Bettina and Bertil are going fishing. They’re really looking forward to it. They row around at sea and find themselves in the most bizarre situations without even realising. The sea is full of large and small animals such as elephants, crocodiles and sea trolls. When they fall into the crocodile’s mouth they think they are in a Cave full of stalactites. The elephant’s trunk is just a bridge to them, and when they head back without any fish, Bertil says: ’At least that will please the fish, Bettina.’
The funniest thing about this book is that the reader sees things completely differently from Bertil and Bettina, and feels both powerful and worried about them. But everything Works out and everyone is happy.
Bertil and Bettina are two very sweet, scruffy birds of uncertain origin, with large beaks and caps. The text comprises only dialogue between them. Eli Hovdenak’s illustrations and writing
are both surreal and funny.
‘Funny, imaginative and a joy to behold [...] The way in which the illustrations and text contradict each other is effective on many levels. It will appeal to a child’s sense of critique and elevate the young reader. They will understand that the good-natured animals are misinterpreting everything and take great delight in correcting them! The disparity between the text and illustrations is very funny indeed.’
‘This new picture book by Eli Hovdenak radiates assurance and trust in the art of living. [...] A story about how everything tends to work out despite all of the dangers. And that is undoubtedly what life is like for many of us: we live in fear yet are unaware of most of the dangers, and things generally work out for the best. [...] [The illustrations], with their diffuse contours and pale colours are perfect for this story.’
‘After 30 years as a painter, artist Eli Hovdenak has finally found her niche as a creator of children’s books. This is a lavish picture book that can be read by children of all ages: as a comic adventure story in a sort of Lilliputian tradition, as satire on the topic of marriage or as a highly entertaining and humoristic story – a cheerful piece of “music” in the finest watercolours. She is also in the process of creating new picture books.’
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