Monday, December 23, 2013

Santa Claus

Kunnas, Mauri 1981
In the 2001 edition is a preface from Mr. Mauri Kunnas, where he tells the behind the scenes story of how the book came to be and how it became an international best seller.

This book describes what happens in Korvatunturi all year round. Beautiful pictures of the reindeer pasture in Lapland.

Kunnas also tells us how the elves spend their free time: they have theatre club, brass band and they fish.

In this book is also the Christmas chore in Korvatunturi which include gift wrapping,

A nice addition to us Finns is the page where is described how Santa is viewed in different countries.

The last section is about hhat happens, when the gifts are delivered:the elves attend Christmas church, there is a Christmas pageant, sauna of course and naturally the elves eat a christmas dinner. A very lovely book.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Doghill Christmas Church

Kunnas, Mauri 1997

There was one spread about Christmas at Doghill in the Winter in Doghill book. This Christmas Church book is a small book that describes the festivities of the 19th century Finland.

The profits of this book were donated to the Church of Pyhä Olavi, which was burned to the ground by a mad man.

The book is beautifully illustrated and the story is simple yet educational even for the young kids.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Twelve gifts for Santa

Kunnas, Mauri 1987

One of the most beloved Kunnas books.
Little Willie wants to give gifts to Santa. There is still 12 days to Christmas and he decides to give a gift every day.

The gifts are:
1.Clean the library
2.Knit a cap
3.Make an ice rink
4.Make a snow reindeer
5.Remove snow from the yard
6.Win a ski race and gie the price, a Swiss army knife, to Santa
7.Make a Christmas card
8.Stop time
9.Bake gingerbread
10.Sing Christmas carols
11.Decorate a Christmas tree
12.Can’t think of anything
One of these is the best gift Santa has ever received. Mauri Kunnas has portraited Santa very well. I admire the patience Santa has, when little Willie has made an ice rink in front of the outside door, or when he has stopped all clocks in the village.

A lovely all red book about the meaning of giving gifts.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Book of Finnish elves

Kunnas, Mauri 1979

This is the first Mauri Kunnas book. It tells about the different elves that guarded the household buildings.

If the elves were treated with respect, they would behave and even help the people. But if they felt they were disrespected, the consequenses could be unimaginable.

Elves lived already before Santa Claus. Mostly they stayed out of sight and appeared only night time. This is a book collects some of the stories that were told about elves.

Fiddler elf 
 The landowner has enough of the fiddle playing and loses temper, so does the elf. End result: no one sleeps.
Ceiling Feetu
This elf is used to getting bread from the matron of the house. A new, greedy maid takes the bread and Feetu gets none. Needless to say there was a huge mess afterward.

Other stories include: Home elf Sarapäkki,  angry Elf woman, sauna Elf Nokinokka, grain elves fighting,Grain elf and buttons, barnelves new clothes, stable elf and beans, drying barn and bear, mill elf and elves Christmas.

Basically this book tells about old time beliefs and stories that were told, when there was no tv, just like the Koiramäki books. This book was presented in tv as an animation in the childrens program Pikku Kakkonen.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Melukylän joulu

Christmas at Bullerby

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.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Doghill Martha and the Chirstmas pageant

Kunnas, Mauri 2000

Martha and her mother visit Porvoo just before Christmas. They catch a star boy performance that does not go exactly as planned. The story line is guaranteed Kunnas style. Again a wonderful book for children to “accidently” learn a little bit of history.

The Starboys (Tiernapojat - the Finnish word comes from  Swedish sjtärne meaning star) are originally from central Europe, to Finland it came in the 18th century. The musical play was first played in Oulu, where it then spread to other parts of the country.

Characters of Tiernapojat
The Finnish version contains a praise to Tsar Alexander. I have seen the play several times and I have never heard praise. Maybe it was edited during the cold war.  In any case this book has the lyrics, notes and chords of one version of the play. It is also pointed out in the book that there are several versions of this play.

Wintery Porvoo

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hui kauhistus

One Spooky Night And Other Scary Stories
Kunnas, Mauri 1985

I am not a horror fan. Halloween decorations at my home are more cute than scary. This book was my first contact with ghosts, vampires and yetis.  The book begins in a dark and gloomy manor, where the butler is ready to go to bed, before the ghosts wake up…..
Well, they did. And spent an ordinary day washing dishes, scaring people. Other characters are Count Creepy, a vampire that has terrible tooth ache;  Witch Snaggletooth, who can’t really fly a broom and many others my favourite is  Shelly the Skeleton,  who loves dancing until she meets a dog, who sees only delicious dancing bones.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tales from Doghill

Kunnas, Mauri 2007

This book introduces some of the folk tales that people used to tell, when there was no TV. The urban legends before the digital age.

There is a new hired man in Doghill. He plays tricks on the kids and tells stories of fairytale creatures that live among us. He scares the kids few times, but in the end he learns his lesson.

The original title is “Koiramäen lapset ja Näkki”. The Finnish name Näkki refers to the spirit of water that was used to scare children not to play alone near water. Other stories include a wife that is afraid of thunder, a golden treasure that was exposed by white fire. My favorite is the undertaker that has a nick name ferless. Well he is afraid of the preacher’s wife.  Which in my opinion is scarier that all the ghosts and spirits.

More pictures at Mauri Kunnas’s web site.