To read a book, to go page after page through a comic, even to watch a film, very much resembles the adventure of travelling down a road. When the book has several volumes, when a multitude of secondary stories cross with the main story, the road seems to be full of adventures; because you have a long way to go, surrounded by miraculous landscapes, you have many surprising detours to make, you have to walk over bridges and viaducts. This is the situation with the present cycle, that of the “Little Frog’s Heart“, about which I am more and more convinced that it is written “for all the ages“, that is, not only for my grandchildren, but even for grandparents like myself.
In this volume, the Drop of Blood we met in the first book seems to be tired and would like to get some rest. The Flea and the little Silk Worm, for a change, seem to be not just well rested, but also so curious and talkative that they do not fall silent even once over the course of three hundred pages or so. The Flea, who is older and more experienced, tells the little Worm a multitude of miraculous stories, only asking the Worm not interrupt him! As if that’s what’s going to happen! As if you can make such a minuscule, yet so lively a creature ask not just hundreds, but thousands of questions! Just like any other child, the little Worm is full of “whys“, and the Flea, despite his feigned discontent, strives to answer them all. And so we find, together with the little Worm, a multitude of things about dreams and their interpretation, about the wisdom of fleas, about what happened to the horned cattle, or about the power of memories. But, above all, the memorable story may be the more lengthy story, which crosses some of those already mentioned, about the burial of the Old Rat, former master of the Flea and his family. As in other parts of this cycle, what is completely impressive here is the way in which the mythological elements, some connected to primitive, folkloric Christianity, some connected to paganism, are introduced in this somehow “realist“ story, even if it is written in the key of the fantastic and the miraculous.
For the reader, irrespective of age as I realise now, reading these volumes is surely a pleasure. For the young reader, for the very young, for those who do not read yet but are read to, this is also a sort of “book of teachings“ through which readers can explain to themselves even those things which go above the first layer of understanding. On the other hand, they can make contact with the ethical dimension of our experience in this world. Congratulations to the author, and I wish good progress to the readers of all ages; as for me, I am waiting. Waiting for the next volumes, I mean. — Liviu Antonesei, 9 June 2011, Iași