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Judit BERG
( 1974 )

» Rumini (2006)
» Rumini in Whitefrostville (2007)


born in 1974, Budapest
graduated from ELTE as English - Hungarian, and Dramapedagogy teacher

2007 The best Children's book of the year (Rumini)
2011 Attila József Prize


214 PAGES Born in Budapest in 1974, Judit Berg worked for a time, following graduation, as a journalist on cultural affairs before she gave birth to three daughters. Since then, she has become a children s story writer, also producing plays and becoming involved with puppet theatre. Among her books for nursery-school toddlers that have been published to date are Hisztimesék (Hissy-fit Tales), Micsoda idő! (What Weather!), and Tündér biciklin (On a Fairy Bicycle). This, the author s first full-length storybook, was arguably the best Hungarian children s book of 2006 and is aimed at children in the age-bracket 6 to 12 years. It is a full-blooded adventure story whose main protagonists are mice, rats, gophers and dormice, to say nothing of a vole, a squirrel wizard, and a guinea-pig. Then there is a giant octopus which drags ships down into the depths of the sea and a dragon which eats them, since Rumini is, at root, a sailor s yarn. Our friends, the mice, are shipping a rich cargo to the dormouse king in a vessel called the Queen of the Wind , but no end of adventures lie in store for them. They have to sail across the Gum Sea, through the Dragon Straits and get past Dump Island, to mention just some of hazards that they face early on in the voyage. The Rumini of the title, along with his friend Baliko, is a deck-boy. He is a scatterbrain who is always coming up with fresh brainwaves in his desire for adventure. He almost comes to grief, too, since he is captured by pirates (the rats) and comes within an ace of being sold into slavery. He manages to escape in the end, with a bit of help from his friend and fellow sailors. The Queen of the Wind accomplishes her mission too, though that is far from straightforward. In the big closing scene of the story the dormouse king sees that justice is done and sets the world right. Rumini is, therefore, an action-packed story, full of unexpected twists and fabulous detours. With her superb sense of drama, handling of dialogue and characterisation, the author provides children with a tale that is every bit as gripping as an adventure film, and Rumini deserves a place among children s favourite animal characters. In her first full-length storybook Judit Berg shows that she knows precisely how the tension can be screwed higher, how to tweak her readers interest, how to build up the adventures in a systematic fashion. Csaba Károlyi, Élet és Irodalom

Rumini in Whitefrostville

POZSONYI PAGONY KFT, 2007. 248 PAGES It goes almost without saying that the ‘Whitefrostville’ of this book’s title is a place in the far north. The ‘Queen of the Wind’, a sailing-boat known from Judit Berg’s previous book, is heading, with deckhands Rumini, Negro and Baliko, for the shore of Iceboro, the impregnable stronghold of the white-frost kings. It equally goes almost without saying that Rumini again does a disappearing act, only to be found once more. It perhaps also goes without saying that the our heroes are assisted by a bag of magic tricks: a seagull whistle and a hat that makes the wearer invisible, to say nothing of a glow-worm lantern. (There must also be a magic trick in the form of an ointment that distils fairytales, allowing the plot of to be summarised without divulging one of its secrets or the main twists.) It perhaps also goes without saying that the follow-up to Rumini, which was awarded the Children’s Book of the Year prize for 2006, is an enjoyable read in its own right, but Rumini in Whitefrostville exerts an even greater, more complete spell if read in conjunction with the earlier story as it gives scope for knowing nods and winks (in much the same way as László Darvasi did a few years back with Trapiti, or the Great Stewed-Marrow War of 2002, and Trapiti and the Awful Rabbit of 2004). No doubt it also goes without saying that there are a bunch of new figures to help our heroes restore justice and truth to their rightful places. No doubt it also goes without saying that Anna Kálmán’s charming illustrations fit in superbly with the text, and they greatly assist the reader to visualise—or even better: fantasise about—what is being read, And it most certainly goes without saying that Rumini in Whitefrostville is one book set in the frosty north that can be very warmly recommended.

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