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

Posts tagged ‘peter & lena series’

I Want a Brother or Sister

Astrid_IWABOSI Want a Brother or Sister is another book featuring Peter and Lena.  It was titled in Swedish Jag vill ocksa ha et syskon and published in 1954.  In English it appears to have had two titles: the one I read (translated by Eric Bibb) and That’s My Baby.  However, because that is not complicated enough, Wikipedia lists both I Want a Brother or Sister and another book titled That’s Not My Baby.  After an extensive search, I can find no proof that any Lindgren book called That’s Not My Baby ever existed.  The only places I can find any trace of the title online are sites that have copied and pasted the Wikipedia list.  (I can tell, because if they include the book Noby Lives in Thailand, it’s clearly been copied and pasted because no such title existed.)

Whatever the title, the story begins before Lena was born when Peter was very little.  It explains how Peter wanted a sibling and then regretting it when Lena got so much attention.  The book does a great job of explaining Peter’s feelings and why he was acting out.  It also shows how great it is to have a sibling once they are old enough to play with.  Ilon Wikland captures both children’s rambunctious spirit (in one charming full-page picture of Lena, she’s got her finger digging into her nose).  At the end of the book, baby Matt comes into their lives.  Peter is not too upset this time around; he has Lena to play with and knows he is loved.  Lindgren has created a delightful family with good communication and lots of love to go around.

Peter became one of my favorite characters of all time when he busted out this conversation:  “I think you should help me take care of Lena,” said Mama.
“Are we going to throw her out?” asked Peter.


I Want To Go To School Too

Astrid_IW2G2S2Jag 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.”