“We, the Mice”, a new picture book by Pika Vončina, is a sequel to her series of picture books about a fantastic animal world. Four stories about a harmonious family of mice are told by Erik the Unstoppable, the mouse who got his nickname because he constantly asks curious questions. His family does not live in “holes” but in nice and comfy dwellings, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables (sometimes even cheese!), loving music and gardens…
The text is handwritten in large block letters, which allows younger children to read it on their own, and helps them as an additional motivation in the process of learning to read and write. The diversity of characters and settings stimulates the development of children’s imagination and deepens their perception and emotional intelligence.
Hilda’s Return to the Henhouse, is a sequel to The Voyage of Aunt Hilda. On a very dark night the travelling chicken finally comes home, and has to answer all sorts of questions about her journey. But the henhause is not exactly the same as it was when she left: the spirit of adventure, however modest, entered the minds of her chicken friends…
Pika Vonična, one of Little Bells’ most productive picture book authors, is working on a series of picture books about animals since 2012. The four stories assembled in Crocodiles proved as particularly appealing to young readers: the endearing Jaroslav who shies water because he cannot swim, Strahimir who makes paper birds and looses them when the wind blows, Florian who is, unlike other crocodiles, never green, but changes colours from blue to white and red, provoke interest and compassion in the young reader. But in these stories everything ends well, and illustrations offer a lot to look at, even when the story is over.
In Cats, the author offers several connected tales: a brave cat Mortimer goes to the sea to see the great white shark (meeting on his way the dangerous mister Darkly); a company of wandering acrobat-cats falls apart because of a very strange problem; Zigfrid and Zelda, brother and sister, practice the skills of measuring and sewing in their own way; and cat chefs, Leonard and Edgar are making pancakes for all of them.
Hilda is an adventurous chicken (rare thing in a chicken house); she embarks on a long journey, searching for the river Limpopo. Her adventures are told in words and pictures, in a series of postcards that she sends to her friends who have stayed home (as a normal chicken should). Her postcards are never just landscapes; the picture always shows someone she met on the road: two ladybugs who lost their sister, a pig prince, a walking hill, a cat teacher teaching only the letter A, and a number of other characters whose stories she tells in just a few words. They make a pleasant reading, full of little surprises that excite wonder and laughter.
In the county of rabbits the young reader will get to know the caring rabbit mom, dad who tells bedtime stories, their sons Eusebius the diary writer, Hugo the trumpet player, and other members of the large family, whose merry adventures are told in pictures interwoven with words. Texts by Pika Vončinahave an original ludic quality and often contain unobtrusive reflection about the natural world and human relations.
Emilija the sheep, Pika Vončina’s calm and pleasantly modest children’s book character, is well-loved in Croatia. The present volume, whose title promises an “Adventure”, is not concerned with a dangerous quest, though Emilija does fly with the wind and dive with the fish. Rather, the little sheep becomes acquainted with the elements, and learns about the special nature of the air, earth, water, and even the stars. This happy dream journey is narrated in a laconic style. Vončina’s characteristic whimsical typography and word play further add to this gentle little picture book, whose plot end where it began: as a good-night-story on the pillow (Age: 4+)