A beloved Swedish author’s picture books are finding their way into English more than 85 years after their original publication.
This tale from 1934 is the second to appear in 2011, and while not quite so enchanting as The Land of Long Ago, it shares the same straightforward simplicity. Princess Sylvie and her father love going for walks in the palace gardens. The “big strong king” wears his red cloak and sash (and his crown, of course), and his velvets have a pocket of sweets for Sylvie. She and her dog, Oskar, want to leave the gardens to explore the woods beyond, but the king is doubtful. (His Majesty’s expressions, from doubt to confusion to surprise to annoyance, are quite funny.) But off they go, and Oskar immediately chases a hare. Sylvie runs after him, but the king, enraptured by the wildness of the wood, does not see her go. The hare hides behind a bear(!), who greets Oskar as a playmate. The bear bows to Sylvie and invites her to ride upon his back until her befuddled father orders her down, leashes Oskar and takes her tightly by the hand so they can get home in time for tea. The bear looks like a very large teddy, the “wild” wood is spacious and airy and Sylvie never loses her tiny crown or musses her dress. And the hare has a great story to tell his family.
Old-fashioned in all the senses of the word, but quite charming in its art-deco shapes and vintage colors; Sylvie and her dog and her dad will probably find themselves well-known once again. (Picture book. 4-6)