Between the lamb and eggs

Easter isn’t only about gorging on lamb and chocolate eggs. There’s always a quiet moment to share books with children and Kathimerini English Edition has selected some recent releases for the occasion. Eugene Trivizas fires off another round in his campaign with «O polemos tis Omegavitas» (The Battle of Omegabeta, Minoas, 2007), the latest in his series of anti-war books. In an imaginary time when Omega is the first letter in the Greek alphabet and Alpha the last, Omega gives himself airs. Not content with living in luxury in a mansion with a thousand exclamation marks, he drags the other letters into battle to plunder other alphabets. The hilarious tale of his comeuppance and the restoration of peace is matched by Antonis Aspromourgos’s inventive illustrations that infuse every letter of the alphabet with personality. «Kati paraxeno apopse symvainei» (Something Strange is Happening Tonight), written and illustrated by Fotini Stefanidi and published by Livanis, is a marvelous mix of image and text, where the pictures flow on from one page to the next and the words move into the pictures. On New Year’s Eve, Panos climbs out of his window, carrying a bag of odd items that prove useful as he travels from one fairy tale to the next, delivering envelopes to their heroes. He donates a pumpkin to Cinderella, his bicycle to Snow White, and sails off on a watermelon rind to see the Little Match Girl. Stefanidi conjures up the magic of the old tales in a highly original verse narrative that unites all the characters and motifs at a New Year’s party. A series of picture books by Papadopoulos publications for children in the first two classes of primary school are not schoolbooks as such, but each has a section of skill-extending activities, with examples drawn from the book. Leda Vararoussi’s «To agapimeno mou spitaki» (My Favorite House), illustrated by the author, celebrates the free play of imagination. The young heroine fantasizes about her ideal house: Should it be big enough so she can have a pet elephant? What about pink feathers for tiles and green bells all around that ring in the wind? Or a box full of colored pens so she can draw the furniture and friends and clothes she wants, and rub them out and start again? The book shows readers how to play with alternatives in that boundless world inside their heads. The other books in the series are more overtly didactic, but they wrap their messages in fairly entertaining packages. In «Kalinyhta kai oneira glyka» (Goodnight and Sweet Dreams), by Argyro Pipini with illustrations by Chloe Benetatou, a boy is afraid of the dark. His grandfather says it’s a sign of a lively imagination, but that is little consolation to a child tormented by fears and nightmares. Then one night his school friend Vassilis sleeps over and teaches him how to use his imagination to make shapes on the wall and banish his phobias. In «I Sygnomomihani» (The Apology Machine) by Costas Haralas, illustrated by Leda Tsouhnika, Yolanda gets lots of things wrong but always refuses to apologize. Even when her father buys her a robot that follows her round apologizing for her mistakes, she fails to mend her ways. It’s only when she damages the robot by taking it into the bath with her that she learns to say a heartfelt sorry. «Yelio… tou koutiou» (Laughter in a Box), by Antonis Papatheodoulou, illustrated by Eliza Vavouri, is a funny slant on a serious topic. The hero’s father has been searching unsuccessfully for work. His son has tried everything to cheer him up, with equal lack of success. He answers an advertisement for boxed laughter, but even that leads to mishaps until a collision at home plasters a strawberry cream cake on his father’s head and a smile on his face, just as the telephone rings with good news. Matoula is fussy; she can’t bear things in halves. In «Ta misa tis Matoulas» (Matoula’s Halves), by Maria Rousaki with illustrations by Elli Griva, she gradually learns to see how halves can be interesting, in a gentle story about broadening one’s outlook. «Milise mou yia tin eftyhia» (Tell Me about Happiness) by Alexandra Markopoulou and Katerina Koufopoulou with illustrations by Eliza Varvouri is a low-key approach to one of life’s big questions. When Minas tries to shake off a bad mood, none of the images that usually cheer him up do the trick. He starts asking family, teachers and school friends, but their answers don’t satisfy him. It’s a bike ride to the beach and a conversation with his friend that puts the question in perspective. Happiness turns out to be an everyday matter.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.