Astrid Lindgren 1972: Jul I Bullerby
Illustraded by Ilon Wiklund
First of all Astrid Lindgen is Swedish, but this book is loved and read in Finland as well. This is my favorite Astrid Lindgren book and Ilon Wiklund’s illustrations, in my mind, are tightly connected to Astrid Lindgren.
This book focuses on the activities that the children do around Christmas time. They get a Christmas tree from the forest, they bake gingerbread men and sing Christmas carols.
The book is filled with old world charm and is a beautiful description of one way of spending Christmas.
There are other books about the children at Bullerby: All About the Bullerby Children, Cherry time at Bullerby, Six Bullerby Children and Springtime at Bullerby. These books are about six children living in a tiny, remote village in Sweden and are set in the late 1930s, a relatively calm time in Sweden although a war "starting soon" is sometimes briefly mentioned in newspapers the kids are reading. The agricultural world is still in pre-industrial state (no tractors, no harvesters) but there are cars in the village and shops are available. Bullerby houses actually exist in Sevedstorp in Vimmerby, Sweden, where Astrid Lindgren lived for a short while.