by Elsa Beskow
first published in Swedish in 1901
English translation by Alison Sage, 1982
Edinburgh: Floris Books, 2001
Age: 2 +
Interests: magic, forest, little people
Also by this author: Tale of the Little Old Woman, Children of the Forest, Aunt Green Aunt Brown and Aunt Lavender
Little Peter sets out to pick berries for his mother’s birthday but cannot find any. The wee King of the Blueberries takes pity on him and shrinks him down to the size of an apple so that he can take him to where the blueberries are. Peter spends a carefree day playing with the king’s sons, and visiting Mrs. Cranberry and her daughters. When he suddenly finds himself back where he started, he thinks it all must have been a dream… until he finds both his baskets full to the brim with berries.
A very gentle, lovely tale of benevolent little people in the woods. The text and story are too simple to be badly dated, even after a hundred years. The illustrations are quaint and old-fashioned, but still capture the charm and fun of the story, from sailing a bark boat to riding mice and swinging in a spider’s web.
Elsa Beskow (1874-1953) was one of Sweden’s best known children’s author/illustrators and many of her books are still in print there.