’10 Little Insects’ will have readers chuckling: School Library Journal

10 Little Insects

’10 Little Insects’ is a hilarious tribute to Agatha Christie.

The worldwide interest in 10 Little Insects, Davide Cali and Vincent Pianina’s hilarious graphic novel/comic book has been tremendous.

The interest in the United States has been particularly strong, driven by positive reviews such as this one in the influential School Library Journal:

This graphic-novel homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None finds 10 bugs drawn to a mysterious weekend getaway on a remote island. As the hours tick by, the members of the motley crew meet untimely deaths in a variety of macabre ways: poison, freezing, electrocution, being eaten by a fish, and getting beheaded amid secret passages. The title is filled with Victorian spookiness, until only a detective and his assistant sail away with their lives. The boldly colored art in the cartoon panels, while simple, holds some hilarious details that will have readers chuckling. The size and format may turn off potential readers who see a picture book rather than a gruesome murder mystery but reluctant readers will find more than enough to engage and amuse them.—Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library

The reviewer, Marge Loch-Wouters, hosts Tiny Tips for Library Fun, a lively and creative blog for children’s librarians, which is well worth a visit.

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10 Little Insects – ‘Bright and altogether engaging’

10 Little Insects10 Little Insects gets another rave review in America from Kirkus Review. Here’s a snippet…

“A remote island and a weekend getaway, with murder on the menu.

Think Agatha Christie’s classic Ten Little Indians retold as a graphic novel, an inspiration that Cali’s characters freely reference in the story. These characters, guests on remote Tortoise Island, are various insects: a fly called McFly, who comes in on an airplane; green Mr. Krikkit, who plays a guitar; the tall, yellow, segmented Johnny Nail; and others. Each thinks he’s coming for a different reason: a medical conference, swim meet, etc. An ominous recorded voice upbraids all assembled for unspecified misdeeds and predicts their imminent deaths….

Secret tunnels, a mysterious lighthouse, a skull and a séance all figure into the twisty tongue-in-cheek plot. The storytelling is ably carried along by Cali’s punnish narrative and Pianina’s colorful cartoon panels, which run from five to 10 per page. The playful cover and book size falsely imply a story for young children, but it’s more for preteens and even teens.

Bright and altogether engaging; aspiring entomologists should find it extra amusing. (Graphic mystery. 10-15)”

Review Posted Online: March 27th, 2013. Read more about 10 Little Insects here. 

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Teens and Tweens will be tickled!

This week, 10 Little Insects receives this positive review in Booklist.

Is this a parody of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (1939) or an homage? It’s probably a little bit of both. Ten insects, all with something to hide, 10_Little_Insects_posterreceive invitations to a weekend getaway on a mysterious island. The boat delivering them to the island has gone, the phones are dead, and none of the guests have any idea who their host is. As, one by one, the insects are found dead, the guests begin to turn on each other. Is there a killer among them? Or is this all just one big misunderstanding? The comic timing in this farce is perfect. The causes of death move from silly to sublime, pushing the envelope when it comes to suspension of disbelief. The artwork is simple but expressive. The insects flail their arms in anger and excitement, the colors are obvious and effective, and the ridiculous twist at the end is paced beautifully. Tweens and teens who have outgrown Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew will be tickled by this send-up of the genre. — Eva Volin

Booklist is a publication of the American Library Association that provides critical reviews of books and audiovisual materials for all ages.

Eva Volin is the Supervising Children’s Services Librarian, at City of Alameda Library in California.

Emma Baker reveals the secrets of the incredibly popular ‘Storytime’ program at the State Library of Victoria

ImageWe are excited to announce our second Reading For Social Peace event as part of the State Library’s Storytime program, Wednesday June 12th. Emma Baker, the State Library Family Programs Officer, will be reading Cali and Foli’s powerful picture book The Bear with the Sword  to up to 150 families.

Emma tells us the story about how this program became so successful…

Q1: Emma, what was the inspiration behind the Storytime Program at the State Library?

I think it’s never too early to start reading with your children! Our Baby Bounce and Storytime programs encourage parents to engage with their children through stories, songs and activities, making these a part of their everyday life. Our goal is to encourage literacy at a young age and create a lifelong love of books and reading.

Q2: How has it evolved since it first started?

ImageInitially these programs were run once a month and we were lucky if ten people came. I think this began to change when the Library curated, Look! The Art of the Australian Picture Book, which displayed artworks by illustrators such as Shaun Tan, Graeme Base, and Alison Lester. It was an exhibition aimed at families and helped raise awareness of the Library as a place for children.

Three years on, our programs now run every week (in Experimedia) with 120-150 families joining us each session. It’s great to have built such close relationship with our families and to be able to watch as their child grow and learn through play.

Q3: What makes it so successful in your opinion? Why is it so important?

I think there are three key elements to the success of the program. Firstly, the staff involved are knowledgeable and passionate about working with children and families. We provide a fun and friendly environment, where parents learn how easy it is to continue the program at home.

Secondly, we have engaged parents who actively join in to enrich their child’s learning. It’s amazing when there are 150 children and families singing ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’, and it doesn’t matter if you can’t sing- I certainly can’t! By role modeling for your child, it gives them confidence and strengthens the bond you have with them.

Finally, our Storytimes would not be possible without the wonderful team of volunteers we have. Whether they’re welcoming families, doing the Hokey Pokey, or helping children make their very own Hungry Caterpillar, they assist with the smooth delivery of our programs.  

Q4: Who are the events open to? Who is your biggest audience?

Our programs are for anyone with very young children and who after a fun, free and regular event.  Baby Bounce focuses on the early introduction of lullabies and rhymes to newborns and children up two years, while Storytime focuses on those more active preschoolers who have energy to burn.

The programs are also incredibly multicultural – we have families of all backgrounds attending. In that way we provide a community ‘hub’ in a sense where everyone can build friendships and share their culture, as well as learn English along the way.

Q5: We loved what you did when reading out our picture book Empty Fridge at the Gusto Family Day, how will you work with Bear With the Sword for World Environment Day (Weds 5th June)?

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Similar to Empty Fridge, we will be re-enacting Bear With the Sword for our younger audience at Storytime. I think it’s important for children to gain awareness about these particular environmental topics and when it’s presented using a method such as storytelling – it really engages them.

Emma Baker reading Empty Fridge as part of Social Inclusion Week 2012

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Q6: What is your favourite children’s book?

ImageThere are so many to choose from, but I think it would have to be a tie between Christopher Milne’s Naughty Stories for Good Boys and Girls and The Runaway Hug by Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood. Growing up, I loved reading Milne’s hilarious short stories about cheeky children who got up to all kinds of mischief and wishing I could be just as daring! And The Runaway Hug is one of those books I would recommend every parent have as part of their children’s book collection. Bland’s story and Blackwood’s beautiful illustrations just take your breath away.

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If you would like to join Emma Baker for ‘The Bear with the Sword’ Storytime head to the State Library of Victoria, Wednesday June 12th for a 11.30 start.                                  

Venue: Experimedia, Main Entry, Swanston Street.

The Little Eskimo – a homage to the child within us all

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A positive response from the children’s book blogging community about Davide Cali and Maurizio Quarello’s Little Eskimo and his companions. Here are some snippets to tempt you to read the articles in full!

This fable-like story is an homage to the child within us all – who looks to the future, brimming with questions and perhaps also fear about What Will Be. Author Cali has written a timeless, thoughtful and beautiful tale that reminds children the future is very much in their hands.

Maurizio Quarello’s striking illustrations of Arctic wilderness and its fauna has been lusciously-rendered, showcasing a darling main character and his animal friends in a way that will charm readers of all ages.

Simply gorgeous. – Tania McCartney, Kids Book Review

The Little Eskimo is a beautiful parable about identity and becoming in an exotic Arctic setting. – Angela Crocombe, Readings St Kilda

This is a book which is perfect for dreamers, thinkers and those who love to wander through the ‘what ifs’ within their imaginations. – My Book Corner Blog

This heart-warming allegorical tale, with folktales cadences, goes to the heart of what it is to be a child, with life’s wonderful possibilities laid out before you. – Stephanie Owen Reader Blog

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What type of chocolate-eater are you?

I Like Chocolate In May last year Victorian CBCA president Jo Goodman interviewed our author Davide Cali for Magpies magazine, in a cute little cafe in Eltham.

One of the books they talked about was Davide’s story I Like Chocolate illustrated by Evelyn Daviddi. We thought, with Easter fast approaching, and all the chocolate day dreaming going on … you’d enjoy this part of the interview:

I Like Chocolate is an enticing title, and the preponderance of chocolate colours is relieved by the illustrator’s choice of coloured backgrounds. It’s a fun book, so I couldn’t resist asking Davide which is his favourite chocolate – the answer is bitter black, although he pops in some white for a change. As to the type of chocolate-eater he is, he told me he discovered the pleasures of the Well-Mannered Nibble whilst researching, but after a couple of weeks reverted to The Production Line (you really must see the pictures to appreciate these).

The Well-Mannered Nibbler

The Production Line

An aspect of the illustrations in his book that is of vital concern to him is to check the expressions in the eyes of the characters – in this book they all needed to be changed to achieve the effect he wanted. He is amused that for the Egyptian edition the mother had to be redrawn flat-chested!

– Interview by Jo Goodman, ‘Know the Author Davide Cali‘, Magpies Volume 27.

If you like to sign up for this excellent industry publication visit the Magpies website here. 

If you LIKE Wilkins Farago Facebook page before midnight on Easter Sunday you will also be entered into a prize draw to win this exceptional Easter book bundle: a signed copy of I Like Chocolate, a poster from our new book The Little Eskimo (also by Davide) and some delicious Easter chocolates from Monsieur Truffe (our most loyal stockist of I Like Chocolate).

Easter Book Bundle

Happy World Book Day!

To celebrate World Book Day we would like to share a series of photographs sent to us by our Italian author Davide Cali. As you can see he LOVES all different types of stories. Thank you again to Kids Book Review and My Book Corner blogs for the first posting of Davide’s 15 Good Reasons to Read Book Series in December 2012. Enjoy!

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