Monday, February 11, 2013

Elsa Beskow–Children of the Forest

Elsa Beskows 139e födelsedag

Google did it again – distracted me from whatever it was I originally intended to look up… And this in spite of the image keeping still this time! But I recognized it, and knew the artist behind it. What I did not know was that today was her 139th birthday…

Elsa Beskow

Elsa Beskow (née Maartman) (11 February 1874, Stockholm – 30 June 1953) was a Swedish author and illustrator of children's books.

And I do remember the Children of the Forest (Swedish: Tomtebobarnen) from my childhood.

Tomtebobarnen (early 1900s, Nationalmuseum Stockholm)

Little elves playing with Tomtebobarnen/Children of the Forest (1910)

Elsa Beskow frequently combined reality with elements from the fairy tale world. She became one of the most well known of all Swedish children's book artists. Many of her books are continually reprinted.

Beskow also illustrated ABC books and songbooks for Swedish schools.

Illustrated poem/song about sleeping trees in winter
(early 1900s, Nationalmuseum Stockholm).

I’ll be linking this post to ABC Wednesday (E for Elsa)
(unless I get distracted again and forget…)

18 comments:

  1. These illustrations seem very familar to me, though I can't quite place them from my childhood. They are so lovely.

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  2. she was very talented, love those illustrations, especially the last one

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  3. Hmmm...kind of a Swedish Beatrice Potter? I love their little mushroom hats!

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  4. As a child I enjoyed reading lots of books with pretty illustrations like these that kept my imagination growing long after I had finished reading the book.
    I was always told that I had a vivid imagination, and I wrote many of my own short stories and plays as I grew older, some of which I won local awards for. Not so good at drawing/illustrating though.

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  5. I love those illustrations. And Tomtebobarnen is such a super sounding name - it really rolls off the tongue. I wonder why they haven't made it to be popular in England. My librarianship experience as well as my personal one makes me fairly sure they haven't. Even if they have been translated which surely they must have been.

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  6. Monica!!! "Hänschen im Blaubeerwald" by Elsa Beskow is one of my earliest book-related memories, and one of my all-time favourite (if not THE all-time favourite) book I knew as a child - and was given years later, in my early teens, as a birthday present, since I never forgot how much I loved that book. It is on my shelf right now, and your post has just reminded me of having a look at it again.

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    Replies
    1. Meike, in the Swedish original Hänschen's name is Putte, I remember that book too. :)

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  7. that bottom pic looks as tho it's from Thumbellina
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

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    1. Roger, Elsa Beskow did illustrate an edition of Thumbelina, in 1907.
      (The story was written by H.C. Andersen)

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  8. How wonderful are these drawings! I love children books and used to collect them. Very good post for E.
    Have a great week.
    Wil, ABCW Team.

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  9. Oh I love the illustrations. I remember having some of those books when I was little. I don't know where they went. I couldn't read them but loved the pictures. I am of Swedish decent and think a relative gave them to me long...long...ago.

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  10. Wonderful E post, - the illustrator has a tremendous and appealing imagination.

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  11. Her illustrations are so delightful! What a treat to see these beautifully illustrated children's books.

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  12. These illustrations are strangely familiar to me too! I am wondering if I borrowed the English version of the book from a library! So very lovely!

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  13. Oh, I love the last illustration. So endearing!

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  14. I can totally relate to your bout with internet tangent syndrome, but what a fun and rewarding way to spend some time! Fun post.

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  15. Beautiful and whimsical. I like them very much.

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