Category Archives: Astrid Lindgren

The Bear Who Wasn’t There: And The Fabulous Forest

the-bear-who-wasnt-thereA very positive bear, who is nice and handsome, too, sets out on a journey to find himself. With the help of Turtle Taxi, he travels through the Fabulous Forest that has eight directions – north, south, east, west, breakfast, lunch, right, and wrong. He meets Convenience Cow, Lazy Lizard, and Penultimate Penguin. In the end, he finds that he himself is just what he has been looking for all along. The musical wordplay and unusual illustrations in this absurd, clever, and philosophical story will remind readers of Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz. mjw
Title: The Bear Who Wasn’t There: And The Fabulous Forest
Author: Oren Lavie
Illustrator
: Wolf Erlbruch
Publisher
: Black Sheep/Akashic Books
Copyright
: 2016
Original Language
: German
Original Title
: Der Bar Der Nicht da War
Original Publisher
: Verlag Antje Kunstmann GmbH
Original Copyright
: 2014
ISBN
: 978-1-61775-490-6
Hardcover pages
: 48
Age range
: 4-10
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Born in Tel Aviv
Author’s residence
: Tel Aviv
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: German
Illustrator’s residence
: Germany
Awards
: Illustrator has won the German Children’s Book Prize,  the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, and the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
Subjects
: Bears, Identity, Nature

When Dad Showed Me The Universe

When Dad Showed Me The UniverseA boy’s father one day decides it is time that his son is introduced to the universe. They travel afar to reach the universe. They go to a supermarket to buy treats to eat on their journey, walk past a park, a hardware store, a fish shop, and jump over a creek before they reach their destination. The son believes that he has found the universe when he looks at the dog park. His father tells him, “Don’t be silly,… You’re supposed to look up.”  Looking up he finds thousands of stars in the sky. Captivating soft colored pencil illustrations along with the brush of abstract thinking and low comedy will engage early readers. ema
Title: When Dad Showed Me The Universe
Author: Ulf Stark
Illustrator
: Eva Eriksson
Publisher
: Gecko Press
Copyright
: 2015
Original Language
: Swedish
Translator
: Julia Marshall
Original Title
: När papa visade mig världsallet
Original Publisher
: Bonnier Carlsen
Original Copyright
: 1998
ISBN
: 978-1-927271-81-0
Hardcover pages: 32
Age range
: 4-9
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Swedish
Author’s residence
: Sweden
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Swedish
Illustrator’s residence
: Sweden
Awards: Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, August Prize (Illustrator)
Subjects
: Fathers, Sons, Stargazing, Universe

The King And The Sea

The King and the seaA small king made of paper collage with a crayoned face and gold crown is the subject of 21 extremely short stories. In The King and the Bee, the queen bee stings the king’s nose. In The King and the Sky, the king gazes in wonder at the glittering snow blanket around him and simply says “Thank you.” In each quiet story, the king interacts with some creature or part of his kingdom, sees that his power has limits, and finds his place in his little world. The sparse text and striking mixed media illustrations convey the wisdom and humor of the stories.mjw
Title: The King And The Sea
Author: Heinz Janisch
Illustrator
: Wolf Erlbruch
Publisher
: Gecko Press.  Wellington, New Zealand
Copyright
: 2015
Original Language
: German
Translator
: Sally-Ann Spencer
Original Title
: Der König und das Meer
Original Publisher
: Sanssouci im Carl Hanser.  Verlag Munchen
Original Copyright
: 2008
ISBN
: 978-1-877579-94-3
Hardcover pages
: 48
Age range
: 4 up
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Austrian
Author’s residence
: Vienna, Austria
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: German
Illustrator’s residence
: Germany
Awards
: Illustrator has won 2006 Hans Christian Andersen Award and the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
Subjects
: Kings, Royalty, Short stories

Out And About: A First Book Of Poems

Out and AboutEighteen simple poems tell about young Katie and her baby brother, Olly, experiencing the weather and the seasons. They go “out and about” in shiny boots and “slither and slide” in the mud in spring. Throughout summer and fall, they build sand castles and harvest fruits, nuts, and berries. In winter, they hope for a Christmas surprise. Exuberant, realistic pen and watercolor paintings highlight people and their activities in each season. The poetry is fresh and filled with beautiful language. mjw
Title: Out And About: A First Book Of Poems
Author: Shirley Hughes
Illustrator
: Shirley Hughes
Publisher
: Candlewick Press. Somerville, Massachusetts
Copyright
: 2015
Original Language
: English
Original Copyright
: 1988
ISBN
: 978-0-7636-7644-5
Hardcover pages
: 56
Age range
: 2-7
Genre
: Poetry
Author’s ethnicity
: English
Author’s residence
: London
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: English
Illustrator’s residence
: London
Awards
: Author has won the Kate Greenaway Medal twice. 2010 shortlisted for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. 1984 Eleanor Farjeon Award
Subjects
: Brothers and sisters, Children’s poetry, Outdoor life, Seasons

My Happy Life

my happy lifeDani is excited and nervous about starting kindergarten. She lives with her dad. Her mother has passed away. She starts school and finds Ella, who becomes her best friend. They eat triangle and square sandwiches together, play with Ella’s pet hamster Partyboy, and they each wear half-heart friendship necklaces. However, not everything in Dani’s life is happy. When Ella moves away, Dani’s new loneliness reminds her of her mother’s death. Happiness comes and goes during Dani’s day-to-day life. The story ends positively. There is always something to rejoice in. Dani and Ella write letters to each other and plan to spend a weekend together at Ella’s new home. Difficult subjects are handled in a caring way in this charming story. With its simple language, twenty short chapters, and fine pen-and ink drawings on just about every page, My Happy Life is a great first chapter book. mjw
Title: My Happy Life
Author: Rose Lagercrantz
Illustrator
: Eva Eriksson
Publisher
: Gecko Press,  Wellington, New Zealand
Copyright
: 2013
Original Language
: Swedish
Translator
: Julia Marshall
Original Title
: Mitt Lyckliga Liv
Original Publisher
: Bonnier Carlsen Bokforlaget, Stockholm, Sweden
Original Copyright
: 2010
ISBN
: 978-1-877579-35-6
Hardcover pages
: 136
Age range
: 6-10
Genre
: Novel
Book setting
: Sweden
Author’s ethnicity
: Swedish
Author’s residence
: Sweden
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Swedish
Illustrator’s residence
: Sweden
Awards
: Both author and illustrator have received the Astrid Lindgren Prize
Subjects
: Best friends, Death, Grandmothers, Grief, Happiness, Loss, Kindergarten, Optimism, Primary school, Single fathers.

The Children of the King

children of the kingJust prior to the London Blitz, siblings fourteen-year-old Jeremy and twelve-year-old Cecily, along with their mother, are being evacuated northwards to their Uncle Peregrine’s Lancastrian mansion. Jeremy is angry because he wants to stay in London with his father to help the war effort. Cecily is spoiled and selfish, but somewhat likable. On the way, they pick up a younger, lower-class evacuee named May Bright who is thoughtful, tough, and wise beyond her years. Author Sonya Hartnett is a master of magical realism and of telling a story within a story. After dinner, Uncle Peregrine tells a tale related to the nearby ruined Snow Castle where the children have encountered two brothers (ghosts?), dressed in velvet jackets, who speak of spies. The tale is recognizable as the story of Richard III and his nephews, the Princes in the Tower. This complex and introspective narrative is beautifully written and reminiscent of C.S. Lewis. mjw
Title: The Children of the King
Author: Sonya Hartnett
Publisher
: Candlewick Press, Somerville, Massachusetts
Copyright
: 2014
Original Language
: English
Original Publisher
: Penguin, Australia
Original Copyright
: 2012
ISBN
: 978-0-7636-6735-1
Hardcover pages
: 272
Age range
: 10 up
Genre
: Historical fiction
Book setting
: English Countryside, north of London
Author’s ethnicity
: Australian
Author’s residence
: Australia
Awards
: 2008 Astrid Lindgren Award
Subjects
: Adventure, Bravery, Death, Duty, England, Evacuation, Great Britain, Nobility, Power, World War II

Duck, Death And The Tulip

Duck Death and the Tulip Book Cover Death, a cute, robe-clad skull figure bearing a deep red tulip, comes to visit Duck in this quiet and strange picture book.  They develop an unusual, but beautiful friendship.  At the pond, Death gets chilled, and Duck comforts him.  They climb a tree.  Duck wonders about dying and the afterlife.  She is not afraid.  In the end, Duck dies and Death gently lays the tulip on her.  Surrealistic mixed-media artwork and deadpan humor extend the tender treatment of this difficult topic. mjw
Title: Duck, Death And The Tulip
Author: Wolf Erlbruch
Illustrator
: Wolf Erlbruch
Publisher
: Gecko Press
Copyright
: 2011
Original language
: German
Translator
: Catherine Chidgey
Original title
: Ente, Tod und Tulpe
Original publisher
: Verlag Antje Kunstmann Gmb H, Munchen
Original copyright
: 2007
ISBN
: 978-1-877579-02-8
Hardcover pages
: 36
Age range
: 6-8
Genre
: Picture book
Author’s residence
: Germany
Awards
: 2008 German Youth Literature Prize Nomination, Illustrator has won 2006 Hans Christian Andersen a Award and the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
Subjects
: Death, Ducks, Western Europe