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.
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About the Author
The Italian Author Gianni Rodari wrote many beloved children's books and was awarded the prestigious Andersen Prize. But he was also an educator of paramount importance in Italy and an activist who understood the liberating power of the imagination. He is one of the twentieth century's greatest authors for children, and Italy's greatest. Influenced by French surrealism and linguistics, Rodari stressed the importance of poetic language, metaphor, made-up language, and play. At a time when schooling was all about factual knowledge, Rodari wrote The Grammar of Fantasy, a radically imaginative book about storytelling and play. He was a forerunner of writing techniques such as the "fantastic binomial" and the utopian, world engendering "what if...." The relevance of Rodari's works today lies in his poetics of imagination, his humanist yet challenging approach to reality, and his themes, such as war and peace, immigration, injustice, inequality, and liberty. Forty years after his death, Rodari's writing is as powerful and innovative as ever. He died in Rome in 1980.
Valerio Vidali is an Italian illustrator of children's books. His book Jemmy Button (Templar/Candlewick, 2013), co-authored with Jennifer Uman, was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2013. His book The Forest, co-illustrated with Violeta Lopíz was published by Enchanted Lion in 2018.
Antony Shugaar is a writer and translator, working out of Italian and French. He once interviewed the creator of Topo Gigio.