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New illustrations celebrate To Hoai’s 100th birthday

A new version of Dế Mèn Phiêu Lưu Ký (Adventures of A Cricket) will be released on September 25 to celebrate writer To Hoai’s 100th birthday.

New version of Dế Mèn Phiêu Lưu Ký (Adventures of A Cricket) with illustrations by artist Dau Thi Ngoc Vinh. Photo

This is one of the most popular stories among Vietnamese children and is the most widely read from generation to generation.

The new version includes 100 illustrations by young artist Dau Thi Ngoc Vinh. She is the first female artist to illustrate the piece.

“I drew the illustrations for my dissertation,” said Vinh. “After seven years, I completed more than 100 illustrations which I think will give a new look to the old story.”

“This is the first time I have drawn animals. I read the story when I was young and I loved it very much.”

The artist uses watercolours to paint the characters. This is the first time the characters are depicted in a modern style.

The illustrations are expected to attract new readers.

The launching ceremony will be held as a part of Reading Tô Hoài’s Books Week from September 21 to 27. The week is held by Kim Dong Publishing House and Reading with Kids Club.  

Dế Mèn Phiêu Lưu Ký was penned in 1941 by To Hoai (1920-2014). One year later, it was released after the writer created more fictional characters.

It is his first children's book and is also one of his masterpieces marking a milestone in his career.

To Hoai was born Nguyen Sen into a craft family in Thanh Oai District of Ha Dong Province (now Hanoi). He held various jobs before beginning to write in the 1940s.

To Hoai is well-known for several works, including Dế Mèn Phiêu Lưu Ký, O Chuột (Hunting Mice) in 1942, Nhà Nghèo (Poor Family) in 1944, Truyện Tây Bắc (Stories of the Northwestern Region) in 1953, and Ba Người Khác (Three Others) in 2006.

Dế Mèn Phiêu Lưu Ký has been reprinted many times, attracting millions of young readers. It has been printed in 37 languages, including English, French, Thai and Russian. It is popular in many countries.

Since 1986, extracts from the book have been used in textbooks for secondary school students. 

He was awarded the Ho Chi Minh Prize for Literature in 2006.  VNS

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