A picture-book classic translated from the Swedish.
First published over a century ago, Beskow’s tale of the little, little old woman highlights changing tastes in picture-book styles more than anything. Resembling early Tasha Tudor crossed with Carl Larsson and a bit of Beatrix Potter, this story eschews sophisticated storyline and complex visuals. A "little, little old woman" lives in a "little, little cottage" with a “little, little cat” and little, little furniture. She also has a "little, little cow"—well, readers get the idea. The woman milks the cow, the cat drinks the milk, and the woman banishes the cat from the house. The uncomplicated illustrations, enclosed within a circular border, are on the recto, while the simple text is placed on the verso. A few spot illustrations also decorate the text page. While the presentation may seem sedate and even boring to modern eyes used to clever storylines and dramatic visuals, the overall effect is the opposite. Sure, nothing much happens, but the languid pace and bucolic illustrations harken back to a rose-colored–glasses time and exude charm and simplicity. Besides, the illustrations are brimming with attractive Swedish style: Red geraniums bloom on white-curtained windowsills, and rustic blue-painted furniture beckons.
It’s possible that readers accustomed to more stimulating entertainment won’t enjoy slowing down, but simpler souls will most likely breathe a contented sigh. (Picture book. 2-5)