Bruno Munari // I Prelibri

I prelibri

What is a book?

An object made of a lot of pages tied together by a binding.

But what’s inside it?

Usually words, and if they were all strung up, one after another, you’d have to walk miles to read it.

What do the words say?

They tell many different stories about people at today or in ancient times, scientific experiences, legends, complicates philosophical or political thinking, poetry, accounting, technical information, science fiction tales and so on…

Fables too?

Fables too, of course, and funny stories, nonsense rhymes and limericks.

With a lot of pictures?

Sometimes with lots and lots of pictures and hardly any words.

But what do you use a book for?

To learn about things or to amuse oneself, in any case to add one’s knowledge of the world.

Oh, I see, it helps to make life more fun.

Yes, very often.

But do people use these books?

Somebody read lots of them, other use them for decoration. Some people have only one book in the house, the telephone directory.

So even for a three year-old child it would be a good thinkg to begin to familiarize with the book as an object, to recognize it as a cultural instrument or as a poetic medium, to assimilate that knowledge which facilitates existence.

Knowledge is always a surprise, if one sees what one already knows, there is no surprise. Little books should be available, all different from one another, but all books, each with a different surprise in it, suitable for children who can’t yet read.

Can I have one too?

You’ll have a whole book-case full, little books made of many different kinds of materials: a book of optics, a book of tactile adventures, a book on geometry, one on gymnastics, a book on natural history, a book on philosophy, a love story, a book full of all the colours of the rainbow, a transparent book, a soft book, a science fiction book…

But what are these books called?


I want the right away.

Bruno Munari, 1980

Bruno Munari
(Italy, 1907-1998)


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