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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
The Incredible Story of the Birdgirl and the Terrible Boy
by Anna Castagnoli
Age Range: 6-8
This is the strange tale of the ‘terrible boy’ who is always being shouted at by his mother because he is so naughty. He ceases to remember his real name as everyone calls him the ‘Terrible Boy’. He doesn’t love anyone or anything except his tree in the garden. One day, he finds an egg but there isn’t a bird or nest anywhere. He takes great care of it and eventually it hatches into a small, exquisite Birdgirl and he loves her from the start.
The Terrible Boy looks after the Birdgirl; building her a small tree house, bringing her all sorts of food but she always seems to be so sad. He tries everything to help her but to no avail. Finally, he begins to understand the Birdgirl’s unhappiness and finds a way of communicating with her.
The dark, brooding illustrations by Susanne Janssen are bold and brash in mainly shades of red and black with the occasional bit of white. This is an unusual story of a boy who is angry with life and who finds something to love and care for.