“In a dark, dark forest, there lived a creature who was covered in spikes. His name was Spiky….He was spiky, he was bad, and he didn’t need anyone at all.”
So starts Spiky, written and illustrated by Ilaria Guarducci and translated from Italian by Laura Watkinson.” Spiky is the first release from Amazon Crossing Kids, a new imprint for children’s books in translation. Amazon Crossing Kids aims to “increase the diversity of children’s books in translation,” something near and dear to my heart, and they also encourage young reading from a range of cultural perspectives.
*Note – I was sent this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Spiky is a pretty awful creature. He was trained by his parents and sent to a special school to learn how to be scary, snarky, and simply put, very, very bad. He pulls wings off of butterflies, steals snacks, and torments trees. But what happens when Spiky doesn’t have spikes anymore? When he doesn’t look so scary?
All of the animals he tormented start to laugh at him. Without being bad, he felt his life was pointless (sorry, I couldn’t help it). Fortunately for Spiky, Bernardo the bunny was a very kind bunny. Rather than taunt Spiky, he became his friend and showed him a world of opportunities outside of being bad. What do you think happened when his spikes suddenly came back? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
Spiky reads like a fairy tale or maybe more like a fable. Like fables, there is a moral to the story, some basic life lessons that Spiky has to go through in order to live his best life. This one is easy enough for kids of any age to understand and appreciate and would be a great book to read during National Unity Day to stamp out bullying.
As I mentioned earlier, the story and illustrations were done by Ilaria Guarducci. She has managed to capture expressions on the characters faces that truly bring the story to life. While Spiky is her first translated work, she has written and/or illustrated seven children’s books. Spiky, published in Italy under the title Spino, was shortlisted for the Soligatto Award for Best Picture Book. Ilaria lives with her family in Prato, Italy.
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Spiky, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses).
And for you lucky people at ALA, there is an ADDITIONAL GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY! For anyone attending the American Library Association Conference in Washington, DC, Two Lions is giving away copies of Spiky and other Amazon Crossing Kids titles! Check out booth #1362.