This 1970 Swedish classic, in its first English edition, introduces four generations of bachelor farmers—plus a burglar, a giraffe, and a barn full of tigers.
Adbåge’s flurry of childlike color spot illustrations, which are new, adds to the understandably surreal air of these episodic misadventures. Heading up the all-male, all-white cast, Everylad Mazarin, who has “ginormously kind eyes,” lives anything but quietly with his impulsive father, Soda Pop (portly, dressed in a bathrobe, wearing a tall tea cozy on his head), feisty elder Dartanyong, and Dartanyong’s grandpa, “so old he can only make cuckoo noises.” They share their rural compound with a mattress-eating giraffe, a swimming pool full of pike (and, occasionally, owls), and a barn stuffed with tigers in the wake of a sudden massive feline stampede. In this setting, such visitors as a “hotdog man” who keeps the tigers fed and a genial parolee who probably has something to do with the ongoing disappearances of all the brass knobs and other valuables are received with equal equanimity, and it seems only natural to finish off the day and final chapter with a bowl of “shocky poodling.” Readers can’t hope to make literal sense of this Scandinavian silliness, but those who give themselves up to it will find it deliciously diverting.
Insert tongue firmly in cheek before starting. (Nonsense fiction. 9-11)