„One hundred legs of Fruzia’s centipede” was spotted by Jacek on a public library shelf. And then we got our copy (thanks to Johny). We liked it very much. And it became the first longer book we read in one go during our evening nap or afternoon „dolce farnienete„.
The Centipede Phenomenon is a simple and fun story. The centipede is looking for shoes for a mountain hike. There are not that many (50!) pairs in the assortment of local shops. Fruzia sets off on a trip to a shoe factory… For more details, read the story for yourself.
In the insect world, which is very similar to ours, things are not always so pleasant. Sometimes someone burbles or says something unkind.
We are charmed by the illustrations by Zosia Dzierżawska. A house dipped in poppies, tea and sandwiches in the garden, a boarding house, a mountain chalet, and a shoe shop. It’s good to look at and wander around with your thoughts.
The book shows that happiness and life can be pursued alone. Plan a trip, go shopping, and start your own small business. And although the centipede does meet someone, the whole content is praise of such a peaceful being with yourself and your thoughts. I, at one time, did not have as much courage as the centipede Fruzia.
The book is also a praise locality, moderation and mini-adventure. How well neurotics will understand it! Even a trip to a nearby town is an experience. You don’t have to go far away. Adventures wait beyond the threshold of your home.
I like and dislike the romantic atmosphere present in this book. I enjoy that centipede Fruzia downplays comments about women walking in the mountains. Here, as a form of subtle revenge, I will quote an old friend, an amateur mountain hiker, who now and then evaluated my mountain abilities and capacity with the following texts: „your shoes are not very worn, you haven’t hiked much in the mountains!”; „this will be a manly adventure!”; „you get up early in the mountains!”.
What I don’t like is that Fruzia blushes at the thought of the opposite sex and that she gets a little embarrassed. It seems unnecessary to me because the little reader learns that such behaviour it’s the norm, and is part of relationships. A young child does not always know such shame.
Other than that, it’s a high five or even a ten! I encourage you to read it perfect for the holidays!
Agnieszka Horubała, Sto nóg stonogi Fruzi, illustrations by Zosia Dzierżawska, Dwie Siostry publishing house, Warsaw 2015.
Main illustration: Guta’s drawing of centipede Fruzia with our holiday photo.