I realize that it is probably criminal to discuss the topic of Swedish children's literature and not to begin with Astrid Lindgren. I love Ms. Lindgren and will tackle that topic when I can give it the time and the attention it deserves. But my kid isn't quite at the Astrid Lindgren stage of development yet, so I have to stick to somewhat simpler pastures.
And so I have chosen Max. When Little Swede was born he received a few of these Max books as gifts. And since then has gotten a few more. And slowly I began to see that the world of children's literature is somewhat different in Sweden than it is in the US. There is no poetry here. There is no 'let's learn about something' hiding in the background.
No. Max is a naughty little boy. Although the word naughty doesn't really work because he is 'busig' which is a fabulous Swedish word which means both positive and negative things.
In the books that we have Max does things like hit a duck in the face, try to sit his big dog on a tiny potty, take toys from his friends, and an assortment of not nice things to his rather large dog (this dog thing is the bit that worries me, since we have a rather large dog and I don't want Little Swede getting any ideas).
For the most part there are no real consequences for Max's bad behavior. In one instance I think he does get hit by another kid. In another one the dog kind of growls at him. But for the most part, Max gets what he wants, which is his pacifier, a cookie, a ball or a car.
The Max books are written by Barbro Lindgren and concluded with a book for grownups, which is written in a similar style, but includes Max getting married, growing old and dying.
It seems, despite his naughty nature, Max grows up to be a good little Swede. Which is really the point isn't it? Get out all the 'busig' when you are young, so you can follow the rules and understand them when you are old? Or am I missing it?
Ah well, here is a picture of Max dumping his potty on his dog's head. I hope Little Swede doesn't feel too inspired. At least the texts says 'Doggy sad.'
Start to Work Like a Swede
4 weeks ago