Monday, June 30, 2014


Map of Homeforest
Terttu Ollikka
Illustrated by Marjaliisa Pitkäranta

Muuttolinnut saapuvat 2001
Kotimetsän siivoustalkoot 2001
Suopojan saappaanjäljet 2001
Talventaikaa Kotimetsässä 2001

Migratory birds return

Four books about Röönis. Röönis are goodhearted forest gnomes that take care of the forest.
The family consist of Mother Strawberry (mamma Mansikka)
Father Brittlegil (isä Hapero)
sisters Blueberry and Lingonberry (Mustikka and Puolukka)
Brother Chanterelle (veli Vahvero)
Aunt Cluodberry and Boletus (tädit Hilla and Tatti)

Crane comes to visit Homeforest
Migratory birds arrive 
(Muuttolinnut saapuvat)

The first book in the series is about spring and the birds returning from their migration. Mamma Strawberry is worried that Big Cold is going to rob the blueberries this year and she is going to fight the cold.

A crane, Kalle Kurki, brings greetings from the land of pharaohs.

The book has a recipe of blueberry milk by Mamma Strawberry.

Cleaning of Homeforest

Cleaning Homeforest
(Kotimetsän siivoustalkoot)

Summer arrives to Homeforest and  Mamma Strawberry organizes cleaning activities to all. Humans have brought their trash to the forest, including a broken washing machine.

The kids love the machine. It works enough to give them a good spin. 

This book has a recipe of nettle pancakes.

Hi-hii moose helps to clean the forest

Swamp boys foot prints

Swamp boys foot prints
(Suopojan saappaanjäljet)

The fall book the Röönis are picking up swamps. In their trip to the swamp, Lingonberry disappears. Crane Kalle Kurki saves her. Mamma Strawberry warns the kids about the swamps.

Rowing a boat to Perch Island
Swamps are beautiful and in the book is listed all the wonderful plants that can be found in the swamp: Golden Cloud berries, blue bog whortleberries, aromatic cranberries, soft
Hare's-tail Cotton grass and the strongly scented marsh tea.

There is also advise how to walk in swamps, without getting stuck.

Winter magic at Homeforest

Winter magic at Homeforest
(Talventaika Kotimetsässä)

The röönis are enjoying winter: sledding, staying in in front of the cosy fire and playing a version of icehockey: broom hockey.

By the fire the kids listen to Mamma Strawberry's stories, which she loves to tell. Outdoors the kids sled and make snow angels.

The frost boys are picking on the girls. The score is settled in the broom hockey match between röönis and the folks of cold.

Ice broom match

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Veera and vehicles
Aino Havukainen, Sami Toivonen
Veera ja menopelit 2000
Veera ja maatalon eläimet 2000
Veeran keittiöpuuhat 2002

Veera is level headed girl, who guids Tatu and Patu (the boys from Strangetown). Veera is the voice of reason, while the boys are running around and make silly remarks.

The current trend is to make separate books for girls and boys.  This is definately aimed at girls (or the parents of girls). Tatu and Patu series is aimed at boys. At least in our house the boys like to listen to this story. Maybe that is because Tatu and Patu are part of this book series as well. I am sure many girls read Tatu and Patu stories as well.

Veera, Tatu and Patu see trains
Veera and vehicles
(Veera ja menopelit)

In the first book,  the boys are arguing, if an airplane can be pulled by a train. Veera shows Tatu and Patu different vehicles, everything from bikes to sailing boats.

Veera and the farm animals

Veera and farm animals
(Veera ja maatalon eläimet)
Veera, Tatu and Patu are visiting a farm. What does a cow look like? Is a pig's nose a socket? The boys get to milk a cow by hand.

Veera, Tatu and Patu visit a hen house

Veera and kitchen chores

Veera and kitchen chores
(Veeran keittiöpuuhat)

Tatu and Patu want to make pizza. Veera helps them and teaches them about different ingredients. The kitchen is full on interesting machines, which the boys want to try out. Cooking isn't done until the kitchen is clean.

Veera guiding Tatu and Patu in cleaning the kitchen

Monday, June 23, 2014

Risto the Rapper

Sinikka and Tiina Nopola
Noodlehead -cover
Illustrated by Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen ( Two books illustrated by Christel Rönns)
Hetki lyö, Risto Räppääjä 1997
Risto Räppääjä ja kauhea makkara 1998
Risto Räppääjä ja Nuudelipää 2000
Risto Räppääjä ja pakastaja-Elvi 2001
Risto Räppääjä ja komea Kullervo 2002
Risto Räppääjä ja sitkeä finni 2003
Risto Räppääjä ja Hilpuri Tilli 2004
Risto Räppääjä ja villi kone 2006
Risto Räppääjä ja viimeinen tötterö 2007
Risto Räppääjä ja kuuluisa Kamilla 2009
Risto Räppääjä saa isän 2011
Risto Räppääjä ja nukkavieru Nelli 2012
Risto Räppääjä ja kaksoisolento 2013
Risto Räppääjä ja Sevillan saituri (will be published in July 25th, 2014)

Risto Räppääjä is a young boy that lives with his aunt Rauha. He plays the drums and raps (hence the name Räppääjä = rapper in Finnish). Risto and Rauha have odd adventures, even though they try to live ordinary lives. Risto’s best friend is Nelli Nuudelipää (Noodlehead). Risto has bookseries, plays and movies.

Risto the Rapper movie book -cover
The bookseries starts with Risto and Rauha moving into a new home. Risto plays his drums and then the threatening t Letters start coming from upstairs. In book nr 2, Rauha has to come up with new product to sell. Rissto comes up with sausages that they can get from Hungary.

 In Risto Räppääjä and Noodle hear, RIsto gets new neighbors. At first Risto doesn’t like Nelli but soon they are best friends. Pakastaja-Elvi is a story about Rauha’s cousin Elvi, who comes to help out when Rauha breakes her leg. Risto thinks Elvi is a criminal.

 In Risto Räppääjä and Handsome Kullevo a new boy Handsome Kullervo moves to the house next door. Nelli and Kullervo becomes friends and Risto becomes jealous. In the next book Risto gets a pimple even though Risto is too young. Risto tries to hide it from Nelli. It turns out that the pimple is glue.

The two books presented here are special books. The first has pictures from the first Risto Räppääjä movie.

Alpo tells what the characters were thinking
Risto the Rapper movie book 2008
-39 coincedenses and facts about the movie
Alpo the cat knows what really happened in the movie. He tells what Risto and Nelli thought when Risto visits Nelli. And what Nelli thought, when Risto shows her his favourite stone. This book gives another angle to the movie. The producers of the movie enlighten the birth of the movie and how one movie involves dozens of professionals, but also roles, juice and snacks. Sinikka and Tiina Nopola tell, who the characters from the manuscript jump into the screen and how the whole movie is team work.

 RR as in Risto the Rapper 2010
RR cover
The second book tells background stories to Risto: what was he like as a baby? What kind of childhood did Rauha have. It also explains the prowerbs that are used in the book. The book also includes word acrobatics. There are also puzzeles such as: what doesn’t belong to the group.

The faces of Risto the Rapper

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Niko reindeer

Niko cover
Hannu Tuomainen:
Niko - A way to the stars 2008
Niko 2 - Little Brother, Big Trouble 2012

Niko - A way to the stars
Niko is a young reindeer who lives with his mother. His father is supposedly one of the "Flying Forces", Santa's flying sled reindeer. Niko is trying to fly, but he cannot. His best friend, a flying squirrel Juuso is also a father figure to him. Niko decides to go visit his father at Korvatunturi, where Santa Clause lives. Juuso follows him. They save a weasel Wilma, who helps them find to Korvatunturi.

Wilma the weasel

On their way they run into Black Wolf, who wants to eat the Flying Forces. Niko escapes the wolf several times and the wolf gets mad. He wants revenge. Niko meets up his father and learnes to fly.

Niko 2 -cover
Niko 2 - Little brother, Big Trouble
In the second book, Niko's mother has met a new guy, who also has a son, Jonni. Jonni admires Niko, but Niko wants nothing to do with Jonni. Mostly, because Niko still wishes his father would come back to them. Niko wishes Jonni would disappear. So he does, the eagles take him. Niko goes after him.

The scenery in both books (originally in the movies) are very familiar, since they were inspired by Lappland. One thing bothers me. I konw it is a fairy tale, but in Finnish stories the Santa's reindeer never fly. That is totally anglo saxon mythology. Then again the story wouldn't be as exciting if the reindeer do not fly.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Silly picture dictionary

Mauri Kunnas 2013

Mauri Kunnas' colorful characters teach words in English. But the book works the other way, too. If you know English, this is the book to start learning Finnish.

The book has different themes, such as colors and holidays. And always so practical vocabulary to talk about pirates and ghosts. We use those every day :).


Pirate vocabulary

Monday, June 9, 2014

Pelle Hermanni (Circus Clown Hermanni)

Simo Ojanen 1982-1987
Illustrated by: Satu-Sisko Sintonen

Pelle Hermanni is one of the most beloved characters of Finnish Television. Circus clown Hermanni aired 1978-1988 and he was played by Veijo Pasanen. The program was written by Simo Ojanen

Simo Ojanen wrote five books about Hermanni:
Sirkuspelle Hermanni 1982
Pelle Hermannin uudet seikkailut 1983
Pelle Hermannin viikonpäivät 1984
Pelle Hermanni ja Äitiliini 1985
Pelle Hermannin mansikkaloma 1987

Hermanni gets lost
All the books have short stories about Hermanni and his friends. The TV-program utilizes clowning very well, in the books it is somewhat lost. There are funny elements: clumsiness, silly words and such, but the books do not reach the warmth and humor that the episodes have. In the TV-series Hermanni speaks to the viewers as if they were there.

In Sirkuspelle Hermanni (Circus clown Hermanni), Simo Ojanen tells about Hermanni’s past. His grandfather’s grandfather had been a clown. His father has left them to walk around the world. Hermanni’s mother lives in another city and is very dear to her son. Hermanni writes her a letter once a week. The first book introduces other characters in the circurs: Magician Max, Fortuneteller Sylvia, snake charmer Susanna, animal tamer Carlos, daredevils Roome and Rami, aerialists Jani and Semi and the circus director Juuso. Hermanni tries to propose to Sylvia every Friday, but something always happens and he isn’t able to propose.

The book has 11 chapters, where Hermanni loses his hat, needs a friend, takes care of Carlos’s animals, learns how to swim, visits a farm, gets lost, writes to Mother, thinks of changing careers, has serious people to circus and has a day off.

Sylvia, Hermanni's valentine
In Pelle Hermannin uudet seikkailut (The new adventures of Clown Hermanni), Hermanni meets a boy that has gotten bad grades at school. Hermanni is sick and the doctor orders love treatement. Hermanni loses his hat again, misses his mother, counts animals and tries the trapeze.

Hermannin viikkopäivät (Hermanni's weekdays) introduces how Hermanni’s week is different from those Monday-people, who run around as fast as they can from the day before yesterday to the day after tomorrow. (Hermannin päivät on erilaisia kuin maanantai-ihmisten, jotka säheltävät kiirekkää toissapäivästaä ylihuomiseen.) Hermanni is happy at least every other day.

Other stories include Hermanni finding a child, a space ship visiting the Circus, Hermanni doing the laundry, receiving a package, Hermanni’s saunaday. Again Hermanni tries to propose to Sylvia.

Hermanni ja Äitiliini (Hermanni and Motherlein?) also has several short stories about Hermanni. The theme here is Mother’s birthday, which Hermanni attends. Hermanni is proposed by the strongest woman on earth. Hermanni leaves to visit his Mother and Sylvia joins him. There is a story about preparing for the party, one about the party. Last two stories are about Hermanni finding a dog, which then gets lost.

Hermanni's mother

In Pelle Hermannin mansikkaloma (Clown Hermanni’s strawberry vacation) the doctor orders Hermanni to take a vacation, which he hasn’t done in years. Hermanni gets in trouble in an observation tower, in a forest, where his is picking blue berries and at sea, He looses Sylvias lock of hair, writes a poem to a summer party, buys Sylvia a souvenir and gets back home, where the lion has escaped his cage. Hermanni returns the lion back to his cage, while everyone else is too afraid.

Hermanni on vacation

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Tiitiäisen satupuu (1956)
Tiitiäisen pippurimylly (1991)
Tiitiäisen tuluskukkaro (2000)
Tiitiäisen runolelu (2002)

Tiitiäisen satupuu ( 1959, The fairytaletree of Tiitiäinen)
Illustrated by Maija Karma.

Finland’s most beloved nonsense poem collection from 1956. The collection has 43 poems. This is a timeless classic that fascinates kids today as well as their parents and grandparents. The most famous characters are Haitula, Tiitiäinen itself, Emotional hedgehog, Mr. Pii Poo and Ville and Valle.

With this collection Ms. Kirsi Kunnas modernized Finnish childrens Lyric poems. She used the English Mother Goose as her inspiration. Before Tiitiäinen, the children’s poems had predictable rhymes and very educational attitude.

Ms. Kunnas wanted to cut loose from all that. Her poems are full of linguistic play, humor and satire that address both adults and children.

Tiitiäinen is a gnome, a forest creature, whose cheeks are made of lingonberries, hair a bobble of lichen. Eyes are blue stars. Tiitiäinen, swings at the spruce’s arm, sleep at the manor of the wind. Turn the blue stars out.

(Loosely translated from Tiitiäinen, metsäläinen by Kirsi Kunnas)

Tiitiäinen, metsäläinen
Tiitiäinen metsäläinen, pieni menninkäinen.
Posket on tehty puolukasta, tukka naavan tuppurasta,
Silmät on siniset tähdet, silmät on siniset tähdet.
 Tiitiäinen metsäläinen, pieni menninkäinen.
Keinu kuusen kainalossa, tuutu tuulen kartanossa,
Sammuta siniset tähdet, sammuta siniset tähdet.

Tiitiäisen pippurimylly (1991, Peppermill of Tiitiäinen) 
Illustrated by Julia Vuori
Undertitle: Not to too small or too big, but to all who have a peppermill.

The poems in this book are shorter than in the first book. Only Ville and Valle and the Waterrat appear in this book. The title sets the tone: the language is grinded in short poems rather than in fairytales. The poems deal with life phenomena or a word that is first wondered and then laughed at. The whole story strats to unravel and becomes nonsense. These poems have more rhymes that the first book, but just as the reader gets a hold of the rhyme, it is broken again.

 Eli Lievestuoreessa tuore lipeäkala, 
läpikotaisin kipeä kala.; 
Kun sataa noita-akkoja ja hirveitä hirvenkakkoja - -; 
Kun kuu on puoliksi valkea ja puoliksi musta, 
on kumma ettei se halkea ja herätä kummastusta. 

This collection has 85 poems that are categorized under eight titles. Each category has its own themes, there are hilarious characters, odd things, car poems, cat and mouse poemsl, weather and animal poems.

Tiitiäisen Tuluskukkaro (2000 Flint bar purse of Tiitiäinen)
 Illustrated by Kristiina Louhi

Alphabetical poems. That happens to guinea pig and walrus in Mercedes (Finnish marsu, mursu and Mersu)? The circus is also in town and an onomatopoetic worm. (mato is worm in Finnish). The word play captures the attention of even the young readers. Wordplay at its best.

Guinea pig and walrus in Mercedes

Tiitiäisen Runolelu (2002, Poem toy of Titiäinen) 
Illustrated by Christel Rönns

This book has 15 poems from other Kirsi Kunnas poem collections. The poems are turned in to finger plays to create a connection between touch, voice and words. The book includes even a Finnish version of Hickory Dickory Dock.

Ducks' morning song
 The poems in this book:
Sormiloru (Fingerpoem),
Tänään (Today),
Hikkori tikkori toikki (Hickory Dickory Dock),
Jänöjussi Puputti ( Bunny Puputti),
Hoppeli Hopp,
Ankkojen aamulaulu (Ducks’ morning song),
Metsäsianpossuntossu (Forest pig’s piglet slipper),
Tiitiäisen tuutulaulu (Lullaby of Tiitiäinen),
Nuku nuku (Slepp, sleep),
 Aa aa lapsoseni,
 Niityllä pipipilipom (At the medow),
Kissat ja hiiret (Cats and mice),
Wow Wow,
Iloinen auto (Happy Car),
Kysymyksiä ja vastauksia (Questions and answers)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Kössi the Kangaroo

Heikki Prepula, 2012:
Kössi the Kangaroo and train
(Kössi Kenguru ja juna)

Kössi goes to the beach to see his friends: Masa the mole, Anselmi the space monkey, Allu the alligator and Sasu the rhinoceros. On his way he bumps into a train that makes funny noises.

Heikki Prepula, 2013:
Kössi the Kangaroo and flying fish 
(Kössi Kenguru ja lentokalat)

 Anselmi the space monkey has landed on a tiny island. Kössi with the rest of his friends decides to rescue him.

Kössi the Kangaroo is a Finnish animation that was aired in 1968-1978 by YLe. Here is a link to the 2D animations. Later on came a few more episodes. The creator, Heikki Prepula made the animation all by himself. The books are illustrated in the same style.