Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Animal poems

 Jukka Itkonen 2016: Hirvi irvistää
Illustrated by Matti Pikkujämsä

The name of the book in Finnish means moose grimaces.  Later on you learn that tit grimaces to a cow that came to forest to his turf. Cute short poems about animals from moose to ants.

Lynx lynx is probably the only animal
all Finnish know in Latin.
I am becoming a fan of the modern children's poems. Before the poems were too educational and moralizing, but now they are just fun. Of course, you can still learn a thing or too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Crackbrained crustacean

Anneli Kanto 2014: Älytön äyriäinen
illustrated by Kaisa Riekkinen

Alphabet in cute animal limericks.  We learn about the greedy wolverine (ahne ahma), Colorado beatle (very scary for potatoes), Reindeer and pike pearch (written with q qha when it is spelled with kuha), bug in Ooland (ötkkä Öölannista).

Not only do we learn about the letters, but also places like Urjala, Lieksa, Kerimäki. Even my boys listened carefully, which you have to do in order to really get what is being said.

Qhalla on nuha. (The pike pearch has a flue)
 Even z and x find an animal: zz fly and Räxy (fieldfare). Very clever and Merikåtka (whitetaled eagle) has the honor to be written with swedish o, when it really shoud be spelled with regular o. It makes the bird more distinguished.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Helsinki before Helsinki - the archeology of the old city in comic

Jaana Mellanen 2014: Helsinki ennen Helsinkiä - Vanhan kaupungin arkeologiaa sarjakuvina

Very informative comic about old Helsinki, before it was our capital. The old Helsinki is not there anymore, it is underground.
Helsinki was grounded in 1550 by Swedish King Gustaf Vasa and it was just like the other cities: groups of gray log houses, church  and town hall in the middle. The blocks followed the forms of the land.

The comic is a mix of present day archiologists digging and the past people living in the old Helsinki back in 1550. The book is also illustrated with images of the artifacts from the digs and illustrations of the buildings that used to be.

The most important things were a well, which provided fresh water, the church, which was documented since the clergymen were almost the only who could write.

First church of Helsinki, which was burned in 1670s.
Some information was also found about the clothing, which people wore, the jewellery (read iron decorations not gems or gold).

One section focuses on the food and drink and the items associated with it.

The book has a nice mix of comics and photos, making the story alive. A great book to learn about Helsinki.

Map of Helsinki 1645. Only the church is drawn.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Summer at Villikka

Mysi Lahtinen 2010: Villikan kesä
Illustrated by Virpi Penna

Villikka is a part of the city located on an island. Not even a bridge connect it to the city. Back in the day people only lived there during the summer. One family even wanted to take their piano to the island for their vacation. Nowadays there is a bridge, but the wood villas are still surrounded by greenery, big trees and even a forest.

Five friends Riikka, Essi, Tilli, Olli and Aarne are spending the summer in Villikka. Riikka and Essi are sisters, Tilli and Olli are cousins.

Waiting for the miracle of Mid Summer Night
The kids find out about making willow whistles, nettle crêps and growing vegetables. They hear stories about the leprecaun's treasure, celebrate Mid Summer and hearing about the different beliefs.

When it rains, the children spend time at the attic, playing boardgames, making up stories. Then they make fishing rods,build sand castles and eat lots of ice cream.

In November, it is nice to read books about summer. I feel that most people are hibernating in winter so they have energy for the summer to really live and do things.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Elsa and Lauri at a party

Kerttu Ruuska 2016: Kerttu ja Lauri juhlissa
illustrated by Nadja Sarell

Elsa and Lauri hav been invited to Grandma Selma's birthday party and they make the gift themselves. They collect stones and braches from the nearby forest and then work by themselves for a long time.

On the special day, the comb their hair, put on their best cloting and shoes. Mother explains that is how they honor Grandma on her special day.

At the party they give the present to Grandma and then greet other people at the party. Elsa and Lauri are a little shy, since they do not know many of the people there.

Mother gives a speach at the birthday party
Uncle Antti and cousins Topias and Aava have prepared a song for Grandma and after that Grandma invites every one to the buffet (seisovapöytä, which means literally standing table. Silly, but what can you do). Mother tells Elsa and Lauri to taste new foods, when Lauri announces that he does not like salad.

At the table Mother klings her glass and gives a speech.  The kids are excused and go play in the play house. Then Grandma opens her presents. When it is time to leave, Elsa, Lauri, Mom and Dad thank Grandma and say good night.

At the end of the book are sections about family tree, preparing for a party, etiquette of how to behave in a party (remeber to congratulate the birthday person, shake hands or hug other guests, suggestions of what to talk to the other people about, thanking for food, be silent when some one is presenting somethin) and a list of different parites (Babtisms, birthdays, confirmation, graduation and a wedding).

This is a great book that every parent should read. I am so old school that I do not think jeans are suitable party attire, every one should be greeted and kiitos ( thank you) is the most important word ever. We have had all the above mentioned parties this year: two graduations, one babtism, one confirmation, several birthdays and a wedding. I hope that some of the manners I have been trying to teach my boys has caught on.