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Two Wise Hippos

Založba Malinc

Country: Slovenia

Original title: Modrost nilskih konjev

Original language: Slovenian


Age group: 5 - 7

Categories: Fiction, illustration

Inclusive towards: Ability, socio-economic background, cultural background


Author: Peter Svetina

Illustrator: Francisco Tomsich


Number of pages: 104

Format (in mm): A5


Info on rights holder: Peter Svetina

You can request a full PDF and English translation by mailing or you can view a sample here.


Hubert and Marcel are hippopotami who do not take life as a bare fact, but come to know life, to taste it, reflect on it a bit, learn something about it – or perhaps not – and, especially, enjoy it with friends. The sentences, but also the stories as wholes, are clear and short, without any unnecessary baggage; they are full of dynamism, sometimes lyricism, while sometimes being concise, yet always full of humour and optimism. Occasionally the author deliberately foregoes adult auto-censoring and spices up the text here and thereby depicting characters who are not always role models. This not only allows children to think independently, but encourages them by making them doubt, by giving them a chance to be wise.

Book illustration with two hippos sitting under a tree and facing a watter puddle.
Book illustration of hundreds of penguins put together, formin a shape of a circle.

Založba Malinc is a small publishing house, specialized in children’s and youth literature from the Spanish speaking countries (Europe and Latin America) and minority Iberian literatures (Basque, Catalan and Galician). We are striving to enlarge the bibliodiversity of the Slovenian book market, also by publishing high quality works from literature less known in Slovenia. Besides, our books are adjusted to lectors with dyslexia and some of them published in bilingual editions, supported by the didactic materials published on our webpage.

We predominantly work with translated texts, which is why all our activities are based on a cultural mediation: the reading promotion projects, visits of authors, presentations of books via round tables with translators, the reading promoters training, the promotion of Slovenian authors in the Spanish speaking countries, namely at  book fairs, conferences, library presentations etc.


Info on author:

Peter Svetina was born in 1970 in Ljubljana. In 1995 he graduated in Slovenian Studies and defended his Ph.D. thesis on Old Slovenian Poetry in 2001 (both at Faculty for Arts, University Ljubljana, Slovenia). He is an associate professor for Slavic literature at the Institute for Slavic languages, Alpen-Adria University, Klagenfurt, Austria. He writes for children, young adults and adults, but his work often crosses the borders between different target audiences and can be
read as crossover literature. His literary debut was a picture book called The Walrus who Didn’t Want to Cut his Nails (1999), which soon served as the basis for a puppet play, a path later followed by many of his works (e.g. Mr.
Constantine’s Hat). His books for children and youth have been translated into English, German, Spanish, Korean, Polish, Latvian, Estonian, and Lithuanian.
Svetina’s works often play with occurrences and images from his everyday life. They reflect not only his home town of Ljubljana and the destinations of his travels, but also his scholarly interests – Svetina’s scientific research is focused
on old Slovenian poetry, children’s and youth literature (especially its socially and politically directed transformation after World War II), and detective novels. He translates poetry and children’s literature from English, German, Croatian, and Czech and works as an editor for poetry collections and literature textbooks for primary school. His books have received some of the most prestigious national and international awards and are immensely popular among literary critics as well as young readers.


Info on illustrator:

Francisco Tomsich is an artist and author born in Uruguay in 1981. He produces exhibitions, publications, works for the stage, research models and pedagogical devices since 2003, operating with different media, languages and tongues. He has co-founded and integrates many non-disciplinary associations of artists in South America and Europe. See:


Awards and nominations:

Shortlisted to Anderson Award 2020 (among others).



Media mentions:

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