Randi Lives in Norway

"And so I write the way I myself would like the book to be – if I were a child. I write for the child within me."  - Astrid Lindgren

Today's vintage children's book, Randi Lives in Norway, was one of a series of books about children all over the world. Written by Astrid Lindgren, an author many people recognize, Lindgren rose to fame with Pippi Longstocking. (One of my favorite childhood books) To read about Astrid Lindgren, go to the website here. It is quite comprehensive and well worth viewing. 

Isn't she cute?

Anna Riwkin-Brick, born in Russia in 1908, grew up and made her career in Sweden. Best remembered for her photographic books about children in different countries, her collaboration with Astrid Lindgren began with Noriko-San: Girl of Japan (1956) and continued with My Swedish Cousins (1959), Circus Child (1960), to name a few.

In 1958, the New York Herald-Tribune’s Spring Festival Award was presented as a joint prize to Anna Riwkin and Astrid Lindgren for the book Sia lives on Kilimanjaro. That was the first time this prize had been won by a photographic picture book. Anna Riwkin died in Israel in 1970.

Gerda Lives in Norway
Randi Lives in Norway (American Title)
By Astrid Lindgren
Photographed by Anna Riwkin-Brick
MacMillan Co., 1966 


How and Why Wonder Books

For your perusal, here are a few great covers from the How and Why Wonder Book series from the 1960's. The illustrations are fantastic and I hope that you enjoy them!

I'm heading up to northern Wisconsin tomorrow to spend time with family. On Saturday we will be having a huge family reunion in Chippewa Falls at Irvine Park. We used to go there for family gatherings/celebrations when I was a kid, so it will be nostalgic. 

Have a good and safe Memorial Weekend. I'll be back here on Tuesday.

Wonder Book of Insects
By Ronald N. Rood
Illustrated by Cynthia and Alvin Koehler
Wonder Books, Inc., 1960

Wonder Book of Flight
by Harold Joseph Highland
Illustrated by George J. Zaffo
Wonder Books, Inc., 1961

Wonder Book of Rocks and Minerals
By Nelson W.  Hyler
Illustrated by Kenyon Shannon
Wonder Books, Inc., 1960

Wonder Book of Our Earth
By Felix Suttom
Illustrated by John Hull
Wonder Books, Inc., 1960

Wonder Book of Butterflies and Moths
Written by Ronald N. Rood
Illustrated by Cynthia and Alvin Koehler
Wonder Books, Inc., 1963

Back cover

Back cover


Vintage Children's Book, Mr. Hazelnut

Today's vintage children's book is a recycle from last year. Mr. Hazelnut has sweet charming artwork done by Swedish illustrator Birgitta Nordenskjold. The subject of the story is a young girl named Alice. She is the quintessential Swedish girl with her blond hair, blue checkered dress and fisherman sandals. Alice starts receiving mail from Mr. Hazelnut, a tailor, who notices that she is growing out of her clothes and wants to make her some new ones. He makes her a new dress, coat and pajamas. He does not want any payment for the clothes, but asks Alice to take care of her clothes and to be kind to her brother Henry. Mr. Hazelnut then disappears, before Alice and her parents can thank him. Alice's clothes grow with her as she grows up and she wears the pink ruffled dress at her wedding.

An illustration I really like is on the title page (above). I love the little green tree with the sewing tools on it!  I also like the Swedish houses and sheds. The illustration with Henry sick in bed, surrounded by all his toys, is especially sweet. Birgitta's illustrations have a light touch to them and the color palette is just right for the story.

It was not easy to find information about Birgitta. When I finally did, it was a short biography written in Swedish by her daughter, Agnes Ankarcrona. Thank you online translators! It seems a shame that it's difficult to find information about Birgitta after the fine work she did as an illustrator.

Bridget Anna Catherine Nordenskjold (Moller) was born January 2, 1919 in Sweden and raised in a large family. Her father Ludwig Moller, a physician, often took the family on trips, including places such as Egypt and Italy.  Bridget (Birgitta)  took everything in. At the age of seventeen she met a young lieutenant named Sven Nordenskjold. They married after Bridget finished her training as an art teacher at the College of Arts school in Stockholm. She then got a job there as a teacher of freehand drawing. As Birgitta said "I never stopped school" and she stayed at the College of Arts school until Sven's retirement.

Birgitta also illustrated three Astrid Lindgren's books:  I Don’t Want to Go to Bed (1947), I Want to Go to School Too (1951) and I Want a Brother or Sister/That’s My Baby (1954).  She illustrated mushroom books by Nils Suber, a mushroom expert in his time and Annaberg's recipes in DN.  According to Agnes; everything Birgitta did was with verve and great interest. Birgitta hosted/organized dinners and receptions at Sven's request.  She was a good cook - svampstuvnigar, soup and deer saddle were her specialty. Bridget loved Gottskar where friends and family filled the house and they ate hummersupeer (lobster) and crab. According to  Agnes, Birgitta was the family's cohesiveness. She said Birgitta was a strong wonderful mother and grandmother. Birgitta celebrated her 90th birthday at home with friends and family around her, shortly before passing away in January 2009.

Two other books illustrated by Birgitta, (In Swedish): 

Mr. Hazelnut by Britt Hallqvist
Illustrated by Birgitta Nordenskjold 
Gelles-Widmer Co., 1961


Vintage Children's Book, The Happy Lion's Vacation

Today's vintage children's picture book, The Happy Lion's Vacation, was done by the husband and wife team of Louise Fatio and Roger Duvoisin. Published in 1967, it has wonderful vintage charm, great illustrations, a lovely color pallette and a story that any young child would love.

Roger Duvoisin

Roger Duvoisin (1904-1980), born in Geneva Switzerland, was a prolific author and illustrator. His early career in a textile studio brought him to New York City in 1927. In 1932 he published his first children's book. Duvoisin married author Louise Fatio and together they did The Happy Lion books.

The Happy Lion's Vacation
By Louise Fatio
Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1967

Other books illustrated by Roger Duvoisin

Duvoisin received a Caldecott Medal for White Snow Bright Snow


Mommy Buy Me a China Doll, Margot Zemach

Today's vintage children's book is Mommy, Buy Me a China Doll, illustrated by Margot Zemach. This story is about a girl named Eliza Lou who badly wants a china doll. In thinking of ways that the family could afford one, family members and animals are displaced from their beds. Eliza comes up with creative solutions as to how this can work.

Mommy, Buy Me A China Doll
Adapted from an Ozark children's song by Harve Zemach
Pictures by Margot Zemach
Farrar Straus Giroux, 1975

Nice illustrations by in this book, like the layering of color, the rustic reds and browns and gentle use of humor. I'm sure this song harkens back to a day when times were hard in the Ozarks and people didn't have much. A china doll would have been something most little girls could only dream about. Zemach's illustrations don't convey hardship, but show a simple time and loving family.