L’incredibile storia di Lavinia
(The incredible story of Lavinia) Book not yet available in English
This story resembles the one of the Little Match Girl, but with some small differences. Lavinia is a seven-year-old vagabond living in Milan. It’s Christmas Eve. Lavinia tries to sell her matches, but nobody wants to buy them. Cold and hungry, the girl falls asleep on the street, dreaming of something good to eat, when she’s suddenly woken up by a taxi braking. A fairy comes out of the taxi, and she gives Lavinia a magic ring, which can transform things, but in a quite unvalued material: poo.
This book is a funny happy-ending rewrite of The Little Match Girl, “not recommended for picky people” as the author declares since the beginning, and it is nowadays a classic of Italian children’s literature. Both girls and boys like it for its comic situations and for its ironic and easygoing use of “poo,” which is the main element of the plot, but which also has an important symbolic value. Between the lines we can read a critic to that part of Milan in the 1980s which is wealthy but refuses to help a poor abandoned child. Thanks to the help of the fairy, Lavinia escapes the death to which the little match girl had been sentenced, and she uses the ring to impose her desires on those selfish adults who had refused to help her in any ways, as well as to help other girls and boys in danger. However, she gets a big head and she ends up transforming herself into poo by mistake. Lavinia is eventually saved by the elevator boy, and she finally learns how to use the ring more wisely. Thus, the whole story pivots on this friendly, brave, and rebellious female protagonist, who redeems her condition and learns from her own mistakes how to dose and use her power properly. (First published in Italy in 1985)
Edited by: Centro MeTRa (Italy)