Thursday, April 5, 2012
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Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Publisher: Phaidon Press
Release date: June 13, 2009
Product Dimensions: 6.8 inches x 9.8 inches x 0.5 inches; 12.8 ounces
Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces ...
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This is a story about little insects that live in an old blanket. Each little bug lives in its own little hole, and each one has never met anyone else before in its entire life. But it is little fat bug's birthday and he invites all the little bugs who live in the blanket to his birthday party. They meet for the first time in a big hole in the centre of the blanket, where little fat bug has prepared a lovely cake made of blanket dust and great music for dancing. When little fat bug sees the other little bugs for the first time, he is upset and confused as none of the other little bugs look like her at all. He looks at a thin bug in front of him and says to her angrily: 'Why are you thin like an ant?' The little thin bug is offended and has no idea what to say, so she turns to her neighbour and asks him: 'And you, why are you all yellow like a bee.' Thus, when the bugs meet each other for the first time it is catastrophic, they hate each other and they all accuse each other for being different reciprocally. They behave in this horrible manner with one another until the question comes back to little fat bug: 'Well then, why are you fat like a hippopotamus.' Upon which little fat bug answers: 'What a stupid question!', forgetting that she was the one who asked it in the first place! She continues by saying: 'I don't know, I was born this way: a little fat.' Then it is the little thin bug's turn to say something. She thinks that what the little fat bug makes sense and repeats: 'I don't know either, I was born like this - all thin'. After which, everybody follows her example. In the end, the little fat bug concludes in a satisfied tone: 'All is perfect then, come on in! It seems that we can't do anything about it.' There's nothing we can do about it, 'So lets go dance!', cried all the others. And after their long conversations, they all go to dance. The bugs finally realize what the problem is: the problem is that there is no answer to the question,'Why is no one the same?'. The story ends on a simple and humorous note: 'Because in the country of little bugs, like in all the other countries in the world, it is impossible to choose the way we are: we are born the way we are born, one different from the other.' Only silly little bugs wouldn't know such things. This book talks about difference and tolerance and like many of Beatrice Alemagna's children's books, the book is centered around the theme of identity. In this new book, Beatrice approaches this theme in a manner that is simple and funny, using repetitive language to make the story both comical and direct for young children. This book is also unique for its stunning visual style. In fact, Beatrice Alemagna invented a whole new technique of illustration for this book. She experimented and searched until she found a technique that would effectively evoke the hairiness and dustiness of this book through the mixture of a felted wool technique and an amalgam of applique, fabrics and stitching. This creates a surprisingly cosy and texture-rich world that reminds one of wool and old blankets.
About the Author
Born in 1973 in Bologna, Italy, Beatrice Alemagna is one of the most well known contemporary children's book illustrators in France today. Beatrice graduated from the Istituto Superiore for Industrial Arts (ISIA) in Urbino, Italy. In 1996 she won first prize at the Figures futures (Future Figures) competition at the Salon Du Livre et de la Presse Jeunesse in Montreuil, Paris. She soon fell in love with the French publishing scene and moved to Paris where she has since worked with many prestigious publishers and drew the children's cinema posters for the Centre Georges Pompidou for over 11 years.Winner of numerous prestigious awards, including the Baobab prize (2005, 2006) and a special mention at the Bologna Rgazzi awards (2007), her books have been translated into more than 10 languages and she has published over 20 works with leading French publishers