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The Tomtes' Christmas Porridge by Sven…
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The Tomtes' Christmas Porridge (edition 2011)

by Sven Nordqvist, Polly Lawson (Translator)

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351464,239 (4.5)None
Member:AbigailAdams26
Title:The Tomtes' Christmas Porridge
Authors:Sven Nordqvist
Other authors:Polly Lawson (Translator)
Info:Edinburgh: Floris Books, (2011), Hardcover, 24 pages.
Collections:Read, Read but unowned, a-a-NYPL
Rating:****
Tags:children's translations, Christmas, Floris Books, picture-books, Swedish children, tomte

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The Tomtes' Christmas Porridge by Sven Nordqvist

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Swedish picture-book creator extraordinaire, Sven Nordqvist, who is responsible for that marvelous series of tales about the farmer Pettson and his feline companion Findus, turns his attention to the subject of the tomten, the little, gnome-like creatures said to guard the farms of Sweden, in this entertaining holiday title. When the farm family forget to set out Papa Tomte's Christmas porridge, as is traditional, kindhearted Mama Tomte foresees a bad year ahead for everyone, and kicks into action to prevent a crisis. She and her two children set out to steal the necessary porridge, so that Papa never suspects he has been disrespected, and never takes his ire out on the hapless (and forgetful) farm family. A madcap adventure ensues, one which reminds the human family of the existence of their tomtes, and leaves Papa content...

Originally published in Sweden as Julgröten, this wonderfully engaging Christmas tale is one that I had to wait a long time to read! Somehow, every time I went to request it at the library, where they own just the one copy, there was a long waiting list for it. This year I just decided to add myself to the list, and read it whenever it came to me, even if Christmas had already passed. I'm glad that I did, as The Tomtes' Christmas Pudding is a charming picture-book, one which pairs an entertaining and ultimately heartwarming story with detailed, appealing artwork. I'm a huge fan of the Pettson och Findus series, so I fully expected to enjoy this one. That said, given my mixed reactions to the publisher, Floris Books', translations, I was a bit surprised to find the narrative itself so pleasing. Perhaps if I had another version with which to compare it, I would find, much as I did when comparing the American translations of the Pettson och Findus books with other English versions, that it was lacking. In the absence of other such translations however, I can simply say that Polly Lawson has produced an appealing text here.

With regard to the artwork, I was charmed to see that the farm cat, seen in many of the illustrations here, bore a strong resemblance to Findus - that was a nice touch! I thought it was interesting that Nordqvist chose to depict the human family here in a historical setting, and I found myself wondering whether this indicated that the custom being depicted in the story - leaving out the Christmas porridge for the farm's tomten - was now considered old-fashioned. I also thought it was interesting that the children were waiting on Father Christmas, as I thought the Swedish gift-giver at this time of year was the Christmas Goat, as seen in Elsa Beskow's marvelous Peter and Lotta's Christmas. Perhaps that too is an older tradition, no longer observed as much? I wish I knew! Leaving these questions aside, this was just a delightfully magical Christmas tale, one I would recommend to fans of tomte tales, and to those readers looking for enchanted holiday fare. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jan 11, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sven Nordqvistprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lawson, PollyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Every Christmas Eve, the family put out porridge for the tomtes to thank them for their help around the farm. But this year they forget, and Papa tomte will be angry if he finds out. So Mama tomte and the children hatch a cunning plan." -- Back cover.… (more)

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