In the Media
WONDER PONDER IN THE MEDIA (selected quotes)
Review of WHATEVER YOU WANT
"An undoubtedly intelligent, innovative proposal which, despite being aimed mainly at children, avoids patronising children and explores its readers' abilities to the maximum".
Review of WHATEVER YOU WANT
"A set of striking images that reach our brains directly" (about Daniela Martagón's illustrations).
"Fantastic for adults wishing to understand the world of childhood who often find it hard to see things from the point of view of children. With these Visual Philosophy for Children titles we get a closer look at their view of things and find it easier to understand their perplexity, their questions and their extreme need for freedom." (about the book in general).
Review of WHATEVER YOU WANT
"Have you ever been told you ask too many questions? Or that there are some things best left unexplored? Or that you shouldn't question your elders? If the answer is yes, don't worry, you are not alone. There are loads of other question-askers in the world. And many of them, continue to ask questions even when they grow up." "Ellen, Daniela and Raquel, the creators of this "book-in-a-box" belong to this group of people: they are professional question-askers. They know that when one asks a question it's like opening a box and one can never be sure what you will find inside (which makes it even more exciting)".
Review of WHATEVER YOU WANT
"It is like a flashlight that points to places that are always in sight but that we ignore, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. The authors shout out: Hey! Look at this! Do you fancy having a look?". And boy, do they manage to persuade us to look."
Review of WHATEVER YOU WANT
"Fourteen scenes that force us to put ourselves in the place of others and think about what we would do".
"Is feeling free the same as being free? Choices, decisions, rules, responsibility... there are many concepts that come into play and the reader is invited to explore them playfully by stepping into the shoes of all these characters".
Karina Micheletto interviews Ellen Duthie on the publication of Cruelty Bites in Argenina (by ediciones iamiqué).
"It is a book made exclusively out of questions. No suggested answers; none of the questions have a single "right" answer. And that is where a great part of the charm and value of this book lies. A book made for children, but which leaves readers of all ages thinking -and asking further questions-".
"How do you explain to a kid what ethics is? Like this, with a 36-page book."
Interview with Ellen Duthie by Franco Torchia.
"A terrific book, that seems a book for children and young people, but which is a book for all ages. A work of genius. [...] I explored this book with my daughter a few days ago and the experience was unforgettable".
"A literary work where it is essential to open, look and think."
"As an experience for family reading, this Visual Philosophy for Children series allows us to talk about issues that are normally beyond the scope of the conversations we have with children, but not beyond the scope of their concern or of ours, and explore in depth our way of understanding the world and understanding ourselves."
"Highly explosive and recommended". [...] They do not seek to educate, but rather to create alive, thinking heads, able to discuss using arguments and to own their thinking".
"An original proposal for big and small people to learn how to look carefully, to look with philosophical eyes".
"The idea is simple but it is executed masterfully. The scenarios put forwards are clear, deep, varied (to ponder) and open: they do not suggest correct answers nor do they try to lead the reader in any particular direction. Welcome ambiguity!"
"Again, Wonder Ponder fascinated them and in their own words: "with activities like these it's much more fun and we learn much more [...] and, especially, we learn from the ideas of our mates".
"Wonder Ponder’s wonderfully open-ended box sets take philosophy into the classroom as well as out into the playground and into the home, immediately engaging children and adults alike in the satisfying, brain-bending experience that is philosophical thinking."
"Three women intent on making children, parents and teachers think with their Visual Philosophy for Children".
"These are not regular books. First, because of the way they are presented: boxes with loose cards for readers to shuffle as they like. But especially because they do not attempt to indoctrinate or impose a message, a value or a moral, but rather to establish a dialogue with chlildren".
"It may be that adults are somewhat afraid of complexity, of not being able to reduce everything to black or white. Dialogue and reflection requires more time and preperation than communicating a set of examples to follow and values to pursue. But if we really want "values education" to be more than a transmission of commandments, we have no choice but to look at the world from all perspectives and pose genuine questions without the intention of leading to certain answers".
"I like everything about it: the visual image, direct and cheeky, and full of colour,, created by Daniela Martagón, its focus on philosophy, also direct, brave, without filters, and the format: a very attractive cross between a book and a game."
"The publisher Wonder Ponder had already surprised us with their first experiment, the fabulous Cruelty Bites and with this second title it is now clear that their proposals, as original as well-grounded, are going to attract a lot of attention in the publishing and literary world. In this case, I, Person focuses its visual philosophy proposal on discovering to children what it means to be human, through fourteen thought-provking scenes, over one hundred questions for curious minds and its suggestions for wonderpondering, which come with a brief companion guide for children and adult. Wonder Ponder boxes are a different, interesting and attractive game. A challenge that is worth taking and will leave nobody indifferent."
"The goal of Wonder Ponder is to pose questions to children which they are not normally given the change to think about, as adults tend to avoid making them face issues that adults themselves are uncomfortable with."
"Wonder Ponder breaks with this trend [whereby values are "transmitted" in education], bravely and making no apologies, assuming that children are thinkign beings, giving the change to think and question freely."
Review by Clémentine Beauvais
"Let me introduce you to the disturbing awesomeness of Wonder Ponder"
"Wonder Ponder is different, in its daringness, to other works I've seen of philosophy for children. The graphic style, to start with. The pictures are decidedly dark, hectic, perturbing. Daniela Martagón's visual identity is that of a cheeky, misbehaving, imaginative child.
"The provocativeness is brilliant".
"Perhaps it's because of the iconoclastic, deliciously naughty feel of it. Perhaps it's because I like Duthie's coherent, plucky position, displayed both in the cards adn in the exra-textual material -online, in her promotion plan, etc. Perhaps it's because I'm always in awe of people taking risks to launch cultural and educational projects like these, especially when they're sure to make at least a few people squirmish. But also more simply perhaps, because it makes me want to sit down with some kids, and adults, and play the game with them.
EL CULTURAL. 23.06.2015
Review by Cecilia Frías
"Wonder Ponder take one more step in their visual philosopy for children colecction with the publication of I, Person, a book in a box that includes fourteen illustate scenes that invite readers to think about who they are and what it means to be a person. Would we be more intelligent if we had more brains? Could a robot be a better son or daughter than a human child? Would it be fun to watch a football game between robots? How do you know you are not a robot? ... and many other questions that multiply as you delve into it. [...] An innovative proposal that uses dialogue as a form of knowledge and helps us think deeply about the mysteries of what makes us who we are."
"[...] addresses the complex in the most intelligent way, which is always the simplest".
"Books that jump age and genre barriers [...]"
"[...] it puts forward a different concept of child, a different concept of adult and a different concept of reading."
"[...] the second title in the very interesting Visual Philosophy for Children collection started by Ellen Duthie and Daniela Martagón with Cruelty Bites. A very modern Pandora's box, full to the brim with questiosn that are apparently inoffensive but lead to reflections that are far from innocent [...]
"[...] no solutions are offered, no positive values are pointed to, no single interpretation is put forward: it provides a space for reflection without judgement, where children and adults are free to explore their thought and their emotions."
"Though there is no intention to transmit ideal values, indirectly, we are offering children a situation that favours the development of self-esteem and acceptance of others".
"Wonder Ponder is the magic of wonder, the marvel of reflection the fantastic desire to know."
"What is special about these books? Firstly, that more than that, they are beautiful boxes full of cards showing us fun and intriguing illustrations and, on the other, deep questions. They are books for thinking, playing, dialoguing and imagining.... Alone or in company, at home, in the park, on the train at school... It does not come with answers, that's up to us".
"I would give this box as a gift (as well as the future boxes announced by Wonder Ponder, about issues such as identity, conscience and happiness) because I see also other large, lasting gifts stemming from its branches: the gift of learaning how to articulate your own ideas and then evaluate them; the gift of reinforcing confidence in your ability to reason and solve disagreements and doubts through dialogue; the gift of encouraging empathy through experiences and circumstances of others and respecting different opinions."
"Children need to be made aware that their 'not-knowing' also counts. And that it is their main ally for gaining knowledge. [...]
"This is a launch to be celebrated at the top of our voices"
"Its authors", says Sánchez-Manjavacas, "have created a new level of philosophical and creative interaction with young chldren."
He calls it "the great revelation of 2014" and assures that it "revolutionises the Philosophy for Children scene including something that is often overlooked: learning to read images".
"This product brings innovation of the kind that ensures that Philosophy for Children doesn’t lie in the slumber of the same didactic methodologies".
Read full review in English.
EL CULTURAL (EL MUNDO newspaper). 12.02.2015
A review by Cecilia Frías of the Spanish version of Cruelty Bites.
Link to English translation: http://www.wonderponderonline.com/bloginenglish/2015/2/12/cruelty-bites-reviewed-in-el-cultural-supplement-of-daily-spanish-newspaper-el-mundo
"The winds unleashed turn into this flood of questions that do not always find unequivocal answers, but which, through these familiar scenes, make us aware of the dark corners of human behaviour, of how any one of us can become a victim, of how revenge, entertainment or curiosity can lead us to cruel behaviour..."
"A work of “visual philosophy” that prompts dialogue and confrontation of positions. A book-in-a-box that everyone should read. Few things could be more invigorating than the invitation on the box: “Open, look, think.”.
El ojo crítico. Radio Nacional de España. 20.11.2014
An interview by Ángela Núñez on Spanish national radio on the day of the launch of Wonder Ponder.
El País. Babelia / Nuria Barrios 13.12.2014
An in-depth review by Nuria Barrios for the Cultural Supplement of El País newspaper
Link to review in Spanish: http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2014/12/12/babelia/1418399170_570254.html
Link to English translation: http://www.wonderponderonline.com/bloginenglish/2014/12/13/cruelty-bites-reviewed-in-el-pas-newspaper-translation-here
“‘Open, look, think’, says one of the sides of the box that contains Cruelty Bites. One thing is missing, because it is part of the presentation of the contents itself: ‘play!’. The narrative comes out of its format, opens up, fragments and flows, creating a new and fascinating narrative sequence. Fourteen cards are used to draw a map of cruelty based on familiar scenes in the life of a child; that is, in the life of all of us.”
“The reason why Cruelty Bites is so stunning and so much fun, the reason why it combines play and horror so wisely, and the reason it moves with such ease from one to the other, is because its authors look at the world through children’s eyes.”
The Philosophy Club / David Urbinder 25.12.2014
Title: Wonder Ponder Triumphs
“Cruelty Bites, the first in the Wonder Ponder Visual Philosophy for Children series, breaks the mould with an entirely new kind of stimulus that can be used at the dinner table as effectively as in the classroom.”
“Each card alone can trigger an hours-long discussion”
“Using the cards to spark discussions with grandparents, baby-sitters and unsuspecting shop-keepers, children can engage in meaningful inter-generational dialogues in which adults may find themselves as perplexed as their young interviewers.”
“Everything about the visual design of Cruelty Bites is appealing, from the minimal but vivid colour palette to the playful typography. Daniela Martagón’s lively, naive illustrations effortlessly evoke a child’s point of view without sacrificing conceptual clarity. Her style infuses an otherwise weighty theme with whimsy and humour. Ellen Duthie’s text is clear and concise, bringing abstract concepts within the grasp of young minds.”
Leer. Diciembre 2014 - enero 2015
Cruelty Bites proposes a novel way of approaching the art of thinking through image, humour and curiosity aimed at children, but giving adults rather a lot to think about too.
Garabatos y ringorrangos / G.Machado - 26.11.2014
Link to review in Spanish: https://machadolens.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/receta-para-ser-crueles-a-conciencia-wonder-ponder-y-la-primera-entrega-de-filosofia-visual-para-ninos-mundo-cruel/
Link to English translation of review: http://www.wonderponderonline.com/bloginenglish/2014/11/27/a-recipe-for-cruelty-with-conscience-wonder-ponder-and-its-first-visual-philosophy-for-children-title-cruelty-bites
“The project has a very well thought out design. It is evident that it reflects and incorporates extensive experience working with children, bringing philosophy to them.”
“Cruelty Bites marks the beginning of an ambitious project which, I am sure, will succeed, because it is contagious of enthusiasm and addresses a need to speak with children, a need that is increasingly felt in homes and educational settings.”
La estación azul de los niños. RNE. 24.01.2014
Interview and Wonder Ponder “play session" with author Ellen Duthie, by Cristina Hermoso de Mendoza, on Spanish National Radio:
Buk Magazin / María Asuero 3.02.2015
“The most interesting and most valuable thing about this project is that there are no valid answers, no best answers, no correct or incorrect answers. It does not attempt to indoctrinate or make the reader follow a line of thought. The idea here is that the reader processes this information and, above all, reflects upon it. Faced with this explosion of ideas and this grand project, what I was really interested in was to discover how the children would respond. Would my students find it as interesting as I did? […]. There is no doubt that his pilot trial showed that children do not only enjoy “doing philosophy”, but that it was also useful for their lives. In the words of the children themselves, this experience “made them think of things they had never before set their minds to”.
Peque Cultinquieto 12.12.2014
“Cruelty Bites is not a regular book, but a box inside which we find fourteen scenes speaking to us for us to react to. […]. The illustrations aim to be recognisable at first glance and by all readers, but at the same time, they are complex enough to provoke contradictory reactions.”
"Questions on the back of each scene, with complex answers, which are not right or wrong, and we can make te most of to talk and think together as a family. Questions that will help us and our children to think about our relationship with cruelty and will allow us to get to know them better and know what they think about these things".
"A fun way of thinking, communicating and expressing our feelings. There's no doubt about it: it's a fantastic gift for our children."
El petit trEsor (blog) 27.11.2014
“Cruelty Bites is part of the Visual Philosophy project Wonder Ponder, addressed to children, but also to adults, by an ever-inquiring Ellen Duthie, the author of several (very interesting) Children’s Literature and Philosophy blogs, and illustrated in a lively, bold style by Daniela Martagón.”
“Cruelty Bites is a world of language and representation. A world to be talked about.”
REVIEWS OF CRUELTY BITES (WONDER PONDER) BY BOOKSHOPS
La Parada libros 23.01.2015
“Pandora’s box, a book, a game.. a small package difficult to classify, brimming with tools for thinking, reasoning, reflecting, in a fun way. There is statement of purpose: to speak with children as intelligent beings.”
“Illustrated cards with a load of dart-questions, the kind that make you stop and think before answering. Is it cruel to make someone do something they don’t want to do? An excellent way of encouraging dialogue and reflection in a fun, creative way.”
La mar de letras 18.12.2014
“A box full of surprises for doing philosophy non-stop!”
“If Plato had designed a board game, the result may well have been something very much along these lines.”
“Cruelty Bites puts an end to those tiresome after-lunch afternoons with children and adults living different, opposite worlds. Starting with a provocative scene, a series of questions are posed that make you think and rethink again and again what you really think about it, especially when shared in a group.”
“At La Mar de Letras we are very excited with this Christmas surprise and we are warning you already, we can go on about this. When someone walks into our bookshop, it doesn’t take much for us to open up the box and start asking questions: Is it cruel for a lion to kill a goat? What if it killed another lion?”
El bosque de la maga colibrí
Cruelty Bites was book of the week at the bookshop El bosque de la maga colibrí in the week running up to Christmas (December 2014)
“We have followed closely the development of this project by Ellen Duthie (author of the blogs Story Philosophy and We Read it like This) and illustrated by Daniela Martagón, and we are very excited with the result. A box full of questions to ponder about at home or in the classroom, to think about important things together.”
Cruelty Bites was book of the week at Club Kirico in December 2014
Is it a book? A box with cards? A map of the territory? Illustrations with questions? A game? It is a combination of all those things that helps us think. It can be used in many different ways and we advise enjoying it in company.
Kamchatka Magic Toys (bookshop) 07.12.2014
“In the current children’s publishing scene, Wonder Ponder is an innovative and brave project which, through free dialogue and play, adults and children will create scaffolds of opinion in the context of philosophical discussion.”
“Wonder Ponder and Cruelty Bites are especially and above all (and this is what we like best), an imaginative and creative gate to claiming the place of questions and essential drivers of critical thinking; a unique opportunity for creating spaces for conversation and dialogue in families (you’ll be surprised at the eloquence with which children defend their positions and the contributions brought about by simply holding up one of the fourteen cards contained in each Wonder Ponder box).”