The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

Il-Familja Frattarija u d-dar li tagħtas

Wednesday, 9 September 2020, 11:23 Last update: about 2 months ago

By Kari Smeland. Translated by Simone Inguanez. Illustrated by Francesca Grech

What do you expect of a family that carries the surname "Frattarija" (chaos, noise)? Do you really expect it to be a composed, quiet family?

First and foremost, there's the make-up of the family. The children are all twins. "We always only make them in pairs," their mum likes to say. They have three sets of twins! And this noisy, messy family lives in a dilapidated old house. In the neighbourhood there is just the one other house - a house that has stood abandoned for years and years.

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But one fine day, the youngest among the Frattarija siblings discover that someone has moved into the abandoned house ...

And thus starts Il-Familja Frattarija u d-dar li tagħtas, a story about the Frattarija family and about the children who take it upon themselves to investigate the strange neighbouring house. And the investigation of the house next door strings together an abundance of absurd events, that will have children and adult readers alike laughing out loud.

This unusual story was born in the icy cold weather of Norway, the brainchild of author Kari Smeland. And all the way from the north of Europe, this story made its way down to the southernmost part of the continent, here in Malta where Simone Inguanez's translation gave it a Maltese voice and introduced Maltese children to Norwegian humour.

In fact, Il-Familja Frattarija u d-dar li tagħtas is the first-ever Norwegian children's book translated into Maltese. This was made possible also thanks to Norla, the Norwegian literary and cultural entity that promotes Norwegian literature abroad.

What contributes to make this story so vibrant and exciting to a Maltese audience, are the illustrations - exclusive to the Maltese edition - by Maltese artist Francesca Grech. Beautiful illustrations full of quirky details, that readers will enjoy discovering bit by bit as they turn the pages.

Il-Familja Frattarija u d-dar li tagħtas will undoubtedly appeal to children who enjoyed Roald Dahl's stories or the wacky adventures of Clare Azzopardi's De Molizz brothers. This story is intended for children aged 10/11 upwards, but as is inevitably the case with Maltese children's fiction, the reading age can vary depending on each child's fluency in Maltese.

Il-Familja Frattarija u d-dar li tagħtas is available from all bookshops, as well as online from merlinpublishers.com which is offering free local postage.


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