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

Posts tagged ‘jill morgan’

Mio, My Son

Mio, Astrid_MMMMy Son was translated by Jill Morgan from the catchy Swedish version Mio, Min Mio (1956).  It is the story of an unhappy boy who escapes the world he lives in.  In Farawayland his father is the loving king, he has a horse named Miramis, and a best friend named Pompoo (apparently Jum-Jum in Swedish).  With Miramis and Pompoo, Mio travels outside of his country to attempt to defeat the evil Sir Kato who has imprisoned many innocent children and animals.

This book reminds me of The Brothers Lionheart.  It has many of the same elements: an unhappy boy in the “real” world, a magical land that is traveled to, an evil character that needs to be defeated in a neighboring country, two boys journeying with a horse to that country, bits of magic woven into the story, and loving family members in the magical land. Mio, My Son is probably less dark than The Brothers Lionheart.  I enjoyed them both, but Mio, My Son felt a bit more whimsical and made me smile a little more.  It creates another deep and interesting fantasy world that doesn’t shy away from darkness.

This is one of many Astrid Lindgren books that ended before I wanted it to.  Sigh.  I don’t have many of her novels left to read!

Favorite line: It’s hard to explain why a house looks like it comes straight out of a fairy tale.  Maybe it’s something in the air, or the old trees standing around it, or the fairylike scent of flowers in the garden, or perhaps something entirely different.


The Brothers Lionheart

Astrid_BLThe Brothers Lionheart is a novel originally published in 1973 as Broderna Lejonhjarta.  The English version was translated by Jill Morgan.

It is the story of Jonathan and Scotty who travel through death together in order to find themselves in happier places.  It’s very mature in how it deals with death, with many scenes much darker and scarier than typically found in children’s literature.  Off the top of my head, I can think of these topics that work their way into the story: terminal illness, deadly fire, death in childhood, betrayal, tyranny, battle, and death of parental figures.  Doesn’t sound much like a kids’ book, does it?  Yet Lindgren also weaves into the story courage, brotherly love, loyalty, kindness, generosity, and standing up for what is right.  But most importantly — hope.

I think many parents might shy away from letting their child read a story that can be, at times, so dark, but if a parent can handle the subject material of The Brothers Lionheart, the child will be able to handle it too.  In fact, parents are more likely to have issues with the material than children would.

My favorite scene: But then Jonathan said that is was something he must do, even if it was dangerous.
“Why?” I wondered.
“Otherwise you’re not a human being but just a piece of dirt,” said Jonathan.