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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)
by Eno Raud
Age Range: 6-8
In a faraway land there once lived a people called the Gothamites. They were famed for their sensibility and keen wit and were consulted far and wide by foreign heads of state from all around the world. The trouble was that this left them with no time for themselves. Fed up with this situation they held a meeting of all the Gothamites to find a solution. Receiving some sage advice from an old Gothamite who argued “It’s crystal clear that there’s no better means than stupidity for countering the damage wisdom can cause … there’s no better alternative than to start doing foolish and stupid acts in place of our earlier wise deeds” the community whole-heartedly agreed. And so it was, that the Gothamites once famed for their wisdom, now became “a beacon of infamy” for their stupidity. Of course, complete chaos ensued!
The Gothamites is a funny tongue-in-cheek tale from Estonia’s most celebrated children’s author, Eno Raud (1928-1996), translated by Adam Cullen. Written in 1962 these ten short stories follow in the best nonsense tale tradition: from a group with tangled legs that cannot get up because they don’t know which feet are theirs to the Gothamites believing they can trap light inside a sack to take inside their new council chamber. With nowhere to put a stove to keep it warm in winter they come up with the novel idea of placing it outside so that they can let the heat in whenever they want it and when a troublesome crayfish causes mayhem they condemn it to death by drowning.
A large format book with richly coloured illustrations from the acclaimed Estonian cartoonist and animation director Priit Pärn. It teems with activity showing hilarious slapstick scenes of the Gothamites in their breath-taking incompetence. Fans of nonsense-style tales will relish Pärn’s exuberant artwork and Raud’s clever wordplay.