Review of An Illustrated Collection of Nordic Animal Tales

An Illustrated Collection of Nordic Animal TalesAn Illustrated Collection of Nordic Animal Tales
by Pirkko-Liisa Surojegin; illus. by the author; trans. from Finnish by Jill G. Timbers
Primary, Intermediate    Floris    128 pp.    g
10/22    978-1-78250-744-4    $22.95

These twenty-six Nordic tales are mostly inspired by stories from the author-illustrator’s native Finland. In a brief introduction, Surojegin explains that “the good-natured, trusting bear and wolf and the sly fox usually play the main roles in these tales, which are often set on a traditional farm at the edge of the forest.” Indeed, Bear and Wolf are big and strong but terribly gullible, while smaller, super-wily Fox is constantly finding ways to nap or eat while they end up doing all the work—farming, threshing grain, building roads. Other forest and farm animals take part in the shenanigans, which include several pourquoi tales (“Fox Gets a White Tip on His Tail,” for one). All the stories are accompanied by finely detailed ­illustrations—from vignettes to richly colored double-page spreads—of the animals and woodsy Scandinavian setting. The humorous retellings are for the most part linked together and intended to be read in order, and the varied length of the tales will help hold readers’ attention.

From the November/December 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jennifer M. Brabander

Jennifer M. Brabander is former senior editor of The Horn Book Magazine. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature from Simmons University.

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