“Un día de tormenta” (“A Stormy Day”) by Daniel Nesquens and Maguma

“Un día de tormenta” (“A Stormy Day”) created by the awarded (i.a., Internationale Jugendbibliothek’s White Raven in 2002, 2006, 2007, and 2010) children’s books author, Daniel Nesquens, and the illustrator and graphic designer Maguma, was published for Spanish children by a small Spanish publisher, A Buen Paso, in October 2018.

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Two covers of “Un día de tormenta”

The text and illustrations of “Un día de tormenta” combine into an interesting whole. It presents two different perspectives on the same story: to grasp both meanings the reader must turn the book over and upside-down.

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A huge wave, illustration by Maguma

Because of this particular feature, the book has two different covers and two plots which meet in the middle. The story is rather loca (crazy), as told me the bookseller in Barcelona, where I bought the book! The “human” version (with a person on the cover) tells the story of a group of people whose normal day was interrupted by a huge wave, coming-from-nowhere, destroying everything in its wake, and taking alongside not only furniture, but also people. Finally, at the end, they met a huge man (?) whose hair and beard are made from water.

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People and the Water-Man (Poseidon), illustration by Maguma
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The Water-Man (Poseidon), illustration by Maguma

The story of the water-man begins on the other side of the book (cover with a white hand). He is a huge creature with water-blue hair and beard, wearing a sandal and carrying a trident. These attributes (esp. the trident) resemble the Greek god Poseidon’s typical objects and in both text and illustrations, there are more or less obvious references to Homer’s “Odyssey” and to Classical Antiquity: the lotus flower (“hoja de loto,” Odysseus met Lotus-eaters), the name of the boat “La Odisea” (on one of the illustrations), a moon of Saturn (“una luna de Saturno”), etc.

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A sandal with a classical meander motif, illustration by Maguma.

The book may be interpreted as an example of the tragic universal struggle of people confronting the “unknown” forces of nature or simply victims of bad luck. It also shows young readers that everything depends on the perspective and sometimes it is important to change one’s point of view in order to understand fully the surrounding world. Is there a better way to change our point of view than to turn the book upside-down?

See more:

  • More information about “Un día de tormenta” on the official website of A Buen Paso publishing house – link
  • The official website of Magumahttp://maguma.org/

Found by Krzysztof Rybak

 

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