Debi Gliori was having a bit of a clear-out at home, so kindly offered to send me her Swedish translations. And you know me; I willingly took a step towards an even fuller bookcase than before. Now, secretly, I thought that I could always read and then pass them on, but I have to say from the beginning that those books are not going anywhere. I love them and they will stay with me.
There were three picture books, two of which were about Pappa Björn, or Mr Bear to you. I hadn’t read these particular ones, from the mid 1990s, featuring our good Bear as babysitter and going on a picnic.
He did try to appear rather inept with his babysitting, but Mr Bear is no fool. He knows what to do with a small child. The little Grizzlies didn’t know what hit them, once he’d allowed them to taunt him a bit to begin with. As for getting babies to sleep, he looks so comfortable that I will see if I can sleep on his tummy, too.
OK, so he forgot to bring any food to the picnic, but seeing as he’s a dab hand at stealing honey, and so much more fun than the Grizzlies’ Dad, I reckon we’re on to a winner here, too.
And then, the third book, well, it does look Swedish. But it isn’t. It’s Norwegian, and I have to say, all the better for it. There’s the Young Penguin who does the postal deliveries for his parents, and he looks so much more the part doing it in Norwegian. Daughter wasn’t impressed, however, as she encountered difficulties reading, but your capable witch was happy.
Penguin Mum goes out for the day. Quite right, I say. Penguin Dad gets to stay at home sitting on the egg that will soon provide Young Penguin with a sibling. YP does the rounds, delivering baby slings for elks and pinky-red pyjamas for baby bees. There is clearly a good mail order business in penguin country (which looked like Norway), and he might be young, but he’s good at doing his parents’ jobs. Towards the end it turns out that he’s done more than anyone expected.
The illustrations for all three books are wonderful, but my heart loved the penguiny landscape the best. Those colours!
And from my source in a Swedish nursery, they have these books and they read them to the children. Couldn’t be better.