Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Pixie dust

Petronella Grahn 2015: Keijun taikapölyä

Fairy Goldilocks runs on the flowers all day. She has time to play with the snails, bugs and birds. Time to chat with the wind and collect pixiedust.

One night when she returns home, she notices that her pixie-dust pouch has a hole, there is no more pixie dust. On her way home, she had sprinkled dust all over and wonderful things started to happen: the kids learned how to lace their shoes, other learned how to play peacefully and not to fight.

The pixie dust gave strength and courage.
Worries were gone and adults learned to appreciate the small things in life and see the world through kids eyes.

At the end of the book are questions about the story and what makes you, the reader happy. And what would happen, if you had this magical pixie-dust?

Ms. Grahn is currently developing a game for kids under 7. Can't wait for the release. It is released under name Pomenia. More about the wonderful world of Pomenia.

Ms. Grahn has also a line of fairytale clothing. I have bought two hats for me and my husband long before my boys were born. A picture of the hats below.( Mine is the cotton candy colored, naturally)

Warm Monster hats by Tinttu. These will keep you warm
even at -30 degrees  Celcius.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Hedgehog's Fairytale tree

 Pia Perkiö 2018: Siilin satupuu
Illustrated by Pia Sakki

The magic of the forest. Hedgehog and its friends are the main characters of this book.  The book is written in poem form, and the stories are easy to follow by the smallest listeners.

Fox is delivering messages across town, frog is preparing for a jumping competition. Rabbit offers squirrel some hot juice on their skiing trip.

In the spring hedgehog has its birthday and hugs everyone. Luckily there are enough band-aids, if the spikes are too rough.

Water goblin (vesihiisi) tells stories on Sundays at five.

Summertime makes the foxes fall in love, mole keeps a daycare for worms. (This is kind of scary, since moles eat worms. But let's not tell this to the kids. Maybe its a vegetarian mole.)

In the fall, the spiders weave a blanket, the squirrel grandpa makes porridge,the rabbi catches a train and a fox hears a lullaby.

Lovely poems and super cute illustrations. I am kind of sad, my boys think they are too old for this kind of poems, but I get my sons to read this, because there are few words and this is fast to read.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Case of stalagmite

Laura Ruohonen 2017: Tippukivitapaus
Illustrated by Erika Kallasmaa

Colorful poems about all kinds of creatures. This book surely shows Finnish language at its best. If these poems were written in English, I would not understand them. The beauty is based on the similarities of the words. For example Tapani from Haaparanta, who alters his habbits (parantaa tapansa) or the icefishers having a picnic in Piikkö (Piikkiöläiset pilkkijät piknikillä). And naturally for me it all rhymes! No modern poems for me.

We also learn about the hot tears of the volcano (of which we know nothing about), what the picky eater has for lunch or what happens when you have gloves (you have to have hands, if you have hands you need a piano and so on..). And naturally there is the discussion - or  the argument if you wish - if the sauna whisk is actually called vihta or vasta.

This was also transformed into a musical at the Finnish National Theater, Kansallisteatteri in Helsinki

Here's a "music video" named "If you have gloves" and you can listen to the music in Spotify

Picky-eaters lunch

Sauna whisk in west vs. Sauna whisk in east

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Ollikainen, Antti 2018: Tsuuum!

Robots Valtteri and Tappi are building a something. While doing it, they make all  kinds of funny sounds.  There are no words, only the sounds written out.

This book has also been published in Swedish. Funny that Tsuum is Vroom in Swedish.  Go figure.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Glider - the flying squirrel

Elina Kynsijärvi 2013: Liituri
Photographs: Benjam Pönttinen

Glider's son wants to see the world. His mother thinks, it is too soon. The book is written is rhyme and the photos tell the story of the life of the flying squirrel.

Flying squirrel is probably the most hated animal in Finland if you ask any developer or constration worker. Many building projects have been iced, because some flying squirrel dropping have been found on the site. I have heard that these droppings have been found even in the middle of a field, where the flying squirrels do not live. People are using it as as scapegoat, when they do not want  new buildings near them. Stupid people!

Glider's family ready to see the world. 
The flying squirrel is endangered and its in habitat is to be reserved.  The book is beautiful and since the flying squirrel is really hard to see, it makes the species visible and familiar.

At YLE Areena you can see a film about the flying squirrel in Finland. At least in Spring 2018.

YLE also wrote about making flying squirrel crossing in Helsinki. I really want to see that traffic sign.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Small naturebook

Mauri Kunnas 2018: Pieni luontokirja

Aaah! Spring! Well not winter any way. My favourite children's author has made a nature book.

The book starts with birds, because the summer isn't here until the swallows have arrived. There are many others that come sooner like larks, finches and cranes.

Then comes bugs, plants, trees get their own section since we are know for our forests. Berries are next, I don't think people utilize enough the berries we have.

Animals are the last section (I know: bugs are animals, too). This section covers mammals, reptiles (we have two: snakes and salamanders) and frogs.

The bugs have gain a new appreciation due to research showing
we need them, if we want to eat.
This is great book and it does not bother me one bit that the pictures are drawn. Even the photos are not always accurate. It is really hard to recognize a bird.  I have lived most of my life in the countryside and I have spent many hours watching the birds and plants. My dad even quizzes me about the 30 different type of trees he has on his land.

It would be sad if the kids in the cities never learned to tell the difference between different birds.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Crafts by Tanhupallo

Kiti Kokkonen 2018: Tanhupallon askartelukirja

I adore this book!

Ms. Kiti Kokkonen is a comedienne, who created a character for the tv-show "Putous" this year.  The Character's name is Tanhupallo (Squaredance-ball) and she is five or six years old.  I love this character, she is so funny and clever taking like a grown up and not making any sense. Ms. Kokkonen is about 150 cm (5 ft) and next to the Putous host, who is 190 cm (6 ft 3 inch) the contrast is remarkable.

This book is about the crafts that Tanhupallo makes. It has also stories about Tanhupallo's parents, grandparents and the neighbor girl.

The crafts are categorized in three sections: super super easy, pretty easy and might get frustrated. All are easy to make with kids and with materials you have at home.

Might get frustrated section starts here.
I love crafts, but I don't think I am very good at. Now I have made peace with this and I settle in making Christmas cards and nothing else, because my crafts look like they were made by a five-year old.

Puppet theater with paper figures. Lovely!
In Finland the high class craft show is called Strömsö. We even have a saying that something did not go as in Strömsö (ei mennyt niin kuin Strömsössä). Meaning that the result is far from perfect.  At Strömsö everything looks easy, but when I do it, it is not. Now Tanhupallo's book I can imagine that I actually could make my crafts look like hers.

I added a clip from Putous this spring, where Tanhupallo is taking a vacation and is suggesting all kinds of destinations and activities to the host. But when the host suggests that they should go to New York, Tanhupallo makes a face indicating that the host has lost his mind. This imagination game isn't for grownups! I wish I could make the same face, when people make absurd suggestions at work or just act stupid.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Pikkuli's birthday

Metsämarja Aittokoskski 2017: Pikkulin sytymäpäivä

Pikkuli's birthay is coming and Mom ask what he/she wants as a gift. Would he like a red car? Pikkuli starts to imagine: crayons, ball, binoculars, bike, fins and a bear. Suddenly there is a long list. Mom and Dad sigh deep. Pikkuli decides to draw a picture of everything he wants. Then he draws an invitation to all with a picture of a gift he wants.

Pikkuli delivers the invitations. He says to frog, he is allowed to come to Pikkuli's birthday and he may bring a skate board.
Then Pikkuli reaches the Hazel Hen house, where he delivers seven invitations to the chicks. The chicks know, that their mother can't buy seven presents, so they are figure out only one of them gets to go. Oh the sorrow!

I love a map of locations.
The others get a similar invitation. Pikkuli is excited, this is going to be the best birthday party ever! Pikkuli's sister thinks Pikkuli cannot force the others to bring him presents. Mother says they'll come up with something. Mom adn Dad decide to go talk with the invited guests.

On his birthay Pikkuli wakes up, but nobody is home.  He can't find any one. Soon the others show up as well carrying treats and flowers.  The spider spins a trampoline for Pikkuli. The birthday lasts all day. In the evening Pikkuli says, this was the best birthday ever.

Pikkuli wants a present from all hazel hen chicks.
He learned his lesson.  Great message: what is the real reason for inviting guests? My youngest still thinks it is getting gifts. After this, maybe not any more. Pikkuli learns.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Little Mouse helps out

Riikka Jäntti 2017
English translation Lola Rogers

Little Mouse is big enough to do things himself. At breakfast he wants to pour juice himself: it spills on the table. He puts his dirty clothes on the wash machine. He wants to mop the floor, NOW.  He wants to clean the toilet.  He wants to make pasta bake and wash the dishes.

His friend Pip comes to visit and together they build a fort.  Pip wants to play with Little Mouse's bear, so does Little Mouse. It turns into a fight. Mom has to step in and make them share.  Finally they play tag together and watch the thunderstorm outside.

Even though Little Mouse is not really helpful, only by participating the small learn. Many times I want to do the house chore myself, because the Little Helpers cause more chore, when they help me. But I am learning to let go, too. Having kids is great, you learn all kinds of things.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Otso and Karhunkierros

Jukka Parkkinen 2008: Karhumäen Otso ja Karhunkierros
Illustrator: Pia Westerholm

Aunt Amalia has a birthday and constable Oiva Karhunen gives her  and Otso a camping trip to Karhunkierros. Aunt Amalia loves nature, but is at her best in a well groomed park. She is not very excited to sleep in the cold damp forest.

The drive to the starting point of the round, even then Aunt Amalia tries to persuade the others to stay in a hotel. Constable Karhunen refuses and the start the round.

Evening falls and they start to set up camp. Unfortunately constable Karhunen forgot the tent poles. Aunt Amalia finds great poles from sign posts that forbid making fire and littering. They do not forbid their use of tent poles.

I especially like the pikes and fish sticks
waiting for a submarine
When they reach a river, with a suspension brigde hanging over it.  Aunt Amalia is afraid of the brigde and freezes, when they reach the mid point. The bridge starts swinging and the bears fall into the river. Constable Karhunen loses his bag and the bears build a raft to go after the bag.  And of course there is white water.  But they find the backpack!

In summer time, there is always something to eat in the forest.
They build a campfire with hay and sticks, since their matches got wet. Their food got lost, when they took a dive to the river, so they have to find something else.  Constable Karhunen and Otso pick up berries, Aunt Amalia wants to go fishing, which the others find odd, since she does not have anything to fish with. But she is a resourceful one, she has yarn and a bobby pin in her purse.

She gets fish, Otso and constable Karhunen find not only berries but mushrooms as well.  The leftover porridge is used as pan cakes the next morning. Constable Karhunen finds honey and the bees find him. Soon he is running as fast as he can.

They have spend a week in the forest and they lost the trail, when they fell into the river. Constable Karhunen claims that he knows exactly where they are. He has a map. Of the Bearhill not Karhunkierros. Aunt Amalia is getting bored and is tired of porridge, she wants ice cream. She orders the others to follow her. Suddenly the forest starts to thin out, there is a road and an ice cream van. Aunt Amalia thanks constable Karhunen for a lovely experience.

I have wanted to go to Karhunkierros for a while now. But like Aunt Amalia, I am more of a hotel than a tent person.  Usually the camping/ hiking trips are very romanticized, but this book gives a glimpse of what might happen. Maybe I'll just stick to the day trips in Southern Finland.