Nothing more than a hole


Published on Feb 13, 2020


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The pit of Emma AdBåge is a remarkable book, with a personality that is overwhelming. What immediately strikes is the style of illustration unadorned, childlike, essential. The space is distorted by imperfections where the two-dimensionality interacts in a personal way with the prospect, according to a point of view very naive, but at the same time very distinctive and personal. Then it addresses the reading and the voice of the protagonist, who speaks in the first person, is immediately conquered by the simple tone and dry, typical of the narratives of the children, combined with an emphasis addictive.

"In the courtyard of our school, behind the gym, there is a hole. We call it our hole".

The Pit, as it is called, has a strength calamitante: it is nothing more than a large pit, at the edge of the yard facilities of the school, but to the group of guys is a different world: "it's full of climbs and descents, tree branches and rocks, and at one point, there is mud yellow that never ends!!! Once Vibeke had tried to dig for the entire interval, but the mud did not move at all ever". The children are playing wildly and intensely between the roots, gravel, earth, branches, rocks... it almost has the impression that the pit is immense.

"The great hate the Pit. They say that we don't have to play the game because you can die. “Or, as a minimum, fall and get hurt!” says Eva. “Once I fall and I hurt,” I say. "However, I was not in the Pit but I was in the room of the cushions, and Hannes has done a jump from the backrest and landed on me instead of on the carpet""

The opposing factions seem to be deployed: we are the adults with faces astiose and bewildered make a passive opposition, and the boys (us) completely ignoring that playing to roll down from the walls of the Pit: the objection is a just one, you will hurt!

""The Pit is still the most fun thing" do we murmur"

There are no swings or balls that are able to replace, and only the prohibitions manage to keep the boys out of the Pit, yet still allow them to play around its rim... and, behold, the calamitante Hole suggests countless other games: "after a while the Edge is completely worn out".

But the twists are not over: "this Friday, after that we were playing on the Edge for the entire interval, escapes me poop. When you step in front of the room of the teachers, however, feel great that they speak to each other. [...] Then the poop escapes me to be strong and then comes the weekends and no one goes to school."

Back-to-school leaves everyone speechless: there is no Hole. It's all finished, then? "You can just walk straight"?

"Suddenly we see a thing"

The gray imposes itself between the pages, the sky is white, perhaps, for the rigidity of the Swedish climate, but in any case helps to make the timeless and vivid the story. Stand out with their red gloves, boots, and ropes for play, but, at a closer look you realize that the small objects are innumerable, and the brown gloves, black and yellow are a great many, scattered and lost among the pages. Realism and distortion-styling blend in the unique way: the children are pictured with the jacket half tucked and half not, intent to put on his boots while they eat the snack and lose a glove, sitting like monkeys, are uncomfortable on the chairs of the class, intentions to complain and to make theirs tongues, hanging on to the tree trunks, and crouched on the rocks... the adults have dimensions that are often disproportionate, expressions crucciate and often one eye closed.

A realism that often in children's literature and becomes affected, and that, instead, these images do not have anything of graceful, but, for this makes you smile!

The images have an honesty and a spontaneous particular, where the spots of mud on the floor, the mat of black plastic in front of the stairs and the blood from the nose does not have anything romantic, but not anything epic, we just are.

Complete this vivid environment, a narrator's voice is authentic and a group of friends really enviable: it will be the same Swedish origin, but this group of children, very reminiscent of the ones by Astrid Lindgren, carefree, and seriously engaged at the same time.

A book that's really wonderful that celebrates, without any tone of celebration, the friendship, the imagination, the vividissima life of a child.


From 4 years old.

The article is Nothing more than a pit seems to be the first on a low Shelf.




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