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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)
House in the Tree (The)
by Bianca Pitzorno
Age Range: 9-11
Aglaia and her friend Bianca live in a magical tree – a secret house where they can live on their own, far from any rules and regulations.
This wacky story, full of delightful nonsense by Bianca Pitzorno, one of Italy’s most famous contemporary children’s writers and winner of the Andersen Prize for Children’s Literature, is full of an assortment of eccentric characters and hilarious scenarios. From the inventive Bianca, her feisty friend Aglaia, their gruff and difficult neighbour Beccaris Brullo and his dog Amedeo to a carnivorous plant called Nina, who feeds on fillet steak, and Prunilde the talking cat. There is plenty of amusement to be had as they all partake of a series of adventures including kidnapping a plumber; storks that supply babies to order; an ingenious bit of hypnotism; children who speak in rhyme as well as a flying St Bernard dog.
In the Afterward the author explains that she wrote The House in the Tree for her friend Aglaia, whom she had watched grow up and spent a lot of time, incorporating all their fantasies and conversations, animals, toys, friends and family into the story.
Witty pen-and-ink illustrations by Quentin Blake enhance the prose, excellently translated by Stephen Parkin, and bring the hilarity of Aglaia and Bianca’s capers in the tree vividly to life.