Eleni Priovolou - Author, Diasticho 

Eleni Priovolou, Author
DIASTICHO digital literary magazine, June 2013
"The butterfly garden"

During the thirty years and more that Sophia Madouvalou has been writing books for children we have come to expect that she will always find a very personal and original way of winning her readers’ hearts, both young and old. Her latest work is no exception.

On a girl’s dress, butterflies from the whole world over find a place to stop and rest; butterflies of every colour under the sun and speaking every imaginable language. The writer calls them the ‘souls of love’ and here it should be explained that one of the words for butterfly in Greek is ‘psyche’, meaning ‘soul’. Some have found their way to the dress by chance; others are fleeing war, fire or starvation; and some are simply tourists. Yet all of them feel that a sister soul is inviting them to settle on the dress, one who does not put up barriers to keep out those who are different from her but attracts the souls of others with the power of her love, whatever part of the world they may come from. The dress becomes a garden of the nations, where feelings and thoughts are exchanged and different cultures and moral attitudes come into contact.

Through The Butterfly Garden Sophia Madouvalou speaks to us of globalization and the values shared by different cultures -not as ‘big business’ would have us see them but as the peoples of the world would. For Madouvalou is a writer without frontiers, a citizen of the world, and will have no truck with racial prejudice or those who hate things unfamiliar or foreign. She sets her scene on a plain pink dress and turns it into a multicoloured garden of innocence, dreams and soaring imagination, creating a vision of the peoples of the world united in a single community.
‘We are so different and yet so much the same, we souls of love,’ says young Myrto as she looks at her pink dress, then hides the thought away in its secret chrysalis to grow into yet another soul of love.
And by this book, with its universal appeal, Sophia Madouvalou proves that it is not by chance she has been chosen as Greece’s candidate for the 2013 Andersen prize.