*Review of the best according to the editors. About the selection criteria. This material is subjective, not an advertisement and is not a guide to purchase. Consultation with a specialist is necessary before purchase.
Andrei Zhvalevsky’s books are simply amazing in their diversity. The author easily and accessibly writes both manuals on computer skills and fun and mischievous stories for children and teens. Zhvalevsky has a technical background – he is a physicist and, as the author himself admits, it helps him a lot in his writing.
a. Zhvalevsky lives in Belarus, but most of his books and fans are in Russia. Most often writes his works in co-authorship. He is also a screenwriter: in 2009 a movie “M plus Zh” was released, the basis of the novel of the same name, written in collaboration with Evgenia Pasternak. A solid list of his filmography can be found on wikipedia.
Find more information about the author on his official site az-book.info. In the meantime, we will continue our acquaintance with the books of A. Zhvalevsky, the best of which made it into our ranking today.
Rating of the best books by Andrei Zhvalevsky
|Rating of the best books by Andrei Zhvalevsky||1||The time is always good||5.0|
|2||Porry Gutter and the Stone Philosopher||4.9|
|3||No harm will come to you here||4.8|
|5||I want to go to school!||4.6|
|9||M+W. And the hell with it, with this dress!||4.2|
|10||Let’s run away from here!||4.1|
“Time is Always Good”
Winner of the Alice Award, winner of the Bookguru Award, finalist for the Yasnaya Polyana Award, participant in the Baby-NOS Award, winner of the Book of the Year Award, the Oscar-winning, kind and instructive book for children as well as their parents, Time is Always Good by Andrei Zhvalevsky and Evgenia Pasternak opens our rating. Since 2007, the book has been published 11 times, with a total circulation of over 100,000 copies.
The book is written in a very simple and accessible language, just the way children think and talk. And it develops two storylines at once: the narration is developed in parallel on behalf of two characters. The girl Olya, who is in 6th grade and lives in 2018, and the boy Vitya, a 5th grader who lives in 1980, change time! And in the new “time zone” gets not only children but also their families. Readers found this point particularly good, many liked the fact that the little characters are surprised by the actions of their parents, comparing them to real life.
The children find themselves in “time lines” that are completely unfamiliar to them; they are completely disconnected from what they are used to and are learning to live in a new way. Olya begins to understand the value of interacting with people in person and not just through gadgets, and Vitya realizes that every individual has freedom, which must be respected and protected. In the end, the authors lead up to the realization that for good and good deeds, the time is always good, and it doesn’t matter if you live in 1980 or 2018.
Yes, in the story, some of the problems of the past are clearly pulled by the ears, and future trends are slightly hyperbolized, but the book, with simple and clear examples, teaches how to act correctly in difficult situations. And that’s all that matters. We recommend that you definitely read this book with your children, especially 5th-6th graders will enjoy it.
Porry Gutter and the Stone Philosopher
The book Porry Gutter, as the title already makes clear, is a parody of the world-famous series of novels by English author Joan Rowling. In our rating, this work by A. Zhavelevy and Igor Mytko lands on the second step. And it’s not even a book, but an entire series, originally published in four volumes and then combined into a thick folio called “Porry Gutter. Everything!”. The first two volumes sold over 100,000 copies.
Porry Gutter is the exact opposite of Harry Potter. The original plot is designed to turn the original inside out, and the similarities are quite obvious. However, this is only the case in the first two volumes. Obviously, parodying the plot isn’t that interesting, so by the middle of this book action, we see our own, actual new work that has nothing to do with Harry.
What appeals to readers most about the book is the simplicity of the writing and the endless humor, as well as the Terry Pratchett-style footnotes. All of this is definitely fun for readers. The audience the book is aimed at is more likely to be teenagers – high school students who enjoy cautionary funny books with meaning. The moral of the book is that even if you’re different and seem “inferior” to everyone else, you can always find an interesting case and succeed in it.
No harm will come to you here
The book “Scary/Funny” by Andrei Zhvalevsky and Igor Mytko gets the third position in the rating. The goal the authors set for themselves is to deconstruct children’s fears and show that they are not as scary as they seem, well, of course, season it all with sparkling humor, a plot a la “secret materials” and funny annotations. Perhaps it was this combustible mix that earned this work a national literary award, the 2006 Covenant Dream Award for Funniest Book.
The plot is built on the juxtaposition of the supernatural and the ridiculous, the scary and the hilarious, bringing fear to a kind of absurdity. There’s horror, but no fear; there are enemies, but they’re very ridiculous and funny; there’s an investigation, but it’s already too much fun. In general, the book “No harm will come to you here” is a whole novel about the service of a pretty girl Marie in the paranormal department. Mari – an excellent student, “Komsomol” and just a good girl – is trying hard to catch all the monsters, often getting into terribly funny situations. Her partner, on the other hand, is too serious and acts cautiously, but that doesn’t stop him and Marie from finding themselves under the bed or in the closet looking for the next monster.
In principle, many readers believe that the parody-style plot on Stephen King mixed with wordplay and inverted phrases was quite successful. Others hint at a certain flatness of presentation. Well, to each his own, but those who want to have a good laugh at their childish fears – we definitely recommend the book “No harm will come to you here” by Andrew Zhvalevsky for reading.
The book “February 52nd”, also written by Andrei Zhvalevsky in a duet with Evgenia Pasternak, comes in at number four in the rating. In essence, it is a kind of diary written by two characters at once – the eighth-grader Thema and his age-mate Dinka.
The book itself is not that big, because the story covers only a day. In early March, a lot of snow falls, covering the whole town and causing a traffic jam. As a result, many residents find themselves in difficult situations: cars get stuck in snowdrifts, trolley buses and buses stop running, even cellular phones don’t work.
The story is narrated by two teenagers who do not know each other. Also, the story is periodically augmented by their parents’ recollections of what they were like as teenagers. At first everything is too ideologically correct, as in “Soviet times”, but all of a sudden the conversation turns to frank topics. A father and son stranded in an office without electricity and a mother and daughter waiting at home – they are finally left alone to talk to each other “heart to heart.”.
The book nicely depicts the situation when children gradually grow into adults, but their parents don’t notice it, still considering them children. Shows how to talk casually about seemingly difficult topics with teenagers. And it’s all presented in a light, uncomplicated way. Therefore, this book will be useful not only to children but also to their parents.
In addition, the authors also touch on such topics as mutual assistance and mutual aid. The story vividly depicts how people help each other free cars from snow drifts, how they warm tea and clear passageways of snow.
And yet, what is this book about? About love. And only about love, and in its various manifestations. This short book packed a lot of smart, correct, and useful thoughts. In a word, we liked it!
I want to go to school!
The book is about a school, not an easy one, but a real and interesting one, where children want to go on weekends and holidays, and even on vacation. The novella about an unusual school was to our liking, so we gave it fifth place in the rating.
From the first pages it begins to seem that we are talking about an unusual school like Hogwarts, where real wizards study and work. Is it a joke – if kids want they can go on a trip to Mount Elbrus or fly in a hot-air balloon?. But this magic for children is made not by magic wands, but by the teachers themselves who simply love their job.
And due to this approach and ample opportunities for independent work, students gain more in-depth knowledge. Homework is not assigned, and teachers are allowed to be called by name and even by nickname.
But the system interferes, which is always wary of such things and free-thinking. In the end, the school closes. And unusual children find themselves in the most ordinary school. It is very difficult for them to get used to the new orders and teachers who seem to have absolutely no love for their profession; to classmates who live with completely different values. But the guys from 34 don’t give up. At their new school they start to think up all kinds of fun activities, and involve their new friends along the way. And indeed a lot of interesting things happen, gradually everything and everyone changes.
Some call the novel a utopia, while others piously believe that it is possible. Be that as it may – the book shows an example of how it can be, how it should be. By the way, the authors say that what they write about in their books often comes true. Maybe something will come out of it?
The main thing is that after reading the book, children begin to realize that they themselves need to study in the first place, and teachers and parents are reminded that children must be loved and the conditions for their development must be created. Just to be there, to help and prompt, but not to stop little geniuses from realizing their many talents. Recommended for reading in a warm family circle.
The story “Gymnasium #13” is traditionally written by Zalevsky together with Pasternak. This work causes mixed reviews from readers – some just love it, others write disappointed reviews. The more interesting to read and understand – who is right in fact? We, in turn, have already read the book, evaluated it and gave it the sixth place in the rating. Interestingly, the work “Gymnasium №13” won first place in the festival DAR in 2011, and was a finalist in the international children’s prize named after V.I. Vernadsky. Vladislava Krapivina.
The events described in the book happen in the most ordinary and traditional gymnasium in Minsk, which, incidentally, really exists and is located near the house of one of the authors and in which the second author’s daughter studies there. In a word, in the courtyard of the “book” gymnasium there was a hundred-year-old oak tree. But for some reason this tree was bothering everyone, so they decided to cut it down. However, two friends – seventh graders Antokha Volkov and Sevka – had their own plan: the guys planned to blow up an oak tree. But during the explosion something happened – a portal opened, which took the heroes to the fairy tale, where they encountered leshimi, mermaids, house men, a cat, and also Perun, Yarila, Koshchey… Yes, by the way, the story covers the historical events of Belarus and Slavic myths, and also the Great Patriotic War. In short, the guys have to go through a kind of quest and find the runes that will help them return home. And during the adventure, friends have learned to help each other, to support each other, to respect folklore and history.
Based on the reviews, what appeals to many readers most is the book’s engaging plot and its easy-going narration, which includes teenage slang and literal quotes from favorite movies. This makes the book “Gymnasia № 13” interesting for teenagers. Although some adults might also like to read this book, at least to refresh their memory of the history of Ancient Rus’.
The new action novel from the already beloved author duo – Zalevsky + Pasternak in our rating we placed on seventh place. This story is about two teenagers who find themselves in the distant past, at the time of the founding of Moscow and the Old Russian princes. And they have to go back to the future using all the knowledge they gained in history class.
In the epigraph, the authors immediately warn readers that the book carries no historical accuracy and that much in it is fiction. Therefore, this work should be treated as a light adventure story in the historical genre. The narrative and adventures of the characters are interspersed with brief historical references, which, as if just in case, are given as excerpts from Wikipedia.
This time the authors sent the characters back 1,000 years, and every time they guess a historical event – they are transported a few centuries forward. How many historical quests will the teens have to endure before they can return home?
Do not look for particularly deep meanings in the book – the task of such works is to interest, to induce further independent research. The work is written for teenagers, and it is more entertainment than educational, so some people may find this book too childish, however, it is. And kids who love adventure-read with pleasure!
As you might have guessed – this book is again about teenagers, and Zhvalevsky, traditionally, wrote it in collaboration with Pasternak. And, by the way, not only about teenagers, but also about dancing, life and love, as well as the difficult choice that everyone will have to make in the open finale. The Open Finals book ranks eighth in our ranking.
“Open Finale” has an unusual plot construction: it’s 5 chapters with completely different teenage characters and storylines, but they do meet and unite at the end. At first it seems that the characters have nothing to do with each other. The only thing they have in common is that they all attend the same Egorov dance studio. In this case, everyone lives their own problems – some had their first love, someone resolves conflicts with their parents, someone looking for a place in life. But closer to the finale, the threads of the stories begin to intertwine. In the last chapter, the “open finale,” the guys all come together. And the first four chapters look like preparations for the story itself: in the face of a difficult choice, each of the teenagers must decide for themselves who they really are and what they should do next. The finale, of course, really came out open, but we still see here a happy ending.
By the way, unlike the previous book, this one will be useful to both children and parents. It shows very well and lucidly the motives behind the actions of adults, their characters, and their types. For example, some people don’t take their children’s hobbies seriously, some people miss out on what their children have grown up doing, some people force their children to do things they don’t like. Some readers don’t like that the book literally discredits the image of the mother. Well, maybe it is. But it does show examples of real fathers. And we think that’s a big plus! So this book is definitely worth a read.
M+W. And to hell with it, with this dress!
The book “M+W. And the hell with it, with this dress!”Zhvalevsky and Pasternak – this is a book not for teenagers, but for adults. It provides a different perspective on the same problems from a woman’s side and a man’s side, has unparalleled humor and bright sentimental moments. In our ranking, the work was ranked ninth.
The story centers on two characters, Katya and Sergey. They work in the book or “near-book” industry, and meet by chance in the subway. In fact, the entire book we see a series of such “chance meetings” of these two characters and observe how they react to each other, what they think at these moments, what they experience. The story is told in the first person of both characters. It shows, simply and kindly, the difference between masculine and feminine ways of thinking. The duo of Zhvalevsky and Pasternak worked particularly well in this respect.
All in all, “M+W” isn’t a bad book for easy reading: romantic, sweet, and tasteful. In fact, the usual worldly story is presented in a most unusual way. Still, we are left with a very interesting question – where did the third character disappear – the very dress that is stated in the title? It was supposed to play a key role in the book… Or it didn’t? Although, really, the hell with the dress, though!
Get out of here!
On September 1st, 4th B grade students were once again left without a teacher – none of the teachers they had invited were able to cope with these kids. But when Valeria Kirillovna, director of the school and a magician at the same time, took over the training, everything changed very quickly. Zhvalevsky and Pasternak’s story “Let’s get out of here!” solemnly closes our ranking.
The plot is simple enough: a modern class of 4th graders, capable of driving any teacher crazy, has no desire to learn. And only the witch-principal turned out to be able to put down the naughty children, using not quite usual, and sometimes quite unusual methods – and she reads thoughts at a distance, and to saber-toothed tigers can send, and where else you will not want! Thanks to her children were able to visit the Emerald Land, travel inside a calculator, take part in a war between blondes and brunettes… Not that all the adventures went smoothly, but everyone learned their lesson from what happened. And the main thing is that the kids learned to be friends, to think and not be afraid of innovation.
The book may seem too childish. In principle, it is not surprising, because the main characters in it are fourth graders. And this is most likely the audience for which it was written. Therefore, recommends reading the book according to the stated age!