|The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits by Ulf Stark, illustrated by Eva Eriksson (translated by Susan Beard). Floris Books, 2014.|
I have something beautiful to show you today! It is an Advent storybook, first published in Sweden as Jul I Stora Skogen in 2012. This English edition was published this year by the fine folks at Floris Books - the same company responsible for all those awesome Elsa Beskow and Sybille von Olfers reissues.
The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits: A Christmas Story for Advent is divided into 25 chapters, one for each day of December until Christmas. If you follow the Floris Books blog or their Facebook page, they have been posting that day's chapter since December 1. However, we were able to check out a copy of the book from our local library. I have decided I need to purchase a copy for next year. While we have other Advent books, none are as engaging as this one. It would be a lovely new tradition!
The book opens with a little explanation:
In Swedish tradition it is a tomte (or jultomte - Yule tomte) who brings Christmas presents to children. It is traditional to leave a bowl of porridge out for the tomte on Christmas night as a special gift to thank him.
The 13 of December is St. Lucia's Day, and in Sweden, saffron buns are made to celebrate this holiday.On December 1, you meet Grump the tomte, living on the grounds of an empty cottage, still making his rounds, despite the lack of people and animals. After spending a few days with Grump, we meet the little rabbit family, who find the tomte's hat, mittens, and signpost, after a windstorm. After the rabbits and other forest animals learn that tomtes visit at Christmas, and after learning a bit about Christmas, the animals decide the "Tomte Co" sign (which originally read "Tomte Cottage") must mean a tomte is coming to them. The animals begin to prepare for the tomte and for Christmas. Lucia makes an appearance to Grump on the 13th, telling him he will soon have two children. Beyond that, I just don't want to give the story away! Follow along at the blog, or get a hold of this book. Even if you don't fit it in this year, there is always next Advent!
Ulf Stark is a popular and prolific Swedish author. I haven't read any other books by him, but thanks to Melissa at Julia's Bookbag, I do know you can find some of his books at IKEA! The illustrator, Eva Eriksson, provided the artwork for these sweet books by Rose Lagercrantz. Big Sis and I checked them out last month, but returned them when we realized our holiday reading would take so much time. We plan to re-check them after Christmas.
The book's Swedish publisher has a YouTube of Ulf Stark reading Chapter 1, in Swedish. Enjoy!
Seriously, I think this will be a new Advent tradition in our home. The girls are loving it.
I'll have more Scandinavian-inspired goodies tomorrow, as we count down to St. Lucia Day.
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