Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Alf Prøysen and Mrs Pepperpot (1956)

Our tour of Scandinavia continued with a trip to Norway and a look at the Mrs Pepperpot books by Alf Prøysen. Mrs Pepperpot is a little old lady who is prone to unexpectedly shrinking to the size of a pepperpot (though in the original she is called Teskjekjerringa - the teaspoon lady). When she is small Mrs Pepperpot can talk to animals, which often help her to escape scrapes and adventures.

Several members of the reading group were familiar with the Mrs Pepperpot books, but none of us had realised the extent of Prøysen's celebrity in his native Norway.  In addition to writing a great many stories, Prøysen was also a folk singer and playwright; a familiar character on Norwegian radio and television.

We all enjoyed our time spent with Mrs Pepperpot and her sometimes grumpy, pancake-guzzling husband. The illustrations by Björn Berg, who also illustrated Astrid Lindgren's Emil books, were an added delight.

Finally, Isabelle drew our attention to the phenomena of  "shrinklit" - books about shrinking and tiny people.  Classics include The Borrowers by Mary Norton, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Tom Thumb and Thumbellina. More recent examples include The Carpet People by Terry Prachett and Toby Alone by Timothée de Fombelle.

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