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.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tatu and Patu Strange gadgets

Aino Havukainen, Sami Toivonen 2005

This book has been translated at least into:
Estonian:Teedu ja Peedu imelikud masinad
German:  Tatu und Patu und ihre verrückten Maschinen
Lithuanian:  Keistieji Tato ir Pato išradimai
Russian: Тату и Пату – изобретатели
French: Les incroyables inventions
Swedish: Sixtens & Blixtens underliga uppfinningar
Danish: Kalle & Palles sære opfindelser

This book introduces gadgets that make the family life easier. My favourite is the Morning routine automat that can be seen in the picture. The person walks to the machine and out comes a fully washed, clothed and fed child.     

Morning routine automat
This could be further developed by making bed a conveyor belt that tips the child into the machine. Then the output would be in a bus stop, where the kid would be picked up and taken into school. There has been a lot of talk about teen agers who do not get up and make it to school. Now they have people that go wake them up. This morning routine automat would help. The parents could just press remotely a button and the child would be ready on time.

The other gadgets include a   life saver for huge crowds ( ihmismeri in Finnish means an ocean of people= huge crowd), where a giant balloon pops up when a child gets lost for example stores. Then the parents can find the child easier. 

There is also a Boogie man repellent, which is my son’s favorite. The illustration shows, how everything seems a little scary in the dark.

Other gadgets are a puddle maker,  Bad food detector,  Cleaning outfits,  Ice cream ball game,  Hair adder and a machine for pedant work that can for example make a pedicure for a Barbie.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Doghill Martha and Runeberg

Kunnas, Mauri 2005
The cliff notes are not used in Finland. But here is a book that summarizes the corner stones of the beginning of the Finnish literary culture. The book introduces the most noted poet in Finland: J.L.Runeberg. Creating havoc with him are Elias Lönnrot, J.V. Snellman and Zacharias Topelius. All of them are notable contributers to the Finnish literature. 

In this book they speak Finnish, but in real life they were all Swedish speaking men. The little dog Marta acts as a muse to Runeberg and also saves the men from Cossaks.

Mauri Kunnas also points out that Mrs. Runeberg might have been a great writer, if she didn’t have to manage the household. She still managed to write something.

Some of J.L Runeberg’s works are introduced in this book:

Saarijärven Paavo – a poem of a farmer, who suffers from poor crops. In the end, the crop is plentiful, but Saarijärven Paavo shares it with his neighbors, whose crops was lost.

Maamme – The poem used in Finnish national Anthem. A tribute to Finnish landscape and mentality.

Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat: Sven Tuuva: A goofy like soldier that participates in the Swedish army. Note that the story is situated in time, when Finland was part of Sweden. Or more correctly: Finland was one of Sweden’s provinces. 

Koivu ja Tähti – a story of two children that are taken to Russia (implied, never said) and want to come home. All they remember is a birch and a star. Seems to be a lost case, but the children find their way home.

The book also tells about, how Elias Lönnrot collected poems for Kalevala. Mauri Kunnas made a Canine Kalevala version of that epic.