cartoon-like pigs suddenly turn into »real-life« ones. They grow fur, climb into different traditional stories, liberate new friends on their way, and ultimately control their own fate. The discrepancy between the well-known text and the illustrations, which picture an altogether different story, reveals the author's humorous play with conventions. (4+)
(Randolph Caldecott Medal; 2002)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 64
Wolff, Virginia Euwer
True believer
New York, NY [et al.] : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2001. 264 p.
ISBN 0-689-82827-6
School – Friendship – Coming of age – Love – Lower social class
In this powerful and riveting sequel to »Make Lemonade «, Verna La Vaughn ponders over all of life's absurdities and obstacles, wondering why life at fifteen can't be as easy as it used to be when she was a little girl. Her best friends, Myrtle and Annie, have recently joined some dubious religious club, the boy she is in love with turns out to be gay, her mother has to work hard to save money for LaVaughn's future at college, while she herself isn't quite sure yet whether going to Grammar-Build-Up classes is really worth slipping away from her familiar background. In this touching novel Wolff uses the unusual form of free verse, lending an immediacy to the girl's inner feelings and doubts which the readers easily understand. (14+)
(Michael L. Printz Award Honour Book; 2002)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2002 - 67
Auer, Martin (text)
Wolfsgruber, Linda (illus.)
Prinzessin Rotznase
(Princess Snotty-Nose)
Weitra : Publ. P No. 1, Bibliothek der Provinz, 2001. [64] p.
(Kunst)
ISBN 3-85252-375-3
Princess – Example – Imitation – Dependence
Because of their psychological dependence on others, the protagonists of this picture book act very weirdly. A high-ranking person does something impertinent and immediately everybody imitates that behaviour in some form: When the proud princess refuses to blow her nose, the prince does not want to comb his hair anymore, the king stops washing himself, the magician tears his clothes, etc. etc. And in the end, to make matters worse, the fool even intends to let himself be eaten by the crocodile – only because of the other people's foolishness. Luckily enough, the story ends happily for both the fool and the crocodile. The various mixedmedia collages, are set off against a uniform background resembling a table on which all the protagonists meet. The text is partly hand-written, partly printed. The arrangement of text and pictures, full of sudden breaks and leaps, underscores the absurdity of the action. Despite its serious background, this interactive book also invites its readers to play. (Cut-out dolls are included) (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2002 - 68
Janisch, Heinz (text)
Bansch, Helga (illus.)
Es gibt so Tage ...
(There are those days ...)
Wien : Jungbrunnen, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 3-7026-5734-7
Girl – Everyday life – Imagination – Mood
There are certain days ... when the world seems all topsy-turvy. Maybe, one should indeed think about Merike's interpretation of reality as presented in the creative and lively pictures: Isn't it true that sometimes everybody seems to walk on stilts or stand on their heads (at least inwardly)? Doesn't the city really seem like a huge jungle at times? And, on the bright side, doesn't everyone get a kiss once in a while? Doesn't everybody feel the need to lean on somebody, to stare into the air, or to show a special trick to someone? On those days ... when she rather stays in bed, Merike invents her own stories. This book offers its readers almost endless possibilities for dreaming on and on. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2002 - 69
Laube, Sigrid
Der unterbrochene Ton
(The interrupted sound)
Wien [et al.] : Jungbrunnen, 2001. 270 p.
ISBN 3-7026-5736-3
Vienna/1938-1939 – Upper classes – Jews – Family – Daughter – National Socialism – Persecution of the Jews – Emigration
This is a story told in flashbacks: In 1947, while travelling to her father who emigrated overseas, Clara remembers the life-threatening incidents of 1938 and 1939 and the momentous changes to her daily life in Vienna during her childhood. In the course of these events, a well-guarded family secret could not be kept any longer: to protect her children, Clara's non-Jewish mother reveals that the father of Clara and her siblings, a friend of the family, is »Aryan«. Their deeply-loved Jewish dad is not the natural father. The children do not understand their parents' actions anymore. Yet, such family matters fade into the background in the face of the real-life horrors. This is a moving novel based on an authentic story and written with a profound knowledge of historical details. (12+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2002 - 70
Said (text)
Kretschmann, Moidi (illus.)
Clara
(<Proper name>)
St. Pölten [et al.] : NP, 2001. [24] p.
ISBN 3-85326-243-0
Scarecrow – Raven – Uselessness – Loneliness – Fear – Friendship – Age
Clara feels very lonely – until, one day, a raven comes along, who tells her about the whole wide world. As Clara is afraid of the dark – a very embarrassing thing for a scarecrow – she asks the raven to stay with her. The urbane bird, however, intends to fetch her the moon from the sky to light up the night. Yet, since Clara would definitely prefer her new friend's company, she is not really disappointed when his big plan fails. Clara names the raven, who has never had a name before, Jakob and they stay together. The illustrations with their large white spaces make Clara's loneliness evident and picture two slightly dishevelled but happy friends. (6+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2002 - 71
Thüminger, Rosemarie
Elena
(<Proper name>)
Wien : Dachs-Verl., 2001. 139 p.
ISBN 3-85191-223-3
Friendship – Drug abuse – Coming of age
Elena and her brother get on very well. Therefore, his invitation to join him and his girlfriend Susette on a trip to Amsterdam sounds very attractive to Elena, even if she does not have a particularly good relationship with Susette, a spoiled young woman. Of course, she doesn't have any idea that Susette is a drug addict and intends to abuse her for smuggeling drugs. After a while, the young woman's psychological situation becomes more and more desperate; eventually, she freezes to death in the mountains, intoxicated with alcohol and drugs. Elena sees and shares her brother's despair. Due to these events, she matures and grows into a responsible young woman. In an unspectacular style, the author convincingly relates the conflicts of young people from different social backgrounds. (14+)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2002 - 106
Waechter, Friedrich Karl (text/illus.)
Steinhauers Fuß : ein Märchen
(The stonemason's foot : a fairy tale)
Zürich : Diogenes, 2001. 57 p.
ISBN 3-257-02073-2
Princess – Worker – Social inequality – Love – Test – Self-affirmation
This is a fairytale about the fortunate love between a princess and a simple stonemason who defeats Death to win her over. Both the king, who had planned to sacrifice the young man, and Death, who only gets the challenger's foot, feel they have been deceived. Yet, even military force cannot separate the two lovers again. The cut-off foot thoroughly kicks and tramples the soldiers and then voluntarily grows back unto its owner's leg. Life triumphs over death. Linocuts, in the style of Art Nouveau and Art Déco, demonstrate the dramatical events with a lot of artistic verve. Short and powerful sentences and dialogues correspond to the rhythm of the pictures. The overall design – heavy chamoix-coloured paper, almost full-page illustrations with units of text harmoniously placed on the pages – will have a great impact on the reader. (10+)

Special Mention - Morocco (French) - 2002 - 109
Bousquet, Charlotte (text)
Lahrech, Noureddine (illus.)
Le défi de Zaïna
(A challenge for Zaïna)
Hay Riad, Rabat : Ed. Yomad, 2001. 151 p.
(Yemma junior)
ISBN 9954-0-0037-2
Morocco – Female teenager – Riding horse – Patriarchy – Social criticism – Emancipation
For three years, Zaïna and her horse Ijouane have participated in horse races. Together they have earned some fame. As the first female jockey in a patriarchal society, however, the orphan girl frequently meets with ridicule and envy. One day, a fire endangers the life of Ijouane. Despite her guardian's disapproval and that of Tarik, who wants to marry her, Zaïna gets her horse back on its feet and continues to work with it. In Marakesh, a last challenge awaits the two friends at the »Los Atlas Fuegos«, a group of trick riders: They ask them to jump through a burning loop. The relationship between Zaïna, who immediately arouses the readers' affections, and her horse will certainly appeal to animal lovers. Full of courage, the girl faces all the difficulties and commits herself wholeheartedly to her profession. This exciting, but also critical novel denounces the faults of a patriarchal society which discriminates against women. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2002 - 130
Serres, Alain (text)
Zaü (illus.)
Le premier livre de toutes nos couleurs
(The first book of all our colours)
[Paris]: Rue du Monde, 2001. 91 p.
(Les premiers livres)
ISBN 2-912084-52-0
International understanding – Tolerance – Solidarity – Racism
»Your chocolate is African, your numbers are Arabic, and your letters are Latin ...« In 2001, the International Year against Racism, these words by the author convey a message of tolerance and solidarity. In eleven chapters, the book presents the world's great variety. The author points out some of the violent events of the past, such as driving out the Red Indians, the slave trade in Africa, the persecution of the Jews. He then moves on to current problems in the world, mentioning the immigrants' difficulties of integration, among many others. Additional information is presented in small, coloured boxes. Black-and-white photographs, pictures in bright colours, historic illustrations, and the overall design of the book illustrate the world's colourfulness and its diversity. The author's words address the child readers directly and, by offering various activities for them to try out, he inspires them to think independently. (5+) ☆

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

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

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

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

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+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 2002 - 159
Grobéty, Anne-Lise
Le temps des mots à voix basse
(The time of the quiet words)
Genève : La Joie de Lire, 2001. 71 p.
ISBN 2-88258-207-2
Friendship – Persecution of the Jews
The grown-up first-person narrator of this short tale remembers his childhood: Among two boys and their fathers a close friendship evolves. The fathers enjoy sitting in their garden, laughing together, drinking a glass of wine, and writing poems. Nothing seems to threaten their happiness. Yet, all of a sudden, an unfamiliar and brutal voice drowns out the sounds and voices of their formerly peaceful world. Without understanding anything, the child is forced to witness the gradual breakdown of his familiar surroundings. Why, for example, is his friend suddenly not allowed to go to school anymore? Readers immediately recognise the terrors of Nazism. Written from a point of view which lends particular emphasis to the threatening sounds, the vivid language pictures the horrible events descending upon the boy. Thus, a poetic text is created which looks at a well-known topic from a different angle and prevents readers from forgetting these horrors. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2002 - 160
Bodoc, Liliana
Los días del Venado : la saga de los confines
(The days of the stag : epic of the lands at the end of the world)
Buenos Aires [et al.] : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2001. (3. ed.) 322 p.
(Otros mundos)
ISBN 987-9334-90-6
The Good – The Evil – Freedom – Cultural conflict – America/Conquest
This gripping fantasy narrates the clash of two worlds and cultures. Following a prophecy of their Holy Scriptures, the people of the »Fertile Lands« await the arrival of representatives of the »Ancient Lands«. Contrary to what they expected, however, these do not come with peaceful intentions but as conquerors who want to destroy anything foreign to them. The invaders, led by the »Son of Death«, threaten to be the victors in a terrible battle – had it not been for a warrior who sacrifices himself for the freedom of the »Fertile Lands«. The author creates settings, characters, and plots with a great deal of imagination and skill, so that the reader is inextricably drawn into this fictional world. Many allusions also make this a novel about the discovery and conquest of the Americas, told from the point of view – in real history – of the vanquished. (14+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2002 - 175
Lamontagne, Ann
Les mémoires interdites
(The forbidden memories)
Hull (Québec) : Éd. Vents d'Ouest, 2001. 205 p.
(Roman ado ; 34 : Drame)
ISBN 2-89537-022-2
Memory – Identity – Creativity – Plagiarism
Grégoire wants to be a writer. His imagination and talent seem phenomenal until a big scandal at the young writers' competition reveals that he possesses an infallible memory instead: Word by word he had reproduced Saint Exupéry's »The Little Prince« without realising it! Accused of plagiarism and knowing that his ideas are no longer his, Grégoire has to confront the darker sides of memory before he can painfully regain his threatened identity and liberate his imagination. In her first novel, published in the award-winning »Roman ado« series, Lamontagne masterfully renders the characters and the setting. Taking up the French literary tradition of reflections on memory, she shows how identity and creativity are at the very core of it. References to literary works and insights into the workings of memory will inspire the read- ers to explore the realms of literature and science on their own. (12+)
(Governor General's Award ; 2001 ; Shortlist)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2002 - 176
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Favreau, Marie-Claude (illus.)
La petite fille qui ne souriait plus
(The little girl who no longer smiled)
Saint-Laurent (Québec): Soulières Éd., 2001. 50 p.
(Ma petite vache a mal aux pattes ; 29)
ISBN 2-922225-58-5
Child abuse
This little book has the courage to address one of the greatest taboos of children's literature: child abuse. Nathalie is oppressed by a terrible secret. The man who causes her anxiety has told her no one would love her anymore once they knew the truth. All she can do is long for a soap that cleans people's inside. Finally, an observant art teacher discovers Nathalie's secret and helps her confront it. Tibo's sensitive, simple style and Favreau's sketchy yet gentle illustrations set this book apart from purely issue-oriented problem novels. (6+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 181
Mogensen, Jan (text/illus.)
Sulliman Ahmed Beduins eventyr
(The adventures of the Bedouin Sulliman Ahmed)
[Bagsværd] : Carlsen, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 87-562-8740-2
International understanding – Hospitality
An average Danish family on holiday in the desert needs help to get their car started again. The old Bedouin Sulliman Ahmed helps them with his camel and invites the whole family into his tent afterwards. Later, the family is back home, everything was wonderful. Suddenly, Ahmed and his camel knock on the door of the Danish home; a most unwelcome surprise for the parents who have invited some guests for this evening; and besides …. The children, however, are delighted to see their old friend again and ask him to stay. He is the centre of attention at the party and they all fraternise with each other. Back home in the desert, Ahmed looks at his photographs, smiling, and thinks: Allah is great. Using friendly and uncomplicated pictures, Mogensen tells a story that today still remains a dream, although an amiable one. You have to start with the children if you want the world to become a better place – that's what Jella Lepman, founder of the International Youth Library, said. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 182
Rostrup, Anders (text)
Kjærgaard, Anna Margarethe (illus.)
Børges bedste bryster
(The most beautiful breasts for Børge)
København : Høst & Søn, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 87-14-19800-2
Child – Curiosity – Female breasts
Børge, a small boy, plays with his mother's breasts, which he considers the most beautiful breasts in the world. Yet, when his father heedlessly tells him that the world is full of wonderful breasts and that he only needs to reach out for them, young Børge takes this literally. Accordingly, he soon gets into embarrassing situations with several ladies. This enables the illustrator to present a conglomeration of most unusual shapes in her first picture book, including those of two men. Apart from providing information about the facts of life, this book also explains to children in a witty way why they cannot do whatever they please without considering other people's feelings. (5+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 183
Rostrup, Anders (text)
Riis, Claus (illus.)
Brødrene Brormand
(The Brormand Brothers)
[København] : Forum, 2001. 86 p.
(Zik zak zoom)
ISBN 87-553-3093-2
Siblings – Brotherly love – Everyday life
First-person narrator Stig often feels embarrassed about his seven-year-old brother. The little lad's behaviour is inappropriate and not quite childlike, especially when he presents his »You-know-what« to everybody and even pulls down his trousers at the royal palace. Nevertheless, Stig's love for his little brother remains strong because the small boy proves to be surprisingly sensitive when Stig picks up his first girlfriend. The funny stories, with their exaggerated caricatures perfectly matching the overall style, allow the readers to gain an insight into a rather unusual family – even for modern Denmark – consisting of a mother, two children, and two fathers. Hardly less unusual is the demanding series of books among which this title is published, aimed at rousing the readers' interest in literature. (7+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 184
Helakisa, Kaarina (text)
Hieta, Heli (illus.)
Mies joka halusi nähdä koko maailman
(The man who wanted to see the whole world)
Helsinki : Otava, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 951-1-17607-2
Life – Dream – World trip
With this interpretation of a story from Kaarina Helakisa's fairtyale collection »Lasilinna« (»The castle of glass«, 1986), young illustrator Heli Hieta gives a new view of travelling. A very curious man dreams of seeing the whole world. He finds out all schedules and makes plans, but after a while he worries that he might never have enough time to visit all the places he wants to go to. At first, the globe he sees in his dreams seems huge, but little by little it gets smaller. And so do his dreams. In the end, he realises that he does not need to travel to all the places to notice that there is a difference between his dreams and reality. Hieta's surrealistic and harmonious colour illustrations leave room for the imagination. They also entice readers to think about life and time. (7+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 185
Juvonen, Riikka (text/illus.)
Laulava susi
(The singing wolf)
Helsinki : Lasten Keskus, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 951-627-355-6
Outsider – Tolerance
Author and illustrator Riikka Juvonen has a long career in children's literature. Her new picture book tells the story of the wolf cub Kultasilmä (Golden Eye), who tries hard to learn to howl like the other wolves. Yet, to everybody's astonishment and dismay, he sings like a bird. This extraordinary quality makes him an outsider. He is driven away to the cold forest where he learns to perform magical tricks. Very soon, he is accepted back to the pack and becomes the hero of the forest. Juvonen deals with problematic topics, such as difference and tolerance, and shows how everybody's life may be enriched and full of happiness. The accompanying illustrations are sensitive and show a lot of sympathy for the lively characters who have strong personalities. (4+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 186
Kokko, Yrjö (text)
Segercrantz, Kristina (illus.)
Pessi ja Illusia : satu
(Pessi and Illusia <Proper names>)
Porvoo : Söderström, 2001. 240 p.
ISBN 951-0-26013-4
The Good – The Evil – Friendship – Love – Tolerance
This fantasy novel, which describes the friendship and love between a troll and an elf, was written while the author was on the frontline in 1944. It can be read as an allegory of war. War problems are mirrored in the relationship between pessimis- tic troll Pessi and optimistic elf Illusia, who comes from the land of the rainbow. The central topic is the relationship between nature and humans, as well as that between children and the war. This newly-illustrated edition raises the problem of the dialectic of Good and Evil, of weak and strong, by resorting to the law of nature, where the stronger beings always dominate the weak ones. This problem is still of importance today and will continue to be so. Illustrator Kristina Segercrantz lends a personal touch and spirit to the story and its characters. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 187
Mikkanen, Raili
Aavikoiden seikkailija
(The adventurer of the desert)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2001. 100 p.
ISBN 951-31-2244-1
Wallin, Georg August – Arabia/1843 – Expedition
In this youth novel, children read about the voyage of Finnish explorer Georg August Wallin (1811- 1853), who was world-famous for his expeditions to the Arab countries. Wallin, an anthropologist and scientist, collected the knowledge of the Arabic life, language, and culture. This novel employs a mixture of facts and fiction to recall the first dangerous voyage Wallin embarked on in 1843. Mikkanen's exotic and exciting story describes the valuable hand-made old book that Wallin searches for and wants to bring home with him. To carry out his plan, he joins a caravan and rides through the desert. During the hard and dangerous voyage the explorer suffers under the heat and survives several robberies. (8+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 188
Poutanen, Kira (text)
Ihana meri
(The wonderful sea)
Helsinki : Otava, 2001. 185 p.
ISBN 951-1-17626-9
Anorexia
This first book by Kira Poutanen, a young Finnish actress and translator living in Paris, deals with the difficult topic of anorexia. Julia, an anorectic teenager, simply wants to be perfect. She competes with her classmates for the greatest success at school and hides her femininity inside a painfully skinny body. Exhausting exercises and gymnastics are part of her everyday routine. By meticulously observing her own body and closely controlling the amount of food she eats, Julia is inevitably drawn into the dangerous spheres of her illness. Poutanen describes Julia's inner world and thoughts in the form of a diary written in a deeply metaphorical language. (13+)
(Finland Junior Prize ; 2001)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 189
Timonen, Eija (text)
Kurkinen, Maileena (illus.)
Riimurasia : tarinoita noidista, peikoista ja muista oudista olioista
(The box of stories : tales about witches, trolls, and other strange creatures)
Helsinki : Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2001. 111 p.
(Totta ja tarua)
ISBN 951-746-261-1
Folktales/Finland
Eija Timonen has collected and rewritten a number of Finnish folktales, in particular tales concerning popular beliefs. This box of tales contains exciting stories about strange creatures, such as trolls, treasure- seekers, ghosts, witches, and giants. These characters are typical stereotypes appearing in many Finnish tales of belief. A particularly common motif among these tales is that of the »switched baby« when a child is stolen by a troll, who in return leaves his own child with the human family. The colourful illlustrations by Maileena Kurkinen are filled with warmth and grotesque humour. (7+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 193
Sande, Hans (text)
Nordberg, Harald (illus.)
Fuglejenta
(Bird girl)
[Oslo] : Gyldendal Tiden, 2001. [36] p.
ISBN 82-05-29508-5
Persecution – Rescue – Ungratefulness – Hubris – Arrogance – Punishment – Peace – Striving for peace
One day, a group of people living in a coastal region is attacked by foreign soldiers. The people manage to escape but they suffer from hunger and thirst, until some huge birds show them the way to a paradise-like place in the mountains. The feeling of gratefulness, however, doesn't last very long; soon enough, some leaders start going their separate ways. When they discover a nest with the huge birds' eggs, they ruthlessly steel them. As a consequence, the birds take revenge and destroy the paradise completely. Only a girl, who had learned the birds' language and worshipped them, is saved by one of them and taken to a distant land. In a simple, fairytale-like manner, this book explains how hubris causes disturbance. It thus makes a positive contribution to a peaceful education for children today. Nordberg's illustrations, in earlier books characterised by their naïve style, have reached a new level: Painted in intensive and unusual colours, they have great symbolic power. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 194
Sortland, Bjørn (text)
Bredesen, Trond (illus.)
Venezia-mysteriet
(The Venitian mystery)
Oslo : Aschehoug, 2000. 123 p.
(Kunstdetektivene)
ISBN 82-03-24361-4
Venice – Modern art – Theft
A Norwegian tourist family spends the carnival time in Venice. Inside the Guggenheim Museum, the children witness the theft of a famous Picasso painting. As they have met the suspected thieves earlier at their hotel, the children are able to assist in solving the case – not without getting themselves into dangerous situations. With this book, Sortland, who has already published several books about art, starts a new series intended to make art more attractive and interesting for children by presenting information hidden inside an exciting story – quite a remarkable attempt. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 195
Wolf, Oystein Wingaard (text)
Nyka, Justyna (illus.)
De dødes sirkus
(Circus of the dead)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2001. [44] p.
ISBN 82-02-21063-1
Birthday – Circus – Fantasy
Fantastic tales in general do not need to be logical; neither does this one, in which a boy on his birthday meets some kind of oriental ghost at the Brighton beach. He leads the boy to a bizarre circus where a performance for the dead people commences. In the end, inevitably, the boy wakes from his weird dream. Yet, the story itself is not really that important; it only provides readers with words for the peculiar graphic game developing before their eyes: An unreal world is elaborately sketched and glued together from bits of coloured paper and old prints. The style has its origins in a different time and place; it is connected with Max Ernst and Polish experimental illustration of the sixties, as the illustrator's name and the few Polish words in the pictures reveal. (6+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 201
Kadefors, Sara (text)
Wirsén, Stina (illus.)
Långlördag i city
(A long Saturday evening in the city)
[Stockholm] : BonnierCarlsen, 2001. 94 p.
ISBN 91-638-3907-5
Parents – Separation – Child – Protest
Klara, the child of separated parents, living with her quarrelsome mother who is preoccupied with her own problems, feels that she is the victim in her parents' fight against each other. The provocative desire for an expensive bike, which she finally steals in a fit of desperation and defiance, makes her parents see reason again. They cover up for Klara's deed by inventing an extremely unlikely story of a different theft in order to diminish the bike dealer's mistrust, and, as a result, the family is reunited. In this modern and often painfully realistic »Lottie-and-Lisa«-story (Erich Kästner) even impossible events and absurd situations are described in an exceptionally sparkling and amusing manner. One example for this is the family episode at the junk-food hut, making the book a pleasure to read – in spite of its serious topic. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 202
Mankell, Henning
Eldens gåta
(The fire riddle)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2001. 210 p.
ISBN 91-29-64821-1
Africa – Girl – Handicap – Poverty
Sofia, a girl who has lost her legs when stepping on a landmine (as Mankell told in the first volume of this trilogy called »Eldens hemlighet« – »The fire mystery«) has by now accepted her new life without legs and struggles to earn her living by sewing things. Her work is much appreciated by her customers. But now she is fifteen and the thought of being loved by someone is completely inconceivable to her. Therefore, the first date with a boy, her »moon-boy«, seems but a dream to her. Yet, slowly she realises that she is strong enough to survive and that other people may not lead easier lives even if they still have two legs: Her sister Rosa, for example, is slowly dying of AIDS. The book's central topic, poverty, and the problems resulting from it are brought out particularly well in Mankell's narration. (12+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 203
Nilsson-Brännström, Moni
Klassresan
(The school trip)
Stockholm : Natur och Kultur, 2001. 156 p.
ISBN 91-27-08608-9
School trip – Coming of age – Estrangement
A class of twelve- and thirteen-year-old teenagers, including some immigrant children, go on a last school trip together before they separate to leave for secondary school. In this book, the author, whose »Tsatsiki«-books about a young boy with a Greek father were a great success, relates how the teenagers slowly start drifting apart now that they are about to go separate ways. She convincingly portrays each of the 21 pupils and thus accurately describes teenagers' feelings in a European country towards the end of the twentieth century. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 204
Sidenbladh, Cecilia (text)
Nygren, Tord (illus.)
Slottet brinner
(The castle is burning)
[Bromma] : Opal, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 91-7270-950-2
Stockholm/1697– Royal castle – Fire disaster
This book is one of several well-made picture books about history published within the last few years (another interesting title for example was illustrated by Sven Nordqvist). They are supposed to acquaint children with historical events and settings in an entertaining way. The widely known burning of the Stockholm castle in the times of Karl XII enabled the rebuilding of the castle by Nicolaus Tessin. The renowned illustrator Nygren draws an account of these events from a kitchen maid's point of view, whose father (a man of German origin) is one of the royal cooks. Nygren's realistic drawings show the fictitious characters as individuals and therefore easily take the reader back to a life 300 years ago. (8+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 205
Trenter, Laura (text)
Kovanen, Erika (illus.)
Gräv efter spår
(Dig for traces!)
Stockholm : Alfabeta, 2001. 52 p.
ISBN 91-501-0070-x
Scandinavia – Archeology – Introduction
With its precise text, which is fairly detailed without being boring, and its powerful almost caricature- like illustrations, this non-fiction book clearly stands out from those naturalistic, sterile books, which are still flooding the international market. Despite their individual unusual style, the illustrations cannot be considered to be less informative than those in mainstream non-fiction books; they concentrate on the essential information. The texts do not only convey interesting facts but also include exciting and tempting recipes, such as: How to cook an un-plucked chicken in a coat of clay à la Stone Age. Parents will certainly be delighted at the results that can be expected from their children's cooking excursions. (8+)

Special Mention - Belgium (Dutch) - 2002 - 222
Tock, Annelies (text)
Talsma, Nynke (illus.)
Varen naar de overkant
(Ferry to the other side)
Tielt : Lannoo, 2001. 55 p.
ISBN 90-209-4091-0
Death – Grandfather – Granddaughter – Friendship
The ferryman is old and there won't be any work left for him when the bridge is built. Together with his granddaughter Raja he wants to listen to the singing of the river one last time. When grandfather dies, Raja is left behind, and when her boyfriend threatens to leave her, too, she is fed up with life. But then, suddenly, there is a man who wants to be ferried across and a woman with herbs who wants to get back to bring her medicine to a patient. Raja becomes a ferry-woman and takes over the duty of her grandfather. At the centre of this beautifully and sensitively written story is Raja's desperation after her grandfather's death. She is tormented by self-doubts and only this dramatic moment helps her regain faith in herself and in life. (9+)

Special Mention - Belgium (Dutch) - 2002 - 223
Brouwers, Peter (text)
Cate, Marijke ten (illus.)
Freek!
(<Proper name>)
Hasselt : Clavis, 2001. [44] p.
ISBN 90-6822-801-3
Love – Marriage – Hare
Hare Freek is different from other hares. He doesn't like carrots and has a cold in winter. One day he goes to live in the forest. There he meets a squirrel and immediately falls in love with her. A year later they get married. In this simple story the illustrations are particularly important. Marijke ten Cate succeeds in giving the animals something human, in a personal way, without overcoating it with too much sugar. This book's characteristic feature is the contrast between the animals and the overwhelmingly huge trees – an effect which is reinforced by contrasting techniques. (5+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2002 - 226
Dijkstra, Lida (i.e. Lida Dykstra) (reteller)
Wachten op Apollo
(Waiting for Apollo)
Rotterdam : Lemniscaat, 2001. 120 p.
ISBN 90-5637-385-4
(First publ. in Frisian: Wolken fan wol. Ljouwert : Bornmeer, 2000)
Ovid/Metamorphoses – Mythology/Greek
In this book, the author retells six »Metamorphoses« by Ovid using a double frame. Waiting for the oracle of Delphi, the crow Cornix tells a shepherd's boy about her own metamorphosis and that of Arachne. Human characteristics, such as greed, jealousy, and recklessness, are central themes. With the metamorphosis of the shepherd's boy into the god Apollo – Cornix sees him flying by after his visit to the oracle – the book has an open ending. The author displays great eloquence with the animated dialogues, the modern diction, the pithy narrative style, and the extremely fast pace of the events. The distinct, humorous rendering of character is modern and recognisable for young readers. Like Arachne spun her luminous yarn out of clouds of wool, Lida Dykstra knows how to weave different stories into a new unity, accessible to young and old. (10+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2002 - 227
Huiberts, Gerrie (text)
Straaten, Harmen van (illus.)
Piraat op straat
(Pirate on the street)
Baarn : Fontein, 2001. 41 p.
ISBN 90-261-1667-5
Pirate – Adventure
Pim quarrels with his know-it-all brother Bastiaan and searches for a pirate who might be able to teach him a lesson. He finds a mermaid who is waiting for her pirate. When the pirate turns up, he appears to be a real boozer, but Pim fails to notice that at all. The pirate writes a letter for Pim inviting him to join the pirate on his adventurous journey. When Bastiaan reads this letter he is very impressed and subdued and their argument is over soon. In this story, the child's fantasy world is presented very well. Bastiaan's realism is finally defeated by his brother's imagination. The exaggerated pictures perfectly illustrate the contrast between children and adults. (7+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2002 - 228
Jagtenberg, Yvonne (text/illus.)
Een bijzondere dag
(A special day)
Amsterdam : Hillen [et al.], 2001. [20] p.
ISBN 90-76897-01-8
School – First school day – Pre-schooler
Arno has to go to school for the first time and is quite afraid of it. At school he hardly dares to do anything. But then his teacher has an idea: Arno is allowed to play the wolf and a girl can play Little Red Riding Hood. With a wolf's head Arno isn't afraid anymore and the first school day turns into a very special experience. This is a very well-organised and elaborated story about a very familiar topic. The illustrations are like collages, in which the figures are coloured with grease pencil, felt-tip pen and coloured pencil. The full-page illustrations add an extra dimension to the story. (4+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2002 - 229
Kromhout, Rindert (text)
Haeringen, Annemarie van (illus.)
Beesten in het nieuws
(Animals in the news)
Tilburg : Zwijsen [et al.], 2001. 54 p.
(Bizon boek)
ISBN 90-276-8903-2
Animals
Ben's mother has run away, and his father is always busy with his pet shop, although there are only few customers. As Ben often feels lonely, he writes stories and publishes them in his own journal that he distributes in his neighbourhood. When he starts a series with short stories about animals (snakes who eat mice, a spider who tickles a child) in his journal, a lot of customers suddenly show up in his father's shop. Rindert Kromhout tells a wellstructured story, with a well-crafted plot and lots of humour. The illustrations fit seamlessly to the story and are very funny, especially when picturing the animals. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2002 - 230
Vlugt, Simone van der (text)
Wolf, Alex de (illus.)
Bastiaan komt eraan
(Bastiaan is coming)
Houten: Van Holkema & Warendorf, 2001. 88 p.
ISBN 90-269-9391-9
School – Pre-schooler
Bastiaan is not allowed to go to school yet. In the course of the book, however, he celebrates his fourth birthday and finally makes the big changeover from home to school. Among the little everyday things of life, which are being told, Bastiaan's wish to be a big boy pops up again and again, while at the same time it is evident that he still needs the security and closeness to his mother. The dialogues speed up the story and Bastiaan's utterances are often very humorous. The illustrations appropriately depict the story and show a lot of details. The colours are well-chosen and perfectly reflect the atmosphere of the story. (6+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 13
Tatematsu, Wahei (text)
Yokomatsu, Momoko (illus.)
Kawa no inochi
(The river’s life)
Tokyo : Kumon Shuppan, 2002. 32 p.
ISBN 4-7743-0630-4
Boy – River – Experience of nature – Summer – Holidays – Childhood
This is the third book created through the ideal collaboration of author Wahei Tatematsu and his daughter Momoko Yokomatsu. It focuses on the irretrievable pleasures of childhood spent in harmony with nature. Two eleven-year-old schoolfriends have decided to accomplish great things at the river near their homes before they start secondary school. One of them wants to catch a huge carp, the other one aims for a big silver-shimmering dragonfly. A third classmate joins them to learn how to fish. First, however, they need to fathom out the many secrets that the river holds, although it is familiar to them. They practise swimming and diving, and watch the behaviour of the animals. Thus, their last holidays in primary school are packed with intensive experiences of nature. The illustrator interprets single elements of the poetic text in the pictures – such as the boys, fish, and dragonflies, the flowing and gurgling, glittering water, the sky, and the riverbed – in elaborate shapes and pictures them in a vigorous mixture of colours. (10+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 14
Tokyo Kodomo Toshokan (ed.)
Ōkoso, Reiko (illus.)
Vaino to hakuchō hime
(Vaino and the swan princess)
Tokyo : Tokyo Kodomo Toshokan, 2002. 169 p.
(Aizōban ohanashi no rōsoku ; 6)
ISBN 4-88569-055-2
Fairytale – Storytelling
For the past 30 years, Tokyo Kodomo Toshokan (the Tokyo Children’s Library) has done its best to continuously offer storytelling sessions to children and adults. Kyōko Matsuoka (the library’s director) is in charge of these sessions, during which numerous fairytales from all over the world, as well as children’s verses and stories are recited – all adapted particularly for this purpose. From the variety of materials, the editors selected those stories which have proved to be particularly good and suitable, and published them as a collector’s edition. Thanks to the careful adaptation and the lovingly created design, all of the six volumes so far published are not only suitable to be used by librarians, teachers, or educators for similar storytelling events; they can just as well be bought as a wonderful home-reading for children and adults alike. (9+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 15
Tomiyasu, Yōko (text)
Okabe, Rika (illus.)
Mujina tanteikyoku : Yami ni kieta otoko
(Detective Agency Badger : The man who disappeared in the dark)
Tokyo : Doshinsha, 2001. 207 p.
(Mujina tanteikyoku shirīzu) (Shirīzu Jīn dokidoki)
ISBN 4-494-01328-5
Lizard – Assistance – Promise – Metamorphosis – Detective
A guest who suddenly disappears, a woman who claims to be his sister, a burned cello case, a strange smell, traces of water, and a small temple near the lake – all this is circumstantial evidence. The detective nicknamed »Badger«, who specalises in extremely peculiar cases with demons and ghosts, and his young neighbour Genta are asked to solve a seven-year-old case still unsolved at a rich family’s home in the countryside. In this detective novel for children, set in the present, people and animals (in this case a lizard) are combined in a way typical for the Japanese world of legends and folktales. The volumes of the series »Detective Agency Badger« are well written and very original. They offer readers a lot of fun. (10+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 16
Tsuchiya, Fujio (text/illus.)
Tsumiki tsunde motto tsunde
(With building bricks higher and higher )
Tokyo : Tokuma Shoten, 2002. [32] p.
ISBN 4-19-861524-1
Building bricks – Fun
Once again, the author manages to create an amusing and fast-paced picture book focusing on children’s everyday life. His ideas, smartly and energetically turned into words and pictures, are always surprisingly original. In this book, a boy gets so carried away while building a tower with his toy bricks, that he cannot stop anymore. He puts brick on brick on brick until his tower and he himself reach up into space. Suddenly he becomes aware of his audacity and almost tumbles back down to earth but, luckily enough, an astronaut saves him from this precarious situation. The inhabitants of the foreign star recognise the boy’s impressive building skills and shower him with praise. Thanks to the masterly composed dynamic illustrations, the reader gets swept away by the terrific speed of the building game. (5+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 17
Yoshimoto, Naoshirō (text)
Shinozaki, Mitsuo (illus.)
Nemuri o nakushita kodomotachi
(The restless children)
Tokyo : Poplar-sha, 2002. (2nd ed.) 215 p.
(For boys and girls ; 20)
ISBN 4-591-07049-2
Water spirit – Death – Soul – Friendship – Redemption – Buddhism – Afterlife – Common belief
As his mother is getting married again, Ryōta starts a new life at his grandfather’s in a remote mountain village. At the cemetery, his school teacher and the village priest tell him about the fate of six local children who unfortunately died very young. While fishing alone at the river, the boy meets some Kappa, humanlike green water spirits, which he only knows from fairytales and legends. In this book, however, the author does not describe the Kappa as real water spirits like those common in Japanese folk culture, but as unhappy souls who can be released from their fate through Ryōta’s friendship. The reader is also given some information about rituals for the dead and the afterlife as believed in by Buddhists. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 2003 - 24
Gordon, Marguerite (ed.)
Madiba magic : Nelson Mandela’s favourite stories for children
Cape Town : Tafelberg, 2002. 140 p.
ISBN 0-624-04073-9
Africa – Folktale – Anthology
This beautifully produced anthology contains 32 stories from South Africa and other African countries. A few of the tales are new stories written in the style of traditional folktales, while most of them are ancient folktales which have undergone several changes through the centuries and are presented here either in their orally transmitted form or as retellings by various authors. Each of the magical short tales is accompanied by a magnificent full-page illustration, painted by well-known children’s book artists as well as by some talented new illustrators, and by one or two beautiful small black-and-white vignettes created by Teresa Williams. A short one-sentence-introduction preceding each tale and an appendix at the back of the book give additional information about the importance of the tale’s theme or protagonist and its popularity and about the tales’ illustrators and authors or retellers. This folktale treasure chest will delight young and old readers alike. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 26
Cree, Laura Murray
Awesome! : Australian art for contemporary kids
St Leonards, Sydney, NSW : Craftsman House, 2002. 128 p
ISBN 1-877004-20-0
Australia – Modern Art
Modern art is sometimes difficult to access. Pejorative remarks from adults like »My Kids could do better than that!« are fairly common. Children, however, with their boundless imagination, are usually more inclined to discover the interesting ideas lying behind seemingly simple artefacts. In short, informative texts, Laura Murray Cree presents 55 outstanding Australian artists by introducing child readers to one of their typical works. Paintings, photographs, sculptures, and installations are carefully selected and show the immense variety of ideas and projects that contemporary artists realise. The attractive full-page reproductions of the works, as well as the appealing mixture of basic information, short quotations, and interesting texts, make this book an entertaining read for everybody. To all those who are anxious to find out more, an appendix gives some additional facts about the artists and offers suggestions for further reading. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 27
Crew, Gary (text)
McBride, Marc (illus.)
Old Ridley
(<Proper name>)
Sydney, NSW : Hodder Children’s Books Australia, 2002. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7336-1310-1
Curiosity – Inventor – Immortality – Eos and Tithonus
After Old Ridley has died, Joachim finally gets the chance to inspect his wondrous, castle-like home which he had secretly been spying on for years. The strange neighbour, who was rumoured to be a mad inventor, had always lived a reclusive life. Full of admiration, the boy wanders through the empty house, up to the attic – and there, a dubious surprise awaits him. Inspired by the ancient Greek myth of the Goddess Eos who fell in love with Tithonus, a mortal youth, this mysterious tale ponders on a man’s desperate search for immortality. The eerie atmosphere of Gary Crew’s magical text is ingeniously captured in Marc McBride’s amazing fantastical illustrations teeming with bizarre details. (10+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 28
McCarthy, Maureen
When you wake and find me gone
Camberwell, Victoria [et al.] : Penguin Books, 2002. 424 p.
(Fiction)
ISBN 0-14-300031-4
Australia – Mother – Daughter – Secret – Ireland – Irish Republican Army – Father
When her older sister Leonie is seriously injured in a car accident, Kit has no idea that her whole life is about to be turned upside down: Yet, suddenly she learns that her sister is in fact her mother and that her father was some Irishman involved in political underground activites in Belfast. Leaving her secure Australian country home, the fairly naïve twenty-year-old girl travels to Ireland on a quest for her parents’ secret and steps into a world of violence and political extremism. The readers of this thought-provoking young adult novel follow Kit on her painful journey of (self-)discovery and learn a lot about Ireland’s recent past and the conflicts still troubling the country. A truly fascinating and insightful read. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 29
Murray, Martine
The slightly true story of Cedar B. Hartley (who planned to live an unusual life)
Crows Nest, NSW : Allen & Unwin, 2002. 226 p.
ISBN 1-86508-623-1
Girl – Everyday life – Friendship – Brother – Running away – Acrobatics
In this light-hearted novel, author Martine Murray has her twelve-year-old heroine, named after a tree by her then-hippie mother, talking about daily life in a small Australian town. While chatting on about her friends and »enemies«, her quirky neighbours, her run-away brother Barnaby who keeps sending peculiar postcards, and her friend Kite, an acrobatic »bird-person«, Cedar B. Hartley reveals some truths about love, life, and herself. Her witty straightforward first-person narration, intertwined with poetic images, immediately wins over the readers’ hearts and makes this an impressive debut novel. The tiny black-and-white line drawings accentuate the cheerful atmosphere of the text. (12+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 30
Tan, Shaun (text/illus.)
The red tree
South Melbourne, Victoria : Lothian, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7344-0172-8
Sadness – Depression
Everybody knows that feeling when a »day begins with nothing to look forward to and things go from bad to worse«. In Shaun Tan’s moving picture book, a little red-haired girl is almost overwhelmed by her feeling of loneliness and isolation, and she simply cannot see a meaning to her life. At the end of the day, however, quite unexpectedly, a ray of hope is finding its way into her heart. The multiaward- winning illustrator’s detailed, surrealistic mixed-media collages in mainly dark colours capture the girl’s despair in a unique way. The sparse text blends in perfectly with the breathtaking pictures, leaving ample space for the readers to find their own interpretation of this quiet story. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 31
Zusak, Markus
The messenger
Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia, 2002. 386 p.
(Pan : Fiction)
ISBN 0-330-36388-3
Friendship – Quest – Happiness – Fate
In his new novel, highly acclaimed Australian author Markus Zusak, weaves a fascinating mixture of humour, irony, suspension, violence, and sex (or rather the fervent wish for it), into a gripping narrative which is sure to hold every reader under its spell. After having »accidentally« foiled a bank robbery, 19-year-old cab driver Ed Kennedy’s life takes an unexpected turn. Mysterious messages scribbled on playing cards arrive at his house: three addresses, three names, etc. Although Ed does not have a clue what he is supposed to make of this, he starts off on a quest delivering »messages« to these people which deeply influence their lives as well as his own. This unusual crossover novel will appeal to teenagers and adults alike. (16+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 39
Child, Lauren (text/illus.)
Who’s afraid of the big bad book?
London : Hodder Children’s Books, 2002. [32] p.
ISBN 0-340-80554-4
Boy – Fairytale – Adventure – Escape
In this follow-up to the successful Beware of the Storybook Wolves, bookworm Herb accidentally falls into his big book of fairy tales one night and is immediately confronted by an enraged little Goldilocks who screams blue murder at the intruder. Herb quickly takes to his heels and finally finds himself in a huge hall where the queen and king are angrily discussing the annoying absence of Prince Charming. When they spot Herb, the little culprit responsible for all the mischief, they set off chasing him. At the last minute, he manages to escape back to his room and »spends the rest of the night putting the storybook back to rights«. The wild illustrations, full of details and rendered in Lauren Child’s trademark collage-style – sketchy ink drawings, photographs, and fabric samples slotted together – are combined with different size typefaces which ingeniously depict the story’s twists and turns. An intriguing and imaginative picture book for readers of all ages. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 40
Duffy, Carol Ann (text)
Stewart, Joel (illus.)
Underwater farmyard
London [et al.] : Macmillan Children’s Books, 2002. [28] p.
ISBN 0-333-96063-7. - 0-333-96064-5
Farm animals – Everyday life – Underwater world
In her first picture book, award-winning poet Carol Ann Duffy tells a whimsical surreal tale about farm animals living a quiet life under the sea. The musical, rhymed verses are perfectly complemented by Joel Stewart’s exquisite illustrations in rich colours. Fluffy white sheep in »new-washed fleece« are calmly floating through the mysteriously green water feeding on seaweed while, on another page, a bright yellow octopus energetically waves violin, trumpet, and saxophone beating the time for the farm horse and the dolphin waltzing away in the distance. At the end of the day, »the creatures there fall fast asleep«. This imaginative bedtime book will easily carry its readers into the magical depths of the sea. (4+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 41
Gibbons, Alan
The edge
London : Orion Children’s Books, 2002. 186 p.
(A Dolphin paperback)
ISBN 1-84255-094-2
Stepfather – Violence – Escape – Mother – Son – Racism
Ever since Danny and his mother Cathy moved in with Chris a few years ago, life has been hell. The overly jealous and possessive man watched their every move and frequently beat them up as punishment for some small »disobedience«. One night, they finally escape. Yet, when they arrive at his grandparents’ house it seems like the black boy and his white mother have got out of the frying pan into the fire: In this small Northern England town, a group of racist teenagers do their best to prove how unwelcome Danny is in the neighbourhood. The gripping narrative unfolds in short sequences written from the various protagonists’ points-of-view and immediately draws readers in. This is a fastpaced, thought-provoking novel about violence and racism. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 42
Hearn, Lian
Across the nightingale floor : tales of the Otori, Book One.
London [et al.]: Macmillan, 2002. 294 p.
ISBN 1-4050-0032-5
Adolescent – Family – Murder – Revenge – Loyalty – Love – Fate
Sixteen-year-old Takeo, who was raised among »the Hidden«, a peaceful religious people, witnesses his family and the whole village being slaughtered by cruel soldiers. The boy is saved and adopted by kind Lord Otori and is taught everything a future lord must know, including the history of the different clans and the art of sword-fighting. Under the guidance of a mysterious teacher, he slowly discovers his supernatural skills which mark him as a member of »the Tribe« and will determine his future life. Set in an imaginary feudal country, which resembles medieval Japan and its customs and traditions, this gripping and powerful novel (the first book of a trilogy) tells a passionate tale of loyalty, honour, love and revenge. (14+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 43
Patten, Brian (text)
Riddell, Chris (illus.)
The story giant
London : Collins, 2002. 222 p.
ISBN 0-00-711944-5
Giant – Storytelling – Children – Saviour – Folktale
For centuries, the story giant has been collecting all the stories from around the world. To try and find the only tale that is still missing from his collection, the giant summons four children from the four corners of the world to his remote moorland castle. As they share all the tales from their different cultures, he becomes weaker and weaker... Into this magical frame story, Brian Patten weaves more than fifty tales ranging from Aesop’s fables, Arabian folktales, and Japanese legends, to Aboriginal myths and Celtic fairytales. This colourful mixture written in a quiet and engaging style, is accompanied by Chris Riddell’s humorous caricaturelike ink drawings, ingeniously depicting the quirky storyteller and his various protagonists. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 44
Reeve, Philip
Mortal engines
London : Scholastic Children’s Books, 2002. 293 p.
(Point)
ISBN 0-439-97943-9
City – Fight for Survival – Adventure – Quest – War – Class society
In this thrilling futuristic fantasy adventure, cities are roaming the vast barren plains of planet earth on huge platforms. According to their principle of Municipal Darwinism, the larger »traction cities« feast on weaker ones to survive, and Tom, a third class Historian’s apprentice who has lived on London all his life, is convinced that this is just as life is supposed to be. However, when he meets scarfaced revengeful Hester, gets pushed off his home onto the bare earth, has to flee dubious slave traders, and learns of a nasty plot to kill thousands of people, his life and thinking are turned upside down. In this fast-paced debut novel, Philip Reeve creates a gripping fantasy adventure and – at the same time – addresses some serious issues such as class society, violence, and war. (11+)
(Nestlé Smarties Book Prize; 2002)

Special Mention - Ireland (English) - 2003 - 45
A – Z and back again : a little bit of this and a wee bit of that!
Ballintogher : Kids’ Own Publ. Partnership, 2002. [32] p.
(A kids’ own book for young children)
ISBN 1-902432-16-9
Alphabet
Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, a small publishing house in Ireland, promotes the creative skills of children as writers and artists through various projects. One of their aims is to make the culture of »Travellers«, Ireland’s nomadic people, visible to others. For this outstanding example of children’s creativity reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s famous pop-art works, a group of children from two different schools have worked together with their families in a series of workshops. Using sponges, potatoes, and other everyday objects for different types of prints, they created the letters from A to Z and drew a few accompanying objects starting with each letter. With the help of photocopies, they decided on the final layout and design of the largeformat brochure. For the photo-gallery on the book’s endpages, they worked with digital photographs and computer. With the guiding assistance of an adult artist, they have thus created a fascinatingly colourful alphabet book. (2+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Ireland (English) - 2003 - 46
Wells, Grace
Gyrfalcon
Dublin : O’Brien Press, 2002. 141 p.
(Children’s fiction)
ISBN 0-86278-765-3
Parents – Divorce – Son – Anger – Self-confidence
Gyr, named after the gyrfalcon, a protected bird of prey, loves roaming the countryside of his family’s new home on a hill outside a small Irish village. Yet, when he learns that his parents are thinking about getting divorced and that his father will be staying in London, he is outraged and feels utterly lonely. Suddenly, an enchanting stranger enters his life: By introducing the boy to his world and the warriors of ancient Ireland, Finn MacCumhail (a well-known Irish legendary hero) slowly lets Gyr find his own path in life. In this engaging children’s novel, where the real and fantasy worlds naturally blend into each other, the boy’s quest for love and self-confidence is told in a convincing third-person narrative with a magical touch. (10+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2003 - 50
Levine, Karen
Hana’s suitcase : a true story
Toronto, Ontario : Second Story Press, 2002. 111 p.
(The Holocaust remembrance series for young readers)
ISBN 1-896764-55-x; 1-896764-61-4
Holocaust – Persecution of the Jews – Quest – Holocaust Education – Japan/Canada
Fumiko Ishioka, director of the Tokyo Holocaust Center, felt that the best way to teach children about the past is to show them physical objects that tell the story of the people connected to them. When a suitcase with the only information »Hana Brady, May 16, 1931, Waisenkind (orphan)« arrives in Japan from the Auschwitz Museum in the year 2000, the quest for Hana’s story begins. This inspiring and deeply moving documentary brings together the three stories of Fumiko’s and the Japanese childrens‘ detective work, of Hana’s childhood in former Czechoslovakia, her deportation to Theresienstadt and her murder in Auschwitz, and finally that of her brother, who survived the Holocaust and came to Canada with nothing but the family photo album to keep the memory of Hana alive. This way, the Holocaust does not appear like a distant chapter of German history but rather like an event of universal impact, which teaches today’s generation to work towards peace, tolerance, and understanding. (10+) ☆
(Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award 2002)
(CD of original CBC radio documentary available upon request)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2003 - 51
Park, Janie Jaehyun (retelling/illus.)
The tiger and the dried persimmon : a Korean folktale
Toronto [et al.] : Douglas & McIntyre, 2002. [30] p.
(Groundwood books)
ISBN 0-88899-485-0
Folktale – Tiger – Courage
A persimmon is a fruit given to children in East Asian countries as a sweet treat. But, luckily, the great tiger – powerfully rendered in the illustrations – does not know that. When he comes to a farm house to devour the ox, he hears the »growling« sounds of a little baby who seems to fear nothing – neither wolf, nor bear, nor tiger – except for dried persimmon. The tiger’s misinterpretation results in a wonderful comedy of errors with many an unexpected turn, skilfully reflected in the changing perspectives of the swirling, dynamic pictures. These vibrant and highly expressive illustrations are inspired by the ancient tradition of Korean art and effectively bring this retelling of the Korean folktale to life. (5+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2003 - 52
Yee, Paul (text)
Chan, Harvey (illus.)
Dead man’s gold and other stories
Toronto [et al.] : Douglas & McIntyre, 2002. 112 p.
(A Groundwood book)
ISBN 0-88899-475-3
Chinese immigrants – Ghost stories
In ten original stories, Paul Yee masterfully conjures up the past of Chinese immigrants who came to the New World to make a living but were haunted by the people, traditions, and values of their old home country. Lovers cruelly separated by immigration laws, strict fathers, and poor peddlers unable to adapt to the New World return as ghosts so that their fates will not be forgotten. Told in the popular form of ghost stories, they provide a link between traditional Chinese folklore and modern North American short stories, and create a powerful »New World Mythology«. The award-winning illustrator takes up the strong images of the texts and heightens their intensity in eerie and evocative plates which add to the bibliophile nature of this thoroughly designed book. (16+)
(Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award 2002)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2003 - 60
Paterson, Katherine
The same stuff as stars
New York : Clarion Books, 2002. 242 p.
ISBN 0-618-24744-0
Sister – Brother – Neglected children – Family relations – Self-confidence
Andersen-award-winning writer Katherine Paterson has created yet another moving children’s novel which explores problematic family bonds and underlines the importance of friendship and self-confidence. With her beloved father in prison and her mother too preoccupied with herself to care much about anything, Angel Morgan has always looked after her little brother Bernie. Still, when Verna suddenly dumps her two children at the house of their frail great-grandmother in rural Vermont and simply disappears, the eleven-yearold girl almost despairs. Slowly, however, she befriends the village librarian and the mysterious »star man« who both help her to keep her makeshift family together and persuade her not to give up on her dreams. In this engaging story, told in a strong down-to-earth voice, little Angel masters her life with admirable perseverance and optimism boldly facing every catastrophe that comes her way. (10+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2003 - 61
Rodrigue, George (text/illus.)
Goldstone, Bruce (text)
Why is blue dog blue? : a tale of colors
New York, NY : Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2001. [40 ] p.
ISBN 1-58479-162-4
Rodrigue, George / Blue Dog – Modern Art – Colours
George Rodrigue is a well-known American artist whose various paintings of Blue Dog have captured the hearts of many people around the world for more than 20 years. In this picture book, he ventures to explain to his obviously puzzled audience, why Blue Dog – in spite of its name – does not always have to be blue. Depending on the painter’s associations while working, the dog can actually be any colour imaginable: e.g. »mustard«, if Rodrigue happens to feel like eating a hot dog, or »tan« when he goes to the beach. The imaginative design of the book, with its unconventional typesetting, and the surprising answer at the end, offer readers an exciting peep into the world of modern art. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2003 - 62
Steig, William (text)
Agee, John (illus.)
Potch & Polly
New York : Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002. [32] p.
ISBN 0-374-36090-1
Falling in love – Courting – Accident
When Potch meets Polly at a masquerade ball, he falls head over heels in love with her. Unfortunately, however, all his imaginative undertakings to win her heart, misfire and end in disaster. Just as a broken heart seems inevitable, the clever trick of a clown-faced guardian angel manages to bring the two lovebirds together. Award-winning author William Steig and renowned illustrator John Agee team up to create a hilarious picture book which is sure to delight readers of all ages. The fast-paced story with its sitcom humour, perfectly complemented by the sketchy, comic-like illustrations, makes readers immediately empathise with accident- prone Potch and anxiously hope for his successful courting of the outraged Polly. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2003 - 63
Tayac, Gabrielle (text)
Harrington, John (photogr.)
Meet Naiche : a native boy from the Chesapeake Bay area
Hillsboro, Oregon : Beyond Words Pub., 2002. 48 p.
(My world: Young Native Americans today)
ISBN 1-58270-072-9
USA – Native Americans – Traditions – Boy – Everyday life
This non-fiction book is the first in a series called My World: Young Native Americans Today, which aims at bringing the life of present-day American Indians closer to the readers by introducing one particular child in each volume. Here, readers get /USA to know Naiche, a boy whose parents belong to the Piscataway and Apache people. He chats about his everyday life which proves to be very similar to that of other American children. Nevertheless, he is very proud of the cultural traditions peculiar to his family’s ancestors. Various colour photographs accompanied by detailed annotations illustrate the casual text. A few black-and-white drawings and photographs as well as a short appendix provide cultural and historical background information. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2003 - 64
Wilson, Sarah (text)
Cameron, Chad (illus.)
George Hogglesberry, grade school alien
Berkeley, Calif. [et al.] : Tricycle Press, 2002. [34] p.
ISBN 1-58246-063-9
Boy – Alien – Outsider – Fitting in – Happiness
George, the new kid from planet Frollop II, tries very hard to fit in – even though this is somewhat difficult: Quite involuntarily, he keeps changing into different objects, walks across the ceiling, or floats in midair. When the preparations for the school fall play begin, all his classmates – including George himself – are afraid he is going to mess things up. The charming story, written in a simple, matter-of-fact style with a lot of dry humour, is combined with brightly coloured collage illustrations, depicting the strange little blue boy with his stuck-on nose in all sorts of crazy situations. They easily transport George’s anxiety and his desperate attempts at behaving like a »normal« child – as well as his happiness in the end. (4+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 66
Dahimène, Adelheid (text)
Stöllinger, Heide (illus.)
Esel
(Donkeys)
St. Pölten [et al.] : NP-Buchverl., 2002. [34] p.
ISBN 3-85326-252-x
Donkey – Partnership – Silver wedding anniversary – Forgetfulness – Argument – Stubbornness – Reconciliation
The old donkey and his wife behave like all typical donkeys – that is they stubbornly stop in the middle of the road each time they have to cross a street. Because they love each other so dearly and embrace often, each of them has developed a special bodily feature: He has a bump on his neck while her neck is dented. Yet, despite all this, when the donkey-husband forgets their silver wedding anniversary, the donkey-wife feels really hurt and runs off – and he lets her go. In their stubbornness, both are certain that they will easily find another partner with an equally comfortable bump / dent. But, of course, there is no other partner for either of them within the whole animal realm. How happy both of them are, when they finally get together again – in the desert – where the camels lovingly intertwine their humps; only one camel remains alone and therefore has to cuddle up in the (humped) dunes. This is a cheerful book about quarrels, stubbornness, and reconciliation, and about the reliability of belonging together. The donkeys, presented by the illustrator not quite true to life, certainly carry some human characteristics. (6+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 67
Janisch, Heinz (text)
Jung, Barbara (illus.)
Wenn Anna Angst hat
(When Anna is afraid)
Wien [et al.] : Jungbrunnen, 2002. [28] p.
ISBN 3-7026-5737-1
Falling asleep – Fear – Coping with fear – Imagination
Anna is a clever young girl. She is absolutely sure that the great giant, for example, never sleeps – and him she calls whenever she is afraid. She has quite a few of such mighty friends: the 33 knights of the nutshells, the green spinning-dragon, the flying feather, the magnetic mountain, and – last but not least – herself. After all, she can always tell herself »Anna is not afraid at all«. And then she falls asleep. (But the great giant doesn’t sleep, because he guards her.) Full-page pictures and clear, rich colours invite readers to dive into the world of these fantastic creatures, who want to support small girls like Anna. (3+) ☼

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 68
Männer, Wolfgang (text/illus.)
Almhofer, Edith (ed.)
Ap & Daun <nonsense pun>
Gumpoldskirchen [et al.] : Dea-Verl., 2001. [24] p.
(Panoptikum)
ISBN 3-901867-07-4
Nonsense – Children’s verse
You can – and you should – turn this funny book around and around. The encyclopaedic descriptions below the illustrations always refer to the same picture, but seen from two different sides: The detective with his hat becomes a man with a cigar, the admiral suddenly looks like a wide-grinning mouth, the number 9 is turned into 6. Extracts from the German dictionary Duden in typewritten letters are used as explanations for the pictures. In addition, there is a rhyming couplet for the different versions of each picture. This is a book for children who love to fiddle about. Together with their parents they will enjoy the fun hidden in the book’s language and picture puzzles. (8+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 69
Schreiber-Wicke, Edith (text)
Habinger, Renate (illus.)
Sauberzahntiger
(Cleantoothtiger)
St. Pölten [et al.] : Niederösterr. Pressehaus, 2002. 45 p.
ISBN 3-85326-257-0
Dental hygiene – Humour
It is extremely difficult to persuade the young protagonist of this amusing lesson in dental hygiene that her mother is right. From her own experience she knows, after all, that not EVERYBODY clean their teeth! Even if the whole world – people, animals, and fictional creatures alike – may be interested in it, her friends Egon and Helene are definitely not. No more discussion. That is why the fast dialogue between mother and daughter leads to nothing. Yet, believe it or not: It is her two small friends who, of all people, finally manage to pave the way for the strawberry taste toothpaste with their wide-mouthed carious grin. Witty ideas in text and pictures help to ease the tensions regarding this delicate topic. (4+)

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 70
Sulzenbacher, Gudrun (text)
Ochsenreiter, Augustin (photogr.)
Altes Handwerk und ländliches Leben
(Traditional trades and rural life)
Wien [et al.] : Folio-Verl., 2002. 64 p.
ISBN 3-85256-208-2
Trade – Rural life
This highly informative photo documentary, with its excellent text and design, shows scenes from working- and everyday-life untouched by the speed of modern-day electronics. Quite a few of the old skilled trades have survived up to this day because they are still needed and practised in rural areas. Other trades, such as burning oil, treating flax, cheese-making, and quill embroidery sound unfamiliar to us today. Not least, these traditional skills are part of the history of European cultures and of our general education. In words and pictures, the final chapter called »How to cure suffering« humorously completes our ideas about how barbers and surgeons used to cure diseases in former times. Luckily enough, these instruments and tinctures are not in keeping with the times anymore. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 71
Thoma, Helga
Gegen den Strom : Zivilcourage und Widerstand im Dritten Reich
(Against the current : courage and resistance in Nazi Germany)
Wien : Ueberreuter, 2002. 175 p.
ISBN 3-8000-3886-2
Germany – Austria – National Socialism – Persecution of the Jews – Resistance – Courage
This young adult book about the extermination of the Jews under the rule of the National Socialists is the first not to focus exclusively on people in Germany. In Austria, too, courageous outsiders offered resistance to the terror-regime. The book honours those, who have not yet been in the limelight of public attention. Many of these lesser-known heroes have paid with their lives for showing a humane attitude. Yet, even the lives of those who were able to save themselves, were continuously threatened. After 1945, some of the survivors reported the past events as contemporary witnesses. Moreover, the author critically examines the position of the respective states after the end of the war towards these courageous people. A bibliography rounds off the informative documentary volume. (14+) ☆

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

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

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

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

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

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2003 - 106
Waechter, F. K. (text/illus.)
Die Schöpfung
(The Creation)
Zürich : Diogenes, 2002. [56] p.
ISBN 3-257-02076-7
Creation – Man – Creativity
This marvellous large-format book with its fulland double-page pictures is certainly appropriate for the great idea which it is about. The brief text gives all the basic information: A small male creature (who wears a top hat as a sign of his dignity but looks fairly ruffled otherwise) experiences the creation of the world as his own personal accomplishment. His way of going about is quite unconventional and certainly nothing to boast about; but in the end, there is a small female creature beside him, and the whole (old and new) world with plants and animals – where do they all come from? In a whisper, the girl explains the »where« and »why« to him. Waechter shows in his pictures – mainly delicately coloured drawings projected onto a number of very different backgrounds – that every little boy imagines himself as the Creator. But only with a strengthening refreshment, handed to him by the girl, is the male world-creator fit, or – as Waechter’s version rather implies – forced, to perform great deeds. Both a subversive and a loving-ironic-realistic view. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2003 - 107
Weninger, Brigitte (text)
Ballhaus, Verena (illus.)
Tobi und der Zankapfel
(obi and the bone [here: apple] of contentio)
Zürich : Verl. Pro Juventute, 2002. [28] p.
(Atlantis-Thema)
ISBN 3-7152-0460-5
Parents – Child – Quarrel – Victim – Talk – Game
Without the nice apple-pie-baking neighbour, Tobi would certainly despair because of his ever-quarrelling parents. But Mrs. Puntigam knows that when there is an argument, both parties usually want to be right, at least partly, and somehow they are – just as an apple may have two different sides, a green one and a red one. In between there is the core, just as Tobi between his parents. He will have to explain it to Mum and Dad. The puzzle-like pictures, with their ever-changing imaginative dispersion of graphic and printed parts, clearly show the chaotic state of mind of the family members. Apart from that, the topic of »quarrelling« is analysed in an extra folder from various points of view and can be experienced by children and adults together through various games which are suggested there. (6+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2003 - 126
Pommaux, Yvan (text/illus.)
Avant la télé
(Before television existed)
Paris : École des Loisirs, 2002. 44 p.
(Archimède)
ISBN 2-211-06863-4
World War II / Post-war period – France/1953 – Childhood – Everyday life
In 1953, computers, shopping centres, and plastic toys did not yet exist, and television sets and cars were very rare. The story of Alain, an eight-year-old boy from Vichy, shows the readers what a child’s life in a French post-war city might have been like. The realistic and fully detailed illustrations and the text, which doesn’t idealise anything but is still full of humour, mirror the typical everyday life situations in those times: There is no bathroom in his parents’ flat, inistead they share a communal toilet on the staircase; at school, children write on slates and are punished severely for pranks; the children’s games still focuse on the war, and the visits to the cinema used to be a fascinating all-evening event for the young protagonist and his parents. The nostalgic flashback to the 1950s, concluding in our times with Alain being a grandfather, tells so much more to children about the lives of their grandparents than many a history book ever will. (7+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2003 - 127
Rapaport, Gilles (text/illus.)
10 petits soldats
(10 little soldiers)
[Paris] : Circonflexe, 2002. [32] p.
(Albums Circonflexe)
ISBN 2-87833-298-9
Soldier – Order – War – Pacifism
Smiling and with a flower pinned to their guns, 10 little soldiers go to war »to defend ... I can’t remember what it was.« Yet, one is growing fat, another one gets lost while picking mushrooms, and thus, one after the other vanishes until only one soldier is left. He takes off his uniform, puts down his gun, and leaves. This large-format picture book is an adaptation of a popular children’s song. It uses an abundance of oppositions: The cheerful atmosphere of the song is in sharp contrast to the topic of war, the tall mighty queen is opposed to the little soldiers, the huge black hats and guns of the soldiers contrast with their tiny bodies. The illustrations’ black colour evokes an impression of wildness and dominates everything. Moreover, it underlines the futility and perversity of war. (8+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2003 - 128
Rouaud, Jean (text)
Nascimbene, Yan (Illus.)
La belle au lézard dans son cadre doré
(The beauty with the lizard in her golden frame)
Paris : Albin Michel, 2002. 30 p.
ISBN 2-226-12844-1
Writer – Disappointment – Love – Portrait – Love story
A writer, disappointed with love, merely looks at the outside world from his desk and can only write love stories with unhappy endings. Yet, one day, a woman finally makes eyes at him again: It is the »beauty with the lizard«, a portrait in a gold frame on display in a second hand shop. Award-winning author Jean Rouaud’s text fascinates through its ironic play with fiction and reality and the clever change of narrative perspectives between an omniscient narrator (»our author«) and the interior monologue of the protagonist. The full- and half-page illustrations which show only small details of the plot, leave readers enough room to create their own picture of what is real and what isn’t in this story. (10+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2003 - 129
Satrapi, Marjane (text/illus.)
Ajdar
(<Proper name>)
Paris : Nathan, 2002. [32] p.
(Albums)
ISBN 2-09-211033-0
Girl – Earthquake – Confusion – Dragon – Earth – Environmental awareness
Once upon a time, there was a colourful land with many happy inhabitants, until, one day, an earthquake puts everything upside down and nothing is as it used to be. Only little Mathilde, who had been rope-skipping and had therefore not touched the earth, remains »undisturbed«. That is why the King sends her to dragon Ajdar who heats the interior of the earth with his fire. Having finally arrived at the dragon’s after a long journey, Mathilde learns about the earthquake’s cause: On the surface of the earth, machines had drilled such deep holes that they hurt the dragon’s spine. The vivid colours of the imaginative illustrations and the fairytale-like, partly rhymed text form a parable that aims at making children more aware of a responsible treatment of planet earth. (5+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2003 - 130
Sazonoff, Zazie (text/illus.)
Chapotat, Fred (photogr.)
Mots de tête
(Head-words)
Rodez : Éd. du Rouergue, 2002. [36] p.
ISBN 2-84156-347-2
Words – Head – Pun – Meaning
What can you do when your head is filled with words and neither your teacher, nor your parents, or your friends want to hear them? Don’t let them discourage you! Just continue your expedition and go searching for words so far unknown: Terms of endearment, important words, or even cruel words. When you have finally collected so many words that your head is about to burst, there is only one thing that will help you feel as light as a feather again – your exercise book. The graphics perfectly depict the situation of the little, comic-like hero drawn in black ink. He moves around in collages with the text woven into photographs of everyday things, into paper scraps from magazines, into books, and people’s portraits. (4+)
(Prix Octogones, Catégorie Tout-petits; 2002)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 174
Desjardins, Richard (ed.)
Les plus beaux poèmes des enfants du Québec
(The most beautiful poems of children from Québec)
Montréal, Québec : L’ Hexagone/VLB éditeur, 2002. 175 p.
ISBN 2-89006-677-0
Poetry – Children
This illustrated volume of poems for young and old, written and drawn by children, is the result of a large literature competition with the motto: »À vos plumes, les poètes!« (Grab your quills, poets!). About 650 Québecois school classes with roughly 17,000 pupils between the age of eight and twelve have followed the call. A high-quality jury chose 86 poems and illustrations which mirror the wide variety of topics children tackle nowadays. It becomes clear that the word »fun generation«, a term frequently used in Western countries today, does not apply to these children at all. In addition to typically Canadian titles, such as »Snow«, and topics generally popular with children, such as »My favourite animals«, this anthology contains several poems about important issues: friendship, love, peace, tolerance,... The book’s design expresses the wealth of the children’s poetry and imagination in an admirable way. (8+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 175
Meunier, Sylvain
Le cheval d’Isabelle
(Isabelle’s horse)
Hull (Québec) : Vents d’Ouest, 2002. 145 p.
(Collection Girouette ; 5 : Aventure)
ISBN 2-89537-039-7
Teenage girl – Horse riding – Summer camp – Horse – Legend – Indigenous people
Finally, the holidays have begun and fourteen-yearold Isabelle can visit her beloved summer riding camp again. Yet, this year, an unusual adventure awaits her: One night, Isabelle sees a large white horse that obviously beckons the girl to ride off with it. Later, she learns that the animal has been appearing to horse-loving girls for generations. The horse’s secret, the source of which is the love of an indigenous couple, goes back to a war between France and England in 1759 and its consequences for a village of indigenous people that existed in the region at that time. In this novel, two worlds are brought together in an interesting way: Dream and reality, past and present, the fantastic and the believable. (9+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 176
Roy, Pierre
Une tonne de patates!
(Tons of potatoes!)
Montréal (Québec) : Hurtubise HMH, 2002. 87 p.
(Caméléon)
ISBN 2-89428-566-3
Canada/1939-1948 – Boy – Poverty – School
This children’s novel, which tells the story of an eleven-year-old boy living in Quebec between 1939 and 1948, makes a time come alive that seems to be a very distant past in present-day Canada. The effects of the world economic crisis in 1929 and of the Second World War, such as poverty, hunger, migration to the cities, child labour, etc., form its historical context. Samuel has to drop out of school to help his father with the farm work. Still, the family is not able to maintain the farm and, soon, they have to fend for themselves in Montreal. Despite the unfavourable situation, Samuel – eager to learn – manages to finish his school education. As a notary, he can later even help his family to leave their poor life behind. (9+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 177
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Melanson, Luc (illus.)
Le grand voyage de Monsieur
(The great journey of Mister)
Saint-Lambert (Québec) : Dominique et Compagnie, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 2-89512-189-3. – 2-89512-191-5
Death – Mourning – Journey
Filled with grief after the death of his child, a man leaves his home behind and goes on a journey. He lets himself drift along, his decisions influenced by coincidences. When his train stops at the sea, he crosses the ocean on a passenger ship. Thus, the man travels the world, strolls along the streets, spends some pleasant time with people who invite him into their homes. At the end of the world, he meets a child who has lost his parents in a war. Hand in hand, they try to overcome their grief. The text, reduced to the essential words, and the clear, yet discreet illustrations manage to present the loss of a loved person, the grief, and the loneliness in a sensitive way, suitable for children. (4+) ☆ ☼
(Governor General’s Award; 2002)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 179
Gyldenkærne, Nanna (ed.)
Landet Længere Væk og andre ord og billeder : 73 danske illustratorer tegner til korte tekster for børn
(The land »Farther away« and other words and pictures: 73 Danish illustrators draw pictures to accompany short texts for children)
København : Høst & Søn, 2002. 153 p.
ISBN 87-14-11808-4
Denmark – Children’s book – Illustration – Short stories – Anthology
73 Danish illustrators have created one picture each to accompany 73 ultra-short stories written by 44 authors. These pictures makes this anthology an impressive compendium of contemporary Danish children’s book illustration, which features various important artists such as Dorte Karrebæk, Jon Ranheimsæter, and Cato Thau-Jensen. The idea for the book was initiated by the illustrators’ group belonging to the Danish writers’ association. The anthology gives an overview of children’s book illustration, yet is also interesting for children themselves, who are the most important audience for the illustrations. Some of the stories are as extraordinarily short as the following one: »One day, a bird was born who spoke English, German, and French fluently. However, as he couldn’t restrain himself from uttering swear words in all three languages, he was slain.« They may well inspire children to put their own ideas to paper. (10+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 180
Haller, Bent
Kevin Kujon og andre fortællinger
(Kevin Kujon and other tales)
København : Høst & Søn, 2002. 111 p.
ISBN 87-14-11811-4
Children – Everyday life – Short stories
In his new collection of short stories, renowned children’s book author Bent Haller deals with the darker sides of childhood, even including suicide and fear of death. The texts tackle questions of vital importance which children have to cope with quite often on their own. Despite the serious topics, however, Haller’s sense of absurd humour still pervades the tales. Apart from that, the stories frequently offer happy and surprising solutions to the problems. (10+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 181
Jensen, Jørn (text)
Raagaard, Kirsten (illus.)
Hannibals venner
(Hannibal’s friends)
København : Forum, 2002. [28] p.
ISBN 87-553-3090-8
Pets – Hunger
All alone, little Hannibal is sitting in the kitchen. One after the other, various pets crawl through the catflap asking the boy for some food. Hannibal feeds them all and, eventually, he himself eats something, too. The simple yet original idea of this story can already be understood by very young children. Thanks to its illustrations, which may be slightly naïve but show definitely no traces of the sickly sweetness of typical books for toddlers, and thanks to its unpretentiously written letters, this story becomes an unconventional book for small children. More books like this one would certainly be welcome in other countries, too. (3+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 182
Lauridsen, Irma (text)
Ranheimsæter, Jon (illus.)
Den klonede dreng
(The cloned boy)
København : Alinea, 2002. 51 p.
(Læs dansk gys)
ISBN 87-23-01110-6
Cloning – Double
Young Robert discovers a second boy who looks exactly like him. Robert doesn’t manage to question him, but it seems that he is trying to play Robert’s role: He plays football pretending to be Robert, for example, even if he plays very badly. When Robert finally manages to follow the boy, he ends up at the solitary house of a former trainee teacher. It turns out that this man had plucked one of Robert’s hairs and thus created an identical copy of him. Since the clone is extremely stupid, the teacher plans to sell Robert to a childless couple in America and let the clone remain – but, of course, everything is resolved in a happy ending. This adventurous tale, easily accessible to children with reading problems, is written in a captivating style and accompanied by matching illustrations. (7+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 183
Overskov, Carsten
Tordenskjolds tempo : træghed og triumf på træskibenes tid
(Tordenskjold’s speed: Lethargy and triumph from the times of the wooden ships)
Frederiksberg : Branner og Korch, 2002. 129 p.
ISBN 87-411-5953-5
Nordic War <1700-1721> – Sea battle
In European countries, many books deal with historical topics. Yet, in Scandinavian countries, this kind of literature seems to be even more popular. The North’s relatively late self-awareness may be one of the reasons why Scandinavians are particularly proud of their more than one-thousand-yearold history and their own mythology. This book about Admiral Tordenskjold and the battle at the Swedish Dynekil Fjord in 1716 during the second Nordic War, is written in this tradition. The readers do not only learn about the course of the battle and its background, but also read many technical details about a war at sea. Books like this one offer an inspiring read and, at the same time, create an awareness for historical events. (12+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 184
Petersen, Palle
Inuk og Ivik i det gamle Grønland
(Inuk and Ivik in old Greenland)
København : Borgen, 2002. [28] p.
ISBN 87-21-01917-7
Greenland – Everyday life – Tradition
Theoretically, Danish people do not need to travel to foreign countries in order to discover »exotic« lands because Greenland is an (autonomous) part of their country. Nevertheless, since this island is not exactly on their doorstep, only few Danish children will actually know it. For both, the children who are already a little familiar with Greenland and those who are not, this book is a very interesting introduction to a fascinating cold world. The story follows Inuk, a young boy, and the girl Ivik, as they set out together with some adults to see and try out how their ancestors used to live a hundred or more years ago. Among other things, they will see the oldest drawing of Greenlanders, a historical earth-hut, a kayak in motion, and sleigh dogs, of course. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 185
Steffensen, Anette [et al.] (ed.)
Hjertevirus : kærlighed på tværs
(Heart-virus: muddled love)
København : Festival for Børn og Unge, 2002. 174 p.
ISBN 87-985704-2-0
Adolescence – Love – Disappointment – Short stories – Anthology
In twelve stories, this anthology tells of the numerous disappointments and the unfulfilled desire that teenagers have to deal with when they take the risk of falling in love. Popular and lesser-known Danish authors describe the difficulties of human relationships in a much more honest way than many a carefully constructed teenage novel. Moreover, a short comic strip successfully expresses many teenagers’ helplessness in coping with their everyday life. At the end of the book, a few young people themselves relate their own disappointing experiences. This volume is the result of a reading promotion event, namely the youth festival »Den gode historie« (The good story). (12+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 187
Kunnas, Mauri (text/illus.)
Kunnas, Tarja (text/illus.)
Seitsemän koira veljestä : koiramainen versio Aleksis Kiven romaanista »Seitsemän veljestä«
(Seven dog brothers)
Helsinki : Otava, 2002. 93 p.
ISBN 951-1-18100-9
Kivi, Aleksis / Seitsemän veljestä – Parody – Siblings – Escape from civilisation – Character development
Mauri Kunnas is one of the most inventive caricaturists in Finland; his picture stories for children are a treasure trove of ideas and, slowly but surely, they are also gaining popularity outside Finnish borders (in Germany and Japan, for example). His parodies of classic stories provide the illustrator with topics from which he can create new ideas. Moreover, the popularity of the classics also enables him to entertain child and adult readers alike with allusions and features they might recognise from the originals. Transferring Aleksis Kivi’s work Seitsemän veljestä (Seven brothers) into an anthropomorphised dog-world, yet maintaining the basic elements of the novel’s plot, he introduces his readers to this famous first work of Finnish national literature in an easily accessible but by no means superficial way. Moreover, paper and printing quality of this book are exquisite. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 188
Mäkinen, Kirsti (adapt.)
Surojegin, Pikko-Liisa (illus.)
Suomen lasten Kalevala
(The Kalevala [= Finnish national epic] for Finnish children)
Helsinki : Otava, 2002. 183 p.
ISBN 951-1-17468-1
Elias Lönnrot / Kalevala – Adaptation
With the prose retelling for children of the Finnish national epic, the publishers present a particularly generously and carefully printed book, which everybody will enjoy taking in their hands. Quotations from the original rhymed text by Elias Lönnrot are scattered among the chapters, so that the poetic style of the original epic can be recognised. The illustrations, some rendered as modest marginal drawings and others spread over two pages, are drawn in black and white or in subdued colours. They are close in style to naturalistic paintings and mainly underline the elegant aura of this book. (10+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 189
Mikkanen, Raili
Ei ole minulle suvannot! : romaani Aino Kallaksen nuoruudesta
(There is no still water for me!)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2002. 269 p.
ISBN 951-31-2571-8
Kallas, Aino / Biography
This historico-cultural book tells about the youth of famous Finnish writer Aino Kallas (1878-1956) and the Finnish Golden Age during the 19century. Aino was brought up in a family with a lot of books, so that she always knew she wanted to become a well-known writer. This biography focuses on topics such as Aino’s education, her first love, or her graduation party. Since the story is narrated from the point of view of Aino’s nurse, issues of social class seep into the story. Moreover, Mikkanen deals with the ancient questions of whether women have to choose between career and marriage, and whether they are allowed to have a desire for love. The fascinating book is based on Aino Kallas’ diaries and her other works such as her memoirs and letters. (13+)
(Finlandia Junior Award; 2002)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 190
Savolainen, Salla (text/illus.)
Kuudennen kerroksen Maikki
(Maikki from the sixth floor)
Helsinki : Söderström, 2002. [36] p.
ISBN 951-0-27164-0
Child – Moving house
One of the latest talents on the Finnish illustration scene is Salla Savolainen, whose style strongly resembles the Swedish tradition of humorous illustration. Her funny texts are complemented by equally amusing pictures, and readers can easily identify with the caricatures drawn by the artist. In her latest book, Savolainen tells the story of a little girl, Maikki, who just moved to a new flat. In the new, modern surroundings, life seems suddenly quite different and scary. The characters are depicted in both a realistic and a very humorous way. For this picture book, the artist, who frequently changes her style and techniques, uses watercolours on wood. She admirably succeeds in animating the shades and in creating a sense of harmony and pleasure. (4+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 191
Vuoristo, Teppo (text)
Mildeberg, Jüri (illus.)
Hemppa ja Eläinten Unioni
(Hemppa and the Animals’ Union)
Helsinki : Lasten Keskus, 2002. [44] p.
ISBN 951-627-415-3. – 951-96773-6-4
Animals / Humans – Friendship – European Union
This artistic picture book for teenagers deals with motifs such as friendship and the relationship between animals and human beings. The animals at the zoo have founded a union and Hemppa, the gorilla, is its newest member. He is very flexible and can easily change his identity if necessary. Since the zoo is currently being renovated, the union members want to achieve an improvement of the animals’ living conditions. Vuoristo tells an allegoric story about the European Union set in an animal community. Estonian artist Mildeberg’s illustrations are drawn in a surrealistic and naïve style in harmonious colours. The illustrator’s simple human characters bear a close resemblance to traditional Russian works of art. (13+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2003 - 192
Ekman, Fam
Da solen gikk ned
(When the sun disappeared)
Oslo : Cappelen, 2002. [34] p.
ISBN 82-02-22125-0
Sun – Disappearance – Coldness – Hopelessness
This tale describes an apocalyptic situation: One day, the sun sets and does not rise again. The people in town and at the beach watch the pale red ball disappear below the horizon and start shivering. Due to their strong abstraction, Ekman’s graphic illustrations automatically create a distancing atmosphere, and underline the fatal effects of the slowly increasing coldness on the people’s mood. Pale shades of blue and violet and a faded red convey the feeling of hopelessness that the people and animals, who are exposed to the cold, experience. Eventually, the bird Phoenix manages to tear the sun from its lethargy. It slowly returns to its work. Some hope is restored as the barometer rises again – even though there are still no warm colours to confirm this happy ending. Maybe, this is a warning to people on earth not to attempt to influence nature. (6+)

Special Mention - Hungary (Hungarian) - 2003 - 239
Szoboszlai, Margit (ed.)
Fodor, Anikó (illus.)
A Víziló, Sziporka és Bamba Géza
(The hippo, Sparky, and Géza-fool)
Budapest : Ab Ovo, 2001. 191 p.
ISBN 963-9378-03-8
Fairytales – Poetry – Short stories
24 contemporary Hungarian authors tell stories for children. Their fairy tales, stories, and poems focus on problems, adventures, and the daily life of children, and present them in a slightly mythical style typical for traditional storytellers. In Éva Janikovszky’s A fairy tale for TV-Teddy for example, a boy tells a tale to the TV-Teddy, who normally presents the goodnight stories. In Ball of the Snow Queen, Békés Pál makes the Old Year and the New Year fight against each other symbolising the fight between past and future. This anthology is a particularly appealing example for the development of Hungarian children’s literature which has so far not been considered as really »high« literature and thus only received minor attention. The authors’ contributions reveal a new emphasis on children’s literature which is also underlined by the volume’s high quality. Vignettes, rendered in three colours, perfectly complement the text and make this book a very enjoyable read. (5+)

Special Mention - Hungary (Hungarian) - 2003 - 240
Zalán, Tibor (text)
Kovács, Péter (illus.)
Hi-Szen, a guruló madár
(Hi-Szen [i.e. Oh’Yes], the rolling bird)
Budapest : Móra, 2002. 129 p.
(Az én könyvtáram)
ISBN 963-11-7724-6
Bird – Adventure
Hi-Szen, a small grey mythical creature with a red feather, travels through the world and encounters many adventures: He tames sharks and lions, conquers the giant snake, and becomes friends with a dinosaur. The little bird-like hero, who can neither fly nor roll around, is a skilful storyteller. He tells of all the important things in life: Love and friendship, pride and modesty, sufferings and happiness. The grippingly and fluently told tales of this book make for a truly delightful read. (7+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 2
Hasegawa, Setsuko (text)
Kanaida, Etsuko (illus.)
Ningyō no tabidachi
(The dolls’ farewell)
Tokyo : Fukuinkan Shoten, 2003. 206 p.
ISBN 4-8340-0619-0
Home country – Childhood memory – Imagination – This world / Next world
As a child, the author of this book lived in a little town in the Sanin region close to the Japanese Sea. There she learned about many old traditions and regional customs; she witnessed humanity and sad fates. Setsuko Hasegawa weaves mystic and religious elements into her memories and combines them with an impressive description of the surroundings. Thus she creates five unique short stories of high literary quality. The title story, for example, tells of a few broken old dolls, which are placed under a tree on the temple ground by their former owners to soothe their souls. Before the eyes of the protagonist, the dolls disappear into the tree hollow, in which lies the sea Nirwana. In all the stories, wondrous events befall the little heroine, but also some painful ones. The exquisite and aesthetic illustrations highlight the mixture of realistic and fantastic elements in the stories and help readers from other cultural backgrounds to acquire a better understanding of the foreign subject. (13+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 3
Hasegawa, Shūichi [et al.] (ed.)
Shashin de miru haiku saijiki – Juniaban
(Glossary for haiku-poetry with photographs for adolescents)
Tokyo : Komine Shoten, 2003. 71, 79, 79, 71, 87, 87, 87 p. (Vol. 1 and 2: Haru [Spring]; Vol. 3 and 4: Natsu [Summer], Vol. 5: Aki [Autumn]; Vol. 6: Fuyu [Wint
ISBN 4-338-18800-6
Poetry – Haiku – Nature – Season – Symbolism
According to traditional rules, a haiku has to include one word that refers to a season. This lavish seven-volume work gathers about 3,200 of the so-called »seasonal words«, which are introduced in 4,800 haikus by well-known haiku-poets. Detailed information is given about the words’ symbolism and background, which – thanks to the large number of photographs – is easy to understand and lends an encyclopaedic quality to the books. In the appendix, readers will discover some facts about the invention and development of this Japanese form of poetry, about poets, rules, topics, and modes of expression, methods of writing haikus, and their creative reception abroad. This is an informative and inspiring work not only for pupils and teachers, but also for students and haiku-lovers worldwide. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 4
Hino, Kazunari (text)
Saitō, Takao (illus.)
Kaeru no Heike monogatari
(The frogs and the cat : a story inspired by »Heike monogatari«)
Tokyo : Fukuinkan Shoten, 2002. [40] p.
(Nihon kessaku ehon shirīzu)
ISBN 4-8340-1854-7
War epic – Frog – Tomcat – Power struggle
In a 7-5-syllable metre, an old toad recites the epic of the rise and fall of the Heike-clan to the frog children. A few chapters from this war tale from the 13century, retold in a parodying manner, are turned into an imaginative picture book. The frogs, the Genji-clan, use a trick to defeat the tomcat, the Heike-clan. The battle is depicted in an elaborate style reminiscent of that in historical paintings: The medieval armour of the frog army consists of petals, thorns, nut shells, and stems of grass and their leaders are riding on grasshoppers. This original book is designed in the manner of emaki (old picture scrolls) and painted in a decorative painting style characteristic for Japan. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 5
Matsutani, Miyoko (text)
Segawa, Yasuo (illus.)
Bōsama no ki
(The blind minstrel’s tree)
Tokyo : Froebel-kan, 2002. 38 p.
(Nihon mukashibanashi ; 4)
ISBN 4-577-025-48-5
Blind person – Minstrel – Tree – Miracle – Mercy – Gratefulness – Folk tale
This new edition of an earlier series is a treasure trove for lovers of Japanese folk tales and picture books. The stories are written in a melodious language and in a narrative style peculiar to folk tales. The illustrations, reminiscent of old brush drawings with a folkloristic touch, were painted by the internationally acclaimed and award-winning artist Yasuo Segawa. Volume four displays elements of illustrations from the Tanrokubon (block books), popular in the 17century. It tells the story of the gratefulness of a drowned blind minstrel whose corpse was discovered and buried by a ferryman: A wondrous tree grows from the grave and gives pleasure to the village people. (6+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 6
Mogami, Ippei (text)
Chō, Shinta (illus.)
Otōsan no ki
(The father’s tree)
Tokyo : Kyoiku Gageki, 2003. [36] p.
ISBN 4-7746-0581-6
Father – Death – Grief – Friend – Compassion
This book tells the story of the everyday life of two friends. The father of the first-person narrator’s friend had once found a wounded owl that his son kept as a pet. »Over there, far away on a mountain top, stands an old tree in which some owls have their nests,« the father once said. When he dies, the friend releases his owl. Now, he wants to see his father’s tree himself and, therefore, the two boys climb up overgrown paths. The sensitive narrator shares his friend’s sense of loss and grief for the father. The empathetic text, also suitable for reading aloud, doesn’t really need any illustrations; nevertheless, the pictures – although they restrict themselves to few colours and sometimes only hint at the portrayed objects – lead the readers directly into the boys’ emotional world. (7+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 7
Murakami, Yasunari (text/illus.)
Yama no ofuro
(Welcome to my winterland : the hot springs in the mountains)
Tokyo : Tokuma Shoten, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 4-19-861768-6
Child – Forest animals – Thermal springs – Winter
Two children go cross-country skiing and come across a little mouse whom they save from freezing to death. Once recovered, the mouse leads them to a secret place with hot springs where the animals of the forest enjoy the warm water. This delightful view in the midst of the snow-covered mountains makes the two children step into the springs and join the animals for a bath. Natureloving artist Yasunari Murakami frequently chooses »nature« as the topic for his illustrations. This time, he makes his readers experience a »steaming« natural paradise in his witty pictures. He presents a snowy landscape, painted in white alternating with warm colours, that radiates with a refreshing and cheerful atmosphere. (3+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 8
Nagita, Keiko (text)
Air = Ea
Tokyo : Kin no Hoshisha, 2003. 236 p.
ISBN 4-323-07030-6
Teenage girl – Parents – Love – Self esteem – Departure – First love – Self awareness
At first glance, it seems as if 14-year-old Ea (Air), daughter of successful parents and pupil at an elitist private school, lacks nothing while in fact she desperately lacks self-esteem and longs to be loved by her parents. Running away from home, the girl ends up in a flat where teenagers with family conflicts can stay for a while. It is a temporary state that might end with self-destructive criminality or lead back into the desired family life. When Ea falls in love for the first time, she realises that loving others can fill the emptiness in one’s own life. Despite the gloomy topic, the transparent and light-hearted language of the text creates a graceful atmosphere. This book underlines the importance of a happy family life. (14+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 9
Nakagawa, Naomi (text)
Murakami, Yutaka (illus.)
Minasoko no hitsugi
(Coffins at the bottom of the lake)
Tokyo : Kumon Shuppan, 2002. 335 p.
ISBN 4-7743-0648-7
Japan/1150-1202 – Priest – Artificial lake
While repairing the dam of the Sayama-ike, the oldest artificial lake in Japan, workers come across some stone coffins of noblemen from the era of the hill graves (4to 7century). During some earlier repairs in the 12century, commanded by the audacious priest Chōgen, these had been inserted into the dam as water channels. Using these facts as a historical backdrop, the author describes the life of the orphan boy Komatsu, who continuously struggles to survive. Komatsu meets with the Chōgen and other people and is fascinated by the symbolic meaning of fire. These experiences motivate him to fight for the artificial lake in his home region. Later in life, he decides to travel to China and learn the craft of porcelain. Descriptions of a variety of historical events let this era come alive. (13+) ☆
(43rd Japanese Association of Writers for Children Prize; 2003)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 10
Nishimaki, Kayako (text/illus.)
Aiueohayō
(Good morning, Syllables!)
Tokyo : Kogumasha, 2003. [24] p.
ISBN 4-7721-0167-5
Syllable – Piglet – Playing – Alphabet
Kayako Nishimaki, whose books perfectly meet the interests and emotions of toddlers, offers a new type of ABC book created exclusively from embroideries and applications. One sunny morning, the piglet triplets jump out of their beds and start playing outside where they are soon joined by a mouse and a mole. The funny scenes and the rhythmical text written in the Japanese Hiraganasyllable- signs, vividly portray the cheerful world of children. The second volume, Bokutachi ichiban sukina mono (That’s what we like best), which uses the same method to teach numbers from one to ten, is also well worth mentioning. Counting-out rhymes, for example, illustrate how the triplets celebrate their fourth birthday. Both books create a warm and comforting atmosphere. (3+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 11
Okada, Jun (text/illus.)
Ryū taiji no kishi ni naru hōhō
(How to become a dragon-slaying knight)
Tokyo : Kaiseisha, 2003. 109 p.
ISBN 4-03-646010-2
Actor – Dragon – Knight – Fight – Future – Wish
Yasuo accidentally left all his things at school. In the evening, when he goes there together with his classmate Yūki to fetch them, an actor in knight’s armour who claims to be a dragon slayer is standing in their classroom. Suddenly, a real dragon appears and a fierce fight ensues in which the children become involved. This unbelievable event does not only strengthen the friendship between Yasuo and Yūki, it also deeply influences their future lives: Yasuo becomes an author and Yūki an actress. This entertaining school story with fantasy elements contains two messages, namely to have dreams for one’s future and to strive to make them come true. (11+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 12
Sonoda, Hisako (text)
Maruki, Toshi (illus.)
Inochi no hana
(The flowers of life)
Osaka : Kaihō Shuppansha, 2003. [36] p.
ISBN 4-7592-2230-8
Japan/1800 – Minority – Origin – Discrimination – Injustice – Arbitrariness
In 1800, the inhabitants of a small village, which today is situated in the urban area of Fukuoka, suffer an incredible injustice. A drunken Samurai who pesters the people around him is beaten up by five citizens. In order to save the face of the Samurai-class, the culprits have to be found and receive capital punishment. Completely arbitrarily, the officials force the Burakumin, a socially less privileged minority, to hand over five men, otherwise all their houses will be burned down. On the basis of the temple’s death register and the orally transmitted stories, the committed author and the well-known illustrator have reconstructed this event very convincingly and denounce injustice and discrimination in powerful pictures. (12+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 13
Suzuki, Yukie (text)
Suezaki, Shigeki (illus.)
Yūhigaoka no San
(Sun, the dog from the hill of the evening sun)
Maisaka : Hikumano Shuppan, 2003. 36 p.
ISBN 4-89317-309-x
Dog – Family – Farm – Everyday life – Seasons
The favourite place of a farmer’s boy is a hill from where he watches the evening sun glide down over the mountains. One day, he finds a small dog there, and although he already has various pets at home, he is allowed to keep it. The dog is an amiable addition to the family and its lively character makes the sick grandmother regain some energy. The boy is therefore terribly sad when the little dog suddenly disappears. Yet, in spring, it is back again bringing its puppies with it and the farm is once more filled with joy. The author’s positive outlook on life is expressed in her depiction of the tea farmers’ daily life. Even if the people and their behaviour are portrayed in a somewhat sketchy way, they still illustrate the change of the seasons and the daily scenes with sufficient detail. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 14
Taniuchi, Kōta (text/illus.)
Donna michi
(What’s the way like?)
Tokyo : Shikosha, 2003. [28] p.
ISBN 4-7834-0281-7
Path – Road – Countryside – Season
Paths we think we know repeatedly show us new faces depending on the time of day, the season, and the mood of the person who walks along it. And what might the road look like behind the next bend or that hill over there? The picture book artist Kōta Taniuchi, who today lives in France, invites his readers to join him for a walk along paths he has once taken: through green fields of wheat, through the rain in the city, along the beach in summer, through the forest in autumn, and towards the trees covered with hoar frost in winter. He expresses his impressions in quiet naïve poetic pictures with few words, leaving plenty of room for the audience to listen to their own feelings and imagination. (3+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 15
Tomiyasu, Yōko (text)
Kajiyama, Toshio (illus.)
Mogaribue
(Mogaribue, the winter wind)
Tokyo : Akane Shobo, 2002. [32] p.
(Akane shin ehon shirīzu ; 14)
ISBN 4-251-00934-7
Wind – Winter – Child – Fear
In haiku poetry, »Mogaribue« is one of the words that symbolise winter. It describes the piercing sound made by a freezing wind blowing across fences, through trees, etc. In the countryside, a small boy wanders off to fly his kite. The sound of the grass and bamboo trees swaying in the strong wind frightens him. When, suddenly, he hears voices and spots a giant tiger in the sky looking like a winter ghost and soldiers who chase it, the boy can no longer stand the menacing, spooky atmosphere and runs home. Accompanied by a gripping and lyrical text, Toshio Kajiyama’s pictures, drawn in his own characteristic style of dots and brush lines, imaginatively illustrate an everyday natural phenomenon. (5+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 16
Uchida, Rintarō (text)
Furiya, Nana (illus.)
Arigatō tomodachi
(Thank you, my friend)
Tokyo : Kaiseisha, 2003. 31 p.
(»Oretachi, tomodachi!« ehon shirīzu ; 6)
ISBN 4-03-232120-5
Friendship – Sea – Fishing – Failure
The friendship between Fox and Wolf, who are very different in character, is fairly exciting. In a humorous way, this series of picture books called Friends, which was started in 1998, describes the difficulties of true friendship in various aspects. Even when the friends are happy together, envy, boasting, or quarrels creep in. But in the end tolerance, compassion, and common sense prevail. Because of the high quality of this series, the (didactic) message is not too obvious. Instead, priority is given to the originality apparent in the vibrant pictures with their delightful details. In volume six of the series, Wolf boasts that he will catch a giant tuna for his friend, but he fails miserably; luckily enough, Fox is quite generous. (5+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 17
Yoshimura, Keiko (text)
Tajima, Yukihiko (illus.)
Nanashi no Gonbe-san
(The nameless people)
Tokyo : Doshinsha, 2003. 40 p.
ISBN 4-494-01237-8
Disability – Family – Air raid – World War II
War casts a shadow over the life of physically handicapped Momoko. The air raids occur more and more often, her grandfather, usually a very caring person, becomes angrier and angrier, and due to her handicap, she is not allowed to start school. Deeply disappointed, Momoko protests, yet only the neighbouring boys try to comfort her. One day, bombs rain down on the city. The wheelchair with Momoko in it suddenly rolls through the flames, the boys run with her through the sea of fire. Thousands of people perish in the flames. And what about Momoko and the boys? With few words and many expressive pictures from the little girl’s perspective, this picture book manages to convey a convincing portrait of the horrors of war to child readers. (7+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2004 - 22
Yi, Hyŏn-sun (text)
Ch'oe, Ŭn-mi (illus.)
Sim Ch ŏng ka
(Shimchong’s song)
Seoul : Ch obang, 2003. [32] p. + 1 CD
ISBN 89-90614-05-8. - 89-90614-03-1
Folk tale – Daughter – Father – Self-sacrifice – Miraculous cure – Music – Theatre
Shimchong believes that only an offering in the temple can cure her father of his blindness. Since she is very poor, she sells her life to some sailors who sacrifice young girls to placate the sea. The sea-king, however, spares her life and eventually, her father can see again. This folk tale about a virtuous girl is created in the 400-year-old Korean performance art of P’ansori, in which only one person speaks and sings in alternation with a drummer. The characters in this book, borrowed from the traditional Korean mask-dance, act in stylised poses without a background. Just like a P’ansori singer who fills the stage with his performance alone, the figures fill the large-format pages of this book. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 2004 - 24
Slingsby, Peter
Jedro’s bane
Cape Town : Tafelberg, 2002. 159 p.
ISBN 0-624-03578-6
Grandfather – Quarrel – Reconciliation – Friendship – Colonialism – Slavery – Rebellion – Freedom – South Africa/1900
When Jedro is punished for getting into a fight with the class bully and sent to stay a few days at his granddad’s place in the countryside, the boy is prepared for a dead-boring weekend. How was he to know that the old man would suddenly conjure up an exciting tale that was to have a profound impact on Jedro’s life? Embedded in a moving frame story, the author offers young readers the gripping account of the life of a courageous black boy who decides to fight against slavery and unjust laws passed by the white government in 19century South Africa. Narrated in a direct and engaging style, the tale about Koot’s rebellion and his struggle against three banes prophesied to him by an old medicine woman immediately captivates the (fictional and real-life) audience. At the end, children will reluctantly surface from an enthralling read that also offers some insight into the life of black people in South Africa a century ago, their ancient culture, and the power of storytelling. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2004 - 29
Malbunka, Mary (text/illus.)
When I was little, like you
Crows Nest, Australia : Allen & Unwin, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 1-86508-903-6
Australia/1960s – Aboriginals – Mission settlement – Childhood
In 2000, students and members of staff at Papunya School got together to create the award-winning Papunya School Book of Country and History. Now, one of them, Aboriginal artist Mary Malbunka, returns to tell readers about her own childhood at Papunya. In a simple and engaging style, interspersed with Luritja expressions – Mary’s mother tongue – she recalls arriving at the government settlement as a five-year-old. She shares memories of everyday life at the settlement such as going to school, searching for sugarbag (i.e. wild honey), climbing trees, and listening to the stories of the elders. Her short tale is accompanied by colourful acrylic and watercolour pictures, carried out both in traditional and in European styles of art, that conjure up a lively picture of an Aboriginal childhood in the 1960s. The short appendix includes a note on the various Aboriginal languages, a short explanation of the language of symbols used in many traditional pictures, and a Luritja-English glossary. _ (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2004 - 30
Norrington, Leonie
The spirit of Barrumbi
Norwood, SA : Omnibus Books, 2003. 213 p.
ISBN 1-86291-552-0
Aboriginals – Whites – Intercultural education
In this sequel to her highly praised first novel The Barrumbi Kids, Leonie Norrington describes everyday life in a small Aboriginal community and discusses the conflicts children have to come to terms with if they live in two different cultures at once. The inhabitants of Long Hole still cherish their traditional culture and are taught to respect the ways of the elders. Even though Dale and his parents and siblings have lived there for many years and are regarded as kin by Tomias’ family, tensions between the Aboriginals and the white family suddenly rise when Dale’s headstrong older brother Sean stupidly breaks one of the elders’ important rules and thus almost causes a catastrophe. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2004 - 31
Stevens, Leonie
The Marowack Two
Camberwell, Victoria [et al.] : Penguin Books, 2003. 250 p.
(YA fiction)
ISBN 0-14-100661-7
Search for identity – Fear – Friendship – Environmental destruction – Resistance
Every time Kira is struck by lightning – 14 times so far – she wakes up in a different hospital bed with no memory of her previous life. To escape this mysterious and terrifying curse, mother and daughter move to Marowack, a small goldmining town in the middle of nowhere, supposedly free of thunderstorms. When the small village forest is in danger of falling prey to greedy politicians, Kira joins forces with 17-year-old Hector and the two troubled outsiders get entangled in a web of political intrigues. Told from alternating points of view, this fast-paced powerful novel traces the story of two scared and angry teenagers who desperately try to come to grips with life’s challenges while they are struggling with their fragile love-hate relationship. (14+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2004 - 32
Wilkinson, Carole
Dragonkeeper
Fitzroy, Vic. : Black Dog Books, 2003. 346 p.
ISBN 1-876372-19-2
China – Dragon – Slavery – Escape – Journey – Danger – Search for identity
When a brutal dragon hunter suddenly appears at the secluded imperial palace and threatens to kill the last imperial dragon, young slave girl Ping spontaneously helps the threatened creature escape. This marks the beginning of a long, perilous journey across the country to mysterious Ocean during which Ping slowly learns to accept her new duty as true dragonkeeper and to trust in her inner strength. Set in ancient China at the time of the Han dynasty, this engaging fantasy novel about friendship and betrayal portrays the metamorphosis of the shy insecure protagonist into a courageous trustworthy young woman. The powerful narrative with its traditional fantasy elements immediately captures the readers’ imagination and does not release them until the very end. (12+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 42
Haddon, Mark
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
Oxford : Fickling, 2003. 271 p.
ISBN 0-385-60587-0
Teenager – Asperger’s Syndrome – Murder – Dog
»5 red cars mean that it is going to be a Super Good Day. And 4 yellow cars in a row mean that it is going to be a Black Day (...).« That is how life works for 15-year-old Christopher who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. While maths and sciences are child’s play for the boy with his photographic memory, humans and their emotions are all Greek to him. Therefore, when he finds the neighbour’s dog Wellington murdered with a garden fork and sets out to solve the mystery, his neat everyday order is threateningly disturbed and he pushes himself right towards his own boundaries. Written in an utterly convincing voice, the straightforward and perfectly logical narration, interspersed with the odd mathematical discourse, carries readers into the ‘foreign land’ of a highly intelligent boy whose behavioural difficulties can pose severe problems in everday-life situations. This amusing and at the same time sad and extremely touching story certainly challenges a number of prejudices against autistic people. _ (13+)
(Whitbread Book Award; 2003; Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize; 2003)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 43
Kay, Elizabeth
The Divide
Frome, Somerset : Chicken House, 2003. 320 p.
ISBN 1-903434-96-3
Boy – Illness – Parallel world – Adventure – Quest
While standing on the Continental Divide in Costa Rica with one foot on the Atlantic and one on the Pacific side of the watershed, 13-year-old Felix, who suffers from a life-threatening illness, suddenly passes out. When he comes round again, he finds himself in a strange upside-down world, where creatures like »brittlehorns« (unicorns) and »fire-breathers« (dragons) exist, but humans are regarded as mythical. With the help of Betony, an unruly »tangle-child« (elf), and the »brazzle« (griffin) Ironclaw, the boy plunges into a dangerous quest searching for a cure for his illness and the way back into the real world. This entertaining fantasy adventure draws young readers into a fascinating parallel universe and offers an exciting and enjoyable read. (11+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 44
Said, S. F. (text)
McKean, Dave (illus.)
Varjak Paw
(<Proper name>)
Oxford [et al.] : David Fickling Books, 2003. 254 p.
ISBN 0-385-60415-7
Cat – Family – Outsider – Danger – Rescue – Friendship – Adventure
All his life, Varjak Paw was treated with contempt and ridicule by his brothers, and even his parents are convinced that he isn’t a proper Mesopotamian Blue. But when a mysterious tall man and his two killer cats threaten the proud feline family’s comfortable life-style in the Duchess’s grand house, the small kitten ventures into the unknown outside world, faces cruel cat gangs, learns about the »Way« – a number of secret survival skills – and finds true friends who help him defeat the enemy. This gripping, fast-paced novel about a lonely outsider’s adventurous quest for his identity is accompanied by angular black-and-white drawings that ingeniously capture the story’s tense atmosphere. (10+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 45
Steer, Dugald A. (ed.)
Dr. Ernest Drake’s dragonology : the complete book of dragons
Dorking, Surrey : Templar, 2003. [38] p.
ISBN 1-84011-503-3
Dragons – Encyclopaedia
This lavishly produced volume claims to be a facsimile edition of a book originally published in 1896. In a pseudo-serious scientific style, it compares the different types of dragons that exist world-wide, discusses their behaviour, life cycle, habitats, and history, and informs readers how to go about taming and flying these huge beasts. In addition, the appendix offers spells and charms that might come in handy when encountering a dragon. The exquisite cover design, the colourful detailed illustrations, drawings, diagrams, flaps to lift and charts, as well as specimens of dragon skin and samples of dragondust make this book a real treasure for young would-be dragon hunters. (8+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 46
Tracey, Rhian
When Isla meets Luke meets Isla
London : Bloomsbury, 2003. 159 p.
ISBN 0-7475-6344-6
Teenager – Friendship – First love – Sister – Death – Grief
Isla doesn’t want to leave Scotland and start all over again in a small South England town where her new classmates pretend they cannot understand her accent. Luke is generally bored with school life and hates his father for abandoning the family. The quick-tempered girl and the quiet boy are immediately attracted to each other, quickly become friends, and have a whale of a time together, until, one day, an accident turns their lives upside down. Told alternatingly in Isla’s slightly sarcastic distinctly Scottish voice and Luke’s analytic yet dryly humorous language, this witty and touching debut novel convincingly describes the ups and downs of teenage life burdened with difficult relationships and the devastating loss of a little sister. (12+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 47
Umansky, Kaye (text)
Mould, Chris (illus.)
Meet the Weirds
Edinburgh : Barrington Stoke, 2003. 77 p.
ISBN 1-84299-114-0
Family – Neighbour – Differentness – Disapproval – Friendship
Sometimes, books for beginning readers can seem a bit dull. With Kaye Umansky’s ‘weird’ little tale, however, you needn’t worry about this at all. Already from the cover illustration and the title, readers will sense that the Weirds are anything but an ordinary family. When the stuntwomanmother, the inventor-father, and their offspring move into Number 17 Tidy Street, Mrs. Prim and her equally prim husband are immediately suspicious about the new neighbours. Nevertheless, their son Pinchton soon realises that life next door has a lot of funny surprises in store. This hilarious tale full of dry humour and its utterly comical illustrations will have small and big readers shrieking with laughter. (8+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2004 - 51
Major, Kevin (text)
Blackwood, David (illus.)
Ann and Seamus
Toronto : Douglas & McIntyre, 2003. 109 p.
(A Groundwood book)
ISBN 0-88899-561-x
Shipwreck – Newfoundland/1828 – Epic poem – Heroism – Love – Steadfastness
On May 29, 1828, the Despatch, an Irish immigrant ship, runs aground off the shore of Newfoundland. »These are the barest facts. They tell us nothing of the misery and pain.« Oh, but Kevin Major and David Blackwood certainly do, and how! They also tell us about courage, hope, and love. Thanks to young Ann Harvey’s steadfastness, more than 160 lives could be saved from »the hellish clutches of Isle aux Morts.« Adopting the form of a narrative poem, Major creates a dramatic contrast between intimate lyrical passages reflecting the aspirations of the two protagonists and the powerful epic scenes describing the plight and rescue of the shipwrecked. Blackwell’s haunting blue and grey prints vividly reflect all shifts in tone and voice. The generous text layout amplifies the epic rhythm and reinforces the impression that one is reading a timeless tale of love and courage. (12+)
(Governor General’s Award; 2003; Shortlist)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2004 - 52
Sadlier, Rosemary (text)
Wang, Qi-Jun (illus.)
The kids book of Black Canadian history
Toronto ON : Kids Can Press, 2003. 56 p.
ISBN 1-55074-892-0
Black Canadians – Canada/1628–2000
This non-fiction title tells an important story seldom told: the history of Black Canadians. From the first Black slave to arrive in New France in 1628 to the Black singers, artists, and politicians of today, this book offers informative double-pages on key periods, people, or events: the Underground Railroad, the participation of Black soldiers in various wars and revolutions, the Jamaican Maroons, etc. Short personality profiles and »did-you-know boxes« with intriguing bits of information arouse the reader’s curiosity. A section titled »Prejudice and Racism« reminds us that the best way to fight these two evils is to learn more about each other. In this sense, this book makes a true contribution to tolerance. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2004 - 53
Schwartz, Virginia Frances
Initiation
Markham, Ontario : Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2003. 268 p.
ISBN 1-55005-053-2
Kwakiutl Indians – Coming of age – Twins – Salmon – Sacrifice – Atonement
This powerful historical novel about Kwakiutl Indians from the Northwest Coast of Canada has strong mythic resonances. Set in the 15century, it weaves together the story of three adolescents on the brink of adulthood and a Kwakiutl transformation myth. The destiny of 11-year-old Nana and her twin brother Nanolatch is clearly set out before them. According to the Way, the boy will succeed his father as chief of the tribe while Nana will be married off. But thanks to Noh, a slave girl and shaman’s daughter, the two discover that they have to find their own way by listening to the world of the Spirits. Changing the point-of-view between the three protagonists, Schwartz creates a fascinating blend of ancient Indian legends and a modern coming-of-age novel. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2004 - 60
Hoffman, Alice (text)
Mahurin, Matt (illus.)
Green angel
New York : Scholastic Press, 2003. 116 p.
ISBN 0-439-44384-9
Girl – Family – Catastrophe – Loss – Surviving – Grief – Sister – Difference
One day, the nearby city is completely destroyed by a terrifying catastrophe, and 15-year-old Green at once loses her family, her future, and the world as she knows it. Cutting off all her emotions in her struggle to survive, the formerly shy and introverted girl turns into Ash, a tough creature who wears a thorn-studded leather jacket and boots with sharp nails to protect herself from physical and emotional attacks. Written in an exceptionally beautiful poetic style, this quiet novel traces the slow healing process of a teenage girl lost in desperation as she tries to recover her grip on life. The readers are inevitably drawn into the touching first-person narrative and share the grief and loneliness of the protagonist as she eventually accepts her fate and allows some feeling of hope into her heart again. The delicate white-and-green illustrations at the beginning of each chapter perfectly match the slightly mystical tone of the text and make this book a true gem. (14+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2004 - 61
McDermott, Gerald (text/illus.)
Creation
New York : Dutton Children’s Books, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 0-525-46905-2
Creation of the Earth
Using handmade mulberry-bark paper from Japan, award-winning illustrator Gerald McDermott retells the creation of the Earth in fascinating pictures. The sparse text is written as a first person account of the events with the words printed in various colours mirroring those of the illustrations. Thus text and pictures are not conceived as separate entities but rather blend into a harmonious whole. The large format gesso-and-fabricpaintings, which radiate with a mythical atmosphere, start as dark, monochrome, roughly textured surfaces. As the Creator adds various elements to his new creation, the pictures quickly fill up until they are brimming with colourful plants and creatures who inhabit the earth. (4+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2004 - 62
Paolini, Christopher
Eragon
(<Proper name>)
New York : Knopf, 2003. 509 p.
(Inheritance trilogy ; 1) (A Borzoi book)
ISBN 0-375-82668-8. - 0-375-92668-2
(Originally publ. in different form by Paolini International, 2002)
Adolescent – Dragon – Coming of age – Threat – Escape – Fight – Good/Evil
When Eragon, while hunting in a dark mountain range, stumbles across a mysterious blue stone, which turns out to be a dragon egg, he has no idea that his whole life is about to change dramatically. Equipped with an ancient sword and accompanied by his dragon and an old storyteller, Eragon is forced to flee his quiet farmboy life and is plunged into a dangerous quest for magic and power, identity and destiny, Good and Evil. Young author Christopher Paolini started writing his epic fantasy at the age of only 15 and is now working on the second volume of the trilogy. He sends his protagonists on blood-curdling adventures through a convincing alternative world, inhabited by a rich tapestry of characters that not only fantasy lovers will devour immediately. (14+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2004 - 63
Potter, Ellen (text)
Reynolds, Peter H. (illus.)
Olivia Kidney
(<Proper name>)
New York : Philomel Books, 2003. 155 p.
ISBN 0-399-23850-6
Girl – Loneliness – Brother – Grief – Adventure
Another move, another flat, another anonymous apartment building, that’s certainly not what Olivia needs right now. Someone who shares her troubles and drives away her loneliness would be much more along her line. As she meets some of her weird new neighbours (a ghost, a would-be psychic, a former princess, etc.) she slides into the most bizarre adventures. Eventually, she even finds a way to break down the wall of sadness between her father and herself, which they had built English Language /USA German Language up after her beloved brother Christopher’s death. In this entertaining debut novel, Ellen Potter cleverly weaves real and imaginary elements together to create a hilarious yet touching story about an amiable heroine and an unlikely bunch of characters. (10+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2004 - 64
Smith, Hope Anita (text)
Evans, Shane W. (illus.)
The way a door closes
New York : H. Holt, 2003. 52 p.
ISBN 0-8050-6477-x
African American family – Father – Unemployment – Leaving – Anger – Forgiveness
Everything used to be perfect for C.J. and his younger brother and sister – until the day when his father, depressed about having lost his job, suddenly walks out on the family. Almost like a photo album, the 34 beautiful poems offer short glimpses into the life of a close-knit African American family and are supported by powerful realistic oil paintings in bright colours on a white background. Narrated in a poetic and direct language from the 13- year-old protagonist’s point of view, the moving texts make the readers empathise with C.J.’s fear, frustration, and anger as he tries to come to terms with the family falling apart – and share his hope and relief when the father finally returns. (12+)

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

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

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

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

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 97
Walser, Robert (text)
Bhend, Käthi (illus.)
Einer, der nichts merkte
(Someone who didn’t notice anything)
Zürich : Atlantis, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 3-7152-0467-2
Man – Perception – Lack of interest
The short text, taken from Robert Walser’s book Der Spaziergang (The walk), originally published in 1917, seems like an omen of people’s isolation and lack of interest in the large or small things of the world. Naively and stubbornly, a man disregards everything that shapes his life: wife, children, possessions, environment. He knows nothing and feels nothing, loses everything, even – suddenly taken into a surreal setting – his head. Now he is indeed blind, deaf, and dumb. Luckily enough, an easy solution is at hand in the picture: Wife and children sew his head back onto his body. Nevertheless, this rescue is only shown in the picture and not confirmed by the text. Colourful panels in original planograph technique illustrate this profound tale and hint at its comical side. The text’s apparent simplicity and the sophisticated style of the illustrations make this book an exemplary story. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 98
Wehrli, Ursus (illus.)
Olenhusen, Albrecht Götz von (preface)
Kunst aufräumen
(Tidying up art)
Zürich : Kein und Aber, 2002. 47 p.
ISBN 3-0369-5200-4
Art – Adaptation – Order – Aesthetics – Perception
Based on philosophical research on art, corroborated by Swiss patent law, this book strives to introduce child and adult readers to a new way of looking at art. Selected works from the canon of figurative art are reduced to their basic components of shape and space, taken to pieces and arranged in a new way, so that the separate elements of form can be recognised. The two versions – the original work of art and the »tidied up« one – are sitting next to each other and inspire meticulous observation. Moreover, they prove once more that a work of art is much more than its single parts put together. Last but not least, this method includes a humorous aspect because it takes an ironic look at both aesthetics and the overly (un-?)intelligent art ‘expert’. (14+)

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 99
Weigelt, Udo (text)
Heusser, Sibylle (illus.)
Sandmännchens Mondfahrt : eine Geschichte zur guten Nacht
(Little sandman’s trip to the moon : a bedtime story)
Gossau, Zürich : Nord-Süd-Verl., 2003. [28] p.
(Ein Nord-Süd-Bilderbuch)
ISBN 3-314-00986-0
Sandman – Friend – Search – Falling asleep – Night – Moon
Little sandman’s fate is a sad one. He feels utterly lonely because – due to his peculiar profession – he cannot find a friend. No matter where he appears, all the children and other people immediately fall asleep. Not even police officers or burglars are immune to his soporific influence. And neither are all the nocturnal animals on land, in the water or the air. Thus, there is only one solution for little sandman: the man in the moon; and he is already waiting for him. This imaginative bedtime story is accompanied by largeformat pictures painted in smooth colours. (4+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2004 - 119
Nozière, Jean-Paul
Maboul à zéro
(Crazy bald-head)
[Paris] : Gallimard, 2003. 157 p.
(Scripto)
ISBN 2-07-055359-0
Immigration – School – Epilepsy – Racism
In his politically comitted teenage novel, inspired by the alarming shift to the right during the first stage of the French presidential elections in April 2002, Jean-Paul Nozière gives names and faces to the victims of day-to-day racism. His example shows the fate of immigrants whose escape from the repressions of the radical Islamic politics in Algeria does not end happily in France. 14-yearold Aïcha, highly intelligent, enjoys helping her mother with her work as caretaker of a school. She was exempted from lessons because of her epilepsy. Without anyone knowing it, she takes distance learning courses to prepare for her A-levels and tries to keep her older mentally disabled brother’s fits under control. All the while, she is acutely aware of both the open and the hidden attacks against her family in this small French town. By weaving the mother’s memories into the story, the author presents two women whose lives are strongly determined by intolerance – religious fanaticism in Algeria on the one hand, and racism in France on the other hand. (13+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2004 - 120
Ribeyron, Samuel
Philbert
(<Proper name>)
Paris : Didier Jeunesse, 2003. [28] p.
ISBN 2-278-05140-7
Circus – Talent – Journey – Experience
Philbert’s mother is a circus rider, his father a tightrope acrobat, but the poor boy himself doesn’t seem to have any special talent. Thus, the circus director throws him out. Along his way, he encounters a street orchestra and catches their notes with his suitcase. He walks past a school, hears children recite poems, and ‘plucks’ some of their words. When, on top of all that, he picks up some children’s laughter, his suitcase becomes very heavy – but his heart is suddenly light and his head full of ideas. He returns to the circus and gives an extraordinary performance. In the dynamic and cheerful illustrations of this book, figures made from salt dough and plasticine act on a dream stage and invite readers to join them for a quiet poetic journey. (4+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2004 - 121
Sazonoff, Zazie (text)
Chapotat, Fred (illus.)
L’album des contraires
(The book of opposites)
[Paris] : Mila Éd., 2003. [50] p.
ISBN 2-84006-378-6
Opposites – Toys
This large-format picture book of photographs about opposites is funky, fresh, and full of colours. On double-spread pages, a surprising and humorous collection of objects and materials unfolds. A figure created from potatoes and one created from beans, for example, represent »big« and »small«, while Olivia, wife of the famous cartoon hero Popeye, scrambling about on a coat hanger, illustrates the meaning of »the right way around« and »upside down«. Thus, conventional toys, figures, and objects made from rolls of toilet paper, wool, cheese cartons, vegetables, fabric, or cardboard portray adjectives, nouns, or verbs with opposite meanings. This picture book offers a lot of fun both to the very young and to parents and children reading together. (3+)

Special Mention - France (French) - 2004 - 122
Séonnet, Michel (text)
Geiger, Cécile (illus.)
Madassa
(<Proper name>)
Paris : Éd. Sarbacane, 2003. [28] p.
ISBN 2-84865-008-7
Boy – War – Grief – Reading – Writing
The children’s face portrayed on the front cover already hints at the book’s content: Madassa’s large sad eyes talk about the cruelties of war: about hunger, the painful loss of his siblings, shootings, and death. Grief, fear, and anger leave no room in his head for words. Thus, Madassa can neither read nor write. Yet, when the teacher reads stories to him that describe exactly these feelings but also tell him about the happiness of dancing, these words stay in his head. And soon Madassa starts writing ... The large-format illustrations are dominated by the boy’s omnipresent expressive face and the symbolic descriptions that – thanks to the power of reading and writing – turn from negative into positive ones. (7+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2004 - 123
Tullet, Hervé (text/illus.)
Les cinq sens
(The five senses)
[Paris] : Seuil Jeunesse, 2003. [156] p.
ISBN 2-02-052794-4
Senses
Seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting. Already on the front cover of this »picture book of the senses«, the readers do not only see the drawing of a hand but can also feel it. With a great deal of imagination and humour, Hervé Tullet offers a wide range of pictures that invite young readers to explore the five senses. The colourful and imaginative illustrations, interspersed with words and short texts, are playfully and elaborately designed. They are full of puns, allusions, and picture puzzles, such as a »mirror« that reflects the »fairest of them all« on one page, or a human profile with a huge nose on another. The journey through the senses culminates in the »sixth sense«, which puts everything into a nutshell and alludes to the child’s power of imagination. (3+)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2004 - 154
Auster, Paul (text)
Isol (illus.)
Vera, Mariana (transl.)
El cuento de Navidad de Auggie Wren
(Auggie Wren’s Christmas story)
Buenos Aires : Ed. Sudamericana, 2003. 30 p.
ISBN 950-07-2450-2
Christmas – Old age – Loneliness – Lie – Trick – Deception – Compassion
This touching Christmas tale by the famous North American author was originally published in the New York Times in 1990. Later it was reused in the script for the film Smoke (1995). The story within a story tells of a tobacco shop owner in Brooklyn who tries to track down a thief. When he arrives at the thief’s flat, he only finds the man’s grandmother there. Not wanting to destroy the lonely and blind old woman’s illusion – she accidentally (or intentionally?) takes him for her grandson – the man joins in the pretend game and spends Christmas eve with her. For this story, the Argentinean artist Isol has created sophisticated and very original illustrations mainly in shades of brown. The rich detail invites readers to look at the pictures again and again to discover new things. Thanks to the unusual technique, a fascinating mixture of painted-over photographs and collage, the illustrations occasionally seem like three-dimensional little stages on which the tale is enacted. (9+) ☼

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2004 - 155
Baredes, Carla (text)
Lotersztain, Ileana (text)
García Rodríguez, Gonzalo (illus.)
¿Por qué es trompudo el elefante? : y otras curiosidades de los animales a la hora de comer
(Why does the elefant have a trunk? : and other peculiarities of animals at meal time)
Buenos Aires : Ed. Iamiqué, 2003. 59 p.
(¡Qué bestias!)
ISBN 987-98042-6-0
Animal – Physiognomy – Eating habits – Evolution
It is certainly true that many non-fiction books for children are well-made but, nevertheless, they often seem a little boring because they follow conventional concepts. This non-fiction title about animals published by a small new publishing house is refreshingly different. As the second volume of a series called ¡Qué bestias! (What amazing animals!), it examines the interesting question of why certain animals look the way they do, and why and how they eat the things they eat. With funny and smart headlines, entertaining yet well-founded texts, and cartoon-like colour illustrations, this book offers an original introduction to the animal world and the secrets of evolution. (8+)

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2004 - 156
Wolf, Ema
Libro de los prodigios
(The book of miracles)
Buenos Aires : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2003. 135 p.
(Torre de papel : Amarilla)
ISBN 987-545-116-9
Example – Supernatural creature – Inexplicable phenomenon
In this book, the author – who is nominated for the Hans-Christian-Andersen-Award 2004 – parodies the genre of medieval exemplum-literature, albeit without its characteristic moralistic elements. 24 tales describe astonishing supernatural phenomena, such as cats made of sand, or tigers who have mysterious messages imprinted on their foreheads. In a brilliant manner, Ema Wolf exploits Latin and Arabic, religious and secular sources, plays with different styles, and mixes archaic and ancient terms with modern colloquial expressions. Thus she creates a refined intertextual blend that can be interpreted in various ways by teenage and adult readers alike. (14+)

Special Mention - Venezuela (Spanish) - 2004 - 164
Sáez Castán, Javier (text/illus.)
Los tres erizos : pantomima en dos actos con colofón
(The three hedgehogs : farce in two acts with colophon)
Caracas : Ed. Ekaré, 2003. [36] p.
(Colección Ponte Poronte)
ISBN 980-257-297-7. - 84-933060-0-2
Hedgehog – Apple – Food – Trial – Justice
Three hedgehogs raid an apple-orchard for windfalls. »Revenge!« scream the people. Once they finish hibernating and leave their cosy cave, the culprits will be in for it. But they are lucky because just then, a little apple tree they ‘planted’ decides to push its head through the earth. The benefactors shall be pardoned! Overwhelming emotions, medals, happy end! This unconventional picture book owes its exuberant originality to the discrepancy between the simplicity of the pseudodidactic tale, its subdued tone, and the warm, quiet illustrations on the one hand and its elaborate form and many literary allusions on the other. Javier Sáez Castán quotes elements of classicist drama or adds banners with Latin or French inscriptions as comments to imitate medieval paintings and ends up producing an intelligent ironic farce that can be appreciated by child and adult readers on very different levels. (6+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 170
Pedersen, Knud Erik (transl. of non-Danish texts)
Der er kommet en komet : nordiske digte for børn
(There came a comet : Nordic poems for children)
København : Forum, 2003. 106 p. + 1 CD
ISBN 87-553-3318-4
Scandinavia – Poetry
Thanks to state support for book projects, it is often possible in Scandinavian countries to publish outstanding editions from which children, too, will profit (if they want to). Authors, illustrators, publishers, and translators have joined forces to produce a truly magnificent anthology of children’s poetry, which – despite the great number of people involved – can be considered a harmonious whole. All of the poems (and the respective illustrations, of course) have been created especially for this publication. An enclosed CD offers the poems read by their authors and allows the children to experience the sounds of the original languages. This volume can be seen as one of the best showpieces of children’s book culture in the North. Its creation was also supported by the »great old man of children’s poetry from the Nordic countries,« Swedish poet Lennart Hellsing, who himself – out of modesty – has not added any of his own poems to the collection. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 171
Glaz Serup, Martin (text)
Thaulov, Pia (illus.)
Skræp!
(Cackle!)
[København] : Gyldendal, 2003. [28] p.
ISBN 87-02-01740-7
Goose – Noise – Slaughter – Love of animals
This story turns the legend of the geese who saved Rome on its head. After his wife has abandoned him and the farm animals suffer from nervous breakdowns, a farmer cannot stand his geese’s cackling anymore. Even when their cries warn him about a thief, his heart is not softened. On the contrary: While the burglar empties the house, the farmer takes his geese and surrenders them to the butcher. Eventually, quiet returns to the farm. Together with his wife, who has suddenly returned, the farmer contentedly digs into a frugal dinner in the empty house. Could the very modern moral of this bizarre fable be that you can only get rid of annoying fellows by resorting to brutal methods? Or should the adults who read this story to their children explain that the story should actually end differently? (6+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 172
Hega Holst, Kamilla (text)
Thaulov, Pia (illus.)
Den sovende sangerinde
(The sleeping singer)
København : Høst & Søn, 2003. 87 p.
ISBN 87-14-11807-6
Mother – Nervous breakdown – Child – Helplessness
Liv, whose family has just moved, becomes friends with Nis, the boy from next door. But Nis is different from others: On the one hand, he has a lot of imagination and is able to arouse that of other children. On the other hand, however, there is also a dark side to his life. He has to look after his depressed mother, a former singer, who just vegetates ever since Nis’s father disappeared. When the desperate boy runs away, Liv and her mother take over and slowly help Nis’s mother to regain an interest in life. When Nis finally comes back home, his mother starts singing again. On only a few pages and with sparse language, a fascinating web of tender human relations is spread out before the readers. It allows them to enter into the realm of imagination but also to glimpse at life’s dark mysteries. (10+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 173
Johansen, Anders (text)
Bak, Mette-Kirstine (illus.)
Lasses store verden
(Lasse’s big world)
Århus : Forl. Modtryk, 2003. 160 p.
ISBN 87-7394-814-4
Denmark/1950-1960 – Child – Everyday life
Anders Johansen tells his readers about a time when their grandfathers were children. He does not choose to relate a »Once upon a time ...« story, however; instead, with great narrative skill, he simply recounts the adventures of a small boy with his family and friends. Thus, modern day Scandinavian Languages children do not deliberately have to travel back to the late 1950s in their minds. They automatically slip into the past, which they might even consider an idyllic time, and will hardly be surprised that this family did not even own a television set. The black-and-white ink illustrations with their slightly caricaturesque style draw a lively picture of the boy’s mostly funny little adventures. (5+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 174
Lassen, Linda
Sandhedens time
(Time of certainty)
[Frederiksberg] : Branner og Korch, 2003. 262 p.
ISBN 87-411-5992-6
Teenage girl – Boarding school – Character development
One day, out of the blue, young Mia is sent to boarding school by her parents. At first, she suspects that they want to get rid of her, but the reason for this decision rather seems to be a problem between the parents themselves. Mia has to make herself at home in a new environment, leave old friends behind, try hard to find new friends, and figure out what it is she wants to do with her life. This typical coming-of-age story, written with great empathy by a psychologist, will certainly inspire readers, girls in particular, to start thinking about themselves and their lives. (14+)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 175
Wiizan, Marianne
Marie’s løfte
(Marie’s promise)
[København] : Carlsen, 2003. 217 p.
ISBN 87-626-0067-2
France/1793 – French Revolution – Village – Change of values – Orphan
The French Revolution has turned the lives and habits of the people in a small village upside down. Marie, the blacksmith’s daughter, has lost her father in an accident, while her mother, who is mentally disturbed, is looked after in a convent that no longer receives any financial support because of the revolution. One day, the girl meets Cat, an aristocratic child whose parents were murdered and who currently lives with a group of gypsies. The two girls find Cat’s hidden jewellery box but they have to win a fight before they can share the treasure. Marie leaves her share to the convent so that they can keep the hospital running. This well-written novel combining adventures and human problems provides readers with an interesting glimpse into the chaotic life in France around 1800. (12+)

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 182
Syväjärvi, Annastiina (text/illus.)
Siipirikko ei voi lentää
(A broken wing cannot fly)
Helsinki : Lasten Keskus, 2003. [40] p.
ISBN 951-627-445-5
Tampere – Cathedral – Simberg, Hugo / Haavoittunut enkeli – Mural – Angel
In this book, probably the most famous Finnish painting »Haavoittunut enkeli« (The wounded angel) by Hugo Simberg serves as the setting for an adventure. A girl enters the cathedral in Tampere, an Art Nouveau building, discovers the painting, and climbs into it. After a short ‘excursion’ together with the angel, the girl leads the angel back into the painting and leaves the snow-covered cathedral. In her pictures, the artist fulfils the dream of many a child who wishes to overcome the unapproachability inherent in many works of art. When the protagonist touches the angel-girl, who usually looks down with an absent-minded and sad expression, the wounded creature immediately turns into a friendly, cheerful, and attentive child, while the wounds on her wings and the head dressing fade into the background as insignificant accessories. This touching story, which reconciles readers with the inaccessibility of art, is told in picturesque illustrations reminiscent of Finnish paintings around 1900. (5+)

Special Mention - Iceland (Icelandic) - 2004 - 183
Jónsdóttir, Áslaug (text/illus.)
Eggið
(The egg)
[Reykjavík] : Mál og Menning, 2003. [28] p.
ISBN 9979-3-2446-5
Egg – Pursuit – Escape
An egg falls out of the bird’s nest onto a hungry cat’s furry back. The egg flees and is threatened by many obstacles during its escape, either because of its fragility or its substance – by the bus, a mad group of dancers, a cook, of course, whose bowl of cracked-open fellow sufferers hints at the fate awaiting the egg, an older couple cuddling on a park bench, a golf player who raises his club. It is stolen by a crow and falls back down to the ground – directly in front of the cat’s mouth. At the last second, the newly-hatched little bird flies away evading the cat’s teeth. The cat just calls after it: I’ll eat you later then! This witty picture book with its various allusions (suggestive advertisements with a fried egg, a plucked chicken, or a bald man whose head looks like a huge egg) is illustrated in pale colours and with elements of collage. It stands apart from other Icelandic books because of its grotesque style. (5+)

Special Mention - Iceland (Icelandic) - 2004 - 184
Steinsdóttir, Kristin (text)
Sólveig Þorgeirsdóttir, Halla (illus.)
Engill i vesturbonum
(An angel in the western part of the city)
[Reykjavík] : Vaka-Helgafell, 2002. [104] p.
ISBN 9979-2-1642-5
Child – Household
Most adults consider high-rise housing a nightmare of facelessness and anonymity. For Askur, Scandinavian Languages the boy with the old Germanic name, however, the tenants are mysterious or weird creatures who turn into angels, werewolves, or witches in his imagination. His everyday experiences are told in short episodes that include a snowstorm, a flaming sunrise, and a cosy evening spent reading with his mother. The illustrator has designed each double spread in a distinct colour and mood. In a style typical for modern painters she creates appealing pictures with bold brushstrokes, several layers of colour, and collage elements, so that every page turn becomes an exciting adventure. (8+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 185
Berggren, Arne (text)
Ekman, Fam (illus.)
Stor gutt
(Big boy)
Oslo : Aschehoug, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 82-03-24574-9
Father – Son – Swimming lessons – Fear
Arne Berggren generally has a penchant for topics ranging from weird to gloomy. This is equally true for this novel, which tells the story of a child who is torn between his artist mother, who wants to encourage his understanding of art, and his father, who strives to make his son a practical, down-to-earth person. The father takes the boy to the swimming pool to teach him how to swim. But the boy is afraid and even has a near-death experience and hallucinations. Yet in the end, he succeeds, even if the ambivalent feelings inside him remain. For illustrator Fam Ekman, this hovering between dream and reality is a graphic delight. Her delicate drawings with only a few traces of colour and the peculiar creatures she invents inspire the reader’s imagination and stand outside the mainstream of illustration styles. Moreover, the unusual, rough cardboard cover also sets this book apart from the majority of picture books and makes it a bibliophile’s treasure. (8+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 186
Dahle, Gro (text)
Nyhus, Svein (illus.)
Sinna Mann
(Evil man)
Oslo : Cappelen, 2003. [38] p.
ISBN 82-02-23116-7
Father – Son – Violence – Fear
This story about an irascible father who turns violent against wife and child is told in a very reserved and sober style. Only the illustrations, depicting a menacingly growing father who finally burns bright red with anger, show the readers the oppressive fear that the boy and his mother feel. Innocent and open-minded, the child desperately tries to contact the increasingly irritated father. Although he does not understand what is going on, he senses that his father is not himself but possessed by an evil monster. Eventually, the state authority, represented by the king and a social worker, intervenes and takes the father away – quite possibly to a psychiatric ward from where he will return to his family cured. (6+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 187
Gaarder, Jostein
Appelsinpiken
(The orange-girl)
Oslo : Aschehoug, 2003. 175 p.
ISBN 82-03-24514-5. - 82-525-5468-7
Father – Death – Son – Grief – Childhood
Mystification is one of Jostein Gaarder’s particular strengths. A father who died of cancer left a long letter to his son in which he tells him the story of his love for the boy’s mother – the orange-girl. Since this letter lay hidden for more than ten years, the son reading it embarks on a journey into the distant past, travelling to the beginning of his own life. In this novel, Gaarder does not only describe the boy’s grief and his search for his identity in a very convincing manner. He has also succeeded in creating a touching and light-hearted love story. (13+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 188
Hagen, Oddmund (text)
Düzakin, Akin (illus.)
Bort frå jordet
(Away from the countryside)
Oslo : Det Norske Samlaget, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 82-521-5948-6
Child – Arson – Guilty conscience
Two rabbit brothers and their parents live in a rural idyll seemingly free from catastrophies. Too much peace, however, inspires forbidden adventures: Thus, the two boys light a small fire with stolen matches. Although they do extinguish the fire before leaving the place, the younger brother feels guilty and hides himself when a forest fire starts that same day. But then his parents track him down and explain that the careless farmer was to blame. The soft colours and shapes of Düzakin’s pictures emanate calmness. They are characteristic for his style and perfectly match the country idyll. Even though he does not indulge in red seas of flame, the danger – only visible as heavy clouds of smoke hovering above the forest – is frightening enough. (6+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 189
Lunde, Stein Erik
Sanger fra rom 22
(Songs from room no. 22)
Oslo : Gyldendal Tiden, 2002. 200 p.
ISBN 82-05-30706-7
School – Classmate – Human relationship
This typical school novel tells the readers about the beginning of a normal school day and about all the boring daily events, such as school problems, love problems, dreams of a future etc. Luckily enough, Stein Erik Lunde’s ironic narrative style makes all this turn into a very amusing tale. Naturally, the author also describes how tough it can be to approach someone you love, especially if you are a little clumsy. The book arouses readers’ interest in literature. The author, who writes about everyday events in the lives of teenagers without resorting to stereotypes, is an experienced song-text writer and has already won some awards for the few teenage novels he has written so far. (13+) ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 196
Wahl, Mats
Svenska för idioter
(Swedish for idiots)
[Stockholm] : Bromberg, 2003. 311 p.
ISBN 91-7608-932-0
Adolescence – School – Everyday life – Puberty crisis – Sexual behaviour – Social status – Fear of the future
Following a successful pattern of youth literature, Mats Wahl lets his protagonist tell the story as first-person narrator and inserts long dialogues, which – like most of Wahl’s writings – are larded with slang yet have a convincingly realistic touch to them. The author demonstrates his extraordinary skill with an unusual progression of scenes and his uniquely imaginative turn of events. The novel describes an integrated high school class in which lower-class pupils are packed together with pupils who have learning difficulties. It seems that the teenagers aren’t interested in anything at all, no matter how fervently the new Swedish teacher tries to fight against their indifference. Henk, the first-person narrator and son of a kiosk owner, is the only one who takes the teacher’s suggestion of writing a book seriously. In his clumsy and faulty language, he starts writing the novel Swedish for idiots, single chapters of which are woven into this excellent book. (14+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 221
Noort, Selma (text)
Meijer, Marja (illus.)
Pol en de kans van zijn leven
(Pol and the chance of his lifetime)
Amsterdam : Leopold, 2003. 138 p.
ISBN 90-258-4142-2
Single-parent family – Singing – Travelling
Mother Lot and her son Pol, who live in a bridgeman’s house serving both as city gate and public toilet, know and see a lot of people. When notorious and famous singer Lorenzo takes refuge in their toilet, they save him from the gutter press who are trying to uncover Lorenzo’s well-kept secret, namely that he is the son of a poor organ grinder from the village. One day, Lorenzo finds out that Pol has a beautiful voice and decides to offer the boy the chance of his lifetime, even if he does this mainly to polish his own image a little. Pol, however, chooses his own friends. This original and heartwarming story, which is captivating to the last letter, raises moral and philosophical matters in a non-conformist way without ever making the story sound moralistic or boring. The combination of pleasant, everyday events and a highly imaginative, almost fairy-like world makes this book very special. (10+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 222
Scholtens, Anneke (text)
Oud, Pauline (illus.)
Niet voor één gat te vangen
(Always a way out)
Assen : Educatieve Uitg. Maretak, 2003. 64 p.
(Giraf)
ISBN 90-437-0180-7
Siblings – Babysitting
Lies, Max’s mother, is going to become a teacher at his school after the holidays. Since the school’s headmaster wants to talk to her beforehand, Max has to come with her to the schoolmaster’s house and baby-sit his younger brother Otto in the meantime. The two boys play in the backyard and everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Many things in the garden turn into a mess, the rabbit escapes, but at the same time the long-lost watch of the headmaster’s grandfather is found. In this distinctly humorous story about an everyday topic, the author has created a text both original in language and style, despite the young age of the target group. (6+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 223
Smids, Annejoke
Piratenbloed
(Pirate blood)
Amsterdam : Ploegsma, 2003. 319 p.
(Ploegsma kinder- & jeugdboeken)
ISBN 90-216-1616-5
Shipwreck – Island – Pirate – Madagascar/1697
In 1697, the ship Katharina is shipwrecked in a storm. Only three men are rescued by pirates and taken to the pirate island of Madagascar. The survivors basically turn into pirates themselves, except for young Sebastiaan who cannot stand all that murdering and, thus, is soon seen as a traitor. He is sent away to find a mysterious ghost ship, The Flying Dutchman, that has been haunting the region for centuries and has robbed the pirates of their treasures again and again. In this stirring historical novel by a promising debutante, the plot remains plausible even when non-realistic elements are introduced. What sets this book apart is the fact that the pirates are described from a fairly unusual perspective. (12+)

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2004 - 224
Westera, Bette (text)
Weve, Sylvia (illus.)
De raadselridder
(The mystery-knight)
Amsterdam : Hillen, 2003. 96 p.
ISBN 90-76766-69-x
Mystery – Knight – Love
In a castle in the forest lives Ganzerik, the mystery- knight, with his old mother who is lying on her deathbed. For them, time passes by so slowly that they still live in the Middle Ages. At the edge of the woods lives 9-year-old Janna with her mother in a luxurious house. Her father is always away on business trips. When Janna and Ganzerik meet one day, he thinks that his mother was right and that this is a girl to marry. He’ll only have to wait until she is old enough. The funny and highly imaginative story is told in fairly short clearly-structured chapters with distinctive blackand- white drawings that convey the atmosphere of the story very well. (8+)

Special Mention - Hungary (Hungarian) - 2004 - 240
Feuer, Mária (text)
Rényi, Krisztina (illus.)
Sárkánymese
(Dragon tale)
Budapest : Móra, 2003. 85 p.
ISBN 963-11-7780-7
Folk tale – Dragon – Growing up
This fairy tale traces the life of a small dragon from his mysterious birth to the foreboding of his death. Living by Queen Boholca’s side and discussing all matters with her, Sarkany learns everything about life in harmony with nature and the natural elements: earth, water, fire, air, light, and sky. Philosophy, culture, and knowledge from the East and the West become connected in his experiences. Step by step, fighting against the ancient elements, he learns more about himself and thus reaches the highest stage of existence, the freedom of spirit. Its literary and graphic quality make this book a true gem. The masterly design is particularly impressive, the delicately engraved illustrations underlaid with gold are reminiscent of traditional Oriental art yet also include many floral, Art Nouveau elements. (10+)

Special Mention - Hungary (Hungarian) - 2004 - 241
Lugosi, Viktória (text)
Elek, Lívia (illus.)
Hümmög?
(<Proper name>)
Budapest : Noran, 2002. 122 p.
ISBN 963-9356-70-0
Folk tale – Friendship
Hümmög?, a small green dwarf, and his friends seagull, giraffe, squirrel, ladybird, and dolphin plunge into a series of adventures as they try to support each other and make their lives worth living. In the course of their exciting experiences, their friendship grows deeper and more affectionate. With a great deal of humour, subtle irony, and a captivating narrative skill, the author inevitably draws young and old readers into her story. Striking, colourful illustrations in the style of woodcuts are a witty addition to this folk tale. (5+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2005 - 8
Nasuda, Jun
Pētā to iu na no ōkami
(The wolf called Peter)
Tokyo : Komine Shoten, 2003. 365 p.
(Y. A. Books)
ISBN 4-338-14411-4
Youth – Wolf – Rescue – Family conflict – Germany/1945-2003 – Coping with life
A slightly mysterious cover picture by the German illustrator Michael Sowa introduces readers to this innovative and thrilling novel. 14-year-old Ryō, who lives in Berlin, runs away from home in protest. Suddenly, he finds his new friend Akira and himself in the midst of a campaign to catch a pack of wolves trying to escape to the Bohemian Forest. A young wolf loses its way and ends up as pet ›dog‹ with caretaker Max. Yet, when the three of them learn about its origin, they decide to take it back to its pack. This leads to a race between them, the police, and the hunters, at the end of which the wolves are liberated. But this is not the only problem unravelled: The boys’ family conflicts and Max’s personal problems caused by the partition of Germany are also resolved. This multi-layered story, with streaks of contemporary German history cleverly woven into it, is told partly in road movie style, partly in diary form. Every single element keeps its own distinct shape. (14+)
(51st Sankei Cultural Prize for Children’s Books & Publications; 2003; 20th Tsubota Joōji Literary Award)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2005 - 9
Niimi, Nankichi (text)
Shinozaki, Saburō (illus.)
Ojīsan no ranpu
(Grandfather’s oil lamp)
Tokyo : Komine Shoten, 2004. 155 p.
(Niimi Nankichi dōwa kessakusen)
ISBN 4-338-20006-5
Village – Way of life – Short story
During his short life, Nankichi Niimi (1913-1943) wrote innumerable stories. 34 of them are now gathered in a seven-volume collection, arranged according to different topics. Set in the countryside, his tales of children and village people, folk tale-like stories, and poetic animal tales all analyse the multi-faceted character of human beings in a humorous or melancholy way. The volume reviewed here is devoted to the keyword ›path‹. Accordingly, the action develops along country roads and the protagonists are trying to find a purpose to their journey through life. Each volume is illustrated by a different artist in an absolutely ideal manner. The selected edition, superbly designed by Hanmo Sugimura, is considered to be a perfect example of how to revive children’s classics. (10+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2005 - 10
Okazaki, Hidetaka (text)
Takada, Isao (illus.)
Ten to chi o hakatta otoko : Inō Tadataka
(The man who measured heaven and earth : Inō Tadataka)
Tokyo : Kumon Shuppan, 2003. 247 p.
ISBN 4-7743-0690-8
Japan/1745-1821 – Land surveyor – Selfrealisation – Cartography – Astronomy – Biography
Inō Tadataka (1745-1818) was the head of a renowned family. At the age of 50, when he was finally free from his social and family duties, he set off to fulfil his life-long dream of surveying Japan’s territory with precise instruments. After completing a degree in astronomy, he started to actually walk all the distances he wanted to measure, about 44,000 km in total. Thus, he created maps of Japan that, until 1924, constituted the basis of all cartography there. Set during the Tokugawa era, this well-researched biography both relates the feudal system and particular zeitgeist of that time and paints a vivid picture of Inō’s journey through life determined by his humane and conscientious character, his determination and perseverance. The illustrations aptly depict the scientific knowledge of those times and Inō’s surveying method. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2005 - 11
Ōtani, Miwako (text)
Uchida, Mari (illus.)
Wagaya
(My house)
Tokyo : Kumon Shuppan, 2003. 213 p.
(Kumon no jidō bungaku)
ISBN 4-7743-0730-0
Father – Suicide – Daughter – Guilt – Grief
For the past two years, Mamiko has been feeling guilty because her father committed suicide. She cannot even cope with the behaviour of her caring yet overly busy mother anymore. When she accepts a holiday job at her aunt’s and uncle’s place in the countryside, her emotional state slowly begins to improve. Talking to her relatives and meeting other people, who all love Mamiko and respect her personality, makes the girl ponder about life and death. The relationship with all these people is very important for her and provides her with a new sense of hope that helps her overcome her deep grief. This encouraging narrative, intended for those who are left behind after a close friend or relative’s death, fights the all-too common prejudice against suicide. (13+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2005 - 12
Sakai, Komako (text/illus.)
Kinyōbi no satōchan
(The girl called Friday-Sugar)
Tokyo : Kaiseisha, 2003. 61 p.
(Luna park books)
ISBN 4-03-965240-1
Child – Imagination
On a warm afternoon, a girl nick-named »Friday-Sugar« sleeps soundly in the garden. Birds and insects gather around her to watch the lovely creature, while her most fervent admirer, a praying mantis, tries to shoo away the other animals that threaten to disturb the girl. A sad boy discovers the »Organ of the Meadow«, which stands silently in the middle of a bare spot of earth, and starts playing it. »Between the nights«, a little girl awakes, dresses in her mother’s clothes, and disappears forever. The fragmentary dream-like texts of this slightly surrealistic book are translated into emotional pictures with black as their predominant colour that immediately capture the readers’ attention. (15+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese/English) - 2005 - 13
Shingū, Susumu (text/illus.)
Cary, Ann B. (transl.)
Kaze no hoshi = Wind planet
Tokyo : Fukuinkan Shoten, 2004. [44] p.
(Nihon kessaku ehoh shirīzu)
(Japanese and English text)
ISBN 4-8340-0615-8
Wind – Earth
Susumu Shingu has earned worldwide recognition for his moveable objects of art that revolve around wind and water. To complete his various projects, he has travelled to the most remote parts of our planet. This expressive picture book, which looks at the Earth in a colourful and original way from the perspective of the winds, is a result of these travels. Depending on the force and type of wind, the clouds, oceans, deserts, oasis, steppe, etc. show different faces. Birds, jumping dolphins, singing trees, people on horseback or in sailing boats can also feel the invisible winds. In the end, the readers sail on the winds right into space where they realise that both the wind and themselves are part of our beautiful Earth. The pictures are accompanied by texts in Japanese and English. (6+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2005 - 14
Suzuki, Yukie
Natsu no hanatachi : Hiroshima no kensuisha Une Toshie monogatari
(The summer flowers : the story of Toshie Une from Hiroshima, who offers water to the souls of the dead)
Maisaka : Hikumano Shuppan, 2004. 169 p.
ISBN 4-89317-324-3
Japan/1945-2004 – World War II – Hiroshima – Atom bomb – Dead person – Soul – Offering – Water
In the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, young Miki meets 85-year-old Toshie Une who survived the drop of the atom bomb on August 6, 1945. Thousands of victims of this disaster pleaded for water while they were dying. For the past 50 years, the old woman has attended to the souls of these victims by carrying water from the purest springs in Japan to the many memorials in and outside Hiroshima as a special offering. Since 1974, her act is part of the annual peace memorial service. Because of Toshie Une’s advanced age, a younger person has stepped into her shoes as a representative of the new generation in 2004. By mingling real events with the fictitious tale of Miki and her family, the author makes it easier for young readers to understand this powerful story. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2005 - 15
Takadono, Hōko (text)
Dekune, Iku (illus.)
Ruchiasan
(Mrs. Ruchia)
Tokyo : Froebel-kan, 2003. 162 p.
ISBN 4-577-02636-8
Longing
»A place that sparkles promisingly somewhere far away« – this is a symbol for the longing that fills people’s souls. Little sisters Sū and Rūrū dream of this place whenever they look at the glimmering light-blue stone they received as a gift from their ever-travelling father. They are utterly surprised that their new maid Ruchia glows exactly like their precious stone. Years later, when successful Sū learns about Ruchia’s secret, she suddenly remembers the stone. Her sister Rūrū has long since gone off to search the world for the mysterious and promising place. The beguiling prose and the Grand Prix BIB laureate’s black-and-white illustrations, which emanate a dense atmosphere, create a convincing imaginary world of longing. (13+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2005 - 16
Tanaka, Yukako (text/illus.)
Konta no otsukai
(Konta goes on an errand)
Tokyo : Tokuma Shoten, 2004. [32] p.
ISBN 4-19-861855-0
Child – Disobedience – Supernatural creature
Little fox Konta goes shopping. When he arrives at a fork in the road, he wonders which path he should take and, despite his mother’s warnings, decides to walk along the unknown one for a change. That’s it. Immediately, a horned demon, a flying mountain troll, and lots of other frightening creatures appear in the forest. Nevertheless, Konta reaches the shop safely. On his way back, he chooses the familiar path at the end of which his mother is waiting for him. Yukako Tanaka successfully balances the fears that supernatural creatures can arouse in children against Konta’s cheerful expression, an ambience of safety, and a witty text. This amusing picture book will delight its readers with surprising effects and graphic ›quotations‹ of traditional Japanese demons. (3+)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2005 - 17
Ueda, Maniko (text)
Kajiyama, Toshio (illus.)
Obakesan tono yakusoku
(Manako’s secret promise to a ghost)
Tokyo : Fukuinkan Shoten, 2004. 96 p.
(Fukuinkan kessaku dōwa shirīzu)
ISBN 4-8340-0594-1
Child – Fear – Joy – Family – Happiness
As the daughter of a Buddhist priest, Maniko Ueda, a renowned translator of German children’s literature, spent her childhood in the famous temple town of Kōyasan. In 1994, she published her autobiography. Some of the episodes described there are now re-written with a gentle sense of humour and are adapted for children. Little Manako is afraid to go to the toilet because she suspects that ghosts are hiding in it. In the cedar forest close to the mausoleum, there is a well that she finds spooky but is nevertheless drawn towards. Thanks to the characteristic and utterly Japanese illustrations by Toshio Kajiyama, the child’s fears as well as the happy moments inside a family living in unusual surroundings can easily be shared by the readers. (5+)

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2005 - 19
Cho, Ho-sang (text)
Yun, Mi-suk (illus.)
P’at’chuk halmŏn kwa horangi
(Soybeans, Grandmother, and Tiger)
Seoul : Ungjin Tatk’ŏm, 2003. [32] p.
(Horong-pul yet iyagi ; 26)
ISBN 89-01-04026-3
Grandmother – Tiger – Modesty – Generosity – Poverty – Rescue – Fairy tale
An old woman lives in her little house together with a couple of animals and animate objects whom she loves and cares for and, since this is a fairy tale, even feeds them her soybean-soup. By and by, the egg, the nail, the turtle, and all the others develop their own distinct ›personality‹. Yet, what is even more important is that all the little creatures are about to play an important role one day – and that is the day a tiger comes round to eat the old woman. Luckily enough, she can persuade the tiger to wait until harvest time and when it returns in autumn, the tiny house-creatures help her get rid of the enemy. Large, earth-coloured pictures with comic-book-like characters vividly portray the threatening situation and inspire readers to re-enact the scenes on stage. The varied composition of the pictures and the use of textured papers in different colours as background lend a particular energy to the illustrations. (4+)

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2005 - 20
Ra, Hyŏn Sŏen (text)
Che, So Ra (illus.)
To san sŏ wŏn
(The Tosan Temple)
Seoul : Chŏpang Chakpang, 2004. [40] p.
ISBN 89-90614-11-2
Temple – Meditation – Quietness – Function
This beautiful, unpretentious book for children and adults presents the life in a Korean monastery that was built in the 16th century by the well-known scholar Li Hăng. Entering the village of monks with its low roofs through the entrance gate, the readers are led from room to room by a detailed description. The precise drawing technique makes it easy to recognise the rooms for prayers, study, meditation, and worship. In addition, the book explains how heating and ventilation used to work and demonstrates the perfect play of light and shadow resulting from the traditional Korean art of building. This book introduces interested readers to a fairly quiet, ›un-hip‹, spiritual world. Full-page colour illustrations perfectly complement the text and imitate the East-Asian style and techniques. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2005 - 26
Jonsberg, Barry
The whole business with Kiffo and the Pitbull
Crows Nest, NSW : Allen & Unwin, 2004. 257 p.
(Fiction)
ISBN 1-74114-112-5
School – Outsider – Friendship – Death – Family conflict – Drug addiction – Divorce
Calma Harrison, an »exceptionally talented student of English« with a sharp tongue and huge boobs, and Jaryd Kiffing, part-time criminal »of limited academic ability and concentration span, with behavioural problems and freckles«, are an unlikely pair of friends. Yet, friends they are. However, when a new English teacher, the Pitbull, appears on the scene and starts terrorising the class, life suddenly becomes difficult. Kiffo, obsessed with revenge, goes on the war-path, and his friendship with Calma is being severely tested. This hilarious debut novel, written in a highly entertaining ironic first-person narrative, is a stunning mixture of witty teenage school story, exciting detective novel, and moving problem tale. The author cleverly inserts different types of text (such as letters, school reports, fictional horoscopes, etc.) to create a perfect balance of funny and serious elements. With its strong cast of protagonists, this book is bound to have readers hooked from the very first page. (14+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2005 - 27
Laguna, Sofie (text)
McLean, Andrew (illus.)
On our way to the beach
Norwood, SA : Omnibus Books, 2004. [32] p.
ISBN 1-86291-520-2
Family – Holidays – Journey – Beach – Imagination
It’s the summer holidays and a family are on their way to the beach in a cosy green travelling van. Although the journey takes several days, there is simply so much to see and do that time flies. Every night in bed, the little girl conjures up colourful images of what the beach might look like, e.g. a blue-pink-purple forest of huge strawberry plants divided by a dark blue river with sparkling stars swimming in it. Soft watercolour pictures in various sizes depict the joyful family trip leading closer and closer to their final destination. The ›real journey‹ is interspersed with slightly surreal double-page spreads full of imaginative details that present different versions of the ›beach‹ as the girl imagines it to be. A magical holiday indeed! (4+)

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2005 - 28
Lomer, Kathryn
The spare room
St. Lucia, Queensland : University of Queensland Press, 2004. 165 p.
ISBN 0-7022-3477-X
Australia – Japan – Host family – Secret – Grief –
Cultural difference – Intercultural relationship Even though Akira is anything but thrilled when his strict father decides to send him to Australia for a few months to learn English, he soon comes to realise that this might be his chance to find out what he really wants in life. In the beginning, problems seem almost overwhelming but the young man embraces his new situation with admirable openness and courage. Designed as a long letter written almost a year later, when Akira has long returned to Japan, this warm, sensitive teenage novel tackles problems such as cultural difference, friendship, understanding, and shared grief, while it makes readers share the buzz of emotions the nineteen-year-old Japanese feels during his development from strange outsider to beloved friend. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 2005 - 33
Hill, David
Coming back
Wellington, New Zealand : Mallinson Rendel, 2004. 160 p.
ISBN 0-908783-86-8
Teenager – Car accident – Coma – Guilt – Rehabilitation – Friendship – Responsibility – Forgiveness
One rainy evening, Ryan is driving home, his attention diverted by his friend Vince’s fooling around next to him. Suddenly, a teenage girl stumbles out onto the street – and the car hits her badly. Driven by his feeling of guilt and the fervent wish to atone for his mistake, Ryan takes on an active role in Tara’s rehabilitation program. Yet, the path from waking up from a coma to (almost?) full recovery is anything but smooth for everyone involved. In this touching and at times even shocking novel, told alternatively from Ryan’s and Tara’s points of view, the award-winning author makes readers share the two protagonists’ thoughts as they both try to come to terms with the dreadful events. Even though it may be said that everything wraps up a bit too neatly in the end, David Hill perfectly manages to show how deeply one second of inattention can affect the lives of two ordinary teenagers, their friends, and their families. (14+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 38
Paver, Michelle (text)
Fordham, John (illus.)
Wolf brother
London : Orion Children’s Books, 2004. 236 p.
(Chronicles of ancient darkness ; 1)
ISBN 1-84255-170-1
Ancient past – Outsider – Demon – Good/Evil – Magic – Boy – Wolf – Friendship
Michelle Paver’s gripping debut novel is the first volume in the »Chronicles of Ancient Darkness« series that follows the dangerous adventures of young Torak as he goes on a quest to fight the evil forces threatening his people. When his father is killed by a ferocious bear-demon, the boy sets off into the forest to fulfil his promise to his father and find the mountain of the World Spirit. He befriends an orphaned wolf cub, is captured by the suspicious Raven Clan people but manages to escape them, only to run into Renn again, a Raven Clan girl, who surprisingly enough joins him on his quest. Paver’s fascinating story about hunters, clan-life, forests, and superstition is told in an urgent narrative voice, with some smaller sections described from the wolf’s perspective. Right from the beginning, it plunges the readers deep into a mysterious ancient world of myth and magic from which they don’t surface again until the last page, eagerly awaiting the next part of the series. (14+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 39
Rosen, Michael (text)
Tullet, Hervé (illus.)
Alphabet poem
London : Milet, 2004. [36] p.
ISBN 1-84059-393-8
English – Alphabet – Children’s poetry
In this entertaining short poem, renowned British poet Michael Rosen invites his readers to accompany him on a dream-journey through the alphabet realm. The imaginative alliterative verses, one for each letter of the alphabet, conjure up a world where »fish find fans«, »kittens kick ketchup«, and »owls open ovens«. They are ingeniously translated into powerful mixed-media illustrations by Hervé Tullet. His wild, sketchy pictures in bright colours with strong black outlines are often reminiscent of children’s drawings and easily evoke the nonsensical chaotic world described in the text. With its air of spontaneity, this amusing picture book will certainly inspire children to add their own alphabet verses to this poem. (4+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 40
Rosoff, Meg
How I live now
London : Penguin Books, 2004. 186 p.
ISBN 0-141-38075-6
Friendship – First love – War – Survival
When 15-year-old anorexic Daisy from New York arrives at her cousins’ home in rural England, she takes some time to settle into the family. While Aunt Penn is on a business trip in Oslo, the five children enjoy an adult- and carefree summer holiday, and Daisy falls in love with her cousin Edmond until suddenly terrorists invade the country, war breaks out, soldiers occupy their farm, and the children are separated. In a desperate attempt to rejoin the others, little Piper and Daisy embark on a dangerous and exhausting journey. Told in retrospect in a touching, quiet first-person narrative, Meg Rosoff’s riveting debut novel, set sometime in the 21st century, focuses on Daisy’s fate and her emotional growth during another potential world war. (14+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 41
Ross, Tony (text/illus.)
Is it because?
London : Andersen Press, 2004. [26] p.
ISBN 1-84270-296-3
Bullying
The new picture book by renowned illustrator Tony Ross tackles a delicate topic. Delivered in the artist’s characteristic style, the witty water colour illustrations offer an amusing interpretation of the simple, short verses. As the young readers witness how the spindly little boy and his pet dog wonder why on earth big Peregrine Ffrogg always bullies the boy, they slowly discover that every story has two different sides. Without providing an easy solution to the increasingly problematic issue of bullying (or any solution at all for that matter), Tony Ross skilfully manages to arouse the readers’ sympathy not only for the victim but also for the bully. This thought-provoking picture book will certainly help initiate fruitful discussions. (4+) ☼

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 42
Weatherly, Lee
Missing Abby
Oxford [et al.] : Fickling, 2004. 198 p.
ISBN 0-385-60534-X
Outsider – Disappearance – Friendship – Courage – Role-playing game
Last Saturday, Abby went missing, and Emma is the last one to have spoken to her. What on earth has happened to her ex-best friend whom she hadn’t seen for over a year? Yet, why should Emma care? After all, she basically hated this gothic weirdo and her ridiculous fascination with fantasy games, didn’t she? Nevertheless, with the help of some of Abby’s friends, the girl goes on a search for her. Step by step, Lee Weatherly’s second novel unravels the tangle of carefully kept secrets that threaten to destroy the teenage girl’s peace at her new school. In a convincing and suspenseful first-person narrative with detective novel elements, the author makes her protagonist realise that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t run from your own fears. (12+)

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2005 - 43
Willis, Jeanne (text)
Slater, Nicola (illus.)
Dumb creatures
London [et al.] : Macmillan Children’s Books, 2004. 86 p.
ISBN 0-405-02067-9
Boy – Dumbness – Loneliness – Friendship – Animals – Fighting for rights
Tom is an intelligent and curious boy with an extraordinary ability to acutely observe the world around him. Since he can’t speak, however, most people mistake him for a simpleton. To escape his loneliness, the 11-year-old often visits the zoo animals, detecting a lot of parallels between their situation and his own, and starts to befriend Zanzi, a female gorilla who can use sign language. In a captivating, quiet first-person narrative, the protagonist of this beautiful story shows that many misunderstandings only arise because people are not prepared to take time and listen properly to their fellow creatures. When he conceives a clever yet dangerous-looking plan to fight for his new friend’s baby, Tom eventually manages to open people’s eyes and ears. (10+)

Special Mention - Ireland (English) - 2005 - 44
Cashman, Seamus (ed.)
Askin, Corrina (illus.)
Clarke, Alan (illus.)
Something beginning with P : new poems from Irish poets
Dublin : O’Brien Press, 2004. 160 p.
ISBN 0-86278-868-4
Children’s poetry – Anthology
This wonderful poetry collection features over 100 new poems by the crème de la crème of Irish poets such as Desmond Egan, Gabriel Fitzmaurice, Seamus Heaney, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and Gabriel Rosenstock, to name but a few. Written exclusively for this anthology, this colourful bunch of works offers a unique opportunity for children and adults alike to dive into the fascinating world of language. If the words alone make for a captivating read, the illustrations by Corrina Askin and Alan Clarke, some bold and bright, some soft and sensitive, turn this into a treasure of Ireland’s rich poetry that no one would want to miss. The appendix provides some useful English translations of the poems written in Irish, an alphabetical index of the poems (both first lines and titles), authors, and illustrators, as well as short biographical notes of all the artists who contributed to this splendid book. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 45
Aldana, Patricia (ed.)
Paterson, Katherine (foreword)
Dragland, Stan (transl.)
Under the spell of the moon : art for children from the world’s great illustrators
Toronto [et al.] : Douglas & McIntyre, 2004. 80 p.
(A Groundwood book)
ISBN 0-88899-559-8
Illustration – Children’s poetry – Multiculturality – Anthology
The idea behind this gorgeous anthology was to offer children a colourful selection of works by the best children’s book illustrators from all over the world and thus celebrate high quality international writing and illustration for children. Ranging from Mitsumsa Anno, Quentin Blake, Marie-Louise Gay, and Dušan Kállay to Peter Sís and Lisbeth Zwerger, each of the award-winning artists featuring in this collection chose a short text, poem, children’s verse, riddle, counting-out rhyme, etc. and illustrated this text on a double page. Texts are printed in the original language of the culture they come from and in an English translation. Part of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), the organisation that – founded by Jella Lepman more than 50 years ago – is striving to fulfil its founder’s greatest dream of creating peace and understanding between people of different cultures through the best of children’s books. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 46
Carroll, Lewis (text)
Jorisch, Stéphane (illus.)
Jabberwocky
Toronto, ON [et al.] : Kids Can Press, 2004. [40] p.
(Visions in poetry)
ISBN 1-55337-079-1
Father – Son – Monster – Threat – Hunt – Killing – Nonsense poetry
Lewis Carroll’s (1832-1898) classical nonsense poem about the mysterious Jabberwocky is one of the most well-known English language poems ever. Its enigmatic verses naturally lend themselves to innumerable interpretations. In this beautifully designed little volume, published in the new series »Visions in Poetry«, the Victorian poem is transported right into the 21st century in which public opinion is manipulated by mass media. Here, a war-crazed old man sends his son on a mission to slay the allegedly dangerous monster. The slightly surrealistic, bizarre watercolour, pencil, and ink illustrations by award-winning Stéphane Jorisch perfectly match the scary atmosphere of the text while they leave ample room for the readers’ imagination and interpretations. (10+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 47
Joe, Donna (text)
Jeffries, Jamie (illus.)
La Fave Kim (illus.)
Ch’askin : a legend of the Sechelt people
Roberts Creek, BC : Nightwood Ed., 2003. [24] p.
ISBN 0-88971-180-1
Canada / First Nations – Legend – Bird
This thin square booklet is the latest volume in the »Legend of the Sechelt People« series. Written in a simple style reminiscent of traditional oral storytelling, the picture book relates the tale of Ch’askin, the mystical thunderbird, and its relationship with the Sechelt people, a First Nations tribe from Canada. When they first settle on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, the huge powerful bird helps them build their villages and gather enough food until they are self-sufficient. The short tale is complemented by a number of soft atmospheric black-and-white drawings that slightly resemble cave paintings. They are contrasted with clear, sharp, totem-pole-like depictions of the thunderbird. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 48
Juby, Susan
Miss Smithers
Toronto : HarperTrophyCanada, 2004. 274 p.
ISBN 0-00-639265-2
Outsider – School – Beauty contest – Everyday life
Ladies and Gentlemen, please raise the curtain again for the inimitable Alice McLeod, formerly home-schooled weirdo, now on the rocky road to turning into a practically ›normal‹ person. In this hilarious sequel to the bestselling »Alice, I think«, the ambitious journalist-to-be jumps at the chance of becoming (rich and) famous by entering the Miss Smithers beauty pageant. The witty diary relates one disastrous event piling upon the next as the inventive teenage girl, who certainly lacks some basic social skills, braves the wide world of her home town. Female readers devouring this firstperson narrative with its catching dry humour will undoubtedly suffer from severe stomach-ache caused by excessive laughter. (14+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 49
Lee, Dennis (text)
Kovalski, Maryann (illus.)
So cool
Toronto : Key Porter Books, 2004. 70 p.
(Poetry)
ISBN 1-55263-613-5
Poetry
Whether it is the humour of »To My Friend the Total Loser«, the funny anxiety of »French Kissing With Gum in Your Mouth«, the deep sadness of »The House of Alone«, or the peaceful reflection of »High Summer«, this collection of poems perfectly captures the whole range of feelings that young people know only too well and often struggle with. Renowned poet Dennis Lee’s touching verses and rippling rhythms are ingeniously translated into energetic, semi-abstract, black-and-white pictures rendered in various techniques by well-known illustrator Maryann Kovalski. This attractive square volume with its trendy title and matching design will speak to teenage and adult readers alike. (10+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 50
Mac, Carrie
The Beckoners
Victoria, BC : Orca Book Publ., 2004. 217 p.
(Teen fiction)
ISBN 1-55143-309-5
Bullying – Violence – Outsider – Friendship
It’s more or less by accident that Zoe ends up with Beck and her gang on the first day at her new school. She is utterly shocked to see that the five girls don’t have any scruples about using outright violence to terrorise the school community. Yet, once Zoe is initiated to the Beckoners, giving them the cold shoulder turns out to be dangerous; succumbing to the gang’s rules may be easier than competing with her classmate April, called »Dog«, for the place of top victim. In a gripping, fast-paced third-person narrative, the author introduces her readers to a brutal scenario of teenage bullying and peer pressure in which even the teachers prefer to turn a blind eye rather than to get involved. Thus it takes all of Zoe’s courage and the help of her new friends for her to join the ›right side‹. (14+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 51
Oppel, Kenneth (text)
Reid, Barbara (illus.)
Peg and the Yeti
Toronto : HarperCollins, 2004. [34] p.
ISBN 0-00-200538-7
Girl – Exploration – Adventure – Mount Everest – Yeti – Friendship
Little Peg, born on her parents’ fishing boat, has always been adventurous. Now that she has set her mind on seeing the top of the world, she packs her fishing rod and travels to Mount Everest. Without any climbing gear but with a lot of determination, the resourceful girl braves the icy slopes, befriends the scary hairy mountain monster, and finally returns to her parents, already pondering her next adventure. Kenneth Oppel’s endearing and funny story about a feisty little heroine is translated into astonishingly vibrant plasticine pictures by renowned artist Barbara Reid. The illustrations, of varying surface texture and brimming with funny details, depict the scenes from unusual angles, while the artist’s trademark style lends them a three-dimensional feel. (4+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2005 - 52
Carryl, Charles Edward (text)
Santore, Charles (illus.)
The camel’s lament : a poem
New York : Random House, 2004. [28] p.
ISBN 0-375-81426-4
Animals – Comparison – Nonsense poetry
The crabby camel considers it a gross insult that all the other animals are favoured with delicious food, cosy homes, and a pleasing physique, whereas the world obviously couldn’t care less about the poor camel’s needs: »Anything does for me!« In this hilarious 19th century nonsense poem, published in picture book form for the first time, the complaints of the badly-treated desert denizen are uttered in a uniquely affected and sulky voice that immediately assures the readers’ compassion. Charles Santore’s large, bright animal portraits in warm colours set against a white background offer witty snapshots of the comfortable lives of various species. These homely scenes are contrasted with plain double spreads rendered in yellow-cream-brown shades showing the camel’s hard lot. With the odd tinge of exaggerated facial expression, the otherwise naturalistic pictures perfectly capture the verses’ ironic tone. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2005 - 53
Coman, Carolyn (text)
Shepperson, Rob (illus.)
The big house
Asheville, NC : Front Street, 2004. 220 p.
ISBN 1-932425-09-8
Parents – Prison – Siblings – Foster family – Revenge
It’s not the first time that Ivy and Ray’s parents are sent »up the river«. But never before have they been sentenced to 25 years in prison – and both of them. Yet stubborn Ivy and her younger brother are not inclined to quietly wait out their days in the big house under the custody of evil old Marietta, the very person who accused her father of embezzlement. Determined to get the better of their ›kidnappers‹, the resourceful siblings secretly collect evidence against Marietta and her husband. This comical short novel depicts the children’s ingenious ability to think up various plans and uncover mysterious secrets. The fresh tone of the text and the amusing black-and-white illustrations make this a delightful read for young would-be-detectives. (10+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2005 - 54
Creech, Sharon
Heartbeat
New York : HarperCollins, 2004. 180 p.
(Joanna Cotler books)
ISBN 0-06-054022-2
Girl – Youth – Running – Everyday life – Grandfather – Friendship – Baby brother
In the past few years, verse novels for the young seem to have jumped up the popularity scale a fair bit – even to the extent that some readers are becoming fed up with that form of writing. Be that as it may, it would be a shame to miss out on Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech’s new contribution to this genre. Told in a unique poetic voice interspersed with witty side comments and footnotes, »Heartbeat« allows readers a glimpse into the life of 12-year-old Annie just when everything is about to change. With her mother pregnant, her beloved grandfather slowly falling apart, and her best friend Max growing distant and moody, running barefoot and listening to her heartbeat’s comforting »thump-thump« is one thing the amiable and optimistic heroine can still rely on. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2005 - 55
Dale, Anna
Whispering to witches
New York : Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2004. 296 p.
ISBN 1-58234-890-1
Boy – Christmas holidays – Friendship – Witch
Joe isn’t very pleased when he learns that he will have to spend his Christmas holidays with his mother, stepfather, and stepsister Esmé in boring old Canterbury. Little does he suspect that he will be thrown headfirst into a thrilling adventure. Together with his new friend Twiggy, a young witch-in-training, he sneaks out at night and rides around on a broomstick trying to locate the missing page from an ancient book of spells before evil witch Logan Dritch gets her hands on it. Set in a modern England where a coven of witches secretly exists next-door to non-magic people, this fast-paced debut novel makes for an entertaining read and will certainly catch young would-be-witches’ and -wizards’ attention. (9+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2005 - 56
Farmer, Nancy
A sea of trolls
New York [et al.] : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2004. 459 p.
ISBN 0-689-86744-1
Boy – Bard’s apprentice – Magic – Viking – Troll
In her new book, popular author Nancy Farmer takes her readers deep into a sinister realm of frightening Viking »berserkers«, dangerous trolls, and various mysterious monsters in 8th century Northern Europe. 11-year-old Jack has hardly started his apprenticeship with the village bard when a herd of Northmen attacks the peaceful Saxon settlement and takes Jack and his little sister Lucy hostage. To increase his magic powers and save Lucy from evil Queen Frith’s revenge, Jack has to go on a dangerous journey to Jotunheim, the icy home of the trolls. Fantasy fans will devour this fast-paced quest in which Norse mythology and medieval history blend well with humorous elements to create a gripping read. (12+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2005 - 57
Grimes, Nikki (text)
Young, Ed (illus.)
Tai chi morning : snapshots of China
Chicago : Cricket Books, 2004. XI, 51 p.
ISBN 0-8126-2707-5
China – Tourist trip – Everyday life
More than 15 years ago, well-known American author and poet Nikki Grimes travelled to China with a group of actors. She recorded her personal impressions of this vast country in several atmospheric poems, each of them preceded by a short narrative paragraph relating the situation in which the respective poem was created. Ed Young’s sketchy pen and ink illustrations stem from his own journey to his native country during roughly the same time. Printed in a warm brownish shade and set against a soft background of smooth, cream-coloured textured paper, the quiet texts, the few photographs, and the calm pictures offer a fascinating glimpse into the country’s politics, old and modern culture, and everyday life. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2005 - 58
Henkes, Kevin (text/illus.)
Kitten’s first full moon
[New York] : Greenwillow Books, 2004. [32] p.
ISBN 0-06-058828-4
Cat – Hunger – Milk – Determination – Disappointment – Reward
A naïve little kitten mistakes the huge full moon shining in the sky for a yummy bowl of milk. She craves for it and comes up with several creative plans for securing her ›prey‹. Yet, however hard she tries, whether she jumps from the top step of the porch, climbs the tall tree in the garden, or leaps right into the pond, the delicious treat stays just out of reach – and the poor feline remains hungry, until... Kevin Henkes’s humorous and suspenseful story is written in a simple repetitive style full of rhythm. The silly misfortunes of the irresistible heroine out on a night prowl are captured in smooth, cartoonlike drawings in black-and-cream shades with bold outlines. (3+)
(Caldecott Medal; 2005)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2005 - 59
Lieberg, Carolyn
West with Hopeless
New York : Dutton Children’s Books, 2004. 180 p.
ISBN 0-525-47194-4
Siblings – Journey – Argument – Reconciliation
In this portrait of two different but utterly likeable personalities, the straightforward first-person narrative relates the ups and downs of an adventurous five-day car ride during which two sisters meet a motley crew of eccentric yet kind strangers and get to know each other better. Usually, 13-year-old Carin boards a plane every summer and travels to Reno to spend the holidays at her father’s place. When her mother tells her that this year she will cover the 1,763 miles by car, riding with her older half-sister Hope, the slightly naïve and anxious teenage girl is convinced this trip will turn out to be a disaster. And as if to prove her right, the two don’t get off to a particular good start… but in the end Carin has to admit to herself that Hope isn’t quite so »hopeless« after all. (12+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2005 - 60
Sís, Peter (text/illus.)
Train of states
New York : Greenwillow Books, 2004. [66] p.
ISBN 0-06-057838-6
USA – Federal States
With his latest picture book, Czech-born illustrator Peter Sís indulged in his love for circus wagons and for his adopted country and created a graphic firework about US history. He invites children aboard a magnificent train consisting of 50 carriages, one for each of the States of the USA. Presented in chronological order from Delaware and Pennsylvania to Alaska and Hawaii (with the US capital Washington D.C. as the caboose), the carriages, which closely resemble ancient circus wagons, give the origin of the state name, the capital, flower, tree, and bird for all of the states, plus some further titbits. This entertaining mixture will certainly spark off children’s eagerness to find out more about the various states. (4+)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2005 - 61
Stewart, Sarah (text)
Small, David (illus.)
The friend
New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004. [44] p.
ISBN 0-374-32463-8
Girl – Housekeeper – Friendship – USA/1940s
Well-known husband-and-wife-team Sarah Stewart and David Small have created yet another endearing picture book. The smooth rhymed verses and the moving water colour illustrations, sometimes energetic, sometimes radiating with calmness, follow the daily life of wealthy Annabelle Bernadette Clementine Dodd and her only friend Beatrice Smith, housekeeper and nanny. Since her busy parents are hardly ever at home, Belle and Bea spend all their days together. Bea completes the household chores with energetic and creative little Belle at her side ›helping‹ her, and afterwards, the two of them walk down to the sea and stroll along the beach. This book offers a portrait of a lonely yet happy childhood in the 1940s and of an unusual friendship. (4+)

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

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2005 - 77
Jung, Barbara (text)
Hübner, Klaus (illus.)
Anders ist auch schön
(Different is nice, too)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2004. [40] p.
ISBN 3-551-51611-1
King – Boredom – Game – Profession – Change of roles
Boredom can either be paralysing or it can generate new ideas: The little king invents a kind of lottery in which all his subjects have to draw lots for a certain profession and are then allowed to perform it. The hairdresser watches the sheep (and c