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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » White Patch, Bertelli's Italian Story of Ciondolino, Retold for American Boys and Girls

White Patch, Bertelli's Italian Story of Ciondolino, Retold for American Boys and Girls

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Angelo Patri

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Author: Angelo Patri
Publisher: American Book Co
1 review about White Patch, Bertelli's Italian Story of...

A fantasy for children that rivals "Alice in Wonderland"

  • Dec 29, 2009
Gigino, Maurice and Georgina are three young children unhappy on a day with delightful weather. They reason for their unhappiness is that they are being forced to continue their lessons outside and they have many more things that they would rather do. After a few moments of lamenting, where the children compare their lives to those of animals that never have to study, a short man appears and after he takes a snort of snuff, turns Gigino into an ant egg.
This begins an adventure where Gigino first must hatch into an ant, learn the social structure, work and defend the colony and in general learn to cope with his new world. Gigino retains a great deal of his human intelligence, so he is able to perform acts that increase the food supply and help defeat a rival ant colony in a battle. Gigino's success makes him arrogant and he plots a decisive invasion of the rival colony. When the battle appears to go well, Gigino manages to get himself proclaimed Emperor of the ants, a title that immediately proves hollow. The rival colony goaded Gigino into attacking a token force while the balance of their army attacked and conquered Gigino's undefended home.
This defeat momentarily sobers Gigino, yet he continues on his adventures, meeting many other insect creatures where their life cycles are described. This is a very educational feature of the book, there are wood borers, honey bees, wasps that lay their eggs in living creatures and descriptions of the social structures of the colonies. To his credit, Gigino never gives up and eventually he manages to return to his house where he encounters the caterpillar Georgina and the grasshopper Maurice. The tiny man returns, utters the magic words and they are children again with an incredible story to tell.
Every child's story involving transformation will always be measured against the classic "Alice in Wonderland." In that comparison, this book will do well, the fantasy is detailed and educational. Gigino becomes an insect, yet he keeps his human qualities to the detriment of the colonies. There is a great deal of intelligent satire buried in the fantasy.

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