White Ravens: Norwegian

85 books      

Norway (Norwegian) - 1993 - 155
Audum-Mulholland, Beate
Allerkjæreste Mamma
(Dearest Mummy)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1992. 100 p.
ISBN 82-03-17174-5
Amir lives in a small town with his grandmother and his father. His mother has disappeared. Often he talks with his doll about the reasons why she might have left him alone. This moving story tells how, with the help of fantasy, the boy copes with the loss of his mother. (8+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1993 - 156
Lindskog, Runo (text)
Morisse, Tor (illus.)
Buster på jakt
(Buster Goes Hunting)
Oslo: Ernst G. Mortensens, 1992. 26 p.
ISBN 82-527-1155-3
dog - hunt - mistakes
Buster is very keen on hunting. Unfortunately, when he finally goes out to the woods for the first time, he discovers that he does not know exactly what an elk looks like. But in the end he can demonstrate that he is a real expert on foxes. The very funny illustrations with some slightly absurd components give the reader opportunity to identify many different animals. (5+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1993 - 157
Skjønsberg, Harald (text)
0ien, Jan-Kåre (illus.)
Da det regnet i Oslo
(When It Rained in Oslo)
Oslo: Damm, 1991. 76 p.
ISBN 82-517-7787-9
Norway - refugees - World War II (1942)
Accompanied by Marie, Anders visits his grandfather. The old man tells the youngsters the story of Johan and Marie - without letting them know that it is his very own story. - Short sentences and a simple style of language make this book very easy to read; nevertheless it conveys a very moving impression of Norwegian refugees threatened by German soldiers. (8+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1993 - 158
Såtvedt, Olav
(Silver Mountain)
Ølso: Gyldendal Norsk, 1992. 125 p.
ISBN 82-05-20659-7
Norway - unemployment - poverty - history (1801-1806)
The story takes place in 1805: 16-year-old Amund has already worked 6 years in a silver mine when he becomes unemployed. The book describes how Amund experiences hunger, poverty, violence and desperation. In spite of the desolate theme, the author uses a warm and loving tone, indicating that the world today is perhaps not so very different from the world in former times. (11+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1993 - 160
Höglund, Anna (text/illus.)
Resor jag aldrig gjort: av Syborg Stenstump
(Journeys that I Never Made: by Syborg Stenstsump)
Stockholm: Bonniers, 1992. 38 p.
ISBN 91-48-52030-6
traveling - fantasy
Syborg Stenstump ventures forth on really remarkable journeys - sitting alone on her sofa at home reading in her atlas. The text is simple but striking and accentuates the unrestrained fantasy of the illustrations. Some of the slightly ironic observations may not be understood by small children, but adults who read it aloud will immensely enjoy this colorful book. (6+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1993 - 161
Larsson, Mats
(The Street Girl)
Stockholm: AWE/Gebers, 1991. 119 p.
ISBN 91-20-10136-8
Brazil - street children - drugs - prostitution
Mats Larsson has dedicated this book to all the street children who have to fight for their living in this world. In a very realistic, sometimes shocking way he describes the desperate and hopeless life of these children who grow up without love and security. Their constant confrontation with violence, drugs and prostitution and the background of the menace of death squads are portrayed in a very authentic way. (11+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1993 - 162
Palmenfelt, Ulf (text)
Grähs, Gunna (illus.)
Nar Fan flådde smeden och andra hiskeliga historier
(When the Devil Skinned the Blacksmith and Other Atrocious Stories)
Stockholm: Tiden, 1992. 93 p.
ISBN 91-550-3774-7
ghosts - horror stories - folktale (19th century)
A funny collection of ghost and horror stories in which the expressive, sometimes grotesque pictures of Gunna Grähs contribute powerfully to the total reading experience: her illustrations are at least as gruesome as the 19th century folk- tales which Ulf Palmenfelt retells with a slightly modern touch. In the foreword the author explains roughly the way people lived in former times. (10+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1993 - 163
Lindgren, Barbro (text)
Pyk, Madeleine (text/illus.)
Jam-Jam! lb-lb!
(<Proper name>)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1992. 32 p.
ISBN 91-87804-29-8
Fantasy blossoms abundantly in this novel written in letter form. Daily life takes on completely new shapes in words and pictures. Bizarre and full of humor and love are the letters that Barbro Undgren and Madeleine Pyk have written to one another over half a year long, informing each other about the life and destiny of two cats, one belonging to a farmer and the other living in the city. The result is this stimulating cat-art-book for readers of all ages. (12+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1993 - 164
Stark, Ulf (text)
Höllund, Anna (illus.)
Kan du vissla Johanna
(Can You Whistle, Johanna?)
Stockholm: Bonniers, 1992. 48 p.
ISBN 91-48-51930-8
grandfather - friendship - death
One day Berra's friend tells him about all the advantages of having a grandfather. Fully convinced, Berra decides to choose one from a home for elderly people and adopt him. It turns out to be a real hit! Both of them have a lot of fun, but the end is very near. - A warm-hearted story, not overly sentimental, with humorous touches, but also earnest and melancholic. The pictures are a perfect completion of the text which may be a bit too extensive for beginning readers. (10+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1994 - 185
Karlsen, Øyvind Bremer
Odin går berserk! : All verdas frimerke med motiv frå norrøn gudetni og historie
(Wotan goes Berserk: Postal Stamps from Around the World with Motives from northen Islands, Religion and History)
Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget, 1992. 112 p.
ISBN 82-521-3821-7
Scandanavia <Motif> - Postal Stamp
In the form of a very lovely, and clearly laid out information book we are presented here with a catalog of postage stamps, all reproduced in full-color. They are organized in the manner of Stanley Gibbon's catalogs. For individual motifs and themes there are interesting to read, short historical and cultural tales given. (10+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1994 - 186
Løland, Rasmus
(The Polar Bear)
Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget, 1993. 117 p.
(Klassikarseiren for barn 1)
ISBN 82-521-4104-8
Everyday Life/Child - Norway
Løland (1861-1907) is one of the great classic writers of Norwegian children's literature who rightly deserves to be reprinted over and over again. These tales from the everyday lives of three children - Gunnar, Kolbein and Andres - in a Norwegian village reads just a smoothly today as a hundred years ago because of is humorous, sympathetic style of language.

Norway (Norwegian) - 1994 - 187
Viermyr, Marianne
(Cuckoo Child)
Aarhus: Forl. Modtryk, 1993. 155 p.
ISBN 87-7394-298-7
(Originalausgabe: Gjøkungen. Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk, 1991)
Illegitimate Child - Orphanage - Foster Parent - Siblings - Death - True Identity - Nightmare
A young girl who feels unwanted and misunderstood (her playmates tease her by calling her cuckoo child) has dark, inexplicable memories. Others seem to known more about her past than she does. She learns from her grandmother that she is the illegitimate, unwanted child of her "aunt", brought up in a home for children. Her helplessness within her surroundings, her search for the truth are vital and gripping, portrayed without tear-jerking sentimentality. (12+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1994 - 188
Økland, Einar
Siste time : Ni ulike historier
(The Final Hour: Nine Different Stories)
Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget, 1992. 94 p.
ISBN 82-521-3893-4
Short Stories/Norwegian
Witty, reflective, surrealistic short stories by a renown Norwegian writer - potential texts for a future picture book? (10+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1994 - 189
Sem, Ingebjerg Dahl
Flayten og tamet
(The Flute and the Tower)
Oslo: H. Aschehoug, 1993. 195 p.
ISBN 82-03-17089-7
Power Abuse
Arikko, a shepherd-boy from a village in the mountains, whose favorite lamb is flogged to death by knights, sets out on a quest for justice and gets caught up himself in a forces of power represented by the oppressor Rekado. The age-old theme of prostituted power and preservation of honor are treated here in a thrilling adventure story in the Nordic landscape and a long-ago time - good for a flight of the imagination in several hours of reading. (12+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1995 - 149
Egeberg, Ingri
Hvis Åshild hadde vært her
(Yes, if only Åshild were here)
Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk, 1994. 35 p.
ISBN 82-05-22622-9
Only child - School holidays - Adventure - Playmate
A typical Scandinavian holiday in a wood cabin on the water - very lonely especially when Father is not there and one has no brothers or sisters. The arrival of a play- mate is the happy-end of this singular picture book. The artist's brilliant draughtsman- ship successfully transforms the compo- sition principles of a black-and-white comic into a very lively series of episodes (strewed in a good-night story) put down with an ink pen rushing over the paper, full of expres- sive movement, constantly breaking up the pictures' borderlines. (8+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1995 - 150
Hagerup, Klaus
Markus og Diana: Lyset fra Sirius
(Mark and Diana: the light of Sirius)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1994. 185 p.
ISBN 82-03-24063-1
Shyness - Swindle - Film star - Personality development
When an easily frightened and shy Mark encounters a young local film actress to whom he had written for an autogramm, it turns out that she is no more a Hollywood star than he a millionaire's son. The realization that people are often different than they seem helps him to gain more self- assurance, This fourth young adult novel by the experienced writer of radio and stage plays derives its literary qualities not so much from the story, though it is original enough, as from the clear speech, full of understated wit, a discreet irony that doesn't need the flighty jargon of youth and also from skillfully developed scenes and lively dialogues. (12+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1995 - 151
Mitchell, Ingelil
Tårnbjørnen: Spillet om tiden
(The tower bear: a play about time)
Oslo: J.W. Cappelen, 1994.
ISBN 82-02-14383-7
Time - Days of week - Name giving - Marionette theater
This is a lyrical elaboration of the names of the week (the Germanic version), embedded in a marionette theater play performed by a bear. It can be enjoyed for itself, but also as an excuse to create very poetic pictures, extravagant pictures of unusually intensive and extraordinarily harmonious colorfulness. (6-8)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1995 - 152
Sossen (text)
Krohg, Guy (illus.)
Hvor ble det av Hansemann?
(What is keeping Hansemann?)
Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk, 1994. 28 p.
ISBN 82-05-21763-7
Opera - Lost/Search
Subtly intertwined in a bizarre and eccentric story about four-year-old Hansemann - who runs off just before the children's opera "Journey to the Christmas Star" begins and must be searched for by his sister and the opera house staff - the reader is given an amusing introduction into the world of theater. However, it is not this frequently employed didactic trick which makes the book noteworthy, but instead the illustrations. Krohg, son of a highly regarded Norwegian painter, has created light-hearted, roughly cut, color collages. The unusual aesthetic experience which they create is inspired by Schwitters; yet by using pieces of old wood cuts Krohg also makes reference to the Biedermeier style of amateur hobby collages (such as found in Andersen's works). (6+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 196
Asbjørnsen, Peter Christen (text)
Moe, J. E. (text)
Granhaug, Silje (illus.)
Hanen og reven
(The Rooster and the Fox)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1995. [24] p.
ISBN 82-02-14862-6
Fox - Threat - Rooster - Cleverness
The tale of the rooster who is caught by the fox but then uses his cleverness to free himself is presented here as a picture book with modern illustrations in a pictorial style - in images take on expressive character through their almost grotesquely deformed proportions, but which with their use of extreme perspectives at times resemble comic art. (6+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 197
Berggren, Arne
Kornetten - et rop om hjelp
(The Cornet Player - A Cry for Help)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1995. 127 p.
ISBN 82-03-24118-2
School - Pop music
The main character and first-person narrator of this book is a new member of a brass orchestra at school. The orchestra not only serves to develop musical talents, for example by practicing »I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas«, but also to give a sense of community. The boy must learn to deal on the one hand with the demands of the music group and with his aversion to it and on the other hand with his parents in order to exert his own will. The appeal of this amusing and contemplative story, full of dry humor, is to be found in a few episodic highlights and in the dialogues. (12+) ☼

Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 198
Bringsværd, Tor Åge (text)
Nortvedt, Therese (illus.)
(The Twilight of the Gods)
Olso: Gyldendal Norsk, 1995. [58] p.
(Vår gamle gudelære, Bd.12)
ISBN 82-05-22369-6
In this twelve-volume series the individual heathen gods and characteristic themes of Scandinavian mythology are presented in a comprehensive story rather than in the usual general description in encyclopedia style. The various Norwegian illustrators of the series have attempted to avoid the usual historicizing style of illustration. Therese Nortvedt excells with these expressive, artistic pictures. Sharp contrasts between black-white and color resemble the style of l'art brut. In addition to the twelve volumes there is an encyclopedia-style volume with alphabetized descriptions of all persons mentioned with references to the respective volumes. (10+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 199
Ekman, Fam
Dagbok forsvunnet
(The Missing Diary)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1995. [34] p.
ISBN 82-02-1526
Diary - Loss - Search/Find
Having already attracted attention with a number of original picture books, the artist shows here that she is capable of even more. While retaining her individual graphic style - a mixture of abstraction, expressive gestures and primitivist form - she employs more expansive and consistency in these pictures. This is the story of a statue that loses her diary, searches for it in various places in the city and finally finds it at the police station, it is fascinating to see how the artist can create a level of uncertainty and mystery behind the concrete figures and landscapes. She encourages the imagination of the reader who is prepared to indulge in the mood of the images. (6+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 200
Halstvedt, Tor (text)
Hansen, Thore (illus.)
(The river thief)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, [1995]. 152 p.
Tramp - Transformation - Adventure travels
Kåre, the stutterer, and Johan are absolutely bored to death. But not for long, because they soon are captured by a tramp and turned first of all into fish. They have to wander around the world searching for a stolen river before they finally arrive home again safely. This is an adventure story, amusingly told, illustrated with comical cartoon illustrations that take all the trouble out of reading. (10+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 201
Hansen, Espen (text)
Sandemose, Iben (illus.)
De tre sauene som dro til byen for å ha det fett
(The Three Sheep Who Went to Town to Have a Good Time)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1995. 38 p.
ISBN 82-02-15289-5
Sheep - Hibernation - City/Country - Opposites
Almost as a travesty of the City Musicians of Bremen, the author tells here of three sheep who see the winter approaching and believe they could survive it better in the city. In a compact, fairy-tale like form the reader experiences the grotesque clashes between the animals, whose can only imperfectly behave like people (leaving behind them in the bus funny black lumps), and civilization. They advance to stardom as pop-singers because their rhythmic ba-ba-ba fits ideally into the level of pop-music. Brief and humorous, accom-panied by ingenious black-and-white illustrations in Iben Sandemose's typical, robust style - books which succeed as well as this one are not found often. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 202
Rem, Håvard (text)
Nordberg, Harald (illus.)
Tvilling brødrene
(The Twin Brothers)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1995. [28] p.
ISBN 82-03-24105-0
In a very delicate manner the two opposing sides of human nature are portrayed here in twin brothers. This is a topic which is often disturbing to children when they realize that they want to be good, but instead do bad things. That both sides go to make up each person is shown in the ending when the gentle, handsome Jon and the strong, coarse Sigurd melt together into one person. Harald Nordberg's pictures portray shapes and landscapes in almost naive form, embedded in spotty, even cracked color backgrounds. Static or full of movement, the shapes and colors merge into vigorous pictures which can unfold their full effect even in a relatively small book format. (6+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1996 - 203
Sandemose, Iben
(Angel's Skin)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1995. 32 p.
ISBN 82-02-15777-3
Cat - Death - Angel - Grief
The theme of death and grieving has certainly never been dealt with in such and ingenious and humorous manner as in this picture book. It describes how a little girl buries her dead cat and forwards all the cats letters to heaven. A fallen angel (connoisseurs of will recognize the allusion to Hugo Simberg's famous picture »Wounded Angel«), whom she carries off and nurses back to health with her also grieving older girl-friend, takes her for a visit to heaven where she can see for herself that her cat is happy. Later a new cat helps to overcome the sadness once and for all. Iben Sandemose (*1950), whose expressive style has sadly only been published to date by daring publishers in Scandinavia, has a talent for telling a story as unsentimentally but still very movingly, so that the guidance that she hopes to offer reaches the reader undiminished. Sandemose works with vivacious movement and solid lines and spaces and intensive but not garish colors. The double-paged spreads with hand-written text (the letters) excellently unfold their full graphic effect through the contrast between black-and-white, monotone and multicoloring. She is even able to make a field full of black gravestones aesthetically appealing. (6+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 190
Austrem, Liv Marie (text)
Düzakin, Akin (illus.)
(The twin brother)
Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget, 1995. [28] p.
ISBN 82-521-4522-1
Siblings - Competetive behavior - Love
A lively girl has a provokingly well-behaved brother who she cannot bear. They get to know each other better after a ski accident. Their relationship is illustrated by Düzakin, who is of Turkish ancestry, with fairly cool precision. Many of his naturalistic details seem to be collages, but are for the most part drawings. The child figures resemble dolls, but have a wide range of facial expressions. The artist has many surprises up his sleeve. (6+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 191
Ekman, Fam
(The coffee bean family line)
Oslo: Cappelen, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 82-02-15835-4
Coffee - Imaginary world
This story is as surrealistic as the illustrations. It tells how some people have descended from apes, while others - who love coffee very much - are obviously descendents of a coffee bean. Even though the pictures resemble free-style graphics, they are indeed perfectly matched with the text and form the most fascinating part of this book. The artist has mixed together very different techniques - scratchboard, drawing, collages of self-made patterned papers, prints from paper and lino-cut. (10+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 192
[En og tjue] 21 hundreår; Finn Graff <Initials>
(21 Centuries)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1996. 350 p.
ISBN 82-03-24119-0
Culture - Civilization/History 1 AD - 2100 AD
Twenty-one well-known and less well-known Norwegian writers have written a story fitting to each century - thoughtful, diverse and in every respect remarkable literary contributions for the coming millenium. (14+) ☆

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 193
Gaarder, Jostein (text)
Kjelsen, Reidar (illus.)
Hallo? Er det noen her?
(Hello, is anyone there?)
Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk, 1996. 140 p.
ISBN 82-525-3145-8
Child/Baby - Sibling - Human life
Before Joakim gets a new brother he dreams of this new earth creature as coming from another star and explains to the newcomer all about life on the planet Earth. Gaarder turns this idea into a fantastic tale, telling it mainly in dialog form. It is outdone by the even more fantastic, grotesque illustrations whose monsters are more funny than frightening. (8+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 194
Hansen, Thore (text/illus.)
Vår verden, Victoria
(Our world, Victoria)
Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk, 1995. 37 p.
ISBN 82-05-23199-0
Imagination - Dream travel
In this brief story about a strange uncle who abducts his niece into the realm of his fantasy, the author demonstrates how creatively he can create fantasy worlds in pictures - in black-and-white drawings that have no need for colors. (8+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 195
Loe, Erlend (text)
Hiorthøy, Kim (illus.)
Kurt blir grusom
(Kurt becomes cruel)
Oslo: Cappelen, 1995. 103 p.
ISBN 82-02-157791-9
Money - Meglomania
Truck driver Kurt is considered to a friendly man by everyone, including himself. One day he miraculously gets an entire truck full of money and he completely flips out. He wants to become a government minister and spends incredible sums of money on an election campaign that in the end only brings him one vote - his own. As a result he goes wild, and must pay for the damage he does with a demolition truck with the rest of his money. The moral of the story is: mammon corrupts. Not this, but rather the pithy style of depiction, full of dry humor, and illustrated with very original bizarre caricatures, make the book quite remarkable. (10+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 196
Loe, Erlend (text)
Hiorthøy, Kim (illus.)
Den store røde hunden
(The big red dog)
Oslo: Cappelen, 1996. [38] p.
ISBN 82-02-15834-6
Family conflict - Self-assertion
Putting Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and Jonas together in one story has rarely been done up to now. During a car trip with her grandparents, a little girl runs off into the woods to take a pee. In a solitary cottage she meets an old man who gives her shelter. The next day she is eaten up by a great red dog, frees herself and tames him with a megaphone. Then she does the same to her long-lost grandparents and brother William. Just as crazy as the story itself are also the illustrations - a wild and humorous mixture of caricature, hobby painting and Tachist spots on every single page. (8+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 197
Natvig, Lars (text)
Dybvig, Per (illus.)
Johan uten frukt
(Fearless Johann)
Oslo: Bonnier Carlsen, 1996. [30] p.
ISBN 82-424-1070-4
Boy/Girl - Friendship
This story of a boy who is afraid of nothing - neither spiders nor girls - is in essence quite simple. But the bizarre, sometimes grotesquely exaggerated pictures turn it into an aesthetic adventure. (6+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 198
Nyquist, Arild (text)
Elling, Lars (illus.)
(The button house)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1995. 81 p.
ISBN 82-03-24107-7
Meaning of life
Following in the best Skandinavian tradition, this short tale describes the slightly painful questions of a dreamy young boy who has very different parents as he asks about the meaning of life and about hope for the future. The value of the text is matched by the meticulous printing and the uniquely monumental collages of the artist Elling. (12+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 199
Sæther, Wera
(The grandchildren of maize)
Oslo: J.W. Cappelen, 1996. 54 p.
ISBN 82-02-15802-8
Guatemala - Maya - Corn
In this documentary report about the rural life of Maya children, the author presents the fate of the Maya peoples since the age of Columbus and also describes their traditional customs and myths. The photographs are not merely dry sources of ethnographic information, but convey a lively, atmospheric impression of the lives of these village children. (10+) ☆

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 200
Sortland, Bjørn (text)
Elling, Lars (illus.)
Forteljinga om jakta på forteljinga
(The story of the hunt for stories)
Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget, 1995. [44] p.
ISBN 82-521-4538-8
Writer - Reader
The enormous success of these picturebook makers with their art book for children, »Red, blue and a bit of yellow«, has encouraged them to take a shot at writers. Dedicated to »all the patient and helpful librarians of the world«, this book brings the youthful hero Henrik into contact with a series of famous writers as he searches for the library to get a new book for his uncle. In the end, Salman Rushdie gives him a blue-covered book and remarks that Henrik himself is the hero of the story he has experienced. The author skilfully fills the tale with the same mysticm that real literature uses to captivate its readers. (10+) ☆

Norway (Norwegian) - 1998 - 193
Bonde, Heidi
Flamingohøsten har begynt. Skisser og samtaler i et forfatterverksted
(The autumn of flamingoes has begun. Sketches and conversations from a writing workshop)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1997. 119 p.
ISBN 82-02-16756-6
Writer - Poetry - Family life
A mother tries to reconcile her profession as a poet with her duties toward her family. The prosaic nature of everyday life (lost socks, unbalanced household accounts, scorched pans, etc.) which she takes as her subject matter leads to a fruitful dialogue about the issues of poetry. And yet there is a need for inspiration. »Inspiration is when I get no lunch«, comments the young son, in this thoroughly original and humorous contribution to a discussion of the nature of poetry writing. (12+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1998 - 194
Fosse, Jon
Fy å fy. Hundemanuskripta 3
(Fie! Fie! A dog's manuscript 3)
Oslo: Norske Samlaget, 1997. 41 p.
ISBN 82-521-4958-8
Dog - Jealousy - Rivalry
The ship dog Haktor had lived long and peaceably on the crane barge until the skipper came up with the barmy idea of getting a second dog, supposedly because Haktor is getting too old. On account of this new she-pup Loliletta, young, brazen and full of appetite, Haktor comes to the conclusion that life is no longer worth living. Fosse cleverly avoids using the weak, begging-for-sympathy mode of first-person narration, but still tells this short story from the dog's perspective, which gives occasion for an amusing choice of phrases. This book is an example of the publishers intention to make the artificial language of Nynorsk popular through good books. (8+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1998 - 195
Johnsen, Kjell Erik (text)
Düzakin, Akin (illus.)
Herr Siml prøver å finne seg selv
(Mr. Siml tries to find himself)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelen, 1997. [26] p.
ISBN 82-02-16601-2
Bibliophile - Fiction/Reality
Since Mr. Siml cannot find anything anymore among his many books, in the end he cannot even find himself. His image appears only as a phantom between books and pictures - the great occasion for the very original illustrator to invent picture puzzles. When Mr. Siml becomes so desparate that he begins to cry, he begins to recall that he is a human being and he takes steps back into life again. This is a gentle admonition to young and old book lovers about the dangers of loosing one's self in the illusory world of books. (8+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1998 - 196
Nicolaysen, Marit (text)
Dybvig, Per (illus.)
(The journey through the sewage canals)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1996. 55 p.
(Aschehoug illustrerte barnebøker)
ISBN 82-03-24153-0
Sewage canals
One hot summer day a group of school children are forced to make a tour of the sewage canal system. While they are being told about the function of the sewers - and on the brink of claustrophobia and nausea due to the stinking odors and the rats - one of the boys faints. He becomes acquainted with the romantic side of the sewer keeper, realizes that his house rat is a finer one than the canal rat and even gains a girlfriend through it all. Told with a dry sense of humor, this short tale and its outrageous caricatures in the style of Quentin Blake will be most enjoyed by children who are reluctant readers. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1998 - 197
Nyquist, Arild (text)
Graff, Finn (illus.)
Gullens drøm om en øy
(Sweetie's dream of an island)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1997. [61] p.
ISBN 82-03-24182-4
Father/Daughter - Sexual abuse
A young girl, who is at the mercy of her father's advances because she gets no support from her weak-willed mother, dreams of being rescued by a dog, a sailor and a bird and finally fleeing from her somber home to live in peace on an island. Both text and illustrations handle this delicate topic neither in a blunt way, nor in awkward or crude manner, as in some other works, but in a poetic, alluding narrative with even more direct insinuations in the illustrations. These pictures make it clear that the father's fixation on his daughter may well be accompanied by an erotic ambivalence. The artist gives expression to this through the surreal scenes in which the very relaxed posture of the daydreaming girl - the composition copies a painting by Balthus - do not portray a suffering child, but a creature with an erotic aura. (12+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1998 - 198
Sortland, Bjørn (text)
Hiorthøy, Kim (illus.)
Den solbrente mammaen som blei bytta mot ti kamelar
(The sun-burned mother who was traded for ten camels)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1997. 83 p.
ISBN 82-03-24208-1
Jordan - Vacation - Culture clash
An unplanned vacation in Aqaba, in Jordan, leads to a surprising cultural experience for a Norwegian family when the mother, in good fun, accepts the bride price being offered by a native Jordanian. This is a burlesque novel with a touch of exotic by the now internationally renown author Sortland. It won the publisher's prize as best children's book in 1997. Just as unusual as the story are the binding and illustrations in a strictly linear style, which are a welcome change from the average naturalism of many children's book illustrations. (8+) ☆

Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 201
Ambjørnsen, Ingvar (text)
Dybvig, Per (illus.)
Arven etter Onkel Rin-Tin-Tei
(Oncle Rin-Tin-Tin's legacy)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelens Forlag, 1998. 92 p.
ISBN 82-02-18226-3
Poverty - Inheritance - Guesthouse
A dog and a cat live in abject poverty, barely surviving, in a diplapidated house. Then the dog inherits a guesthouse that is in even worse condition. This is the story about what happens when they renovate the house and begin to take in guests. But it is not the simple story that makes the book interesting, but rather the ironic, funny style of narration that adults will also enjoy reading aloud. Most unusual are the high-quality illustrations: black-and-white drawings full of anarchic unrest and confusion, modern sassy animal caricatures lacking any sugariness, that will not please an old spinster, but surely any child. (8+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 202
Hagerup, Hilde
(Gusts of waves)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1998. 157 p.
ISBN 82-03-24267-7
Puberty - Love - Jealousy
In this first novel the author is most successful - perhaps because she is herself not far removed from this age group, being born in 1976 - in giving a convincing portrait of the states of elation and devastation in the life of a girl just entering puberty as she is torn between the outright erotically motivated admiration for an older girlfriend and the incipient interest for a boy, complete with the unavoidable feelings of jealousy which must arise out of this constellation. (13+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 203
Hentig, Urd von (illus.)
Hva er det for noe? Gåter fra Norge
(What is it? Riddles from Norway)
Oslo: Kulturbro Forlag, 1997. [58] p.
ISBN 82-91234-18-3
Norway - Riddles
The Kulturbro (»Bridge of Cultures«) Publishing House is making an admirable effort to help integrate children of foreigners into their new Norwegian homeland. In this picture book young readers whose native tongues are Croatian, Persian, Vietnamese or Somali will find Norwegian riddles and answers along with the answers in their own languages. Accessible but artistic illustrations in attractive, but not gaudily colorful watercolors against a purple background enhance its appeal to children. In the illustrative style of the German-born artist one finds traces of her study travels in other parts of the world as well as elements of expressionism. (6+) ☆ ☼

Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 204
Lillevik, Linda (text)
Stirvik, Kjell Ove (photos)
Klart jeg kan!
(Sure I can do that!)
Bergen: Eide, 1998. 44 p.
ISBN 82-514-0549-1
Downs Syndrom - Everyday life
Although there are now several good children's books about handicaps, this one is especially cheery and attractively designed. In very lively, thoughtfully composed and organized photographs the reader can follow the tranquil events of a day in the life of a young girl named Kristine - how she washes in the morning, goes to the potty, is taken to kindergarten and then visits the aquarium and swimming pool with her parents. (5+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 205
Sandemosse, Iben (text/illus.)
Hva med meg, da?
(What about me?)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelens Forlag, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 82-02-17916-5
Falling in love - Insecurity
The self-doubts of a young boy in love could hardly be portrayed more concisely than the artist does in these few pictures. By using a make-believe animal as protagonist instead of a human figure, with all its limitations, she turns the eternal problem of successful flirting into a universal one. The boys dissatisfaction with his looks and his helpless attempts to elicit attention by changing his appearance are depicted in impressively uncompromising and quite witty pictures set against a white background. Only when he offers his heart (a touching, old-fashioned figure of speech that still holds true) does he find his love reciprocated. It is high time that the books by this original illustrator become known outside of Norway! (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 206
Svalheim, Peter (text)
Moursund, Gry (illus.)
(The heavenly cow Kua)
Oslo: J. W. Cappelens Forlag, 1998. [40] p.
ISBN 82-02-17896-7
Cow - Friendship - Sun - Wish - Horse - Transformation
Kua the cow can no longer bear staying in the barn all winter because she misses her friend, the sun, so much. So she moves into the horse stables. There she is advised to quit dreaming and make her dream come true. So the next day Kua rides off with the horse-loving young girl Ingunn and flies toward the sun. And when her overflowing udder gives painful reminder of her true cow nature, she lets her milk rain down upon earth, directly into people's mouths and jugs. Then Kua is content to return to the other cows, who are now grazing in the meadows. This idyllic story is told in quite non-idyllic, bizarrely comical pictures whose strong colors and distorted shapes cleverly draw on upon stylistic elements of modern painting. (7+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2000 - 195
Sortland, Bjørn (text)
Elling, Lars (illus.)
24 i sekundet
(Twenty-four per second)
Oslo: Norske Samlaget, 1999. [48] p.
ISBN 82-521-5211-2
Film/History 1920-1982
The highly individual picture books from this publishing house deserves special attention. The first joint production between Sortland and Elling (»Raudt, blått og litt gult«/»Red, blue and bit of yellow«) is in the meantime internationally known. In this third joint picture book, the reader is introduced to the mysterious world of film and it becomes even more mysterious when two children appear in the middle of famous films thanks to an enchanting gift from their uncle. In the painterly, magical pictures of Lars Elling, whose earlier works gave fascinating insight into painters and writers, there are actors and film scenes hidden which most children will not be able to decipher. But these are explained in the appendix, and will hopefully be recalled when young readers later view the original films. (10+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2000 - 196
Røstbø Kausland, Ingvild (text)
Kristensen, Jens (illus.)
Veldig blå
(Very blue)
Oslo: Norske Samlaget, 1999. 28 p.
ISBN 82-521-5451-4
Loneliness - Rocking-horse - Transformation
During the day the main character of this book is left up to his own devices while his parents go to work. His only companion is his blue rockinghorse, with which he carries on conversations in his imagination. One day he sets his horse free by sawing off its hoofs and taking it out to the woods. With their heavily distorted perspective, the dark-toned painterly pictures give expression, in connection with the text, to the boy's loneliness and perhaps that of the reader who is experiencing or has had similar feelings, without being disheartening. The parents are generally absent from the pictures, though the father's vague profile is evident once, and at the end both parents are dis- tant shadows, while in the moonlight the child looks out toward the reader, happy that his loneliness is now over. The publisher has set about to preserve the Nynorsk language and with the support of the Norwegian Cultural Funding is able to produce books of high quality. (6+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2000 - 197
Sande, Hans (text)
Düzakin, Akin (illus.)
(The gospel of the elephant)
[Oslo]: Gyldendal Tiden, 1999. 30 p.
ISBN 82-478-0224-4
Jesus Christ - Elephant - Miracle
»One evening Jesus bicycled down to the Sea of Galilee.« When a story begins in this way, one need not fear finding yet another Bible story cooked up for the 100th time for children's tastes. In this wholly made-up legend, Jesus is a young man who performs a miracle from time to time, loves elephants and the women of Canaan, but is generally rather dreamy and never reacts the way others expect him to. The Norwegian illustrator of Turkish descent, who has been known for rather glaring, high-contrast pictures up to now, selects softer colors and shapes in this picture book, without forsaking clarity and definition of expression. The child reader will find a new way to see the old, familiar figure of Jesus - but in no way a distorted one. (10+) ☆

Norway (Norwegian) - 2000 - 198
Viermyr, Marianne (text)
Kaardahl, Anders (illus.)
[Oslo]: Damm, 1999. 49 p.
ISBN 82-517-8756-4
Sister - Death - Grief - Puberty
This children's book deals with the various feelings of the heart: sadness, love between siblings, romantic love, fear. Evje must experience the death of her younger sister and cope with her own grief after the funeral. It helps her somewhat to feel the beginnings of erotic attraction to a boy. But fear crops up at the initial signs of the onset of puberty - pains in the nipples - and are only allayed after a visit to a doctor. These fundamental experiences of a young person are depicted in a simple narrative style, as the series »Leseløve« is designed for easy reading. But the diary-style entries are all the more poignant for it. (7+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2000 - 199
Vik, Walter (text)
Granhaug, Silje (illus.)
(<Proper name>)
[Oslo]: Cappelen, 1999. 44 p.
ISBN 82-02-188300-6
Police - Fear
This is a bizarre story about a small, timid police officer who transfers into the secret police force because of his non-visibility and chases down non-existent spies and crooks. Its particular charm is derived from the equally bizarre illustrations. Clearly drawing on certain styles of modern painting, Silje Granhaug achieves a stimulating, expressive visual structure by inserting fragments of garishly overpainted photos, that seem to be cutout of magazines. (8+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2001 - 198
Nyhus, Svein
Verden har ingen hjørner
(The world has no corners)
[Oslo] : Gyldendal Tiden, 1999. [ca. 100] p.
ISBN 82-478-0520-0
Child - Philosophy - Ontological awareness
A child sitting in a cardboard box takes a look at its world and starts pondering: on its own existence, on growing up, on its surroundings, parents, grandparents, death, emotions. This book could be a picture-book version of Gaarder's »Sophie's world«. The illustrations are characterised by subdued colours, economy of the forms and backgrounds with bleeding surfaces. The pensive boy remains unpersonal, almost like a puppet – everything is reduced to its essence, to its core. Hence, even the illustrations are philosophically motivated. Nevertheless, one is curious to know what kind of thoughts they will inspire. (8+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2001 - 199
Renberg, Tore (text)
Hiorthøy, Kim (illus.)
Hando Kjendo søndag
(Hando and Kjendo on Sunday)
[Oslo] : Gyldendal Tiden, 1999. [42] p.
ISBN 82-478-0406-9
Friendship - Walk
This book is an insult – because of its painterly style, its obstinate choice of colours, the raw forms, one usually attempts to avoid in museums, and its »plot«: a peaceful, eventless void of a sunday afternoon. An insult, however, only to adults. Children may have experienced this void, they recognise the atmosphere and turn the pages with great curiosity. After all – something does happen: a biblically burning bush (which means that it does not burn down) brings forth two flowers, a real event for the two befriended protagonists – abstract forms, one long, one short. But the really unusual event of this book are the pictures, inspired by the unspoiled, nearly raw art of the KOBRA-group. Rather than an insult, then, this book is an indirect contribution to the aesthetic education of children. (8+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2001 - 200
Vatle, Sylvelin
Ville liljer
(Wild lilies)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2000. 215 p.
ISBN 82-02-18869-5
Bulemia - Love
What should not happen in reality, is what makes a novel really interesting. Young bulemic Rebekka falls in love with her psychiatrist – and her love is returned. Far from feeling any scruples, they run off to an island. It is common (literary) knowledge that the normal state of affairs may be temporarily suspended on islands. A lover, a product of Rebekka's childish fantasies, makes his appearance, and the scene verges on the mystical. In the end, there is a welcome return to sobriety which does not threaten their love, however. Scandinavian young adult fiction gives the readers what they ask for; but more importantly, it refrains from constraining educational ambitions, taking the audience more serious than many others. (16+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 190
Egner, Thorbjørn
Et selvportrett
(A self-portrait)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2001. 143 p.
ISBN 82-02-21079-8
Egner, Thorbjørn – Autobiography
Two of Thorbjørn Egner's book are particularly well-known internationally: »Karius og Baktus« (»Karius and Baktus«, 1949) and »Folk og rövere i Kardemomme by« (»The singing town«, 1955). This beautifully designed autobiography will provide those readers, who would like to learn more about the person who wrote these modern classics, with some interesting information. The lovely selection of Egner's own illustrations through the decades makes the book all the more enjoyable to look at. Moreover, readers who carefully study the bibliography of Egner's books, will discover how many more books the author has written and illustrated beside the two about dental hygiene and the town of Kardemomme. (12+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 191
Iversen, Anniken Telnes
Metamorfoser eller det store spillet
(Metamorphoses or The Big Game)
[Oslo] : Damm, 2001. 286 p.
ISBN 82-517-8341-0
Literature – Game
When reading an advert for a pen friend, Lena becomes interested in a boy who introduces himself with a Kafka-quotation. In his first letter, the boy called Bjørnar asks Lena to help him solve a literary puzzle that his uncle has put on the Internet. The two teenagers soon become pen pals and later even a real friendship develops between them. They complete the game successfully and win a journey to America. In this book, the author cleverly tries to stimulate the readers' interest in literature with the help of an exciting story; the use of »hand-written« passages and computer screens livens up the book's typography. (12+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 192
Øglænd, Finn
Så lenge alltid varer
(As long as everything exists)
Oslo : Det Norske Samlaget, 2001. 95 p.
ISBN 82-521-5812-9
Youth – First love – Jealousy – Fulfilment
The typical problems of teenage love described in this book, such as shyness, courtship, jealousy, and finally the fulfilment of one's dreams, may be all too common topics in contemporary young adult literature. Finn Øglænd, however, by now an experienced author of youth literature, chooses a form that convincingly conveys a message despite its hackneyed topic. He lets his protagonist relate the events in a mixture of diary and monologue, yet not as eloquently as an author in disguise. Instead, the boy clearly reveals his taciturnity and clumsiness towards his stronger and more popular class mates. Nevertheless, he is an acute observer and convinces through his honesty. (14+) ☼

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 193
Sande, Hans (text)
Nordberg, Harald (illus.)
(Bird girl)
[Oslo] : Gyldendal Tiden, 2001. [36] p.
ISBN 82-05-29508-5
Persecution – Rescue – Ungratefulness – Hubris – Arrogance – Punishment – Peace – Striving for peace
One day, a group of people living in a coastal region is attacked by foreign soldiers. The people manage to escape but they suffer from hunger and thirst, until some huge birds show them the way to a paradise-like place in the mountains. The feeling of gratefulness, however, doesn't last very long; soon enough, some leaders start going their separate ways. When they discover a nest with the huge birds' eggs, they ruthlessly steel them. As a consequence, the birds take revenge and destroy the paradise completely. Only a girl, who had learned the birds' language and worshipped them, is saved by one of them and taken to a distant land. In a simple, fairytale-like manner, this book explains how hubris causes disturbance. It thus makes a positive contribution to a peaceful education for children today. Nordberg's illustrations, in earlier books characterised by their naïve style, have reached a new level: Painted in intensive and unusual colours, they have great symbolic power. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 194
Sortland, Bjørn (text)
Bredesen, Trond (illus.)
(The Venitian mystery)
Oslo : Aschehoug, 2000. 123 p.
ISBN 82-03-24361-4
Venice – Modern art – Theft
A Norwegian tourist family spends the carnival time in Venice. Inside the Guggenheim Museum, the children witness the theft of a famous Picasso painting. As they have met the suspected thieves earlier at their hotel, the children are able to assist in solving the case – not without getting themselves into dangerous situations. With this book, Sortland, who has already published several books about art, starts a new series intended to make art more attractive and interesting for children by presenting information hidden inside an exciting story – quite a remarkable attempt. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 195
Wolf, Oystein Wingaard (text)
Nyka, Justyna (illus.)
De dødes sirkus
(Circus of the dead)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2001. [44] p.
ISBN 82-02-21063-1
Birthday – Circus – Fantasy
Fantastic tales in general do not need to be logical; neither does this one, in which a boy on his birthday meets some kind of oriental ghost at the Brighton beach. He leads the boy to a bizarre circus where a performance for the dead people commences. In the end, inevitably, the boy wakes from his weird dream. Yet, the story itself is not really that important; it only provides readers with words for the peculiar graphic game developing before their eyes: An unreal world is elaborately sketched and glued together from bits of coloured paper and old prints. The style has its origins in a different time and place; it is connected with Max Ernst and Polish experimental illustration of the sixties, as the illustrator's name and the few Polish words in the pictures reveal. (6+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2003 - 192
Ekman, Fam
Da solen gikk ned
(When the sun disappeared)
Oslo : Cappelen, 2002. [34] p.
ISBN 82-02-22125-0
Sun – Disappearance – Coldness – Hopelessness
This tale describes an apocalyptic situation: One day, the sun sets and does not rise again. The people in town and at the beach watch the pale red ball disappear below the horizon and start shivering. Due to their strong abstraction, Ekman’s graphic illustrations automatically create a distancing atmosphere, and underline the fatal effects of the slowly increasing coldness on the people’s mood. Pale shades of blue and violet and a faded red convey the feeling of hopelessness that the people and animals, who are exposed to the cold, experience. Eventually, the bird Phoenix manages to tear the sun from its lethargy. It slowly returns to its work. Some hope is restored as the barometer rises again – even though there are still no warm colours to confirm this happy ending. Maybe, this is a warning to people on earth not to attempt to influence nature. (6+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2003 - 193
Pedersen, Hæge Follegg
Veit du hvem jeg er?
(Do you know who I am?)
Oslo : Cappelen, 2002. 158 p.
ISBN 82-02-22124-2
Youth home – Foundling
This multi-protagonist story introduces its readers to the world of a youth home where all the teenagers are somehow »damaged«: Aleksander’s father is in prison, Tale’s mother is an alcoholic, Moses, the first-person narrator, is a foundling, discovered on a lady’s toilet. Their lives are presented with fine discrimination; they do quarrel sometimes but they regard the home as their safe island and do not want to have anything to do with their ruined families. Only Moses, not willing to accept the anonymity of his past, starts searching for the truth. Although, near the end, some thriller-like suspense is added to the story, the book is first of all a very impressive contemporary picture of »stranded« teenagers. (12+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2003 - 194
Sortland, Bjørn
12 ting som må gjerast rett før verda går under
(Twelve things that have to be put straight before the end of the world)
Oslo : Aschehoug, 2001. 151 p.
ISBN 82-03-24426-2
Girl – Personality development – Love
Thirteen-year-old Therese has made up her mind about the twelve most important things she absolutely needs to get done before she dies or before the world ends. There are some problems in this world which are a great burden to her: She has an older sister who is disabled and her parents talk about splitting up. Still, the main preoccupation for Therese are her feelings for Jan. Even though Sortland keeps up his typical dry humour in this story, in which the language is as carefully composed as in his other books, this one is much more serious. In a clever and understanding way, the girl reflects on the things that are important in life. The author, well known for his bizarre picture book texts, also proves to be an empathetic writer for girls. (12+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 185
Berggren, Arne (text)
Ekman, Fam (illus.)
Stor gutt
(Big boy)
Oslo : Aschehoug, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 82-03-24574-9
Father – Son – Swimming lessons – Fear
Arne Berggren generally has a penchant for topics ranging from weird to gloomy. This is equally true for this novel, which tells the story of a child who is torn between his artist mother, who wants to encourage his understanding of art, and his father, who strives to make his son a practical, down-to-earth person. The father takes the boy to the swimming pool to teach him how to swim. But the boy is afraid and even has a near-death experience and hallucinations. Yet in the end, he succeeds, even if the ambivalent feelings inside him remain. For illustrator Fam Ekman, this hovering between dream and reality is a graphic delight. Her delicate drawings with only a few traces of colour and the peculiar creatures she invents inspire the reader’s imagination and stand outside the mainstream of illustration styles. Moreover, the unusual, rough cardboard cover also sets this book apart from the majority of picture books and makes it a bibliophile’s treasure. (8+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 186
Dahle, Gro (text)
Nyhus, Svein (illus.)
Sinna Mann
(Evil man)
Oslo : Cappelen, 2003. [38] p.
ISBN 82-02-23116-7
Father – Son – Violence – Fear
This story about an irascible father who turns violent against wife and child is told in a very reserved and sober style. Only the illustrations, depicting a menacingly growing father who finally burns bright red with anger, show the readers the oppressive fear that the boy and his mother feel. Innocent and open-minded, the child desperately tries to contact the increasingly irritated father. Although he does not understand what is going on, he senses that his father is not himself but possessed by an evil monster. Eventually, the state authority, represented by the king and a social worker, intervenes and takes the father away – quite possibly to a psychiatric ward from where he will return to his family cured. (6+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 187
Gaarder, Jostein
(The orange-girl)
Oslo : Aschehoug, 2003. 175 p.
ISBN 82-03-24514-5. - 82-525-5468-7
Father – Death – Son – Grief – Childhood
Mystification is one of Jostein Gaarder’s particular strengths. A father who died of cancer left a long letter to his son in which he tells him the story of his love for the boy’s mother – the orange-girl. Since this letter lay hidden for more than ten years, the son reading it embarks on a journey into the distant past, travelling to the beginning of his own life. In this novel, Gaarder does not only describe the boy’s grief and his search for his identity in a very convincing manner. He has also succeeded in creating a touching and light-hearted love story. (13+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 188
Hagen, Oddmund (text)
Düzakin, Akin (illus.)
Bort frå jordet
(Away from the countryside)
Oslo : Det Norske Samlaget, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 82-521-5948-6
Child – Arson – Guilty conscience
Two rabbit brothers and their parents live in a rural idyll seemingly free from catastrophies. Too much peace, however, inspires forbidden adventures: Thus, the two boys light a small fire with stolen matches. Although they do extinguish the fire before leaving the place, the younger brother feels guilty and hides himself when a forest fire starts that same day. But then his parents track him down and explain that the careless farmer was to blame. The soft colours and shapes of Düzakin’s pictures emanate calmness. They are characteristic for his style and perfectly match the country idyll. Even though he does not indulge in red seas of flame, the danger – only visible as heavy clouds of smoke hovering above the forest – is frightening enough. (6+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2004 - 189
Lunde, Stein Erik
Sanger fra rom 22
(Songs from room no. 22)
Oslo : Gyldendal Tiden, 2002. 200 p.
ISBN 82-05-30706-7
School – Classmate – Human relationship
This typical school novel tells the readers about the beginning of a normal school day and about all the boring daily events, such as school problems, love problems, dreams of a future etc. Luckily enough, Stein Erik Lunde’s ironic narrative style makes all this turn into a very amusing tale. Naturally, the author also describes how tough it can be to approach someone you love, especially if you are a little clumsy. The book arouses readers’ interest in literature. The author, who writes about everyday events in the lives of teenagers without resorting to stereotypes, is an experienced song-text writer and has already won some awards for the few teenage novels he has written so far. (13+) ☼

Norway (Norwegian) - 2005 - 185
Braenne, Trond (text)
Sandemose, Iben (illus.)
Røde hunder
(Red dogs)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2003. [56] p.
ISBN 82-02-23047-0
Children’s poetry – Dog
The author, who has already written a few texts for children but is mainly known for his songs, presents a collection of witty (and sometimes even contemplative) children’s poems that all focus on dogs, their environment, and their emotional world. Both with the thematically arranged poems and the original design, this book follows in the footsteps of the Swedish poet Lennart Hellsing (e.g. his »Bananboken«). The bold illustrations in black and red (hence the title) designed by Iben Sandemose make this book a little treasure. The illustrator’s strictly linear drawings, in which the dogs’ physiognomies are sometimes reminiscent of Picasso, are extremely striking because of their poster-like style. (8+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2005 - 186
Ewo, Jon
Svart. Og cirka hvitt : en fortelling om urett
(Black. And a little bit of white : a tale about injustice)
Oslo : Omnipax, 2004. 159 p.
ISBN 82-530-2741-9
School – Bullying – Fighting back
Two boys and a girl are constantly being bullied at school. One day, Jo cannot stand the hate against him any longer. With a stolen gun, he points at the most vicious of his class mates. But then, just as he is about to pull the trigger, his common sense tells him one thing: He never wants to become like that, like them. Jon Ewo has headed the first few chapters with commandments – modelled on the Bible. In the middle, however, he stops to think it over. He simply cannot end the story without any trace of hope. Thus, he turns back the clock and starts at the beginning of the three days again. Now, the victims form a close-knit group supporting each other. This outstanding novel by the well-known author encourages all victims of aggression not to let themselves be ordered about by others. (12+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2005 - 187
Gunerius Eriksen, Helga (text)
Moursund, Gry (illus.)
(Fly catcher)
Oslo : Norske Samlaget, 2003. [30] p.
ISBN 82-521-6184-7
Child – Fly – Pet
The illustrations of this book are just as chaotic as the family presented in the story: They consist of a tangle of shaky lines, crooked perspectives, blobs of paint carelessly daubed on the page – a modern picture book, to put it in a nutshell: In the daily rush when it’s always a ›bad time‹, the only one to remain calm is the girl Bente who has befriended a fly. Unfortunately, flies don’t understand anything about humans, not even about fly catchers, and Bente tries to save her fly from all kinds of calamities. In the evening, she organises a feast – for flies only. The buffet is crammed with delicacies such as cow-pats. Swarms of flies arrive, the family is in uproar, and the party turns into a massacre. In the end, Bente collects all the dead flies and puts them into a box. (6+)
(Brage Award; 2003)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2005 - 188
Randsborg Jenseg, Grete (text)
Aurtande, Lars M. (illus.)
Fabel Jakop og de magiske eggene
(Fabel Jakop and the magic eggs)
[Oslo] : Landbruksforl., 2004. 92 p.
ISBN 82-529-2822-6
Youth – Foolishness – Age – Wisdom
Fabel Jakop is a grey-winged, wise old crow who tries to save the crow-children from acting foolishly by telling them stories. Just like other ›teenagers‹, Konrad Crow suffers under peer-pressure – he wants to be a guy like all the others and so he hangs out with a bunch of suspicious young crows who think of nothing but how to tease the naïve bird. The old story of the seducer and the seduced (who eventually sides with the good guys) is told in a brisk style. With its wild, comic-book-like illustrations, it will certainly inspire reluctant readers to start reading – probably more so than some more ›virtuous‹ or ›good-mannered‹ book. (10+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2005 - 189
Sande, Hans (text)
Moursund, Gry (illus.)
(The Frog)
[Oslo] : Gyldendal, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 82-05-31085-8
Father – Blindness – Son – Frog – Belief
This splendid picture book, beautifully printed in mat colours, describes the close relationship between a blind father and his little son, whom he tells stories and teaches how to respect nature. At the same time, readers learn about a young frog that grows up looking for its destiny. Weaving together these two tales, the pictures show how the frog sees the blind father’s hand reaching into the water and believes that this must be the hand of a higher being called »Gokk«. Thus the father’s heightened sense of belonging to nature, the frog’s image of a god, and the son’s tender love blend together to create a wondrous and touching story. The text is contrasted by the expressive gestures of the protagonists rendered in a wild mix of colours. (6+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2006 - 186
Austrem, Liv Marie (text)
Duzakin, Akin (illus.)
Oslo : Det Norske Samlaget, 2004. [30] p.
ISBN 82-521-6395-5
Disability Quality of life
This book describes an accident in the forest, in which a father, who cuts down a tree and gets buried under the falling trunk, is saved by his visually impaired son an event that confirms that every life, with or without disability, is important and unique. Indeed, the father can no longer play his violin, but he can still read; while the son, because of his bad eyesight, is not able to read but learns to play the violin. However, all this is but the most obvious level of events happening to the illustrator’s dog-like protagonists. As a whole, the work with its smooth drawings and soft colours is a romantic homage to gentle autumn. The realistic narrative of the accident gets almost pushed to the background by the poetic interpretation in the pictures. (6+)

Norway (Norwegian) - 2006 - 187
Ekman, Fam
PS. Hils morfar!
(PS: Say hello to Grandpa!)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2005. 40 p.
ISBN 82-02-24519-2
Child Daily life
The great variety and audacity of Norwegian picture books, made possible through the support received from the Norwegian Arts Council, surprises their readers again and again. For years, Fam Ekman has built up a reputation for creating extraordinary picture books. Provided that they actually get into the hands of children, not only those of adults, they present the manifold ways of graphical expression to them and can inspire a child’s creativity. In this book, a young girl writes to her grandfather telling him of her various ›adventures‹. Surreal collages provide an interestingly distorted perspective on the daily routine. The little volume by Ragnar Aalbu »Grundig om gris« (Basic facts about pigs) published by the same publisher in 2005 is another example of exceptional book art. (6+) ☼

Norway (Norwegian) - 2006 - 188
Hole, Stian
Den gamle mannen og hvalen
(The old man and the whale)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2005. [44] p.
ISBN 82-02-24052-2
Siblings Argument – Old age – Isolation – Reconciliation – Whale
An old man lives at the edge of a fjord. Many years ago, he fell out with his brother who lives on the other side. They haven’t seen each other since the day that his brother pinched his girlfriend. Yet, when the old man finds a stranded whale and realises it will be impossible for him to shift it back into the water on his own, he forces himself to ask his brother for help. Together they succeed and finally bury the hatchet. The allusion to Hemingway in the book title is but a fleeting one because here the whale is rescued. The author and the illustrator have created a moving and gripping story for children, although the protagonists are two old men. In the exquisite collages, the contrast between photographic elements and the highly abstract, partly illustrated scenes of a landscape offers an exciting visual experience. (6+) ☆

Norway (Norwegian) - 2006 - 189
Østgaard, Anne (text)
Bråthen, Ciri Tutkovin (illus.)
Magdas mage
(Magda’s stomach)
[Oslo] : Damm & Søn, 2004. [20] p.
ISBN 82-04-10079-5
Anorexia Throwing up
In Scandinavian countries, people often come up with fairly unconventional ways to help children cope with life’s problems. With this small picture book, authors and publisher strive to coax children with anorexia out of their isolation and take the suffering they desperately try to hide to a neutral level. To reach this aim, they offer a drastic depiction of the consequences of Magda’s frequent bouts of puking, which do not only render the toilet completely useless but also thoroughly shock her parents and friends. In the end, she (or rather the author) comes up with the absurd idea of putting the half-digested contents of her stomach into the freezer and selling it as topping for pizza. Transforming mundane and sad matters into something grotesque may perhaps be the right way to »de-dramatise« them. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2007 - 184
Kaldestad, Roald (text)
Torseter, Øyvind (illus.)
(Angel mountain)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2006. [32] p.
ISBN 82-02-25758-1
Child – Loneliness – Cat – Death
This picture book describes the loneliness of a Norwegian child who lives on a fjord in a tiny hamlet with only a few scattered houses. Her only playmate is a little cat, and when it dies, the child silently grieves in private. Although parents obviously exist, they never feature in the pictures. Instead, the girl is shown sitting in empty rooms, which further amplify the impression of her loneliness. With her illustrations, Øyvind Torseter returns to the style of the 1950s not only with the choice of chalky colours reminiscent of lithographic prints, but also with her evocation of wide spaces. What little there is of modernity, such as various electric appliances, is stripped of its metallic glimmer and thus blends into the overall picture. The focus of the book thus always remains on the protagonist herself, the little child. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2007 - 185
Kaldhol, Marit (text)
Nyka, Justyna (illus.)
Reisa til H.
(Journey to H.)
Oslo : Norske Samlaget, 2005. [28] p.
ISBN 82-521-6618-0
Soft toy – Chick – Hatching
Selma’s aunt in Hamburg has sent the girl a toy rabbit that she loves dearly. However, the girl is longing for a live pet and therefore takes an egg from the fridge and places it under the rabbit. Selma waits and waits. When she asks her parents whether her experiment is going to be successful, they try to evade the issue. Astonishingly enough (at least for the readers), the unexpected really happens: A little chick hatches from the egg! Now the family decides to travel to Hamburg and introduce the new family member to Selma’s aunt. This touching story about a child’s trust is illustrated with graphically peculiar outline drawings. They resemble etchings and are probably coloured in by computer. The result is absolutely enchanting. (5+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2007 - 186
Lunde, Stein Erik
En far
(A father)
[Oslo] : Gyldendal, 2006. 177 p.
ISBN 978-82-05-35396-1
Father – Suicide – Son – Memory
First-person narrator Eirik receives a message from his father via mobile phone that he is going to commit suicide. The 20-year-old, so suddenly left behind, needs to come to terms with this terrible fact and the unexpected loss. How Eirik deals with these problems and what he feels like in the first days after his father’s death, is told in a straight-forward yet beautifully expressed narrative. The readers directly witness the tormenting situation of the one who stays alive and slowly realises that another person simply doesn’t exist anymore. Eirik’s friend Kjetil, with whom he shares a flat, helps him cope with the shock. Step by step, isolated memories of the father add up to form a complete picture in the son’s head. (14+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2007 - 187
Mekjan, Sindre (text)
Styve, Jens K. (vignettes)
Fille fra eventyrland
(Fille from Adventure Land)
[Oslo] : Damm, 2006. 229 p.
ISBN 978-82-04-11890-5
Amusement park – Competition
Fille and her family live in an amusement park called »Adventure Land«. Her father, whose ship is one of the park’s many attractions, entertains children as a pirate. Yet, the comfortable and relaxed life of Fille’s family and the other employees is threatened when the park manager conceives a spectacular new attraction, an unbelievably tasteless and vulgar thing, to increase the flow of visitors again. Yet, a park employee secretly sets fire to this attraction and destroys it; luckily enough, the director is saved, and so are the park and its inhabitants. The author tells an exciting adventure story full of chaotic events that doesn’t need any fantastic fripperies. (10+)

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2007 - 188
Sæther, Wera
(Mama Rita’s House)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2006. 291 S.
ISBN 82-02-26053-1
India – Child – Everyday life – Poverty – Help – Cultural relations
Uma’s mother is blind and earns her living by singing songs to people travelling in trains. Purely by chance, the girl and her mother meet Sebastian and his daughter Sara. Sebastian, a European photographer from Calcutta, decides to help them. The third book about Uma [the first two were called »Saras reise« (Sara’s journey, 2001) and »Umas øyne« (Uma’s eyes, 2004)] relates how Sebastian donates money for a little house to be built in their village for Uma and her mother Rita. He is also planning to visit the family soon. Meanwhile, the two girls get to know each other better and better and almost feel like sisters. The well-travelled author knows how to make the Indian lifestyle and way of thinking accessible for her readers without denying the difficulties of intercultural contacts. Therefore, this children’s novel is a wonderful contribution to the exchange between different cultures. (10+) ☆