by Elsa Beskow
Interests: little people, nature, forest, animals, fairies, family, seasons, Sweden
originally published in 1910
Also by this author: Peter in Blueberry Land, Tale of the Little Little Old Woman, Olle’s Ski Trip, Pelle’s New Suit, Aunt Green Aunt Brown and Aunt Lavender, and many others
Similar works: The Story of the Snow Children and others by Sibylle von Olfers
A year in the life of a family of little people living happily in the forest. The children play games and make friends with the animals and fairies, but they are a little scared of the troll. Their mother puts the eldest children in a school run by Mrs. Owl.
This is a sweet book for the very young, as there is nothing very scary or intense (save for the troll, but he just laughs at them). Even older children will be entranced by the illustrations and the details about their lives. The gender roles of mother and father are rather traditional (ie. stereotypical), but this is not a large part of the story. The focus is more on the children living with nature and helping their parents with chores and preparation for the winter months.
A true classic by one of the most famous of Swedish children’s author/illustrators. Beskow’s books are continually in print in Sweden, and can be found in nearly every nursery. If you and your children love old-fashioned stories about “little people”, this is a perfect choice. And happily it’s not over-the-top cutesy either – a perfect balance.
NB. If you like Beskow’s books, also search out titles by Sibylle von Olfers, a Prussian author who wrote similar books.