Original title: Dobrodružství pavouka Čendy
Genre: children´s book
Petrkov 2011, 2014
ISBN: 978-80-875-9510-7, 978-80-875-9528-2
Russian (2014), Slovak (Petrkov, 2014), Italian (Ecolibri, 2016)
The first part of an adventure story for younger children, told in three separate books
This book tells the story of Čenda the spider and a wooden cuckoo from a clock who live together in an abandoned old house. We learn what happens when a thief breaks into the house and when the demolition of the house begins. The two friends help each other in ways that touch the heartstrings. Trusting in her ability to fly, the cuckoo takes off with Čenda for the nearby wood. Čenda has long dreamed of visiting this wood, having watched it from the window of the abandoned house.
It was not Pavel Čech’s original intention to go on with the story in later books. The questions with which the first book ends are rhetorical: they are meant to stimulate the child reader’s imagination. But having been asked repeatedly when the next part would be coming out, the author decided to write a sequel after all.
Although the insect world is not an environment commonly associated with the work of Pavel Čech, we discover in it much that is typical of this author-artist. Like Čech himself and the boys of Čech’s earlier works, Čenda the spider has curly hair. With the boys he shares certain characteristics and experiences, such as loneliness, self-containedness, a liking for books, a longing for adventure, courage, a sense of honour and first love. And, of course, there is the journey…
For this three-part series, Čech returns to a smaller, square format. The page layout is a familiar one, with text on the left (in this case, significantly more text than in Čech’s debut The Little Devil, for instance). For the first time in these books, Čech uses decals of plants, gauzes and collages of the two.
Reader age: 4+
“The little hero of this story is a spider living in a ruined house, with a wooden cuckoo in an old clock. The two of them revel in the atmosphere of their wobbly home until the arrival of an intruder in a mask. Then come the men with their bulldozers… The beautiful typography, with bouncing letters and rippling lines, is perfectly complemented with short texts abounding in onomatopoeia. By combining painting, photographs, newspaper cuttings, scrunched-up paper, rubber-stamp imprints, autumn leaves and pasted-in curtain material, plus a scrap of bandage to represent the spider’s duvet, Čech has returned his art to children. This book is an ideal first reader. It engages us by its taste of fear and dreams of freedom, and it tempts us with the prospect of a sequel.”
Kateřina Kadlecová, Reflex
“If anyone can draw the ticking of a clock, the call of a wooden cuckoo and the creaking of a door, that person is the illustrator of Čenda the Spider’s Adventure. (…)
Čenda the Spider’s Adventure is divided into two parts: the textual and the illustrated. Both are original, witty, brilliant in their execution and an exact fit for the other. This book will delight readers of all ages, and it makes the perfect gift. It is a fitting candidate for an award.”
Bohumila Adamová, Iliteratura