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Book Title: The Tomten|
The author of the book: Astrid Lindgren
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.28 MB
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Reader ratings: 6.2
Edition: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc.
Date of issue: October 28th 1961
ISBN 13: 9780698201477
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It is a long winter's night, and the Tomten (a small, ancient gnome, who lives quietly and mostly unnoticed on a remote Swedish farm) awakens. He watches over the farm's livestock, encouraging the winter-weary animals with the promise of spring (talking to them in Tomten language, a silent language that the farm animals, from cows to barn cats, are able to understand). The farmer and his wife, although also under the Tomten's watchful eyes, are unaware of the Tomten's presence and unable to understand Tomten language, although if their children were awake, they would be able to perceive the Tomten and comprehend his language. Throughout the night, the Tomten continues making his rounds, and as long as there are people and animals on the farm, he will faithfully keep watch over them, night after night, season after season, year after year, continuously repeating.
Astrid Lindgren's The Tomten exhibits a sparse, sweetly poetic, but also somewhat repetitive narrative style. For some, the repetitiveness of the text might well seem a trifle monotonous, but for me, it gives this little gem of a story a wonderful and palpable sense of security, of hope for the coming of spring. In many ways, The Tomten reads and feels almost like a magical lullaby, conveying peace, love and protection (like a fluffy blanket, or cozy hearth, the Tomten's words surround the reader, the listener with magic, warmth and kindness). And Harald Wiberg's luminous, at times almost mystical accompanying illustrations are a perfect complement to Astrid Lindgren's poetically warming and calming narrative, demonstrating a similar sense of peace, of magical, fairytale-like serenity. I recommend The Tomten for children interested in The Little People (and it would be the perfect bedtime story for a winter's evening, peaceful, relaxing, hopeful).
Astrid Lindgren adapted the text of The Tomten from Viktor Ryberg's 1881 poem Tomten (the gnome). Although not essential (and basically this is just my own academic curiosity speaking), I think it would have been enlightening and of interest if Lindgren had also included Viktor Ryberg's original poem as an author's note (I did finally find the poem on the internet, in its original Swedish, and with an accompanying English translation, but it took rather a bit of research). And I also wish I were fluent in Swedish and could thus read and compare this here English language translation to Astrid Lindgren's original Swedish text (The Tomten is in every way a wonderful, a lovely book, a sweet and to and for me prefect marriage of text and image, but I am always curious how translated texts, especially ones which are poetic or based on poetry, compare and hold up to the originals, and I do find it kind of strange and actually even a bit annoying that the translator is not even mentioned by name).
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Read information about the authorAstrid Anna Emilia Lindgren, née Ericsson, (1907 - 2002) was a Swedish children's book author and screenwriter, whose many titles were translated into 85 languages and published in more than 100 countries. She has sold roughly 165 million copies worldwide. Today, she is most remembered for writing the Pippi Longstocking books, as well as the Karlsson-on-the-Roof book series.
Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing (1958)
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