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Manneken Pis: A Simple Story of a Boy Who Peed on a War

by Vladimir Radunsky

Published by An Anne Schwartz Book / Antheneum, 2002
28 pages
ISBN: 0-689-83193-5

Ages 4 - 8

There are several stories circulating around Brussels that explain the origin of Manneken Pis, a small bronze statue of a young boy peeing that sits atop a fountain in the middle of the city. What we know for certain is that it's been there for centuries and that it's such a beloved statue that people come from all over the world to see it. They dress it - it has over 600 custom-designed outfits -- and they tell stories about it. One story claims that he was a real boy who relieved himself against the door of a witch's house and she turned him into stone. Another contends that the statue was commissioned by a grateful father who had promised to have a statue made of his lost son, exactly where he was found, doing what ever he was doing at the moment he was found. Artist Vladimir Radunsky traveled to Belgium and heard many stories about Manneken Pis. The one he liked best was the one he has illustrated here: the story of a little boy who demonstrated against all the fighting going on around his village by peeing on the soldiers on both sides. Radunsky's boldly fanciful illustrations capture the humor and irreverence of the story without undermining the serious anti-war message. CCBC categories: Issues In Today's World.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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