10 Little Insects ‘highly recommended’: Reading Time

An extract from 10 Little Insects

Davide Cali is all over the August edition of the Children’s Book Council’s official journal, Reading Time.

There’s a profile of him, which looks at some of the influences on his work for kids, plus another very enthusiastic review of Cali’s and Vincent Pianina’s latest book, 10 Little Insects. Here’s a snippet of the review:

Cali adopts the classic detective novel structure, introducing the characters through a prologue, and rounding off with a very funny denouement when all is explained, still leaving room for a final surprise … Attractive design within the comic-book tradition, sharp drawing, fresh clear colours, a quirky cover and exceptionally beautiful endpapers make up an appealing presentation. High recommended.

10 Little Insects - Davide Cali & Vincent Pianina

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Cali ‘like a magician’ with kids: Melbourne’s Herald Sun

Some of the highlights of Davide Cali’s Australian tour have been the memorable sessions he’s done with school kids in Adelaide, Geelong, Melbourne and Sydney.

Melbourne’s Herald-Sun published a vivid description of one of Davide Cali’s Melbourne workshops yesterday in its ‘Learn’ section (click on the image to have a read). Says reporter Blanche Clark:

European author and illustrator Davide Cali is like a magician, keeping 100-odd preppies at Albert Park Primary School entertained with his hand-made books.

Her write-up makes you think you’re in the room with him. She also asked Cali about the message behind many of his books, to which he replied:

The thing I like to tell the children is that no matter how different you are, no matter how alone you may feel, there is a place for you; there’s someone just like you.

Guest post: Nicki Greenberg launches ’10 Little Insects’

Nicki Greenberg launches ’10 Little Insects’

Australian illustrator Nicki Greenberg (The Great Gatsby, Hamlet) was kind enough to launch Davide Cali and Vincent Pianina’s 10 Little Insects at the Children’s Book Council National Conference last Saturday in Adelaide. Here’s the transcript of her memorable speech.

Ladies and gentlemen, if anyone offers you a free boat ticket to Tortoise Island, I would suggest that you think very carefully before accepting. The island looks nothing like a tortoise, there is fresh dung on the menu for dinner, and you have at least a 50% chance of being murdered in a comical and undignified manner before your body is unceremoniously stowed in the deep freeze.

Welcome to Davide Cali and Vincent Pianina’s Ten Little Insects. When you open this beautifully presented book, you join a bunch (or a flock? A buzz? Maybe an infestation?) of insects embarking on an island holiday which soon turns very sinister indeed. Summoned to Tortoise Island by a mysterious host, each guest comes with a guilty secret. And within hours someone starts bumping them off one by one. Luckily, moustachioed detective Gafard and his bed-hogging sidekick Lelarve are also on the island, and on the case.

If you are an Agatha Christie fan, this might sound suspiciously like the plot of her famous novel, And Then There Were None [aka Ten Little Indians]. I must admit to having a very soft spot for Ten Little Indians, as it was the second Agatha Christie I ever read, at the age of twelve, and definitely the one that got me hooked. I devoured forty-something more of her mysteries over the next few years, and failed to pick the murderer in a single one of them. Around the same age I also decided that I wanted to be an entomologist when I grew up. An entomologist is, of course, a scientist who studies insects. A coincidence? I think not.

Davide Cali responds to Nicki Greenberg’s launch speech

So when I sat down to read Davide Cali’s Ten Little Insects, I thought I was on easy street. For starters, I knew my Lepidoptera from my Phasmatoptera. And I didn’t have to be Hercule Poirot to catch the murderer: I already knew whodunit, right? Well, not quite. Because this is not a faithful retelling of And Then There Were None at all.  For instance, I’m pretty sure Dame Agatha Christie never had the butler confessing that ‘the dung we served wasn’t fresh: it was frozen’. Someone is having a laugh here. And the more I read, the more I was the one laughing.

Ten Little Insects is a very funny book, and it’s the kind of funny that does not live by words alone. It’s the kind of funny that comes from the alchemy of both words and pictures working their crazy comic magic together. It’s that combination that we can’t help but succumb to and whose secret we can’t ever really pin down. A bit like a murder mystery… Hmm… Coincidence? Again, I think not!

It’s hard to resist reading this book at the speed of a leaping cricket. It’s pacy, the dialogue cracks along and of course you want to discover the murderer. But try, if you possibly can, to slow down just a tiny bit. Linger a little in the wonderful lush landscapes of the island and the fabulous interiors of the mansion. Enjoy the clever use of space in the page layouts, the colours and textures, and the complex blocking required to portray so many characters’ interlocking conversations. It’s smart, it’s funny, and Cali and Pianina make it look completely effortless.

CBCA delegates queue for signed copies of Cali’s books

Despite my adolescent dreams, I did not become either a detective or an entomologist. But I did turn out to be a comic book maker, and I recognise a wonderful specimen when I see one. So it is my great pleasure to launch the Australian edition of Ten Little Insects, and to wish it great success here on this very large island shaped like a big squashed bug.

Nicki Greenberg, May 2012

10 Little Insects - Davide Cali & Vincent Pianina

Davide Cali ‘in conversation’ tonight in Melbourne!

Davide Cali signing books at last weekend’s CBCA conference

DAVIDE CALI IS finally in Australia and is already proving a big hit with audiences. His talk at last weekend’s Children’s Book Council of Australia National Conference was followed by a marathon 90-minute signing session.

Now, it’s Melbourne’s turn to meet him, as he makes two appearances today at Readings Bookshop, 309 Lygon Street, Carlton. There are two FREE events:

A unique signed copy

Join us for a glass of Italian wine (or OJ) and meet one of Europe’s top kids’ authors in a convivial atmosphere. Both events are free. Davide will also be available to sign copies of his books (as you can see on the right, a signed Davide Cali book is a thing to behold).

Readings has posted Cali’s thoughts on all his English language books on their website here.

Cali is on his first ever tour of Australia (for complete details, click here.)

Davide Cali coming to Australia in 2012

We've published eight of Davide Cali's books so far.

A great Christmas present for us and Australian kids. One of Europe’s top kids’ writers, Swiss-Italian Davide Cali, is going to tour Australia in May 2012. The tour is part of our activities as a Partner of the National Year of Reading 2012. We’ve set up a special page for his tour, which you can view here.

A fun day out at the Children’s Book Market

The Wilkins Farago stand was busy all day

WE had a great time at Saturday’s Children’s Book Market at Melbourne’s Federation Square. As well as selling a few books (must remember that’s the point of having a book publishing company!), we got the chance to talk to a lot of members of the public and get their (overwhelmingly positive) feedback on our books.

Because our books are primarily sold through bookshops, we don’t often get a chance for this kind of direct interaction, and it’s invaluable in all sorts of ways.

We also got a chance to meet the people from i2Kids, an online bookstore that specialises in bringing mostly foreign language children’s books into Australia. What a great idea. Hopefully, you’ll be able to buy our books from their website shortly.

And a BIG thank you to Books Illustrated‘s Ann James for giving our boys two of the paintings she did beneath a watchful video camera, which projected her work brush-stroke by brushstroke onto a large video screen. Being able to watch one of Australia’s top illustrators at work was a real treat.

This was a special event arranged for Children’s Book Week, and the people at Federation Square plan to have more kids’ book markets in future. We’ll certainly come again if they happen.

Children’s book market @ Fed Square

LOVE children’s books? Want to meet us? Head to the Children’s Book Market, in The Atrium at Federation Square, Melbourne, on Saturday 27 August.

Run in partnership with the Children’s Book Council of Australia, the market will have an abundance of local independent authors and publishers (including Wilkins Farago) as well, so you are sure to find a unique book for the child at home or the child inside! As well as books, you’ll find children’s illustrators drawing live on the big screen.

This market is to celebrate Children’s Book Week, and with 15 new and second hand children’s book sellers also on site, you’re sure to find a new favourite to take home for story time.

When: Saturday 27 August, 11am – 5pm

Where: The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne

Email: books@fedsquare.com.au