Bromba and philosophy

Maciej Wojtyszko
Bromba and philosophy
  • Jacek Santorski & Co
    Warszawa 2004
    223 x 172
    128 pages
    ISBN 83-89763-22-2
    Translation rights: Jacek Santorski & Co

Well known as a theatre and television director, Maciej Wojtyszko has also been writing superb children’s books for many years, which he illustrates himself. His readers have grown particularly fond of Bromba and her friends, thanks to a special kind of humour that appeals as much to adults as to children. However, this latest story about Bromba’s world does not just smuggle in some clever content under cover of some funny little stories full of absurd humour, but involves a head-on encounter with philosophy.On the strength of the reasonable assumption that children have an above-average capacity for logical thought, Wojtyszko has decided to present some major philosophical issues with Bromba as intermediary. As he himself points out, “it’s hard to say who noticed that Bromba is interested in philosophy and when it happened,” but after all, “anything that can be talked about should not be kept silent.” Chapter by chapter, just like Socrates or Pythagoras and their company, the creatures belonging to Bromba’s circle of friends talk about the initial requirements for some philosophical research, seek out some principles for consideration, chat about how definitions are made, and reflect on the essence of time. Each of these debates arises out of a concrete situation, so for example the characters develop their thoughts on happiness while discussing motorcycling and a trip to another universe.This little book will be fantastic literature for children who, after reading each chapter, have the opportunity to chat with their parents about the questions and doubts that arise. To help organise the conversations, each chapter is followed by some summarising notes from Puciek the librarian. Wojtyszko’s jokes are the adults’ reward, such as the one about Bromba’s discovery. Having noticed that if you want to be recognised as a Great Philosopher, you have to have a double letter in your name (as in Wittgenstein, Popper, Husserl, or Heidegger), she realised that the correct spelling of the name of Poland’s greatest living philosopher should be ‘Kołłakowski’.

Marek Mikos Gazeta Wyborcza, 11 October 2004

Bromba and philosophy was awarded the title Book of the Year 2004 by the Polish section of the International Board on Books for Young People.