for the book I Want To Win!
Who wins? In kindergarten, on the playground, at home with the siblings - children are always competing. And it is not unusual for the same children to lose out again and again. How can you deal with it if you lose? How do you keep a healthy self-confidence? How do you maintain loving relationships with others? And how can you break through or interrupt a culture of competition that seems to begin with birth? Who wins? is a tale of two little beaver brothers who, at the end of the day, embrace each other full of love and finally go to sleep with a changed view of the world. A little beaver swings high, followed by the curved lettering “Who wins?” But beware: the ropes are bent, and this announces the change of direction backwards. Rocking – that means an eternal up and down, always threatened by the fall, which may be the outcome of the desire for “more”. Although in the end actually another little beaver falls from the swing and breaks a leg, however at the centre of the gentle tones and rather simple illustrations of this children’s book, is not the fall which follows the boisterous conduct, but rather the negative consequences of competitive behaviour among siblings. [...] ‘Who wins?’ is a question that goes beyond the confines of family life and addresses a fundamental problem in contemporary, competitive societies. As kids, we practice behaviours that permeate our entire lives: we constantly compare and compete. Victory and success define the value of a human being and affects her self-esteem. We succeed, essentially, when others fail. Does that have to be the case? What does it mean to have “success”? What makes individuals valuable and lovable? What kind of relationships do we want to keep up? And, finally, does the comparison with others play a role at all? The story of the award-winning Greek author Maria Papayanni –whose work has not yet been translated and is hardly known in Germany– remains clear throughout. A story is told that is clearly recognizable as a fable but refrains itself from spelling out a precept. Both in the visual language and in the writing style it becomes very clear that something is to be revealed. Readers and listeners are invited to follow the story without identifying with any of the characters, without distinguishing between good and evil, without immediately comparing and evaluating each behaviour. [...] Who Wins? is a children’s book that lovingly and unobtrusively depicts a core problem of our time. It is a good idea to take the time to read it and to start a conversation with your children. Since it stimulates an active co-thinking, and the visual language avoids typical stimuli for toddlers, the book is recommended for children from 4 years of age. Conclusion: A fairy-tale about the violence of comparison and the repercussions of competitive behaviour. Instructive, subtle, and a little sad–but still, so beautiful