Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Story of the Root-Children by Sibylle…

The Story of the Root-Children (original 1906; edition 1980)

by Sibylle Von Olfers

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4441043,648 (4.16)3
Mother Earth's children, who have been sleeping all winter awake and experience the new life, the color, and the joys of spring.
Title:The Story of the Root-Children
Authors:Sibylle Von Olfers
Info:Floris Books (1980), Hardcover, 18 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle von Olfers (1906)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Match found in the German National Library.
  glsottawa | Apr 4, 2018 |
“You must all go to sleep until I wake you up again in the springtime”

Charming pictures of the little Root Children whom Mother Earth wakens in the spring as it’s time to make new clothes in the colour of their flower, before cleaning and painting the ladybirds and bees. I can’t say a great deal happens – they dance and paddle in the stream before returning underground in the autumn, but it’s quite a sweet tale. ( )
  starbox | Mar 17, 2016 |
This is a very cute explanation to how spring comes to pass! The illustrations are beautiful and full of intricate detail. The book has a soft rhyme and rhythm which make it a good read-aloud.

FOLKLORE: Could be a story handed-down to explain how spring arrives. Includes elements of fantasy that explain nature's rhythms.
  cmcmahon14 | Feb 10, 2016 |
Mother Earth and Her Children, illustrated by Sieglinde Schoen-Smith.

Originally published in 1906 as Etwas von den Wurzelkindern (literally "Something About the Root Children"), this classic German picture-book has also been released in English, together with Sibylle Von Olfer's original artwork, as The Story of the Root-Children. This edition, put out in 2007, offers a new translation (in verse) by celebrated fairy-tale scholar Jack Zipes, and new illustrations - based on von Olfers' own - in the form of an elaborate (and award-winning) quilt created by Sieglinde Schoen-Smith.

The story itself is simple: Mother Earth awakens her children, calling them to prepare for the coming Spring. Making new clothing for the season, painting the beetles with bright colors, the cherub-like children emerge from their home in the ground, delighting in the beauties of Spring and Summer, before being called home again in the Fall. A lovely and gentle celebration of the passing of the seasons, with a somewhat sentimental, anthropomorphized view of Nature, Mother Earth and Her Children is a visual delight! Schoen-Smith's quilt, made in honor of von Olfers' story, is simply gorgeous, whether seen in part, in each individual scene, or all together, at the end. Definitely one that fairy-tale fans will want to peruse! I think I may try to hunt down an edition with the original artwork, just to compare...

Addendum: after having read the German original today, I have concluded that, although Zipes is to be commended for sticking to the rhyming poetry of von Olfers' text, there are some significant differences between his version, and hers. I think this is probably inevitable, as he was attempting to translate in rhyme, but is also unfortunate, as it necessitates the inclusion of words and phrases not in the German - something I tend to dislike. In any case, those looking for the English-language text closest to the original Etwas von den Wurzelkindern should definitely pick up Zipes' translation, rather than The Story of the Root-Children, from Floris Books, which greatly expands upon the text, without ever acknowledging that it is doing so. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 7, 2013 |
Etwas von den Wurzelkindern, original German text and illustrations by Sibylle von Olfers.

After reading two very different English "translations" of this classic German picture-book, first published in 1906 - Jack Zipes' brief but poetic rendition, in Mother Earth and Her Children: A Quilted Fairy Tale, and an unnamed translator's extensive prose version, in Floris Books' The Story of the Root-Children - I have been lucky enough (thank you, Gundula!) to obtain a copy of the original German edition. Having now read the original text, my estimation of the two versions listed above, as well as my judgment of two other loose retellings - Audrey Wood's When The Root Children Wake Up, illustrated by Ned Bittinger, and Helen Dean Fish's similarly titled When the Root Children Wake Up, with von Olfers' own artwork - must be reconsidered. An important lesson, I think, about the difficulties attendant upon translating poetic works, even seemingly "simple" narratives like this.

This tale of the little Wurzelkindern, or Root Children, who awaken as Spring approaches, and, with the guidance of old Mutter Erde (Mother Earth), make ready for their appearance in the world, is told entirely in rhyming poetry: "Und als der Frühling / kommt ins Land, / da ziehn gleich einem / bunten Band, / die Käfer, Blumen / Gräser klein, / frohlockend in die / Welt hinein." Together with von Olfers' charming Art Nouveau style illustrations, the sprightly text makes for a delightful reading experience: one imagines that German children have enjoyed hearing it read aloud for a few generations now! It's a shame (though perhaps not surprising) that none of the English-language versions I have read really capture the flavor of the original. In any case, I'm happy to have had the chance to read the German, as it has definitely given me a better appreciation of von Olfers' work! ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sibylle von Olfersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Schoen Smith, SieglindeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zipes, JackTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Under the ground, deep in the earth among the roots of the trees, the little root-children were fast asleep all winter long.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Mother Earth's children, who have been sleeping all winter awake and experience the new life, the color, and the joys of spring.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
The root children spend the winter asleep deep underground under the care of their wise Mother Earth. When spring comes they wake up, sew new gowns and caps, and go forth into the world.
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (4.16)
2.5 1
3 4
3.5 4
4 8
4.5 3
5 11

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 163,193,801 books! | Top bar: Always visible