Mauri Kunnas is easily the most popular children’s book author/illustrator in Finland and he is definitely our favourite. If for some strange reason you are unable to find anyhing to love about these books, then I would say all hope has been lost, go back to wallowing in your swamp (and I am only half-kidding here). These books did their part in keeping me sane while my boys were very small. They were the most read books in the house, paged through and giggled over countless times, and they are fun for every age. Not only are the stories humorous, but the drawings are unbelievably cute and full of clever little details as well. They are as perfect as children’s books could possibly be. Luckily many have been translated into numerous languages (32!). However, it’s impossible to say which one is best, so the only option ends up being to buy as many as one can, as you can tell from the photo which shows all 36 of the books we have. Two are doubles as I have the Santa Claus book in German (Wo der Weihnachtsmann wohnt) and The Canine Kalevala in English so that I can show non-Finnish speakers how fantastic these books are. The Book of Finnish Elves I have only in English as well – I’m pretty sure it was meant to acquaint Ralf with Finnish culture!
When somebody I know has a baby, the first gift is inevitably a Mauri Kunnas book. Everybody else gives them clothes anyway, so somebody has to take on the responsibility of starting a library for the wee one.
I just noticed there is a new book out: Hullunkurinen Kuvasanakirja – a Finnish-English picture dictionary. Probably created so that Finnish pre-schoolers can start learning English in a fun manner, but the rest of the world could use it to learn Finnish, which, as we know, is the future world language.
Herra Hakkarainen (the ubiquitous little sleepwalking goat in his blue nightshirt) is named Mr. Clutterbuck in English and Herr Schnorchelmütz in German.
Here is a sampling of titles in English:
Twelve Gifts for Santa Claus
The Canine Kalevala
Good Night Mr. Clutterbuck
The Seven Dog Brothers
The Book of Finnish Elves
Beatles with an a
Santa and the Magic Drum
The Nighttime Book
Ricky, Rocky and Ringo Count on Pizza
Ricky, Rocky and Ringo Go to the Moon
12 Geschenke für den Weihnachtsmann
Zauberspuk beim Weihnachtsmann
Wo der Weihnachtsmann wohnt
Hier kommen die Wikinger!
Ich bin’s, Robin Hood!
Herr Schnorchelmütz und die sieben Weltwunder
Im wilden Wilden Westen
König Artus und die Ritter der Tatzenrunde. Ein Kapitel der frühen Katzengeschichte
Author website, also in English: http://maurikunnas.net/?lang=en
It seems there is even a Mr. Clutterbuck’s House in Sastamala, Finland which one can visit. I have never been there, but here is the website: