Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Icebreaker Snow Korvatunturi - New York

Teemu Leppälä 2017: Jäänmurtaja Snow Korvatunturi - New York
Illustrated by Petri Kantoniemi

Icebreaker Snow is helping a ship from Chile to come to harbour, when he sees Santa Claus parachuting next to the lighthouse Kraaseli. The reindeer haven't noticed anything and are headed for Korvatunturi.

All the icebreakers are called on the scene. Santa had been test flying the reindeer and now they have to get a message to Korvatunturi to get the reindeer back. Kraaseli sends a radio signal to Ounasvaara observation tower, who has just seen the reindeer pass it.

The reindeer reach Korvatunturi and the elves see that the sleigh is empty. The Watchtower at Korvatunturi informs Kraaseli that the reindeer have landed in Korvatunturi. Kraaseli tells her that Santa Claus will come back to Korvatunturi with a helicopter. Christmas is coming and Santa is in a hurry. The reindeer meet Santa half way and  helicopter Harriet lowers Santa to the sleigh in the air.

Icebreaker Snow and the other wait for news, but they have other work to do, help ships get through the ice to the  harbor.
Soon Snow and the others see Santa, who had managed to deliver half the presents to the children all around the world, bring them presents. Then Santa must continue to New York and the western hemisphere with the rest of the presents.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Merry Christamas, Noksu!

Mikko Kunnas 2015: Hauskaa Joulua, Noksu!

Not your average Christmas. Noksu is sending old slices of cheese as Christmas cards, using bee hives as decoration and many other odd things.

Very cute comic-like book about different types of Christmas traditions. It is written in capital letters so even the early readers can read it themselves.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

I am Santa Claus

Heli Thorén 2018: Minä olen Joulupukki
Illustrated by Johanna Luoma-Tuominen

Description of Santa Claus's every day life. What is favourite food? What does he do on vacation? Santa Clause also reveals times when he and Mrs. Claus fight: when Santa Claus does not get enough rest.  The book makes Santa look like a man rather than a myth. Refreshing.

In the end is room for own thoughts: you can write the best Christmaspresents you have ever gotten and what were the worst?  What makes a good Christmas?

Mrs. Claus made a gingerbreadhouse for the elves

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Heyflower, Quitshoe and the Christmas rascall

Sinikka & Tiina Nopola 2017: Heinähattu, Vilttitossu ja jouluvintiö
Illustrated by Salla Savolainen

It is almost Christmas and Quiltshoe is afraid that she won't get enough presents. She sees a charity collecting toys for the less priviledged kids and decides to be a begger to get some toys for herself. That does not work, so she becomes a player at the Star singers on the street. That does not work either.

The girls' parents call Hayflower the Christmas child, because she is being nice and doing all the chore. Now what can Quiltshoe do to be called the same? She sure is going to try. Her family is worried, because she has never been this helpful and selfless.

When Santa brings the presents and there is just as many for Quiltshoes and there is for Hayflower, Quiltshoe gets mad. She has been so nice!

How to teach a child the meaning of Christmas?

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Gigglebug and Poppy the Hedgehog’s Space Rock

Anttu Harlin & Joonas Utti 2018: Kikattava Kakkiainen ja Neiti Siilin avaruuskivi

Poppy the Hedgehog finds a space rock. The other animals think it's just an ordinary rock. Gigglebug helps Poppy to take care of the rock and get ready for a trip home, where ever that may be.

Other Greengown Forest friends laugh at Gigglebug and Poppy, but they don't give up.

I won't reveal the result. The lesson here: imagination is important, believe in yourself.  I really like Gigglebug, its kindness and sense of humor.  I am only sorry that my boys have outgrown the stories. Why haven't I?

Poppy paints a space suit and
Gigglebug finds a helmet for the rock.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Minna! The amazing life and impressive deeds of Minna Canth

Leena Virtanen 2018: Minna! Minna Canthin uskomaton elämä ja vaikuttavat teot
illustrated by Sanna Pelliccioni

Minna Canth, (born 1844) is one of the most important authors in Finland and one of the first who wrote in Finnish. Previously Finnish authors wrote in Swedish. She was a widow with seven children, ran a yarn shop and wrote books, plays and articles.

She wanted to change the world, when others wanted it to be the same, she defended the poor, of which nobody cared and she encouraged women, who did not have even the right to vote or to get an education.

Minna Canth fought for equality. This book is the story of Minna and her amazing deeds. She caused many scandals by suggesting in her plays that the working class and women should have the same rights as upper class men. "What would Minna do now, if she lived?"

Next year celebrates 175 years from Minna Canth's birth. I bet other books will be published of Minna then.

The book is labeled Finnish superwomen vol 1. Cannot wait how many volumes this book series has.

Minna's yarn shop that also sells fabrics and accessories

Minna visits the poor and writes realistically of their life.
This too shocks the upper class.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Baas and moos poems of animals and humans

Mariska 2018: Määt ja muut, runoja eläimistä ja ihmisistä
Illustrated by Reetta Niemensivu and Aapo Ravantti

Wonderful collection of animal (and human) poems. My favourite was of a sad cow that is pining after a bull that had gone with another cow. How very sad! The cuteness comes from the word "muu". Mariska writes: "Sonni löysi viereen jonkun Muun." The bull is now near someone else. (Muu= someone else and the sound a cow makes in Finland)

These poems are insightful: the seagulls at the Helsinki marketplace are just in defiance age. That is why they are trying to eat people's foods! A little girl is on strike and does not want to go to sleep, to day care and so on. Adults have the right to strike so why not kids?

Mariska is previously known as musician. She has written lyrics to many Finnish artist and has recorded songs herself. 

Siiri on strike

The seagull in mischief
Cow mooing over a bull

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

How I became brave

Mervi Juusola 2018: Kuinka minusta tuli rohkea
Illustrated by Anni Nykänen

Tilda and Sisu, sister and brother, have moved. In the new school and kindergarten they have to find their place.They teach us how to be brave, be good enough just the way you are.

The book includes short stories of Tilda and Sisu and then small tasks: what is your superpower, how to deal with bullying and how to hold one's ground without being mean or violent.

There has been a lot of talk about bullying among kids and young (and not enough talk about bullying among adults). All adults should read this book. I am so glad the kids are learning these emotional and social skills early on.  The message in this book is that when some one bullies you, it is not your fault, it is theirs. This seems to be forgotten in most cases

Are you the champion in friendlyness?
It is really hard to change other people, but we can all be friendlier. Just like this book suggests:
- Smile
- Look people in the eye
- Hug a family member every day
- Congratulate when someone succeeds
- Give compliments
- Ask those who are alone to join what you are doing
- Help the elderly
- Greet people in school/day care (it is amazing how many adults forget to do this at work!)
- donate unused toys, clothing to charity

Emotion cards

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Panda fever

Aura Koivisto 2018: Lapsen oma pandakirja
Illustraded by Sirkku Linnea
Jemina Heljakka 2018: Pikkupandat päiväkodissa
Illustrated by Pauliina Linjama

Ähtäri Zoo got two pandas in February and they were named Lumi and Pyry (Chinese names Hua Bao and Jin Bao Bao).  They even got their own live streem Panda live. The climate here in Finland is supposed to be ideal for pandas.
Any way, children's literature is also following the trend and these two books have been published this year.

Panda looks good in a Finnish pine.

Child's own panda book, Lumi and Pyry get a new home

This book tells the story of Lumi and Pyry, How they lived in China and how they traveled long way to Finland. The story tells us that some pandas are raised to be released in the wild and they are not in contact with people.  It is also an encyclopedia for pandas. The illustrations are delicate.

Little pandas in Kindergarten
The second book is purely fictional. It focuses on Pan and Daa, who are starting day care. They are little nervous and a little scared when mom leaves, but in the end, they have fun.

When I was a child, one of my favourite tv shows was Taotao, little panda bear. Every episode had a lesson to be learned. I bet all of my generation Finnish still remember it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Missing petticoats

Pekka Vuori 1987: Kadonneet alushameet

Flower and Tassel have a Grandmother, who is two meters tall. She has seven petticoats drying in the wind, when a storm takes them away. Flower and Tassel set out for a quest to find them. People who have found them, use them for different purposes: parachute, hut, insect net, sail, parasol and a picnic felt, . The last petticoat cannot be found. But then it is Christmas time and Santa comes using Granny's petty coat as a gift sack.

In my mind very nostalgic book, the pictures are full of color. An I can relate to the tall Grandma, even though I know that to most kids all adults are at least two meters tall if not taller.

The black pettycoat used as a hut.
Yellow as the chantarelles.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Moksu's shop

Annukka Kiuru 2018: Moksun paja
illutrated by Sirkku Linnea

Moksu is a bunny, real cotton, filled with straw. One day he is forgotten at the fair. He gets frightened and runs to a near by forest and sees a door in a rock wall. He knocks on the door, but nobody answers. Only Mr. Longlegs is sleeping in his web.

When Mr. Longlegs wakes up, he cannot remember, where the previous owner, the witch has gone. Mr. Longlegs says it is his time to see the world and he leaves the the hut to Moksu.

When Moksu is picking up  nettle to make soup, he meet two mice: Heka and Tahmo, who had fallen off the roller coaster. Moksu invites them for a soup. Tahmo's arm is almost cut loose. Moksu finds some needle and thread and Heka says he can sew.
Tahmo is cobbler and Moksu has fixed many toy cars. Together they set up shop.

Their first customer is a Mercedes, which they hound in the ditch without back tires. Moksu fixes him. He is old and does not want to be played anymore, so he decides to stay and drive the mice to the fair. If they don't see any toys to fix, they gather supplies: pins, scarfs, gloves  and other things that could be used.

Moksu was also a tv series, but is no longer in air and I couldn't find any of them online.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Fox and an old man

Hannele Lampela 2017: Kettu ja Vanhus
illustrated by Mirkka Näveri

A fox cub is scared of everything and the others are mocking him (or her). After awhile he decides to leave. He walks and walks until he gets into the city, It is scarier than any storm he has ever lived through.

He runs to a meadow, where the sun is warming up the scared heart of the fox.  He realizes he is not alone. An old man is sitting on a rock. The fox tells him how the others said awful things to him. . The old man says, words like that are like clouds on the sky and that the foxes heart is just the way it's supposed to be. It is much braver to be just like you are instead of being something the others want you to be.

The fox cub decides to go back home and he has many stories to tell. He is still scared of storms, but the others leave him alone.

At the back is the now burnt church of Ylivieska.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Fairytale joga

Paula Kiuru, Karoliina Tiilikainen 2010: Satujoogaa lapsille

My youngest had joga in preschool! I was a bit surprised and very pleased. I would have never gotten my boys to do joga at home.

Now my son shows us moves like cat, snake,dolphin and camel. I do not know the "real" names for these. But the boys do the diligently.

Then I found this book at the libarary. (Have already told, how amazing the library system in Finland is? You can read the book and then if it is good, you can go and buy it.)

This book has three stories, a desert fox, bear cubs and a mermaid called Desmida. The picture show how the movement is done and it has been given a name suitable for the story: bobcat is cat asana. Bear is downward facing dog.

Even our stiffer than the old and stately pine dad got interested and the boys had fun, because they could do something dad couldn't! Always a competion.

The book also has exercises for recognizing emotions: what would a sad or glad statue look like. What kind of emotions does thinking "yes" or "no" create? and few others.

I also found these wonderful animal joga cards.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Bunnies by Heljä Liukko-Sundström

Heljä Liukko-Sundström 1981: Jäniksenpoika
2008: Toi rusakko

Bunnyboy (Jäniksenpoika 1981)

The bunny kids are going to jumping school, but the school is tough. Four of the five siblings are very good in jumping, but the fifth cannot stretch his legs for a jump. The doctor says there is no strength in the legs and mother is worried.

The bunny, who cannot jump decides he cannot stay and he climbs a tree with his strong front paws. One day a turtle comes his way and Bunnyboy is amazed, there is someone else cannot jump either.

He starts to explore and meets an older gentleman bunny, who is afraid to cross the street. Bunnyboy digs him a tunnel under the street. The older bunny is impressed.

In the end a beautiful bunny girl, who can jump very far, finds him. And together they can jump far and then climb high when needed.

That brown hare (Toi rusakko 2008)
Brown hare Roi sees a group of bunnies figure skating. He wants to join in, but he is scared. He thinks he is too different. He decides to sew a white bunny costume. The white bunnies welcome him, but then he trips and his costume rips. The other bunnies are a bit amazed but then decide that Roi can skate with them.

One of the white bunnies never speak to Roi. She often whispers to other bunnies and nods toward Roi. That bunny was not happy to have Roi skate with them. She talks to hedgehogs to come and whisper to  Roi. The spikes of the hegdehogs
hurt Roi. The hedgehogs hadn't thought of that and are very sorry. Roi misses practise and the other bunnies worry. They hear about the plot and they make the bully-bunny to go apologize to Roi in the dark forest. The white bunny stands out in the dark forest, because she doesn't have a brown fur for cover. The hawk gives her a scare and she hides under a tree. Roi passes by and she asks him for help. A squirrel says to her that she cannot ask for help, before she apologizes. So she does. Roi returns to the skating team and soon there are other brown hares practicing too.

The Bunnyboy book was created for the visually impared. The images were made from ceramics. And the message is still relevant: excepting  difference and the message is still the same today, when there seems to be all kinds of corner-patriotism.

This year Ms. Liukko-Sundström turns 80 and for that occation a biography was published. In that our beloved ceramics artist told her theory of dish memory: all the plates, cups and others remind us of the past. At least in Finland everyone recognizes the dishes Arabia makes. I my self have a cow and a butterfly pitcher that my grandmothers had. Most of the time all the old table ware are at the summerhouses.

To further celebrate the birthday, at the Arabia center is an exhibition of  Heljä Liukko-Sundström's new art pieces. Pictures below.

Climate conference of animals, representatives of
land: bear and bunny

Tower of jars

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Northern Brights

Kati Heljakka 2018: Northern Brights
Illustrated by Pauliina Linjama

The seasons in North are extreme: the summers are light and the winters are dark velvet and autumn is full of color. Not much left to say about spring. The animals in north gather on a fire at the first snow to reflect on the wonders of nature. Some are complaining of winter, but bear needs his sleep. Horse remembers running wild in the summer, while wolf likes nothing more than running in the snow.
In the winter you can see the northern lights and the star, which are not visible in the summer. In the north the seasons have made the animals adjust to the changes. Even though this book makes it seam the seasons are made fot the animals.  Great book to read in the mid of summer, when winter is still so far away that it is easy to romanticize.

This is what we know on the northern hemisphere. What the book would be like on the southern hemisphere, when they even celebrate Christmas in the summer? 

List of charachters

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Eenie meenie miny moe

Mika Wickström 2010: Entten tentten
Illustrated by Mervi Lindman

A book of different games to play outdoor, indoors. These games have been played in Finland. My mother has told me that they played church rat when she was a child, we played it and now my boys play it.

This book also has some "newer" games like larping, parkour and footsack. These did not exist when I was a child, at least not in the country side. 

Some of the games need more than five players for it to be fun. But the broken telephone can be played by two. At least my husband and I practice it regularly: one says something and the other hears something totally different. Not fun. But when there are ten sitting in a row and one whispers something and the message gets distorted until it reaches the end. That is kind of funny.
Church rat
The name of the book is children's rhyme, which is gibberish.  I thought it came from Swedish, but now Google tells me it comes from German: Entel, tentel. Imagine that!

Broken telephone

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

At the fairy's garden

Laila Nevakivi 2018: Kati-keijun puutarhassa

Garden is waking up in the spring. Fairy Kati is eager to see the early flowers, snow bells, daffodils, tulips to start growing. She wakes up bumble bees and other bugs, it is time to work.

Later the apple trees are blossoming, and the queen bumble bee is building her nest. The book explains how pollination happens and lists the insects that does this important job. There is also instructions how to make an insect hotel.

Kati, the fairy, loves all flowers, but above all flowers, which she got from her Grandmother Wilhelmiina: bleeding heart, irises, peonies, martagon lilies and all old garden flowers.

In the shadows is a secret garden, where Kati loves to play her flute, many others enjoy it too: blackbirds, frogs and other animals.

Then it starts to rain and the snails attack! Uncle Jackdaw suggest to invite all his relatives to eat the snails, but Kati feels sorry for them and plays the fifer -trick and the snail go to some one else's garden.

The book has many stories about the mole's underground home, how a butterfly is born, fleet of ladybirds (when I was baby sitting an old american girl, we had a lengthy discussion if it is a ladybird or a ladybug, but I am old school, in my mind it is a ladybird).

Summer turns in to fall and the garden is ready for rest. In November the frost has covered the garden in powered ice. A new kind of beautiful. There is nothing more to do. Kati is ready for sleep and to wake up in the spring.

Lovely book, even though I do not agree in guiding the snails into the neighbors garden. I am a very eager gardener (maybe too eager, I have a tendency to smother to death) and I hope that my boys will enjoy garden as well. I am afraid that they take after their dad. Maybe I should get him interested and boys would follow?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Gigglebug and City-Bunny's skateboard

Anttu Harlin 2018: Kikattava Kakkiainen ja City-Kanin skeittilauta
Illustrated by Joonas Utti

Poppy Hedgehog wants to try out City-Bunny's new sled. Which of course is not s sled, but a skate board. City-Bunny is very proud of it and the others want to see, what it does. City-Bunny explains that it needs a hill, but every hill that the other suggest has something wrong with it: too small, too modest, too round, too lumpy and so on. 

Then Gigglebug has an idea: they can build one!  Together they build a roller coaster style "hill". Finally City-Bunny admits that he/she is scared. The others say they are afraid, too They ride toghether and have a time of their life.

This is the first "story"book about Gigglebug. the first being a think pages small children book. I am glad 

Music videos by GiggleBugVevo.