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

Posts tagged ‘seacrow island’

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.


Seacrow Island

Astrid_SISeacrow Island is the enchanting, quiet story of a family who comes to spend a summer on Seacrow Island.  It was illustrated by Robert Hales and translated by Evelyn Ramsden from the Swedish Vi Pa Saltkraken.  Of the novels Astrid Lindgren wrote, this is perhaps the longest (nearly 300 pages) and definitely the most realistic so far: its protagonists get into situations that are quite ordinary and nothing overly magical happens except life in summer, which is pretty magical in itself.  The heartaches and triumphs weave a subtle but interesting page-turner.

The family consists of a father, Melker, and his children.  Melker is a fun father to tag along with.  As Lindgren writes, ” Melker loved his children with a fierce, stormy love.  Now and then he even thought about them.”  He’s generally inept, kept in line only by his oldest child and only daughter Malin, who has become like a mother to her three younger brothers.  She’s basically the only non-inept person in the family.  The two middle children are pretty normal kids, but the youngest, Pelle, is a kind old soul who cares about everyone and everything.  With all these characters we experience life on Seacrow Island.

And what a great place to visit.  Between little Tjorven the young girl who pretty much runs the island, the pet seal, Bosun the faithful dog, the near-disasters in rowing, the storms and sunshine, Seacrow Island is a good escape.

When researching this book after reading it, I was astounded to learn that Seacrow Island was based on a TV series that Astrid Lindgren wrote the script for in 1964.  She later took these stories and compiled them into a book.  The TV series spawned several movies.  Nowadays it seems that books are turned into TV shows or movies and not the other way around.

My favorite line: When one is seven years old, one lives dangerously.  In the land of childhood, that wild and secret country, one can be on the verge of complete disaster without thinking it is anything special.