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10 Translated Books - 2006

 

  Under 5 

 

Elfrida
Klara Fall, illustrated by Heide Stöllinge
Translated from German by Catherine Chidgey 
Gecko Press

Elfrida the sheep is bored with the way she looks and wants to be different.  When Farmer Rob comes to sheer the sheep Elvira decides to persuade him to give her a new style completely.  He gets a bit carried away and soon has created an amazing multi-coloured haircut which becomes the envy of all the other sheep and the farmer’s wife too! Heide Stöllinger’s humorous illustrations accompany the rhyming text in this charming picture book.

 

The Fly
Gusti
Translated from Spanish by Karen Coeman
Allen & Unwin

How a perfect day turned into a nightmare for the fly.  It had all started off so well, the big day had arrived, it was a beautiful morning and the fly was going swimming.  He had everything he needed – a bag, some sunscreen, a towel and a ball.  The water was not too hot, not too cold; in fact, it was just the way he liked it.  What could possibly go wrong?  The fly was certainly in for a very big surprise. This  funny, quirky picture book by the Argentinean writer and illustrator Gusti will have children giggling at the fly’s misfortune.

 

6-8

 

365 Penguins
Jean-Luc Fromental Illustrated by Jöelle Jolivet
Translated from French by Maggie Lehrman
Abrams

What do you do when penguins start being delivered to your door?  On the first day of the New Year, the postman brings a surprise – a penguin in a box! One by one, day by day, penguins begin to fill the house; there are penguins everywhere.  At first it is a novelty, but with every passing day, the penguins’ number increases along with the family’s problems.  This is no ordinary interactive large-format counting book from French author Jean-Luc Fromental and internationally acclaimed illustrator Jöelle Jolivet as it carries messages about overpopulation, global warming and the necessity of caring for the animals we share the planet with.

 

9-11

 

The Book of Everything
Guus Kuijer
Translated from Dutch by John Nieuwenhuizen
Young Picador (Pan Macmillan)

Startlingly original, this is a novel that contains both humour and pathos in equal measure.  Set in 1951 in the Netherlands, nine-year-old Thomas lives with his mother, sister and overbearing, strict puritanical father who rules the house with an iron will and his fists, insisting that the family live their lives according to the Bible.  Fear pervades the whole household but somehow Thomas develops his own unique way of dealing with it – he writes everything down in ‘The Book of Everything’.  In discovering an escape route in his mind, he begins to see incredible things that no one else notices. A heart-warming literary gem sensitively translated by John Nieuwenhuizen.

 

The Happiness of Kati
Jane Vejjajiva
Translated from Thai by Jane Vejjajiva
and Prudence Borthwick
Allen and Unwin

Every morning nine-year-old Kati is woken up by the clatter of her Grandma’s spatula and pan and every night she goes to bed longing for her mother.  Why has Kati’s mother stayed away for so long and where is the father she has never known?  Although Kati’s life has a gentle rhythm like the canal that flows past her door, she doesn’t have answers to these difficult questions. Beautifully poetic, this poignantly novel evokes the rich and flower-filled landscape of Thailand giving a fascinating insight into daily life as well as dealing sensitively with the subject of incurable illness.

 

The Last Elf
Silvana De Mari
Translated from Italian by Shaun Whiteside
Bloomsbury

The Last Elf is an evocative, lyrical tale, full of gentle gems of wisdom.  A young elf, Yorsh (short for Yorshkrunsquarkljolnerstrink), finds himself all alone on the moor in a land where it is always raining.  He is the last elf, frail, lost and frightened and completely unworldly.  When he meets Sajra and Monser the hunter, they all decide to travel together.  Their journey turns into an eventful adventure as they uncover a prophecy engraved on a wall which puts the little elf in a world-changing position.  A story of true friendship and loyalty; fear and hatred; terrible pain and loss together with perseverance against all the odds. 

 

Martin Pebble
Jean-Jacques Sempé
Translated from French by Anthea Bell
Phaidon

Martin Pebble is the story of a little boy whose face keeps turning bright red for no particular reason.  Whatever he does and wherever he goes Martin finds he is always blushing so he is happiest in the summer, when everyone else has a red face too. When Martin meets Rodney Rackett, a little boy who sneezes for no particular reason, it is the start of a great friendship. But one day, Rodney moves away and Martin loses touch with him until many years later on a crowded bus in the city they finally meet again. This French classic published in 1969 is by one of the world’s best-loved illustrators, French artist, Jean-Jacques Sempé, (illustrator of the ‘Nicholas’ stories).

 

12+

 

Dark Hours
Gudrun Pausewang
Translated from German by John Brownjohn
Allen & Unwin

Two days before Gisel’s sixteenth birthday her world falls apart.  The Russian army are approaching lower Silesia where Gisel and her family live and they are forced to abandon their home and flee, leaving everything behind.  They make it to a train station not far from Dresden after a gruelling train journey where Gisel, her grandmother and two younger brothers become separated from their heavily pregnant mother.  Panic abounds as a bombing raid on Dresden begins and everyone scrambles to the available bomb shelters.  Translated by award-winning translator John Brownjohn, this is an intense novel by Gudrun Pausewang, one of Germany’s leading writers for teenagers, depicting the end of the Second World War from a German perspective.

 

14+

 

Centre of my World
Andreas Steinhöfel
Translated from German by Alisa Jaffa
Andersen Press

Seventeen-year-old Phil and his twin sister Dianne live with their mother in a dilapidated gothic house called ‘Visible’ away from the critical townspeople across the river.  Phil has always felt like an outsider for as long as he can remember.  In a series of flashbacks which are interwoven into the narrative by Phil, the lives of the family and Phil’s own sexuality are revealed.  A sophisticated literary novel by Andreas Steinhöfel, skillfully translated by Alisa Jaffa, it is hauntingly provocative, subtle and demanding; a coming-of-age novel about a dysfunctional and unusual family, capturing the universal theme of love and longing together with awakening sexuality.

 

 

Just Like Tomorrow
Faïza Guène
Translated from French by Sarah Adams
Random House
 
 

On the outskirts of the Parisian suburb of Livry-Gargan, 15-year-old Doria lives on Paradise Estate – a description that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Doria’s father – ‘Mr How-Big-Is-My-Beard’, has abandoned his wife and daughter and returned to Morocco to find a younger wife to give him the son he so desperately wants.  Doria’s illiterate mother, Yasmina works in an underpaid job at the Formula 1 Motel in Bagnolet.  It is an existence living on handouts and credit at the local mini-market. Doria believes with only these options open to her why would tomorrow be any different? Faiza Guene’s sassy, streetwise novel about a first-generation French girl living in an immigrant North African community in Paris, has been expertly translated from French by Sarah Ardizzone. 

 

  2006 Anniversary Book List Feb17

 

 

 

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