a book blog about reading all of lindgren's books in 2015

Posts tagged ‘elisabeth kallick dyssegaard’

Most Beloved Sister

Astrid_MBSAllrakaraste Syster was published in 1949 and later translated by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard.  It was illustrated by Hans Arnold, which I think is the only Astrid Lindgren book with that illustrator.  Hans Arnold did incredible work on this book and really used color and imagination to enhance the story.  The details in each picture are overwhelming.Astrid_MBS2

It tells the story of Barbara, whose twin sister Lalla-Lee is a queen in a secret land.  Together they journey through the Great Horrible Forest and the Most Beautiful Valley in the World.

This is very difficult book to find: my library system has only one copy, but I could not get it for months because it kept being checked out even though I had placed a hold on it.  Finally, Peter came to the rescue and found a copy for me through the university.  Copies of this book are for sale for well over $50.  I think it’s time this book was re-printed!

This is a short but charming story with a poignant ending that will help children who feel alone.  It teaches children about imagination, friendship, and life cycles.

This scene is beautiful and terrible at the same time: Then Lalla-Lee grabbed my arm very tightly and said, “Most Beloved Sister, there is something you must know!”
Right then, I felt a pain in my heart.
“No,” I said, “I do not want to know.”
“Yes, there’s something you must know,” Lalla-Lee went on.  Then the flowers stopped singing and the trees stopped playing, and I could no longer hear the brook’s melody.

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Mirabelle

Astrid_Mira Mirabelle is a picture book illustrated by Pija Lindenbaum and translated by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard from the Swedish Mirabell (1949).  When I read it, I thought it was charming and magical.  I went online to check reviews of it, which I always enjoy, and I was shocked that the general consensus seems to be that this is a super-creepy book.  Huh.  That was not my impression at all.

The story is a simple yet fantastical one: Young Britta comes from a poor family yet she desperately wants a doll.  One day she does a good deed for a stranger.  In return he gives her a seed and tells her to plant it and take care of it.  She does, and out of the ground grows Mirabelle!  Mirabelle talks and plays, but only whenAstrid_Mirabelle grown-ups aren’t looking.  Everyone is happy, the end.

What’s so creepy about that?

Well.  I read Mirabelle a second time.

And yeah, when the doll’s head first starts sticking up out of the ground, sure, I guess that’s creepy.  Like a toy rising from the dead.

And yeah, the first time Britta says goodnight to her and the doll responds, “My name is not Margaret.  My name is Mirabelle!” I can see that being creepy too.

And yeah, the fact that Mirabelle only comes to life when the adults aren’t looking, that’s kind of creepy.

But mostly, I found Mirabelle’s eyes creepy.  It’s hard to tell in this picture, but when she is pretending to be a doll, her eyes are SUPER big and vacant.  Honestly, I bet if her eyes were not so vacant, others wouldn’t have thought the book was creepy.

I still think this is a charming book.  The creepiness is there if you look for it, but it took a second reading for me to see any of it.  Mirabelle was, at least for me, a delightful character with flawless taste:

“But don’t ever try to feed me oatmeal,” she said, “Because I don’t eat it.”

Do You Know Pippi Longstocking?

Astrid_DYKPLDo You Know Pippi Longstocking? is a book I almost didn’t include in the all-Astrid read of 2015.  Of course it’s by Astrid Lindgren, but it’s a retelling of previous Pippi stories (translation by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard).  There’s really no new material here.  But . . . it was published in 1947 under Kanner du Pippi Langstrump? and it’s a quick read, plus it’s listed on Astrid’s website, so whatever, here it is:

This is a picture book of Pippi’s adventures beginning with her moving into Villa Villekulla.  Ingrid Nyman’s artwork, which I did not rave about in Pippi Movies In! is so much more enjoyable here, because it’s not in comic-book format: each picture is large and detailed as opposed to tiny and squished like in Pippi Moves In!  Nyman did a great job of illustrating this book and capturing the rambunctiousness of Pippi.

The story starts with Tommy and Annika meeting Pippi and many of the classic stories that happen soon after: pancakes and cookie-baking, thing-finding, visiting the circus, wresting the strong man, etc.  Although the stories aren’t new to those who have read the novels, this would be a perfect way to introduce Pippi to younger readers.

Favorite line: Pippi can braid her hair and button her undershirt at the same time.  Not many people can do that.

…I don’t remember that sentence in any other Pippi book.  Perhaps it was there and I just missed it, but it’s a fun detail that I just loved.  Of course Pippi can do that.