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Monday, 12 April 2010
Rowan and I read Swedish author/illustrator Elsa Beskow's sweet little book The Sun Egg for the first time over the weekend.  Written and illustrated in a style and manner much different than most current children's literature (as should be expected, as Beskow wrote it in 1932), it reminded me of some of the favourites of my childhood.  It didn't play for laughs, there were no gags , no repetition or rhymes. Just a linear story with simple characters and a mystery at its heart.
 Rowan was completely and utterly enthralled with the tale. Eyes wide, breath held in wonder.  The second we finished, she said 'read it again'. Music to every parent's ear!

In the story a young elf finds a 'sun egg' which she figures has fallen from the sun's nest in the sky.  With her forest friends (and a naughty boy named Larch whom the elf calls 'stupid' to which Rowan strongly objected so we had a discussion about other words and name calling) the adventure unfolds.  Strongly rhythmic in terms of the seasons, it gives the child a sense of the possibile in the ordinary.

The illustrations are gentle and quite lovely.  And there is a bit of fun, too~ the frog runs a restaurant which has a sign that cautions patrons against eating one another.

We had a similarly positive response when we read Children of the Forest by the same author and Rowan took each book with her to play, enjoying acting our the scenes and activities of the children in the stories.

My only caution would be that we purchased the smaller sized editions~ full story and illustrations, smaller size~ and it happens that some of the illustrations end up out of order (the colour image on the right may precede the silhouette images placed on the left hand page with the text in terms of the flow of the story) which made it a little difficult for an emerging reader to follow the visual cues.


Peasblog said...

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Sycamore Moon Studios said...

I love Elsa. I love Sibylle von Olfers, too!

Julie said...

What lovely illustrations!

momma rae said...

this was in my daughter's easter basket this year and we are loving it, too! we are huge elsa beskow fans though. her stories are truly timeless and the illustrations just dreamy. ;)

Counting Coconuts said...

We LOVE Elsa Beskow's books. Peter in Blueberry Land is so sweet.

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