2013 | Children
A haunting legend from the Undercity of Naples "Goblin" "Gremlin!" "Demon!" Strange little creature. Strange pale eyes, so full of fear. Strange little monk, his habit black as nightmares, his surplice grubby as spilt milk. Strange little boy shaped like a question mark, who are you? Intrigue, superstition and adventure feature in the first book of two books set in the dark world of medieval Naples and brought to life by spectacular double-spread graphic artwork. An orphaned boy is dressed as a monk and ostracised by everyone except the roaming wild cats of the Undercity for his scary looks and his ability to make bad things happen. Monacello searches above and below ground, determined to solve the mystery of his parents. After he encounters friendship from a little girl with a mysterious background of her own, it seems he can also bring good luck - a bringer of fortune; a wish granter. When a case of mistaken identity brings near disastrous consequences, this little monk must shake off his bad luck for good...THE AUTHOR SAYS - I visited a friend in Naples, and she showed me the city's best secret - its Undercity: a gloomy, buried world of ruined houses and streets.
Then I found out Naples has a secret inhabitant too - part-good, part-bad; a bringer of good luck and trouble; a boy with a sad history of his own. Legends like Monacello's date from a time when stories were not just for children; when they hovered in everyone's brain, somewhere between made-up and true. I never cared much for wicked villains or superheroes. Monacello is a mixture of sun and shadow - like we all are. My sort of hero. REVIEWS "This story is very unique. It is beautifully illustrated with a very eye-catching cover. It tells the story of Monacello the little monk, searching for his mother in Italy after being abandoned as a baby. Raised to be poor, dirty and ugly, the city folk deem him to be 'bad luck'. It runs along with a great textual rhythm and the plot is simple but imaginative, moving and absorbing all in one. Perfect for children and adults. The landscape within this world will stay with you for days. I really look forward to reading the sequel." -- WATERSTONE'S. "There are so many poignant and poetic gems scattered throughout this haunting tale.
The quality of McCaughrean's writing is stunningly original and the effectiveness of the descriptive, emotive language, creates a multi-layered and memorable story. Combined as it is, with stylish and atmospheric illustrations, Monacello has all the qualities of a classic fairy-tale. The themes of sadness and loneliness are woven so elegantly through the action-packed storyline that they burrow into the reader's heart, in the same way as the sadness of Monacello and Napolina seems to seep into the heart of the city, affecting even the well- water, so that it brings tears to horses "blue-brown eyes". Unforgettable." -- ARMADILLO MAGAZINE. "McCaughrean's reworking of a classic Italian folk story reads aloud wonderfully with its tale-teller's seeming simplicity and its frequent alliterations and internal rhymes. The menacing illustrations of Jana Diemberger, an artist of Italian/Austrian upbringing, will also invite shared talk between listener and reader. Her choice of viewpoint is often startling and dramatic. The dark, crater-eyes set in the pale moon of the foundling's face haunt the pages.
Only once is that face lit by a wan smile when Monacello has reached out to warm Napolina's icy sadness...Designed with such care, this layered tale will demand to be revisited many times." -- BOOKS FOR KEEPS. "Think of your average children's picture book and loveable monsters, fluffy animals and shiny trains probably spring to mind. An odd little creature-boy causing mischief in medieval Naples almost certainly does not. Mind you, the creator of Monacello The Little Monk isn't your average illustrator. In fact Jana Diemberger is an Italian-born, multi-tattooed boxing champ, and the story of how she came to the profession is something of a fairytale itself. "It was so exciting," she [Jana Diemberger] says. "I didn't know it would definitely happen; I'm really proud of it." And proud she should be; with its delicate, haunting images, Monacello is the kind of book that stays with you long after you've closed it." -- CAMBRIDGE EVENING NEWS.
|Published by||Phoenix Yard Books|
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