The Great Adventures of Pepík Střecha

Pavel Čech

Pavel Čech: The Great Adventures of Pepík Střecha

Original title: Velké dobrodružství Pepíka Střechy


Genre: children´s book


Publisher:

Petrkov 2012, 2016


ISBN: 978-80-875-9511-4, 978-80-875-9512-1


Pages: 216


Awards:

Muriel 2013 – Best Original Comic Book, Best Script; 2013 Magnesia Litera – For Children and Young Adults; Golden Ribbon 2013 for Children’s Fiction (awarded by the Czech Section of IBBY); 2nd place in the 2012 SUK-čteme všichni [Let’s Read] competition; Children’s Library Club Librarians’ Prize 2013


Rights sold to:

Macedonia (Begemot), Bulgaria (Perseus)

Summary


This book, aimed at older children and teenagers, tells a story from the border between reality and dream – the author skilfully combines words and images to present the exciting journey. The protagonist is a frightened boy with a head full of imagination and ideas who is discovering himself and his place in the world.

 

This book sees the reappearance of many of this artist’s favourite motifs. Old oil paintings come back to life, along with places and characters from Pavel Čech’s books The Garden and The Secret Island beyond the Fence. Yet this tender, intimate tale about Pepík, a young outsider on a quest, is entirely new. On his journey, Pepík meets a mysterious girl called Elzevíra and makes friends with a retired sailor called Antonín. Set in the landscape of a young boy’s dreams, Pepík’s imagination turns up a tale of adventure that takes him to a dilapidated riverside mill and a mysterious island. In the course of his explorations, he musters a great deal of courage, allowing him to perform a deed that would once have been beyond him.

Čech’s poetics have taken on aspects we would never have suspected. Following old age and death, a young boy’s dream-world has been penetrated by first, fragile love and a yearning to find a place for himself in a confusing world.

Artistically and typographically fascinating, this book alternates between large oil paintings on one hand and comics panels and spatial drawings on the other.

 

Reader age: 9+

graphic novel / comic book


Reviews

The Great Adventures of Pepík Střecha is but a single chapter in Pavel Čech’s vast labyrinth of pictures. (…)

A fantastic piece of work. An original, sensitive, almost royal treatment of the established modern literary genre. Pavel Čech is a confident and unmistakable creator of contemporary Czech comics, and I dare say he is becoming a master.“

Bohumila Adamová, Iliteratura

 

“Books for children come in several kinds. One kind is truly just for children—an adult reader flicks through it without excitement, as its secrets and lessons are fully transparent. Another kind has the appearance of a children’s book, but really it is more suitable for adults—between its lines, it gives the reader knowing winks. There is one more notable type—the children’s book that calls back the child of old in the adult reader. (…)

In terms of its narrative, motifs and symbols, The Great Adventures is far more developed [than the author’s previous work], as is plain from its extent—almost double the size—and the longer, more intensive work that has gone into it. It is a far more intimate, work, too. The outer world impacts on the inner, the inner explodes into the outer, until we can no longer tell one from the other. This is the first work in which Čech has achieved a seamless knitting together of his joined-up vision of the world. (…)

In The Great Adventures of Pepík Střecha, Pavel Čech has given us more than a child’s comic book. It is an outstanding combination of Foglar [an extremely popular Czech writer of classic adventure stories] and the inspiration of CG Jung. It is a rare story indeed. “

Rating: ★★★★★

Jan Němec, Host

 

“There can be no doubt that Czech comics are on the rise. (…) The domestic scene (represented above all by members of ‘Generation Zero’) is broad and diverse enough to find its target reader. Pavel Čech is one of its most prominent and sought-after practitioners. (…) By its extent and weight, his comics oeuvre demands immense respect. (…) The Great Adventures of Pepík Střecha is undoubtedly an initiation novel. Its protagonist undergoes the difficult transition from childhood to adolescence. Although not an entirely new theme in Pavel Čech’s work, here it is given a more complex treatment. (…) Key moments in the protagonist’s psychogenic transformation are sometimes so inconspicuous that the reader discovers them only on repeated reading; if anything were proof of the author’s increasing mastery over his material, it is surely this. (…) Čech’s narrative style and the line-work of his drawings have undergone fundamental change, too. Not for the first time, Čech gives us elements of magical realism masked by the everyday (reminding us of the work of Michal Ajvaz); on this occasion, these elements crystallize at the end of an underground drain, after which we find ourselves in a fantasy adventure. With a bucketful of salt to hand, we might compare The Great Adventures of Pepík Střecha with the adventures of Atreyu in The Neverending Story. “

Petr Kuběnský, Vaše literatura

 

“The work of stand-alone author Pavel Čech may be outside traditional genres, but it is very much within readers’ field of interest. Between 2010 and 2019, Čech’s work took in comic books, works of original illustrations and free-form art. As to his books for child and/or adolescent readers, above all we should mention (…) The Great Adventures of Pepík Střecha (2012), his magnum opus. A two-hundred-page comic book about the trials of adolescence and the need to take control of one’s own life, it marks an important turning point, not only in Čech’s work but for Czech comics for children and young adults in general. It was the very first work of its kind to win a Magnesia Litera prize.“

Pavel Kořínek, Czech.lit

 

“This book can be measured by the length of the journey undertaken by schoolboy Pepík. It can also be measured more simplistically, in terms of its format and number of pages. More than two hundred pages of A4 provide for a story of some depth, in which the gate to an old garden leads to an island drawn by the hero himself, where space and time are but imaginary barriers. “ 

Aleš Palán, Hospodářské noviny

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