Remember that story when the sun and wind entered into a bet to see who would be able to take off a man’s jacket first? The wind blew with all its might, but the man would only fasten his jacket even more to hold it in place. When it was its turn, the sun simply radiated heat until the man felt so hot that he took off the jacket himself. And the sun won.
If the story rings a bell, it is because you are old enough to have read it many times over in the popular school textbook Id-Denfil.
Id-Denfil has since been taken off the school syllabus, but cartoonists are bringing it back in a short, animated series on television.
The creators, Turi Animation Studio, say the series is a tribute to the much-beloved books, but more importantly, it aims to create Maltese content for young children, who spend a lot of time consuming similar videos in English but have almost no such videos in Maltese at all.
“The cartoons are all produced in a 2D, hand-drawn animation style,” the creators said.
“Our animators create one drawing after another to create motion. The style and technique are quite similar to some of the most beloved cartoons available.”
First published in 1976, Id-Denfil accompanied entire generations through primary school.
Its simple orange cover featuring a blueish-grey breaching dolphin became a nationwide recognizable symbol of childhood, leading modern souvenir makers to feature it alongside other iconic images like the old Benna milk carton, the old Maltese bus and the yellow Cisk beer bottle.
Creators have tweaked characters, narratives and story details
Id-Denfil was eventually abandoned in schools, not least because some of its narratives and language style began to sound out of date and politically incorrect in modern times.
Written for different generations in an entirely different time, the six books fundamentally featured stories about traditional, heterosexual, Catholic families in which the father was the breadwinner, the mother was a housewife, everyone was white and went to church religiously and people smoked cigarettes.
The creators of the new cartoon series said they are well aware of these contexts, and while keeping the spirit of Id-Denfil as people know it, the characters, narratives and story details have been tweaked and adapted for today’s societal realities.
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