I peered pensively outside on this rather gloomy morning and to my surprise spied a package on the porch with international postage.
With great anticipation I tore open the large padded envelop and discovered a wonderfully illustrated storybook from Germany!
the publisher kindly enclosed a beautifully written English translation of the entire text
and a thoughtful personal note including warm regards from the well known satirical writer (and Tarot collector)
Gion Mathias Cavelty.
The publisher generously sent this book on the off chance that I might know an American publisher who may be
interested. I would love to see this book available here for children intrigued by Tarot and the mystical realms or for parents
who may be Tarot readers or collectors that long for an enjoyable, adventurous tale to share with their children. We Tarotists belong
to a very niche subculture and it is a rare thrill to find our obscure medium represented in an unexpected format such as
length storybook for kids.
This is a wildly imaginative Tarot-inspired tale meant for children and the big people that grow them (code for grown-ups).
It has twenty-two chapters each a page long. The charming humor will not be lost on perceptive
kids (or their parents). It’s about a young lad (with the unfortunate name)
who goes off to visit his grandmother in
the forest. The grandmother (aside from being as old as the hills) turns out to be a Tarot reader during the bewitching hours and
also possibly the guardian of dark secrets in the magical forest. Our adventurous hero is soon called to action by the Fool’s dog who
begs assistance in saving her foolish master from the clutches of Death. And so together they travel in a strange contraption
concocted from the boy’s imagination and meet many of the Major Arcana
personalities who come to life along the way. With the magic bag the Fool
unwittingly left behind Nemorino is able to avoid danger or being led down the wrong path by giving
each archetypal adversary not what they demand; but rather what they need (from a child’s point of view). So for example the Hermit
receives instead of his lost lantern; some deodorant so that he may meet a nice girl in town and overcome his antisocial inclinations.
Or the threatening Magician pulls a frightening white rabbit out of the magic bag instead of the powerful wand he expects.
Even the Fool, for whom his dog and Nemorino go through so much trouble rescuing, is not what we expect. And neither is Death for that
matter... Each turn in
the story does not go as anticipated and in this way (I believe) the author conveys to his gentle readers that when life does
not go exactly as planned it is still safe and even encouraged to forge ahead as surprises await and all turns out in the end.
The writing is clever, cheeky and completely enthralling and reminds me a bit of favorite books by
who also dreamed up
bizarre adventures in whimsical, unusual and satirical ways.
The artwork is fantastic and in a few instances is even reminiscent of Bosch (that dark master of eerie paintings of the underworld).
This is a beautifully produced hardcover book approximately 8 1/2 w by 12 inches long (21.6 by 30.5 cm) which
has the traditional
bookmark ribbon sewn into the binding. Including all the artwork it is around 60 pages long.
This is exactly the kind of book I would have treasured as a child of reading age; a bit spooky and suspenseful but with humor,
comradery and insanely imaginative illustrations to go along with a magical
journey. The corresponding drawings are
incredibly detailed and one could find new secrets in them with each visit. Let's hope it gets published in English soon!
Nemorino and the Fool's Bundle
Gion Mathias Cavelty
(along with the Sun, Moon and Stars)