The very first book review on my blog. But as a regular reader of my blog, you know well that I am trying to get to know Switzerland in all aspects. Not only its beautiful nature but also its language and culture. I think (and I hope you agree with me) that stories and legends also belong to the cultural wealth of the country, and it is something we should also get to know. Whether it’s because kids will be learning about it at school. That is why The Monster Book of Switzerland should find its place on your bookshelf.
Switzerland is a monstrous place! Will the terrifying Tatzelwurm eat your pigs and dogs? Can fearless Hannah defeat the dismembered ghost that guards the Aargau treasure? And will Basel’s kids be turned to stone?
In eight stories and 36 fact-filled pages, Switzerland’s monsters come to life, accompanying readers on a tour of topics that range from how to dig a tunnel through the mountains to what makes Swiss chocolate unique.
Title: The Monster Book of Switzerland
Authors: Jeanne Darling & Michael Meister
Publisher: Bergli Books
First Issue: 2018
Number of pages: 72
The first thing, that has captured my attention, was how big The Monster Book of Switzerland is! Not only in terms of content, but also in terms of format. Judge yourself: The book is sized 27cm x 37cm. The book is intended for children from 4 years of age, so maybe the smaller ones will need their parents to help them to hold the book. Older children can handle it themselves 🙂
As the annotation revealed, the book contains 8 legends from different regions of Switzerland. Right on the start page, the little readers will be introduced to eighteen Swiss monsters. Some will certainly not be unknown to them. Such as for example Schmutzli, who traditionally accompanies the local Samichlous (St.Nicholas) at the beginning of December. Or those from Zurich will certainly know the Böögg, who resembles a snowman and symbolizes the winter. The burning of the Böögg serves to drive out the winter and herald the spring.
What I like about the book, that the text of the legends is not unbroken. The paragraphs are in the bubbles that follow and the text is so broken. The language is not complicated – who has ever read some myths, legends, and fairy tales can easily figure out the meaning. . The illustrations of Michael Meister, which will surely interest children, then dramatically illustrate individual stories.
In the book, legends alternate with fact-filled pages – there are even more of these chapters than legends. They contain a very wide range of information about Switzerland: about the local climate, mountains, inventions, traditional Swiss sports, festivities, or how cheese and chocolate are made.
I must admit, however, that I was a little surprised when I read on the last page of the book that although the book is based entirely on Swiss legends, in particular, some of the traditional heroes have become heroines. I can not say what stories it’s about, but I wonder if gender balance is so necessary in this case …
The book is available in 3 languages (English, German, French) and you can buy it on the Bergli Books website (with free shipping to Swiss addresses). Since 1988, Bergli Books publishes books on Switzerland that help bridge intercultural differences.
Thank Bergli books for sending me an issue of The Monster Book of Switzerland. I would really recommend the book to those who have children and want to learn something new and interesting about the country that has become their new home.