Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The colorful cats nature tour

Lotta Kujanpää 2015: Kirjavan kissan luontoretki
Illustrated by Ilma-Sofia Kuismanen

The colorful cat meets many animals in nature: a wolverine draming of being Batman, he/she swims with the pikes. The cat wonders, how the moose grew so big by eating leaves.

In the winter he follows the rabbit's tracks, helps bear to stock up for winter and tries to sleep with the bear, except he snors.

Hybronating with a bear
The cat also wants play catch with a fox, sees a snake and tries to settle two fighting capercaillies He solves a mystery with a mole, joins the Saimaa seal for a revolutions. He also sees reindeers, otters and hedgehogs.

The illustrations are cute and capture well the light in the different seasons.
Playing with a moose.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Finnish children's nature guide

Iiris Kalliola & Lasse J. Laine: Suomen lasten retkeilyopas 2014

A nature guide to children, but in my mind many adults could read this book as well. The Finnish people seem to be drifting further away from nature and therefore be more afraid of animals and more allergic to different plants.

This book is divided into section by seasons: what to see and observe in spring, summer, fall or winter. For me the winter was most interesting, since I always thought things were dear or sleeping that time. Now I realize that there is still much to learn about nature in the winter. In TV I saw a clip about observing the winter plants and trying to see as many "talventörröttäjä" the winter plants that stick out of the snow.

In the spring you can listen to the owls in the dark, later watch the migratory birds flying back, watch the flower starting to bloom and look for frog spawn.

Summr time is good time to investigate everything: the swamps, forest, water ways, meadows and sleep in a tent. The book describes the clarity of the Finnish lakes and rivers. I was in Lemmenjoki ten years ago and we drank straight from the river, it was so clean and I believe it still is
Recepies for fish in a stick, a simple soup and ash potatoes.

In  the fall the elk is moving, mostly because they are hunted, you can go pick up lingonberries and mushrooms and watch the birds move south again.

Winter time is good for observing the starry night. In the summer time no stars can be seen. You can count the winter birds that stayed and go ice fishing. In addition you can look out for the tracks of different animals and their hide places.

The book also gives grat tips, what can you do in nature without the forest owners permission, jokamiehenoikeudet, what kind of gear you need and even recepies for cooking what you catch. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Singing sneekers: atheletic sport poems

Jukka Itkonen 2015: Laulavat lenkkitossut : urheilullisia liikuntarunoja
Illustraded by Matti Pikkujämsä

Finns are sports fans. Any kind of sport and they'll watch it.  I never understood that until I talked with a girl, who said it is very relaxing to watch soccer or other sports, because you know what is going to happen. Just follow the ball/puck/any sport instrument. But if you  observe my mother-in-law during a hockey match, it is far from relaxing, she gets really excited and passionate about cheering for the Finnish team.

This book is about sport poems. First is soccer, then comes every possible sport including Mölkky.  Not to forget the sportsfans on the couch, the penkkiurheilija. I hope this book inspires children to move and find a hobby that makes them move.

The Finnish  couch potato

Other poems from Jukka Itkonen in Crocodile sweats. And other poems about sports in Marjaliis Pitkärantas Kesäkisat.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Book of Cows

Paula Moilanen 1993: Lehmäkirja
Illustrated by Martti Sirola

I am a cow fan. Their relaxed, calm behaviour is very comforting and as comparison to skittish horses, they even produce milk and even meat.  Horses look great, but they scare way too easily and have very unpredctable.

Anyway, this book is all about the Finnish cow. It starts with an ode to cows.  Then we learn about the  relatives of cows: the buffalo, antilopes, goats, giraffes, moose, pigs and even camels.

The history part describes who cows were domesticated and how the agriculture evolved in Finland and how cows employ people.

Cross-section of a barn.
There are many pictures of the modern barn of the 1990s and the working day of the cow.  Interesting is, how the stomach of the cow works and how milk is produced.

The illustrations of the book include photos and drawings.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

At the Duke's Court: life in the 16th century Turku

Paula Moilanen 2007: Herttuan hovissa : elämää 1500-luvun Turussa
Illustraded by Kirsi Haapamäki

An time travel to the 16th century Turku and Turku Castle. Hans Hansson's and his family's lives change, when they get a chance to work as servants in the Duke Juhan's  (later the Swedish King John III of Sweden) court.

The book is based on facts, but also has a fictional plot. The timeline is between 1559-1562.

In the book are described different seasonal events such as the shrovetide. Different chapters tell the everyday life between the upper, even royal, class and the servents. The story takes us to the spinning hut, to the apothecary's kitchen and to the habitat of many different professionals.

Map of Turku
The illustrations of the book support the story and the story combined with facts make history feel alive.

An example:

In 1562 Sweden declares war to Poland and despite the King's oppostion, his brother John decides to marry Catherine Jagiellon, princess of Poland. The fight between the brothers casts deep shadows upon the Finns, but also  the arrival of  the princess of such a great nation coming to
Finland is celebrated.

Feast in the Duke's court
A  great book for any one interested in the middle ages and a reminder of how a big role Sweden has played in the Finnish history. It might also explain why the Finns are so reluctant to learn Swedish: it is the language of the conqueror.