Children Tarot by Lele Luzzati                    Review by Diane Wilkes

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.

When discussing decks like the Inner Child Cards or the Whimsical Tarot, words like charming, adorable, and, yes, even whimsical inevitably rear their cuddly heads.  The Children Tarot by Lele Luzzati is no exception to this rule.  Looking at the chubby-cheeked child Hermit, who carries his multi-colored lantern with the air of a tot who plans to short-sheet your bed in the middle of the night, you can't help but say, "Awwww," even as the more esoteric interpretations of the card go out the window like so many water balloons.  The smiling, pony-tailed girl who pets her spotted dog with one hand and puts her other one in his open mouth on the Strength card will win your heart with her sunny approach to life.  Again, no enigmatic meanings to be uncovered, but there is no doubt in my mind that the lass has several planets in Leo.

This new deck by Lo Scarabeo is simply brimming with charm and is totally child-friendly.  Cards that normally cause a frisson of fear in adults new to tarot hold no terror:  The Devil shows an impish urchin with his tongue sticking out, but the comically outsized yellow sword that he holds promises his deviltry is harmless enough; a boy wears a rook costume in the Tower card, and the smile on his face shows that the fire behind his head is only make-believe; Death also shows a jubilant youngster removing a skull mask--his scythe looks more like a banner than an instrument of morbidity.

The Minor Arcana echo this bouquet of pleasant tidings.  The Three of Swords, seen in R-W-S and its clones as a heart speared with three rapiers, shows a zebra ridden by a brightly-colored parrot.  The Five of Cups, often a card that has a keyword of "Regret," shows a merry prankster (R.I.P., Ken Kesey).  The miser of the traditional Four of Pentacles has been replaced by a lad breezing by on a bicycle.  He carries yellow wares on the top of his scooter, and his wide smile leads me to believe that he will be quite generous with his products.

In fact, the suit of pentacles is made kinder and gentler, with smiley faces on each coin.  When I tell you this is a deck long on cheer and short on darkness, you can believe me.  However, it cheers some people to have images that reflect their traditional decks, and this deck would make those folks blue, blue, blue.  While some cards reflect the R-W-S model, such as the Six of Cups that shows a happy and diverse gathering of children, most do not.  I've never seen a Queen of Swords look so jolly!

The little white booklet (LWB) reflects awareness of this dissimilarity and embraces it, recommending the deck be used for storytelling purposes, which is, in my opinion, an excellent way to use this deck.  A storytelling spread is provided, along with snippets of meaning for each card (the interpretations for the Minors are slightly shorter than the Major Arcana).  Hence, the meaning of the aforementioned Five of Cups is "make the best of things" and the Three of Swords is "far off hope."    The Eight of Cups is "the time for a toast at a banquet" and Ten of Wands is "the family reunites."

The artistic style of the cards, which measure two and a half by four and a half inches, is naive and comical, with a sly wisdom that never borders on the snide.  The reversible backs are of varying shades of purple, with an image of four silly birds that are destined to enchant querents both old and young.  Justice is numbered Eight and Strength, 11.  Suits are Wands, Chalices, Swords and Pentacles, and are listed in Italian, English, French, Spanish, and German.  The cards are bordered widely in light yellow, adding to the general esprit of the deck.

I recommend this deck for those who like to use the tarot with children or for storytelling purposes.  It really is charming, adorable, and whimsical.

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.

Children Tarot by Lele Luzzati
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
ISBN#: 888395164-6

Images 2000 Lo Scarabeo
Review and page 2001 Diane Wilkes