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A CALF FOR CHRISTMAS by Astrid Lindgren


by Astrid Lindgren & translated by Barbara Lucas & illustrated by Marit Törnqvist

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1991
ISBN: 91-29-59920-2
Publisher: R&S/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Johan's family is distraught: the cow on which they depended has died. Meanwhile, rich neighbor Peter Jonsson spends a self- indulgent day in town at the tavern, then sets out for home. In his inebriated state, he is seized with terror at seeing a heifer he's bought peering from her sack; he throws her from his sleigh, and young Johan finds her by the road. In the morning, the heifer's owner is discovered, but Peter is so chagrined by his own behavior that he gives the heifer to Johan. The rather long story here is part gentle satire, part sober realism, and part the age-old message of poetic justice rendering good from iniquity—not, perhaps, what readers will expect in a Christmas book from the author of The Tomten (1979), but a well- told story. Tornqvist's watercolors are beautifully observed, a fine complement to this unusual glimpse of rural Sweden at the turn of the century. (Young reader/Picture book. 5-10)