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“TOREADORS…” FOREVER! The Patriarch of Ukrainian children’s books has his first presentation

Jun 02, 2004, Volodymyr Denysenko, “The Day”
Ivan Malkovych feels pleased: the presentation of the complimented “Toreadors” was a success. It’s autograph-time from Vsevolod Nestayko, the Patriarch of children’s literature (photo by Mykhaylo Markiv)

I remember my granny searching for me, a small schoolboy, all over the yard, and cursing me for not coming to eat my dinner. I couldn’t hear her voice then, because I hid in the raspberry bushes and “transported” myself to the village of Vasiukivka to join a company of inventive guys Yava Ren’ and Pavlusha Zavhorodniy. At that time, accompanied with the “Toreadors” I spent fabulous holidays, and up to now am I grateful to my grandpa Ivan who found for me in his attic the book “Toreadors from Vasiukivka” by Vsevolod Nestayko, already shabby from its frequent rereading.

When I heard from deputy chief editor that A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA Publishers is going to publish the renewed edition of “The Toreadors”, my happiness was immense. Together with our photojournalist we set out to the “Bukva” bookstore to see republished the top book of my childhood and its author.

I lost my old book somewhere during removals, so my second encounter with Yava and Pavlusha happened due to Ivan Malkovych. Standing near the bookstore entrance, he warmly welcomed the guests and handed them a thick orange book with a cheerful painting by Vladyslav Yerko on its cover.

The Patriarch of the Ukrainian children’s literature, Mr. Vsevolod Nestayko was asked to preside. Next to him sit the artist and author of the first Ukrainian comics, Anatoliy Vasylenko, who made the artworks inside “The Toreadors”. The author of the cover, Vladyslav Yerko, stood beside modestly.

“The Halamaha Trio” (V. Morozov, I. Malkovych, V. Yerko).
Background (sitting at the table): two coryphaei, V. Nestayko and a legendary artist Anatoliy Vasylenko

Ivan Malkovych told everyone the story of republishing “Toreadors from Vasiukivka”, about Mr. Vsevolod Nestayko setting down to edit the book and, ultimately, complemented it with a dozen of wonderful episodes. Specially for the presentation, the publishing house wrote thematic lyrics to the renowned “Toreador” music piece. The song was performed in a trio, including Vladyslav Yerko (maracas), Victor Morozov (the translator of Harry Potter, guitar) and Ivan Malkovych (violin). Everyone wished to sing the lyrics after them…

After such a frantic start of the press-conference, Vsevolod Nestayko felt even a little confused. “I feel like a girl at the engagement ceremony, standing there her eyes lowered, as red as a beetroot, and picking at a chimney. Picking at a chimney used to be obligatory at any engagement ceremony. But I am right now standing here “picking at a chimney” not because I am so shy and modest, but because today an unprecedented event happened in my life – my first presentation of my book,” — said the author of “The Toreadors”.

Mr. Vsevolod Nestayko told his large audience about his 50-year way in children’s literature. For the first time his children’s short story was published in “Barvinok” children’s magazine in 1954, “but I have never seen a book like this, published by “A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA,” – the writer told happily.” It ends with letters of his readers and a crossword to “Toreadors from Vasiukivka”.

Further in the presentation, a competition took place, where anyone could win the book, answering questions about its plot. In the course of the presentation anyone could question Mr. Vsevolod Nestayko.

On my way home I carried in my backpack the most precious autograph of my life, which I dreamed of since childhood.

Volodymyr Denysenko, photo by Mykhaylo Markiv, “The Day”