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The Sneering Bird


Illustrating a fable about a parrot run away from the ZOO who meets various animals and finds all of them for some reason ridiculous until a fox teaches it a lesson, the artist Ivana Pipal finds ingenious ways of representing basically the same situation: the parrot and another animal. Giving each protagonist mood and personality, and creating at the same time deeply pleasant green world of the woods, she turns the tale about understanding and accepting others into rich visual pleasure.


Book #3396



Svjetlana and Dreams About Flying


Telling a story about a girl obsessed with flying and her (almost) magical book, the author blends fiction with facts about three Croatian inventors. In a playful way he switches between worlds: following a detail in her garden – a ladybug, a butterfly, a star – Svjetlana slides into a moment in the life of the inventor she was reading about. Subtle changes in style mark every transition into the world of inventors’ drawings, imaginatively expanding the space of the girl’s home and family.


Book #3344

Why do Meerkats Look at the Sky?


Pepe is a very curious meerkat. He knew the animals and the plants, and everything that surrounded him and was within his reach, but it was not enough.

One day the Earth seemed too small for his great curiosity and a new world opened for him when he looked up at the sky.

The author tells us in this first book of the saga of Pepe, the meerkat, a tender story about the enigmatic universe of which we are all part.



Three Travellers


A double debut: the renowned poet first time writing for children, a young artist first time illustrating a picture book. They tell a fairy tale about three brothers set to find a better place than their own, with subtle political subtext (there is a dragon at home who has to be dealt with). The illustrator finds original equivalents for all dimensions of the text, and manages even to imbed some citations from XX century art (Matisse, Hokney), thus enlarging the visual world of youngest readers.


Book #3346

The Four Seasons


Kao što već njegov naslov sugerira, ovaj je strip album čitav sagrađen oko izmjene godišnjih doba te sitnih dogodovština koje se uz njih vežu. Njegovi protagonisti – hrvatskoj publici dobro poznata ali zagonetna Zlatka, ribolovac i svemirski putnik Key te njegov galeb Yek, prepuštaju se gradnji snjegovića zimi, novim ljubavima u proljeće, skokovima u more ljeti, melankoliji ujesen. Oko tih dobro poznatih motiva Krešimir Zimonić plete profinjenu lirsku mrežu, gotovo uvijek utemeljenu u sugestiji: on nudi tek fragment događaja, bljesak uvida u raspoložen ja likova, nekad ironične, a nekad gotovo filozofske autorske izjave. Time nastaje bogat tekstualni predložak koji nikako nije ograničen na izmjenu replika likova – u Zimonićevom albumu progovaraju razni glasovi: nekad prirodne pojave, nekad obijesni galeb, a nekad sam pripovjedač. Ništa manje virtuozno nije izveden ni likovni pandan takvoj spisateljskoj tehnici: Zimonić se igra različitim stilovima, od gotovo impresionističkih kolorističkih rješenja do kolaža i likovnih referenci na popularnu kulturu. Tako nastaje bogata cjelina nekonvencionalnog sadržaja u kojoj se neprimjetno pretapaju male avanture, lirska raspoloženja i apstraktna razmišljanja o vremenu.


Book #2923

Srna and Mak in Pursuit of a Frightened Month


In his first prose text the young author uses patterns of traditional storytelling to speak about the contemporary problem of climate change. January disappeared, frightened by the absence of winter; a girl and a household spirit set off on a journey through the world of calendar, trying to find him and persuade him to come back. Adroitly following the spirit of the text, the illustrator uses elements from traditional book illustration, blending them with modern technique and expression.


Book #3348



The picture book “Quince” tells a fantastic story about four friends who, during the summer holidays, cross the stream near the village where they live, although it’s forbidden. On the other side, however, they find neither “trolls, nor bogeymen, nor tusk-owners, nor dragon’s nests”; they encounter creatures that are almost the same as humans but live in forest dwellings. One of them, the boy Quince (with the word for apple in his name), will make friends with the four children and will reveal to them the secrets of the forests. The author of the text, Lana Momirski, intertwined a number of motives in this framework story: some of the friends will move to a bigger city after the school holidays, and the central heroine will have to learn to deal with parting; playing with Quince, children will learn to respect nature and all its creatures; the forest world will become a kind of refuge, but also a space from which the problems of reality and personal existence can be seen more clearly. Subtle watercolors, by Ivana Koren Madžarac and Lana Momirski, evoke to the young reader all the liveliness, warmth and diversity of this mysterious forest world.


Book #3342

Safe Journey


Beatrice Masini and Gianni De Conno, the award-winning Italian tandem, communicate in this picture book the artistic and emotional experience of travelling. The combination of magnificent oneiric images and the poetic prose takes us on a journey into the unknown: sometimes the destination is known, and sometimes the trip is just aimless wandering; sometimes we encounter obstacles and surprises, sometimes “treasures we don’t know yet of.” Every journey is a unique experience; and the insights we gain, the feelings we go through, and the memories we create are its precious consequences. Attractive illustrations and suggestive short sentences stimulate imagination and their dreamy quality has won numerous readers; in 2018 Beatrice Masini and Gianni De Conno received the most prestigious prize in the field of children’s literature “SuperPremio Andersen”. For the great Gianni De Conno, this picture book marked the end of a life’s journey; it is the last and farewell gift he left us before his untimely death.


Book #3340

The Seven Cats


The Seven Cats is a collection of children’s texts by the great Russian avant-garde author Daniil Harms. As Harms worked under hard censorship, these texts form the main part of his oeuvre that was published during his lifetime (most of his “adult” texts were circulating only as manuscripts within underground circles). The Seven Cats encompass various prose miniatures, some longer stories but also children’s poetry. Throughout these various genres one can follow the celebrated absurdist humor of Daniil Harms which is, in these children’s texts, deprived of its cruel elements and becomes a means of transforming the very often glum everyday to an anarchic carnival. The book was illustrated by Vendi Vernić, a prized young Croatian visual artist whose stile corresponds perfectly with the avant-garde but still childish aspects of the literary text.


Book #3379

We, the Mice


“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.

Ages 4-7


Six Walks of Slava Raškaj


This picture-book is the first within a series with which Mala zvona introduces works of great Croatian visual artists to children. The famous Croatian impressionist painter S. Raškaj was deaf – and very sensitive to nature. Therefore, the writer of this picture book chose to represent her life and work in six walks with easel in different surroundings: the garden of her childhood, parks in the city where she learned to paint, winter woods and summer meadows where she made her best pictures. The illustrator did not copy the style of watercolors made by S. Raškaj, but gave the adequate transparence and lightness to his own.


Book #3338





In this extraordinary picture-book the story keeps returning to its beginning. At every page, Igor Rajki starts out with the classical formula “Once there was a…”, only to interrupt the narration and turn to something else. The little sketches created in this way as well as the reasons the author offers for never finishing any of his stories finally build up to a hilarious mosaic of anecdotes while constructing a somewhat nervous but highly entertaining narrative voice. The visual artist Krešimir Zimonić responded to the fragmentary narrative style by using techniques of collage which combine drawings, photographs, graffiti styled writings and “ready-made” visual material. Once is, for this reason, a thoroughly sketchy and incredibly rich little book.


Of Bears and their Humans


The heroes of this illustrated book are teddy bears who turn out to be incredibly lively pets, always looking for some kind of mischief. They steal pancakes, sing and swim; they meet other animals in the city park; in the summer they go to the seaside and they never-ever sleep their winter’s sleep. The teddy bears’ little adventures are presented as short messages that their owner sends to her friend, and these messages very often acquire a visual power and a narrative dynamic which resemble silent cinema sketches. Once the whole picture is put together, however, one realizes that, from message to message, the author has taught him some important things on friendship and freedom… The book was illustrated and graphically designed by the young artist Hana Vrca who gave it a specific visual coherence and quality.


Book #3368

May Bug and Paper Boat


As a paper boat is floating carelessly on a city fountain, it is suddenly stirred by something that fell into it. The intruder turns out to be a cockchafer that couldn’t learn to fly. The two gentle creatures – the little boat that could so easily sink and the little bug that doesn’t fly – very quickly become inseparable friends. While floating on the fountain, they protect each other from little dangers and explore their surroundings that seem marvelous to them: balloons fly over their heads, people come to the fountain to toss coins into it and dream of luck, fireflies come to light up the night. And when real peril arises, it turns out that the little boat and the cockchafer have, along their way, already made friends who are ardent to save them. Sanja Lovrenčić thus creates a lyrical story about fragileness and the magic that resides in the world’s details which is accompanied by aquarelle illustrations of an almost minimalist quality by Mingsheng Pi.


Book #3334

Coco and Rico


This story, written and illustrated by Croatian writer and visual artist Nikolina Manojlović Vračar, follows the youth of two sibling roosters Coco and Rico. These two heroes were born on a farm owned by two music-lovers, and enjoyed a careless youth among other animals. But one day they were kidnapped from their home by two criminals who decided to turn them info fighting roosters and to make them participate in illegal rooster fights. When the day came for Coco to fight Rico, they had to use all their cunningness and intelligence to turn the fight into a travesty, escape and find their way home. By telling this animal adventure story, Nikolina Manojlović Vračar reflects on friendship, loyalty and nonviolent ways to subvert and contest violent behavior.


Book #3332