Three young siblings are left alone at home; could there be trouble? Of course.
Mother and her children live on a little island in a spruce little cottage that looks like a man's hat. Occasionally, she must row to the mainland on various errands. When the children need new clothes, she decides to go get some yarn, promising sweet honey cakes for the children if they're good. The trip takes longer than expected; neither the spider, the snail nor the shoemaker who lives by the shore has any wool. Meanwhile, the children decide to help by cleaning out the chimney. They use twigs as brushes and get covered with soot in the process. They bathe in the ocean, then use the twigs to start a fire to heat the water to clean their clothes. But the fire spreads to the cottage! Luckily the shoemaker sees smoke and rows across the water. It's too late to save the cottage, but the man helps the children build a new, stronger one out of wood—and ends up marrying their mother when she returns. Presented with an abundance of white space, the economically drawn figures are delicately tinted with watercolors.
The charming fable was published in Sweden in 1930, and its vintage feel is positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-7)