A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

Dutch / Belgium (Flanders)

De gouden kooi of het waargebeurde verhaal van de bloedprinses
(The golden cage, or the true story of the blood-princess)

Castagnoli, Anna (text)
Cneut, Carll (illus.)
De Coster, Saskia (transl.)
Wielsbeke: De Eenhoorn, 2014. – 47 p.
ISBN 978-90-5838-963-3

Greed – Egocentrism – Loneliness – Picture book

This story is about a spoiled and avaricious princess, Valentina, the daughter of an emperor, who wants the most exotic birds, even including a special bird who can talk. All servants try to find this bird, but they all come back empty-handed or with the wrong bird (and are therefore sentenced to beheading). One day there is a very good-looking servant who promises to fulfill the princess’s wish. Every picture in this beautifully designed picture book for all ages is an artwork in itself. Hundreds of birds can be found in the mixed-media illustrations. Carl Cneutt’s use of colour and texture, as well as his composition technique, are amazing. The text is sometimes printed with a quasi-childish handwriting, as if written by the princess. The moral of this fairytale-like story seems to be that craving the unattainable will only bring loneliness in the end, but the story itself is never moralistic. The book was awarded the Cutting Edge Award 2015 and the Boekenpauw Audience Award 2015. (Age: 7+)