Monday, October 28, 2013

Winter in Doghill

Kunnas, Mauri 1988

The third Doghill book is about winter in Doghill.

You would think that on a farm there is nothing to do in the winter. Well, that is not the case in Doghill. There is still clothes to wash, mouths to feed and the forest to take care of. 

Even the hunger issues of the 19th century are dealt in the book: the poorer dogs of the village are fed at Doghill and the it emphazises the fact that Doghill is a wealthy house that helps those in need. 

Christmas chores in Doghill
The ambulatory school is in Doghill for two weeks and even adults attend. Learning to read is important to almost all the dogs in world of Doghill. 

Forestry and fertilization

Christmas and Shrovetide are described in detail. At Christmas time the whole hose attends Christmas Church. About the Doghill Christmas Church Mauri Kunnas made another book.

Christmas chores included washing the house with fir branches and gravel, making candles and decorating the floors with straw.

Forestry  as well as fertilizing the fields was done in winter.

Doghill kids go to town

Kunnas, Mauri, 1982

The first Doghill book was Doghill farm.  In this book the Doghill kids, Kille and Elsa go to visit their cousins in town.  Their uncle is a baker and has a grand town house, the kids meet other families in town. There is also the shoemaker, who is the alterman of his profession. He has two apprentices, who do not get paid at all.
Kille and Elsa also meet the vice consul Julin and his family. The differences between all these families are remarkable and the kids are amazed at how different things are in town.  The book is full of words that are no longer used. This book as well as the Doghill farm book are great lessons to Finnish history.

Even the school is very different from the ambulatory school Kille and Elsa attend.

The scenes in this book are very much like the LuostarinmäenKäsityöläismuseo in Turku.  Luostarinmäen museo is the old part of Turku, which survived the 1827 fire. A place worth visiting.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Strange guest at Moominhouse

Jansson, Tove 1980
This was my first contact with the Moomins. The Japanese animation came around in early 1990s and has become more or less the norm of how Moomins are seen. When we read this book, my four-year old son asked why does Stinky look so odd.  I had to remind him that the first Moomin story was written in the 1940s so the characters are interpreted by many people, so they may look a bit odd from time to time.
Maybe it’s because this was the first book I read about the Moomins, it is my favourite Moomin book. It’s the house: the pictures are actual photos taken by Tove Jansson’s brother, Per Olov Jansson. The house was buit by Tove Jansson, Tuulikki Pietilä and Pentti Eistola in 1976-1979.

Today the miniature house can be seen in Tampere Art Museum.

The story is begins, when late at night little My smells something funny and starts to look for the reason. Soon the whole house is up looking for the source.

Moomin house in Moominworld
Moomins are a big thing in Finland. The Moomin wolrd in Naantali is on the list of must see places of many kids. The Japanese are very enthusiastic about Moomins as well,  in Moominworld many Japanese couples have gotten married.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Doghill farm

Kunnas, Mauri, Koiramäen talossa 1980

“Life on Doghill Farm is the same as on all other farms in the olden days. Except that all Doghill residents are dogs. “is written at the Mauri Kunnas website.

The book has big pictures that are full of details and it doesn’t hurt that you learn something about. Why people think history is boring is beyond me, here the book tells about everyday life in the 19th century farm with a funny twist. The Finnish society was built on agriculture and this book illustrates just  how much work farming is. Even the children of Doghill participate in the upkeep of a farm and have fun doing it.  Family is very important to the Doghill dogs, Grandma and Grandpa are a part of the core family and they all live in the same house.

The inspiration for this book came from a real farm house Yli-Kirra in Punkalaidun, an hour away from Tampere.

Doghill Pransi and Fiina at Särkänninemi
Later came out other books about the Doghill dogs:
The Doghill kids go to town,
Doghill winter,
Doghill Martha And The Christmas Pageant,
Doghill Christmas Church,
Tales from Doghill and
Doghill Marha and Runeberg.
Mauri Kunnas started with the Finnish Elf book, but as a small girl I thought there were too much text and too few pictures. But now I appreciate the stories and admire the images.

In spring 2013, Doghill themepark was opened in Särkänniemi, Tampere. We visited it right away and if you like Doghill books, you’ll love Doghill.

Doghill family, Pransi, Martta, Fiina and Kille,
 at Mr. Clutterbuck's house
Other Mauri Kunnas characters can be seen in Mr. Clutterbuck’s house  in Sastamala. This house we visited in 2012 and the boys and I loved it. There is lot to see and do.