White Ravens: Denmark
Denmark (Danish) - 1993 - 150
Vejen mellem to dale
(The Way Between Two Valleys)
Aarhus: Modtryck, 1992. 169 p.
gypsy - World War II
A very sad and realistic story of 14-year-old Agil, a gypsy who travels around Europe with his father in a circus at the beginning of World War II. They can hide for some time but in the end are put into a concentration camp. Agil manages to escape and tries to get to Denmark where he has some relatives. On his way he encounters violence and cruelty, but he also meets with help and compassion. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1993 - 151
S., Svend Otto (illus.)
Nat i Tivoli
(Night at the Tivoli)
Copenhagen: Forum, 1992. 28 p.
fantasy - Copenhagen/Tivoli
The amusement park Tivoli celebrates its 150th anniversary in 1993. Young readers can enjoy all the attractions while accompanying a boy and girl from a Tivoli-poster. On a moonlit night when fantasy reigns, the two of them are raised to life and meet Pierrot, Harlekin and Columbine. Once again Svend Otto S. has confirmed his reputution as an illustrator of beautiful children’s books. (5+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1993 - 152
Min Soldateronkel: En historie fra en barndom
(My uncle, the Soldier: The Story of a Childhood)
Copenhagen: Hoest, 1992. 49 p.
World War II (1939-1945) - soldier - Denmark/ history (1944-1947)
This story is told from a child's viewpoint and shows in a warm and gripping way how difficult it is to understand the world of adults: Why does nobody seem to like Uncle Peter, who is so strong and self-determined? The answer to this question probably can be found in his past as a soldier... (8+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1994 - 175
Christiansen, Ole E.
Skjolds mærkelige rejse
(Skjold's Remarkable Journey)
[Frederiksberg] : Branner og Korch, 1993. 114 p.
Legend/Nordic - Valhalla - Death
The thirteen-year old Skjold-the-Stone- thrower is killed in battle and is brought to Asgard by the Valkyries. He is also allowed lo be take a seat in Valhalla. Because of his youth, he is given a chance to begin his life again. This easy to read story is amusingly told. At the back of the book there are explanations for the most important names and terms from the Nordic mythology. (10+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1994 - 176
(The Prophesy of the Neonboy)
Kopenhagen : Høst & Søn, 1993. 167 p.
Humanity - Redemption - Hope - Christ/Legend
A story of the battle between good and evil within man, a drama of redemption within an asocial setting marked by prostitution, drug abuse and alcoholism, is developed upon the basic pattern of the biblical story of Jesus. Told without any Christian evangelical ambition by the ten-year old Sara (as Maria), who bears a son Solnvan (meaning "nameless"), after the anunciation by a light- flooded "Neondreng". The message that hope can only be conveyed to the hopeless by someone from their own background, is embedded in a narrative tone which keeps up the suspense until the end. At times oppressively sobering, but always impressive language. (14+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1994 - 177
Hansen, Niels Henrik
Rejsen til Okapi : lilles fire historier
(The Journey to Okapi: Lille's Four Tales)
Aarhus : Modtryk, 1993. 203 p.
Prirmitive People - Flight - Civilization - Reservation
Due to a dramatic change in climate, a hunting people is forced to leave its land. They take over a strange, stranded ship which brings them to their island homeland. There they are confronted with civilization, where the guests can read, produce ships and clothing, make fire, etc. They also have a different religion. As a result aggressive feelings grow ever stronger among the two peoples, making a conflict appear unavoidable. Written in the style of adventure stories written in an indefinable time and place, this is challenging, thought-provoking reading matter. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1994 - 178
Koch, Peter Gjellerup
I det syvende helvede
(In the 7th Hell)
[Frederiksberg] : Branner og Korch, 1993. 248 p.
First Love - Inexperience - Self-identity
In a moment of adventurousness, Malmcolm gets engaged at the age of sixteen. Constanze is a submissive, patient bride. But neither she nor Malcolm, who has until know gotten all his information from rather dark and dubious sources, know what love really means. His mother, however, has a rather strange, but much-experienced older household helper, who patiently shows Malmcolm how to deal with reality better, even to the point of solving his psychological and physical problems with puppet role-playing and practical instruction. This is almost a Daphne and Chloe story, but, quite modern, delving deeply and broadly into the human soul. It is written in such a fascinating. sometimes satirical style that to read it is a delight to read. (16+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1994 - 179
Stybe, Vibeke (ed.)
Olsen, lb Spang (illus.)
Syng mine svaner
(Sing, My Swans)
København : Carlsen, 1992. 140 p.
ISBN 91-510-6541-X (Swedish edition)
This exquisitely illustrated and printed edition of Nordic tales was published simultaneously in all Scandinavian countries. With Vibeke Stybe as editor, one can he assured of a good selection. The illustrations - relaxed, stimulating, but not overly colorful - are late work of the famous Danish illustrator and excellently reflect the Nordic atmosphere of the tales. (8+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1994 - 180
Lille Kong Magnus
(Little King Magnus)
Kopenhagen : Høst & Søn, 1993. 30 p.
Only Child - Sibling - Jealousy
As a single child, one is kind, but the parents are already at work at the dethronement. Once the little baby brother is born, a highly painful process of adjustment to a new situation begins. Pia Thaulov is a vehement illustrator, the brush full of energy, the colors wild, her ideas wild and grotesque. All the actors are characterized with unerring strokes. The mother, in spite of a stomach like as kettle drum, is not pregnant wet blanket, but remains an attractive young woman. The new infant is not, as usual, drawn sugary sweetly, as if from the parents point of view, but, complete with umbilical chord as if on a fishing pole, blue and blaring, leaps toward the first-born, who falls from his disintegrating throne as if into nowhere. The book ends happily in harmonious brotherliness, while the parents are sent off to prepare bottles and make more children. (0+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1994 - 181
Ólafsson, Guðmundur P.
(In the Harbors)
[Reykjavík] : Mál og menning, 1992.  p.
(Milli himins og jarðar)
Iceland/Flora and Fauna - Sea Harbor
In impressive photos the surprisingly rich life under water in the sea harbors of a seemingly barren Iceland are introduced. (10+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1994 - 182
Eldjárn, Pórarinn (text)
Ólafsson, Tryggvi (illus.)
Reykjavík: Forlagið, 1992.  p.
Lyrik/lcelandic - Color
These pretty poems give examples of things made of the primary colors and their basic mixtures (green, brown, orange, gray). They are illustrated with full-sized, graphically quite impressive picture of strong coloring which are oriented somewhat toward Léger. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1994 - 183
Gíslason, Gylfi (illus./reteller)
Árnason, Jón (text)
Sálin Hans Jóns míns
(The Soul of My Hans Jóns)
Reykjavík: Forlagið, 1992.  p.
Fairy Tale/Iceland - Death - Paradise
In Iceland the long, cold and dark seasons provide the opportunity to make up good stories, to write good books - and to read. In this tale, a woman catches the soul of her husband, a notoriously layabout, in a sack and carries it herself to the gates of heaven, where St. Peter happens to be sweeping the steps. When both Peter and Paul, both Maria and Jesus refuse to take on the package, she gives it a sturdy kick into the kingdom. This ingenious Icelandic tale (based on a text by Jón Árnason), with excellently drawn and printed illustrations is related in such a staggeingly funny manner that no child should be denied it. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1994 - 184
Gíslason, Gylfi (illus./reteller)
Davíðsson, Ólafur (text)
Sagan af Gýpu
(The Tale of Gypa)
Reykjavík: Forlagið, 1992.  p.
Fairy Tale/Iceland - Glutton
The same illustrator who wrote "Salín Hans Jóns mín" (see above) retells the old tale of a girl (or man or animal??) who eats anything which he encounters until bursting and thus returning everyting again in Icelandic local color as a very amusing picture story. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1995 - 141
Jensen, Jørn (text)
Raagaard, Kirsten (illus.)
Spis din burger, Musa!
(Eat your hamburger. Musa!)
København: Forum, 1994. 24 p.
ISBN 87-55 3-2108-9
Islam - Christianity - Eating habits - Foreigner - Tolerance
In this short tale for beginning readers about the Moslem child Musa and his concern that there may be pork in his hamburger, children are shown how to tolerate religious practices of other cultures without having to approve them ("We too have a God," says Susi. "He doesn't get involved in our choice of food.") The attractive black-and-white drawings, though making up a great portion of the book, are subordinate to the text. (6-8) ☆ ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1995 - 142
Nielsen, Erik Hjorth (text/illus.)
(Gunloeg the dragonchild)
Hiļlerød: Alma, 1994.  p.
Iceland/Legend - Vikings/History 1000
Nielsen relates here an episode from the Icelandic legends, a drama-filled love story, of course, and richly illustrates it with large, dramatic picture, which inspite of the more impressive colored chalk technique endeavors to be historically and geographically precise. Since interest in the romanticism of the Vikings remains consistently high among younger book- lovers, spurred on by countless fantasy stories which uninhibitedly make use of the Nordic Middle Ages, readers will be well- served with this novel's suspense and authentic local color. (8-10) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1995 - 143
Vizki, Morti (text)
Champfleury, Alice de Kiko den syngende hund
(Kiko, the singing dog)
København: Høst & Søn, 1994.  p.
Dog - Singer < Career > - Adventure
As is common in fairy tales, two of three brother dogs choose solid professions, while the third feels drawn to music. He finds a singing teacher and after much toil and trouble becomes a real opera singer. This amusingly told story, with its light scattering of colored caricatural illustra- tions, conveys an optimistic view of life infused with self-assurance, goal-orien- tedness, and the rewards of success. (8-10)
Denmark (Danish) - 1995 - 144
Christiansen, Ole E.
Mimers brønd: opslagsbog om nordisk mytologi
(Mimers fountain: dictionary of Nordic mythology)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1994. 196 p.
Mythology/Northern Europe - Dictionary/Mythology
Anyone who craves to know exactly which figures are based on real historical and mythological material when they have finished devouring all the fantasy literature by writers from Tolkien to Hohlbein would be grateful for this little dictionary, if it were available in other languages. Whether one wants to know about Asgård, Midgård, Niflheim oder Walhall, the mysterious Ygg- drasil (well known to crossword puzzlers or players of the game "Categories") and its strange inhabitants Hugin, Munin, Garm, or whatever their names are, there are short entries included here for each of them. In an introduction one learns about the Germanic system of beliefs. The only thing lacking is more informative visual material. (10+) ☆
Denmark (Danish) - 1995 - 145
Tink: Børnene i Kragevig 3
(Tink: The children in Kragevig, Part 3)
København: Høst & Søn, 1994. 112 p.
Denmark/History 19th century - Country life - Xenophobia
Perhaps our need for stories about the simple life where, like Robinson Crusoe, each person must rely on his own knowledge to get along in life, is at its greatest when our civilized way of life allows us to have the least contact with a still unspoiled nature. There have often been books whose heroes were a group of children - with or without adults - as for example in Laura Fitinghoff's "The Children of Frostmo Mountain" or A. Th. Sonnleitner's cave children. Bodil Bredsdorff continues this tradition and succeeds in turning the search for a new place to live, a new home, into a cleverly woven tale complete with all the complications which ensue when different types of people try to live together. While in the first two volumes of this four volume series a little too much romanticism with sunrise mornings and candlelight evenings predominated, this volume is a very readable adventure story involving the relationship of young Tink to the old drunkard Burd. (10-14)
Denmark (Danish) - 1995 - 146
Koch, Peter Gjellerup
Mig og Manet
(Me and Manet)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1994. 196 p.
Artist - Personality development - Love - Sexual abuse
A young boy is captivated with a picture by Manet and decides to become a painter himself. He finds himself involved with a strange lot of companions, both in a positive and negative sense, and in the end wins the love of a young girl. Original in this book, which treats the problems of youth so openly, is the mixture of an arty background and the often brutal manner (even to the point of a rape victim killing the perpetrator) in which youthful self-as- sertiveness and egoism finds expression. With this second novel Koch makes a fur- ther contribution to that young adult lite- rature by authors who do not address their audience out of pedagogical motivation, but because they hope to find the greatest ap- preciation for their kind of literary endea- vors. (15+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 182
Als, Roald (text/illus.)
Personlig tog jeg ikke skade af at vokse op
(Personally It Did Me No Harm to Grow Up)
København: Høst & Søn, 1995. 91 p.
Family - Growing-up - Trondheim - Childhood memories
This is the story of a family eking out a meager existence in the 1920s in Trondheim. Memories of those days and the usual people and situations which were part of that life are awakened during a trip back to Trondheim many years later. The author describes this trip and his memories with an unmatched dry humor, making the story a pleasure even for people who don't come from Trondheim. The Norwegian-born author is a cartoonist for the newspaper »Politiken,« and has therefore illustrated richly the book with very severe-looking but skillful caricatures as well as with atmospheric drawings. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 183
Bach Ølgaard, Ragnhild
(Sleeping Beauty's Castle)
København: Modtryk, 1995. 171 p.
Youth - Old age - Love
This is the story of two dreamers with a great difference in age. Thirteen-year-old Jonas and 93- year-old Mariane both are outcasts of society. Jonas is tormented at school, the old woman vegetates in a nursing home which is called »Sleeping Beauty's Castle.« She tries to free herself from this narrow world through her imagination. The encounter with Jonas in a mystical past lets them both believe in a fulfilling love. This very lyrical young adult novel, the author's first work, is certainly not accessible to everyone, but can offer give comfort with its positive, idealistic perspective. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 184
Bertelsen, Karen (ed.)
Egebak, Birte (ed.)
Thaulov, Pia (illus.)
(Fairy Tale Princesses)
København: Borgen, 1995. 113 p.
Fairy tales - Princess
This is a colletion of well-known (H.C.Andersen, Grimm) and less well-known stories and fairy tales, mainly from the Scandinavian region, and about princesses. It includes attractive black-and-white drawings by the talented illustrator Thaulov. (8+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 185
København: Forum, 1995. 153 p.
Denmark/Germany/Occupation - Denmark/Third Reich/Resistence
The young girl Stine, who is an activist against Neonazism, discovers that her grandmother had an affair with a Danish SS-man who she later reported to the police when he returned from the war. Stine begins to reflect upon the German-Danish relationships, especially about Danish citizens of German descent. In this context of personal rela-tionships the problematic relationship between Denmark and the Nazi regime, which until now state officials have prefered to keep quiet, is revealed (exposed, uncovered) in an accessible form for the young reader. (12+) ☆
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 186
Hedlund, Irene (text/illus.)
Historien om et meget vredt næsehorn Brutalis
(The story of the very nasty Rhinoceros Brutalis)
København: Forum, 1995.  p.
Children who cannot control their anger will feel both understood and gently chastised by the fate of this rhinoceros with a name that speaks for itself. But since according to modern developmental theories, every burst of anger has a cause and is never from within the child himself, Brutalis's anger actually stems from the fact that his mother left him. Only when he is sent to Africa does he feel good again. The artist lets Brutalis's anger shoot out of his mouth as brightly colored flames, in keeping with the strong colors and activity characteristic of her pictures. (4+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 187
Flugten fra Kaos
(The Flight from Chaos)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1995. 161 p.
Dictatorship - Escape - Survival
The entire world is shaken by catastrophes and wars. The »Northland« is ruled by a dictator. A young boy flees from a prisoner camp and together with the young girl Nanna tries to survive. In this suspenseful story the author attempts to show young readers in an encoded form that even fifty years after the last world war the causes of its origins have not yet been eliminated. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 188
Jørgensen, Lone Diana
Marie på stenbroen
(Marie on the Cobblestones)
København: Høst & Søn, 1995. 175 p.
Moving house - City life - Integration - Family size
Six-year-old Marie, who has to move with her family from the country to the city, has to cope with a new, not very friendly and narrow environment, full of dirt and above all strange children. How she manages to adjust to her new world is described by the author in vivid detail with a cerain amount of soberness that makes it especially moving. The background descriptions are particularly vivid. (6+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 189
(The Nights of Blood)
København: Høst & Søn, 1995. 183 p.
Vampire - Love
When a comic-drawing artist goes to the country in the summer, he doesn't find the hoped for rest and relaxation when vampires get involved. This is a suspenseful and amusing (if bloody affairs can be amusing!) modern vampire novel. It's special touch lays in the fact that the politically correct, charming and mysterious female vampire, whom the artist encounters, incites him to act similarly. The story closes, in proper style, with the hero joining up with an honorable society of vampires. The author, who makes his debut in 1995, writes in an easy, entertaining style without seeming too trivial. Teenagers may feel this book is written for them. (14+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 190
Lind, Peter (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
København: Høst & Søn, 1995. 16 p.
Sun - Wind - Competition
Dorte Karrebæk's speciality is the grotesque. In the current European picture book scene she is quite unbeatable. She describes the old story of a bet between the wind and the sun as to which of them will succeed in getting a man to take off his coat in illustrations just bursting with action. She finds not only very clever but also surprising illustration ideas. She portrays the wind as an bloodsucker (leech) gone wild, who tears out the skyscapers roots and all and bears his teath at everyone. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 191
Madsen, Peter (illus.)
Menneskesønnen: en tegneserie om Jesus
(The Son of Man: A Picture Story of Jesus)
[København]: Det Danske Bibelselskab, 1995. 135 p.
Jesus Christ - Bible story - Comic
This is an impressive attempt to tell the life of Jesus in comic-style format. Peder Madsen succeeds in avoiding any pious kitsch and transforming the story in dramatic, biblically accurate, though fairly sombre illustrations in a realistic, pictorial style. (10+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 192
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
København: Forum, 1995.  p.
Canada/Indians/Fairy tales - Fire
The Indian tale about how man took fire from the wolves in order to keep from freezing and to be able to eat roasted food is told in humorous caricatur illustrations dominated by much movement. The illustrator has succeeded in developing an original draftsman-like style in her several picture books. (6+) ☆
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 193
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1995. 219 p.
Sixteen-year-old Jesper is one of the boys who keeps to himself and lets no one get close to him, especially not any girl. He suffers from always wanting something but not being able to do anything about it. His self-doubting is described here in a very sympathetic manner, which will stimulate the reader to think more about other people and the reasons for their behavior. (14+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 194
Spang Olsen, Ib (illus.)
Den store Krage: En gammel vise
(The great Crow: An old Song)
Hillerød: alma, 1995.  p.
Crow - Farmers - Boaster - Wealth
Boastfulness has no reward, according to an old Danish song. The farmer who shot a crow must account to the bishop's servant for what he did with the bird. In the farmer's account, the pieces of the crow which he used get larger and more plentiful - like the loaves and fishes in the biblical story of the feeding of the multitudes. In the end he must hand over his bow and arrow, the cause of his apparent wealth, to the servant. Spang Olsen succeeds marvelously in making the story come alive with his subtely colored pencil drawings, and he seems to have no trouble in portraying the crow as a magpie. (8+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 195
København: Høst & Søn, 1995. 12 p.
Cat - Mouse - Hunt - Rescue
Pai Thaulov is one of the best Danish illustrators of children's books. With her cartoon pen and her humor she succeeds in creating picture books for the very small reader that are far removed from the usual sugariness. She doesn't just string together inidividual pictures, but tells little stories without any text. Four titles in this series have appeared so far. (3-5)
Denmark (Danish) - 1997 - 184
København: Høst & Søn, 1996. 99 p.
Thief - Escape - Adventure
Safran gathers herbs with her mute father in the mountains and dreams of sharing an idyllic house in the city with her family. After joining up with a group of caravan travellers in order to reach the city of her dreams, it is attacked by highway thieves. She is able to escape and find her own way with the help of a young robber who is on the run. But it is a long way back home. The author weaves together adventure, a love story and a coming-ofage tale into a gripping story. (10+) ☼
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1997 - 185
Som et lille himmerige
(Like a little piece of heaven)
København: Forum, 1996. 130 p.
Escape - Farmer - Friendship
After twelve-year-old Jim defends himself with a knife against three stronger boys, he must flee for fear of being followed. He goes to an old solitary farmer who readily lets him help with the work and gives Jim the sense of being needed. When Alfred falls ill and is taken away in an ambulance, Jim has to find his own way. In a plain, sober but for that reason quite remarkable tone, the author develops this moving comradship that is based on mutual help and creates a little idyll outside of the threat-filled world. (12+) ☼
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1997 - 186
Karrebæk, Dorte (text/illus.)
Pigen der var go' til mange ting
(The girl who could do so many things)
København: Forum, 1996.  p.
Parent/Child - Conflict - Personality development
This is a story of a girl who has to do everything for herself because her parents are completely occupied with themselves and their arguments. She proposes that they hold a masked ball and her parents actually turn into a cat and dog, corresponding to their behavior. She soon grows up and goes her own way - »sooner or later all children leave home, she left sooner.« The illustrations are fascinating in their mixture of grotesque exaggeration and charming portrayal of the heroine. The events take place in recognizable settings which are reduced to simple, expressive caricatures. The artist uses bold colors but has limited herself to only a few tones. Dorte Karrebæk is an artist well worth discovering. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1997 - 187
Lundbye, Vagn (text)
Edeltoft, Anne Mette (illus.)
København: Thorup, 1996.  p.
Zoo - Animals - Protection
While visiting the zoo, a little girl learns that every person has an animal that is supposed to protect him or her. After considering a number of animals, the warthog is the one which appears to her in a dream. Both the author and illustrator make their debut in the picture book world. They succeed in depicting the relationships between man and animal in an original manner while sparking the imagination with realistic, sometimes somewhat uncanny, but not mawkish illustrations. (6+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1997 - 188
Najas sommer. En historie fra Grønland
(Naja's summer. A story from Greenland)
Risskov: Klematis, 1995. 32 p.
Greenland - Childhood - Everyday life
Greenland is a part of the world we should be interested in getting to know. But there are few books about life there. This photography book gives an interesting glimpse at the everyday life of a child in Greenland. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1997 - 189
Og det var Løkken!
(And that was Lokken!)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1996. 201 p.
School holiday - First romance
The first-person narrator enjoys a school holiday without parents at the seaside with three friends. Emotional turbulences are inevitable when, how could it be otherwise, a girl by the name of Linnea, enters his scope of view. Like several other Danish writers, Saxild is very skilled in depicting the inner moods of adolenscents, whose hopes are as intense as their doubts. (14+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 179
Almajid, Fahmy (text)
Melbye, Inni Karine (illus.)
København: Høst & Søn, 1996. 93 p.
Irak - Golf War <1990-1991> - Kurd - Escape
Twelve-year old Kamiran and his family flee Irak over the Turkish border during the Golf War. At the end of the war only he and his mother are still alive. The Kurdish author, now living in Denmark, depicts in a clear, simple style the suffering of her people, who are not allowed to live anywhere in peace. Without condemnation, this tale of flight and survival from the point of view of the persecuted serves as an indictment against inhumanity in general. (10+) ☆
Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 180
Arguimbau, Damián (text)
Pedersen, Anne (illus.)
Makedeus og basketsko-engeln
(Makedeus and the gym shoe angel)
København: Forum, 1997.  p.
This is the story of the hare Makedeus, that runs into an angel who advises him to go to Noah and his ark, because a beastly rain is on the way. And he does so, taking a pack of other animals with him. All of them, including the angel, are portrayed here without the least degree of mawkishness, but rather grotesquely ugly and comical, just the thing to amuse children. The reason for God's new wrath is depicted in the background - weapons and war, factories and pollution, destruction of rainforests. The expressive, subdued style of the pictures is typical of the new, anti-realistic trend in picture books. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 181
Brandt, Hanne (text)
Ranheimsæter, Jon (illus.)
Den hovedløse rytter. Spøgelseshistorier fra danske slotte
(The headless knight. Ghost stories from Danish castles)
København: Forum, 1996. 95 p.
Denmark - Castle - Ghost
Ghost stories are not only read with pleasure by children, they are also short enough to keep the laziest reader interested. In this selection, the stories are set against the background of Danish cultural history. To add to the suspense, each one is told in the first-person and the uncanny twists of plot are illustrated in a quite congenial manner by an artist who has already proven to be an expert in the field of horror. (8+) ☆ ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 182
(The love of the fool)
København: Høst & Søn, 1997. 167 p.
Though very successful in Denmark, Haller continues to be systematically ignored by foreign publishers, perhaps because he takes the concerns of young adolescents, especially their agonies of love, seriously. In this novel, a boy of about ten years of age with speech and behavioral problems, throws himself and his unbridled love at a girl at the seashore with such force that she has no choice but to give him her attention. But rather than reaping love, he only experiences the radicalness of feelings that can attract one individual to another. (12+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 183
Jensen, Helle Vibeke (text)
Schnack, Asger (illus.)
Hoved & hale. En billedbog om modsætninger
(Head and tail. A picture book about opposites)
København: Høst & Søn, 1997.  p.
The theme of this book is oppositeness - large and small, high and low, few and many, open and closed. But the intention of this outstanding picture book is not a didactic one, but rather to present the beholder with a creative, aesthetic game. The hero, a fish-headed girl, traverses the world of opposites in search of a new playmate. This simple construction gives the artist occasion to create richly contrasting pictures which unite the decorative elements from the turn-of-the-(20th)century - powerful contours - and surrealistic components - especially from Max Ernst and his collages in stimulating new compositions. (6+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 184
En splint af korset
(A splinter from the cross)
Århus: Modtryk, 1997. 222 p.
Children's Crusade <1212>
The first-person narrator, 15-year old Isabel, describes the fate of a group of children in a crusade who end up as slaves in Alexandria. Isabel is only able to survive by escaping. A thrilling and impressive psychological narrative, this is an example of the wide range of historical novels for young adults being written in Scandinavia, which more often deal with the period of the Vikings. (12+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 185
Rasmussen, Bent (text)
Bourgeat, Lene (illus.)
Den gode dværg
(The good dwarf)
København: Alinea, 1997. 60 p.
(Læs dansk bøgerne/Blå serie)
The author is also the editor of this new series for beginning readers and readers with reading problems. The series consists of three levels of difficulty. Following the postulates of reading teachers, the sentences use simple grammatical constructions laid out in short lines. And still the legend-like stories about dwarves are, thanks to the author, readable and exciting. (6+) ☼
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 186
Seighali, Morteza (text)
Rød, Signe (illus.)
Lagkage på flugt ( = Kolac u bijegu)
(The cake on the run)
Århus: Husets forlag, 1997. 29 p.
Despotism - Resistance
The birthday cake of a king, who has let his country starve in order to gorge himself, runs away and lets itself be eaten up by those who helped to make it. This fable - written here in six languages (Danish, Croatian, Persian, Somalian, Arabic and Turkish) - and accompanied by naive but unerring illustrations, brings the Danish democracy into play for children who have come to Denmark from those countries where dictatorship rules. (6+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 187
Vebel, Susanne (text)
Edeltoft, Anne Mette (illus.)
Manden og katten
(The man and the cat)
Hillerød: Alma, 1997. 30 p.
Love - Cat - Metamorphosis
This ancient fable tells of a man who falls in love with a cat who, even after she has been transformed by Venus into a lovely young girl, is unable to renounce her true nature. The moral of the story still holds today: one should let each individual live according to his or her nature. And a further, rather bitter truth: love alone cannot overcome any barriers. In this first picture book created completely on her own, Anne Edeltoft has refined her typically vigorous contour lines to attain a light touch of caricature, but retains her rather somber palette of colors. (5+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 188
Winding, Thomas (text/illus.)
Hentze, Peter (illus.)
Emile og naturens orden
(Emile and nature's order of things)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1996.  p.
Order - Imagination
For an African boy whose parents are artists, home is the quintessence of order and Nature that lies beyond it the quintessence of chaos. As a way of explaining that every part of Nature carries its own order within itself, even if not immediately evident, the illustrations which are at first fairly naive are then followed by a series of almost abstract compositions in which the shape of animals is only barely recognizable in the chaos of colors. A cow stung by a bee that ultimately tramples over the mother's jars of paint does indeed bring about a real chaos, the breakdown of order. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1999 - 187
København: Høst & Søn, 1998. 213 p.
Single father - Daughter - Jealousy
The author, who is already well-known and been rewarded with prizes for her young adult novels, takes the theme of a daughter's love for her divorced father and jealousy of his new girl friend once again for the reader audience of 14 to 15 year olds, treating it in such a way as to treat young adult concerns seriously. This is also the intention behind the publisher's »Victoria Serie,« which makes an effort to avoid the reputation of a juvenile novel in the choice of authors and book design. (14+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1999 - 188
Gade, Marianne (text)
Brøgger, Lilian (illus.)
Ida og den røde tråd
(Ida and the red yarn)
København: Gyldendal, 1998.  p.
Mother/Daughter - Cold weather - Pullover
Because she is terribly cold, Ida follows a red yarn and asks all the animals and people she meets along the way how to protect herself from the cold. But none of the advice helps, until she reaches the end of the yarn and finds the pullover her mother has knitted for her. The slightly caricaturist illustrations within changing frames help keep a pleasant balance between modernism and a decorativeness that will appeal to children. (5+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1999 - 189
Juncker, Beth (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
København: Forum, 1998. 143 p.
Grandfather/Grandson - Single mother
Seven-year old Victor, who lives alone with his mother, has to go and stay for a time with his grandfather, who was once a sailor. Victor is rather afraid of what will happen, but his grandfather succeeds in winning him over with unusual and spontaneous ideas. Victor experiences an adult world, enriched with his own and his grandfather's imagination. The reader will eagerly follow the story, in particular because of the exceptionally original, caricature-like illustrations, which with their classic style of closed lines fit the book very well. (10+)
Denmark (Danish) - 1999 - 190
Nielsen, Bent B. (text)
Bourgeat, Lene (illus.)
Lussing eller sveder
(Boxed ears or detention)
København: Alinea, 1998. 46 p.
Denmark/History 1950-1960 - School
The usual routines of school days in Denmark during the 1950s are depicted here for reading beginners and reluctant readers. As briefly as possible the book encourages not only reading skills but also an appreciation of history and is cleverly supplemented by realistic, high-quality drawings. The series »Læs dansk« (Read Danish) is available in three levels of difficulty as indicated with a color scheme. (7+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 1999 - 191
Flere historier om Alfa, Beo, Ditte og lille Edel
(More stories of Alfa, Beo, Ditte and little Edel)
København: Høst & Søn, 1998. 140 p.
Family - Poverty - Philosophy of life
Their mother is dead, their father has disappeared - the deserted children have to live from remnants of meat and endure torments at school. And yet they do not lose their couragous outlook on life and manage to get by. This second successful book about these four children brings the reader into contact with social problems without painting everything black. (10+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 177
Aakeson, Kim Fupz (text)
Thau-Jensen, Cato (illus.)
Pigen der krøb
(The girl who shrunk)
[København]: Carlsen, 1998.  p.
Single child - Self-confidence
This story about a girl who must always be wellbehaved and never daring, who shrinks and hides in a mouse hole until she finally finds the courage to assert herself against the overpowering cat (who stands for the parents and other domineering individuals), is brief and not overly exciting. All the more exciting are the appealing pictures with strong, well-composed colors. The abnormally distorted figures that nonetheless fit the respective situations and emotional states, are reminiscent, to some degree, of the artist group »Kobra«, which is also to be found in Denmark. This makes for a very unusual picture book. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 178
Clausen, Jacob (text)
Brøgger, Lilian (illus.)
København: Forum, 1999. 159 p.
Nature encounter - Friendship
In the forest Alf encounters a mysterious girl named Edda, who lives in a tree house. He is fascinated by her nature-loving personality. He visits her frequently and finally stays with her all the time. Together they invent an adventure story in which they play that they are the only heros. In the end, after an helicopter search sets out to find him, he returns to his home. A longing to escape civilization and return to the elemental forces of nature, that can also lead to a loss of one's self and a sense of reality, forms the essence of this peculiar tale. (12+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 179
Hartmann, Nils (text)
Brøgger, Lilian (illus.)
Verden løber løbsk. Fra bilens barndom til rumalderen. Omkring 1875-2000
(The world goes crazy. From the birth of the car to the space age: World history 1875-2000)
København: Gyldendal, 1999. 66 p.
(Børnenes Verdenshistorie ; 4)
The fourth volume of this world history series for children gives a brief, apt portrait of the crazy, bloody century that is coming to an end. Children will find in this volume (and in the previous three volumes, each illustrated by different artists) a readable summary about the world in which they are living - in the appropriate and desired brevity. The careful choice of facts ensures that the reader never gets lost. By doing without the documentary and factual photos that are common in nonfiction books today, as well as any kind of - often rather ridiculous - narrative main characters used to guide children through the course of events, this volume acquires a unity, conciseness, and agreeable sobriety and employs a cautious dose of humour only where it is possible. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 180
Inuk, Lotte (text)
Gantriis, Ida (illus.)
[København]: Haase, 1999. 95 p.
Inspite of its external, rather jumbled and noncommittal appearance that promises merely light and more or less trivial reading matter, this book contains a story of unsuspected depth. The firstperson narrator, who is never named, tells of her friendship with her rather mysterious and thus quite fascinating new classmate, Katarina. The reader is caught up in the suspenseful story of how the initially hard-won friendship that then becomes filled with imaginative games, gradually turns into a devoted, childlike love relationship. Katarina takes on the role of the domineering leader who shows sympathy for her friend's strong emotions, and is not against being worshipped. That the beloved one disappears in the end is nearly inevitable in a story that is told entirely from the subjective point of view of the enamored girl. The superficial style of the illustrations is unfortunately mismatched to the story's tenor. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 181
Jordens skød. Raklos rejse; I
(Earth's womb. Raklo's journey, vol.1)
Århus: Modtryk, 1999. 219 p.
Yugoslavia - Circus - World War II
While Belgrade is being bombed from the air by the German Luftwaffe, the Circus Gloriosa flees to the countryside, taking along with them the 14- year old boy Raklo. During their odyssey the circus people experience the chaos and horrors of war, ending up finally in the ruins of post-war Germany. The circus, whose artists form an international menagerie of Serbs, Croats, Montenegrins, Greeks, gypsies and other nationalities, is an aptly chosen symbol for the multi-ethnic, everbickering status of south-east Europe - both then and now - but also a forum that gives hope for a peaceable co-existence. (14+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 182
Næsten. En lille bog om Ja & Nej
(Almost: a small book about yes and no)
København: Høst, 1999. 75 p.
The author, who works professionally with conscientious objectors to military service, has assembled a series of episodes and written brief texts that show how courageous individuals have had to say »yes« or »no« at the right moment and thereby made a difference to the course of event. The persons presented include Hans Christian Andersen, Mahatma Ghandi, Janusz Korczak, Desmond Tutu, Willy Brandt and many others. (12+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 183
Lauridsen, Irma (text)
Hartmann, Susanna (illus.)
Leo finder en hund
(Leo finds a dog)
København: Alinea, 1999. 23 p.
Wish - Dog
Young Leo feels sorry for the dog tied up outside a local shop. He unties the leash, plays with the puppy and takes him home. His mother must explain to him why he behave unjustly, even though she understands his longing for a dog of his own. He then takes the dog back to its owner. All the titles in this series offer intentionally simple stories in order to help beginning readers and give them courage. The abundance of color illustrations are all equally simple and have the sole purpose of keeping the reader's interest, but are nonetheless not without artistry. (6+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 184
Madsen, Peter (text/illus.)
Historien ob Job
(The story of Job)
[København]: Danske Bibelselskab, 1999. 102 p.
Misfortune - Self-doubt - Religious doubts - Religious faith
The ability of this Danish comic artist to make Bible stories exciting and even convincing to those readers otherwise aloof to religion has already been proved in another volume about the life of Jesus and seems even stronger here. The story of Job is also a worthwhile theme, because Job's doubts about the world, about himself and about his God also give eloquent expression to the fears people have today. In gloomy, consistently large-sized pictures that take in the landscape and atmosphere, the modern-day reader can find his own self-doubts mirrored and understood, and in the end be strengthened and comforted. (14+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 185
Mørch-Hansen, Anne (ed.)
Men far... Historier om børn og fædre
(But Father... Stories about children and their fathers)
København: Høst, 1999. 112 p.
This anthology contains eleven stories by wellknown children's book authors, including Bent Haller, Bent Rasmussen and Kim Fupz Aakeson. The stories depict fathers and their children in all states of life - as widowers, tyrants, creatures to be admired or pitied, and cast light upon a species that is usually found rather on the shadowy sidelines of children's literature. (12+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 186
Petersen, Palle (text/photos)
Nuka bliver fanger
(Nuka becomes a hunter)
København, Valby: Borgen, 1999.  p.
Greenland/Everyday life - Hunting - Fishing
The everyday life of a twelve-year old boy is heavily influenced by the hunt and his traineeship to become a hunter. The reader learns to what extent this country, where winter lasts more than half the year, is dependent upon hunting and fishing. (10+) ☼
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 187
Reuter, Charlotte (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1999. 64 p.
Cat - Adventure
This first title in a new series is further evidence of the knack that Scandinavian children's books authors have for creating books for beginning readers between the ages of five and seven. These are easy to read and to understand, but manage to avoid ridiculous cuteness and thin jokes. Charlotte Reuter describes the first days in the life of cat baby Aja Dobbo without finesse, but with so much wit that any adult reading it aloud will also be entertained. Nearly surpassing the text are the colorful illustrations by the renown Dorte Karrebæk. While the cats' personalities are drawn in an acute persiflage, the mirror she holds up to her female contemporaries is even more revealing. In this case the cat owner, a self-confident woman, well over fifty, wears much too skimpy fashions, and unsparingly reveals the discrepancy between wanting to be young but being young no more. (5+) ☆ ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 180
Andersen, Knud Erik (text)
Bergström, Lucy (illus.)
På sporet af vikingerne : nye fund, ny viden
(On the trails of the Vikings : new discoveries, new insights)
Copenhagen Valby : Borgen, 2000. 109 p.
Vikings - Discovery
This book not only informs young readers in a comprehensible and interesting way, but it also follows the progress of the latest archeological discoveries. The focus is on excavations and discoveries made in Denmark giving new insights into the Danish Vikings' style of living. Nonetheless, these observations readily apply to other Viking societies. The many monochrome photographs and drawings are carefully selected for their informative qualities. Moreover, the book gives good insight into archeological research. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 181
Blay, Charlotte (text)
Bech, Bente (illus.)
Prins Purk og troldene
(Prince Purk and the trolls)
København : Alinea, 2000.  p.
Troll - Child - Abduction
This publishing house has produced quite a number of booklets featuring little stories in large print for beginning readers. The pictures play a very prominent role – and if at times they may lack in taste, they certainly don't miss their purpose of arousing attention. The renowned Danish illustrator Bente Bech has collaborated in this booklet. Her trolls are sure to delight all children: they are rebukingly ugly, making no concessions to picture book standards of beauty. (7+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 182
Hohle Hansen, Henrik (text)
Pardi, Charlotte (illus.)
Pigen der ikke ville på potten
(The girl who didn't want to go on the pot)
[København] : Forum, 2000.  p.
Scandinavian authors of children's literature seem to have a sense for selecting rather less delicate topics: following titles on worms, poop, etc., here we go with constipation. According to the subject, the protagonist (unless one would like to consider the vividly anthropomorphised folk functioning as bulkhead as the true protagonists) is not a sweet baby-doll, but one of those childlike »monsters« populating an increasing number of Scandinavian children's books. The whole book is refreshingly funny, showing generous pencil drawings in a style reminiscent of Ralph Steadman. As for the colours – what else can you expect? – lively, but mainly brown. (4+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 183
Karrebæk, Dorte (text/illus.)
Mesterjaegeren : en bog om arv og miljø; dedikeret til jer der hele tiden overtager verden
(The master-hunter : a book about inheritance and the environment, dedicated to you, who continually take over the world)
København : Forum, 1999.  p.
Environment - Education
A hunter – a primordial character of great authority – takes away the son from his wife as soon as he is born and brings him up in the wilderness. They come upon a cat-mother whose milk-producing organs have a striking similarity with wellformed human female features, nurturing sweeter dreams in the little boy than the miserable teats of previous foster animal mothers. Happiness reigns for some time, but Tannhäuser-like, the hunter is drawn home from his feline Venus mountain. In place of his son, he takes a kitten along, which is brought up by his resigned wife. Unfortunately, puberty hits the kitten in the first school year, manifest to all with eight rapidly growing breasts, which have to be squeezed into a specially designed bra. The exchange is reversed, the further development subject to parental arbitrariness: while the cat-girl terrorises her mates with human mating-calls, the matured boy finds a wife, happily sinking into her generous bosom. The excellent quality of Danish picture books is largely due to Dorte Karrebæk's important contributions. In this book, she renders her characters once more with absurd and grotesque elements, thus opening up new and highly original dimensions of children‘s book illustration. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 184
En godt bryst hænger ikke på træerne
(A decent breast doesn't grow on trees)
København : Høst & Søn, 2000. 207 p.
Puberty - Character development
Niko got a camera for his birthday – the perfect medium to focus on an »outstanding« part of the female body which attracts all his attention – in fact, it seems to have a life of its own. The author, a well experienced writer of young adult fiction, may lead some equally obsessed readers to understand that the individual personality counts more than all physical facts in a relationship. Author and publishing house seem well aware of the young adults' reluctance to pick up a book – this slender volume and the accordingly reduced amount of text might help to overcome these reservations. (14+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 185
Rasmussen, Søren (text)
Tom-Petersen, Jesper (illus.)
Manden som gravede ned til kineserne
(The man who dug himself all the way to the Chinese)
København : Carlsen, 2000.  p.
Cultural exchange - Friendship
This unbelievable tall tale comes along in the guise of rather conventional illustrations: A curious and witty man begins to dig a hole through the earth in his backyard. Almost half way, he meets a Chinese (naturally standing on his head) with a drill, who had come up with the same idea. They decide to let their fellow countrymen jump through the hole to the other side for a small fee. This is their – truly profitable – contribution to international understanding. Because mainly the Chinese seize this opportunity (Danes seem to be less curious), the Chinese problem of overpopulation is relieved. (6+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 186
Schnack, Asger (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
København : Høst, 2000.  p.
Everyday life - Expression
This book is for those who read little but think a lot. 28 expressions frequently used by adults and the seven days of the week are explored for their philosophical content and explained from an unexpected point of view accessible to children. The choice is unusual for a children's book: alarm clock, funeral, divorce, insomnia, summer-nights in August, democracy, cleaning and more. The book design with its convenient format, halfglossy cover featuring a well placed, intriguing illustration, the discrete but original vignettes in the main text on grounds of soft hues and framed by a white border, certainly meets bibliophile standards. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 187
Winding, Thomas (text)
Brøgger, Lilian (illus.)
[Frederiksberg] : ABC, 1999.  p.
Feverish dreams - Imagination - Chicken pocks
The little girl cannot put on her beloved blue dress, because she has fallen ill with fever. In her dreams, she flys across a fantastic world wearing her dress. Lilian Brøgger evokes this world with muted colours, avoiding any oppressing visions. The chicken pocks covering the girl's body the next morning seem starry remains of this fantastic dream. (5+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 177
Bluitgen, Kåre (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
Karlslunde : Agertoft, 2001.  p.
Lover – Voyage – Obstacle
By rewriting old stories by the Danish author Ludvig Holberg for a modern book – a method that has already been employed successfully with the underground travels of Nils Klim – Bluitgen makes a classic tale accessible and interesting to young readers today. The story of the salesman Peder Paars who against all odds finally reaches his lover on board a ship, is bound to grab young readers' attention, especially because of its crude style of narration. Moreover, readers will be even more fascinated by Dorte Karrebæk's newly designed drastic full-colour illustrations that thwart many conventional expectations. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 178
Flansmose, Julie (text/illus.)
En af den slags dage
(One of these peculiar days)
[København] : Haase, 2001.  p.
Child – Bad mood
When a boy gets out of bed with the wrong foot, then one disaster follows another all day long: The breakfast milk has turned sour, his parents are in a bad mood, and so are the teachers, the classmates, and, above all, the protagonist himself. An everyday situation, yet captured in unusual and original pictures. In her first picture book, the young artist strives to increase the distorted qualities of her characters by employing elements typical of contemporary art, such as collages, expressionistic spacing, series of the same drawings, and pieces of tape placed across the pictures. Together, all these elements do not allow the readers to be drawn into the picture but make them examine the two-dimensional illustrations with some emotional distance. (7+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 179
Gammelgaard, Per (text)
Ranheimsæter, Jon (illus.)
[København] : Gyldendal, 2000.  p.
From A to Z, all through the alphabet, both people and animals have or do something they do not want to have or do. Their truly favourite activities or objects, however, always lead to the following letter of the alphabet. This absurd ABC-book starts with an ape and an orange (Danish: »apelsin«) and returns to the orange after the last letter. Although Jon Ranheimsæter is one of Denmark's most original caricaturists he is not well-known abroad. Thanks to his drawings every page holds some bizarre surprises for the reader. (8+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 180
Jørgensen, Bent (text)
Helweg, Pernille Kløvedal (illus.)
Sex - hvad er meningen? : kønslivets naturhistorie
(Sexuality – What's the meaning behind it? : the natural history of sexual life)
København : Høst & Søn, 2001. 140 p.
Sexuality – Animals
In this book, a topic which by itself already arouses a lot of interest is presented by the former director of the Copenhagen Zoo with profound knowledge and an abundance of details. Nature's creativity alone would make this book a read far from monotonous; the fact that it is written in a perceptive and witty style renders it all the more enjoyable to its readers. Without a doubt, this book is a further example of the importance that is attributed to sexuality and eroticism in Scandinavian children's and youth literature. Moreover, it is typical for the Scandinavian ingenuity in dealing with this topic. In accordance with the humorous text, the illustrator does not use embarrassingly detailed pictures but rather turns to etchings complementing the text in a less serious manner. (14+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 181
Mogensen, Jan (text/illus.)
Sulliman Ahmed Beduins eventyr
(The adventures of the Bedouin Sulliman Ahmed)
[Bagsværd] : Carlsen, 2001.  p.
International understanding – Hospitality
An average Danish family on holiday in the desert needs help to get their car started again. The old Bedouin Sulliman Ahmed helps them with his camel and invites the whole family into his tent afterwards. Later, the family is back home, everything was wonderful. Suddenly, Ahmed and his camel knock on the door of the Danish home; a most unwelcome surprise for the parents who have invited some guests for this evening; and besides …. The children, however, are delighted to see their old friend again and ask him to stay. He is the centre of attention at the party and they all fraternise with each other. Back home in the desert, Ahmed looks at his photographs, smiling, and thinks: Allah is great. Using friendly and uncomplicated pictures, Mogensen tells a story that today still remains a dream, although an amiable one. You have to start with the children if you want the world to become a better place – that's what Jella Lepman, founder of the International Youth Library, said. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 182
Rostrup, Anders (text)
Kjærgaard, Anna Margarethe (illus.)
Børges bedste bryster
(The most beautiful breasts for Børge)
København : Høst & Søn, 2001.  p.
Child – Curiosity – Female breasts
Børge, a small boy, plays with his mother's breasts, which he considers the most beautiful breasts in the world. Yet, when his father heedlessly tells him that the world is full of wonderful breasts and that he only needs to reach out for them, young Børge takes this literally. Accordingly, he soon gets into embarrassing situations with several ladies. This enables the illustrator to present a conglomeration of most unusual shapes in her first picture book, including those of two men. Apart from providing information about the facts of life, this book also explains to children in a witty way why they cannot do whatever they please without considering other people's feelings. (5+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 183
Rostrup, Anders (text)
Riis, Claus (illus.)
(The Brormand Brothers)
[København] : Forum, 2001. 86 p.
(Zik zak zoom)
Siblings – Brotherly love – Everyday life
First-person narrator Stig often feels embarrassed about his seven-year-old brother. The little lad's behaviour is inappropriate and not quite childlike, especially when he presents his »You-know-what« to everybody and even pulls down his trousers at the royal palace. Nevertheless, Stig's love for his little brother remains strong because the small boy proves to be surprisingly sensitive when Stig picks up his first girlfriend. The funny stories, with their exaggerated caricatures perfectly matching the overall style, allow the readers to gain an insight into a rather unusual family – even for modern Denmark – consisting of a mother, two children, and two fathers. Hardly less unusual is the demanding series of books among which this title is published, aimed at rousing the readers' interest in literature. (7+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 178
Aakeson, Kim Fupz (text)
Thau-Jensen, Cato (illus.)
Drengen der lå i sin seng, mens hans far og damefrisøren så på
(The boy who lay in his bed while his father and the ladies’ hairdresser were watching)
København : Gyldendal, 2001.  p.
Mother – Death – Son – Grief
The young protagonist doesn’t want to accept his father’s new wife. Therefore, in his dreams, the boy regularly meets his dead mother, but each time her image grows more unreal and unapproachable. When he wakes up from a long unconsciousnesslike sleep, he is astonished to see that his father and stepmother have been very worried about him. Slowly, he realises that he needs to trust other people, too. Aakeson, whose talent for telling amusing novels is well known, describes the seriousness and grief of children with great sensitivity – yet, with quite a tinge of eccentricism. The text is perfectly complemented by Thau-Jensen’s pictures: Their strongly coloured style follows the traditions of the 1950s, which are still vividly alive in Scandinavia. (8+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 179
Gyldenkærne, Nanna (ed.)
Landet Længere Væk og andre ord og billeder : 73 danske illustratorer tegner til korte tekster for børn
(The land »Farther away« and other words and pictures: 73 Danish illustrators draw pictures to accompany short texts for children)
København : Høst & Søn, 2002. 153 p.
Denmark – Children’s book – Illustration – Short stories – Anthology
73 Danish illustrators have created one picture each to accompany 73 ultra-short stories written by 44 authors. These pictures makes this anthology an impressive compendium of contemporary Danish children’s book illustration, which features various important artists such as Dorte Karrebæk, Jon Ranheimsæter, and Cato Thau-Jensen. The idea for the book was initiated by the illustrators’ group belonging to the Danish writers’ association. The anthology gives an overview of children’s book illustration, yet is also interesting for children themselves, who are the most important audience for the illustrations. Some of the stories are as extraordinarily short as the following one: »One day, a bird was born who spoke English, German, and French fluently. However, as he couldn’t restrain himself from uttering swear words in all three languages, he was slain.« They may well inspire children to put their own ideas to paper. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 180
Kevin Kujon og andre fortællinger
(Kevin Kujon and other tales)
København : Høst & Søn, 2002. 111 p.
Children – Everyday life – Short stories
In his new collection of short stories, renowned children’s book author Bent Haller deals with the darker sides of childhood, even including suicide and fear of death. The texts tackle questions of vital importance which children have to cope with quite often on their own. Despite the serious topics, however, Haller’s sense of absurd humour still pervades the tales. Apart from that, the stories frequently offer happy and surprising solutions to the problems. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 181
Jensen, Jørn (text)
Raagaard, Kirsten (illus.)
København : Forum, 2002.  p.
Pets – Hunger
All alone, little Hannibal is sitting in the kitchen. One after the other, various pets crawl through the catflap asking the boy for some food. Hannibal feeds them all and, eventually, he himself eats something, too. The simple yet original idea of this story can already be understood by very young children. Thanks to its illustrations, which may be slightly naïve but show definitely no traces of the sickly sweetness of typical books for toddlers, and thanks to its unpretentiously written letters, this story becomes an unconventional book for small children. More books like this one would certainly be welcome in other countries, too. (3+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 182
Lauridsen, Irma (text)
Ranheimsæter, Jon (illus.)
Den klonede dreng
(The cloned boy)
København : Alinea, 2002. 51 p.
(Læs dansk gys)
Cloning – Double
Young Robert discovers a second boy who looks exactly like him. Robert doesn’t manage to question him, but it seems that he is trying to play Robert’s role: He plays football pretending to be Robert, for example, even if he plays very badly. When Robert finally manages to follow the boy, he ends up at the solitary house of a former trainee teacher. It turns out that this man had plucked one of Robert’s hairs and thus created an identical copy of him. Since the clone is extremely stupid, the teacher plans to sell Robert to a childless couple in America and let the clone remain – but, of course, everything is resolved in a happy ending. This adventurous tale, easily accessible to children with reading problems, is written in a captivating style and accompanied by matching illustrations. (7+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 183
Tordenskjolds tempo : træghed og triumf på træskibenes tid
(Tordenskjold’s speed: Lethargy and triumph from the times of the wooden ships)
Frederiksberg : Branner og Korch, 2002. 129 p.
Nordic War <1700-1721> – Sea battle
In European countries, many books deal with historical topics. Yet, in Scandinavian countries, this kind of literature seems to be even more popular. The North’s relatively late self-awareness may be one of the reasons why Scandinavians are particularly proud of their more than one-thousand-yearold history and their own mythology. This book about Admiral Tordenskjold and the battle at the Swedish Dynekil Fjord in 1716 during the second Nordic War, is written in this tradition. The readers do not only learn about the course of the battle and its background, but also read many technical details about a war at sea. Books like this one offer an inspiring read and, at the same time, create an awareness for historical events. (12+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 184
Inuk og Ivik i det gamle Grønland
(Inuk and Ivik in old Greenland)
København : Borgen, 2002.  p.
Greenland – Everyday life – Tradition
Theoretically, Danish people do not need to travel to foreign countries in order to discover »exotic« lands because Greenland is an (autonomous) part of their country. Nevertheless, since this island is not exactly on their doorstep, only few Danish children will actually know it. For both, the children who are already a little familiar with Greenland and those who are not, this book is a very interesting introduction to a fascinating cold world. The story follows Inuk, a young boy, and the girl Ivik, as they set out together with some adults to see and try out how their ancestors used to live a hundred or more years ago. Among other things, they will see the oldest drawing of Greenlanders, a historical earth-hut, a kayak in motion, and sleigh dogs, of course. (6+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 185
Steffensen, Anette [et al.] (ed.)
Hjertevirus : kærlighed på tværs
(Heart-virus: muddled love)
København : Festival for Børn og Unge, 2002. 174 p.
Adolescence – Love – Disappointment – Short stories – Anthology
In twelve stories, this anthology tells of the numerous disappointments and the unfulfilled desire that teenagers have to deal with when they take the risk of falling in love. Popular and lesser-known Danish authors describe the difficulties of human relationships in a much more honest way than many a carefully constructed teenage novel. Moreover, a short comic strip successfully expresses many teenagers’ helplessness in coping with their everyday life. At the end of the book, a few young people themselves relate their own disappointing experiences. This volume is the result of a reading promotion event, namely the youth festival »Den gode historie« (The good story). (12+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 170
Pedersen, Knud Erik (transl. of non-Danish texts)
Der er kommet en komet : nordiske digte for børn
(There came a comet : Nordic poems for children)
København : Forum, 2003. 106 p. + 1 CD
Scandinavia – Poetry
Thanks to state support for book projects, it is often possible in Scandinavian countries to publish outstanding editions from which children, too, will profit (if they want to). Authors, illustrators, publishers, and translators have joined forces to produce a truly magnificent anthology of children’s poetry, which – despite the great number of people involved – can be considered a harmonious whole. All of the poems (and the respective illustrations, of course) have been created especially for this publication. An enclosed CD offers the poems read by their authors and allows the children to experience the sounds of the original languages. This volume can be seen as one of the best showpieces of children’s book culture in the North. Its creation was also supported by the »great old man of children’s poetry from the Nordic countries,« Swedish poet Lennart Hellsing, who himself – out of modesty – has not added any of his own poems to the collection. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 171
Glaz Serup, Martin (text)
Thaulov, Pia (illus.)
[København] : Gyldendal, 2003.  p.
Goose – Noise – Slaughter – Love of animals
This story turns the legend of the geese who saved Rome on its head. After his wife has abandoned him and the farm animals suffer from nervous breakdowns, a farmer cannot stand his geese’s cackling anymore. Even when their cries warn him about a thief, his heart is not softened. On the contrary: While the burglar empties the house, the farmer takes his geese and surrenders them to the butcher. Eventually, quiet returns to the farm. Together with his wife, who has suddenly returned, the farmer contentedly digs into a frugal dinner in the empty house. Could the very modern moral of this bizarre fable be that you can only get rid of annoying fellows by resorting to brutal methods? Or should the adults who read this story to their children explain that the story should actually end differently? (6+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 172
Hega Holst, Kamilla (text)
Thaulov, Pia (illus.)
Den sovende sangerinde
(The sleeping singer)
København : Høst & Søn, 2003. 87 p.
Mother – Nervous breakdown – Child – Helplessness
Liv, whose family has just moved, becomes friends with Nis, the boy from next door. But Nis is different from others: On the one hand, he has a lot of imagination and is able to arouse that of other children. On the other hand, however, there is also a dark side to his life. He has to look after his depressed mother, a former singer, who just vegetates ever since Nis’s father disappeared. When the desperate boy runs away, Liv and her mother take over and slowly help Nis’s mother to regain an interest in life. When Nis finally comes back home, his mother starts singing again. On only a few pages and with sparse language, a fascinating web of tender human relations is spread out before the readers. It allows them to enter into the realm of imagination but also to glimpse at life’s dark mysteries. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 173
Johansen, Anders (text)
Bak, Mette-Kirstine (illus.)
Lasses store verden
(Lasse’s big world)
Århus : Forl. Modtryk, 2003. 160 p.
Denmark/1950-1960 – Child – Everyday life
Anders Johansen tells his readers about a time when their grandfathers were children. He does not choose to relate a »Once upon a time ...« story, however; instead, with great narrative skill, he simply recounts the adventures of a small boy with his family and friends. Thus, modern day Scandinavian Languages children do not deliberately have to travel back to the late 1950s in their minds. They automatically slip into the past, which they might even consider an idyllic time, and will hardly be surprised that this family did not even own a television set. The black-and-white ink illustrations with their slightly caricaturesque style draw a lively picture of the boy’s mostly funny little adventures. (5+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 174
(Time of certainty)
[Frederiksberg] : Branner og Korch, 2003. 262 p.
Teenage girl – Boarding school – Character development
One day, out of the blue, young Mia is sent to boarding school by her parents. At first, she suspects that they want to get rid of her, but the reason for this decision rather seems to be a problem between the parents themselves. Mia has to make herself at home in a new environment, leave old friends behind, try hard to find new friends, and figure out what it is she wants to do with her life. This typical coming-of-age story, written with great empathy by a psychologist, will certainly inspire readers, girls in particular, to start thinking about themselves and their lives. (14+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 175
[København] : Carlsen, 2003. 217 p.
France/1793 – French Revolution – Village – Change of values – Orphan
The French Revolution has turned the lives and habits of the people in a small village upside down. Marie, the blacksmith’s daughter, has lost her father in an accident, while her mother, who is mentally disturbed, is looked after in a convent that no longer receives any financial support because of the revolution. One day, the girl meets Cat, an aristocratic child whose parents were murdered and who currently lives with a group of gypsies. The two girls find Cat’s hidden jewellery box but they have to win a fight before they can share the treasure. Marie leaves her share to the convent so that they can keep the hospital running. This well-written novel combining adventures and human problems provides readers with an interesting glimpse into the chaotic life in France around 1800. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2005 - 171
Albæk Nielsen, Lizette
Richs og rødspættesko : hverdag under besættelsen
(Richs [surrogate coffee] and flounder-shoes [shoes made from fish-skin] – daily life during the occupation)
[Risskov] : Klematis, 2004. 60 p.
Denmark/1940-1945 – World War II – Occupation
This informative and graphic account of daily life in Denmark during the German occupation in World War II includes many historical documents and photographs. In chapters entitled »Blackout«, »Air-raid Alarm«, »Rationing«, »Surrogates«, »School«, »Youth«, »Illegal Press«, »Strikes«, etc., the author has gathered information that will be of interest to children and teenagers. Lizette Albæk Nielsen strictly sticks to the historical facts in her reports and avoids polemical undertones. She has thus created a non-fiction book that could be held up as an ideal example to other books on delicate topics. (12+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2005 - 172
Det seje sjak går i aktion
(The Sticky Gang goes into action)
København : Rosinante, 2004. 118 p.
(Det seje sjak / Boris Boll-Johansen)
Youth gang – Detective – Member – Rescue
Abunch of teenagers who have founded a kind of detective club are utterly bored. When suddenly one of them, Vikram from Sri Lanka, is arrested for an alleged theft during a stroll through town by a guard at the shopping mall, his friends come up with an imaginative plan to rescue him. The constellation of a guard who hates being disturbed and the children who cleverly enact some kind of tall-tale to free their friend leads to numerous amusing and gripping situations. In general, books with young detectives as protagonists are a hackneyed genre. Still, in this case, the publishing house has carried out an interesting concept: Each of the (so far) four volumes of this series is written by a different author. (10+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2005 - 173
[Frederiksberg] : Branner og Korch, 2003. 163 p.
Youth – Right-wing radicalism – Xenophobia
Teenage neo-nazi Jørgen easily manages to stir up Thomas’s animosity against a Tamil boy who pinched his girlfriend. Jørgen intends to abuse the slightly naïve boy for a criminal attack on a refugee home for Bosnian asylum-seekers. Thanks to Thomas’s friend Peter, the plot is discovered and the attack prevented, the people responsible for it are arrested, and Thomas, who had had no intention of joining in, gets off lightly. This novel, which will even enthral reluctant readers, is fitted out with the usual elements of an adventure story but told in a clever way. It might well succeed in making teenagers think critically. (14+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2005 - 174
Fupz-Aakeson, Kim (text)
Eriksson, Eva (illus.)
Så blev Farfar et spøgelse
(That’s how grandfather became a ghost)
[København] : Gyldendal, 2004.  p.
Grandfather – Death – Grandson – Coping with grief
In her illustrations, Eva Eriksson does not choose a realistic style at all costs – rather the opposite in fact. Young Esben’s room is hardly one of these modern ›stockrooms‹ filled with toys; instead, it is almost empty. Thus, the child reader can easily concentrate on what is essential: the cosy bed, the comforting night light, a glass of water to respond to the boy’s sudden craving for a drink. A clock on the wall takes on symbolic meaning: It signalises the passing of time and human life to which the grandfather returns as a ghost to bid goodbye to his grief-stricken grandson. Eriksson’s illustrations and Aakeson’s text, which easily keeps the balance between comic and serious elements (suitable for the topic), have successfully merged to create an original and exciting as well as comforting book about death. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2005 - 175
Tinhjerte og ællingefjer : en bog om H.C. Andersen
(Tinheart and duckfeather : a book about H.C. Andersen)
København : Høst, 2004. 141 p.
Andersen, Hans Christian – Life – Fairy tale – Interpretation
Although this book about Andersen is primarily intended for children, it offers a comprehensive interpretation of the Danish writer’s life and work that also keeps in mind the interested adult reader. The book starts with a young boy who has to write a school essay about Andersen and asks his father, a keen ›fan‹ of Andersen, for help. In former times, the ancient game of question and answer was often ‘abused’ as a means of educating children. In this modern version, Louis Jensen manages to turn it into an interesting and amusing text. One of the main tasks of this book is to explain various aspects of Andersen’s life and show how they are woven into his fairy tales. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2005 - 176
Karrebæk, Oscar (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
[Hillerød] : Alma, 2004.  p.
Dog – Family – Human relations
On the surface, this grotesque group portrait of a dog-clan, drawn by one of the most original Danish illustrators, presents a harmonious family. The solo portraits depicting the respective family members, however, soon reveal that, below the surface, things are not quite what they seem. In reality, this family is a hotchpotch of troubled and changing relationships, typical of modern times: The domineering dog-father has both his wife and his girlfriend beside him, while the grandfather, his ex-wife and her lover are also part of the family. The group portrait is teeming with loads of illegitimate children – nothing out of the ordinary in a dog family – yet for Oscar it is obviously a bit difficult to sort out the various relationships for his story. And then, there is someone else: a little human child who ran away from its parents (dog-dealers). (8+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2005 - 177
Kidde, Rune T. (text)
Quist Møller, Flemming (illus.)
Sørøver Skumskæg og andre historier
(Scumbeard the Pirate, and other tales)
Århus : Forl. Modtryk, 2004. 63 p.
Grotesque – Short story
The popular Danish author writes grotesque stories for children that carefully take into account children’s particular sense of humour. Still, Rune Kidde’s tales are not woven according to as simplistic a pattern as many other stories written in the same genre. This book features a bunch of rather sad characters: a pirate, a troll, a scruffy-looking father. The equally witty illustrations go with the ›new‹ fashion of linearity that already promoted homogeneous colours back in 1900. Thanks to computer graphics, this trend now has an unexpected revival. Before he turned blind in 1990, Kidde also used to create his own very original illustrations for his texts. (6+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2005 - 178
Kvist, Hanne (text)
Brøgger, Lilian (illus.)
Hr. Lykke : kaos og kærlighed i hr. Lykkes kitteludlejning
(Mr. Lykke : chaos and love in Mr. Lykke’s smock rental)
København : Forum, 2004. 107 p.
Middle class – Pessimism – Good luck
Mr. Lykke (i.e. Mr. Luck) is a modest middle-class citizen who scrapes a living by dry-cleaning and renting out smocks. Without the ›moral support‹ of his pet pig, his life would be very dull indeed. One day, however, he is forced to abandon his pessimistic motto of »There is nothing so horrible that it couldn’t take a turn for the worse.« When his new shop sign accidentally reads »Mr. Smock’s Good Luck Rental«, his shop is suddenly very popular: Every unhappy person walks in and receives a good-luck smock. Apart from that, Mr. Lykke’s extraordinary singing voice is discovered and he becomes famous. In the end, he even marries the lovely young cheese-seller. Told in a witty and optimistic tone, and adorned with very original illustrations, this story is a must for children. (8+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2005 - 179
Mouritzen, Peter (text)
Juul, Rasmus (illus.)
Tretten tykke tøndemænd : fjas og fjantasi
(Thirteen fat barrel-men – nonsense and silliness)
København : Apostrof, 2003.  p.
Children’s poetry – Nonsense
This picture book, which features concocted tales in rhyme plus numerous puns, stands apart for its truly original illustrations. On bits of squared paper, partly dyed, partly smeared with dirt, the artist has drawn his caricature-like creatures, animals, and objects with a broad quill in bright colours and glued them together afterwards. These collages, part of which are also covered in careless writing, form a buzzing chaotic surface. The origins of this art style that has recently come back into fashion can undoubtedly be traced back to the Dadaists and Cubists. Within the past ten years, however, modern painting and even book illustration have regularly made use of this alienating technique. (8+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2006 - 174
København : Gyldendal, 2005. 159 p.
Graffiti Youth culture
Kim and Per, two high school students and graffiti artists, leave their (identity) tags mainly on suburban trains in Copenhagen. They are craving excitement, belong to the Hip Hop Scene and long to feel free. In story-form, yet with a lot of factual background knowledge, this book describes their world, their way of thinking, and their pride in their creations when they spot (and photograph) a train with their own works on it. No wonder it seems so convincing because the author himself, who presents his debut novel here, used to be a member of the subculture of graffiti artists in Copenhagen. Readers can therefore assume that his atmospheric descriptions as well as his vocabulary are fairly authentic. (13+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2006 - 175
Gyldenkærne, Nanna (ed.)
Drengen der gik over gevind og andre eventyrlige historier
(The boy who went mad and other adventurous stories)
København : Den Gode Historie, 2005. 156 p.
Short story Fantasy – Anthology
This anthology contains twelve tales and a comic-book-like story: everyday stories suddenly invaded by The Unbelievable, fairy tales, tall tales, and science fiction. They are supposed to whet a child’s appetite for reading. The book was published on the occasion of the festival »The good story«, which was held all over Denmark in 2005 as a reading promotion event. The participating well-known Danish authors, among them Kåre Bluitgen, Louis Jensen, Hanne Kvist, Carls Quist Møller, Peter Mouritzen and Daniel Zimakoff, were commissioned to write an adventure story especially for this anthology. The illustrations for the various tales were created by the best Danish artists such as L. Brøgger, K. Raagaard, and J. Ranheimsæter. (9+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 2006 - 176
Hartmann, Nils (adapt.)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
Hvordan fuglene blev venner og andre eventyr om dyr
(How the birds became friends and other animal tales)
[København] : Gyldendal, 2004. 76 p.
Burmese Animal tale – Anthology
It’s very rare that folk tales from Myanmar (formerly: Burma) find their way into other cultures or languages, but this small book of only ten stories came into existence directly in that country. Nils Hartman discovered the storyteller, Irene Than Pe, in a bookshop in the Burmese capital Yangon (Rangoon), where he was looking for editions of folk tales. Irene, who also spoke English, offered to tell him her stories that had never been published before. He wrote them down, and Dorte Karrebaek created witty illustrations for them. In the appendix, readers learn about the fate of this woman: To escape the Japanese soldiers during the Second World War, she fled to India with her family. Hartmann intentionally follows in the footsteps of Rudyard Kipling, who also collected Asian folk tales. (8+) ☆
Denmark (Danish) - 2006 - 177
Schlosser, Dan (text)
Ranheimsæter, Jon (illus.)
Historien om Lille Blege Johnny
(The story of Little Pale Johnny)
København : Forum, 2005. 54 p.
Child Ambition – Mobbing
A neglected, pale little boy devoid of any self-confidence asks his parents to give him a hip leather outfit to be able to show off on the street. The rough and violent street boys, however, quickly rob him of his fashionable new clothes. Yet, when they start arguing about who is the coolest guy now, Johnny manages to regain hold of his things one by one. The boys beat each other up until they dissolve into an indistinguishable mess of »hamburger-dressing«, which the greedy father immediately picks up and uses for a huge feast of meatballs, fries, and blinis. Despite all its grotesque elements e.g. the greedy father in front of the TV is simply hilarious – this witty parody of the well-known »Story of little black Sambo« by Helen Bannerman contains obvious elements of social criticism. (10+) ☆ ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 2006 - 178
Sigmund, Pia (text)
Clante, Charlotte (illus.)
Emanuel og Louise fra Nyboder
(Emanuel and Louise of Nyboder)
København : Alinea, 2005. 48 p.
Denmark/1872 Working class
Two siblings and their family are the protagonists of this book that paints a colourful picture of Denmark’s working class. The story, which is accompanied by reproductions of historical pictures and vivid scenes drawn by an utterly modern illustrator, describes life in a quarter of terraced houses built in a small Danish town as early as 1631. Since each house was shared by four families, space was scarce. The book does not resort to stereotypes, but rather shows life in all its different facets. Thus, the readers absorb a piece of the cultural history of everyday life at those times told from a child’s perspective. The second book in the series focuses on the adventures of a family of emigrants. Both books are complemented by material for teachers. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2006 - 179
Drengen der samlede på ord
(The boy who collected words)
København : Høst & Søn, 2005. 123 p.
Denmark/1945-1950 Child – School – Outsider – Language
After the end of the Second World War, in a small, narrow-minded Danish town: Albert lives in depressing circumstances with an authoritarian father and a weak mother. His classmates enjoy teasing him because he is different. Yet, he is not the only child who has problems: Children are not supposed to ask questions, nor are they given many answers if they do. And the old teacher is prone to hit her pupils. The children try to overcome the depressing post-war mood that does not allow them to believe in a better future. Albert discovers the power of language and starts collecting words. With his unusual and direct questions, he embarrasses people and exposes their small-mindedness. This novel makes children realise that there is no clear divide between good and bad in a war. Old, traditional patterns of adult behaviour towards children are presented in a dishearteningly realistic way. But the author also offers a convincing description of the children’s happiness when some adults, a new teacher in particular, actually sympathise with them. (10+) ☆
Denmark (Danish) - 2007 - 173
Aakeson, Kim Fupz (text)
Brøgger, Lilian (illus.)
En historie om vokseværk
(A story about growing pains)
[København] : Gyldendal, 2006.  p.
Father – Growing pains – Metamorphosis – Dragon
In his unique and very original style, Kim Fupz Aakeson describes a father who suddenly suffers from growing pains, just like a child. He grows taller and taller and eventually turns into a dragon. The book closes with the huge portrait of his final appearance on a double fold-out page. There is no happy end to the story: Mother and son flee, and although they are wondering whether he might shrink again one day, it is highly unlikely that an overpowering father gets back to normal size. It may seem that this book is imbued with a heavy moral. Yet, the story focuses not so much on an overpowering father figure as on the grotesque idea of a person bursting at the seams, an idea which Lilian Brøgger’s ingeniously anarchic pictures make visible in a most beautiful way. (6+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2007 - 174
Asbjørnsen, Peter Christen (text)
Moe, Jørgen (text)
Nygren, Tord (select./illus.)
Rud, Anine (transl.)
Asbjørnsen og Moes bedste eventyr
(Asbjørnsen and Moe’s best fairy tales)
[København] : Gyldendal, 2006. [ca. 260] p.
Norway – Fairy tale
This edition, produced in cooperation with the Swedish publisher Opal, contains some of the most popular Norwegian fairy tales from the famous collection of Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe. In 1841, they both started to edit and publish tales that they had been collecting in various Norwegian villages. Although the stories were printed in Danish, which was the official literary language at the time, they were larded with Norwegian expressions. Swedish artist Tord Nygren’s wonderful watercolour illustrations, which radiate a rich atmosphere and perfectly characterise the various figures, turn this volume into a real gem. (8+) ☼
Denmark (Danish) - 2007 - 175
Denning, Ken (text)
Bartholin, Hanne (illus.)
Den blå dreng og andre fortællinger om natten
(The blue boy and other tales about the night)
København : Apostrof, 2005. 93 p.
Bedtime story – Darkness – Fear
Young Berlin’s father tells him bedtime stories. Bizarre as they are (a quality that the author is famous for), they will fascinate both children and adults because they deal with »practical« issues such as how to cope with the fear of darkness, who may have told the first bedtime story ever, or how much such a story may cost. The child’s questions with their peculiar logic frequently lead the adult down the garden path. The father in turn tries to reduce his son’s fears by (falsely) claiming that children were never afraid of the dark when he was small. A young child reading the tales will easily see through these fibs and enjoy them. (By the way: A bedtime story’s price increases according to the weight of the words it contains; and the creepiest ones are the most expensive ones.) (8+)
Denmark (Danish) - 2007 - 176
Jørgensen, Lars Holmgaard
Nicklas og krigen
(Nicklas and the war)
København : Forum, 2006. 92 p
Iraq/2003 – War – Soldier
Since Nicklas adores his uncle Per, who has been sent to Iraq as a soldier, the boy has fairly romantic ideas about war. Yet, when his uncle comes home for a short holiday, Nicklas learns that it is quite different from what he imagined. His uncle is neither the brave soldier he saw on the photographs, nor a weapons enthusiast. On the contrary, he disapproves of the war games his nephew plays on the computer and is severely traumatised by his experiences. Very slowly, the boy realises that this war, and any war for that matter, is a terrible human catastrophe. The author describes the events from the young boy’s perspective and thus clearly points out the difference between the child’s imagination and reality. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2007 - 177
Mouritzen, Peter (text)
Themberg, Mads (illus.)
København : Høst, 2006. 55 p.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von / Der Erlkönig (The Erlking) – Father – Son
With this small book, the renowned author gave himself a special 60th birthday present. He uses Goethe’s famous ballad (in the magnificent translation by V. Andersen, 1864-1953) and retells it in a modern setting: After watching a horror movie, a father and his son drive home at night. As the father feels guilty for taking his young son to see the film, he tries to ignore the child’s feverish fantasies caused by it. In the end, rising fog makes him crash into a tree, and the soul of the dead child floats away with the fatherly figure of the Erlking. Impressive black-and-white drawings underline the story’s uncanny atmosphere. The book offers a gripping new version but may also generate new interest in the original classic ballad. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2007 - 178
Neergaard, Dorthe de (text)
Cools, Els (illus.)
To knapper i hånden
(Two buttons in the hand)
København : People’s Press, 2006. 28 p.
Child – Visual defect – Glasses
Little Rie doesn’t want to get up one morning because she believes that suddenly two buttons are sewn unto her hand. The world around her, which she isn’t able to take in properly anymore, frightens her terribly. While the girl’s mother, busy with her daily routine, fails to see what’s wrong with her daughter, toy elephant Øjvind is the only one the girl can relate to until the mother finally realises that Rie needs glasses. With these on her nose, the girl immediately returns to the real world. With the help of absurd situations, the author and illustrator of this story try to explain the confusion of a child who doesn’t grasp what has happened to her eyes. The picturesque illustrations hover between a realistic representation and surreal distortions of reality. (8+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2007 - 179
København : Høst, 2006. 187 p.
School holidays – Grandparents – Child – Adult
In Scandinavian children’s literature, the protagonists often spend their holidays on small islands or at similarly remote places where they are suddenly confronted with other people or develop a better understanding for the beauty of the landscape. In this novel, too, the Scandinavian solitary region isolates the inexperienced protagonist to a greater extent than similar settings in other countries would do. The few other people whom young Aske meets while he is staying with his grandparents show special, unusual qualities. He learns about the wishes and dreams of his new play-fellow Kjartan whose older sister is the first »friendly« female Aske encounters. Overall, it’s the insecure boy’s grandparents who provide him with some inner stability. (10+)
Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2007 - 180
Serup, Martin Glaz (text)
Nielsen, Lars Vegas (illus.)
[Hillerød] : Alma, 2006.  p.
Child – Falling asleep – Monster
This book offers an original and jocular interpretation of an ever-popular topic: Tired parents try in vain to make their chirpy, wide-awake offspring fall asleep so that they can have a peaceful evening for once. The continuous nagging of the parents (who themselves are huge, monster-like creatures) is visualised by sketchily drawn, skewed figures surrounded by disgustingly pale blurbs of colour in brown and green. When the parents still refuse to stop whinging, the child finally magically summons his own monster which promptly materialises from his imagination. The colours turn into comforting shades of eerie green and raw red. In the end, monster and boy cosily sit around together, shovel popcorn into their mouths, and watch a ghost film on TV. (4+)