Cherry Moon

Zaro Weil and Junli Song

“Sometimes the shortest poems can impart the biggest ideas…

Always mindful of the endangered natural world around us, Cherry Moon is a wonder-filled new poetry collection for children of all ages from poet Zaro Weil who lives in France. Beautifully illustrated throughout with unique and stylish colour illustrations by Junli Song, this creatively packaged book perfectly brings to life the sheer joy of nature in all its many elements.

The collection includes poems with titles such as Wonderfulness, Flicker and flash, Listen Earth, How does the flower open, Dappling sun, and Wild as the Wind, and offers thought-provoking, sensitive and delightfully original little poems and gatherings of words – carefully grouped, separated and partnered – which encourage children to ask the big questions about life and to find their own answers.

At a time when the natural world is in crisis, and healing its wounds is high on every child’s agenda, there is a genuine need to bring nature back into the lives of children through the stories we tell. And Cherry Moon makes an enormous contribution to this, delivering special and accessible poetry for a new generation of readers.

Weil’s poems capture eye-popping moments, tender observations and a thousand whimsical reflections on the sheer joy of the natural world. Thought-provoking, sensitive and delightfully original, Cherry Moon poses big questions about life with poems and other small gatherings of words, encouraging children of every age to explore the power, enchantment and sheer wonder of nature.”

(ZaZaKids Books in association with Troika, hardback, £14)


Another Smashing Review for SPOT GUEVARA HERO DOG

April Round Up, 2019
We always like to include a few books for younger readers beginning their solo reading journeys with illustrated chapter books, and the antics of one “Spot Guevara, Hero Dog” by Zaro Weil, with illustrations and cover from Katy Riddell is absolutely perfect for animal-loving kids everywhere.

Born rough on the streets of Brooklyn this is Spot’s story, told in his own voice and from his unique point of view.

Life on the streets is hard, and one terrible day Spot’s entire family are carted off by the Dog police and he vows never to give up searching for them.
This is the beginning of Spot’s many adventures as he roams the city meeting new friends, fending off danger and learning about humans and other dogs. Can Spot be a hero? Will he need a friend or two along the way?
This is fast-paced but really fab stuff, perfect for kids who are moving on from picture books and want an exciting waggy dog tale.

From A German Culture Magazine about the Bologna Bookfair and CHERRY MOON!!!

We could tell a lot …

  in youth book children’s book live

56th International Children and Youth Book Fair Bologna in April 2019

Zaro Weil, the Cambridge School of Art and many, many, wonderful books. A walk through the 56th International Children’s and Youth Book Fair Bologna in early April. By GEORG PATZER and SUSANNE MARSCHALL

Everything was different this time. The> Trois Ourses <from Paris have ceased their work and were no longer at the joint booth> Small World <. For the first time, Rachael Kim was not at the Korean booth to show us new books and translate. Our bar in San Ruffilo closed at 10 in the evening and there was not much food there either. And for the first time, we’ve had a “book launch” of a wonderful book of children’s poems, which we – at least a little bit – helped to get started.

Otherwise, everything was as always: wonderful books from which we have many, many bought, interesting people, density, intensive discussions, long lines of illustrators in front of the stands, good food, a lot to drink … because Bologna is also “la grassa” And in addition, in the bars and restaurants, people happen to be meeting people at the fair. Or the other way around. So it started last year in the small restaurant Il Marinaio in the suburb of San Ruffilo, where we always live.

Zaro Weil with illustrator Junli Song (c) Junli Song
Zaro Weil with illustrator Junli Song, (c) Junli Song

At the next table sat Zaro Weil and Gareth, we started talking, we talked, we got together at the fair – because of course they were there too. They were curious, open to everything, but the Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, did not know them yet. We sent them to this booth, where graduates of the illustrator classes always show their theses, not yet published books, “dummies.” Where each year you can discover exciting new stories: In recent years, for us Ellen Vesters with their dark, impressive book and Lele Saa with their mourning history and their mother’s red scarf. There, Zaro found Junli Song, won her as an illustrator and published her book. And celebrated this on Monday at the fair. And then with us in an osteria.

Zaro Weil with the book "Little Tree" by Katsumi Komagata
Zaro Weil with the book> Little Tree <by Katsumi Komagata

We have continued this year. Because Zaro did not know Katsumi Komagata either. And was thrilled with “Little Tree” – and as she cautiously turned the pages and the two discovered the poetic parable story, was touching to touch and reminded us of our first look in this noble-priced book: One of the librarians of the Trois Ourses retired white gloves, leafing devoutly and slowly and did not even let us touch the book. (I’m curious when Katsumi will receive the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Prize – so far the prize is a bit Euro-heavy.)

Mauro Bellei
Mauro Bellei

And we almost succeeded in making them and Mauro Bellei acquainted with exceptional books: a playful school of perception. But on Wednesday the two of them were heading for Venice again, where they “canoodleten through the winding streets,” as she wrote. After all, we were able to show him her book, he was immediately impressed by the harmony of the design. Dancing the words with the images and the other way round, the river for the eye and absolutely wanted to have one.Zaros Buch hat eine lange Geschichte: Vor vielen Jahren hat sie Gedichte geschrieben, dann hatte sie einen Verlag mit 30 Angestellten, und nachdem sie den aufgegeben hat und nach Südfrankreich gezogen ist, kamen auch die Gedichte wieder zu ihr zurück. Und wieder gründete sie einen Verlag, aber nur für sich selbst, für ihre Texte. ›Cherry Moon‹ heißt das Buch, und ihr Gedicht ›strawberry‹ erinnerte mich sofort an die Gedichte von William Carlos Williams:

if I were as red as you
as sweet
as round
I’d wind up in a basket too

Es sind Gedichte über kleine Dinge, über die Natur, den Frühling, den Sommer, den Wind, über Bohnen und Fledermäuse oder Steine, ›Don’t be bored rock‹ heißt eines:

don’t be bored rock
once you were orange fire
thundering down some
mountain slope or
hurtling silver sleek
through deep sky

maybe you were thrown up
sputtering red by
an ancient fuming volcano or
born with the planet in a
starless galactic bang

to be carved sharp by ice
rounded by raging wind

but whichever it was
being still now is good
after all

you have so much to remember

Die Illustrationen von Sunli Song erzählen manchmal eine andere Geschichte, vertiefen Aspekte in eine Richtung, die von den Texten höchstens angedeutet wird. Es sind Drucke in zurückhaltenden Farben, blau und rot, und das auf den ersten Blick Plakative löst sich schnell in Bewegung auf, in eine hintersinnige Mehrfachbedeutung, wenn sich die Käfer auf den Blättern räkeln oder die Pflaumen vom Baum fallen im Sommergedicht ›Plum tree (summer)‹ (es gibt noch ›spring‹, ›autumn‹ und ›winter‹), das mit den Worten endet

never heard of it«

Two "dummies" of graduates at the Cambridge School of Art booth
Zwei ›Dummies‹ von Absolventen am Stand der Cambridge School of Art

One of the recurring highlights of the fair is always the Cambridge booth. Everything there is of course professional, some rather mainstream. The stand is tiny. And always so well attended that you have to be hell-bent not to tear the many books out of the wall shelves. But if you are lucky, the small sofa in the corner is free, and if you sit first with a stack of books on your lap, you will not get up so quickly.Funny was the book by Adam Beer about a dog on an island that played so beautifully in peace and then got angry when suddenly excursionists came with other dogs, and the discussion about it with the other students (“Do not mention Brexit!” ): We thought it was wonderful that the illustrations were in black and white, much more powerful and clear, but his classmates had persuaded him during the course of their studies to try more with color … Impressive and subtle are Lindy Norton’s> The Visitor <and Bethan Welby’s Ghosted, a touching ghost story that deals with unfinished business and a mysterious death many years ago. Also smart is Al Rodin’s story> Lia & Lion <, Lia and the Lion: a quirky mischievous story with few, but pointed words and funky twists and turns, and the stroke is equally mischievously vivacious with soft quaint accents. Both want to have a pet and go in search: Lia looks up, the lion down, Lia looks to the left, the lion to the right. At some point they see each other at the same time and both think, “That’s the right pet.” Sitting in the meadow and watching each other: a little astonished, a little suspicious, but most of all curious. To the left, little Lia, who is perched on a round stone, bright red is her hat with the broad brim, and her little boots also flare in the same color, on the right Lion, a splendid specimen of a lion with a handsome mane. But that’s not how it works. How the two collide and what happens then

Incidentally, the discussion about Adam’s books took place in our Stammbar near Piazza Maggiore, where we once again sat for a long time and talked to a Viennese student couple on the right, then two older French women, and on the left were three Italian illustrators from southern Italy , which we met again the next day at the fair, then a larger group of Cambridge students. This is normal in Bologna, the fair is more familiar, not comparable to Frankfurt, and you meet again and again. Also Zaro we ran the first time on the first day in the middle of the arrival crowd in the arms. Incidentally, her book has already been selected on an English list as the best children’s book of the year.

Yes, the winners. They also have a lot to talk about, the Bologna Ragazzi Award is one of the most important in the international children’s book industry, and in addition to the amusement and the amazement and discovery, a visit to the award-winning is a must. As always, the Koreans are present, this year, among other things, with an honorable mention of the book “A Shadow” by Chae Seung-Yeon from the publisher Bandal: a book in which animals gradually gather in a long shadow, a lion, a giraffe, a raccoon, a monkey … Then the shadow becomes ever narrower, the animals have to move together, then pile up like the Bremen Town Musicians. And then comes the trick … (will not reveal). A successful work in the category> Opera prima <(first work), a playful homage to children’s fantasies,

In der Kategorie »Fiction« gehen zwei Erwähnungen an ›Et puis‹ von Icinori (ein französisch-japanisches Paar, Verlag Albin Michel Jeunesse, Paris) und ›À travers‹ von Tom Haugomat (Verlag Thierry Magnier). ›Et puis‹ erzählt eine völlig verdrehte, geheimnisvolle und nicht sofort entschlüsselbare Geschichte von Wesen mit einem Hammer- oder Schraubenkopf, die Monat für Monat die Wirklichkeitskulissen verschieben und die Natur domestizieren und verbauen, sodass z.B. in einem Monat eine schaumgeborene Göttin dem Meer entsteigt, während sie im nächsten vorn am Rand steht und nicht recht weiß, wohin sie mit ihrer Muschel soll. Jedes der vielen Details findet sich auf dem nächsten Blatt in veränderter Form wieder, jede der Dutzenden Figuren hat seine eigene Geschichte, und es würde Tage brauchen, sie alle zu entschlüsseln oder auch nur nachzuverfolgen. Haugomats Buch erzählt ohne Worte, nur durch die eindrücklichen Bilder die Geschichte eines Manns, der geboren wird, aufwächst, älter wird … auf der einen Seite ist ein Bild seiner Geschichte zu sehen, auf der gegenüberliegenden sieht man das, was er sieht: ein Buch, einen Nachbarn, die Sterne durch ein Fernglas, die Mondlandung im Fernsehen, die Raketen in Cape Canaveral, seinen alten Vater. Es ist eine anrührende Biografie, die auch in die Zukunft führt, ins Jahr 2021, in einer Drucktechnik mit nur drei Farben, sehr minimalistisch.

Bei ›New Horizons‹ ist der Gewinner ein wunderbares Kunstbuch: ›A History of Pictures (for Children)‹ von David Hockney und Martin Gayford, illustriert von Rose Blake, die uns das Buch signierte und ganz stolz eine E-Mail von Hockney zeigte, in der er ihr zu ihrer Arbeit gratulierte – schade, dass es keine Postkarte ist. Das Buch basiert auf Gesprächen zwischen dem berühmten Maler und dem Kunstkritiker. Es springt von einem Stier in der Höhle von Lascaux (15.000 vor u.Z.) zu Picassos Eule von 1952, von Jan van Eycks Arnolfinis zu Hockneys ›Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy‹, von der Mona Lisa zu einem Foto von Marlene Dietrich – eine anregende, bilderreiche, schlaue Art, durch die Kunstgeschichte zu führen, ohne kunstgeschichtlich schlau daherzukommen, ohne erhobenen Zeigefinger, sondern erzählend, neugierig und neugierigmachend.

Deutsche Verlage setzen mehr auf Altbewährtes wie Kuh Lieselotte vom Sauerländer Verlag: „Was bei uns funktioniert, funktioniert in anderen Ländern nicht unbedingt«, sagt Ilka Wesche vom Fischer Verlag, »aber Tiergeschichten gehen immer, wie Lieselotte.« In über 20 Sprachen ist die Kultkuh übersetzt, Spanien, Dänemark, Polen haben sogar das ganze Programm. »Und die Bücher von Gudrun Mebs«, erzählt Wesche, „sind ganz besonders in Korea beliebt«. Das neue – hurra endlich – ›Ferien nur mit Papa‹ liegt druckfrisch am Stand. »Allerdings«, sagt Anne Brans vom Hanser Verlag »verkaufen sich Kinderbücher, die literarischer sind, nicht so gut in Deutschland« – wie etwa die von Mebs oder Moeyaert – zwei herausragende und außergewöhnliche Autoren…

Bei Carlsen sind die Conni-Bücher seit über 25 Jahren ein Highlight und begeistern nicht nur in Deutschland. Ganz allgemein sind Freundschaftsgeschichten und magische Mädchenbücher sehr beliebt, wobei der Markt eher unvorhersehbar ist – so der Tenor der Verlage: Deshalb versuchen sie, mit einem vielfältigen Angebot die unterschiedlichen Ländergeschmäcker anzusprechen.

Swiss illustrators
Schweizer Illustratoren

Oh, es gäbe so viel zu erzählen: von den anderen Preisen, von den deutschen Büchern und den deutschen Verlagen, dem Gastland Schweiz mit seiner Ausstellung von Büchern, illustrierten Schweizer Fachbegriffen (Berge, Ziegen, Heidi) und Illustratoren (Francesca Sanna oder Albertine, Petra Rappo haben wir dann gleich am Stand der Cambridger kennengelernt). Von den vielen wunderbaren Büchern, die wir noch entdeckt haben, auch die von Mauro Bellei. Von den Koreanern des Verlags BIR, die uns Jin-ho Jungs Buch ›The Stars and Me‹ extra aus Korea mitbrachten, damit wir es doch noch kaufen können (das hat letztes Jahr nicht geklappt), von Jean-Vincent Sénacs Buch ›How to draw a Chicken‹, das uns der Tate-Verlag geschenkt hat, weil wir so offensichtlich begeistert davon waren, von den vier Schweizerinnen im Bus, die Kinder an die Literatur heranführen, von einigen herausgeputzten Frauen und so mancher kleinen Skurrilität am Rand ………. viel, viel, viel könnten wir erzählen.

Nächstes Jahr wieder!



Catch me


Kinderbuch | Polly Faber: Fang mich doch! Wer die Möhren aus Nachbars
No half things

Aufs Ganze

Jugendbuch | Antje Herden: Keine halben Sachen Robin findet sich und sein
never world

For ever …

Jugendbuch | Marisha Pessl: Niemalswelt Fünf Freunde hängen in einer Zeitschleife fest.


‘Spot Guevara lives happily on the tough streets of Brooklyn, until the dreadful day when his whole family is captured by the dog police and he has no idea where they have been taken. Vowing never to give up looking for them, Spot must learn to ward off danger, to discover which dogs-and humans-may be trusted, and how to find happiness despite all that has happened. Spot Guevara is an adventurous tale full of love, loss, courage and family values, told with lightness and humour.And engaging, bold modern print and Katy Riddell’s lively illustrations will help even less able readers to become hooked.    

Tina Massey



Circus magic, forest wonders and a hero dog 

book reviews

“If your youngsters are barking mad for canine capers, then here’s an action-packed adventure story starring a lovable dog coping with life on the mean streets of New York City.

Spot Guevara: Hero Dog – the first book of an exciting new series that is perfect for young readers – is based on the real-life sheep dog of author Zaro Weil who lives in France and has also written poetry for children.

Spot, a lively puppy with a lovely story to tell, is brought to life by a gorgeous gallery of colour illustrations from Katy Riddell, daughter of the former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, and an illustration talent in her own right.

Born rough on the streets of Brooklyn, the seventh puppy in his mum’s litter, Spot relates his story in his own inimitable words. Spot loves to roam the city and meet new friends, like the human Perfecto Guevara who brings Spot and his family scraps of food, as well as cuddles and lots of love. Spot also has to learn to fend off danger, and find about other people and other dogs.

But one terrible day, Spot’s entire family are carted off by the Dog police while he is out exploring and he vows never to give up searching for them, even if it means crossing the frighteningly huge Brooklyn Bridge…

Youngsters will love following Spot’s adventures and misadventures in New York City as he confronts tough enemies and becomes the ultimate lovable doggy hero. Written in chapter book format, this is ideal reading for children to enjoy on their own, or to cuddle up and share with an adult.”

Lancashire Evening Post  

Monday 29 April 2019