Saturday, November 18, 2017

Princess Daredevil's winter magic

Elina Hirvonen 2017: Prinsessa Rämäpään talvitaika
illustrated by Mervi Lindman

Princess Daredevil has many crowns: the golden is for Important Thoughts, yellow is for Fun Thoughts, Pink is for Great Adventures and the silver is for Calm Sleep. She wears her crowns when the need calls for them.  But her most important treasure is her Great-Grandmother's ring and it is magical.

Right now Mom is calling Princess Daredevil to get dressed and go outside.  Princess Daredevil is still looking for her pearls: the amber pearls are for superpower and the white are for occasions when you want to cry but you absolutely do not want to. Princess Daredevil decides to put on princess gown, golden crown, turquoise ring and the fairy wings. You never know, you may want to fly when sledding.

I can so relate to the mother's mood.
 Mom's really getting angry and already counting down.  Princess Daredevil rushes to the door. Mom asks, who is going sledding in a princess dress?  Princess Daredevil tells her that something might happen. Mom orders her to take off the glitter and dress and put on overalls. Her brother is already dressed and getting hot.

 Mom is not always angry, she can be fun, too. In Princess Daredevil's opinion she just doesn't understand the Princess Daredevil has something important going on, which can't be dropped just because it's bed time or time to go out.

Besides Mom is wrong: princess dress can be under the overalls. The dress gets caught between the zipper. Mom  gets angrier and then Daredevil's brother poops so that it comes out of the neckline of his overalls. Mom tells Daredevil to be ready when they get back from the clean up.

Instead of getting dresses, Princess Daredevil puts on the crown of Important Thoughts. She makes the living room a sunny beach and creates ice cream portions for her and her mom.

At first Mom gets really mad. Then she sees the ice cream. She realizes that Daredevil only wanted to make her glad. She also sees the magic and together they spend a day on the beach instead of going sledding.  Mom apologizes for yelling at her and together they dance on the warm beach.

Sometimes parents and children do not understand each other at all. Grown-ups think its all about schedules and order. Kids on the other hand see things adults do no. Some times it is good to stop and put on the Imagination Crown.



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Emotional skills in a fun way

Anna-Maria Kuusela: Sisu Kettu ei anna periksi, Räyhä-Ravun kiukunpuuska, Kiva Kirahvin kannustus
illustraded by Matias Teittinen
expert: Maija Nuorteva

New concept for teaching kids to understand their feelings. Three books about Rounders, animals drawn in round shapes. Similar to Angry Birds. Very important lessons to be learned even for adults. The books include questions, which you can ask your kids. Such as "How does it feel to get a compliment?" "Why was Piggy so upset, when Crab yelled at her?" Again I am making up the gender specific pronouns, since the Finnish language does not recognize genders. The books are suitable for boys and girls.

Giraffe's pep talk.
The Rounders do not know what to do. They came up with creating a show. Everyone performs with the skills they have. Shy Penguin does not know what to do. Giraffe helps them all.
Look at those round flamingos!

The skills learned here are the power of positive words, overcoming fear and finding own strengths.








Brawling Crabs anger burst
Crab is almost always in crappy mood. He snaps (In my mind, it's a he, it could be as well a she) at everyone and makes the gentler animals cry. Then he feels bad. Luckily Smart Elephant gives him advice so he still has friends.

Skills learned here: empathy, considering other's feelings, apologizing and forgiving.


Crab makes Puspus the Fish cry.














Sisu, the Fox, does not give up
Sisu (The Finnish word for guts, resilience and toughness) finds a treasure map and all the Rounders want to go and find it. On the way, there are many set back, but toghether they continue. At one point most get tired and want to give up, but not Sisu. 

The skills learned here: helping others, sharing and recilience


Sisu does not let the blizzard stop him.


Monday, September 18, 2017

How to create games

Elina Lappalainen 2017: Nyt pelittää! Miten pelejä tehdään
illustrated by Jussi Kaakinen

Sofia and Oliver go to work with Sofia's programmer mother to see how games are made.  The meet a game designer, programmer, music composer and graphic designer and learn step by step how games are made.

The book has great illustrations about how different sound effects are made, what kind of storyboards are needed and much more. At least my boys were facinated about this book and all its details. And it also showed that you do not need to be a programmer in order to work in the gaming industry.
The book also has tasks: help the frog to get all the bugs.
At the bottom: basics of programming, true or false and loop.


Monday, September 11, 2017

A, said Agricola

Tytti Issakainen, Katja Häkkinen & Maisa Tonteri 2017: A, sanoi Agricola
illustrations Pekka Rahkonen

Mikael Agricola was the first to write down Finnish language. This book is about him telling his son, what it was like to learn to read, when there were no books written in Finnish.

This book is about Mikael Agricola's life, studies and work.  He was truly a  remarkable person. He made religion more reachable for the ordinary Finns, who from then on could follow church events easier.

This book was written with humor and in a style that is easy for the kids to understand and relate.

The royal Swedes  wanted the talented boys to study in Sweden.
Agricola wanted them to stay in Finland.

Agricola studied in Wittemberg under
Martin Luther.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Maltti & Valtti in Trafic

Jerry Mikkelinen & Jussi Ollila 2017: Maltti & Valtti liikenteessä
Illustrations by Teemu Åke

My favourite traffic park police officers are back! This time they fumble in traffic. Their old pal Riku Rikesakko ( Rikesakko = traffic fee) is riding his bike on the sidewalk. That is not allowed and the traffic park policeofficers are on his case. Can Maltti and Valtti teach him the traffic rules in time, before any accidents happen.

This book has small tasks, problems for the reader to solve: how many traffic signs can you recognise, how to sit in a car. And my favourite: the dangers of using a phone in the traffic. Even all the adults do not know these. You can try yourself  by enlarging the image below.


Find out all the possible accidents about to happen,
because of the use of mobile phones.

 In my mind the Finnish police has a good reputation, people trust the police and rely on them.

The other Maltti & Valtti books published so far are:

Maltti & Valtti misson at Grandma's
Maltti  & Valtti on an almost deserted island

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The saunaflamingo

Lauri Hirvonen 2016: Inka ja saunaflamingo

Inka is a small girl and now she is vacationing at the summer house. Grandma and Grandpa come also to the summer house and together with Grandma Inka explores the nature and hears stories about Grandma's parents and childhood. Inka questions some information she hears: for example that the waterstriders can  run on water, because of the hair in their feet. Inka has seen the hair in her father's legs and he has to swim like the rest of us.

The title was intriguing: I could not imagine, what a saunaflamingo is (for information that is also the same in Finnish).  Spoiler, stop reading if you do not want to know what it is.  Inka and Grandma are in sauna and are planning what to play next day. Grandma is looking kind of pink and she decides to be a saunaflamingo.


I like the illustrations of this book. Well I guess you knew that because I only choose books, which illustrations are pleasing.  But also the text was smart and kind. Cutest was refering dad's leg hairs to those of waterstriders'. And again the book emphasized the importance of Grandmothers.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The island of lost animals

Pasi Pitkänen 2017: Kadonneiden eläinten saari

Matias and his sister Jenni are in circus. All of a sudden a lion cub and Jenni are snatched.

Matias and Dad lion start looking for them and find an island full of odd creatures.

Spoiler alert!
They are all extinct animals: Megatherium, Glyptodon, Dodo, Megaladapis and the almost extinct Barbary lion.

The illustrations are comic style and very cute. And the lesson to be learned is to save the animals from extinction. For some it is too late. But how? And all these hairy animals are very cute (well most of them), what about the insects and fish that are not so cute? Some how some animals are more worth saving then others.



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Spikeball outside

Tuula Nyström 2017: Piikkipallo ihan pihalla
Illustrations by Laila Nevakivi

Very educational book about hedgehogs. The book shows how to build a winterhouse for hedgehogs, what to feed them.

Hedgehogs are rare to bee seen, mostly because they move after sunset. The only time I have seen a hedgehog, is when they have been hit by a car. I wonder, if I make a a winter house, will the hedgehogs come? And even if I follow instructions, will the houses be safe for them? Will my eagerness to help hedgehogs some way harm hedgehogs, because I cannot think of all scenarios, what could happen?

Different types of spiked animals and
also hedgehogs without spikes

Hedgehogs can swim, eat snakes and lots of other things.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Folksong book with sound

edited by Maija Karhinen-Ilo, Leena Järvenpää and Katariina Heilala: Soiva kansanlaulukirja
played by Freija
illustrated by Päivi Arenius

Can a six-year old be nostalgic? That is the feel I get, when my youngest son listens to this book. I remember that I used sing these songs to him, when he was a baby. The songs a are traditional songs.  I guess they are hard coded to all Finns and most of them have a melancholy tones. Except those originating from Sweden.

The song in the picture "Ololonkos" is about asking, if the other has kittens in a bag. I have always thought that as a horrible thing, but now I see that they meant the willow flowers that are called "pajunkissa", a willow cat.  They are the kittens in a bag. What a relief!


Kittens in bags.  The willow's flowers are so soft
that they are called cats, pajunkissa


Monday, June 5, 2017

Long way home

Hanna Karoliina 2016: Pitkä matka kotiin
illustrated by Pirita Tolvanen

A small Kemp's Ridley Turtle, the smallest turtle of all is trying to way his way home.

On his way he meets many animals: polar bears, monkeys and pelicans. At the end there is information about the rare animals we met in the book.



I like the pastel colors of this book. Of course the coloring follows he different environments: polar bear and th mole live in darker places and the monkey in lovely green environment. The turtules home is very turqoise.  The book has very little text, so children can read it themselves.