The story of plum stones, filled with twists and turns, escapades, absurd humour and wonderful linocuts.
The full-page colour linocuts and cartoon input by Chrudoš Valoušek landed this large-scale project a Golden Ribbon Award for artistic achievement of the year as well as victory in the 2018 competition for the Most Beautiful Czech Book for children and young adults, followed shortly afterwards by publication in the Netherlands.
However, we should not overlook the gleeful contribution of Vojtěch Mašek’s fairy-tale text: a boy called Peter converses with a talking log, which reveals its story to him, beginning with its origins as a plum fruit. Its stone turns into another fruit tree. In one episode a professor takes this for an exotic tree and is so disappointed to realize his mistake that he angrily heads off to Australia; a Spanish family move into his house and have the plum tree cut down, so the puppet ends up travelling across the world as a log. The hero’s journey as recounted to his friend constantly abounds with new ideas, developing the tradition of the tomfoolery of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio through distinctive absurd humour.
“The narration is theatrical in character, dialogue interweaves throughout the text, and the action is helped by layering one story on top of another. The garish linocuts work in a dynamic manner, which appears both comical as well as unsettling and horrific, precisely in the spirit of the absurd. Vojtěch Mašek’s text and the illustrations by the artist Chrudoš Valoušek are in complete harmony.”
— Martina Siwek Macáková, iLiteratura
“A small miracle of somewhat greater dimensions. The apparent brutality in Valoušek’s linocuts, together with the confidence of Horváth’s typography, help to produce a book which can be understood by adult readers, children and non-readers.”
— Golden Ribbon Award jury