Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Flávia Lins e Silva, As Peripécias de Pilar na Grécia. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar Editor, 2001, 107 pp.
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Ricardo Gancz, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
Flávia Lins e Silva
, b. 1971
Flávia Lins e Silva was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1971. She graduated in journalism from the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, and then took an MA in children’s literature at the University of Barcelona and an MA in children’s literature at Roehampton University, London. She has published more than 10 books for young readers, among them Pilar’s Diary in Greece, Pilar’s Diary in the Amazon (translated to German, Spanish, French, Chinese, etc), The Tea Letters (written with Chinese author Liu Hong), Mururu in the Amazon, which won the Brazilian book foundation prize for best book for youth in 2011.
Official website (accessed: February 26, 2019)
Bio prepared by Ricardo Gancz, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Renata Richard (Illustrator)
None. There are other books with Pilar as the main character that have been translated to other languages but not this one, as far as I [Ricardo Gancz] know.
For example, Diary of Pilar in Greece, which has a different story, has been translated into Polish, Spanish and German.
Sequels, Prequels and Spin-offs
The book is part of a series of the adventures of Pilar where Pilar is the main protagonist. They have no direct relationship besides the main protagonist that travel to other world/places.
Pilar is a girl who is in love with a boy named Breno who has never paid any attention to her. Suddenly, she hears a noise in her drawer, finds a strange bow and is magically transported to ancient Greece. There she meets another girl of her own age, called Helena, and her brother Tales, and together they face adventures in which Pilar gets to meet the gods and interfere in their lives. She helps save Io, the nymph (who has been turned into the form of a cow), from the wrath of Hera and the eyes of Argos, goes with Orpheus to save Eurydice, and saves Tiresias on the way, although she is unable to save Eurydice’s life. She also receives Hermes’ sandals as a gift, cheers for Tales while he wins a big race against Hermes and a centaur, falls in love with Tales after being shot by one of Eros’ arrows. She has her first kiss with Tales (while her friend, Helena, has her first with Hermes). At the end of the book, Zeus orders that the passage between the two periods must be closed, acting out of jealousy that he did not invent it. Pilar returns to home to find Breno asking her out.
The book tells the story from the point of view of a contemporary Brazilian girl (her age is unclear and could be anything between 9 and 16), who is discovering love and is suddenly transported to ancient Greece. In this way, the author manages to introduce the readers to the ancient world. As Pilar discovers the characteristics of this world at times very different and at others very close to her own, the reader learns about the ancient world as he/she follows the story. This device allowed the author to present the ancient world in a way that makes it intertwined with the story.
In the course of Pilar’s discovery of the ancient world, she is intrigued by the behaviour of the gods as she faces them. This situation serves a dual purpose. First, it introduces the gods while emphasizing the human features of the Greek gods that might be perceived by the reader as different and even weird. The reason is that since about 90% of Brazilians identify themselves as Christians, the word God is normally associated usually with an all powerful, moral and righteous being. Furthermore, since many children learn nothing about Greco-Roman mythology in their formal education, the necessity for these introductions are real. The author succeeds in the task and the book can be easily read by one who has no previous knowledge of the ancient world.
In order to do so, the author uses the character of Pilar as a parallel to the reader who is facing for the first time a different world. She embarks in adventures as a 21st-century girl which facilitates for the reader to enter the story. The character of Helena serves as a counterpoint to Pilar. If Pilar parallels the reader, who is discovering the ancient world, Helena parallels the narrator as she teaches Pilar – and, thus, the reader – about the customs and differences of the ancient world.
The author has chosen adventures that revolve around love in a broad sense and are portrayed in different ways. In the manner of a friendship; jealousy; to love one at the same time you love another; the discovery of love, including the physical acts that may come with it. The adventures give voices to these different elements of love and this emotion serves as a bridge between the ancient and the contemporary world. The author was careful to present the book in a language that feels natural for a young reader and even incorporated some elements of Brazilian culture into the story.
First, the names chosen for Pilar’s friend and Pilar’s lover in the ancient world – respectively Helena and Tales – are common names which makes it easier for reader to see some separation between these three characters and the rest. Helena and Tales do not portray any character of the Greco-roman world and are just two children that live there and befriended Pilar. Second, Tales is portrayed as a soccer player (as is Breno, whom Pilar loves in her own world) and in one of the adventures, when Breno gives Hera his soccer ball and she does not know what to do with it, it serves both as a comic relief – any Brazilian knows what to do with a soccer ball – and gives a feeling of closeness on the reader.
Overall, the book balances very well the teaching about the ancient world with a light-hearted narrative that talks about different perspectives of love. The theme has a strong appeal to readers who are on the phase of their first love and first kiss as it presents other different aspects of love and at the same time gives them their first contact with the ancient world.