Saturday, August 22, 2009

Elsa Beskow

Elsa Beskow (1874-1953) is the Beatrix Potter of Scandinavia, and for over one hundred years Swedish children have grown up with her books. With a focus on nature, the changing seasons and the adventures you can only have as a child, her books transcend nationality and time and are true classics.

As I've mentioned previously, anything vintage just makes me absolutely melt. Elsa Beskow books do just that! If you love fairy, elf or gnome stories than these books are definitely for you. Elsa has created the most enchanting world for her characters. Set in the forest amongst beautiful plants and creatures live tiny people living harmoniously together. There are far too many to list here, but let me mention Emmy's favorite Beskow book at the moment. Around the Year (first published in Swedish in 1927 and then published in English in 1988) is a charming book of verses that gives me such an unexplainable, cozy feeling deep down inside. Much like Tasha Tudor's books, Around the Year captures the essence of childhood throughout the year as seen through the eyes of three children. The illustrations are fanciful and the poems are wonderful to read aloud. This simple book is a keeper - one that will stick with you long after you have closed the cover. Here is the poem for the month of August:
Floris Books, the largest children's book publisher in Scotland, has translated and published many of Elsa Beskow's books. Go to their site if you're interested in seeing her collection. Books by Elsa Beskow can be ordered through your local book seller or through our astore on Amazon.

A wonderful project that will embrace the seasons/holidays is to create a nature table in your home. Young children enjoy marking the seasons of the year. A nature table will help them to begin to understand the concepts of the passage of time, and the calendar with its months, weeks, and days as well.

Nothing is a better, soothing, more joyful activity than to bring home bits and pieces of a day's adventure or walk and place it on a table as a celebration of that day or season. Lovely things can be collected such as pebbles, seashells, feathers, pine cones, acorns, sticks, flowers, etc. Emmy always comes home with pockets full of items from our outdoor adventures. A nature table doesn't have to be a table. Emmy has several baskets where she keeps her collection of nature items. A drawer, box or shelf would work just as well. Just remember to put it in a place where it is accessible, but not likely to get knocked over. I believe that the ritual of a nature table, where items are displayed according to the season, will create a wonderful connectedness between Emmy and nature and instill an understanding of the rhythm of the year.

Here's a beautiful example of a nature table displayed prominently in a home.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Amy,
    I like the old fashioned books and appreciate Tasha Tudor's books too. Ebay carries many of her books, prints and cards. Last year I did some shopping on Ebay for some of her items.It is fun to look at the many items she has written and illustrated.