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The Brave Adventures of Lapitch by Ivana…

The Brave Adventures of Lapitch

by Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić

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First published in 1913, as Čudnovate zgode šegrta Hlapića - alternately translated as The Brave Adventures of Lapitch, The Marvellous Adventures of Hlapić the Apprentice, and The Brave Adventures of a Shoemaker's Boy - this classic of Croatian children's literature presents the tale of a runaway shoemaker's apprentice named Lapitch, who spends seven days on the road, meeting with many extraordinary people and adventures, before finding his happy ending. Driven out by one too many hard words and hard beatings from Master Scowler, Lapitch sets out to find a new life, helping all those he meets along the way, from a crippled old milkman to a beautiful young circus-girl named Gita, separated from her own master. Accompanied by Master Scowler's dog Bundash - who naturally prefers Lapitch - and by Gita, he makes his way through countryside and village, foiling the plot of a particularly villainous thief, converting a slightly-less-villainous thief to a better way of life, and reuniting a long-separated family. When you're a goodhearted young boy who isn't afraid of hardship or work, there's little you can't accomplish...

I enjoyed this story immensely, and can only regret that more of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić's work is not available to English language readers. I regret that this, The Brave Adventures of Lapitch, is so long out-of-print, and so difficult to obtain! My edition, the American edition, is a "version" by Lorna Wood (whatever that means), based upon Theresa Mravintz and Branko Brusar's translation, and is illustrated with Harold Berson's charming artwork. An orphan story, a tale of adventure and of travel, and a story of a charming boy and girl character: this book has a little something for everyone! The notions of gender here are very traditional - Lapitch is the protector, Gita cries and is rather lazy - but that is not to be wondered at, in a book first published in 1913, and did not bother me unduly. I suspect that, were I reading this as a child, I would consider myself Lapitch.

In any case, this is just a charming little story, one that deserves to be better known and more frequently read, in the English-speaking world! I highly recommend it to young readers who enjoy adventure stories and tales of orphans, and to anyone looking for Croatian children's books. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 26, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ivana Brlić-Mažuranićprimary authorall editionscalculated
Berson, HaroldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirin, VladimirIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A shoemaker's apprentice runs away from his unreasonable master and embarks on a week's adventures with a dog and an orphan girl.

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