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LITTLE PARSLEY by Inger Hagerup


by Inger Hagerup ; illustrated by Paul René Gauguin ; translated by Becky L. Crook

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-59270-286-2
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Floridly illustrated nonsense verse, Norwegian style.

First published as Lille persillein 1961 and newly translated by Crook, this book brings the arresting combination of light verse from one of Norway’s most famous 20th-century poets and the ornate illustrations of the grandson of French post-impressionist Paul Gaugin to a U.S. audience. Hagerup published her first collection of poetry in 1939, and though she gained fame as a powerful voice in the Resistance when the Nazis occupied Norway, she was also beloved as a writer of children’s verse. Here Crook unleashes the sonic force of Hagerup’s rhymed lyric somersaults as she imagines the inner life of a host of common creatures: a crab, a “pondering” pig, a hedgehog, a wasp—even plants like gooseberries, chervil, sweet peas, and the eponymous parsley. She also introduces such memorable figures as “My Cousin,” who “wrangles reptiles / for the city fire station. / It is a marvelous vocation, / wrangling writhing reptiles,” and “my little niece Patrice, / who is permitted to run wild— / she is a beastly child.” Gaugin’s richly detailed pen-and-ink drawings, touched with pops of color, heighten Hagerup’s zaniness throughout the collection, here capturing cheeky Patrice onstage, ready to curtsy, with her tongue sticking out.

Inventive and fun: a sassy, vividly illustrated child’s introduction to the gifted Norwegian versifier. (Picture book/poetry. 3-8)