The Children of Noisy Village – Astrid Lindgren, or, in this case:
The Dutch translation “De kinderen van Bolderburen”, which is a collection of 3 original Swedish titles: “Alla vi barn i Bullerbyn”, ‘Mera om oss barn i Bullerbyn”, & “Bara roligt i Bullerbyn”
Published by Ploegsma, 2010
I am starting to think Astrid Lindgren may be my favourite children’s author out of all the ones I love. With every book I read, or rather, revisit, my respect for her grows. Actually, reading the short introduction to her life included in this book, I realised I am curious to know more: refusing to marry the father of her child, when she got pregnant at 18 and had to move homes because of the scandal? I might sound like someone who is only looking for juicy details, but rather, combined with the love for the countryside and the Swedish life she knew, I am intrigued and definitely want to know more about this woman.
What shines through in “The Children of Noisy Village” (I really wish there would be a more perfect name for Noisy Village, it just seems.. wrong, somehow) is Lindgren’s respect for children. I can just picture her smiling while writing these stories, smiling about the world as children perceive it, smiling about how children can be “naughty” in small ways. Lovingly remembering those days by the creek, by the lakes, celebrating midsummer night and Christmas’ evening.
Reading this book feels like one big journey down memory lane. The memories of Astrid Lindgren, maybe. But certainly my own, even if I had never been to Sweden as a child, never played near lakes, nor celebrated midsummer. But I grew up with these stories and rereading them, I realised how much I wanted to be Lisa, as the main character is called in the Dutch edition. How much I wanted to live in a small village, close to the mountains, lakes and woods, as she did. How much I dreamed of friendships like the ones depicted. How I tried to copy they way she sent messages to the neighbouring children. I did that, with the two girls in my street, and I remember thinking of doing so after reading the story in which Lisa does so.
But it aren’t just my own memories which makes reading this book such a melancholy and yet cheerful experience. You can feel how Astrid Lindgren must have loved to depict a life like she did in here. And how, she may have been writing to preserve this kind of life, in a changing world. (I am unsure if this is true, but I think someone told me this, was it you, Zee? So I might be reading into things, but the feeling wouldn’t let me go while reading).
I cannot tell you more than that I loved revisiting this, and that, as I always feel after finishing a book by Astrid Lindgren, after finishing this one I felt that I need to make reading all of her works my next project. And owning all of them, of course. I know this post is not very useful to any who haven’t read this book yet. But I hope it might convince you to pick this book up, to read it to your children. To give the Astrid Lindgren beyond Pippi Longstocking a try.
This book counts towards Zee’s Nordic Challenge. Do you see a pattern here? I seem to become super sentimental when it comes to books read for the Nordic Challenge.