A fresh edition of two classic tales featuring an old farm and its small, red-capped protector.
The two episodes—adapted by Lindgren from old poems and first published in English in the 1960s—are neatly packaged together here with their original folksy illustrations. Both are a bit discomfiting. Never seen by human residents but leaving telltale tracks in the snow, in the first, the Tomten makes nightly rounds of the farm, peeping in on the drowsing animals and also the (white) parents and children asleep in their farmhouse bedrooms. To each he speaks “in tomten language,” offering comforting verses to the animals but ruing the fact that the humans never notice him. In the second, a marauding fox is diverted at the last moment by the Tomten’s timely arrival and offer to share a nightly bowl of porridge so long as the hens are left alone: “ ‘We’ll see,’ says the fox cunningly, ‘but thank you anyway.’ ” Wiberg’s moonlit snowscapes and cozy rustic interior scenes offer aptly atmospheric visuals for the narratives, which have long been favorite read-alouds for their murmurous language and (putatively) comforting portrayal of an invisible, benevolent nighttime guardian.
Worthy as a gift or a replacement for battered old copies of the originals. (Picture book. 6-8)