The Grammar of Fantasy: An Introduction to the Art of Inventing Stories By Gianni Rodari, Matt Forsythe (Illustrator), Jack Zipes (Translated by) Cover Image

The Grammar of Fantasy: An Introduction to the Art of Inventing Stories (Board book)

By Gianni Rodari, Matt Forsythe (Illustrator), Jack Zipes (Translated by)
Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now


From the father of modern Italian children’s literature, a guide to fairytales and folk tales and their great advantages in teaching creative storytelling.

A groundbreaking pedagogical work that is also a handbook for writers of all ages and kinds, The Grammar of Fantasy gives each of us a playful, practical path to finding our own voice through the power of storytelling. Full of ideas, glosses on fairytales, stories, and wide-ranging activities, including the fantastic binomial, this book changed how creative arts were taught in Italian schools.

Gianni Rodari is widely regarded as the father of modern Italian children’s literature, but he is also remembered for his visionary pedagogy, and it is these two fields he combines in this revolutionary essay collection. Translated into English by acclaimed children’s historian Jack Zipes and illustrated for the first time ever by Matthew Forsythe, this edition of The Grammar of Fantasy is one to live with and return to for its humor, intelligence, and truly deep understanding of children.

As translator and esteemed fairytale scholar Jack Zipes puts it, “Rodari grasped children’s need to play with life’s rules by using the grammar of their own imaginations. They must be encouraged to question, challenge, destroy, mock, eliminate, generate, and reproduce their own language and meanings through stories that will enable them to narrate their own lives.”

“I hope this small book,” writes Rodari, “can be useful for all those people who believe it is necessary for the imagination to have a place in education; for all those who trust in the creativity of children; and for all those who know the liberating value of the word.”

About the Author

The Italian Author Gianni Rodari wrote many beloved children's books and was awarded the prestigious Andersen Prize. But he was also an educator of paramount importance in Italy and an activist who understood the liberating power of the imagination. He is one of the twentieth century’s greatest authors for children, and Italy's greatest. Influenced by French surrealism and linguistics, Rodari stressed the importance of poetic language, metaphor, made-up language, and play. At a time when schooling was all about factual knowledge, Rodari wrote The Grammar of Fantasy, a radically imaginative book about storytelling and play. He was a forerunner of writing techniques such as the "fantastic binomial" and the utopian, world engendering "what if...." The relevance of Rodari’s works today lies in his poetics of imagination, his humanist yet challenging approach to reality, and his themes, such as war and peace, immigration, injustice, inequality, and liberty. Forty years after his death, Rodari’s writing is as powerful and innovative as ever. He died in Rome in 1980.

Jack Zipes is a renowned children’s historian and folklorist who has written, translated, and edited dozens of books on fairytales. He is a professor at the University of Minnesota.