Happy Times in Noisy Village has something that many Astrid Lindgren books lack – a section at the end about the illustrator, Ilon Wikland.
I don’t focus on the illustrators very often on this blog, not because I don’t love the pictures (I do!), but because my focus is really on the writing, the stories. Some books have had multiple illustrators (think of Pippi! of the top of my head I know of three illustrators and I am sure there have been more!) and focusing on artwork is a whole ‘nother project entirely. Anyway, although I don’t focus on the illustrations, Ilon Wikland has had an incredible impact on the books of Astrid Lindgren. It was wonderful to read more about her. The “About the Illustrator” section featured this quote by Astrid to Ilon: “…how indebted I am to you; how important you have been to my stories in helping them to reach their audience through your pictures. […] I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
It is so wonderful to know that Astrid Lindgren understood what a gem she found in Ilon Wikland.
Happy Times in Noisy Village was published in Sweden as Bullerby Boken in 1961 and translated by Florence Lamborn. I thought I was so terribly smart when I “figured out” that The Children of Noisy Village was also translated as Cherry Time in Noisy Village, but the joke’s on me: the cherry time occurs in this book, although the cover of The Children of Noisy Village is the same as Cherry Time in Noisy Village. My brain has splattered all over the screen at this point.
Highlights of this edition include: Kersin’s birth, starting school, Olaf’s loose tooth, the Chest of the Wizards, playing in the hay, Karl falling into the lake, April Fool’s Day, Lisa’s baby lamb Pontus, capturing musk-oxen, cherry time, and midsummer.
There seemed to be a little more tension between the boys and the girls in this collection of stories. The Chest of the Wizards that the boys hide reminds me of the treasure box that Bill Bergson and White Roses have. The tricks played by the Noisy Village children are reminiscent of the “wars” between the White and Red Roses in Bergson’s world. In both series, the sparring sides all really do like each other. This, I think, makes all the difference.
There were so many one-liners that made me laugh in this book. Lisa’s narration always makes me smile; she sees the world from a nine-year-old’s point of view when she makes amazing statements like this:
- So it really isn’t too bad to have brothers, but, of course, it would be better to have sisters.
- My, how I liked Kerstin! She was the prettiest baby in the world. Anna and Britta and I used to run over to South Farm almost every day to watch while Aunt Lisa took care of her. How she wiggled and kicked! — not Aunt Lisa, of course, but Kerstin.
- You always get hungry right away when you’re outdoors, so we all thought we might as well eat.
Lisa. She’s brilliant.