Posted April 18, 2014
Just as the English-language world enjoys the tales of Christopher Robbin's stuffed bear and other toys, those who speak and read Portuguese have been able to enjoy the tales of the Yellow Woodpecker Farm.
The characters in these stories include Lucia (called Little Nose) and Little Pete, their grandmother and the family cook, and also all kinds of imaginative characters like a talking rag doll and corncob puppet, a talking pig and rhinoceros, and characters of common folktales such as Saci Perere and Cuca.
The author of the Yellow Woodpecker Farm books, Monteiro Lobato, was born on this date in 1882. He lived in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and he wrote fiction for adults as well as for kids. He wrote nonfiction for newspapers and magazines, he was an art critic, and he founded publishing houses.
I found it interesting to learn that Lobato's Yellow Woodpecker Farm books wove together three different universes: the everyday life of the kids on their Brazilian farm, the imaginary universe invented by the kids in their play, and the universe of traditional myths told by the grandmother, Mrs. Benta.
Like many other kids' stories, this combination of realistic and fantastic universes is sometimes created with magic. For example, I read that the kids used magic powder to visit places like Neverland, mythological Ancient Greece, Fable World, and Grammar World.
Lobato's stories have been the basis of some very popular TV shows. Five different TV series arose out of the Yellow Woodpecker Farm shows alone! Check out this You Tube teaser. There are many episodes of the show, but unfortunately I could only find one with English subtitles.
The Yellow Woodpecker Farm stories are very important in Brazilian culture. I found one website that has some interesting quotes from the rag doll character:
“The secret, my friend, is only one: freedom. Here we have no leashes. The greatest misfortune of all is to be in a leash. And how these leashes have spread throughout the world!”
“They say I don’t have a heart, but that’s not true. I do have a heart and it’s beautiful. Except that it’s not made of bananas. It is not impressed by petty little things; but it hurts every time it sees an injustice being done. It hurts so much that I’m sure the ‘evilest’ thing in the world is injustice.”
And I found another that had a bunch of photos of Yellow Woodpecker Farm products.
Also on this date:
Birthday of lawyer Clarence Darrow (famous because of the “Monkey Trial” about teaching evolution)
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