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Mbonde, John Pantaleon

Hugo the Hippo. First edition of these illustrations.

Hugo the Hippo. First edition of these illustrations.

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Boston Book Fair 2023 / Children books / Translations
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Mbonde, John Pantaleon [Hugo the Hippo: Fairy tale]. Kiboko Hugo-Begemot: Skazka.

Retold from Swahili by S. Sakharnov.
Illustrations by M. Belomlinskii.

Moskva, "Detskaia literatura", 1976.
8vo, 14, [2] pp., ill.

In original pictorial wrappers.
Near very good condition, lightly rubbed to spine.

First and only edition of this translation. First edition of these illustrations.

This fairy tale, written by Tanzanian author John Pantaleon Mbonde (born 1935), recounts the tale of a solitary hippo who sustains itself by consuming rice plants, leading the villagers of the nearby village to consider killing it. However, eventually, they successfully capture the hippo and relocate it to the Mikumi National Park.
The original story was written in Swahili and was first published in 1968. It later served as the basis for a 1975 animated film produced by Hungary's Pannonia Filmstudio. Following the Russian translation, Ukrainian translation (1978) and a filmstrip adaptation (1981) were also created. In 1980, the story was published in Lithuanian, accompanied by these illustrations.
The illustrations were prepared by Mikhail Belomlinskii (1934-2020), a book artist known as the 'father' of the Russian Hobbit. Belomlinskii studied at the Ilya Repin Leningrad Institute for Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture (formerly the Imperial Academy of Arts). From 1972 to 1979, he served as an artist-editor for the children's magazine Koster before emigrating to the USA in 1989.
The story was retold by Sviatoslav Sakharnov (1923-2010), a children's writer and professional military officer who also worked for 'Koster' (editor-in-chief in 1973-1988). Sakharnov participated in numerous expeditions and lived in national parks in Tanzania and India for a while. Throughout his travels, he has gathered, translated, and retold fairy tales from various corners of the globe. The writer also prepared an adaptation of the Ramayana for children.
It is interesting to note that the Russian book title includes the word 'kiboko', which translates to 'hippo' in several African languages.

We couldn’t trace any copy of this edition in the USA or European libraries via OCLC.

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