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Stephen and the Beetleby Jorge Elias Lujan
Synopses & Reviews
When Stephen spots a beetle he takes off his shoe and raises his arm, ready to strike… but then he has second thoughts. He lays his head down on the ground and the beetle walks right up to him. At the last moment the beetle turns aside and each can go on with the day, having avoided the worst.
In this very simple story Jorge Luján presents the kind of deep moral questions that can occur even in the smallest childs day. Chiara Carrers very original etched and painted illustrations perfectly complement the story, and are in and of themselves beautiful works of art.
"A small backyard encounter becomes the basis for big questions in this striking lesson in compassion. When Stephen sees a horned beetle behind his house, he doesn't hesitate: 'He took off his shoe and raised his arm.' Carrer's naÃ¯f mixed-media illustrations show the boy, drawn in ink-scrawled outline, holding the shoe over his head, a giant stonelike oval hanging off its edge, as if to emphasize the shoe's transformation into a deadly weapon. Before Stephen does the deed, 'suddenly a thought came into his head. Where was the beetle going, anyway?' It's a turning point, and the more consideration Stephen gives the beetle, the larger and more detailed Carrer (Otto Carrotto) draws it. She highlights its strangeness in scenes that culminate in a frightening black-and-yellow portrait of the beetle that looks like it's about to attack. It doesn't, though, and simply continues on its way, as does Stephen. With haunting lines like 'The beetle went on about its business. It had no idea what was about to happen,' LujÃ¡n (Doggy Slippers) hints that, to some larger, greater forces, human lives may be similarly insignificant. Ages 2 — 5." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Jorge Luján is an author, poet, musician, and architect who has a gift for finding the very best illustrators from all over the world and collaborating with them to create exceptional childrens books. His very accessible poetry for children can be found in Con el sol en los ojos / With the Sun in My Eyes, illustrated by Morteza Zahedi, Doggy Slippers, illustrated by Isol, Colors! ¡Colores!, illustrated by Piet Grobler, and Rooster/Gallo, illustrated by Manuel Monroy. He has also written an ambitious retelling in verse of the myths in Wagners Ring Cycle, Brunhilda and the Ring, illustrated by Linda Wolfsgruber. Luján has garnered many excellent reviews and awards for his work, including the Premio de Poesía para Niños de ALIJA (IBBY Argentina). His music for children can be found at www.myspace.com/jorgelujaninfantil and his website at www.jorgelujan.com. Born in Argentina, he now lives in Mexico City.
Chiara Carrer is one of Italys best-known childrens book illustrators. She has been creating childrens books for more than twenty years, with more than one hundred titles to her credit. Carrer has won many major awards, including the UNICEF Prize, the Austrian Kinder und Jugendbuchpreis, the BolognaRagazzi New Horizons (Special Mention) and the Golden Apple at the Biennial of Illustration, Bratislava. She also teaches art and has exhibited her work in Europe, Japan, and Brazil. She lives in Rome.
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