a book blog about reading all of astrid lindgren's books

Posts tagged ‘bullerby’

Children’s Day in Bullerbu

IMG_6935Children’s Day in Bullerbu was the most difficult of all the Noisy Village books to find. Copies of the book surface online, but are expensive – 2 copies on Amazon.co.uk are currently for sale for 113 pounds ($168) – plus shipping.  Huge thanks go out to Saltkråkan AB for finding this book for me to read!

This book (originally Barnens Dag I Bullerbyn, 1966) was translated by David HenryIMG_6926 Wilson and illustrated by Katrin Engelking.   Another version with pictures by Ilon Wikland exists titled A Day At Bullerby, but I read this version.  The book was published in Great Britain in 1967 with reprints in 1974 and 1979.  I don’t think it was ever published in the United States.

This tells the story of when the Bullerby children decide to throw a Children’s Day for little Kerstin.  Kerstin, however, is having none of it.  Every idea they come up with leads to screaming.  Eventually the kids decide to try to replicate a roller coaster.  They tie a rope around Kerstin’s waist and lower her out the window.  This is such a terrible idea.  I had to laugh, because I can’t imagine this being published today, in this litigious age.  Of course, I think it’s great.

The older kids fail to severely maim Kerstin despite their best efforts, and all ends well.  This was my last Noisy Village book, and my second-to-last Astrid Lindgren book overall.  There is definitely some sadness at having finished this series.  I grew to rather like these kids.  Especially when they start dangling toddlers out of the window.

My favorite line: Then Aunt Lisa came and said if we did any more stupid things with Kerstin we could be in for something nasty.



Also, I’m totally amazed by this postage stamp printed from Sweden.  Happy 70th Anniversary, Pippi!


Happy Times in Noisy Village

Astrid_HTINVHappy 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.

The Children of Noisy Village

Astrid_CONVUp until this point, I had only ever read the picture books about Noisy Village.  While this book has tremendous artwork by Ilon Wikland, it is a short-chapter book.  It was published in Sweden under Bullerby Boken in 1961 and translated by Florence Lamborn.  I discuss the Noisy Village series in overwhelming depth here.

We experience Noisy Village through the eyes (and all senses) of Lisa, our nine-year-old friend who narrates stories about the birthday when she got her own room, reading to Grandfather, running away with Anna, walking home from school and all the adventures had while doing so, Christmas, New Year, and Easter fun, the last day of school, crayfishing, and going shopping forgetfully.

Each chapter is very short and includes pictures, making this a great book for children just beginning to read chapter books or a great book for reading aloud.  The adventures that the Noisy Village children have prove that children don’t need screens or even toys to have fun.

I love this: As we were walking along, Britta took her book out of her schoolbag and smelled it.  She let all of us smell it.  New books smell so good that you can tell how much fun it’s going to be to read them.

I love this too: I think Britta and Anna went to sleep long before I did.  I lay awake and listened to the rustling of the forest.  There was just a little rustling, and small waves lapped against the shore very quietly.  It felt strange and all of a sudden I didn’t know whether I was happy or sad.  I lay there and tried to decide, but I couldn’t.  Perhaps you get a little funny from sleeping in the woods.

True that, Lisa.  True that.

Cherry Time at Bullerby

Cherry Time Astrid_CONV

It took me over two hours scattered over the course of several weeks, to track down proof that Cherry Time at Bullerby is actually The Children of Noisy Village.  Yep.  It is.  Cherry Time at Bullerby was originally published in Swedish under the title Bullerby Boken (1961).  This was originally published in English as The Children of Noisy Village and has been ever since except this brief foray into Cherry Timeness.  That explains that.

What is going on with Noisy Village?

Bullerbyn, also known as Bullerby, also known as Noisy Village, is a series of picture and chapter books.  However, figuring out the English translations is enough to drive someone (cough, me, cough) crazy.  Warning: unless you really care about this series, you probably shouldn’t suffer through the following 1,000 words.

Astrid Lindgren’s official site lists eight books about Bullerbyn.

These are:

  • MORE ABOUT US BULLERBY CHILDREN (Mera om oss barn I Bullerbyn)
  • HAPPY TIMES IN NOISY VILLAGE (Bara roligt I Bullerbyn)
  • A DAY AT BULLERBY (Barnens Dag I Bullerbyn)

Good news: we can right away not worry about Barnen i Bullerbyn, because it is just a collection of existing Bullerbyn stories and anyway, it isn’t available in English.

That leaves us with seven Bullerbyn books to worry about.

Well, two of them are really simple: Springtime in Noisy Village has just one translation that I know of and is relatively easy to find.  Christmas at Bullerby/Christmas in Noisy Village has two pesky translations but is the same story.  Not much to worry about there.

That leaves us with five Bullerbyn books to worry about:

  • MORE ABOUT US BULLERBY CHILDREN (Mera om oss barn I Bullerbyn)
  • HAPPY TIMES IN NOISY VILLAGE (Bara roligt I Bullerbyn)
  • A DAY AT BULLERBY (Barnens Dag I Bullerbyn)

I happen to own two books about Noisy Village (thanks Dad!): Happy Times in Noisy Village and The Children of Noisy Village.  Both of these claim to have been translated from Bullerby Boken (A collection in English called All About the Bullerby Children which supposedly includes Happy Times in Noisy Village, More About us Bullerby Children, and Children of Noisy Village.)  Because All About the Bullerby Children is another collection as proven by my translations and the Astrid Lindgren site, we can cross that one off our list too, but soon we have to remember that it existed.

Okay, so now we’ve got four Bullerbyn books remaining:

  • MORE ABOUT US BULLERBY CHILDREN (Mera om oss barn I Bullerbyn)
  • HAPPY TIMES IN NOISY VILLAGE (Bara roligt I Bullerbyn)
  • A DAY AT BULLERBY (Barnens Dag I Bullerbyn)

Are we having fun yet?

Let’s look at the first book listed on Lindgren’s site, The Six Bullerby Children/Children of Noisy Village.  The synopsis includes the following highlights:

  • Sleeping in the hay
  • Getting dressed up and going to school
  • Having fun on the way there and back

Looking at More About the Bullerby Children, the Lindgren’s site lists highlights as:

  • Skating on the lake at North Farm with Lars falling through a hole in the ice
  • Lisa and Anna going to buy yeast, and ginger, vinegar and sewing thread and sausage of the finest quality
  • That particular adventure taking a long time because they forget things

Here (according to Astrid Lindgren’s site) are the highlights of Happy Times in Noisy Village:

  • Hunting wild oxen
  • Feeding baby lambs
  • Catching crayfish
  • Dancing around the maypole during midsummer

Here is the synopsis for A Day at Bullerbyn (which appears to be a picture book):

  • Lars reads that there is a “Children’s Day” in Stockholm and thinks it should happen in Bullerby too, for Kerstin’s sake.

In my book The Children of Noisy Village, these are some of the stories:

  • Walking home from school
  • Fun in school
  • Anna and Lisa shopping for sausage of the best quality, yeast, ginger, sewing needles, etc.
  • Anna and Lisa forgetting things and the adventure taking a long time
  • Crayfishing

Notice how these stories appear to come from three different Bullerbyn books (and now you understand why this is a rainbow-colored post).

In my book Happy Times in Noisy Village, these stories are told:

  • Playing in the hay
  • Skating and Karl (Lars) falling into the frozen lake
  • Hunting wild oxen
  • Feeding baby lambs
  • Dancing around the maypole during midsummer

Again, it certainly looks as if stories in this book come from three different Bullerbyn books.

Remember that each of these books (my copies anyway) claims to be translated from Bullerby Boken (All About the Bullerby Children – a collection of Bullerby books).  Looking at the breakdown of story highlights, it seems evident that when translating this collection of three books, the translator (Florence Lamborn) or editors decided to split Bullerby Boken into two books, eliminating the book More About the Bullerby Children but not getting rid of that book’s stories.

The list now looks like this:

  • HAPPY TIMES IN NOISY VILLAGE (Bara roligt I Bullerbyn)
  • A DAY AT BULLERBY (Barnens Dag I Bullerbyn)

A Day at Bullerby, meanwhile, appears to have only been released in Britain.  That’ll be a fun one to track down . . .

While we’re at it, Lindgren’s site lists the children’s names as Lisa, Lars, Pip, Britta, Anna, and Ollie.  The versions I have include the characters Lisa, Karl, Bill, Kerstin, Britta, Anna, Olaf.  This is deeply unimportant and actually, the least offensive name-changes so far (although still totally unnecessary), but I thought it was worth mentioning.