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O collection  


Ana Tortosa & Cecilia Varela
13,50€ | 978-84-9871-281-0
36 pages | hardback | 25x23 cm |
May 2011

And if I give him some sea water? No, he’s already got some of that, because the sea is in his eyes. Today is Mario’s birthday and Jane is invited to tea. She doesn’t know what to give him and on the way she thinks about a present for her friend. She thinks of many things, but it isn’t easy when something special is needed. In the O Collection of OQO book the main character of this album takes us by the hand to discover that the best gifts are not those we buy. Ana Tortosa has chosen a very revealing title, Empty-handed, for this story that presents values very far from the consumer society, in which we live, tries to impose on us. In the story, the author invites the youngest to look beyond the material and to explore other alternatives in leisure: nature, imagination, friendship… Starting with the main character’s original game of questions and answers, she has created a story that has many conundrums. Reading this album requires the readers to be awake and we have here the challenge the author proposes: to guess the identity of the mysterious Mario before getting to the end. Resolving the enigma isn’t so complicated, but attention must be paid to all the clues Jane gives throughout the tale. Cecilia Varela, in her second collaboration with OQO books, has filled with light and life every page of the book. Her constant references to the sea and marine motifs (the helm, beach, lighthouse, shell…) are a metaphor of the sea of questions Jane navigates through in search of the best gift for her friend. Two characters, a cat and an octopus, accompany her on her adventure. The illustrator has chosen these companions because they are animals traditionally linked to marine culture. It may come as a surprise nowadays, but up to not so long ago sailors travelled with cats on board to keep the rats at bay. For sailors they were lucky charms and many are the superstitions surrounding these animals. Sailing history is also full of stories about giant octopus. However, Cecilia Varela’s octopus doesn’t provoke fear. The most playful side of the creature is exploited in the images and full advantage is taken of their physical characteristics: tentacles, flexibility… While the gestures and certain abilities (now holding a cup, now an umbrella, etc.) help to personify this lively and playful octopus. But as we all know, stories have a beginning and an end. Jane, without realizing, gets to Mario’s house. Would you like to know what she gives him? Text by Ana Tortosa Illustrations by Cecilia Varela From the Spanish translation by Mark W. Heslop

+ 4 years
Also available in: GL | ES | IT | FR | PT

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