La Grande Métamorphose de Théo: a graphic novel by Marzena Sowa and Geoffrey Delinte
Scriptwriter Marzena Sowa and illustrator Geoffrey Delinte have made La Grande Métamorphose de Théo (Theo's Great Metamorphosis) a graphic novel about accepting ourself and our difference, which has been nominated this year at Avignon festival.
A new partnership
Polish author Marzena Sowa, who moved to France in 2001, made a name for herself through the autobiographical series Marzi, illustrated by Sylvain Savoia, her partner in work and life. This graphic novel for young readers immerses us in the childhood and teenage years of a Polish woman living through the twilight days of communist Poland. Sowa, who is also a translator, has collaborated extensively, notably with Sandrine Revel (You Can't Just Kiss Anyone you Want) and Aude Soleilhac (A Story of Leeks, Bikes, Love and Other Phenomena). La grande métamorphose de Théo, published with La Pastèque, is her first co-creation with Geoffrey Delinte, founder of the micro-publishing house Kaput.
A very poetic coming-of-age story
La grande métamorphose de Théo tells the story of Théo, a young boy who dreams of being able to fly and finds himself transformed into a sparrow. While this transformation remains invisible to adults, Théo’s behaviour gradually begins to change: he is less shy and is no longer afraid of soaring up to the treetops or forsaking his games console to spend much of his time in the forest. He meets Louise and Michel, two other anthropomorphic children with whom he shares this attraction to nature. A close friendship is forged, one that also symbolises the transition into adulthood and the gradual separation from the family nest.
Accepting our difference
La grande métamorphose de Théo, the first comic book by illustrator Geoffrey Delinte, is understated yet colourful in style, with the emphasis placed on a poetic tale free from any superfluous dialogue or material. The warm washes of colour and soothing rhythm of the story offer a new take on a narrative framework inspired by Kafka's Metamorphosis. While the subject matter remains relatively light and tailored to young audiences, La grande métamorphose de Théo does address some deeper themes, such as the possibility of living differently, going beyond appearances and helping your loved ones to understand your hopes and dreams.
Recognition from young audiences
The fruit of a collaboration between an experienced scriptwriter, Marzena Sowa, who is currently working on an adaptation of Gaël Faye’s novel Small Country, and a young illustrator originally from Tournai in Belgium, Geoffrey Delinte, La grande métamorphose de Théo has met with immediate success. The comic book has been recognised by school audiences, who selected it for the 2021 Prix des Écoles at the Angoulême comic festival. This readership seems to have been won over by the clear, clean lines and poetry of a story that subtly explores issues that affect all children, namely their acceptance of the self and of others.
La Grande métamorphose de Théo is part of the "comic book" selection of the 2021 Pépites internationales. This programme of the Institut français promotes French-language children’s literature among French learners around the world.