Monica’s Gang is traveling throughout the world, getting adrenaline rushes from lots of adventures… and many whacks with plush bunnies! Opposing the saying “don’t wash your dirty linen in public”, if Monica has to hit someone with her plush bunny to defend herself or any of her friends, she will do it either in Brazil, Italy, Japan, or in any of the Portuguese-speaking countries where the gang has reached, and, without a doubt, they’ve gone far!
One of Monica’s Gang’s most exciting and educative adventures is their visit to countries that have Portuguese as their official language, and the great news is that we can take off with them and live all the emotions together. The whole story is told in the book “Turma da Mônica—Uma viagem aos países de língua portuguesa” (in a free translation: Monica’s Gang—A trip to the Portuguese-speaking countries) resulting from the partnership between the writer José Santos, a Portuguese descendant born in Minas Gerais, southeast of Brazil, and the Maurício de Souza Studios.
In 20 chapters, the little gang tells us everything about this travel on board Mauricio de Sousa Airlines – VAMOS (let’s go). The route is fantastic and brings lots of knowledge and good laughs. Under the gaze of Monica’s Gang, we can learn more about Brazil, Angola, São Tomé and Príncipe, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, East Timor, Portugal, and finally, about their return home to the fictional neighborhood of Limoeiro, in São Paulo. Besides giving us a cool lesson about these countries, they seize the opportunity to show us some differences between the vocabularies of each one. The book was edited by Imeph Publishing and distributed by Bookwire.
Monica’s Gang throughout the world
Monica, Maggy, *Jimmy Five… wait a minute, if it weren’t for Monica it would be impossible to think that Jimmy Five is that sympathetic friend of Monica who struggles to pronounce his r’s. But it is just him. Jimmy Five is Cebolinha, as we know him in Brazil, or Cipollino, in Italy. In English, besides the name there is another difference: Jimmy Five changes the “R” to “W”, I mean, he says “wabbit” instead of “rabbit”. Smudge (for us Brazilians, Cascão) is the one who hates water and never takes a bath… or a shower. Monica’s comics are so much fun and finding them in English, or Italian, is priceless. A great success in Brazil, the characters created by Mauricio de Sousa went beyond the borders through their comics and cartoons. In English, they know Monica and her friends as Monica’s Gang.
Monica’s comic books were released in Brazil in 1970, although, several years before, many characters were already known through the strips published in the newspapers. The stories tell about the adventures of Monica and her friends. She is the leader of the gang, and no one dares to contest this.
Her strong temper does not prevent her from being teased by her friends, mainly because of her buck teeth, but she knows how to handle it. Jimmy Five and Smudges are always developing infallible plans to defeat Monica or, who knows, to at least steal her always-in-hand stuffed rabbit (Samson) which she uses also to defend herself. However, when her friends get into trouble, Monica is always around to help them. Monica’s best friend is Maggy; she goes crazy about food, especially watermelon, and has a pretty white cat named Vanilla, like in Italian (in Portuguese, it is called Mingau).
Monica’s comics nowadays have already been published in 40 countries and in 14 languages. In the Italian version, Monica keeps her name while Jimmy Five turn into Cipollino; Smudge is Patacca, Maggy is Magali, and Monica’s Gang is known as La Banda di Monica. All-in-all, the characters and the fun are the same in any language. In Japan, the beloved Brazilian group is known as Monika & Furenzu (Monica & Friends). There, Monica’s friends are Magari (Magali), Kasukon (Cascão) e Seboriinha (Cebolinha).
Meanwhile, in Italy, the straight shot is “A Divina Jogada”
“Dante, Dante, Dante
Dante, Dante, mamma mia,
você é o centroavante
no time da poesia.”
A Divina Jogada
Dante in Bologna, illustration by Eloar Guazzelli, in the book “A Divina Jogada”, by the writer José Santos.
A match between Brazil and Italy that could be summarized as a win-win situation. In the Brazilian team, the MVPs were the author José Santos and the cartoonist Eloar Guazzelli. They fielded nothing less than the poets Dante and Virgil, and so the divine match begins! The tournament takes place in the stadiums of Hell, Paradise, and Purgatory in three unusual football matches. The trophy of this Divine Play is the Jabuti award won by the author.
A Divina Jogada (The Divine Play in free translation) is a modern interpretation of traditional literary works. Within this new vision, the author recalled the mythology, the Bible, and the Divine Comedy itself as a tribute to Dante Alighieri. In this context, only the most famous players, such as Judas, Adam, Moses, the Minotaur, Saint Anthony, and even Solomon, that played boasting strength and wisdom, took part.
Click here to see what is going on in A Divina Jogada.
About the author José Santos
José Santos was born and grew up during the cartoons’ era, when the literary supplement to the newspapers brought to life incredible characters. Even before learning to read, José had chosen those special to him: Horacio, the young dinosaur philosopher, Pitheco, the caveman inventor, and Bubbly, the space explorer, and certainly, all three contributed to his literacy process. José Santos was born on October 30th, 1959, in the town of Santana do Deserto, Minas Gerais. That early interest in literature accompanied him during his academic path. He graduated in Communication Science from the Federal University of Juiz de Fora and later moved to São Paulo. After the birth of his two sons, Miguel and Jonas, he devoted himself to youth literature. Since then, he has published over 50 titles with varied themes such as folklore, horror, fashion, astronomy, football, fables, music, and the Portuguese language.
Besides A Divina Jogada which received the Jabuti, José Santos got also the award for the best book in the Portuguese language category from the National Foundation for Children’s and Youth Books – FNLIJ for his work Infâncias— daqui e além mar (Childhood – here and beyond the sea), in partnership with the poet José Jorge Letria. With Mauricio de Sousa, he published Turma da Mônica—Uma viagem a Portugal (Monica’s gang—a trip to Portugal), in which he shows the differences between the language spoken in the two countries; Turma da Mônica—Uma viagem à América Latina (Monica’s gang—A trip to Latin America); Turma da Mônica—Uma viagem do Brasil ao Japão (Monica’s gang—A trip from Brazil to Japan) and Turma da Mônica—Uma viagem aos países de língua portuguesa (Monica’s gang—A trip to Portuguese-speaking countries, all titles above in free translation).
And there’s a new book circulating: the youth novel The mysterious Portuguese letter, which has just been released in Santos, São Paulo. Written with the participation of Alexandre Le Voci Sayad and the Reading Club of the Josefa de Óbidos
school, A Misteriosa Carta Portuguesa tells the journey of a 15-year-old girl, Rita, who goes to Portugal on a school exchange. A mysterious letter and the girl’s curiosity unleash an investigation full of suspense, fear, encounters, and reunions. The book, published by Editora Faria e Silva, was selected by the program Minha Biblioteca (My Library) held by the Municipal Education Department of São Paulo and is part of the National Textbook Program-PNLD.
If you want to take part in this new adventure, click here. A misteriosa carta portuguesa is available on Amazon.
For those who want to know even more about José Santos’ work, here are a few more titles: Matinta Ferreira, work in cordel published by SESI_SP; Show de Bola (FTD Educação) and Futebolíadas (Editora Dsop), adaptation of the classic “The Iliad”, by Homer, which, for sure, will please Greeks and Trojans.
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