The White Ravens Database

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

Spanish / Argentina

Cuentos cansados

(Sleepy stories)

Levrero, Mario (text)
Bianki, Diego (illus.)
Buenos Aires: Pequeño Editor, 2018. – 32 p.
(Series: Incluso los grandes)
ISBN 978-987-1374-90-8

Sleepiness  | Storytelling  | Picture book

Reading age: 6+

White Ravens issue: 2018


Several unpublished stories were found in the estate of Uruguayan author Mario Levrero (1940-2004). They are presented in this book, accompanied by wonderful illustrations by Diego Bianki. The stories are dialogues between a relentlessly sleepy “I” and “Nicolás”, who presses him to tell “just ONE more” story. Punctuated by continuous yawns and snores, one dialogue follows upon the next: “I” tells quite strange, “sleepy” stories – for instance, about someone whose limbs keep growing longer because he all of a sudden can’t walk anymore, or about someone who inadvertently ends up in a monkey cage at a zoo because he can’t see anymore. It’s absurd, and the repetitive yawning and insisting also make it comical. Diego Bianki’s stencilled illustrations are marvellous. He brushed patterns cut from acetate with tempera paint and pressed them onto paper. They create standalone, fantastical scenes in intensely shining colours – dreamscapes that fit Levrero’s texts perfectly.