The Fantastic Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Overview

Munchausen is the father of all fantastic liars, and as such, he is part magician and entertainer and part scoundrel—but a charming one, of course! Here, in simple language, Heinz Janisch retells the best-known Munchausen stories with humor and playfulness, making for a lighter and more whimsical presentation than usual. These retellings are mixed with never-before-heard adventures that were supposedly found only recently among the long-lost possessions of the well-known Baron of Lies. Could it be that new ...

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Overview

Munchausen is the father of all fantastic liars, and as such, he is part magician and entertainer and part scoundrel—but a charming one, of course! Here, in simple language, Heinz Janisch retells the best-known Munchausen stories with humor and playfulness, making for a lighter and more whimsical presentation than usual. These retellings are mixed with never-before-heard adventures that were supposedly found only recently among the long-lost possessions of the well-known Baron of Lies. Could it be that new Munchausen material only recently came to light? Or might Janisch be playing with us, weaving more magic and mischief into Munchausen as he goes along, compounding the tallness of these already tall tales? Only Janisch knows for sure, but it hardly matters, given the thrill and pleasure of the stories he has to relate. Aljoscha Blau illustrates Munchausen's fabulous journeys and exciting adventures with gorgeous imaginative pictures that are sure to entrance both children and adults.

Heinz Janisch was born in Austria in 1960 and studied German literature in Vienna. He has published numerous books, including many children's titles, which have been translated into more than twelve languages. He was nominated for the 2009 Lindgren Memorial Award and has been nominated for the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Award. In 2008 he received the Austrian picture book award. He lives in Vienna.

Aljoscha Blau was born in 1972 in St. Petersburg and has been living in Germany since 1990. He studied art in Hamburg, has received several awards, and has exhibited his works in Paris, New York, Hamburg, and Bologna. He lives in Berlin with his wife and two children.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his retellings of the Baron's tall tales, Janisch (I Have a Little Problem, Said the Bear) combines the bravura of Paul Bunyan with the elegance of Voltaire's Candide. Each story appears on the left, accompanied by a painting on the right of the beak-nosed Baron, nattily turned out in a dashing military tailcoat and tricorner, always placid despite the unusual circumstances in which he finds himself. "On an impulse I flung myself onto the flying cannonball," he says. "I held tight and felt the wind rush into my face." Blau shows the Baron calmly astride the cannonball, his silver pigtail streaming out behind him. Later, the Baron has a series of underwater adventures, finding a small orchestra in the belly of a whale, exploring the ocean floor on a seahorse ("Fortunately, my father had taught me how to hold my breath under water for hours") and falling in love ("I woke her cautiously and offered her a seat on the back of my seahorse"). Children with a romantic streak will be taken both with the Baron and his courtly fictions and by Blau's misty, stately portraits. All ages. (May)
From the Publisher

LMC Library Media Connection Starred Review

"Children with a romantic streak will be taken both with the Baron and his courtly fictions and by Blau's misty, stately portraits." - Publishers Weekly

"Each quick tale is told in a merry, unadorned fashion on one page, faced by an off-kilter painting by Blau on the other. Well matched to the stories, the scenes feature a jaunty Munchausen stoically going about his outrageous feats in dreamlike compositions that own much to the spacious weirdness of Dali." - Booklist

"These lighthearted, fantastical tales are greatly magnified in their imaginative impact by the delicate, mysterious illustrations, all with more than a touch of whimsey. [...] The Fantastic Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a collections sure to delight and mystify children of all ages, along with their parents and teachers." - The Midwest Book Review

"This newest picture book version captures these delightfully fantastical stories with illustrations which will ignite the imagination. [...] These stories are an important component of children's literature which no library should be without; many will be wise to update the aging collections on their shelves with this one to make the stories more accessible to current readers." - curledupkids.com

"These European stories will add a new dimension to your instruction on exaggeration and tall tales." - Gail Dent, Tucson Unified School District

School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Tales about Baron Karl Friedrich Hieronymus von Munchausen have been told and retold since they first appeared in the 1780s. Janisch includes stories that he claims to have discovered recently as well as traditional accounts. Among his exploits, Munchausen rides a huge seahorse to explore ocean depths, mounts a cannon ball to spy on enemy troops, pulls himself out of a swamp by his pigtail, and outwits the Sultan of Constantinople to amass a fortune. Janisch's elegant prose flows smoothly, creating a narrative voice that allows Munchausen to make the most absurd assertions in a matter-of-fact way. Blau's surrealistic illustrations are a perfect complement to the deadpan style, placing the 18th-century narrator in the unlikely situations he recounts. Perhaps these 11 stories could find a place in a study of tall tales, but it is probably additional for most libraries.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Kirkus Reviews
Tales of Baron Munchausen have mostly belonged to previous generations, with a few books popping up now and then. This stylish production may find new readers for the legendary tales of this man who was part magician, part entertainer and part scoundrel. A foreword provides the background of the real Munchausen, who was born a German baron in the 18th century, joined the Russian military and returned home to tell these outrageous tall tales about his adventures. Told in the first person, the 11 amusingly preposterous anecdotes include riding a cannonball, traveling to the moon, being given a sack full of sunshine, holding a concert inside a whale and riding a seahorse. Translated from the German, the tales smoothly segue into each other as Blau's sophisticated, elegant artwork visualizes the settings, antics and Baron, who has a hooked nose, gray mustache and curls and wears a tricorn hat and boots. This is handsomely designed in picture-book format, but the font size and amount of text on each page make it a lengthy read-aloud choice for kids whose imaginations trip the light fantastic. (Fiction. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592700912
  • Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,281,599
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.88 (w) x 9.88 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Heinz Janisch was born in Austria in 1960 and studied German literature in Vienna. He has published numerous books, including children's books, that have been translated into more than twelve languages. He was nominated for the Lindgren Memorial Award for 2009 and the Andersen award for 2010. In 2008, he received the Austrian picture book award. He lives in Vienna. Aljoscha Blau was born in 1972 in St.Petersburg and has been living in Germany since 1990. He studied art in Hamburg, has received several awards and has exhibited his works in Paris, New York, Hamburg and Bologna. He lives in Berlin with his wife and two children.
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