Jag vill ocksa ga i skolan (1951) was translated into English by Barbara Lucas. Though it is one of Lindgren’s older books, it has aged very well. The pictures by Ilon Wiklund are, as always, perfect. In many scenes Ilon captures the personalities of 10-30 background characters: some worried, some hungry, some hopeful, some tired, some skeptical – all emotions, all in the background, not overpowering the story but adding a sense of depth.
This tells the story of Peter and Lena, who we will spend more time with in the future. Peter goes to school and his little sister wants to know what happens there, so she tags along for a day. This book would be a great learning tool for children who are about to either start school or have a sibling start school. It may lead to Swedish envy, however, as Lindgren describes morning break playing outside, an hour-long nature study, pancakes with lingonberry jam for lunch, more playing outside, and an hour of reading. Not to mention that the kids thank the teacher for the day before leaving. Yeah, on second thought, don’t read this to a kid who is about to start school, because in comparison, their school will really suck.
Lena reminds me a little of Lotta. I could totally picture this exchange happening between Jonas and Lotta of the Lotta series: She points to the words and reads, “Grandmother is nice . . .”
“Boy, are you dumb,” says Peter, “There’s not a word about Grandmother in that book. It’s all about squirrels.”
“It doesn’t matter,” says Lena, “I will read however I want.”