Jan Brzechwa’s name is familiar to almost every Pole. His poems and fairy tales have been read and sung for several generations not only in kindergartens and schools, but also in many Polish homes. The films made on the basis the adventures of Mr. Kleks – the famous character Brzechwa created – have become a cult item in the Polish film library watched by the next generations of children.

Jan Brzechwa is, however, the pen name of Jan Wiktor Lesman, a Polish poet of Jewish descent, invented by his cousin – another well-known and respected poet with Jewish roots: Bolesław Leśmian. The future poet was born in 1898. He graduated in law from the University of Warsaw and became an advocate specialising in copyright. During the Polish-Bolshevik war, he volunteered to fight, and was awarded for his bravery. When practicing law, he was engaged in writing poetry. In 1938, “The needle danced with the thread” – a volume of his poems for children was published; in 1939 an invariably popular collection with the title poem “A Freak Duck”; in 1946 the famous “Mr. Kleks’ Academy”, which was continued in the 1960s: “Travels of Mr. Kleks” and “The Triumph of Mr. Kleks”; in 1948 – an equally adored volume: “On the Bergamut Islands”, in 1953 – “Adventures of Witalis the Fox’s”.

We are the watchmakers of the world.”

These and many other poems and fairy tales captured the imagination of children and entered the canon of school readings and the repertoire of theaters, where they won hearts of the youngest audience. Brzechwa’s work has become a classic in Poland, without which it is difficult to imagine children’s education.

Rok później pojawiła się „Kaczka Dziwaczka”. Tytułowa bohaterka była tak popularna wśród dzieci i rodziców, że weszła na stałe do języka polskiego jako określnik używany do dziś.