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By Claude Ponti

Translated from the French by Alyson Waters

From Claude Ponti (My Valley, 2017), one of France’s most celebrated children’s writers, comes a tender and playful tale of what it means to be unique.

When he is born, Hīznobyūtī is not exactly handsome. In fact, his parents and siblings say, “He’s no beauty!” They say it so often, Hīznobyūtī assumes that it is his name. Wherever he goes, only embarrassment and shame await him. Hīznobyūtī hides himself away, working on his inventions, until one day he receives a message from the stars. After a fight with his family, Hīznobyūtī decides to run away. On a beautiful adventure by himself, he learns the secrets of the universe: how to communicate with trees and birds, how to wake up the sun, and how to see himself for who he truly is – a hero!

Published: May 22, 2018


On a beautiful adventure by himself, [Hiznobyuti] learns the secrets of the universe: how to communicate with trees and birds, how to wake up the sun, and how to see himself for who he truly is – a hero! When he returns from his journey, Hiznobyuti family rejoices and apologizes for not understanding how beautiful and important he was to them all along.

The Children's Book Review

An ugly monster sets out on a wonderfully strange journey of self-discovery... Ponti's illustrations—equally rich in warm feeling and surreal, precisely drawn figures and details—give the tale wings... He adventures, slaying a much-larger monster with one colossal sneeze, temporarily transforming himself into a tree, "communophoning" with the stars, and saving a dead planet by waking its sun (and a princess on a nearby satellite), among other heroic feats... Itzabyuti thruenthru.

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Claude Ponti's Hiznobyuti (pronounced 'he's no beauty') is an absolute delight. Hiznobyuti's family is thinks he is so ugly and always in the way that they send him away, and he heads off looking for the voice that contacted him for his help. His journey is off the wall bonkers, tapping into the sort of storytelling logic that usually only children are imaginative enough to think up. LOVED IT

Bookseller, Roscoe Books

A great tale of gaining confidence through a quest. Hiznobyuti finds his place in the sun. Stunning illustrations - the creatures look like cousins to the Twims in My Valley.

Jen Kraar, City of Asylum Bookstore

Hiznobyuti is a truly fantastic children’s book that every child should definitely check out!

Rabbit Ears Blog

A wonderfully strange, poignant, and empowering tale of finding one's own place in the world. Bullies abound, but kindness, empathy, and forgiveness loom larger for our long-snouted hero.

Hannah, Avid Bookshop

Hīznobyūtī’s saga of discovery takes him past the challenges of a monster with hammers for hair, or the difficulty of “filling a bottomless pit with a leaky pot” for the old witch Sissyfus...Of course, when we finish, Dean says, “Read that again.” And so we do. Why not? We’re already settled into the couch. As my grandson sits beside me, I feel the echo of my son or daughter when we’d read together, and the even more distant echo of my father, who taught me, with a single book, the power of a human voice channeling the delights of a story, and the surprise of imagination that held it all together.

Philip Graham, The Millions

Hīznobyūtī is a fun and inspirational story, yet there are poignant parts as well... teaches young kids and reminds adults to be courageous, forbearing, kind, persevering, compassionate and most especially, to be forgiving.

Shai Martin, The Bibliophage Philippines

Alyson Waters did an amazing job at keeping the original flavour of the text while making it accessible in English... It’s a beautiful story... Apparently Archipelago (the publisher) are planning to get more Ponti books translated in the near future and I couldn’t be more excited! I think the world needs to know more about Ponti!

Camille's Bookish Adventures

Praise for My Valley

A mix of comical vignettes and broad vistas illustrate an account of the lives and misadventures of a clan of tiny Twims...Like Poochie-Blue, visitors to the valley will be in no hurry to leave.

Kirkus Review, starred review

Ponti's beautiful, intricate illustrations contain strange details hinting at larger stories. The guileless narrative sounds like it came directly from the brain of a child with a vivid imagination...

Sarah Hunter, Booklist

My Valley marks a particularly exciting addition to the world of translated literature...lush with colorful and stark imagery that readers of all ages will find infinite secrets in. This is a truly unique addition to any storybook collection.

Kevin Elliot, 57th Street Books