Monteiro Lobato

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Monteiro Lobato
Monteiro Lobato.jpg
Lobato c.1920 at Companhia Editora Nacional
Born(1882-04-18)April 18, 1882
Taubaté, Empire of Brazil
DiedJuly 4, 1948(1948-07-04) (aged 66)
São Paulo, Brazil
Pen nameMonteiro Lobato
OccupationNovelist, journalist, publisher
GenreFiction, Children's literature
Literary movementModernism

José Bento Renato Monteiro Lobato (April 18, 1882 – July 4, 1948) was one of Brazil's most influential writers, mostly for his children's books set in the fictional Sítio do Picapau Amarelo (Yellow Woodpecker Farm) but he had been previously a prolific writer of fiction, a translator and an art critic. He also founded one of Brazil's first publishing houses (Companhia Editora Nacional) and was a supporter of nationalism.

The Sítio do Picapau Amarelo is the primary setting for the series of children's novels, Sítio do Picapau Amarelo, written by the Brazilian author Monteiro Lobato. The place is described as "a small farm with a pretty cottage, surrounded by trees" and close to several other subsettings: a stream, a virgin forest and a small village, both named the Tucanos.


Lobato was born in Taubaté, São Paulo. He is best known for a set of educational but entertaining children's books, which comprise about half of his production. The other half, consisting of a number of novels and short tales for adult readers, was less popular but marked a watershed in Brazilian literature.

Taubaté Place in Southeast, Brazil

Taubaté is a medium-sized city in the State of São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil.

Entertainment activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience, or gives pleasure and delight

Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience, or gives pleasure and delight. It can be an idea or a task, but is more likely to be one of the activities or events that have developed over thousands of years specifically for the purpose of keeping an audience's attention. Although people's attention is held by different things, because individuals have different preferences in entertainment, most forms are recognisable and familiar. Storytelling, music, drama, dance, and different kinds of performance exist in all cultures, were supported in royal courts, developed into sophisticated forms and over time became available to all citizens. The process has been accelerated in modern times by an entertainment industry that records and sells entertainment products. Entertainment evolves and can be adapted to suit any scale, ranging from an individual who chooses a private entertainment from a now enormous array of pre-recorded products; to a banquet adapted for two; to any size or type of party, with appropriate music and dance; to performances intended for thousands; and even for a global audience.

Brazilian literature

Brazilian literature is the literature written in the Portuguese language by Brazilians or in Brazil, including works written prior to the country's independence in 1822. Throughout its early years, literature from Brazil followed the literary trends of Portugal, whereas gradually shifting to a different and authentic writing style in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, in the search for truly Brazilian themes and use of the Portuguese language.


Most of his children books were set in the Sítio do Picapau Amarelo ("Yellow Woodpecker Farm" or "Yellow Woodpecker Ranch"), a small farm in the countryside, and featured the elderly ranch owner Dona Benta ("Mrs. Benta"), her two grandchildren – a girl, Lúcia ("Lucia") who is always referred to only by her nickname, Narizinho ("Little Nose", because she had a turned-up nose) and a boy, Pedrinho ("Little Pete") — and a black servant and cook, Tia Nastácia ("Aunt Anastacia"). These real characters were complemented by entities created or animated by the children's imagination: the irreverent rag doll Emília ("Emilia") and the aristocratic and learned puppet made of corncob Visconde de Sabugosa (roughly "Viscount Corncob"), the cow Mocha, the donkey Conselheiro ("Counsellor"), the pig Rabicó ("Short-Tail") and the rhinoceros Quindim (Quindim is a Brazilian dessert), Saci Pererê (a black, pipe-smoking, one-legged character of Brazilian folklore) and Cuca (an evil monster invoked by Brazilian mothers at night to convince their kids to go to bed). However the adventures mostly develop elsewhere: either in fantasy worlds invented by the children, or in stories told by Dona Benta in evening sessions. These three universes are deftly intertwined so that the stories or myths told by the grandmother naturally become the setting for make-believe play, punctuated by routine farm events.

Cook (profession) occupation involving cooking food

A cook is a profession for individuals who prepare food for consumption in the food industry in settings such as restaurants. A cook is sometimes referred to as a chef, although in the culinary world, the terms are not interchangeable. Cooks' responsibilities include preparing food, managing food stations, cleaning the kitchen, and helping the chefs. Restaurants will give a title to the cooks according to their designated stations. Examples are broiler cooks, fry cooks, pantry cooks, and sauce cooks.

Rag doll

A rag doll is a children's toy. It is a cloth figure, a doll traditionally home-made from spare scraps of material. They are one of the oldest children's toys in existence. Today, many rag dolls are commercially produced to simulate the features of the original home-made dolls, such as simple features, soft cloth bodies, and patchwork clothing.

Aristocracy (class) person who either possess hereditary titles granted by a monarch or are related to such people

The aristocracy is a social class that a particular society considers its highest order. In many states, the aristocracy included the upper class of people (aristocrats) with hereditary rank and titles. In some—such as ancient Greece, Rome, and India—aristocratic status came from belonging to a military caste, although it has also been common, notably in African societies, for aristocrats to belong to priestly dynasties. Aristocratic status can involve feudal or legal privileges. They are usually below only the monarch of a country or nation in its social hierarchy. In modern European societies, the aristocracy has often coincided with the nobility, a specific class that arose in the Middle Ages, but the term "aristocracy" is sometimes also applied to other elites, and is used as a more generic term when describing earlier and non-European societies.

Many of these books are educational, teaching things through the mouth of Mrs. Benta and by smart questions and remarks, by her small and attentive audience. They addressed subjects which children normally do not like at school, such as mathematics, grammar, national and world history, geography, astronomy, Greek mythology, and so on. In other books, the author, who was a skeptic, a rationalist, an internationalist and had anti-war positions (but at the same time being strongly patriotic and conservative), passes his views on the world, humanity and politics to his children readers. In other books, he tells in an easy to understand way the classics of literature, such as Aesop's fables, Don Quixote and Peter Pan.

In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes phonology, morphology, and syntax, often complemented by phonetics, semantics, and pragmatics.

Geography The science that studies the terrestrial surface, the societies that inhabit it and the territories, landscapes, places or regions that form it

Geography is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the word γεωγραφία was Eratosthenes. Geography is an all-encompassing discipline that seeks an understanding of Earth and its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but also how they have changed and come to be.

Astronomy natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects

Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It applies mathematics, physics, and chemistry in an effort to explain the origin of those objects and phenomena and their evolution. Objects of interest include planets, moons, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and comets; the phenomena also includes supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, quasars, blazars, pulsars, and cosmic microwave background radiation. More generally, all phenomena that originate outside Earth's atmosphere are within the purview of astronomy. A related but distinct subject is physical cosmology, which is the study of the Universe as a whole.

He created a rich crossover using elements from many sources, literature, movies, mythology and cartoons. He was widely imaginative, such as in his books A Chave do Tamanho ("The Sizing Switch") and A Reforma da Natureza ("Reforming Nature"), where he speculated on the consequences of all humans suddenly decreasing in size, and on what would happen if Emilia and Viscount would get hold of a scientific method to change the genes of animals and plants for rational or irrational purposes, with catastrophic results.

Scientific method Interplay between observation, experiment and theory in science

The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises.

Gene Basic physical and functional unit of heredity

In biology, a gene is a sequence of nucleotides in DNA or RNA that codes for a molecule that has a function. During gene expression, the DNA is first copied into RNA. The RNA can be directly functional or be the intermediate template for a protein that performs a function. The transmission of genes to an organism's offspring is the basis of the inheritance of phenotypic trait. These genes make up different DNA sequences called genotypes. Genotypes along with environmental and developmental factors determine what the phenotypes will be. Most biological traits are under the influence of polygenes as well as gene–environment interactions. Some genetic traits are instantly visible, such as eye color or number of limbs, and some are not, such as blood type, risk for specific diseases, or the thousands of basic biochemical processes that constitute life.

Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason. Rationality implies the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons to believe, and of one's actions with one's reasons for action. "Rationality" has different specialized meanings in philosophy, economics, sociology, psychology, evolutionary biology, game theory and political science.

Letter from Monteiro Lobato to President Getulio Vargas criticizing actions of the government about oil exploration, 1940. National Archives of Brazi l. Carta de Monteiro Lobato ao presidente Getulio Vargas criticando acoes do Conselho Nacional do Petroleo.tif
Letter from Monteiro Lobato to President Getúlio Vargas criticizing actions of the government about oil exploration, 1940. National Archives of Brazi l.

Monteiro Lobato's books were turned into widely popular TV programs. Including five series of Sítio do Picapau Amarelo adventures, one in 1952 on TV Tupi, another in 1964 on TV Cultura, and in 1967 on Rede Bandeirantes, another on Rede Globo in 1977, and the last version in 2001 also on Rede Globo. The last is known in other countries under the title "Pirlimpimpim". In 2012 "Rede Globo" and Brazilian producer "Mixer" was to produce an animated series inspired by Lobato's children's books.

TV Cultura Brazilian public television network

TV Cultura, or simply Cultura, is a free Brazilian television network headquartered in São Paulo and a part of Fundação Padre Anchieta. It focuses on educational and cultural subjects but also has sports as entertainment options.

Rede Bandeirantes Brazilian commercial broadcast television network

Rede Bandeirantes, or simply Band, is a television network from Brazil, based in São Paulo. Part of the Grupo Bandeirantes de Comunicação, it aired for the first time in 1967. Currently, is the fourth TV network in Brazil by the ratings.

Rede Globo Brazilian commercial television network

Rede Globo, or simply Globo, is a Brazilian free-to-air television network, launched by media proprietor Roberto Marinho on 26 April 1965. It is owned by media conglomerate Grupo Globo, being by far the largest of its holdings. Globo is the largest commercial TV network in Latin America and the second-largest commercial TV network of the world just behind the American ABC Television Network and the largest producer of telenovelas.

Lobato was also an influential journalist and publisher and wrote regularly for several newspapers and magazines, and was a noted and respected art critic. In fact, he provoked a public controversy when he harshly criticized the writers, poets, painters and musicians, who, in 1922 promoted a Modern Art Week (Semana da Arte Moderna), which was also a watershed event in Brazilian culture in the 20th century. In 1919, he acquired the Revista do Brasil, one of the first Brazilian cultural magazines, and founded, in 1920, his own publishing house. Later, he helped to found and was a partner in two of the most important independent Brazilian publishing houses, the Companhia Nacional and the Editora Brasiliense.

Politically, Lobato was strongly in favor of a state monopoly for iron and oil exploration in Brazil and battled publicly for it between 1931 and 1939. For his libertarian views, he was arrested by the then dictatorial government of Getúlio Vargas in 1941. This movement, called O Petróleo é Nosso (Oil Belongs to Us) was highly successful, and the same Getúlio Vargas, after being democratically elected president, created Petrobras in 1952.

Lobato founded a cultural and literary magazine, Fundamentos , which existed between 1948 and 1955. [1] He died in São Paulo in 1948.

Political ideas

Accusations of racism

Monteiro Lobato, after his death, has been accused of racism due to the portrayal and treatment of black people in several of his works. [2] In 2010 a Brazilian educator attempted to legally ban Caçadas de Pedrinho from Brazilian junior schools for the prejudiced narrative and terms contained in the novel. For example, Lobato describes Aunt Nastácia (a mulatta), climbing up "the pole of Saint Pedro as an old monkey", and that "no one would escape" the jaguars attack, "neither Aunt Nastácia, of black flesh." [3] [4] [5]

An academic analysis made by the Instituto de Pesquisas e Estudos Sociais at the Rio de Janeiro State University reportedly has proven that Monteiro Lobato was a "dangerously influential racist working on the scholastic area", and cites a letter Lobato sent to Toledo Neiva, in which he complains about "a country [Brazil] where black men don't have strength enough to organize a Ku Klux Klan", and comparing it to the United States by mentioning André Siegfried, "glad that they're not a second Brazil. Some day, justice will be done to the Ku Klux Klan." [6] [7]


Children books

Adult books


(*) Published posthumously.


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  1. Daniel Balderston; Mike Gonzalez (12 February 2004). Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Latin American and Caribbean Literature, 1900–2003. Routledge. p. 369. ISBN   978-1-134-39960-4 . Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  2. :: Revista Emilia ::
  3. G1 - Mais uma obra de Monteiro Lobato é questionada por suposto racismo - notícias em Educação Archived 2014-02-02 at the Wayback Machine .
  4. Monteiro Lobato e o racismo - Íntegra da entrevista concedida à CartaCapitalnº 716, 21/9/2012, da qual a edição da revista aproveitou trechos. Marisa Lajolo é doutora em Letra... Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine .
  5. Discussão sobre racismo na obra de Monteiro Lobato continua hoje em reunião no MEC - Notícias - UOL Educação Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine .
  6. Monteiro Lobato, racista empedernido — CartaCapital Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine .
  7. Feres Júnior, João; Nascimento, Leonardo Fernandes; Eisenberg, Zena Winona (March 2013). "Monteiro Lobato and political correctness". Dados. 56 (1): 69–108. doi:10.1590/S0011-52582013000100004. ISSN   0011-5258.