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

Posts tagged ‘springtime in noisy village’

What is going on with Noisy Village?

Bullerbyn, also known as Bullerby, also known as Noisy Village, is a series of picture and chapter books.  However, figuring out the English translations is enough to drive someone (cough, me, cough) crazy.  Warning: unless you really care about this series, you probably shouldn’t suffer through the following 1,000 words.

Astrid Lindgren’s official site lists eight books about Bullerbyn.

These are:

  • THE SIX BULLERBY CHILDREN/CHILDREN OF NOISY VILLAGE (Alla vi barn I Bullerbyn)
  • MORE ABOUT US BULLERBY CHILDREN (Mera om oss barn I Bullerbyn)
  • HAPPY TIMES IN NOISY VILLAGE (Bara roligt I Bullerbyn)
  • ALL ABOUT THE BULLERBY CHILDREN (Bullerby Boken)
  • CHRISTMAS AT BULLERBY/CHRISTMAS IN NOISY VILLAGE (Jul I Bullerbyn)
  • SPRINGTIME IN NOISY VILLAGE (Var I Bullerbyn)
  • A DAY AT BULLERBY (Barnens Dag I Bullerbyn)
  • BARNEN I BULLERBYN

Good news: we can right away not worry about Barnen i Bullerbyn, because it is just a collection of existing Bullerbyn stories and anyway, it isn’t available in English.

That leaves us with seven Bullerbyn books to worry about.

Well, two of them are really simple: Springtime in Noisy Village has just one translation that I know of and is relatively easy to find.  Christmas at Bullerby/Christmas in Noisy Village has two pesky translations but is the same story.  Not much to worry about there.

That leaves us with five Bullerbyn books to worry about:

  • THE SIX BULLERBY CHILDREN/CHILDREN OF NOISY VILLAGE (Alla vi barn I Bullerbyn)
  • MORE ABOUT US BULLERBY CHILDREN (Mera om oss barn I Bullerbyn)
  • HAPPY TIMES IN NOISY VILLAGE (Bara roligt I Bullerbyn)
  • ALL ABOUT THE BULLERBY CHILDREN (Bullerby Boken)
  • A DAY AT BULLERBY (Barnens Dag I Bullerbyn)

I happen to own two books about Noisy Village (thanks Dad!): Happy Times in Noisy Village and The Children of Noisy Village.  Both of these claim to have been translated from Bullerby Boken (A collection in English called All About the Bullerby Children which supposedly includes Happy Times in Noisy Village, More About us Bullerby Children, and Children of Noisy Village.)  Because All About the Bullerby Children is another collection as proven by my translations and the Astrid Lindgren site, we can cross that one off our list too, but soon we have to remember that it existed.

Okay, so now we’ve got four Bullerbyn books remaining:

  • THE SIX BULLERBY CHILDREN/CHILDREN OF NOISY VILLAGE (Alla vi barn I Bullerbyn)
  • MORE ABOUT US BULLERBY CHILDREN (Mera om oss barn I Bullerbyn)
  • HAPPY TIMES IN NOISY VILLAGE (Bara roligt I Bullerbyn)
  • A DAY AT BULLERBY (Barnens Dag I Bullerbyn)

Are we having fun yet?

Let’s look at the first book listed on Lindgren’s site, The Six Bullerby Children/Children of Noisy Village.  The synopsis includes the following highlights:

  • Sleeping in the hay
  • Getting dressed up and going to school
  • Having fun on the way there and back

Looking at More About the Bullerby Children, the Lindgren’s site lists highlights as:

  • Skating on the lake at North Farm with Lars falling through a hole in the ice
  • Lisa and Anna going to buy yeast, and ginger, vinegar and sewing thread and sausage of the finest quality
  • That particular adventure taking a long time because they forget things

Here (according to Astrid Lindgren’s site) are the highlights of Happy Times in Noisy Village:

  • Hunting wild oxen
  • Feeding baby lambs
  • Catching crayfish
  • Dancing around the maypole during midsummer

Here is the synopsis for A Day at Bullerbyn (which appears to be a picture book):

  • Lars reads that there is a “Children’s Day” in Stockholm and thinks it should happen in Bullerby too, for Kerstin’s sake.

In my book The Children of Noisy Village, these are some of the stories:

  • Walking home from school
  • Fun in school
  • Anna and Lisa shopping for sausage of the best quality, yeast, ginger, sewing needles, etc.
  • Anna and Lisa forgetting things and the adventure taking a long time
  • Crayfishing

Notice how these stories appear to come from three different Bullerbyn books (and now you understand why this is a rainbow-colored post).

In my book Happy Times in Noisy Village, these stories are told:

  • Playing in the hay
  • Skating and Karl (Lars) falling into the frozen lake
  • Hunting wild oxen
  • Feeding baby lambs
  • Dancing around the maypole during midsummer

Again, it certainly looks as if stories in this book come from three different Bullerbyn books.

Remember that each of these books (my copies anyway) claims to be translated from Bullerby Boken (All About the Bullerby Children – a collection of Bullerby books).  Looking at the breakdown of story highlights, it seems evident that when translating this collection of three books, the translator (Florence Lamborn) or editors decided to split Bullerby Boken into two books, eliminating the book More About the Bullerby Children but not getting rid of that book’s stories.

The list now looks like this:

  • THE SIX BULLERBY CHILDREN/CHILDREN OF NOISY VILLAGE (Alla vi barn I Bullerbyn)
  • HAPPY TIMES IN NOISY VILLAGE (Bara roligt I Bullerbyn)
  • A DAY AT BULLERBY (Barnens Dag I Bullerbyn)

A Day at Bullerby, meanwhile, appears to have only been released in Britain.  That’ll be a fun one to track down . . .

While we’re at it, Lindgren’s site lists the children’s names as Lisa, Lars, Pip, Britta, Anna, and Ollie.  The versions I have include the characters Lisa, Karl, Bill, Kerstin, Britta, Anna, Olaf.  This is deeply unimportant and actually, the least offensive name-changes so far (although still totally unnecessary), but I thought it was worth mentioning.

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Springtime in Noisy Village

Astrid_SINVSpringtime in Noisy Village (Var i Bullerbyn, 1965) was my first view into the Noisy Village world.

At first, the world can feel overwhelming, not because the world itself is so vast (it is rather small) but because there are so many characters.  The book is narrated by Lisa, making it the first book by Lindgren that I’ve found to be written in the first person.  Lisa goes on to (kind of) introduce Britta, Anna, Karl, Bill, Olaf, and Kerstin.  Given that while reading the book, I have a pretty clear idea who Lisa is, and that Kerstin is the toddler, that still leaves me with six main characters to learn in one short picture book – a very different situation from The Red Bird, for example, in which there are only two main characters.

Nevertheless, despite the occasional confusion, the book is humorous with fun language and situations.  The great illustrations of Ilon Wikland capture the joys of being a child in the spring.

Like The Tomten, I can find no information on who, if anyone, translated this book.  If you can point me to this information, please get in touch with me.  Thanks!

Lindgren’s books might have trouble being published for the first time today due to our overly-litigious and over-protective society.  In this book alone, a toddler plays with a wild animal for fun, children jump off a woodshed roof for fun, ride on a bull for fun, and walk across the top of the barn roof for fun.  Lindgren’s writing is a reminder that childhood used to be fun.

Truer words have never been written than this short passage:
“Who said we must only walk on the road?”  Karl asked afterward.
“Some grownup, I suppose,” said Bill.
And that’s what I think too.