From Claude Ponti (My Valley, 2017), one of France’s most celebrated children’s writers, comes a tender and playful tale of what it means to be unique.
When he is born, Hīznobyūtī is not exactly handsome. In fact, his parents and siblings say, “He’s no beauty!” They say it so often, Hīznobyūtī assumes that it is his name. Wherever he goes, only embarrassment and shame await him. Hīznobyūtī hides himself away, working on his inventions, until one day he receives a message from the stars. After a fight with his family, Hīznobyūtī decides to run away. On a beautiful adventure by himself, he learns the secrets of the universe: how to communicate with trees and birds, how to wake up the sun, and how to see himself for who he truly is – a hero!
Claude Ponti is one of France’s most celebrated children’s writers and illustrators. His works create captivating fictional universes through wordplay and illustrations of incredible detail and beauty. Ponti found his vocation as a children’s author with the birth of his daughter, Adèle, for whom he created his first picture book, L’Album d’Adèle. He has since won numerous awards, including the 2006 Prix Sorcières Spécial for his lifetime achievement.
“Children’s literature is an intimate soul-to-soul exchange between the reader and the author.” – Claude Ponti
Alyson Waters is a translator of modern and contemporary literary fiction, criticism, and theory, as well as art history. Her book translations include works by Vassilis Alexakis, Louis Aragon, Daniel Arasse, René Belletto, Reda Bensmaia, Emmanuel Bove, Eric Chevillard, Albert Cossery, Yasmina Khadra, and Tzvetan Todorov. Waters has received a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, a PEN Translation Fund Grant, and residency grants from the Centre national du livre, the Villa Gillet in Lyon, France, and the Banff International Literary Translation Centre in Canada. She currently teaches literary translation at New York and Columbia Universities.
"On a beautiful adventure by himself, [Hiznobyuti] learns the secrets of the universe: how to communicate with trees and birds, how to wake up the sun, and how to see himself for who he truly is – a hero! When he returns from his journey, Hiznobyuti family rejoices and apologizes for not understanding how beautiful and important he was to them all along".— The Children's Book Review
An ugly monster sets out on a wonderfully strange journey of self-discovery... Ponti's illustrations—equally rich in warm feeling and surreal, precisely drawn figures and details—give the tale wings... He adventures, slaying a much-larger monster with one colossal sneeze, temporarily transforming himself into a tree, "communophoning" with the stars, and saving a dead planet by waking its sun (and a princess on a nearby satellite), among other heroic feats... Itzabyuti thruenthru. — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Claude Ponti's Hiznobyuti (pronounced 'he's no beauty') is an absolute delight. Hiznobyuti's family is thinks he is so ugly and always in the way that they send him away, and he heads off looking for the voice that contacted him for his help. His journey is off the wall bonkers, tapping into the sort of storytelling logic that usually only children are imaginative enough to think up. LOVED IT — Bookseller, Roscoe Books
A great tale of gaining confidence through a quest. Hiznobyuti finds his place in the sun. Stunning illustrations - the creatures look like cousins to the Twims in My Valley.— Jen Kraar, City of Asylum Bookstore
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