Rating: (1-5, 5 is an excellent or starred review) 3
What did you like about the book? This book was first published in Sweden in 1929. The illustrations and story are reminiscent of the olden days. Children will immediately this story is from times past and also takes place in a country other than the U.S. Because of the otherworldliness of the story, it reads like a fairy tale. Two children have to give away a kitten and because they remembered their uncle saying that if you do something good for someone who is mean, they might turn good, they decide to give the kitten to an old washer woman. The story gets complicated as they try to get home from the washer woman’s house. A happy ending brings them home.
Anything you didn’t like about it? As in the Flika, Dika and Rika books, there is a moral of the story. Unfortunately the adventures they had trying to get back to their house were scary and I’m not sure a sensitive kid would be ok with the images, they go swimming in a pond and an old lady takes their clothes, so when a woodcutter finds them, they have to walk back to his house naked to get some clothes. They find a chimney sweep in the forest who directs them home, and of course they go the wrong way. The two little blond children come across this man alone in the forest who is covered in soot, and the imagery can be construed as racist.
To Whom Would You Recommend this book? This book reminds me of the Flika, Dika and Rika books from Sweden, from the illustrations to the story. This is a longish book with a complicated story so very young children will have a hard time sitting for the story. Ages 4-7 would enjoy it.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school libraries and public libraries with children’s rooms.
Where would you shelve it ? picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? It’s a classic, but not sure I like it.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Sandra Pacheco, ESL teacher, Washington, D.C.
Date of review: Feb. 21, 2017