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Jun 01, 2002

The slogan of the event was: “Rather than complain about darkness, better just light a candle, and darkness will become less dark.”

What is “Mini-Wonder”? This is a book series, comprising 14 mini-versions (7 + 5 + 2) of our most renowned “ababahalamaha” gift-books:
— “The Snow Queen”, “The Flying Hat”, “Snow Falling on the Threshold”, “The Mouse is Riding”, “Robin-Bobin”, “The Cat and the Rooster”, “The House Jack Built”;
— “Favorite Poems”, “The Little Wolf who Swam out to Sea”, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, “The Wolf and Seven Little Goats”, “The Hedgehog and the Nightingale”;
— “Giraffe and Panda”, “The Christmas Glove”.

The total circulation of the series was 1 600 000 copies.
The consumer price of every such book from the series was UAH 1 (which is approximately USD 0, 12).

The books were distributed through “Ukrpost” to every city, town and village.
The duration of the “Mini-Wonder” special offer was December 31, 2001 – June 1, 2002.
Everyone who sent 5 cut-off edges from the “Mini-Wonder” books had a chance to win a PC.

MINI-WONDER. The offer advertisement (video)

This has been the biggest and most affordable public event popularizing the Ukrainian children’s book since Ukraine’s Independence.
Every book had 16 colorful pages + colorful varnished paperboard cover.
To compare: a postcard of the same size, printed on the same paperboard as our book cover, costs UAH 1 in average. And we had – apart from the cover – 16 colored pages, printed of high-quality paper… and what our illustrations are… And the texts… Wow!..

The prize drawing was broadcast on UT-1 TV channel on June, 1, 2002.

“…Ivan Malkovych and his A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA organized the publishing project that is unmatched in the modern publishing practice… In one blow did Malkovych smash a whole bunch of myths, still holding any Ukrainian publisher in captivity:
- that a Ukrainian book cannot be published and sold in a really big circulation;
- that a Ukrainian book cannot be simultaneously of high quality and of low price (take any book from the series and ensure its quality is really flawless);
- that Ukraine does not provide a pan-State book distribution system (remember the full-fledged use of the “Ukrpost” capabilities with its nearly 5 000 post offices throughout Ukraine);
- that a professional TV-advertisement is unaffordable to a Ukrainian publisher.” (“The Book Review”, №1, 2002)

Ivan Malkovych: “After doing the “Mini-Wonder” book series I grayed noticeably. I lived in the printing factory for two days and a half, printing the first million copies. When I print a book I always feel this is forever. Thus, when after the factory I came to my dear publishing house, my staff noted that my hair turned gray – since during the printing numerous critical moments happened. For example, a worker who came on the night shift cut off the bottom of the book where our logo was placed, approximately 20 000 copies!.. Then we just handed out these books gratis.”

“The project was so uncharacteristic of our country that it didn’t go without incidents. In some villages the books were sold under the counter for UAH 5-6. Somewhere the books did not emerge at all – meaning they were sold before their official appearance. But all these facts witness not some “lack of culture”, that so often becomes a matter of our discussions, but a whole new phenomenon at our market: the Ukrainian book is becoming a permanent deficit. The demand for “A-BA-BA-HA-LAMA-HA” books sometimes exceeds their supply. Did anyone anytime previously managed to achieve this?..” (“The Book Review”, №1, 2002)

Some figures :

For the 7 main prizes – the PCs – to be distributed throughout Ukraine evenly, all the regions of Ukraine (according the quantity of letters from each region) were conventionally divided into 7 zones (7 sacks with letters):

1 – Transcarpathian, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Chernivtsi regions (total 5793 letters). The winner was Snizhana Vyryzhyns’ka from the city of Khotyn, Chernivtsi region.
2 – Volyn, Lviv, Khmelnyts’ky, Rivne regions (разом 5850 листів). The winner was Olexandra Lutsiv from Lviv.
3 – Vinnytsia, Chernihiv, Zhytomyr regions (total 5604 letters). The winner was Natalya Lyasota from the city of Mohyliv-Podilsky, Vinnytsia region.
4 – Kyiv city and Kyiv region, Cherkasy region (total 5876 letters). The winner was Mykola Shklyarenko from the city of Korsun-Shevchenkivsky, Cherkasy region.
5 – Poltava, Zaporizhzhya, Kirovohrad regions (total 5869 letters). The winner was Maryna Horiacheva from Kirovohrad.
6 – Dnipropetrovs’k, Sumy, Kharkiv, Odessa regions (total 5782 letters). The winner was Svitlana Horbatyuk from the city of Chuhuiv, Kharkiv region.
7 – Kherson, Mykolayiv, Luhans’k, Donets’k regions, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (total 5335 letters). The winner was Olya Lohvynenko from the village of Novokairy (Beryslav district, Kherson region).

Apart from seven PCs, the publishing house promised to give another 7 special prizes for the best letters.

But, at the prize drawing, broadcast on UT-1 TV channel on June, 1, 2002 Ivan Malkovych, the head of A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA Publishers, admitted: There were so many letters, all of them were so warm and touching, that I failed to choose seven winners. I failed to choose even 70 winners. And, though my decision, that came to me literally the night before the prize drawing, will have some devastating effects on the economic artery of A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA, but I declared 700 authors of the letters as the winners.

By the end of July, 2002, 700 households received the best A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA full-sized gift-books autographed by the illustrators and the authors. Then those turned out to be the presents that reached someone on his or her very birthday, and someone admitted those became the beginning of a whole bunch of positive changes in their lives – and there came new wonderful letters from them…