Small story – Cristina Bellemo and Alicia Baladan

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In Small story by Cristina Bellemo and Alicia Baladan, through a matryoshka narrative, line after line, from the absolute flits, slowly, to the room of a prince, Prince Benjamin, who is not long in announcing his birth, with that sound of wonder that suddenly chimes: “UAAAAAA!”; a scream that makes Reginamamma and Repapa burst with joy.

Small story by Cristina Bellemo and Alicia Baladan

How can the immensity of the opening words “Once upon a time in infinity” find space in a small story?

The words of Cristina Bellemo and the illustrations of Alicia Baladan show it to us through the thirty-four pages of the register Small storypublished by the Topipittori publishing house in 2015.

Through a matryoshka narration, bar after bar, it flutters from the absolute, slowly, to the room of a prince, Prince Benjamin, who is not long in announcing his birth, with that sound of wonder that suddenly rings: “UAAAAAA!”; a scream that makes Reginamamma and Repapa burst with joy.

small story

small story

The party spreads “a thousand and two times a thousand” until it becomes the attitude of a kingdom that celebrates the growth of Benjamin with the amazement he himself sang as soon as he came into the world.

The Prince, from page to page, appropriates things by calling them with the honesty of their name, he learns them until he perceives their otherness with respect to that “I” pronounced some time later.

Reginamamma and Repapa accompany their son’s discoveries and praise them with the beauty of a three-day and three-night ride on the beach, with a dance in the rain without an umbrella, even calling the fireflies to a secret meeting and going with the index finger to find the crickets in the den, to persuade them to an unscheduled concert.

In the end it takes very little to feel “really blessed“.

Beniamino goes from recognizing what he loves, embracing it in the lexical unit “MOMMAEPAPÀ”, to perceiving himself and the physiological need for life that follows “THIRST”, to finding in the inner swarming the “FEAR” and the depth, all butterflies and stories, of friendship «PIETRO».

We dance along a magic circle in which we pass from the adage of knowledge of the world by name to the cheerfulness of a “FAR” that marks the beginning of a new dawn in another kingdom “GOODBYE”.

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small story

small story

«Then Reginamamma and Repapà stop»: Beniamino, after such natural beauty, is ready for another journey. The two “greeting him with their eyes and dancing hearts” look over his shoulder while it just walks awayacross the bridge, clutching a bag and its little story.

The narrative architecture of words rewinds itself, closing itself in a “forever” yarn with the human love of two royal parents who “laughing out loud and dumbfounded” show him the preciousness of creationleaving him free to choose.

The illustrations play with the geometry of the shapes and the softness of the lines, recombining in personal spaces and places of the soul, in a game that represents the natural instinct of children to build and transform. Princes and princesses.

Didactic ideas:

Small story by C. Bellemo and A. Baladan is a picture book that can be proposed to primary school from the earliest grades to explore words as “symbols that have no power in themselves, but in relation to the object to which they refer and to the experiences that are the basis of their understanding “[1].

A. Capetti, in his book At school with books (Topipittori, 2018) also recommends it as particularly suitable for the first meeting between parents and school: wishing your children “Have a good trip” is a necessary act of courage with which every Reginamamma and every Repapa must confront.

We recommend it to … who is about to embark on a new journey and does not know what to pack.


  1. [1]Chambers, We are what we readEquilibri, Modena 2011, p.61

Cristina Bellemo and Alicia BaladanSmall story – TopiPittori

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The article is in Italian

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