This is a blog about my reads as well as everything related to them.
My taste is for good quality literature - old and new. Some of it I review here or on my main book blog Edith's Miscellany.
Admittedly, I don’t usually read and review children’s books, but I decided to make an exception because with my main blog Edith’s Miscellany I joined the Back to the Classics Challenge 2015 on Books and Chocolate and took it into my head to cover all twelve categories to make it more difficult. I picked two children’s classics, one originally written in English and one translated into English, that are said to be rewarding reads also for grown-ups: Kim by Nobel Prize laureate Rudyard Kipling, which I will review later this year, and Mio’s Kingdom by Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002), the unforgotten and unforgettable Swedish doyenne of children’s literature.
Although first published already in 1954, Mio’s Kingdom (also translated as Mio, My Son) still is a highly topical novel today because its protagonist, nine-year-old Karl Anders Nilsson, is a neglected and abused child craving for love and attention like too many in our modern society. He is an orphan living with foster parents who don’t really care about him. In fact, they don’t like children, least of all boys because they are loud, they make a mess and they sully everything. One evening in October his foster mother sends him to the bakery to get her a packet of her favourite rusk. The baker woman asks Andy to post a card for her. When he is about to throw it into the letterbox, the writing on it suddenly shines like fire thus rousing the boy’s curiosity. The message on the card intrigues Andy because it seems to refer to him and he sits down in the park to think about it. There an empty bottle attracts his attention. At first it looks just like an ordinary beer bottle, but then Andy realises that there’s something moving inside. It’s a genie! As it turns out the genie was sent to take Andy – who is really called Mio as he soon learns – back home to his father, the King of the Farawayland. And that’s the beginning of the fantastic adventures of Mio and all the new friends that he finds in his kingdom while drifting towards the inevitable big showdown with evil Sir Kato in his black castle in the Land Outside.
In Mio’s Kingdom Astrid Lindgren takes her readers from bleak reality into a fairy-tale kingdom of an always kind and loving father, happy children, flying white horses, enchanting music, a murmuring well… and the evil Sir Kato who needs to be fought and stopped for the sake of the threatened people. It’s an imagined refuge where good necessarily wins over evil. A story that children and grown-ups alike will love for its beauty and its magical power.
* * * * *
This review is a contribution to the
Back to the Classics Challenge 2015,
namely to the category Children's Classic.