Original title: O čertovi
Genre: children´s book
Sursum 2001, 2002, 2008; Petrkov 2014, 2015
Italian (Ecolibri, 2016, Stefano Baldussi), Persian (pirate edition), Bulgarian (Perseus, 2021, Krasimir Prodanov and Denitsa Prodanovova)
Pavel Čech’s debut work, which has appeared in many editions over the years. His top-selling title
Set in the time of Advent, this book tells the story of a horned creature called Florimon sent to Earth by Lucifer to harm people—especially chimneysweeps. At first, the little devil goes about his work conscientiously, sitting on chimneys so that smoke must escape through the windows, moving the hands on the tower clock, hiding the brushes of the chimneysweeps, chalking caricatures of the chimneysweeps on chimneys and walls. But the harshness of winter catches Florimon by surprise. He huddles up, shivering—and how sad he feels! To compound it all, Christmas arrives. On Christmas Eve, a beautiful, mute girl chimneysweep called Tradamila takes charge of the sick, melancholy little devil. From here, it’s but a short stretch to a magical transformation and a fairy-tale ending.
Although about a devil, this story is filled with love—a quality which small children and everyone else who still believes in the magic of love will surely appreciate.
With great subtlety, Čech has succeeded in investing his book with an educative subtext, which is also a feature of his other works. Good triumphs over evil, and upright values like friendship, honour, truthfulness and selflessness prevail.
Reader age: 4+
“Like Čech’s subsequent works, this artist’s book is characterized by a simple storyline driven by images. Though formally a work of fiction, it has much in common with the Bilderbuch with text written by the artist. Čech shows himself to be an illustrator of extraordinarily veristic inventiveness. His precision as a draughtsman and the virtuosity he demonstrates in his fantastical urban scenes combine with a keen sense of colour. Čech is one of few contemporary authors to work notes of nostalgia into his artistic expression while avoiding artifice, superficiality and oversimplification.”
Martin Reissner, Ladění
“Folklore has countless tales of humanized supernatural beings. But Pavel Čech has given the traditional narrative a highly original reworking.”
Jiří Poláček, Ladění