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Special List: Mildred L. Batchelder Award Winner 2021
  1 Telephone Tales
Author: Rodari, Gianni Illustrator: Vidali, Valerio Translator: Shugaar, Anthony
Click for Large Image
Class: Easy
Age: 8-12
Language: English
Descriptors: Picture Book, Translation
Demand: Hot
LC: PZ7.R598
Grade: 3-7
ISBN-13: 9781592702848
LCCN: 2019011908
Imprint: Enchanted Lion Books
Pub Date: 09/08/2020
Availability: Available
List: $27.95
Physical Description: 198 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm H 9.5", W 6.25"
LC Series:
Brodart Sources: Brodart's For Youth Interest Titles
Awards: Mildred L. Batchelder Award Winners
Notable Children's Books, ALA
Publishers Weekly Starred Reviews
Starred Reviews: Publishers Weekly
TIPS Subjects: Bedtime Stories/Poems/Music
Humorous Fiction
BISAC Subjects: JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories
JUVENILE FICTION / Fairy Tales & Folklore / General
LC Subjects: Humorous stories
Short stories
Storytelling, Fiction
Storytelling, Juvenile fiction
SEARS Subjects: Humorous fiction
Reading Programs:
ONIX annotations | 05/25/2020
Every night, at nine o'clock, wherever he is, Mr. Bianchi, an accountant who often has to travel for work, calls his daughter and tells her a bedtime story. But since it's still the 20th century world of pay phones, each story has to be told in the time that a single coin will buy. Reminiscent of Scheherazade and One Thousand and One Nights, Gianni Rodari's Telephone Tales is composed of many stories--in fact, seventy short stories, with one for each phone call. Each story is set in a different place and a different time, with unconventional characters and a wonderful mix of reality and fantasy. One night, it's a carousel so beloved by children that an old man finally sneaks on to understand why, and as he sails above the world, he does. Or, it's a land filled with butter men, roads paved with chocolate, or a young shrimp who has the courage to do things in a different way from what he's supposed to do. Awarded the Hans Christian Anderson Award in 1970, Gianni Rodari is widely considered to be Italy's most important children's author of the 20th century. Newly re-illustrated by Italian artist Valerio Vidali (The Forest), Telephone Tales entertains, while questioning and imagining other worlds.
Starred Reviews:
Publishers Weekly | 10/26/2020
Ages 8-12. "Every evening-no matter where he was-at nine o'clock on the dot, Signor Bianchi put in a phone call to Varese and told his little girl a story." In the 70 brief stories told within this frame, the irrepressible Rodari plays with words, numbers ("eleventy thousand sporty-seven hundred and thirty-three"), time, and space. In bold shapes and bright colors, Vidali (The Forest) plays right along: his images read as an homage to Bruno Munari, who illustrated the first Italian edition in 1962. At times whimsical, absurd, and subversive, the stories carry readers along roads made of chocolate, under skies that rain Jordan almonds, and into children's private language. They also speak to today's urgent concerns-human connection, the injustice of inequality, and the dangers of authoritarianism. At every turn, Rodari remains emphatically on the side of the young, reminding readers that "the whole world already belongs to every child that comes into it.... They need only to roll up their sleeves, stretch out their hands, and take it for themselves." Numerous gatefold spreads and tipped-in pages add to the rich texture of this beautifully produced volume. (Sept.). 212p. Web-Exclusive Review. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2020.
Journal Reviews
Kirkus Reviews | 08/01/2020
An Italian traveling salesman has promised his daughter regular bedtime stories, so he calls her nightly from a pay phone. To save money, he must keep his stories short. Whimsical in tone, many of these 67 short stories involve language play, such as tales about inventing numbers ("a tricyclon of squintillions") and a boy who asks impossible questions ("Why do whiskers have cats?"). Some stories are philosophical in nature, questioning war (in one story, a "festive concert of bells" rings from a cannon) and power (a child who is literally transparent alters everyone's views of a tyrant). A string of closing stories centers on other planets, including one about a chick from Eighth Mars who tells everyone that "the word 'enemy' is nonexistent outside of Earth." Each story is accompanied by an illustration, many inventive and done in highly saturated colors; most humans are depicted with magenta skin. Many stories include gatefold illustrations; others are illustrations on inset small pages, attached to the recto of a spread. Virtually all playfully ask readers to stop and think. Originally written 40 years ago by an Italian author, the stories hold up, though during a time in the United States in which monkey imagery is being reconsidered in children's books, readers may bristle at a story about dimwitted anthropomorphic monkeys walking in circles in a cage at the zoo. Offbeat tales for readers in the mood for something whimsically contemplative. (Picture book/short stories. 7-12). 212pg. KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2020.
School Library Journal | 09/01/2020
Gr 3-5. Accountant Mr. Bianchi promises his daughter that he will tell her a bedtime story every night. While he is traveling across Italy, he calls her at 9 p.m. on the nearest pay phone and tells her a short story. So begins a plethora of clever tales. There are a lot of stories to love in this Italian export. Rodari is a master storyteller; his imagination knows no bounds from runaway noses, buildings made of ice cream, magical carousels, and an elevator to the stars. Each story is thoughtful and well constructed as Rodari plays delightfully with different themes. In "The Country with the Un in the Front," war is "immediately unwaged." "The Young Crayfish" emphasizes being yourself, as the crayfish learns to walk forwards despite his family's judgment, and readers learn the strength of truth against injustice in "Giacomo of Crystal." The narration is distinctly Italian from the names of all the cities, characters, food, and expressions. Although there are some female characters, a majority of the entries center male characters, and strong female leadership is only really shown in "The Well at Cascina Piana," where women from 11 warring families band together to help a male character and as a result, save their families. Almost every human is depicted in the accompanying illustrations as having a pink hue to their skin. VERDICT Though not perfect, this could be used for storytelling and bedtime reading. For larger collections. Rebecca Fitzgerald, Harrison P.L., NY. 212p. SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2020.