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//A Bookful of Benefits// – Oliwia Brzeźniak

A Bookful of Benefits – Oliwia Brzeźniak

We are in a cold, melancholy land ruled by a very strict king, where two twins, Uśmieszek and Łezka, live. Every so often, strange objects pop up in this snowy realm, and no one knows where they come from – is it from the sky above or mountains ahead? Colourful sticks and fragrant squares inspire the children to ask their parents to ‘colour’ their grey reality. Their mother puts little starts on their gloves, while their father adds jam to the bread that he bakes. One day, a strange, hairy little creature appears in the land of Łezka and Uśmieszek, and the king cannot tolerate the behaviour of his subjects anymore.

Julek is an eight-year-old boy whose school friends call him ‘Robot’, because he wears ordinary braces with no colourful elastics. At home, it is not easy for him either. His parents work longer and longer hours, so the boy has to wait around in the after-school club or play under the vigilant eye of the Malicious Neighbour. Like all other children, he sometimes loses things. Disappearing sweets, coins, crayons or rubbers do not raise any suspicions, however when one day his hamster, Leonard, gets lost, an unsettled Julek starts a search and rescue operation.

Is there anything that the worlds of Julek, Łezka and Uśmieszek have in common? Yes, it is the boy’s pocket, because the winter land of the two twins may only be reached through... a hole in Julek’s trousers. The pocket is also associated with pocket money and the hole with a budget hole.

Grzegorz Kasdepke, a renowned author of children’s books, created a moving story of little heroes with sad childhoods. This book is seemingly not exceptional but one thing makes it special. Ryszard Petru (the current president of the Association of Polish Economists, former employee of banks throughout the world and banking law advisor of Polish politicians), wrote short notes in the margins and in footnotes to explain basic notions such as budget hole, supply and balance.

In Pestka, drops, cukierek. Liczby kultury, the world of childhood dreams and sorrows mixes with the world of adults, to which the little ones will soon belong. The beautiful tale intertwines with real life, which helps young readers to learn. The things that happen in the Warsaw district of Żoliborz and in the pocket land get the children engrossed from the very first page. The knowledge is provided in small doses, like sweets, in the margins, so as not to overwhelm anyone. Every child knows that eating too much candy will give you nausea; too much complicated knowledge is also not that easy on the digestive tract either. Nevertheless, this book will definitely not give anyone a belly ache. It is a pleasure for the parents and their children.