A beloved Swedish tale, literally from long ago, is now published in English.
The 1923 story is a simple and sweet one. A brother and sister, Kai and Kelly, play on a fallen tree trunk outside their woodland cottage. The children imagine it is a dragon, covered with moss and supplied with wings from an old umbrella. A mischievous gnome brings the tree dragon to life, and the children fly to the Land of Long Ago. They rescue a knight (in shining armor, no less) from the troll king and his princess from a fierce (but non-flying) dragon; they bring the pair home to her parents’ kingdom and stay for the wedding. They are sent off to school when they allow little troll children to sully the palace gardens. Meanwhile, the repentant gnome finds Kai and Kelly and reanimates their tree dragon, and all return to the cottage and their own parents. The illustrations have the lovely faded texture of a well-worn and oft-read story, with soft colors and edges and static tableaux. The particular images of princess and knight, dragon and meadow, sheep and garden echo antecedents in medieval manuscripts and in 19th-century book illustration. There is no indication of who did the translation, but the language is clear and smooth.
An old-fashioned telling with definite contemporary appeal. (Picture book. 4-8)