October 2, 2011

Quiet Magic from Scandinavia

I am kicking off the Kids Books Month with a few favorites by Scandinavian authors. Long before the Girl With a Dragon Tattoo there was Karlson-on-The-Roof. You see, Karlson, a small chubby person, flies all over Stockholm thanks to a clever little propeller on this back. He has the coziest of houses on top of a roof of a large building and befriended a very ordinary little boy who lives on the top floor. Karlson likes to defy unreasonable and authoritative housekeeper by swiping tasty Swedish meatballs and wonderful cinnamon buns fresh from the oven.

Karlson saga is by a Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren. I highly recommend exploring her magical world.

Karlson on the Roof by scandinavian writer Astrid Lindgren

For the younger set Ms. Lindgren wrote Tomten.  It’s a quietly magical book about a little elf-like creature that creeps about talking to animals in the night on a snowy farm in the Swedish backwater.  While I grew up with Karlson, I was introduced to Tomten only recently by our friend Dina – her favorites will be featured on the blog later this month.
Tomten by Swedish author Astrid Lingren

Final pick from prolific Astrid is Emil.  Growing up my little cousin adored Emil, a boy with innocent looks and a knack for getting in mischief.  I will be ordering a copy for my boys Binka and Bookie any day now (assuming it is in print in English!).

Emil in a Sticky Situation by Swedish writer Astrid Lingren

The Moomintrolls come by the way of Finland, though really the Moomin Valley is sovereign nation.  If you haven't met Moomintroll yet, you should. Moomins are peaceful and gentle creatures, timeless and somehow very real. Just as in Tompten there is some melancholy in the book, like a look back to the worldview of a child.

Moomin Trolls by Jove Janssen from Finland

The writer Tove Jansson was also a talented artist and thanks to her illustrations we know just how a Moomin ought to look.  She also did pretty remarkable self-portraits - check out her work here.  

Moomin Trolls by Jove Janssen from Finland
The stories have an ensemble cast with Sniff and Snufkin, Moominpappa and
Moominmamma, Moomintroll, Hemulen, and others.
More favorites, ours and yours, later this week!

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