A winsome Yuletide story translated from the Swedish presents Grump, a tomte, or house gnome, who traditionally brings presents to children.
Grump, however, is as his name implies, fairly grumpy, what with a sleepy bee who needs looking after, his mittens and red hat swept away in the wind, and the sign on his cottage nibbled by a squirrel. Deciding not to celebrate Christmas at all, he retreats to his favorite book, In Praise of Solitude. Meanwhile, two young members of a multigenerational rabbit clan that lives nearby find his hat and the sign. Mystified, they take the items to the other animals of the forest, who tell the rabbits about the tomte and Christmas (not always completely). So the rabbit family decides to prepare for the arrival of the Yule Tomte. There are 25 short chapters in the story, one for each day of Advent, and even though American readers may not know about the Swedish tradition, they will enjoy this bunny family’s sweet anticipation. Two of the more adventurous young bunnies finally bring the tomte to their celebration, and he in turn provides a lovely surprise for all. The illustrations are very much in the softly colored, muted Scandinavian tradition.
Charming. (Picture book. 5-10)