Written by Gianni Rodari, the father of modern Italian children's literature, and charmingly illustrated by award-winning artist Beatrice Alemagna, this bright, sweet story reminds us what children are really like in the most essential and beautiful way!
Little Giovanni is always daydreaming, always paying attention to the small miracles that lead him to lose track of the big picture. So even though he's promised his mama to keep his eyes open on his walk, he can't help but get distracted. Cheerful, carefree, and curious, Giovanni literally loses himself as he discovers the wide, wonderful world around him. Here, Rodari highlights the gorgeous way children give themselves over to their attention to the world by having Giovanni lose parts of himself as he walks along. Should his mama worry? No! Because: "That's just the way children are."
Following her New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Telling Stories Wrong, Beatrice Alemagna returns to illustrate another of Gianni Rodari's delightful stories from Telephone Tales. With a Batchelder Award winning translation by Antony Shugaar, this classic story from one of Italy's most beloved and important authors of children's literature asserts the power of flights of fancy and the value of childlike wonder.
In a fanciful picture book about a child with his head in the clouds, Italian author and Andersen Medalist Rodari (1920-1980) focuses on easily diverted Giovanni, a well-intentioned boy who goes out for a walk. "Have fun, Giovanni," his mother notes, "don't get distracted along the way." Giovanni means to follow her instructions, and checks for the first block or so to make sure he hasn't lost anything ("Am I all here? Yes, I am!"), but soon afterward he begins to stare "at shop windows, cars, the clouds," until a passerby accosts him: "Oh, little one, you need to pay attention. Look! You've already lost a hand." As Giovanni continues missing body parts, and neighbors return them to his mother, surreal collages from Alemagna (Telling Stories Wrong) render the pale-skinned figures as doll-like, so that the detachment of limbs and features registers as comic rather than traumatic. When Giovanni's mother bemoans her child's inattention, each neighbor comforts her ("That's just the way children are") until, when the child returns, "cheerful as a sparrow," he is restored to his original state. Giovanni's distraction doesn't hurt anyone--not even Giovanni--in this conflict-free, daydreamy tale that centers a child letting go of care. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
"Award-winning author-illustrator Alemagna brings her brilliant, wildly inventive collage, colored pencil, and pastels to illuminate another charmingly quirky tale by beloved master storyteller Rodari. These improbable events—when a child casually sheds body parts during a meditative meander, and indulgent adults chalk it up to childish whimsy—offer a delightful flight of fancy, where even the odd and inexplicable are met with equanimity and good cheer." —Booklist
"A reimagined Italian classic gets the surreal update it deserves... Even as things grow increasingly fantastic, the storytelling reinforces Mama's unflagging love for Giovanni. Alemagna's mixed-media art provides the perfect counterpart to this tale..., perfectly conveying both the familiar ridiculousness of the storyline and the deep-seated connection between a boy and his mama. Heart, humor, and more than a spoonful of weirdness help this mother/son tale ring oddly true." —Kirkus
"In a fanciful picture book about a child with his head in the clouds, Italian author and Andersen Medalist Rodari focuses on easily diverted Giovanni, a well-intentioned boy who goes out for a walk... Surreal collages from Alemagna (Telling Stories Wrong) render the pale-skinned figures as doll-like... Giovanni's distraction doesn't hurt anyone—not even Giovanni—in this conflict-free, daydreamy tale." —Publishers Weekly
"The real star of this oversized picture book are the absolutely gorgeous mixed media illustrations on thick cream-colored paper. Strange, wonderful, and expressive, they combine photo cutouts and delicate pen-and-ink work filled with somewhat ominous cross hatching... Fans of Jon Klassen, Oliver Jeffers, Mac Barnett, or even Maurice Sendak should check out Gianni Rodari's weird and wonderful stories." —Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School (Boston, MA), for Youth Services Book Review