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Ema is Alone


The story about Ema – written by Vanja Marković, an expert in inclusive and social pedagogy – deals with an important topic of our time: the way people perceive each other. Roaming the streets of her hometown, the little heroine is trying to find someone to play with. She encounters a whole bunch of various characters, but they notice only her looks – her shaggy hair, her huge eyes, her dirty jacket. They all nag her and none of them wants to follow her imagination, but her ideas for games remain on pages, as possibilities for readers themselves to develop. In the end even Ema repeats the pattern that surrounds her: when a yellow cat asks her to play with it she refuses the invitation, thinking that a black cat would be much more interesting. In a playful way the story opens the readers’ eyes to the wrongs implied in superficial ways of looking at others. The storyteller’s style is simple and flowing, very well adapted to the target group of readers (6-8). The illustrations by Vibor Juhas complement and enrich the text; they are close to the aesthetics of comic books and full of little visual surprises.



In this picture book Croatian author Igor Rajki, winner of the prestigious Grigor Vitez award and the award of the Fairy tale festival of Ogulin, deals with a contemporary issue – the issue of the excessive presence of electronic devices and their screens in our everyday life. He does this in an original way, using his distinctive imaginative poetic language, kindling the readers’ imagination and making them think at the same time. The narrator of the story is giving, as if he were a professor of some kind, a lesson about ‘assembling of darkness in the dark’ – an enchanting phenomenon that occurs at the end of the day, in closed spaces, when darkness begins to descend from the ceiling and rise from the floor; the two darknesses embrace each other and slowly turn into the thick dark. But that is not all; during their game they create small sprouts, so called darklets. Darklets playfully twirl around objects, taming their shapes and leaving no trace. But when various screens start to interfere, a problem occurs: grayish shadows appear where darklets should be… The literary story about darklets is narrated in another, visual language by Klasja Habjan, a young illustrator and designer. She creates impressive, secretive life in spaces on the edge between night and day, spaces inhabited by fleeting human and animal figures, fragments of objects and fragments of their interactions; she does this with extraordinary inventiveness, on a very high aesthetic level, making this book attractive not only for reading but also for (repeated) viewing. By offering the youngest readers an utterly unusual visual experience, Klasja Habjan broadens the concept of what a picture book can be, and opens up the space of children’s book for new ways of artistic expression.



Addressing the children for the first time, the renowned Darktown, the setting and the main character of this picture book written by a distinguished author Iva Bezinović-Haydon, is a sad town: all plants are being systematically cut there. No one really knows whose idea that was, but two city officials play a significant role in its implementation. One of them stamps the word ‘NO’ on all requests for a change, the other maintains order with his cutting tools – until a little blue flower emerges from a crack in the asphalt and everything starts to change… Using simple words and an appealing plot, the author talks about the need humans feel for the living green world, for colors, diversity and freedom, but also about different ways of standing up to bad rules imposed from somewhere above – it can be done in a hidden manner, in private spaces, or openly, in public, joining forces with other people. The young illustrator Laura Martinović brought the story about Darktown to life with her playful and warm illustrations, full of creative visual ideas and details that enrich the text.   

Forgotten Things


In her second artist’s book, Agata Lučić takes readers of all generations to a flea market – an almost monochromatic blue world filled with various objects. Each thing there carries traces of time spent in someone’s life, traces of somebody’s past. The young visual artist evokes fragments of life that “forgotten things” shared with their humans in her original, very recognizable style, gradually creating a warm atmosphere – with bits of magic. The last double-page holds a surprise: as the objects manage to attract new owners and are being accepted along with their stories, various colors enter the world of the picture book. It is no longer a space of memories; it becomes a living space. “Forgotten Things” are both nostalgic and cheerful, they urge the reader to open up to hidden histories of unknown people and certain values accessible only to a watchful eye; they invite both children and adults to dream, offering a world of peculiar visual pleasure. 

We acquire and discard things too easily, warns the author of this gentle and playful picture book; but even when they have already been discarded, left to their fate on the stands of some open-air “mini market”, they can be looked at, singled out from the crowd, appropriated, restored, and brought back to life.


Book #4909

The Magic Eyeglasses


Sophia, the little heroine of this story, wants to help her mother to bake a cake. Mom tells her to fetch the cake pan from the storage room, but Sophia is afraid of that dark space – she’s so afraid that she doesn’t even dare to stretch her arm to turn the light on. But then comes her dad and gives her a pair of special eyeglasses – eyeglasses that make the world look different. And more than that! They not only change the look of things in darkness, but also give the person wearing them the ability to talk with animals. Looking through the magic eyeglasses, Sophia meets a spider in the storage room and a moth in her bedroom. As she opens a window, she sees a weasel and a saturnia moth in the garden. Her encounters with these creatures show that beings who look nice are not always nice – and vice versa. This warm and breezy story teaches young readers self-confidence, the importance of getting to know someone before making a judgment, as well as the fact that first impressions are not always reliable.


Book #4906

Love, Lovest, Loverest


There are three love stories in this book – three stories about love that is unattainable because of the very nature of those who fall in love. But that doesn’t make these feelings less powerful. The buoy and the anchor are waiting for a storm that will bring them together, even though buoys are made for floating and anchors for anchoring. The sun is trying to shine less intensely so it could love the snow longer, while the snow enjoys basking in the sunshine, even though it melts in love. And the sea and the sky are the greatest of all, eternal lovers, always mirroring each other, coming together and moving apart…

The stories that Igor Rajki tells in this picture book – actually, he “mumbles them as he walks” – are original, peculiarly humorous, and full of linguistic invention, with a number of made-up words, collected in the end in a little author’s dictionary. The illustrator Nikolina Žabčić responds to the playfulness of the text with equal artistic freedom.


Book #4905

The Flawless Mirror


The face of the heroine of this artist’s picture book is full of spots, her body full of hair, there’s the word “Fat” floating around her, her breasts are so little you can barely see them. But these aren’t flaws – despite the fact that a glamorous “face from a magazine cover” also finds its way into the story. Flaw as a concept simply does not exist for this mirror. Without hiding anything, and with an untameable smile, the heroine keeps looking at herself exactly as she is. No imposed beauty standards intimidate her. No threatening words („Carnegiea gigantea”!), nor horrendous images (monkey-like hairiness or a body too big for a bathtub) make her flinch…

Using humorous and expressive forms, the author of this book, Agata Lučić, invites readers – primarily young, female readers – to take a look in the flawless mirror and to accept their bodies such as they are, with a smile on their face.


Book #4904

Night on Earth


As night falls, the world we see is changing. What seemed familiar under daylight now becomes strange and mysterious. And this might be the reason why night inspires artists to fantasize about it over and over again. The author of this picture books sees Night as a woman in a starry dress, a queen both young and olden, who arrives with her suite of nocturnal creatures, blending dream with reality. She creates space for clocks without pointers, enigmatic encounters, tea-drinking animals. She waves her hand, and wondrous beings obey her, whether on land or at sea. She waves her hand, and beginnings of stories begin to unfold, flags of faraway kingdoms start flying. A mixture of ages, fairy-tale motives and outer space travel comes to life wherever she goes. There is no obstacle for voyagers in her darkness, every direction is good, on every side unending expanse of her realm… And as she leaves – look, who bids her farewell on the balcony there, who is returning home climbing those stairs? – dreams leave with her, they all go to sleep. That’s what Jasmina’s night is like, wide open for the fantasy of her readers.


Book #4746



The Marauders Deep in Sludge


With a fresh new voice, and yet in the most beautiful tradition of the novel for the young, Josip Čekolj tells the adventures of his marauders – four friends on the verge of adulthood. The town they roam about and the dialect they speak might be completely made up, but their loves and confusions, conflicts and fallacies, as well as their need for safety and warmth, are very real indeed. While they go through “deep sludge”, they encounter some, more or less reliable characters, mainly from the margins of society. Most important among them might be the old lady with the cats and ear for poetry. As it usually goes in coming-of-age novels, wandering through mud eventually becomes a step toward adulthood. The young author started writing this story after attending Dominik Vuković’s exhibition called “Marauders and frogs”, where this talented illustrator reminiscences his childhood. Dominik has illustrated the story, which has resulted in a special connection between the text that depicts the marauders’ endeavors and the drawings that follow them.


Book #4908

Letters for Everyone


This playful and cheerful book is perfect for those learning to read as well as for those who are helping them in this endeavor. Every of thirty very short stories – in which numerous characters, both human and animal, appear – is dominated by one single letter. This letter can be searched for, with ears or eyes, and every story can be continued. This unique spelling book invites the reader to play whereby it turns gaining reading habits into an easy and fun project.

Marija in Cities


Marija in Cities belongs to the series of Sanja Lovrenčić’s picture books about Croatian visual artists; this one is about the well-known photographer Marija Braut. The story about her is told from the viewpoint of her inseparable companion, the analogue camera, which directly and simply reports on their shared travels and work, the motifs of Marija’s photography, and her feeling for people and spaces, which the camera sometimes shared with the artist, and at other times just longed for calm scenes that are easier to capture. This is a lyrically intoned, very subtle depiction of the artist’s life and work, filled with a vestige of nostalgia for the great age of analogue photography, but also with hope in its preservation. In addition, the author offers the young readers an easy-to-understand introduction to the basics of this art technique.(Adrian Pelc, ed)


Book #4896



In this book that addresses every generation words and images blend into an impressive poetical unity. Using drawings with simple, clear lines and concise sentences, the author tells a story that’s possible to read and experience on different levels. She talks about the close connection of human beings with nature, about changes and the importance of that – sometimes concealed, but still permanent – relationship. The tree is also a symbol of the author’s inner being, a deep and vital center where her strength arises from, a strength of the utmost importance in encounters with the outside world and collisions with its walls.

Crazy House


A child with a “slow parachute” jumps from the roof of his building and describes the balconies next to which she/he flies. She/he then climbs the stairs and informs us about the interior of the apartments and their occupants. Each of the tenants is unique in their own way: someone is obsessed with English breakfast, someone sleeps in a cage because he is convinced he turns into a bird during the night, someone lives in an elevator with a pet snake, someone makes mechanical animals, someone builds walls and someone tears them down…

Descriptions of the occupants of the crazy house are fanciful, vivid and amusing; the text also contains a discreet educational point: regardless of the harmless “madness” of each of the tenants, in general they respect each other, and all together form a harmonious whole. The “crazy house” thus becomes a symbol of possible coexistence, of individual freedom embedded in the community.

To the easy playfulness of the text corresponds the artistic style of the illustrator Venda Vernić, offers the young reader a kind of gallery through which one can move in two directions, up and down, finding on every page a visual surprise.


Book #3707



The narrator of this story, who has always wanted to be (and always has been) a Dreambringer, grows as a character from page to page, and sometimes assumes almost cosmic dimensions. For he is the one who delivered dreams about the stars to the inhabitants of ancient Mesopotamia several thousand years ago — as well as some information to the thieves from the neighborhood last week. This Dreambringer is not perfect, he is so much overburdened with work that ”confusions may happen”, and sometimes he has to deliver a really scary dream. But some of the dreams from his luggage are really extraordinary: the number zero dreamed up by a Mayan priest and the recipe for ice cream that appeared in a dream an ancient chef; some strange signs from which the alphabet will emerge, but also a tender awakening love of a young girl… It seems, however, that it is not the dreamer who is responsible for the content of the dreams, but the dreamers themselves, who “dream beyond all rules”…

The imaginative world of Igor Rajki was turned into expressive paintings by the young artist Nikolina Žabčić; these are her first picture book illustrations.


Book #3709

Piccola con piccolo


The little girl Piccola shows an unusual feeling for sounds. Imitating the chirping of birds, the crackling of fire, the sounds of the wind and everything else that surrounds her, Piccola amazes the listeners singing her little melodies. When she comes to a
music school and old Professore starts teaching her to play the piccolo, the smallest girl with the smallest flute becomes ‘Piccola con piccolo’; her Bird Music becomes a huge success and she is invited to perform all over the world. Piccola con piccolo
is the first picture book written by Bruno Mezić. Creating a likable character of the little girl Piccola,
telling about her adventures in sound, and skillfully playing with Italian words, the author introduces young readers to the terminology of classical music. Illustrations by the young visual artist and designer Klasja Habjan imaginatively and playfully follow the text and bring to life the original little heroine and her music.


Book #3705



Palagruža, the Topsy-Turvy Island


The heroine of the story about the ‘topsy-turvy island’ Palagruža is the girl Gorjana who has to cope with a great change in her life: her father got a job as a lighthouse keeper, and she is moving with her family to a faraway island in the Adriatic Sea, lonely and strange, with no children to play with. Despite the sadness she feels leaving her friends and well-known environment, she boldly accepts the unknown and starts exploring her new homeplace. When with a group of fishermen who seasonally come
to the waters around Palagruža comes a girl, only a little older than Gorjana, the exploration of the ‘topsy-turvy island’ goes on in a deeper and merrier way, enriched with a friendship. Illustrations for this picture book are joint work of the text writer Lana Momirski who drew them and the visual artist Ivana Koren Madžarac who added colour, turning them into rich marine watercolours which will draw the young readers into the exciting island world.


Book #3711