Sanje Publishing

Little Sleepy Star
by Frane Milčinski - Ježek

  • original title: Zvezdica Zaspanka
  • bestselling children’s book
  • first published in 2004, several reprints, present edition published in 2012
  • 48 pages with 22 full-page illustrations
  • illustrated by Gorazd Vahen
  • rights sold: China (China Translation and Publishing Corporation), Colombia (Panamericana)
  • co-edition options
  • available in English, German, Italian, Croatian and Czech translations
Little Sleepy Star

Starting out as a hugely sucessful radio play in 1952 (still one of the most popular children’s audiobooks), continuing as a puppet show (translated into several languages and staged throughout then Yugoslavia, in Russia, Poland, Germany, the Czech republic, Switzerland, Italy, even Chile and Canada), the legendary Little Sleepy Star finally appeared in book form in 1993.

When night falls, the stars go to work, showing the way to travellers, inspiring poets ... Except for the Little Sleepy Star, who is always late. But the absence of a star in the sky causes strange things to happen on Earth ... In order to punish her and teach her responsibility, Uncle Moon sends her to Earth. Before she can return to the sky, she will have to experience the difficulties of life down here, learn that nothing is to be had without money and teach a terrible brigand with a stone instead of a heart to spell the word “dear” so he can write to his mother.

As all good fairy tales do, Little Sleepy Star gives direct but unintrusive lessons on values such as responsibility, love and acceptance. The poetry and warm humour suffusing the text have bewitched generations of Slovenian children for over half a century.

English sample pages of the book are available in the attachement.

Little Sleepy Star
Suddenly, it all becomes clear. This is why everything on Earth is upside down. This must be the reason why the children weep because they cannot sleep, why the sailors cannot find their way and why the poet is searching for a rhyme to the word friend in vain. A star was missing in the sky.
Translated into English by Ksenija Leban

Das Schlafsternchen
Da segelt aus der Ferne Gevatter Mond herbei und zahlt seine Silbersternherde und obwohl es Milliarden um Milliarden von ihnen gibt, kennt er jeden Stern und weis genau, wo er zu leuchten hat. Als er heute Nacht so in unseren Winkel des Weltalls herbeisegelte, bemerkte er, dass die Zahl nicht stimmt.
Translated into German by Daniel Holl in Amalija Maček

Zvjezdica Pospanka
Navečer, kada se svi mi već pomalo spremamo na počinak, zvijezde na nebu se bude. Protrljaju oči, iz bijelih si maglica natoče rosu i njome umivaju svoje svijetle obraščiće. Još počešljaju srebrnu kosu, a zatim svaka od njih krene na svoje mjesto na nebu, da bi tamo svijetlila svu dugačku noć. I tako one sa neba svijetle, velike i male, stare i mlade, svijetle i ljudima veselje pružaju.
Translated into Croatian by Edo Fičor

Stellina Sonnolina
“Continuando a volare, a un palmo dalla Terra, ho visto che i marinai si sono persi tra le onde del mare. La nave errava da una parte all’altra, ha smarrito la strada. Non trovava la costa ne il porto in cui poter gettare l’ancora. Vagava dispersa in mezzo al mare, mentre tutti i marinai guardavano su verso il cielo.”
Translated into Italian by Alenka Možina

Frane Milčinski - Ježek (1914—88), actor, director, author of screen and radio plays (co-author of Kekec, Golden Lion for best youth film in 1952), singer, poet and writer, was one of the most prominent media personalities in Slovenia and without doubt Slovenia’s greatest humourist and satirist. He received numerous awards, including the Prešeren award (the most prestigious Slovenian award in the arts) for lifetime achievement in 1975. Throughout his life, Ježek remained a man of and for the people.
In spite of Ježek’s great popularity, his work has become widely available only in the last ten years as his cassettes, CDs and books of his short stories, poems and songs have been released by Sanje.

Gorazd Vahen graduated in design from Ljubljana Academy of Arts. His illustrations appear in picture books, textbooks and on book covers. His credentials include a series of works by Terry Pratchett and several picture books based on texts by the distinguished Slovenian author of works for children, Svetlana Makarovič. He also designs puppets for the theatre.