(Red little fangs) Book not yet available in English
After the death of her parents, Hortensia Pemberton is placed in the care of her uncle, who is passionate about haute cuisine and lives in the English countryside. While exploring the surroundings of the house, she meets two very pale children who are all dressed in white and seem to have just woken up from a long sleep. Hugo and Helena are two small bloodthirsty vampires. But Hortensia doesn’t lose heart, makes friends with the two, and decides to find a way to transform them back into children.
This novel is interesting because it revises a popular genre, the vampire story, subverting it in an ironic and funny way. The protagonist, Hortensia, is a courageous and resourceful girl who, far from trying to defeat her vampire cousins, makes friends with them and finds a non-violent and pleasant way to turn them back into real children. The series “Belle, astute e coraggiose” (Beautiful, cunning, and courageous) includes 12 volumes published between 2010 and 2012, all written by Beatrice Masini and illustrated by Desideria Guicciardini. Masini tells the stories of brave and intelligent girls, who subvert the canons of codified literary genres (e. g. adventure, mythical, historical narratives), and succeed in accomplishing various kinds of adventures without resorting to violence, and improving their lives. In several cases, the open ending leaves unlimited choices to protagonists and readers alike. Although some books are better than others from a stylistic point of view, altogether they are a pleasant and engaging read, as well as a source of empowerment and inspiration for girls. The only sore note is that the peritext is a bit too girly. As a matter of fact, these stories could and should also be read by boys in order to avoid falling into the false equation that gender-sensitive literature is only for girls.
Edited by: Centro MeTRa (Italy)
Illustrator(s): Guicciardini, Desideria
Series: Belle, astute e coraggiose
Publisher: Edizioni EL
City: San Dorligo della Valle
Age Range: 6 - 10
Original Language: IT
Keywords: Female characters, Positive role model, Rewriting
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