2005 VOL 43, NO.
into the forest with anthony browne australian titles in french translation tribute to max velthuijs major new encyclopaedia of children’s literature picturebook versions of african folktales a literary award in friesland book ‘postcards’ from around the world professional books reviewed
The Journal of IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People Editors: Valerie Coghlan and Siobhán Parkinson Address for submissions and other editorial correspondence: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org Bookbird’s editorial office is supported by the Church of Ireland College of Education, Dublin, Ireland. Editorial Review Board: Sandra Beckett (Canada), Penni Cotton (UK), Hans-Heino Ewers (Germany), Jeffrey Garrett (USA), Ariko Kawabata (Japan), Kerry Mallan (Australia), Maria Nikolajeva (Sweden), Jean Perrot (France), Kimberley Reynolds (UK), Mary Shine Thompson (Ireland),Victor Watson (UK), Jochen Weber (Germany) Board of Bookbird, Inc.: Joan Glazer (USA), President; Ellis Vance (USA),Treasurer; Alida Cutts (USA), Secretary; Ann Lazim (UK); Elda Nogueira (Brazil) Cover: The cover illustration is from Max Velthuijs’s Frog and the Birdsong Copyright © Max Velthuijs 1991. Published by kind permission of Random House, UK. Production: Design and layout by Oldtown Design, Dublin (email@example.com) Proofread by Antoinette Walker Printed in Canada by Transcontinental Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature (ISSN 0006-7377) is a refereed journal published quarterly by IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People, Nonnenweg 12 Postfach, CH-4003 Basel, Switzerland tel. +4161 272 29 17 fax: +4161 272 27 57 email: firstname.lastname@example.org <www.ibby.org>. Copyright © 2005 by Bookbird, Inc., an Indiana not-for-profit corporation. Reproduction of articles in Bookbird requires permission in writing from the editor. Items from Focus IBBY may be reprinted freely to disseminate the work of IBBY. IBBY Executive Committee 2004-2006: Peter Schneck (Austria), President; Patricia Aldana (Canada), Shahaneem Hanoum (Malaysia),Vice Presidents; Huang Jianbin (China), Ann Lazim (UK), Elda Nogueira (Brazil), Mari Jose Olaziregi (Spain), Anne Pellowski (USA),Vagn Plenge (Denmark), Chieko Suemori (Japan), Jant van der Weg-Laverman (Netherlands),Voting Members; Jeffrey Garrett (USA), Andersen Jury President; Urs Breitenstein (Switzerland),Treasurer; María Candelaria Posada, Director of Communications and Project Development; Elizabeth Page (Switzerland), Administrative Director;Valerie Coghlan (Ireland), Siobhán Parkinson (Ireland), Bookbird Editors Subscriptions to Bookbird See inside back cover Bookbird is indexed in Library Literature, Library and Information Abstracts (LISA), Children’s Book Review Index, and the MLA International Bibliography. CANADA POSTMASTER: Bookbird. Publications Mail Registration Number 40600510. Send address changes to University of Toronto Press Inc., 5201 Dufferin Street,Toronto, ON M3H 5T8.
I said it in Hebrew – I said it in Dutch – I said it in German and Greek: But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much) That English is what you speak!
FIRST: JAM AND JUDICIO US ADVICE FIT THE
Editorial | page 4 In Memoriam Max Velthuijs (1923–2005) Jeffrey Garrett | page 5
FIT THE SECOND: THOUGHTFUL AND GRAVE
Cultural Orienteering A Map for Anthony Browne’s Into the Forest Elizabeth Bullen and Elizabeth Parsons | page 8 Revising Traditional Practices in Two Picturebook African Folktales Vivian Yenika-Agbaw | page 18 Translating the Animal Kingdom Australian Titles in French Helen T Frank | page 25
D: SUCH QUA NTITIES OF SAND HE THIR T T I F Children’s Literature Studies around the World
3: Good Company: International Companion Encyclopaedia of Children’s Literature Nina Christensen | page 36
FIT THE FOURTH: WRAPPED UP IN A FIVE-POUND NOTE
Children’s Literature Awards around the World 3: Friesland (Netherlands) Awards and Quality – Important Issues for a Small Literature Jant van der Weg | page 41
FIT TH E FIFTH: O F S HOES AND SHIPS AND SEALING WAX
Postcards from around the World | interleaved Books on Books | page 48 Focus IBBY | page 54
The quoted stanza is from ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ by Lewis Carroll.The titles of the various Bookbird sections are taken from that same poem, from ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’, also by Lewis Carroll, and from ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ by Edward Lear.
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. Sarah Adams’s translation from the French was worth the wait. notoriously weak in inward translation. But it took 22 years for the Marsh Award winner.This got us thinking about the art of translation. simple texts like Velthuijs’s is notoriously difficult. of course.The quality is also superb: this year’s Marsh shortlist included Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord. Pennac’s The Eye of the Wolf. may become usual. at least in quantity.Vivian YenikaAgbaw’s article on African folktales starts to break down some walls built by cultural practice. But. However.This is due to the universal appeal of Frog. that the award is gathering more entries is a positive sign. Recently we attended the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation. and Daniel Pennac’s The Eye of the Wolf and Kamo’s Escape. but think of all the young English speakers who have missed the great pleasure of reading it. the qualifying period is two years. political and cultural significance is also part of the imparting of meaning through translation. or with familiar cultural signifiers. the walls are not always linguistic. since translating short. work of Anthony Browne. and Elizabeth Bullen VALERIE COGHLAN is the librarian at the and Elizabeth Parsons demonstrate in their article that the Church of Ireland College of Education in Dublin. who features on the cover of this issue of Bookbird to complement Jeffrey Garrett’s words (see page 5) recalling Frog’s late creator.BOOKBIRD
AX VELTHUIJS’s gloriously ebullient frog. and perception is another confining wall – is complex but SIOBHÁN PARKINSON is a writer of fiction accessible. for children and adults (young and otherwise) and a Walls are merely the creations of our perceptions and our professional editor. simple and – for most readers – translated text probably also has something to do with it. the publisher at Andersen Press of the ‘Frog’ series. She lectures on and writes about children’s books and has a particular interest in picturebooks. often perceived to be ‘difficult’ – Ireland. Now. to reach an English-speaking audience. which makes the contribution of Klaus Flugge. but the short. as is already the case with films. of course. prejudices: they are eminently removable. and perhaps we might optimistically propose that acceptance of books not set in a familiar environment. all the more remarkable. Anglophone countries are. alas. Helen Frank’s provocative article in this issue on translating book titles echoes themes in two articles in the Routledge International Companion Encyclopaedia to Children’s Literature – discussed in this issue by Nina Christensen – in which Riitta Oittinen and Ronald Jobe emphasise that social.We wonder how Bookbird editors long it will be before the books in Frisian discussed here by Jant van der Weg are available to a wider audience. a sign that matters have improved. Henning Mankell’s Playing with Fire. One of the aims of Bookbird is to break down the enclosing walls that often surround children’s books.At its inception in 1996 this award was for translated books published in Britain during the previous six years. Lene Kaaberbøl’s The Shamer’s Signet. has by now gathered a large international audience in many languages.
Am I nuts to devote valuable desk real estate to a joyful frog? Before you answer that. His eyes are wide open. Last Christmas. almost if he were bestowing a blessing. I assume it’s because he likes red. his arms open wide as if he is about to give me a hug. I first need to tell you a secret. as extroverted and as joyful as everything else about him. And that is: whenever I bend over and put my ear close to his mouth. I should probably explain that I don’t keep any other stuffed animals. the only other article of clothing he has on are a ridiculous pair of baggy. too. pays tribute to the award’s most recent winner for illustration. After all. so this is quite an exception. knotted jauntily and slightly off-centre around his neck. touching it or even stroking it at times with one of his green webbed feet. the late Max Velthuijs
have a green frog on my desk – actually he’s looking up at me right now. He stands there now in front of me. president of the Hans Christian Andersen Award jury. broadly striped shorts. learn everything. I’ve rigged him so he stands next to my computer monitor. The frog on my desk wears a red scarf. But there was something very unusual about this frog. I hear a tiny
by JEFFREY GARRETT
. or as if he is dancing for joy. because it sure can’t be for warmth. meet new people. as if to say: I want to see everything.In Memoriam Max Velthuijs
Jeffrey Garrett. the very first picture I took with my new digital camera was of this frog (see next page). be open to new experiences and to all of life’s lessons. though.
hopefully. he was out and about. and it was a smile as expansive and as welcoming as Kikker’s outstretched arms. it seemed. yet until relatively recently academic research. histoires d’enfance = Stories for Children. Meanwhile. Liesbeth ten Houten. Grateful. just hours before I left Cape Town to return to the States. The Times postulated that in the new world of the 20th century. Colin Heywood (University of Nottingham).Almost one hundred years later. He was well into his eighties – an age we might all hope to achieve. Late in January. But I was also grateful for having had the opportunity to read so many of his books as a member of the 2004 Andersen jury. too. nor is it strictly limited geographically. Britain and North America. even redundant. I recognised him as Kikker. Kikker still watches me from the same spot on my desk as always. And he still whispers to me from time to time: Isn’t life grand?
Call for papers
Histoires d’enfant. what place does the child hold in our culture and what contribution has childhood made to its construction? The question may appear self-evident. rather than the other way around. It was above all Max Velthuijs’s eyes that gave away their blood relationship. Lynne Vallone (Texas A and M University) Abstracts of no more than 200 words please to Rosie Findlay (rosemary. Last spring in Bologna.Although predominantly focused on the modern period in France. but that he didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see what there was to see. Max told me he was tired. the Dutch picturebook artist Max Velthuijs. I think at first glance I looked at him as Kikker’s creation.findlay@univ-tours. In Bologna and later that year in Cape Town.’ as the Andersen prize announcement had read. too. no timescale has been placed on the project. I met Kikker’s creator. Even at his age. exploring the city. But beyond the rhetoric. The last time I saw him was in the company of his friend and publisher at Uitgeverij Leopold in Amsterdam. Guest speaker: Hugh Cunningham
(University of Kent at Canterbury) Keynote speakers: Paula Fass (University of Berkeley). there are no foreign languages when we talk with fantasy friends.fr) or Sébastien Salbayre (sebastien.Velthuijs smiled
. In that. tended
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to show a haughty disdain for studies of children and childhood.salbayre@univ-tours. I think I noticed the resemblances between him and Kikker right away – though after reading so many Kikker books. Peter Hunt (University of Wales. with few exceptions.They were as wide and as open as Kikker’s. Cardiff).MAX VELTHUIJS (1923–2005)
Jeffrey Garrett’s joyful frog
thin voice saying something like ‘Is het leven niet prachtig?’ As everyone knows. Histories of Childhood
On 7 October 1913. so I know instantly that my frog is saying: Isn’t life grand? My frog’s name is Kikker. for having had the chance to meet him in person and to feel his magic. Kim Reynolds (University of Newcastle). civilised behaviour would be measured by the way societies look after their children. this same belief is still seen as central to our way of living and our concept of civilised behaviour. provide the opportunity for experts of its literature and social history to ‘open windows’ of understanding that have hitherto eluded both. This interdisciplinary conference will explore the complexities of our perceptions of childhood and. It was at the end of the IBBY Congress there. I was sad for the passing of this man who had written so much ‘to comfort children and reassure them as they venture out into the world around them. I received the news from Dutch IBBY that Max Velthuijs had passed away.
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. so dif fer en t from her beloved country side. thirst for power. the immigrants all return to the Andes in search of go ld. He vividly conveys the curiosity. There they discover tha t the real treasure lies in working the land. ‘I love to walk around the house in Mama’s high heels’. is about a pea sant girl from the Andes who migra tes with her parents to Pe ru’s capital. Th ey experience fear. Paris Albin Michel Jeunesse 2003 128pp ISBN (US edn) 1929132751 (picturebook. each with immense visual appeal. all ages)
No. Some of the entries: ‘I love the smell of toast in the morning’. Lilly C de Cueto
Teodoro Nunez Ureta (Lucy Nunez Rebaza illus)
LA WAY TA C HA
[The Little Flower]
Lima: CEDILI-IBBY 2004 30 pp ISBN 9972947572 (fiction 8–10)
A child’s catalogue of life’s simple pleasures captures the essence of childhood. The author resolves their conf licts by showing how working the land compensates workers by producing a bounty of cro ps. ‘I love the sound of raindrops on my red umbrella’. published in Quechua. in company with ma ny Andean families.
La Jolla. Glenna Sloan
MINNE AND NATALI FORTIER
I LOVE… = J’AIME…. If your chin turns yellow. su ch as the girl’s reaction to her new home in a city slum. Lima. Convinced that they will find simila r treasure. Accompanying each declaration of love is a complementary image in soft colours.BOOKBIRD
The Peruvian chapter of CEDILI-IBBY disseminates ch ildren’s stories about daily life in Peru’s rich natural and cu ltural worlds. Their bag containing stones awaken s the greed of neighbours when they discover that the ‘stones’ are actually gold nuggets . ‘I love when Papa makes pancakes and pretends to flip them over my head’. ‘I love to count how many people are riding in my car on the subway’. surprise and expectations of the other immigrants. ‘La Waytacha’. text and pictures make each statement a warm celebration of chance moments remembered or day to day joys. Teodoro Nunez Ureta expertly captures the different mo ods of the characters. it means you like butter’. violence and a burni ng desire to escape from poverty. ‘I love to hold a buttercup under my sister’s chin and say. ‘I love to put my feet on Papa’s and dance around the room’. Together. Ca: Kane/Miller 2005.
Taking ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ as a case in point. They are both working (with Clare Bradford) on a research project on risk. risk and the resources children need to survive in today’s world
by ELIZABETH BULLEN and ELIZABETH PARSONS
Elizabeth Bullen and Elizabeth Parsons are lecturers in children’s literature at Deakin University. Warrnambool. Australia. they contrast assumptions about the child protagonist in Perrault’s (1697) tale with those in the version by the Grimm brothers (1812). In the second. it is assumed that the child is aware of the danger in the forest and therefore has the knowledge to survive in the world.These two versions of the tale reflect different understandings about the child protagonist’s understanding of risk. According to Nodelman and Reimer. resilience and children’s literature
bserving historical changes in the cultural construction of childhood and of child characters in fairy tales. the Grimms’ narrative reflects the belief that ‘children need only know how much they don’t know so they can see the wisdom of accepting the wise advice of their parents’. Nodelman and Reimer (2003) conclude that fairy tales encode the ideology of the culture that retells them. the plot is driven as much by the child’s disobedience as by her ignorance of danger. In the first. the knowledge she needs to survive in a dangerous
A Map for Anthony Browne’s Into the Forest
This article identifies Anthony Browne’s picturebook Into the Forest as a re-gendered retelling of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ that expresses recent assumptions about childhood.
particularly the effect of parental separation and divorce on children. What remains constant. marriage and family have become fragile institutions. and the risk of divorce or separation is something which children growing up in the West can hardly fail to be aware of. risk and the resources children need to survive in today’s world. In this respect. the boy’s anxiety in the opening frames suggests that he is acutely aware of the social reality of family breakdown and its signifiers before he enters the forest. however.Anthony Browne offers a retelling of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ which expresses – and contests – more recent assumptions about childhood. On his journey through the forest to Grandma’s house the boy meets various fairy-tale child characters. the poignant plea collides with a signifier of the niggly chore that might easily be forgotten by parents who are caught up in their own interests and worries.
The forest is the terrain in which a young male protagonist imaginatively explores his anxiety about his father’s unexplained absence
However. insecurities and anxieties have taken their place and children (in fact all people) are increasingly responsible for constructing their own biographical life projects. written on yellow pieces of paper reminis-
In this respect.CULTURAL ORIENTEERING
Fairy tales encode the ideology of the culture that retells them
world. the forest is the terrain in which a young male protagonist imaginatively explores his anxiety about his father’s unexplained absence.The mother’s instruction not to go into the forest in Browne’s version is suggestive of contemporary parents’ desire to protect children from unnecessary worry about what might happen to them in the case of family breakdown. In this format. In what German sociologist Ulrich Beck (1992) calls risk society. each representing some of these possibilities. This close reading of the text investigates the way Browne’s protagonist manages his feelings of apprehension about his father’s absence and what it might
No. ‘Come home Dad’. and therefore beliefs about childhood at the time they were written. New risks. This implies a (somewhat critical) textual commentary on the impact of these cultural shifts in contemporary families. but without the support – or coercion – of tradition. Unlike its traditional predecessors. is the danger the forest represents. Into the Forest works to address the anxieties contemporary social change and cultural knowledge create for children. the boy’s imagined fears reflect the fact that the fundamental certainties of life – even home and family – have been disrupted. 3 – 2005 / 9
. In Into the Forest (2004). the narrative speaks to widespread social anxieties about the family. however. He obsessively labels the house with the message.
cent of the ‘Post-it’ notes people use as reminders about small tasks. In Browne’s version. it is not a cautionary tale.
even bleak outlook. Folktales and fairy tales are stories marking the inception of children’s literature. But Into the Forest is also a challenge to tradifollows a path through tions. by imaginatively reconstructing his individual and family biographies against the older and/or imagined risks modelled by fairy tales. Clare Bradford (1998) and John Stephens (1994) both read the three flying pigs in the opening pages of
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. but equally a fairy tale in that fairy tales have long revealed to children the failures and treacheries committed by parents. As such. One reading of the text – quite subversive given the children’s book industry’s many unwritten rules about ‘appropriateness’ for young readers – is that the ideal of the happy family is a fairy tale. Ostensibly about a family trip to the museum. Browne’s closure is ironic and politically subtle. this comforting cliché is positioned against reader knowledge that the permanent emotional security it a wish-fulfilment fantasy signals can no longer be guaranteed in contemporary family life. and it enacts this challenge through its revisionary approach to ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. Following this strategy. but in narrative rather than visual form. Into the Forest’s reinterpretation of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ is by no means a simplistic reshaping. Her generational status signals the traditions of those rituals that are closely associated with childhood. in Browne’s work.CULTURAL ORIENTEERING
mean for his family’s future. this management entails seeking out a tradition to guide the process. the traditions of narrative including a dramatic gender switch that sets it apart from both traditional versions and typical contemporary reworkings. and the protagonist’s journey through these stories to Grandma’s house is equally a journey towards Grandma as the storyteller.Attending to a similarly ironic.The narrative closure reflects a wish-fulfilment fantasy and the fact that ‘The most significant truth about fairy tales is that they represent things not as they really are but as the implied audience imagines they ought to be’ (Nodelman and Reimer 2003). Ironically. The Shape Game demonstrates that visual art can be played with so as to (positively) reconstruct the world. she is set in contrast with the young mother who offers her son no explanation about his father’s Browne’s protagonist absence. Although the reunion of the family in Into the Forest appears to conform to the ‘happily ever after’ ending of traditional fairy The narrative closure reflects tales. In this respect. This strategy of narrative transformation refigures a logic that is applied to visuals in Browne’s The Shape Game (2003). both in relation to pleasure and socialisation.The players in the shape game metamorphose a squiggle into a recognisable object as a means of reconstituting one image into another. Browne’s protagonist follows a path (albeit a frightening one) through the traditions of narrative. a fairy tale in that happy families don’t really exist.
’ If readers choose to ignore the clue in ‘Come home Dad’. the opening line is simply:‘One night I was woken up by a terrible sound. stuck on the window frame of the title page.The other distinct visual on the page is a one-legged toy soldier holding a gun. since it foregrounds the disjunction between the ideological fiction of the family and the reality contemporary child readers are not only aware of but often experience. such social comment requires careful handling. 3 – 2005 / 11
. In our view.CULTURAL ORIENTEERING
The fairy-tale ending foregrounds the disjunction between the ideological fiction and reality
Piggybook (1986) against the text’s overt feminist conclusion.
The path through the forest provides the indirect metaphoric camouflage of the fairy-tale intertexts
These intertexts begin on the front cover which embeds Snow White’s glass coffin. implying: yeah… and ‘pigs might fly’. and Snow White is the victim of a wealthy but dysfunctional blended
No. Roger Sutton (2004) remarks that ‘Each of these motifs is indeed powerful in its proper place. In his review in The New York Times. In the course of his journey through the forest. for whom there is no accompanying text to translate the event for the child reader (or child protagonist) who witnesses the scene. However. if not dangerous. the precursive visual signifier speaks the adage of impossibility about this happy ending. In the context of the narrative developments as they transpire the next morning. namely ‘Dad wasn’t there’ and Mum doesn’t seem to know when he is coming back. Cinderella’s pumpkin and glass slipper. Browne here skirts around the thorny forest of directly addressing the fight. Cinderella is an unloved orphan. for the author/illustrator the same path provides the indirect metaphoric camouflage of the fairy-tale intertexts. the family breakdown is elided beneath the metaphor of a stormy night that wakes the child.The downtrodden mother transforms her husband and sons into good domestic subjects so that she has time to work as a mechanic. on his way to sell his mother’s cow. In Browne’s typically oblique style of written text. Jack belongs to a singleparent family in dire financial straits. Given the current social and cultural context and the realist frame to the text. also part of the forest’s black and white (and thus less-real) territory. Sleeping Beauty’s spinning wheel and Rapunzel’s tower appear later. His strategy is reminiscent of John
Burningham’s red-tinged picture of parents fighting in Aldo. Undercutting the distortion of reality in the fairy-tale ending of Into the Forest is defensible. Unlike his protagonist. before discovering Little Red Riding Hood’s coat hanging in a tree. it is not insignificant that the plot in the narratives to which these fairy tale characters belong is precipitated by family disruption. their inclusion is hardly casual or random. the soldier suggests that the terrible noise of the night before was not the storm. the illustration of a lightning-filled sky outside the protagonist’s bedroom window suggests that the terrible noise is thunder. although the forest path through fairy tales is the most direct way for the male protagonist to reach a conclusion. the poisoned apple and the Frog Prince in the forest scene. the protagonist encounters Jack. to scatter them so promiscuously all around the woods’. Thus. but the battle of a domestic dispute – which is also a gender war – that has left the soldier/Dad crippled. In Browne’s text. but it seems careless. Goldilocks and Hansel and Gretel. However.
it is the absence of his father that causes him to take the dangerous route: ‘But
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. How does each of these child characters deal with their circumstances? How does Browne’s protagonist deal with his? These questions raise the issue of agency. both in the narrative and in life. Jack and Goldilocks want the fruit cake in the basket Browne’s protagonist carries. As the protagonist explains. the common feature of these tales might appear to reinforce ideological constructions of the family like the three bears’ nuclear household. Although all of these intertexts are driven by some form of family collapse – and in Into the Forest. Hansel and Gretel are abandoned by their parents and it would seem that Goldilocks finds comforts in the three bears’ house that she doesn’t enjoy at home. With the exception of his one choice to enter the forest when his mother has told him to take the longer. Even this choice is framed as a response to parental behaviour. Browne’s protagonist is merely subject to the circumstances that afflict him. a fear of it – it is ‘what happens next’ that matters. The opening frames of the narrative suggest that the boy has neither the knowledge nor the power to be agential. Perhaps they too desire the means to mend their families’ ills. which it transpires is a peace offering sent by the mother to the father who is at Grandma’s house.CULTURAL ORIENTEERING
family. On the one hand. On the other hand. safer route. the political subtexts that typify Browne’s oeuvre frequently subvert dominant ideology.
’ It seems that the unhappiness linked to parental behaviour leads children into dangerous places. Jack and Goldilocks do make choices which ultimately
decide their fate for good or ill. His detachment is excused.The significance of these intertexts depends on the child reader’s knowledge of what will happen next. indicates his rejection of the scenarios they signify. their gender politics inflect his shift into a female role and the alteration of the tale’s ending. There is a clever metafictiveness to this strategy because. Hansel and Gretel. for the first time. in choosing the path that negotiates these stories in order to simply pass them by. by the narrative. traversing these dangers is arguably resilience-building for the protagonist. the dangerous territory of fairy tales. while the child protagonist navigates fictive stories (fairy tales) in order to understand his real-world fears. I chose the quick way. even promoted. This is unlike Jon Scieszka’s complete upending of fairy tales in The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (1993). Browne’s protagonist can equally be seen as engaged in a quest. Perhaps Browne’s protagonist. This move is consonant with the conspicuous absence of the male hero embodied by the woodcutter as well as the narrative absence of his nemesis. Sleeping Beauty. as male malefactor. a precondition for the knowledge. their house. despite his apparent helplessness. through these stories. Flach 1988. And yet. who are a good deal more powerfully emblematic of the misery caused parental abandonment and therefore of the risks children face in family breakdown.CULTURAL ORIENTEERING
that day. Snow White. the characters in the fairy tale intertexts in Into the Forest do not fare equally. or an interpretative navigation of them. the wolf. This is hardly surprising. and the gingerbread cottage respectively) without suffering any changes caused by intervention. 1997). this rejection is not simply dismissive. given that these children appear unreasonably demanding and are apparently well fed.
Browne’s protagonist can be seen as engaged in a quest that he must undertake to reunite his family
However. In its inclusion of these intertexts. that he must undertake to reunite his family. Browne’s narrator does not intervene in their narrative trajectory by giving them the cake they desire. one is imprisoned in a tower and Cinderella’s domestic entrapment typically keeps her at home. Into the Forest implies that the various fairy-tale children must reach the conclusions indicated by the tell-tale signifiers hidden in the forest that surrounds them (Jack’s beanstalk and the giant’s club. sense of control and optimism that resilience assumes is the existence of the adverse circumstances which children must survive (Richardson 2002. Rapunzel and Cinderella are present in the text only as pictorial allusions and Browne’s protagonist does not engage in dialogue with them. According to psychologists. the three bears. given that two of them are asleep.
Gender politics inflect the protagonist’s shift into a female role and the alteration of the ending
In this respect. I wanted to be home in case Dad came back. Despite the protagonist’s lack of direct interaction with these stories. particularly. Unlike the passive female princesses. Moreover. 3 – 2005 / 13
. the image of Prince Charming on his steed reminds us that these fairy tale princesses are not agential in their own survival but dependent on being rescued from the circumstances of which they are victims. This is less so for the characters in the final meeting. the reader of Into the Forest is occupied by the same
it is clear that this red jacket is the same as that worn by the sister in Browne’s 1989
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book The Tunnel. Cross-dressing poses a powerful challenge to the operations of the binary logics that produce gender difference. this story also employs the mid-plot gender switch whereby the active. the narrative seems to invite children to revise the stories they have been told in order to suit their circumstances. On the one hand. In the first of these. rather than husband and wife. Gender – or the disruption of gender – is crucial to this metamorphosis.This is not depicted as transgressive. blue and green are the father’s colours and yellow. Individualisation ‘is dependent on decisionmaking as it assumes agency. in this equation. that when Browne’s protagonist leaves the forest path and becomes lost. since we are no longer as constrained by social class or gender as we were once. thus. The significance of this gender reversal is extended by two self-referential intertexts. green and blue stripes are the grandma’s colours. though this is not by any means clear-cut. the construction of a personal biographical trajectory that is ‘selfrather than socially-produced’ (Lupton 1999).
The narrative seems to invite children to revise the stories they have been told to suit their circumstances
Ulrich Beck claims that in contemporary ‘risk society’. as Beck would have it. this is liberating.The protagonist in most illustrations combines all these colours in his clothing but when he dons Red Riding Hood’s coat he wears only his mother’s colourcoded textual position. it is depicted as providing the appropriate solution to the child’s problems. It also signifies that new problems require new solutions. Browne’s text has become. are no longer practical or desirable in risk society. On the contrary. The boy is now on the left. he both ‘becomes’ Little Red Riding Hood and revises the ending of the traditional tale. individualisation means that we are obliged to construct our own reflexive biographies by finding and inventing new certainties. In addition. In some respects. Described on the dust jacket as ‘an original fairytale’. However. albeit in the genderneutral form of a duffle-coat. then. this subject positioning is directly embodied by the colour scheme deployed in the text. fearless brother is turned to stone (made passive) and thus requires his bookish and nervy sister to take the active and heroic role in rescuing him. On the other hand. The second intertextual reference in Into the Forest is to the Hansel and Gretel Browne drew in his 1981 retelling of the classic fairy tale. whereby red and blue are the mother’s colours. against this carefully duplicated repetition. the text becomes a ‘how to’ book. Wearing the jacket disregards the social norms that direct gender behaviour and which. his sister on the right. The resolution of the boy’s anxiety involves a symbolic acceptance of femininity. It is significant. as it is here. the next step outwards in a spiralling pattern of intertextuality that has a potential to speak to parental separations affecting real child readers.
. therefore. the ability to shape one’s destiny through self-determination and identification’ and. although in The Tunnel it is between brother and sister. This switch is a compelling precursor to Browne’s male protagonist cross-dressing in Red Riding Hood’s cloak. They wear the same clothes and are drawn in the same pose. just as this protagonist re-genders the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ tale. This reversal of fairy tale (and real world) gender stereotypes also acts as the precursor to healing an inter-gender familial breach.CULTURAL ORIENTEERING
task. uncertainties and risks proliferate and the decline of old certainties and tradition means that the path through life – including family life – is no longer clearly signposted. they are notably reversed.
No. It would seem that in putting on the coat. but unconsciously. and indeed the wolf lurks in the background of this frame (which is where he stays. perhaps suggesting that the fear of family breakdown is unfounded). the boy alters the ending of the original story. However. he loses the putting on the coat. accepts the tale. but determined by the narrative formula of the fairy unconsciously. In the fairy tale leaving the path.What follows is no longer preboy symbolically. accepts the It would seem that in narrative trajectory of the fairy tale.CULTURAL ORIENTEERING
Putting on the coat also marks the boy’s first experience of fear and he recalls his grandma’s story about a bad wolf. a departure already anticipated by the alternarrative trajectory of ation of the gender positioning of the original. 3 – 2005 / 15
. He begins to feel he is being followed. the boy symbolically. in trying to outrun the fear this creates. the path – and the plot.
typically they must intervene in the story’s trajectory. The final focus on loving family relationships is in many respects the balm for the harsh commentary proposed at the beginning of this reading – that happy families are a fairy tale. boys do not have the (dubious) luxury of passivity. the flip-side of this agency is that fairy tales have little to offer boys in relation to coping with the anxieties surrounding parental problems that are out of their control. What this ending illuminates is that although male readers of fairy tales are typically empowered by the male heroes of fairy tales. But it is not the wolf after all and. which has avoided moments of heroism but. In such a society. that the voice that answers belongs to the wolf.The voice that answers his knock at the door doesn’t ‘really sound like Grandma’s voice’ and the boy is ‘terrified’. In the case of this narrative. the plots of fairy tales and the cultural plots directing gender roles
opposed to the reader’s certainty and knowledge. of course. resolution has been achieved by a circuituous route. he finds her house at last. the boy’s uncertainty and fear of the unknown are
The text pivots on a double debunking of prescribed plots.CULTURAL ORIENTEERING
The significance of this revision is contextualised by the uncertainty that surrounds the boy’s arrival at Grandma’s house. That ending is the product of decisions and risks undertaken in negotiating one’s way through the risk society. But this contentment is never far from its opposite.
Thus the text pivots on a double debunking of prescribed plots. has allowed the boy to get out of the psychological woods of fears about parents.This is. At this suspenseful moment. regardless. reader expectations is expressive of the culture of this tale’s retelling. either belongs to Grandma. the ending of the story is no longer fixed and we must choose our own ‘ending’. and equally the position the male protagonist occupies here.The disruption of the narrative and. a culture which Beck says is no longer governed by rigid and traditional biographical narratives. the position children usually find themselves in with regard to marital breakdown.Although the way is by now obliterated by snow. or to the boy’s father (another instance of gender ambiguity). the second involves the boy adopting femalecoded behaviour in conveying the cake which succeeds in reuniting the family. directed by fairy tale structures. the plots of fairy tales and the cultural plots directing gender roles. instead. In fairy tales. her voice altered by a case of the sniffles. therefore. as
Anthony Browne (2004) Into the Forest London:Walker Anthony Browne (2003) The Shape Game New York: Farrar. The first entails the diminution of male power narratives typically embodied by wolves and woodcutters. Straus and Giroux Anthony Browne (1997) The Tunnel London:Walker Anthony Browne (1986) Piggybook London: Julia MacRae Anthony Browne (1981) Hansel and Gretel London: Julia MacRae John Burningham (1991) Aldo London: Jonathan Cape Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (1812) republished as Grimms’ Fairy Tales (trans Edward Taylor) Harmondsworth: Penguin (1971) Charles Perrault (1697) republished as The Fairy Tales (trans Angela Carter) New York: Bard (1977) Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (1993) The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales London: Puffin
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the final image on the back cover illustrates. It foregrounds two central trees: one has healthy bark with a love-heart carved into it, while the gnarled bark of the other shows the face of a wolf, muzzle raised in a howl, as an emblem of the anxiety that haunts this difficult and ambiguous text. Here is Browne’s final reminder for children living in uncertain times that happily ever after might not be, after all.
References Beck, Ulrich (1992) Risk Society:Towards a New Modernity London: Sage Bradford, Clare (1998) ‘Playing with Father: Anthony Browne’s Picture Books and the Masculine’ Children’s Literature in Education 29, 2: 79–96 Flach, Frederic (1988) Resilience: Discovering a New Strength at Times of Stress New York: Ballantine Flach, Frederic (1997) Resilience: How to Bounce Back when the Going Gets Tough New York: Hatherleigh Lupton, Deborah (1999) Risk London and New York: Routledge Nodelman, Perry and Mavis Reimer (2003) The Pleasures of Children’s Literature Boston, MA:Allyn and Bacon Richardson, Glenn E (2002) ‘The Metatheory of Resilience and Resiliency’ Journal of Clinical Psychology 58 (3): 307–21 Stephens, John and Ken Watson (1994) From Picture Book to Literary Theory Sydney: St Clair Sutton, Roger (2004) ‘The Red Book and Into the Forest: Metafiction for beginners’ The New York Times, Section 7 (14 November): 22 Illustrations Illustrations from Into the Forest by Anthony Browne. Illustrations © 2004 Anthony Browne. Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London SE11 5HJ.
‘Arouna, the Small Champion’ Determined Arouna, smallest of the competitors in a bicycle race, works hard to convince the organisers to accept him. The onlookers ridicule him. But the daring boy does not give up. This inspiring story is illustrated in gouache by Taofik Atoro, known for his expressive, realistic art. ‘Tadjin and the Swallows’ Paul and Tatiana collaborate on a charming book about doing the ‘right’ thing. Tadjin lets his caged swallows fly free. He very much wants to keep them at his home, but he accepts the fact that it is better that they are not captives. René Georges Bada
No. 3 – 2005 / 17
Hortense Mayaba (Taofik Atoro illus)
AROUNA, THE SMALL CHAMPION
Cotonou: Editions Streams of Africa 2003 24pp ISBN 9991950141 (fiction 8–12)
Paul Zannou and Tatiana Balzer Zanou
TADJIN AND THE SWALLOWS
Cotonou: Editions Streams of Africa 2003 24pp ISBN 9991950192 (picturebook 5–8)
Revising Traditional Practices
in Two African Picturebook Folktales
In introducing picturebooks that show children creating new traditions, Vivian Yenika-Agbaw argues that not all African cultural practices should be followed unquestioningly
by VIVIAN YENIKA-AGBAW
Vivian Yenika-Agbaw is an associate professor at Bloomsburg University, Pennsylvania, where she teaches children’s and young adult literature
any anthropologists would agree that culture is the backbone of every community. As Ngugi (1997) notes, it is ‘a product of a people’s history, [and] ... also a reflection of that history’. Culture has sustained us Africans from generation to generation and strengthened our sense of self and our understanding of our place within the global community. There is no question then about its relevance in our lives. However, culture also perpetuates ways of seeing, behaving, understanding and knowing among groups of people.As these practices prevail over a long period of time, they become traditions that may be hard to challenge, practices that people cling to without question. This phenomenon seems to be true in several West African villages. For example, in recent years we hear that young girls from some parts of Africa are being punished severely either for acts of passion or for outright refusal to undergo circumcision rites of passage, which were the custom in the past.This has led to all kinds of conflicts, global and local, which could perhaps have been prevented if the elders had re-examined rituals of female circumcision inherited long ago from our ancestors. What makes it all even more complicated is the fact that wellintentioned Afrocentric movements in the West uphold all African village practices as ‘authentic’, which seems to mean that they should not be interrogated or adjusted to suit contemporary reality.Afrocen-
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AFRICAN TRADITIONAL PRACTICES
tric scholars, like Asante, argue that these village Culture has sustained us practices, in a way, are the only significant aspects of Africans from generation African culture not tarnished by Western colonial to generation and influence (Asante 1980). According to such Afrocentric scholars, village cultural practices retain the strengthened our true flavour of African tradition and have been understanding of our place faithfully adhered to for centuries. Although, as in the global community Oyebade (2003) remarks, Afrocentricity searches ‘for those values that will make man relate to man in a humanistic way and not in an imperialistic or exploitative way’, its persistent adherence to pre-colonial ways of doing things can be problematic. Should African children accept every single tradition that has been handed down to them by their elders? It is true that some traditional practices have sustained Africans for generations, but it seems to me that others are so inflexible and outright unjust that it would be irresponsible not to interrogate them. It would be better if elders assisted children to identify and re-examine cultural practices that are no longer useful within their different communities, as they guide them on how to create new traditions that do not violate our African ‘cultural integrity’ or disrupt our staunch belief in ancestors. In so doing, children could learn to pay attention to differences that position us as ‘others’ within our local communities and make us targets for practices that simply reflect the dominant ways of understanding, knowing and valuing our humanity. In recent years some authors of children’s books have A child protagonist attempted to accomplish this feat in their folktales.At sharing space with adults, the centre of the folktales by Obinkaram Echewa and negotiating relationships Nelda LaTeef, for example, is a child protagonist sharing space within rural settings with adults, negotiating with them, and reasoning relationships with them, and actually reasoning with with them to rethink them to rethink certain dominant cultural practices. certain cultural practices
The Ancestor Tree
In The Ancestor Tree (1994) Obinkaram Echewa brilliantly depicts the struggle between old and new ways in Amapu, a West African village community. In the story an old man, Nna-nna, who regularly tells stories to the village children and showers them with his ‘blessings’, cannot have an ancestor tree planted in his honour when he dies, because tradition forbids childless people from having trees planted in their names in the Forest of the Ancestors, and he has no living biological children.Worse yet, his navel tree ‘will be cut down from the Forest of the Living’. In essence childless people should not be remembered, regardless of their contributions to the community.
No. 3 – 2005 / 19
they consult with the elders Echewa makes blind and eventually plant a tree in his name. and the unborn’. give a sense of solidarity and security . . one begins to wonder. . he continues:
ancestors are important in African culture because ‘they . ‘in African thought.’
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. as he makes blind adherence to tradition appear foolappear foolish even to ish even to the elders. community includes the living. the dead.
It is the village tradition. Traditions are fine. Quoting Dickson. ‘Do customs ever change?’Abindu asked. Custom is custom is custom. adherence to tradition Echewa weaves this tale as honestly as possible. Sindima (1990) remarks that. . Wasn’t Nna-nna their surrogate grandfather? Has he not been there for them at any time of the day? Refusing to accept this aspect of their village custom. ‘That’s just the way things are.AFRICAN TRADITIONAL PRACTICES
This is a tradition that baffles the young children he has spent his entire life taking care of. ‘How come there is such a custom?’Abindu asked.’Abindu’s father said when Abindu asked him. . when they were with their fathers and mothers or uncles and aunts.‘How come Nna-nna can’t have a tree in the Forest of the Ancestors?’ ‘It is an ancient custom. who at times lose their the elders temper when asked about details of the customs:
Inside their homes. and they are forced to question the usefulness of that tradition. but when it makes people outsiders in their own villages. mediate between God and man [and] remind the living of those virtues which define the morally good life.’Abindu’s father replied. is the only answer the children are offered. the children kept asking. ‘Enough questions!’Abindu’s father replied angrily.
As the reader follows the evolution of the story. making it easier for him to perform his task as an elder. Rather. but it is also obvious that he has left something of himself in all of you.AFRICAN TRADITIONAL PRACTICES
Would it not make sense then to honour Nnanna. adults teach and children learn. We will plant a tree for Nna-nna in the Forest of the Ancestors. it is the father who must initiate this process. though not as compelling as Echewa’s tale. What makes the story even more fascinating is that he listens to her suggestions carefully and does not quickly dismiss her as only a girl. but also an elder and deserves nothing less. 3 – 2005 / 21
The children have finally made a difference in a community that has practised for ages and without question customs that exclude honourable members of their own village. which. the father ‘shared his concerns with her’ and actually consulted with her on how they should proceed. Echewa’s story demonstrates the need for change. but LaTeef adds a twist to the tale. the village storyteller and caregiver? Should he go unrecognised in village history. simply because he is childless? The intergenerational link between the old man and the young people becomes an effective tool to address an injustice that had been perpetuated by this tradition for a long time. but in this case.After deciding that it was time for his daughter to be betrothed.The eldest member of the council. He is not only her father.Their action liberates the elders as well. Ozurumba. and sometimes. they work as a team.When the children succeed in effecting change in this community after meeting with the Amapu village council and convincing them. will have trees planted for them in the Forest of the Ancestors. the reader is filled with a sense of joy. It is true that he has no children. people whose spirits are noble.According to the village custom. she does not disrespect him. proud of their dedication to Nna-nna and their commitment to social justice remarks:
Teach and learn. Beginning today. depicts a similar situation. even then she knows she must defer to him whenever necessary.We have decided to end one custom and begin another. only people who have lived honorable lives. instead of naively challenging the arranged marriage custom that is prevalent in
No. Ezi. customs can change. especially since it is by an outsider. In this story.And so.You children have taught us that customs have a beginning. She provides useful advice to her father on how to proceed. something unheard of in the past. amuru indeed!
The Hunter and the Ebony Tree
Nelda LaTeef ’s The Hunter and the Ebony Tree (2002). Children are teaching and adults are learning. a concerned father must ‘choose the right husband for his daughter’. but it is clear that Nelda LaTeef wants to make a point about involving females in the process of choosing their spouses. Many Africans may doubt the credibility of the father–daughter partnership depicted in this folktale. he/she observes the stupidity of adhering to customs that perhaps never made sense. from this day onward. even though they continue to be upheld in the community. despite his endless contributions. we will change the way we select which ancestors
. is what it means to be an ancestor. we have the opposite. She both understands her father’s sense that it is his duty to find an appropriate husband for her as tradition dictates and appreciates his willingness to include her in the process. To her father she confides that she ‘will marry the man whose arrow can penetrate the trunk of the ebony tree’. for as Ozurumba acknowledges:
We have also decided that. Usually.
to honor. The girl participates in the courtship process. after all. customs come to an end. As a true African child.
rethinks tradition. even though she is a child and female. there.Again a child becomes instrumental in a major decision process. he knew his search for a bride had come to an end. She makes it possible for her to accidentally meet with the man she eventually marries.When he finished drinking. to show the role that fate plays in such circumstances:
As the hunter stopped by the village well to quench his thirst.The hunter gazed into her eyes as he drank the cold water. she provides an alternative way that acknowledges the girl and at the same time does not threaten or disrupt the community. she ends up with someone she had earlier shown kindness to and perhaps is attracted to – a ‘husband who was worthy of her’ and had used all his ingenuity to win her hand in marriage. Some Africans may be sceptical about children tampering with our traditions. she offered him a drink from her jug. And of course.AFRICAN TRADITIONAL PRACTICES
Many Africans may doubt the credibility of the father–daughter partnership depicted in this folktale
traditional African societies. was the girl. drawing water. This folktale. a communal lifestyle in the village is much to be preferred to the individualistic quest for materialism that is pervasive in cities and towns highly influenced by
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. rather than marrying a man who just won a contest. which LaTeef got from an old Zarma griot.
In a sense. This is because most of us seem to pay attention mainly to the strengths of the culture and never closely examine its weaknesses. like Echewa’s.With a shy smile. this time in the village of Tombakonda. She had never done that for a stranger before. LaTeef gives the girl agency throughout the story.
If we do not examine past practices and make decisions regarding which traditions to maintain and which ones no longer serve our human ideals. it reduces the individual about our local cultural to nothing. I would suggest that Africans do what Aegerter (2000) advises in her article on womanism – and that is to ‘revise and retain African traditions’ for the benefit of all segments of the community.
Certain normative values in a so-called national or communal culture could be reflecting all sorts of contradictions of which it is a product. but may be forced to change the traditions however they choose to. we could find ourselves excluding and oppressing a good segment in our communities. In many African societies for instance.And yet proverbs are supposed to contain the kernel of collective wisdom. If we do not engage actively in revising practices that are detrimental to our collective survival.To stay strong. We need to uphold those that serve our communities well and reaffirm the members’ beliefs in our humanity. we do not need to ‘sanctify all traditions simply because they were passed down’ to us. we need to constantly monitor our actions within our respective communities and examine our customs for loopholes. healthy.As Ngugi (1997) rightly observes. 3 – 2005 / 23
. productive and alive. there are proverbs that essentially belittle women. As Echewa remarks in an interview (Kauffman 1995). This can be dangerous!
No. Finally. oppresses people and encourages massive exodus from otherwise thrivaddress similar concerns ing communities. as he/she abandons all that is familiar practices? and begins to wander all over the world seeking for another place to call home. our children will not only draw these to our attention. How do we effectively challenge the injustices of How do we challenge the colonialism when we are unable to address similar injustices of colonialism concerns about our local cultural practices? Such when we are unable to rigidity stifles progress. which in turn can be detrimental to otherwise thriving African village communities. This notwithstanding.
It is true that proverbs communicate cultural understandings about a group of people. but I am not sure African women would want to hang around permanently for their husbands and sons to ‘belittle’ them in the name of tradition.AFRICAN TRADITIONAL PRACTICES
colonialism and Western culture. undue reverence for tradition can impede communal and individual growth.
Some have contributed reflective pieces such as the poems illustrated by Nasrin Khosravi (Iran). and Rosemary Wells. Each of the artists was asked to illustrate a piece of text of his or her own choosing. and Postcoloniality: A Dialectal Approach’ in The Post-colonial Condition of African Literature (Daniel Gover. (2002) The Hunter and the Ebony Tree North Kingstown. Lisbeth Zwerger (Austria). but a necessary letter to extol a beautiful publication. pp 3–12 Westport.jstor. quite a few are traditional verses from the artists’ cultures. Harvey (1990) ‘Liberalism and African Culture’ Journal of Black Studies 21 (2):190–209 www. L (2000) ‘Southern Africa. Each double-page opening is a source of wonder and mystery. and Czech Kveta Pacovská’s surreal frog rhyme and even more surreal frog. NY:Amulefi Publishing Asante. And then there are Piet Grobler’s birds … but I must stop. accompanied by a translation into English. Obinkaram Echewa: Telling Stories in Three Dimensions’ (an interview) http://www. NH: Heinemann Oyebade.jstor. to turn the page to see Nicaragua’s Luis Garay’s spare watermelon. A fantastic variety of styles is presented here. Bayo (2003) ‘African Studies and the Afrocentric Paradigm – A Critique’ Journal of Black Studies 21 (2): 233–8 www. Jainal Amambing and Anthony Browne have each contributed a poem written by themselves. RI: Moon Mountain
References Aegerter. and it is fun to try to guess who the illustrators are or from which country the illustrations come.W (1997) Writers in Politics Portsmouth. song or street game significant in the artist’s own childhood. Womanism.AFRICAN TRADITIONAL PRACTICES
Children’s Books Discussed T Obinkaram Echewa (Christy Hale illus) (1994) The Ancestor Tree New York: Lodestar Books Nelda LaTeef. M (1980) Afrocentricity:The Theory of Social Change Buffalo. 2003)
This is a joy. J (1995) ‘T. Poems gloriously and variously decorated by leading artists from 32 countries spill out from under its enticing cover. And a worthy one: IBBY receives 15% of the price of every book sold!
Patricia Aldana (ed) (various illustrators) Under the Spell of the Moon: Art for Children from the World’s Great Illustrators
Toronto: Groundwood Books 2004 0 88899 559 8 (anthology of poems and rhymes. having contemplated Ange Zhang’s white silhouettes accompanying a traditional Chinese rhyme. and the choice is often a poem. all ages)
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. and after that the gorgeous flow of Noemi Villamuza’s field of green holding up a contented baby in a hat. This postcard has become a letter. Others are rambunctious and fun like Indian Pulak Biswas’s choice of ‘Rhinoceros’. Brazilian Angela Lago’s choice of two short riddles. and it’s almost a shock. Isol (Argentina). CT: Greenwood Press Kauffman.net/echewa_stories. not only for children but for adults too. M (1985) ‘Afrocentricity and Culture’ in African Culture: The Rhythm of Unity (M Asante and K Asante eds).html (accessed 2 March 2005) Ngugi.org (accessed 3 November 2003) Sindima. rhyme.rambles. Many are in the original language. John Contch-Morgan and Jane Bryce eds) pp 67–73 New Jersey:Africa World Press Asante.org (accessed 13 November.
nor are they to know whether the author has had
by HELEN T FRANK
Helen Frank is an honorary research fellow in the Department of French.Australian Titles in French
Translating the Animal Kingdom
When books are translated. Previous studies have identified specific ‘universal’ features of translation as explicitation. in order to highlight patterns of explicitation. and the occurrence of animals2 in titles of children’s books is sufficiently common to allow analysis of specific stylistic patterns in their original and translated forms. There are clear limitations inherent in focusing predominantly on the linguistic and stylistic aspects of titles. and to determine the influence of the original title on the construction of the translated title. Italian and Spanish at the University of Melbourne. The titles derive from a defined corpus of 20th-century Australian works for children in French translation (Frank 2003). Toury 1995. It analyses all references to animals in the titles of 20th-century Australian children’s fiction books (for ages 8+. Kenny 1998). This paper focuses on the translation of titles from (Australian) English to French. their titles sometimes change. translators1 negotiate and manipulate the text to expand and explain the message. Kenny also emphasises that translators tend to follow a policy of ‘sanitisation’ in cases where material is considered unsuitable or unedifying for child readers. Helen Frank considers how Australian book titles featuring animals have been treated when the books are translated into French
hen translating for the specific audience of child readers in another culture. avoidance of repetition and grammatical standardisation (Even-Zohar 1990. Studies by Kenny show that translations are manipulated so that they reflect what is routine or habit in the target language.
Animals are sufficiently common in titles of children’s books to allow analysis of specific stylistic patterns in their original and translated forms
Books about animals are a commercially successful genre. simplification. Toury insists that the drive for acceptance in the target culture influences the decisions made by translators who play an important social and cultural role. picturebooks excluded) that have been translated into French. simplification and generic prioritisation. a process both expected and easily tolerated in children’s literature. She is also a secondary teacher and librarian
. but the fact is that readers (and critics) are not privy to the reason for the choice of a particular title or translation.
Such improvement when translating for child readers certainly raises ethi26 / BOOKBIRD
Why are titles changed by translators?
This study makes three observations on changes of titles of Australian children’s books in French translation. AUS).TRANSLATING THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
some say in the choice of the translated title. In cases where the original title is considered too difficult or ‘foreign’. le petit éléphant becomes The Story of Babar the Little Elephant. AUS). It appears that it is a common and longstanding
. Moreover. Similar examples are Thomas the Tank Engine who becomes Thomas la locomotive and Bob the Builder who becomes Bob le bricoleur. then the drive for explicitation has been satisfied and the transferred title retains the animal: Dingo: The Story of an Outlaw (1945. US). Seashores and Shadows (1985. the animal is not named in the original. US) becomes The Bird Smugglers (1979. US). which is literally translated in French as Un ours nommé Paddington. US. Translators thus take into consideration the age of the intended audience and the appropriateness of the level of readability of the original text in relation to this new audience. the translator will resort to forms of explicitation to help the reader. let’s look first at the phenomenon of variant titles within English-speaking cultures. because the criterion of explicitness has already been satisfied: we know that Paddington is a bear. Golden Dog of the Australian Bush (1953. UK) becomes Ajax. The story published as Big Red (1953) in the Australian edition and Kangaroo (1953) in the American edition serves as a typical example of the use of explicitation when books move into other cultures. be established to account for the incidence of Australian-to-French title change from studying the titles themselves. The consistency of the pattern of title transfer in these examples strongly suggests that translators are intent on signalling the genre of each work to readers. 1957. this feature of the transfer process is not unique to foreign language translation.Arguing that the values of texts are changed when transferred in place and time. UK) and Shadow Shark (1988. AUS) becomes Sharks in the Shadows (1988. If the translator considers the
Translators seem to wish to render the text as transparent as possible for child readers in another culture
title appropriate and understandable to readers. In these examples. Some general principles can. The first is that translators seem to wish to render the text as transparent as possible for child readers in another culture. Where an animal is present in the original title.
Variant English titles
Before we consider the issue of title change in translation. Ajax the Warrior (1953.A good example is the immensely popular A Bear Called Paddington. then it is likely that the title will not be changed and will be translated literally. but we can expect translators to show varying degrees of textual elaboration and explicitation consistent with the level of sophistication of the target audience. Pym (1992) proposes that ‘improvement’ of the transferred text should become a guiding force in the process of translation. The same thing happens the other way around: Histoire de Babar.
cal questions about the degree of manipulation and adaptation of the source text. The same pattern occurs when Fly into Danger (1977. none the less. UK) becomes White Ears the Outlaw: The Story of a Dingo (1949. but the subsequent editions for English-speaking audiences in other cultures do include the animal.
In target cultures where genres featuring animals are successful. cultural preferences expectations of readers may be accommodated in changes of title to reflect animal stories (to boost the genre in the national holdings) or to reflect a preferred genre (to assure continuing success). the ‘strangeness’ of the source text is marked explicPublishers can either itly in references to the Australian landscape.
Australian titles in French translation
Table 1 (see page 29) shows Australian titles that conform to the first pattern (see panel overleaf). publishers can either highlight Australian specificity or downplay this specificity consistent with the type and degree of ‘otherness’ that has proved successful in translation. This means that French title translations may reflect choices that conform to the linguistic norms of the relevant genre in French children’s literature.There are four titles that mention kangaroos. wallabies. Black Beauty = Prince Noir. platypuses. Tasmanian devils. And in the third place. a dingo and a wild horse. If the genre of animal stories is be designed to low in national production and other genres are accommodate the generic more prevalent or successful. highlight or downplay history and people.The wording of titles by Australian publishers may seek to avoid cultural specificity in order to maximise the appeal to a variety of readers
No. translators seem to add the species in order to explain to child readers the exact nature of the animal protagonist. souvenirs d’un cheval [Black Prince.Australianness is not expected to ‘translate’ to titles. and The Yearling = Jody et le faon [Jody and the fawn]. or consist of a proper name only. the faithful dog]. crocodiles. For the translator. there is very little emphasis on Australia in the original titles. emus and kookaburras in these titles: in other words. but there are no koalas. 3 – 2005 / 27
. Secondly. memories of a horse]. changes in titles also seem to be designed to accommodate the generic expectations of readers in the target culture. chien fidèle [Lassie. In the case of original titles that do not designate the animal. Conscious of the need to maximise local sales. wombats. the Changes in titles seem to incidence of titles highlighting animals can be expected to be high.Where specificity is considered a liability. climate.TRANSLATING THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
stylistic convention in children’s titles (whether about animals or not) to tell the reader the name and nature of the protagonist. Such explicitation is obvious in the translation of Lassie Come Home = Lassie. French publishers have the option to highlight Australian specificity ‘upfront’ in translated titles if they think French readers are interested in far-away and ‘exotic’ settings.
There is a tendency for the same animals to be named in the French titles. The question remains as to the level of interest by French publishers in following the same patterns. except in the case of the four titles (at the bottom of the table) that represent ‘free’ translations. The suppression of ‘tiger’ avoids ambiguity as to the nature of the animal. Australian specificity is suppressed in Broome Dog = La longue marche de Cooky [Cooky’s long walk]. where the specific location and generic species are replaced by terms referring to an event and to a proper name highly suggestive of an animal (‘Cooky’). where the translation shifts the emphasis from the animal and place to a different and ‘secret’ location. as the story concerns a Tasmanian tiger and not the implied African tiger.TRANSLATING THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Animal names follow three patterns in titles of children’s books in English and French. the Witch and the Wardrobe Clive Eats Alligators The Curse of the Turtle Le lion = The Lion3 Le renard dans l’île = The Fox in the Island Pattern 2: Animals with proper name only – not possible to infer species from title Lassie Come Home Black Beauty Blinky Bill Snoopy Crin-Blanc = The Wild White Stallion Pattern 3: Proper name (or adjective) plus species name The Tale of Peter Rabbit A Bear Called Paddington Skippy the Bush Kangaroo The Muddle-headed Wombat Old Bear Harry the Dirty Dog A Budgie Called Fred KPO la panthère = KPO the Leopard Sama. where the translated titles are substantially different from the original and omit the species. thus reinforcing the genre of adventure. as the following examples show: Pattern 1: Generic name of animal The Lion. or may reflect a preference for ‘literariness’. and in Tiger in the Bush = Le vallon secret [The secret vale]. where an emphasis on the metaphorical or poetic overrides issues relating to cultural specificity.
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. prince des éléphants = Sama L’âne Culotte = Culotte the Donkey
in different cultures.
M Paulsen. C Thiele. M Jennings. C
Animal story Animal story Humour Fantasy Mystery/suspense Realistic Realistic Animal story Mystery/suspense Animal story Fantasy Animal story Adventure
Boomer:The Life of a Kangaroo Warrigal:The Story of a Wild Horse Battering Rams Ned Kelly and the City of the Bees The Giant Spiders The 89th Kitten Graffiti Dog The Proud Eagles The Stray Cat Dot and the Kangaroo Pigs Might Fly Magpie Island Shadow Shark
Joë sous les eucalyptes Warrigal. E Thiele. 3 – 2005 / 29
.TRANSLATING THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Table 1. E Nilsson. D Lamond.Titles and genres of Australian children’s fiction featuring animals
Author/s Genre English title French title
Clark. S Pedley. E Patchett. H Small. J Gleitzman. D Downie. E Rodda. P Keneally. M
Adventure Animal story Animal story Adventure
Tiger in the Bush Black Lightning:The Story of a Leopard Dingo: The story of an Outlaw Broome Dog
Le vallon secret Silky.T Measday. S Nilsson. N Clark. cheval sauvage La guerre des moutons La cité des abeilles Les araignées géantes Le 89e chaton Le chien graffiti L’enfant et les aigles Le chat errant Nine et le kangourou Cochon vole! Pie l’oiseau solitaire Le requin fantôme
Chauncy. roi de la jungle Histoire d’un hors-la-loi La longue marche de Cooky
This category includes titles which employ personal names and attributes to refer to animals that feature prominently in the stories. The adherence by French translators to the literal translation of the animal in the majority of the titles (13 out of 17) strongly suggests that the French title translators are wording of the original title is paramount to translanot primarily interested tors as a guide to the construction of French titles.The translation does not name the species but employs a name highly suggestive of an animal (‘Silky’). The seventeen titles in Table 1 represent six genres. In this regard.TRANSLATING THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
In the title Boomer: The Life of a Kangaroo = Joë sous les eucalyptes4 [Joey under the eucalypts]. the subtitle clearly explains the nature of the reference. particularly when combined with the added references to status (‘roi’) and ‘exotic’ location (‘la jungle’). While the main title cleverly alludes to the animal’s speed in the use of ‘lightning’. The second pattern of title (see panel. This title clearly illustrates that a change in title does not necessarily reflect a change in genre. colloquial expressions and ‘free’ titles that suggest very little of a book’s content are included. Black Lightning:The Story of a Leopard = Silky. but are following the pattern of the original work. seven translated titles explicitly name the species where not mentioned in the original and the remaining
30 / BOOKBIRD
. as is the case with the title devoid of Australian referents. we would expect the translated titles to be worded more freely. even though the stories feature animals as central characters or use them to pursue environmental themes. king of the jungle]. The first section of Table 2 shows French translations for ten Australian titles that consist of forms of proper names. The additional reference to eucalypts also serves to situate the story in Australia. French title translators are not primarily in reflecting the genre of interested in reflecting the genre of each work. a proper name ‘Joë’ is derived from the French term for a young kangaroo ‘un joey’ and replaces the Australian colloquial term for a kangaroo (‘Boomer’). p 28) consists of wording in the original that contains no explicit reference to animals. The level of reading sophistication of children determines how well they can grasp allusive and metaphorical titles. roi de la jungle [Silky. but here the English subtitle has rendered the allusion explicit in any case for the child reader. The second section shows French translations for four colloquial and ‘free’ titles Significant patterns can that do not contain the proper name or the species of be seen in the choice of animal in English.Were they following the pattern of interested in signalling the genre to readers more the original work succinctly so that there is no doubt as to the classification. but are each work. For these 14 original titles without translated titles animals in Table 2. The translation makes sense but lacks the explicitation of the original. In addition.
M Patchett. For potential readers of these Australian books there are no clues as to the nature of the Mongolian. N Genre Animal story Humour Historical Animal story Fantasy Animal story Animal story Animal story Animal story Fantasy English title The Marvellous Mongolian The Slobberers River Murray Mary Big Red The Magic Pudding Ajax the Warrior Tam the Untamed Wild Brother Storm Boy Blinky Bill. N Patchett. M Thiele. J Wheatley. and familiar expressions such as ‘croaked’ (with reference to frogs or dying) and ‘five times dizzy’ have more than one meaning and may not necesNo. C Wall. C Lamond. P and Gleitzman.TRANSLATING THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Table 2. M Phipson. the Quaint Little Australian Croaked In a Wilderness Fly into Danger Five Times Dizzy French title Le merveilleux cheval mongol L’attaque des vers géants Mary. 3 – 2005 / 31
. la rivière et le serpent Grand-roux. M Patchett. J Jennings. P and Gleitzman. M Patchett. seigneur de la brousse Les aventures de Magic Pudding Ajax le guerrier Tam l’indompté Frère sauvage On l’appelait Tempête Blinky Bill le koala
Humour Animal story Adventure Family
La grenouille tueuse Mirri chien sauvage Un vol mouvementé Une chèvre pour Yaya
seven French titles do not name animals at all.An equal divide in the incidence of naming and not naming animals in French glosses the fact that significant patterns can be seen in the choice of translated titles. the Slobberers and Blinky Bill. D Jennings. H Lindsay. Original and translated titles and genres with generic animals in bold italics
Author/s Aldridge. M Thiele.
the French titles retain the names in their original form or in a French version: Mary. unexpectedly. the translated titles do. This strongly suggests that publishers of original and translated works consider proper names an important component of titles for children.‘croaked’ refers to frogs and ‘five times dizzy’ to a goat. French titles show significant reliance on the original titles. Magic Pudding.‘a wilderness’ is displaced in favour of a wild dog. do not mention animals and are literal or near-literal translations. 6 Tam. and where the original titles contain proper names. Ajax. rather the translations show reliance on the original title. such as Mirri and Yaya.TRANSLATING THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
sarily have an equivalent in French. particularly where colloquial expressions and vague references are concerned. and where the English titles have chosen to emphasise the person central to the story rather than the animals that also feature. except in some cases where source-culture specificity is concerned. French titles for these works explicitly name the animals featuring in the story.
Analysis of the titles studied confirms that French titles consistently show reliance on the original titles and retain the names of animals. Where the Australian titles do not tell readers whether these names and expressions refer to people. but the presence of proper names can take precedence over French titles consistently the naming of animals and result in literal or nearliteral translated titles. and the onomatopoeic and stylistically difficult River Murray Mary becomes a simplified listing of Mary.Tempête (Storm Boy). ‘Free’ translations show show reliance on the considerable variety in either being more explicit original titles than the original titles in their use of proper names
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. there is no evidence of intention to be explicit in naming the generic animal.5 Apart from one near-literal translation that adds information to clarify the colloquial Australian term for a large kangaroo (‘big red’) and to connote rural Australia (‘la brousse’ [the outback]). The French titles also occasionally add the proper names of people and animals. French titles not only highlight animals absent from the source title but also leave no doubt as to the nature of the referent: the Mongolian is a Mongolian horse. On the other hand. An interest in naming animals means that French titles also invariably highlight animals explicitly where not present in the original. animals or things. the Slobberers are giant worms. Blinky Bill. In stories featuring both humans and animals. Blinky Bill is a koala. river and snake. the remaining seven translated titles in Table 2.
Golden Dog of the Australian Bush (1953) New York:The Bobbs-Merrill Co / Ajax le guerrier (1958) Paris: Robert Laffont Patchett. 3 – 2005 / 33
. NSW:Walter McVitty Books / La longue marche de Cooky (1993) Paris: Castor Poche Flammarion Thiele. P (1997) Wicked! Part 2 Battering Rams Ringwood. J (1977) Fly into Danger New York: Atheneum / The Bird Smugglers (1979) Sydney: Scholastic Book Services / Un vol mouvementé (1982) Paris: Castor Poche Flammarion Rodda. D (1954) Boomer. the Life of a Kangaroo London: Hutchinson / Joë sous les eucalyptes (1958) Paris: Fernand Nathan Downie.TRANSLATING THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Children’s books: Australian corpus with French translations & other titles
Aldridge. N (1918) The Magic Pudding: Being the Adventures of Bunyip Bluegum and His Friends Bill Barnacle and Sam Sawnoff / Les aventures de Magic Pudding (1993) Paris:Anatolia Measday. seigneur de la brousse (1954) Paris: Les Presses de la Cité Lindsay. S (1996) The Stray Cat Port Melbourne.Vic: Lothian / Les araignées géantes (1998) Paris: Hachette Nilsson. D (1951) Black Lightning:The Story of a Leopard London: Hutchinson / Silky. M and Jennings. E (1986) Pigs Might Fly Sydney:Angus & Robertson / Cochon vole! (1988) Toulouse: Milan Small. J (1974) The Marvellous Mongolian London: Oxford University Press / Le merveilleux cheval mongol (1977) Paris: Hachette/Stock Chauncy. SA: Omnibus / Le chien graffiti (1998) Paris: Hachette Patchett. C (1963) Storm Boy Adelaide: Rigby / On l’appelait Tempête (1979) Paris: Castor Poche Flammarion Thiele. M (1960) The Proud Eagles London:World Publishing / L’enfant et les aigles (1966) Paris: Calmann-Lévy Patchett. M (1962) In a Wilderness London: Hodder & Stoughton / Mirri chien sauvage (1965) Paris: Calmann-Lévy Paulsen. C (1979) River Murray Mary Adelaide: Rigby / Mary. M (1989) Broome Dog Glebe. E (1987) The 89th Kitten Norwood.Vic: Lothian / Le chat errant (1998) Paris: Hachette Pedley.Vic: Penguin / Dément! 3 La grenouille tueuse (2000) Paris: Gallimard jeunesse Keneally. M (1997) Wicked! Part 3 Croaked Ringwood. M (1954) Wild Brother London: Collins / Frère sauvage (1955) Paris: Robert Laffont Patchett. cheval sauvage (1951) Paris: Bourrelier Gleitzman.Vic: Penguin / Dément! 1 L’attaque des vers géants (1999) Paris: Gallimard jeunesse Jennings. la rivière et le serpent (1985) Paris: Castor Poche Flammarion Thiele. roi de la jungle (1958) Paris: Fernand Nathan Clark. S (1996) The Giant Spiders Port Melbourne. E (1899) Dot and the Kangaroo London: Thomas Burleigh / Nine et le kangourou (1956) Paris: Editions de l’Amitié – GT Rageot Phipson.T (1978) Ned Kelly and the City of the Bees London: Jonathan Cape / La cité des abeilles (1981) Paris: Castor Poche Flammarion Lamond. D (1933) Blinky Bill. M (1953) Ajax the Warrior London: Lutterworth Press / Ajax. M (1954) Tam the Untamed London: Lutterworth Press / Tam l’indompté (1958) Paris: Robert Laffont Patchett. P and Gleitzman. C (1985) Seashores and Shadow Glebe. E (1995) Graffiti Dog Norwood. H (1945) Dingo:The Story of an Outlaw New York:William Morrow / White Ears the Outlaw:The Story of a Dingo (1949) Sydney:Angus and Robertson / Dingo:The Story of an Outlaw (1957) London: Faber / Histoire d’un hors-la-loi (1958) Paris: Les Presses de la Cité Lamond. H (1953) Big Red London: Faber / Kangaroo (1953) New York:The John Day Company / Grand-roux. J (1935) Warrigal:The Story of a Wild Horse London: Hutchinson / Warrigal. SA: Omnibus / Le 89e chaton (1990) Toulouse: Milan Nilsson. M (1997) Wicked! Part 1 The Slobberers Ringwood.Vic: Penguin / Dément! 2 La guerre des moutons (2000) Paris: Gallimard jeunesse Jennings. C (1974) Magpie Island Adelaide: Rigby / Pie l’oiseau solitaire (1983) Paris: Castor Poche Flammarion Thiele. P and Gleitzman. N (1982) Five Times Dizzy Melbourne: Oxford University Press / Une chèvre pour Yaya (1990) Paris: Castor Poche Flammarion
No. NSW: Walter McVitty Books / Shadow Shark (1988) New York: Harper & Row / Sharks in the Shadows (1988) London: Dent / Le requin fantôme (1993) Paris: Castor Poche Flammarion Wall. the Quaint Little Australian Sydney:Angus & Robertson / Blinky Bill le koala (1994) Paris:Anatolia Wheatley. N (1957) Tiger in the Bush London: Oxford University Press / Le vallon secret (1961) Paris: Éditions de l’Amitié – G-T Rageot Clark.
G (1995) Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond Amsterdam: John Benjamins
1 The use of the term ‘translator’ in this paper implies all agents involved in the publishing trade (Toury 1995). The fact that ‘Ned Kelly’ does not refer to the well-known Australian bushranger may explain its deletion from the French title. the term ‘animal’ includes all non-human species and anthropomorphised creatures.Warrigal. or in being less explicit and avoiding the use of proper names and generic animals.
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. 5 Near-literal translations are defined here as titles that retain one or more keywords from the original title with the addition of wording that does not affect the meaning or generic classification of the work. 3 The published translations are indicated in italics with the equals symbol. unpub). This dual situation suggests that title changes are not necessarily designed to accommodate the generic expectations of the target culture. editors. the two titles about a koala (The Magic Pudding and Blinky Bill) – the other exotic animal marketed in tourist literature about Australia – were only translated into French and three other European languages in the 1990s. 4: 1-8 Pym. we would expect to see common patterns across languages and topics. Further studies of the patterning effect of titles in translations into other languages will establish whether patterns observed in French title translations of Australian children’s fiction are replicated.1: 73–8 Frank. French title translations reflect strategies that downplay local specificity in preference to marketing Australian titles as works belonging to a genre rather than to a place. 2 For the purposes of this study. such as publishers. and hence emphasis on.TRANSLATING THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
and nouns that reflect the designated classification of the book. D (1998) ‘Creatures of habit?: What translators usually do with words’ Meta XLIII.There is very little presence of. Ned Kelly and Dingo.
Pragmatic and conservative choices by translators who are focused on their child readers
Many of the translational changes we have seen – explicitation. Department of French and Italian Studies. Catering to generic expectations is. Only two title translations do not follow the pattern. however. Dot/Nine. euphemism. Keywords are defined here as nouns and proper names of people.This would suggest that publishers consider ‘foreignness’ to be a liability in terms of sales. evident in the translation into French of referents of Australia. A (1992) Translation and Text Transfer: An Essay on the Principles of Intercultural Communication Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Toury. despite the fact that they were originally published in 1918 and 1933. Given the influence of manipulation in translation for reasons of adaptation to the target community.
References Even-Zohar. In contrast. HT (2003) ‘Pre-empting the text: French translations of twentieth century Australian children’s fiction’ (PhD thesis. 6 The same pattern is evident concerning proper names in titles in Table 1: Boomer/Joë. although the incidence of ‘universals’ may differ in number and degree depending on the languages and cultures involved. literary agents and artists. translators. places and creatures. literal translations of titles – as opposed to the published translations – are indicated in roman font in square brackets. Contrary to the expectation that publishers would change titles to highlight Australianness. 4 The ‘first published’ translations into French of two early Australian works featuring kangaroos (Boomer and Dot and the Kangaroo) possibly indicate an early interest in Australian exotic fauna. modification and simplification – are pragmatic and conservative choices by translators who are focused on their child readers. I (1990) ‘Translation and transfer’ Poetics Today 11. Black Lightning/Silky. University of Melbourne Kenny. Australia in the original and translated titles. given its ‘misleading’ nature.
after a few missteps hilariously rendered in colourful cartoon-style drawings. standing up takes practice. But I really like standing up! Just like Manneke Pis. published in 2000 in Afrikaans. In a nightmare. In the new book.This is a sequel to ‘B abalela’. and su bsequently translated into English. deep in a da a conservation story w rk forest] ithin an entertainmen t for young readers and lis teners. the Babalela is awakened by his frien ds who envy him his previous trip to the ci ty. No one is perfect (or perfectly dry) at first. By an inge ni ou s method. ction 5–8) Anna Louw
An offering in English from Kane/Miller. Included are a photograph and note on the inspiration for this picturebook. Glenna Sloan
MARIE-ANNE GILLET AND ISABELLE GILBOUX
STANDING UP = IK PLAS ALS EEN GROTE JONGEN
La Jolla. diep in ’n don themselves. But eventually. success is achieved. Like everything in life. Delightful and often funny illustrations show how one little boy practises the art of standing up. he gets the va rious creatures to free Diep. ‘Sitting on my potty like my big sister was fine. His friends go off to the ci ty together. 3 – 2005 / 35
. Manneke Pis. The endearing Pretoria: LAPA illustrations have dist 2004 48pp inct appeal for the in IS tended BN 0799331821 (fi audience. the auth or tells [Deep. STANDING UP has sure appeal for boy toddlers worldwide. As in the ker bos earlier book. Ca: Kane/Miller 2005. None of them has experienced the world outside the forest. Just like Daddy. He finds th (Erica and Andries e Maritz illus) crates in an airport w arehouse. only to be caught by humans and pack ed up in crates. the B Marthie Preller abalela sees their plig ht and flies off to search for them. whose slogan is ‘open-minded books opening young minds to the world’.’ declares the young hero. Brussels: Uitgeverij Clavis 2004 32pp ISBN (US edn) 1929132719 (picturebook 2–5)
No. the famous bronze statue near the Grand Place in Brussels.
each of them at least the size of the first edition. various critical approaches to children’s literature are presented. Børnelitteraturen og det romantiske barn [The essential child: children’s literature and the Romantic child] (2005)
.There is also more text on each page. and this second version is not only more appealing in its dark red binding with the title in silvery letters. it is of course an impossible task to make a relatively short and yet comprehensive review of this massive work: the two volumes comprise 112 articles by 116 authors. This review takes a Danish and Scandinavian point of view. all in all more than 1300 closely printed pages on a wide variety of subjects. the binding is important. and the new edition is also in five parts. the immediately obvious difference is the size: one thick volume has become two. In the first part. Danish University of Education.The structure of the first edition is preserved. and will touch upon the question of the implied audience of the book and on internationalism versus a Western/Anglo-Saxon point of view in relation to children’s literature studies.
The two volumes comprise 112 articles by 116 authors in more than 1300 pages on a wide variety of subjects
Eight years have passed since the first edition was published and if one compares the two editions. and author of Barnesjælen. and I must say I think the actual print of the first edition was better. London: Routledge.Good Company
Impressive new edition of International Companion Encyclopaedia of Children’s Literature
Nina Christensen’s article on Peter Hunt’s revised edition of International Companion Encyclopaedia of Children’s Literature is a Scandinavian take on this important English-language work
Hunt. Concerning the content of the volumes. 2004 0 415 29053
n the preface to the new.Vols. ‘This is an English-language work. Since this is an encyclopaedia. apparently in order to meet the criticism that the first edition was Anglocentric. extended and revised edition of International Companion Encyclopaedia of Children’s Literature. the editor Peter Hunt states. 2nd Edition. 1 & 2. primarily written by scholars working in English for a predominantly English-speaking audience’ (p xix). Peter (ed) International Companion Encyclopaedia of Children’s Literature. but it also seems to be more substantial. and there are new
by NINA CHRISTENSEN
Nina Christensen is acting director of the Centre for Children’s Literature.
for instance in an article on ‘Contemporary comics’ by Katia Pizzi. David Buckingham writes about television. and one on ‘Popular literature: comics. the demand on practitioners to reflect on what they are doing when they work with children’s literature is increasing. religious children’s literature and folklore have got a bigger place in this edition. but investigations which can support such a development are scarce so far. The latter is a central discussion in the field. perhaps because it relied rather heavily on quotations. Karín Lesnik-Oberstein’s article ‘Defining Children’s Literature and Childhood’. seen from the perspective of a
New articles by David Rudd. and also here the field seems to have expanded: for instance. dime
New articles on applications reflect a tendency to meta-consciousness
small. but it is also good to reread some of the articles that have remained unchanged since the first edition. This case demonstrates that. it is both an advantage and a necessity to get access to the knowledge of researchers from countries with a stronger and broader tradition.This part shows a broad perspective on what children’s literature studies includes. but I think it is a pity that there is not an article in this part that draws on and continues Lesnik-Oberstein’s work – for instance discussing the relationship between social constructivism and children’s literature studies and between childhood studies and children’s literature studies. and one by Emer O’Sullivan on comparative children’s literature.
novels. non-English-speaking country with a limited tradition of research on children’s literature. Children’s own production of text gets a place too.
A broader perspective on what the field includes is seen in the coverage of new media
In the ‘Applications’ part. their discussions of
No. I find the articles in this part highly useful and stimulating to read – not only is it inspiring to read the new material. At least from a Danish point of view. Though articles in this part mainly reflect a British or American reality. and. I would like to think that the development of this part reflects the fact that children’s literature studies is moving away from the normative perspective on genre of earlier ages. though it does pop up in various articles. perhaps under the influence of cultural studies. Maria Nikolajeva and Emer O’Sullivan
The second part in the new edition is still ‘Form and genres’.A broader perspective on what the field includes is also to be seen in the much expanded inclusion of new media in the second volume of the encyclopaedia. for example one by David Rudd on children’s literature studies from a cultural studies perspective. one by Maria Nikolajeva who introduces narrative theory. and the Anglo-Saxon perspective has been toned down by the exclusion of articles on publishing in Britain and the USA.GOOD COMPANY
articles. pulps and Penny Dreadfuls’ by Denis Giffords. 3 – 2005 / 37
. I would have enjoyed an article theorising solely on this matter. for example Perry Nodelman’s ‘Picture book and illustration’. almost all the articles are new – perhaps reflecting a tendency on the part of those who work with children’s literature towards a higher degree of meta-consciousness. has been omitted. for instance through a well-written and interesting article on ‘Children’s rhymes and folklore: contemporary and comparative approaches’ by Andy Arleo. Ian Wojcik-Andrews on film.
It is ironic that the alphabetical order adopted moves the United Kingdom and the USA to the absolute end of the book. where the descriptions of British. one on South East Europe and Slovenia written by Milena Mileva Blazic. which to my knowledge have not been described to this degree before in an international context. an article on children’s literature of the Baltic countries. One could ask: what has happened in children’s literature studies which has made it necessary not just to reprint the first edition. and one on Iran’s children’s literature by Morteza Khosronejad. but to revise it fully? Peter Hunt gives one of the explanations in the preface: ‘A central difficulty of a book like this. this is an encyclopaedia stronger and longer which one would use as starting point when trying tradition of children’s to find some ways into a new area. and it cannot be denied – as Hunt’s initial statement shows he realises – that this is the world as seen from a Western perspective. which has been pointed out by the (generally helpful) reviewers and users of the first edition. and in continuation of this he poses the question whether the book is ‘Anglocentric. a perspective that makes one more aware of international differences within the field. due to the limited space. rather than truly “International’” (p xix). However. Finally. the fifth part deals with national and international perspectives on children’s literature through articles on various National and international aspects of translation and not least articles on the literatures of a great part of the world. which is literature and translation both more practical and also shows a change from the implied hierarchical order of the first edition.GOOD COMPANY
questions concerning applications of children’s literature broaden the perspective and suggest new possibilities. and it includes literature studies articles on countries. Scottish.The articles also make it evident that some countries have a stronger and longer tradition of studies and writing about children’s literature. But one gets access to quite a big part of the world through these articles. is the word “international” in the title’ (p xviii). even though an attempt to characterise the history and the actual situation of children’s literature in a certain area Some countries have a must be extremely selective and general. And one article on Africa and one for Mexico and Central America does not seem like a strong representation.Welsh and Irish children’s literature were high up on the list. written by Kestutis Urba. for instance. Of course not all countries in the world are represented. In this edition perspectives on children’s the countries are ordered alphabetically. Changes on the world map are to a certain extent reflected in the inclusion of. The first edition was criticised for using primarily English-based
38 / BOOKBIRD
genres and applications are mainly written by Anglophone critics.GOOD COMPANY
examples and focusing on Western schools of thought. The work Peter Hunt has done editing the enormous amount of text is simply impressive. one could also say. This is. would register such formative influences as religion on its development. Indeed Hunt seems to me to be too modest in his initial suggestion that the encyclopaedia is Anglocentric. though it is written in English and therefore of course limits its audience to the public able to read this language. the universal child and the world of children’s literature’. And though the articles on theory. diminished by the cost of the book. since this is a book I think most scholars of children’s literature would benefit from having as a companion on a daily basis. on being included in the implied audience of the book! I have found it very useful in preparing a master’s course in textual analysis and theory of children’s literature. O’Sullivan both questions and discusses the idea of children’s
literature as an international field. The result is informative.Though I understand why it must be so. an idea she traces back to Paul Hazard. All in all: to me it has been stimulating and uplifting to see the heterogeneity of children’s literature studies reflected in this book. Hunt points out in the preface that there is no neutral place to stand in the world of children’s literature. the ‘National and international’ part includes scholars representing an impressive variety of languages. Instead of the idea of an ‘apparent sameness’ of children’s literature worldwide.
No.This usefulness is. and he chooses a pragmatic solution.and Russian-speaking scholars on the editorial board. but as mentioned. one notes an explicit intent to broaden the perspective. where she notes that ‘for Anglophone scholars. thought-provoking and awe-inspiring. she suggests a comparative perspective on the history of children’s literature. and would reveal how the unique histories of postcolonial children’s literature differ from the postulated “standard” model based on northern European countries’ (p 16). and also think that my students will benefit from it. Though I must say that I still find it irritating in many cases to be confronted with a British/American canon of books. it is indeed a pity – also from an international perspective. one welcomes a greater consciousness among ‘primarily English-speaking’ scholars towards the literatures and scholarship of other countries and languages. Kimberley Reynolds’s article on ‘Children’s literature organisations: an international overview’ discusses and describes how the field can develop on an international level. access to the work being done in non-English-speaking countries is still limited’ (p 149). I do think that this encyclopaedia presents a very international perspective. one has to say. and I insist. that in saying this he does not do the encyclopaedia justice. Spanish. context. economic. and Emer O’Sullivan traces the history of the idea of internationalism in a very interesting article on ‘Internationalism. political and cultural conditions which have to prevail for a children’s literature to become established in the first place. for instance. but shows that she herself has knowledge of research going on for instance in Scandinavia. most of which I have not read. It is expensive and my guess is that customers will primarily be libraries. to be seen in the revised article on feminism by Lisa Paul. as a non-native English speaker. As a non-English native speaker. and though I wish that translated works were more often used as examples. Though I understand his reservations. and will hopefully lead to endless discussions within the field – also on the topic of internationalism. 3 – 2005 / 39
. which would ‘examine the social. for instance by including German-. which is to state that indeed his implied reader is the Englishspeaking part of children’s literature studies.
chief librarian of th e Central Library in Basra. constructed on historical. Glenna Sloan
New York: Alfred A Kn opf 2004 30pp ISBN 0375832173 (g raphic novel. Alia enlis ted the aid of friends and neighbours who. beginning a thousand years ago. Winter tells of Alia’s resolve and resourcefulness in tra ditional picturebook format. The book tells its story to the children through hints and clues. The story. with each page a satis fying blend of succinct text and styli sed paintings render ed in vivid acrylic and pen. ends in the present. Secret codes abound in this story. the librarian feared for th e safety of the precious books. As war in 2003 drew closer to Basra. equally appealing form ats are dramatic acco unts of how Alia Muhammed Bake r. The adventure takes the children to Allianoi. won first place in 2003 in the early teen category of a Tudem Publishing Company award.000 vo lumes to safety in the war-stri cken country. at th e risk of their lives. Both do justice to this insp irational true story of a real-life su perhero. all ages )
MARK A STAMATY ALIA’S MISSION: SA VING THE BOOKS OF
JEANETTE WINTER THE LIBRARIAN OF BASRA: A TRUE ST ORY FROM IRAQ
New York: Harcourt. an ancient city near Izmir (Smyrna). Nilay Yilmaz
Mavisel Yener (Asuman Portakal illus)
MAVI ZAMANLAR [BLUE TIMES]
Izmir: Tudem Yayonlaro 2003 198pp ISBN 9756451483 (fiction 12+)
40 / BOOKBIRD
. archaeological and mythological themes with fantastic features. all ages )
BLUE TIMES is an adventure story in which children try to unravel the mystery of an old red-covered book which they purchased at a bookstore. including on ancient pottery. re scued and hid 70 per cent of the lib rary’s collection. 2005 28pp ISBN 0152054456 (picturebook. smuggled 30. Determined to preserve the histor y and culture of her people. Cartoonist Stamaty br ings to Alia’s remark able story immediacy and dramat ic action through narra tio n and dialogue in a series of graphic-novel pane ls. This novel. Ira q. Nine days later the library burned to the ground.A true story from Ira q inspired these book s. with clues found in many places. The children must search for a crystal with power to change the magnetic movements of the earth. In different. Plea s to government offic ials were ignored. built in the second century BC and now threatened with submersion in water.
president of the Dutch section of IBBY and an IBBY EC member
. regardless of the number of readers. which is the first official language of The Netherlands. This holds good for all literature.000 inhabitants of the province of Friesland. poetry. About twenty children’s books are published in Frisian annually.Important Issues for a Small Literature
Friesland: Awards and Quality
It is a well-known fact: awards have the effect of stimulating the quality of children’s literature. One of the autochthonous languages of Europe.The Frisian language is centuries old and differs considerably from Dutch. In this article I will present the example of a literature written in a lesser-used language. songs and
by JANT VAN DER WEG
Jant van der Weg is president of the Stichting It Fryske Berneboek (Foundation for the Frisian Children’s Book). Frisian is the mother tongue of about 400. in the north of The Netherlands. This consideration of an award for children’s literature in a lesser-used language exemplifies how awards can help to raise standards
t is a well-known fact: awards have the effect of stimulating the quality of children’s literature. including prose.
the provincial government had started the process of restructuring the series of awards for Frisian literature. It was in the springtime of 1982 that a delegation of a private committee of children’s book promoters. which have been published as the beautifully designed Twiljochtteltsjes [Twilight tales] (1928). which is preserved and furnished as it was during her lifetime. there is an annual prize awarded by the target three years group itself.FRIESLAND: AWARDS AND QUALITY
rhymes. and suggested to the trustees of the Simke Kloosterman-lien that they should establish an award
42 / BOOKBIRD
. She also created some fairy tales for children. and her family novel.
Simke Kloosterman Award
The Simke Kloosterman House is situated in the Frisian village of Twizel. was the first major Frisian novel. so she didn’t need to work for her living. the foundation made grants to university students. since students were by then supported by the government. At that time. This secure situation allowed her to write in her native Frisian: even today most Frisian authors cannot earn a living by writing in their own language. but by the early 1980s. Kloosterman’s first book of prose and poetry was published in 1910. De Hoara’s fan Hastings [The (Family of) Hoaras of Hastings] (1921). the board of the foundation was looking for another way of using the funds. These prizes of the children’s jury are also important. translations and debuts. As well as this prize. Simke was the unmarried only daughter of a rather rich gentleman farmer. awarded by Award is given once every adults. original and translated. where the well-known Frisian author Simke Kloosterman (1876–1938) lived until her death. The Simke Kloosterman-lien is a foundation created from a bequest of the author’s. came to Twizel. as they guarantee the authors that their work is read. which is given once every three years. She could afford to have her books published in well-illustrated and hardback editions. The most important award for Frisian children’s literThe Simke Kloosterman ature is the Simke Kloosterman Award. but there was no provision for a special award for children’s literature. because the market is far too small and subventions for the publishing of books are limited. Initially. prose and poetry. Nowadays the house is a small museum. But for Simke in her circumstances it was no problem. Berneboekepraat (BBP – Children’s Book Talk).
a suggestion that the trustees were very happy to take up. an impressive story about a grandmother becoming demented. The second award also went to a youth novel. but so far no children’s book has won any of these prizes. In 1996. De kilekanen [The bogeymen]. drew attention in IBBY circles too. a Japanese translation was published. to the youth novel Cap Sud by Reinder van der Leest.FRIESLAND: AWARDS AND QUALITY
for children’s literature. and to Eppie Dam’s Dingeman krijt wjokken
No. This book was younger readers intended for much younger readers. honoured with the award in 1992. after it had got a place on the Honour List of the Premio Europeo Litterature (Padua) in 1992. which received the 1995 award. 3 – 2005 / 43
. the book was translated. as was the same author’s next award-winning title. It hûs fol ferhalen [The house full of stories] by Mindert Wijnstra. Of course it is not so easy to compare youth novels with poetry or stories for young children. to be named after the author. but it was the literary quality that led the way in the jury’s reports. This is the only exclusive prize for children’s literature in Frisian that is made on a regular basis. Children’s literature is also eligible for more general provincial literary prizes. as is the intention of this list. but these the award. Swart op wyt [Black on white] by Akky van der Veer. made in 1989. and soon it was anxieties were resolved when the next award. As a result of appearing on the IBBY Honour List. and there were fears that the prize was going to be confined to youth novels. followed by a Korean translation in 2002.
In 1983 the first Simke Kloosterman Award was made. went to Bartele Bûse [Bartele Trouser awarded also to books for Pocket] by Berber van der Geest. Authors were anxious that literature for children At first. youth novels won under ten should also be acknowledged. It was mentioned on the IBBY Honour List of 1994. Other Simke Kloosterman-prizes went to Yn piama de dyk oer [In pyamas along the road] (1998) by Auck Peanstra.
FRIESLAND: AWARDS AND QUALITY
[Dingeman gets wings] (2001). there is a kind of nomination procedure some months earlier. a discussion which is well-known in prize circles (though in fact. author of the Ovid stories. won the 1994 award. Then the discussion can begin: Why these books and why not those other ones. which had already been retold by the Frisian poet Gysbert Japiks in the 17th century. but are also an appeared on the 1994 list. myn famke [My girl Mousie] (2003).
Nomination and prizegiving
To promote a prize is not easy. but are also an indication of quality: books winning the Simke Kloosterman Award are likely candidates for other awards and prizes. there is no automatic link between winning the Simke Kloosterman Award indication of quality and being awarded a place on the IBBY Honour List. some years ago a new element was added. As a consequence of discussion on whether or not an adaptation of stories from Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ could be considered eligible for the award.The fund trustees are glad of any media coverage. There could be discussions in such a small society about the jury too. about a relationship with an unknown father. as we have seen.The first ever Frisian book on an IBBY Honour List was Bartele Bûse. finally settled her score with the foundation when her picturebook. quality. which appeared on the 1992 list and was also a winner of the Simke Kloosterman Prizes not only stimulate Award. Since 2002 not only original Frisian work may receive the award. Dykstra has again adapted an old story. the jury has already made its decision). but also adaptations. which.
IBBY Honour List
Prizes not only stimulate quality. and so Lida Dykstra. And of course child readers should be involved too. As well as the prize-giving ceremony in May. by this stage. Mûske. and some of the prizewinners have also been awarded a place on the IBBY Honour List. the regulations were changed. Still.
44 / BOOKBIRD
. and local schoolchildren assist at a meeting to announce which books are nominated. as insiders know. but in fact the juries have so far maintained their independence. with pictures by the well-known South African illustrator Piet Grobler. as was It hûs fol ferhalen. In this book. In order to strengthen the involvement of children in the procedure.
Frisian children’s literature claims its share. where children decide which of a selection of books deserves their award. There is another occasion for that purpose.There is no money available for the Children’s Book Jury Award. connected with a sum of money.
Having a children’s book award for Frisian children’s literature has created a better profile for children’s literature in the world of Frisian literature generally and has worked to improve the quality of children’s literature in Frisian. Therefore one might conclude that prizes actually have a quality-promoting influence on a literature in a lesser-used language like Frisian. there’s a storytelling bus. is based not at Sussex but at Surrey University in the UK
No.This consists of 1500 euros. Wolken fan wol [Clouds of wool]. It is therefore rather exciting that the Simke Kloosterman Award is. of course. A spin-off of these prizes is inspiration for new work. And in 2004 a volume of poetry. and honour and a silver brooch have to be sufficient. mainly from the Simke Kloosterman fund but also including a contribution from the provincial government.2 by Penni Cotton. Lida Dykstra’s book of Ovid stories.This book was introduced at the Honour List ceremony as ‘the most surprising and most sophisticated book of the whole list’. Although the number of prizes is far behind those for Dutch children’s literature.They read the books. Once a year there is a reading promotion event which includes a Children’s Book Jury. and there are also events with authors telling stories and reading from their work. and there is also Internet involvement. which was ineligible for the Simke Kloosterman Award. Lokaal 13 [Classroom 13] by Baukje Wytsma. described in Bookbird 43.
No author can get rich by writing in a minority language and most prizes consist only of honour
Correction The ESET project. unusually. they don’t have the opportunity to give their opinion and to decide on the prizewinner.FRIESLAND: AWARDS AND QUALITY
as the last two Frisian Honour List books show. appeared on the 2002 Honour List.The children involved in this process are mostly in the 8–12 age group. and there may be some kind of public relations value surrounding the award ceremony. 3 – 2005 / 45
. was on the Honour List. but that’s it. and although the provincial government is less involved in these prizes than the Dutch government is.
Children’s Book Jury Award
Although children are involved in the nomination and in the prizegiving ceremonies of the Simke Kloosterman Award.
No author can get rich by writing in a minority language
and glory. with new stories to be read for and by children.
The plot. We experience the preparations and the rituals of the naming ceremony through Amarlai’s young eyes . ‘I have a new cousin. Vasso Nika
46 / BOOKBIRD
Angeliki Varella (Elli Solomonidi-Balanou illus) KALIMERA. Amarkai. focuses on the preparation and realisation of the Games. ELPIDA! won two major awards in 2004. specialises in inform ative picturebooks se t in African countries. and it sounds nicer than “Baby”. Text and pictures wo rk well together. Crafted like precious old lace. the period preceding the first Olympic Games. raised in Ni geria and now living in London. I can’t wait for her to have a name. mean s he is the third son. the IBBY Greece prize in the books for older readers category and the magazine DIAVAZO prize for books for adolescents. centred on the friendship of two girls who attend the famous Arsakeion School of Athens. KALIMERA. Ifeoma Onyefulu (with photos by the author) Facts come to life in this lively book. The child narrator’s voice lends appeal for young readers and listeners London: Frances Linc . His ea rnest face engages the reader im mediately as he anno un ces. detail the period in which the novel is set. and situations of that time. th e story is told from the viewpoint of a young child. people. Hope!]
Athens: Patakis 2003 200pp ISBN 9601608923 (fiction 12+)
. ELPIDA! [Good Morning.’ He explains th at in his country much can be known about people th rough their names. fo 6–12) r example. his uncle’s name.Onyefulu. Amarlai mean s that he is the first son. Sketches by Elli Solomonidi-Balanou. this book revisits a crucial period in modern Greek history. the novel presents an accurate picture of places. in absolute harmony with the text. Essential information about personalities and the social and political life that mark those years is provided in such a way as to evoke the atmosphere of the era.”’
Welcome Dede! An A frican Naming Ceremony
Set in 1892–6. ‘Dede me ans “The first daughter. supplying plenty of de tail through accessib le language and engaging photograph s of participants in an actual naming ceremony. As in many of her other books. At the mo ment everyone calls her “Baby”. My name is Amarlai. Interesting facts no oln 2003 26pp t covered in Amarlai’s narration ar e supplied in side no IS BN 18 45 te 073118 (non-fiction s in boxes with yellow background.
would be published for at least six to nine months from the date of submission. if accepted for publication.April. together with full publication details (use ‘postcard’ reviews in this issue of Bookbird as a model) and a scan of the cover image (in JPG format). send illustrations as JPG attachments.
No. we can accept
Send us a book postcard from your part of the world!
Notices on international children’s books. 3 – 2005 / 47
.ie NB: Please put Bookbird submission followed by your initials in the subject line. not in the paper itself. Deadline: Bookbird is published every quarter. together with your professional affiliation and/or a few lines describing your area of work in the body of your email. translators. but where authors have no translation facilities. in January. are compiled from sources around the world by Glenna Sloan. story collection. Contributions are invited not only from scholars and critics but also from editors. classroom educators and children’s book authors and illustrators or anyone working in the field of children’s literature. Have you got a favourite recently published children’s book – a picturebook.
ookbird:A Journal of International Children’s Literature is the refereed journal of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). novel or information book – that you think should be known outside its own country? If you know of a book from your own or another country that you feel should be introduced to the IBBY community. librarians. We are very happy to receive reviews from non-English-speaking countries – but remember to include an English translation of the title as well as the original title (in transliterated form.A stylesheet is available with more detailed guidelines. Please remember to include your full name and contact details (including postal address). Papers on any topic related to children’s literature and of interest to an international audience will be considered for publication. Style and layout:The author’s name and details should appear in the email only. Papers may be submitted at any time.BOOKBIRD
Submission Guidelines for Bookbird
contributions in most major European languages. but it is unlikely that your paper. October. please send a short account of it to us at Bookbird. (Book covers are sufficient. Please contact us first if you have a translation problem.) Length: Up to 3000 words Language:Articles are published in English. to allow time for refereeing and the production process. July. but other illustrations are also welcome. and we may publish it. to Professor Glenna Sloan (glennasloan@hotmail. where applicable). City University of New York. who teaches children’s literature at Queens College. Send copy (about 150 words). Please try to supply illustrations for your article. distributed throughout Bookbird.ie AND one to email@example.com). Contact details: Please send two copies: one to bookbirdsp@oldtown. publishers. Format:Word for Windows (Mac users please save your document in rich text format – RTF) as an email attachment.
books about Arab. also a collection of essays by the German scholar Rüdiger Steinlein. and an Astrid Lindgren bibliography
.Books on Books
Edited and compiled by BARBARA SCHARIOTH
Barbara Scharioth is director of the Internationale Jugendbibliothek (International Youth Library) in Munich
Books about the national children’s literatures of Russia and Slovenia are reviewed here. an eclectic Spanish volume on international children’s literature of the past century. Dutch/Flemish and Japanese illustrations.
Please cite titles in the original language as well as in English. however. This allowed artists and writers such as Vladimir Lebedev. Germany.00
This bilingual (German-English) catalogue was put together for an ambitious exhibition in Vienna (October 20. Following World War II. Brief annotations may also be sent. Ossip Mandelstam and El Lissitzky to earn their living producing books for children. Schloss Blutenburg. Leningrad and Kiev.
No. 2004 until February 20. A small group of ‘unofficial’ artists countered the conformist production of the three great publishChildren’s books offered a ing houses of children’s literature in Moscow. Russian for ‘Once upon a time’. contemporary illustrator Ilya Kabakov explains how his generation of artists no longer had access to the books of the Russian avant-garde. D-81247 München. but please no extensive reviews. 3 – 2005 / 49
. Critical texts and many high-quality reproductions afford insight into various aspects of Russian children’s literature of the twenties and thirties. Under the highly restrictive Bolshevist regime. They did not. price and other ordering information if available. In a particularly interesting contribution.BOOKS ON BOOKS
PETER NOEVER (ED)
Schili-Byli: Russische Kinderbücher 1920–1940
[Shili-Byli: Russian children’s books 1920–1940]
Wien: Schlebrügge 2004 64pp ISBN 3851600444 €21. A reprint of the picturebook The Kitchen (Moscow 1923) written by Ossip Mandelstam and illustrated by Vladimir Isenberg is added to the magnificently illustrated catalogue. and traditional fairy tales dominated the publishing scene. and give ISBN. 2005) called ‘Shili-Byli’. Barbara Scharioth
Submissions of recent books and book announcements for inclusion in this section are welcome. Send submissions to Barbara Scharioth. Vladimir Majakovski. refuge for experimental consider themselves as following in the footsteps of and subversive expression the avant-garde.The regime advocated realism and naturalism. Internationale Jugendbibliothek. children’s books offered Russian authors and illustrators a refuge for experimental and subversive expression. all art had to conform to the Soviet canon.
BOOKS ON BOOKS
ARAB PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION (ED) RÜDIGER STEINLEIN
Arab Illustrations for Children’s Books: Exhibition
Frankfurt am Main: Frankfurt Book Fair 2004 pp no ISBN
Kinder. professor of German literature
Steinlein describes children’s literature as a ‘culture of laughter’
at the Humboldt University Berlin and specialist in children’s literature.und Jugendliteratur als Schöne Literatur: gesammelte Aufsätze zu ihrer Geschichte und Ästhetik
(Series: Kinder. There are cultural and sociological reflections on storytelling and independent reading. techniques and styles: there are traditional tales and modern everyday stories. was especially welcome. In light of recent developments in Arabic children’s literature. which featured the Arab world. Extensive bibliographical references complete each essay. essays on 18th-century children’s literature.]: Lang 2004 360pp ISBN 3631518447 €56.und Jugendkultur. reflects the development of different areas of the still fledgling German scholarship of the eighties and nineties. an exhibition of children’s book illustrations organised by the Arab Publishers Association for the 2004 Frankfurt Book Fair. The accompanying English catalogue contains 50 illustrations and biographical data of 50 artists. Three essays in the second part of the book focus on the representation of National Socialism in German children’s and young adult literature. classical illustration techniques and computer graphics.This collection of previously published essays by Rüdiger Steinlein. Christa Stegemann
50 / BOOKBIRD
. and literary studies of adventure novels and Wild West fiction. But even among Arab countries exchange is surprisingly limited. The catalogue impresses with its wide range of themes. Jochen Weber
It was not until the 1970s that children’s and young adult literature was considered worthy of scholarly attention in West Germany.50
Children’s literature from Arabic-speaking countries is little known to the outside world. most of whom come from Egypt and Lebanon.This is an important publication that opens the door to a picture-world just waiting to be explored. Steinlein describes children’s literature as a ‘culture of laughter’ by taking a closer look at the children’s classic Baron Münchhausen. In the final part. illustrations inspired by traditional oriental art and others following the mainstream of international aesthetics. -literatur und -medien 25) [Children’s and young adult literature as belles lettres: collected essays on its history and aesthetics]
Frankfurt am Main [et al. partly because of important social and cultural differences. the two leading countries of the Arab publishing industry.
372. about publishing houses and publisher personalities. a selection of secondary literature and a name and title index. ¥ 3200 (vol 3)
Even though it was published in 2001–2. Toin Duijx
Japan’s modernisation has had a major impact on the development of the picturebook
No.The ten chapters of the third part offer examples of the various genres and themes of this part of the history of children’s literature. The beautiful design of the book with its many examples of picturebooks in text and image add life to the critical analysis. Gent: Ludion 2003 276pp ISBN 9076588589 €49. this book won the 24th Japan Society of Publishing Studies Promotion Award and a year later the 27th Japanese Academic Society for Children’s Literature Special Award. 3 – 2005 / 51
.Text boxes add further background information or interesting details to make this extensive study truly appealing. Professor Shin Torigoe has created this first systematic study of the history of the modern Japanese picturebook. 412. Fumiko Ganzenmüller
This seminal study can be seen as ‘the’ standard work on the history of Dutch and Flemish illustrated children’s literature. social and cultural context of the times.BOOKS ON BOOKS
SHIN TORIGOE (ED)
SASKIA DE BODT and JEROEN KAPELLE
Hajimete manabu Nihon no ehonshi 1–3
– (Series:‘Shirizu Nihon no bungakushi’) [Introduction to the history of Japanese picturebooks vols 1–3]
Prentenboeken: ideologie en illustratie 1890–1950
[Picturebooks: Ideology and illustration 1890–1950]
Amsterdam. In the second part. 37pp ISBN 4623033155 / 033163 / 033171 ¥ 3000 (vols 1 and 2). XVI. 14 pp. XIII.50
Kyoto: Mineruva Shobo 2001–2002 XV.The various essays about authors and illustrators and their works and readers. It also takes a thorough look at government censorship during the ‘15-year war’ (1931–45) and its consequences for book production. production and distribution always take into account the political. this seminal work is still worthy of wider critical attention. The book comes complete with biographies of all illustrators mentioned. the authors take a more detailed look at the illustrators and their training. about the changes in printing techniques. non-fiction and mass-produced picturebooks. In 2002. The first part describes Dutch and Flemish picturebooks of the period between 1890 and 1950 from the point of view of art history. This is why the three volumes are also a mirror of these times.This pioneering work covers the period from 1868 until 2000 and includes children’s magazines. 23 pp. In collaboration with about forty experts. 353. at the publishers and at the typography of the picturebooks of this period. Japan’s modernisation since the Meiji Restoration has also had a major impact on the development of the picturebook.
She shows how Slovenian children’s literature was inspired by German-language children’s magazines and describes formal and thematic traditions still cherished today. the earliest texts addressed to children were mainly religious in Slovenia. Many colour photos and illustrations. Westendorp was a versatile artist with a highly recognisable style. Kobe looks at the development of Slovenian children’s literature within the wider context of the German and Austrian Enlightenment and the tradition of philanthropic pedagogy.The great merit of this book is the author’s comparative approach. It was not until the Enlight-
Shows how Slovenian children’s literature was inspired by German-language children’s magazines
enment that secular literature was produced for children. the famous Dutch children’s book author. The ten
[Vedez (The wise man) and the beginning of secular children’s literature in Slovenia 1778–1850]
. the anecdotal illustrations for the weekly magazine ‘Vrij Nederland’ and the newspaper ‘Het Parool’. this book also proposes a study of the influence of German and Austrian children’s literature. who were then no longer considered deficient adults. to her illustrations of Mies Bouhuys’s books and the unique cooperation with Annie MG Schmidt. ranging from her little known freelance work. Werner Küffner
This magnificent volume presents the life and work of the well-known Dutch illustrator Fiep Westendorp (1916–2004). Revija Otrok in knjiga
2004 314pp ISBN 9619141601
Fiep Westendorp was a versatile artist with a highly recognisable style
contributors analyse the development of her work.BOOKS ON BOOKS
GIOIA SMID and AUKJE HOLTROP (EDS)
` ` ‘Vedez’ in zacetki posvetnega mladinskega slovstva na slovenskem 1778-1850
Getekend: Fiep Westendorp
[Signed: Fiep Westendorp]
Amsterdam: Querido 2003 159pp ISBN 9045100479 €39.95
` Maribor: Mariborska knjiznica. Toin Duijx
52 / BOOKBIRD
This work by the senior literary scholar Marjana Kobe is the first major study of early Slovenian children’s literature. and a complete list of all the books and magazines in which she published complete this monumental book. Just as anywhere else in Europe.The biographical part of the book is based on various interviews with the illustrator and specialists of her work as well as on archival material. Presenting an analysis of the children’s magazine Vedez [The wise man] founded in 1848. Not only a history of early Slovenian children’s literature then. It was published six months before Westendorp’s death and accompanied one of the best visited exhibitions of a children’s book illustrator. two hitherto unpublished stories by Annie MG Schmidt illustrated by Westendorp.
Lindgren’s co-worker at Rabén & Sjögren publishing house and later her private secretary and literary agent. One hundred and thirty million copies of Lindgren’s books have been sold worldwide in more than 3500 editions.BOOKS ON BOOKS
EQUIPO PEONZA (ED)
Cien libros para un siglo: XX
[100 books for a century: XX]
Madrid:Anaya 2004 255pp ISBN 8466727221 €20. and identifies many pirated copies. Pippi Longstocking heads the list of translations with 57 different language editions. Kvint documents the international success of Lindgren’s books. Soviet readers seemed to prefer Karlsson on the Roof to the international favourite Pippi Longstocking.00
This special issue of the professional periodical Peonza proposes an original approach to the history of international 20th-century children’s literature. including reproductions of the original title pages. This bibliography takes readers on a fascinating literary tour of the globe and pays tribute to the unifying power of children’s literature. acknowledges the influence of German publisher husband-and-wife team Heidi and Friedrich Oetinger. 3 – 2005 / 53
. socio-economic and cultural characteristics of the times. the volume also includes comic strips and novels such as Hesse’s Demian and Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Kerstin Kvint. Emil in Lönneberga (44). Judging from these copies. the editors selected one representative title originally published that year. and bio-bibliographical information about the author. not least thanks to a welcome widening of the traditional canon. But the 100 titles nevertheless offer a vast panorama of international children’s literature. Jochen Weber
This slim bilingual volume (Swedish-English) offers much interesting material. This controversial choice will spark debate – and that may be the most important contribution of this attractively designed book. has updated the bibliography first published in 1997 in her book Astrid världen över to provide a concise list of Lindgren’s works. closely followed by The Brothers Lionheart (46). Any selection of this kind will include much but exclude even more. a literary contextualisation within the development of children’s literature. It’s a daring enterprise doomed to be partial. the Robber’s Daughter (39) and The Children in Bullery (39). Ronia. It’s regrettable that Japan and Eastern Europe basically remain blanks on the map. Each decade is introduced by a short text outlining the political. These more or less distinctive milestones are all accompanied by a brief description and extract from the text. It features an extensive bibliography of all of Astrid Lindgren’s children’s books published in 85 different languages. most of which were printed in the former Soviet Union.20
Astrid världen över: en selektiv bibliografi 1946–2002
[Astrid worldwide: a selective bibliography 1946–2002]
Stockholm: Kvint 2002 125pp ISBN 9188374262 and 9188378238 SEK 126. Barbara Scharioth
No. For every year from 1901 to 2000. Instead of exclusively paying homage to the great classics of children’s literature.
the discussions relating to authors and illustrators were replaced by concerns about the disaster in the Indian Ocean and the hundreds of people who lost their lives. This brings us to where this column should have started: my arrival at IBBY! On Monday 3 January.
54 / BOOKBIRD
Compiled by MARÍA CANDELARIA POSADA Edited by ELIZABETH PAGE
Maria Candelaria Posada is IBBY’s director of communications and project development Elizabeth Page is IBBY’s director of administration
IBBY’s new director of communications and projects. introduces herself and compiles her first ‘Focus IBBY’ selection of articles and notices on IBBY activities. in 2004. as a member of the Andersen Jury. give the organization its most valuable asset: experience and knowledge. As the new IBBY director of communications and project development.This discussion was very instructive for me – I could experience IBBY’s network at first hand and was able to reconfirm what I have known for a long time: the best thing about IBBY is the people who belong to it. I sat for the first time at this desk in Nonnenweg in Basel. with only the essential things needed to run an international organization – telephone. During my first week the e-mails came in ceaselessly: members of IBBY sections and the Executive Committee all wanted to know how IBBY was going to react – especially in the countries where IBBY had representation. But I had been here before. two computers and a large meeting table. mostly working voluntarily. my main objective is to improve communication within the worldwide IBBY organization and to increase co-operation with the rest of the world of children’s literature. Another task facing us is the issue of fundraising – indispensable for the continuation and betterment of our activities. But when I took up my new position at the beginning of the year. and I remember thinking with admiration: this is a no-nonsense place. the thousands that were made homeless and in particular the suffering of the children. fax. María Candelaria Posada. IBBY people. Switzerland. She draws particular attention to IBBY’s tsunami project and to the forthcoming (2006) IBBY congress in China Arrival at IBBY
How has IBBY achieved so much with its scarce resources? There is only one answer: its membership.The commitment of the membership shows in every one of the current 64 National Sections and this became even more evident during the discussion following the tsunami tragedy in South East Asia.
tools that will help to empower the national sections to fulfil their mission. This is now completed and by now all of you will be familiar with its new look. a place for sharing. Every idea. We are very grateful to the sections and individuals who immediately sent contributions: IBBY Greece. the enthusiasm of the IBBY members. Out of our intense discussions. its greater capabilities and its potential as a communication and information tool. a collection was set up. IBBY did not expect to attract a large amount of money. in the form of seminars. sharing. María Candelaria Posada
The tsunami collection
When the special collection was first launched. IBBY Netherlands.FOCUS IBBY
Last year Kimete Basha.
Our hope for the new IBBY website: that it will become much more than just a website. the former executive director. The main reason for my emphasis on the people in IBBY is because what this organization can give to its members is much more than money: it is knowledge and it is know-how. many people had already privately sent donations to various relief organizations. we hope that it will become much more than just a website: it will be a place for learning. In the future I would like to introduce more emphasis on educational tools. We are very pleased to announce that the collection has benefited from significant sums generously given by two Japanese companies:Yamada Bee Farms and Say-zan-sha Publications. It is essential for us to remember that what moves IBBY to act on behalf of the less favoured national sections. a place for creating.With this support. There are many fundamental concepts behind these words: a belief in equity and tolerance and a respect for diversity. new projects have begun to be formed. every comment.There is no real limit to what a website can offer: the only thing needed is. The fundamental spirit of IBBY is its special sense of caring. Leena Maissen and Kathy Mere-Kerr. And once more it becomes clear that these ideals can bear fruit because of the people who hold them. it will be a place for learning. again. through the internet and printed publications. Successful projects that have been undertaken by IBBY sections around the world are being carefully looked at for their potential to be implemented elsewhere. creating
Let me return to the tsunami tragedy: because it was decided that the region would benefit from money donations rather than a donation of books. IBBY Iceland. we will be able to contribute to books projects in the Aceh Province in
No. in response either to natural tragedies or to endemic poverty. had begun to upgrade the IBBY website. a project called
Reading to Recovery has been devised and the Japanese section of IBBY (JBBY) has been lobbying very successfully for financial support. Over the years. I can only finish my first contribution to Focus IBBY by saying how proud I am of becoming an IBBY person. every suggestion will be welcome. For the region devastated by the tsunami. workshops and conferences. 3 – 2005 / 55
. is the spirit of the organization to promote international understanding through children’s books.
that an hour of reading was put into practice by the Banco del Libro in cannot take away.’ Venezuela in 1999. books from Africa
When the 29th IBBY Congress in South Africa was over. when the devastating floods not only killed many people. future publishers
56 / BOOKBIRD
. Two projects are already in their planning stages: one is a virtual exhibition of books for and from Africa. As Montaigne expressed it:‘There is not a single sorrow that an hour of reading cannot take away. illustrators and produce indigenous books to find a market.
Books for Africa. there are real opportunities for small and independent publishers that for writers. The idea of healing through reading. Although many of the biggest publishing houses of the world have a strong presence in Africa. And that with very little technology. Thailand and Malaysia through the IBBY sections. In published in local these times of huge multinational publishing houses languages and workshops that prefer ‘global’ books. important and therapeutic help can be given: all that is needed is an adult who can read and a book. which is the ‘There is not a single sorrow essence of the planned projects in the stricken area. It is also universally accepted that children who are talked and read to as infants develop better language and reading skills later. Bibliotherapy is the name given by specialists to the practice that anyone who has read to a small child knows well.’ It is good to know that IBBY has a specific function in disaster areas. IBBY made a promise to return. parents and specialists to learn how to choose children’s books.The books selected for this exhibition must be published in the local language(s) of the region of the project. The project is primarily aimed at helping teachers. but also left hundreds of – Montaigne families without their homes or possessions. IBBY has a strong belief that children should be able to read in their mother tongue. or in bilingual editions. illustrators and – most importantly – future publishers. Two IBBY projects: an Little good can come from encouraging creators if exhibition of African books there are no means to disseminate their creations. The second project is one focusing on workshops for writers. as well as to projects in India.FOCUS IBBY
northern Sumatra. they publish in languages that do not include the local languages. especially as a child’s first contact with literature is normally through oral interaction in the form of rhymes and songs told to them by their mothers or grandmothers.
in English or Chinese. Children’s Books and the Multimedia Era 6. Several parallel seminar sessions with ten-minute contributions will be offered in English or in Chinese. Children’s Freedom and Space 5. Beijing.FOCUS IBBY
The 30th IBBY World Congress 20–24 September 2006 Beijing. IBBY Congress 2006 Organizer Fax: +86-10-51026642 Or by e-mail to: cbby@cbby. 3 – 2005 / 57
Requirements for presentations at the seminar sessions
• Applicants must send a one-page summary. fax and e-mail. Attn: Mingzhou Zhang. China. Literature of Ours – Children’s Forum (all the speakers will be children) 2. Reading of Underprivileged Children
• The submission must be accompanied by the applicant’s full name. No. telephone. by regular mail. The purpose of these sessions is to provide an opportunity for the presentation of academic papers as well as non-academic reports. • The presentation can be in English or in Chinese. (Beijing) Ltd.org
No.org CBBY website: www. Building 6 Yonghejiayuan.
Applications should be addressed to
Bridging Consulting Co. Room 305. 100013. Reflection on the Phenomenon of Harry Potter 8. Children’s Literature and the Ideal World 4. • The deadline for submitting applications is 31 August 2005. Dongcheng District. China Congress Theme: Children’s Literature and Social Development
Call for papers for seminar sessions
The congress committee invites those interested in making a contribution to the congress to apply for participation in a seminar session. mailing address.cbby. title. Children’s Literature and Ethics 3. mobile. fax or e-mail. not exceeding 250 words.
. nationality. • The congress committee will select the seminar speakers by 1 November 2005 and notify accepted applicants before the end of the year. Ten-minute contributions are invited on the following themes:
1. Developing Trends in Children’s Picturebooks 7. • It is understood that all seminar speakers will pay the congress registration fee.3 Dongbinhe Road.
When an imprisoned scribe learns that his new cell companion is Marco Polo.gracielamontes. The prize-winning novel. he plans to write a book about Marco Polo’s travels. thus giving him the opportunity to make a bid for his release. is immense’(www. is called El turno del escriba [The time of the scribe]. both from Argentina.
58 / BOOKBIRD
. Graciela Montes says: ‘Our fortune. co-written by Montes and Wolf. Italy in 1298.com). The story takes the form of a historical novel that is set in Genoa. in every sense.FOCUS IBBY
Preliminary programme 2006
Wednesday 20 Sept Thursday 21 Sept 9:00-10:30 Plenary session 1 10:30-11:00 Coffee break 9:00–16:00 Registration 11:00–12:30 Seminars 12:30–14:00 Lunch 14:00–15:30 Seminars 14:00–15:00 Press conference 15:30–16:00 Coffee break 16:00–18:00 IBBY Honour List Presentation of diplomas 17:30 Opening ceremony Andersen Awards Gala reception Friday 22 Sept 9:00-10:30 Plenary session 2 10:30-11:00 Coffee break 11:00–12:30 Seminars 12:30–14:00 Lunch 14:00–15:30 Seminars Forum and open debate on the future of IBBY IBBY general assembly 15:30–16:00 Coffee break 16:00–18:00 Seminars Forum and open debate on the future of IBBY 20:00 Reception by Beijing Municipal Government (subject to final confirmation) IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award 17:30 Closing ceremony 20:00 Social events Farewell dinner Programme of entertainment Professional groups: Authors/translators Illustrators Librarians/educators Optional half-day tours Saturday 23 Sept 9:00-10:30 Plenary session 3 10:30-11:00 Coffee break 11:00–12:30 Seminars Bookbird associate editors’ meeting 12:30–14:00 Lunch New and outgoing IBBY Executive Committee meeting Sunday 24 Sept
9:00-12:00 IBBY Executive Committee meeting
20:00 Social events
This preliminary programme is subject to alteration
Alfaguara VIII Novel Award 2005
This year’s winners of the prestigious Alfaguara Award are the wellknown authors Graciela Montes and Emma Wolf. Their books for children are popular in Latin America as well as in other countries.
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