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The Cave Baby, the Whale, and the Snail

Julia Donaldson’s books are published in Ukrainian!
22 December, 12:01

The young Kharkiv-based publishing house Chytarium will soon please the young readers with a Ukrainian translation of three books by Julia Donaldson, a world renowned British author. Namely Chytarium in 2016 for the first time translated and published her works in Ukrainian. Before that the lovers of Donaldson’s rhymed fairytales read her books in English or in Russian translation.

The first book that was published in Ukraine was the author’s bestseller The Gruffalo translated by Viktor Morozov and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Julia wrote the book in 1999, and since then it has become very popular in the world – translated into tens of languages, with million sales. A cartoon was also created based on this book. Seventeen years later the Ukrainian readers had an opportunity to get to know the absolutely not scary shaggy monster with fangs. Later Chytarium published another book by Donaldson, Monkey Puzzle. And recently it announced that three books by the writer would be published before the end of the year: The Gruffalo’s Child translated by Viktor Morozov, Cave Baby, translated by Volodymyr Chernyshenko, and The Snail and the Whale translated by Oksana Lushchevska.

“Ukrainian audience is very advanced. Many people knew Julia Donaldson’s name: some read her books in the original, the rest – in Russian translation. And some watched the cartoon. Therefore the publication of Donaldson’s books in Ukrainian was really an event. We are very glad to be part of this,” the co-founder of the Chytarium Publishing House Nargis Gafurova told The Day (at first she founded a children’s bookstore Chytarium in Kharkiv, and later – an eponymous publishing house). “It’s no secret that young readers, to be more precise, listeners, perceive rhymed texts better. Donaldson’s books are not just books, they are rhymed stories with an intricate plot. Speaking about Donaldson’s books we cannot but mention the illustrations by Axel Scheffler, because it was he who created the absolutely non-scary monster named Gruffalo.”

Volodymyr Chernyshenko, known due to his translations of the works by Rudyard Kipling and children’s writer Jacqueline Wilson, translated Cave Baby into Ukrainian.

“It took me long to translate it. I couldn’t understand how it should sound. But when I understood, the translation went on smoothly. An impetus for me was the word ‘rozmaliuk’ (the Cave Baby), it’s a neologism, which was absent in the original, but it became the key one in our translation,” Volodymyr says. He adds, “Julia Donaldson is not just in the mainstream of modern children’s literature in the English-speaking world and beyond, but she’s also the leader in the genre which has recently become popular and remains in the top of the book charts. I mean the illustrated rhymed fairytale, which can be read at home with a lamp or in the after-school groups in kindergartens and schools, as well as at children’s performances. A small poem with numerous well-recognized illustrations is really cool. And Donaldson is by far the coolest author in this sphere.”

While Donaldson’s books are being printed, Nargis Gafurova says that Ukrainians will soon be able to read another legend book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

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