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

Posts tagged ‘picture books’

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.

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

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Skrallan and the Pirates

Astrid_SkrallanThis was one of the hardest books to find until it became one of the easiest.  The difference?  The translation.  At some point, Skrallan and the Pirates ( Skrallan och sjorovarna, 1967) was translated under the title Scrap and the Pirates.  That edition is incredibly rare.  I tried to get it through inter-library loan ten times, but each one was out of state and my requests were all denied.  All the copies for sale online are almost a hundred dollars.

Finally, I discovered that this book was also translated under this title!  Skrallan and the Pirates was not available through the library, but copies were cheap and plentiful online.  I was so happy!

This book is illustrated by Sven-Eric Deler and Stig Hallgren, and the pictures are all in color.  It was translated by Albert Read and Christine Sapieha.

I didn’t know anything about this book when I ordered it.  I was so surprised to open it up and see familiar names: Skrallan and the Pirates follows adventures had on Saltcrow/Seacrow Island!  Having never seen the TV series, I never had seen an image of what the characters look like.  For the first time, I got to see Malin, Melker, and Tjorven!  And Bosun the dog, of course.  It was like visiting old friends that I made while on the island.  It has been a couple months since I read Seacrow Island, but I was able to fall right back into that world.

This is such a fun book to read after having read Seacrow Island.  I never knew if Malin would marry Petter for sure.  It was fun to see them as a family, and fun to see little Pelle, my favorite of Melker’s children.  It’s comforting to know that even if I am not visiting the island, Melker is still being Melker.   As for Skrallan, she gets into all kinds of trouble, as children should on the island.

This is a beautiful book and I’m so grateful to have had the chance to revisit my old friends on the island.  What a wonderful surprise!

I like this bit of wisdom: It’s not much fun being locked up in a dark place.

Simon Small Moves In

Astrid_SSMIThis is one of the Astrid Lindgren books that I had to buy because it wasn’t available anywhere.  Luckily, I found a copy online for very cheap — this is readily available at reasonable prices.  Lucky me!  Lucky everyone!  It’s a delight!

Simon Small Moves In (Nils Karlsson Pyssling Flyttar In, 1956, translated by Marianne Turner) is the story of Nicky (Bertil in the original Swedish) and the tiny Simon Small (or Nils Karlsson Pyssling) told through a fantastic story and Ilon Wikland’s usual wonderful pictures.

This is a thoroughly engaging book, full of whimsy and fun with a hint of real life thrown in: Nicky is sad at the beginning of the story when he thinks about his sister Katy who “was gone now, and Nicky was all alone.”  Through the rest of the book, it becomes apparent that Katy is gone permanently.

When Simon Small shows up, Nicky gains a friend and the satisfaction of finding solutions to Simon’s problems.  Nicky helps Simon procure firewood, food, and furniture (from Katy’s dollhouse).  The two become friends as they fix up Simon’s place.  Nicky is happy and laughing again and so is Simon.

“How long have you lived here?” asked Nicky.
“Oh, just a few days,” said Simon Small.  “I got the place from a town mouse.  She went to live with her sister in the country and I helped her to move her furniture out.  It’s much the best way, to have your own furniture.”

Goran’s Great Escape

Astrid_GGE Just for fun, I checked out Goran’s Great Escape from the library.  I already read The Day Adam Got Mad, but I wanted to make sure that this was, in fact, the same book.  This version was translated by Polly Lawson and published in 2011.  The Day Adam Got Mad is from 1993 with Barbara Lucas as translator.

Both translations turned into good books.  I can’t compare tAstrid_DAGMhe two side-by-side as I did for Mardie/Mischievous Meg, but the couple of lines I remember from The Day Adam Got Mad were translated with equal humor and whimsy in Goran’s Great Escape.  Both Lucas and Lawson have translated other Astrid Lindgren works with good results.  The original title in Swedish featured an Adam, so if I had to choose a translation I guess I would go with The Day Adam Got Mad, for no other reason than the name is more faithful.

The Day Adam Got Mad was one of the first books I read for this project.  Goran’s Great Escape is one of the last.

“But on this Easter Day, Goran was angry.  You could ask why he was in such a terribly bad mood that day.  We will never know.”

 

 

 

Emil’s Sticky Problem

IMG_6904I couldn’t find this book in the library system.  I couldn’t find this book for sale in the United States.  I finally had to order it from England.  I’m so very glad I did.  This is a beautiful book with delightful pictures by Bjorn Berg.  Its original title was Emils hyss nr 325 (Emil’s 325th prank) in 1983’s Swedish edition.  It was translated by David and Judy Scott.

Much more than the original three Emil books (Pranks, Soup Tureen, and Clever Pig) this is a picture book – with big, beautiful color pictures on each page.  The original Emil books are longer (well over 100 pages, with this one having only 60 pages) but have fewer pictures — and none in color, whereas all the pictures in this book are in color.

Emil’s mother hates the flies that get inside and wants to buy fly-paper, but Emil’s dad is too cheap and threatens that the whole family will end up begging if money is spent so frivolously.  Emil gets the brilliant idea: “If the begging has to be done, it would be better, perhaps, if I got a begging stick straight away and begged enough money to buy some fly-papers.”

Emil dresses up like a beggar, earns enough to buy fly-papers, and hangs them up in the kitchen all by himself as a surprise.  He muses: “Here all the flies in all of Katthult could once and for all be lured to their doom.”

Alas, it is not only the flies who get stuck to Emil’s surprise fly-papers.

The whole book is a delight, but this line popped out at me: “Now Emil lay there in his bed and thought so hard that his brain creaked.”

I am so glad that I ordered this from England.  It was so worth it.  Emil is a great series.

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.

The Tomten and the Fox

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The Tomten and the Fox is a book I waited for.  I waited for two months to get it through a different branch of my county’s library system.  It took me five minutes to read.  Even taking my time, I don’t think I could stretch this book into more than five minutes.  It makes me smile to think of how long I waited vs. how much actual time I needed the book.  Yes, it was worth it.

This book is from a poem by Karl-Erik Forsslund but adapted by Astrid Lindgren with pictures by Harald Wiberg, the same illustrator as the original Tomten book.

One thing I found interesting about this book is how in the beginning, there is narration but below the narration there are commands written to the fox, whose name is Reynard.  (That’s what I always name my foxes. )  It’s an interesting voice for the book to have – the narrator is telling us a story and communicating with the fox at the same time but separately.

This book has inspired a lot of art.  I recommend doing a Google Image search for “Tomten and the Fox” just to see all the crafts that have been created.

My favorite line comes near the end, when the hungry fox has found food and made friends with the Tomten: “It is a night for foxes and tomtens.”

The final picture of the fox walking off into the woods is haunting.  Yes, it is a night for foxes and tomtens.