Die Bunte Bande: Das gestohlene Fahrrad, Ein inklusives Kinderbuch

The second book in my IBBY assignment is Die Bunte Bande: Das gestohlene Fahrrad, Ein inklusives Kinderbuch by Corinna Fuchs and illustrated by Uli Velte and Igor Dollinger. This book is inclusive in that it was written in three language styles: everyday German, simplified German and German braille. I had thought that braille was braille, but the book had an information page at the end showing the raised dot patterns not only for the letters a through z plus also for some German letters (ä, ö, ü and ß), German diphthongs (au, eu, ei, äu and ie) and consonant clusters (ch, sch and st). English has letter patterns in braille as well.

The story focusses on five friends, one of whom uses a wheelchair, and how they come to the aid of another friend whose bike was stolen. The story is told in everyday German on each two-page spread. The text is large and easy to read. Colourful pictures illustrate the story by portraying exactly what was written. Braille is superimposed on these pages. A braille reader can read the story on his own or can follow along as the story is read and the pictures described to him. Each two-page spread is followed by a couple pages where the story is retold in simplified German (or easy German) and larger or different illustrations are used. The easy German pages were printed on light blue paper, and an example of this simplified language can be seen on the photo of the book’s back cover. Compare the two descriptions of the story in both forms of German. Some terms in the easier form were given special explanations, for example, regelmäßig. The everyday language version did not define the word at all, however the simplified German page explained it thus:

“Regel-mäßig bedeutet:
Er kommt immer wieder.
Zum Beispiel:
– 1 Mal in der Woche
– oder 2 Mal in der Woche.”

= “Regular-ly means:
He comes over and over again.
For example:
– once a week
– or twice a week.”

A friend of the group, Ben, loses his bike to thieves. The five friends come up with ideas to raise money to help buy a new bike for him. Some terms might not be understood without illustrations. In the everyday German language story, Tessa, one of the five friends, wants to help raise funds by:

“Sie selbst wollte Kinder schminken.”

= “She herself wanted to paint children’s faces.”

Schminken translates as “to put makeup on” but one wouldn’t necessarily do this to a child. An illustration on the easy German pages shows a drawing of a child with her face painted like a leopard. Tessa, therefore, is a face-painter.

The pages are very thick, and seem waterproof as well as unrippable. Coil binding will however not prevent even the thickest of pages from becoming dislodged or torn out.

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