by Toon Tellegen • illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg
Just out! September 2009 • Boxer Books • Ages 4 and up • Short stories
"Beautifully told, quirky, and delightful, and have the warmth of the wonderful Pooh stories. Jessica Ahlberg's illustrations perfectly complement the mood of the writing, they're a joy!" -- Wendy Cooling, author, editor and children's literature consultant
Story: You're invited to the squirrel's birthday party and into a magical world of the imagination created by Toon Tellegen, one of Holland's most celebrated writers. Brief, evocative, thought-provoking and (I truly believe) unlike anything else ever written, The Squirrel's Birthday and Other Parties is rich in unforgettable, even surrealistic images. A squirrel and an ant discover a mysterious feast with an invisible host in the depths of the forest. A whale and a seagull dance silently on a moon-drenched beach. A grasshopper pays a fortune for a speck of dust. Here's a little preview of the writing: "While the squirrel was baking cakes, the animals were choosing what to wear to the party. The elephant put on a small red jacket he had never worn before. The bear wore a large gray coat that was so baggy he couldn't possibly burst out of its seems. The mole looked for something that wasn't black, but he couldn't find anything, so he just put all his clothes on inside out." A collection of nine charming short stories about friendship, dancing, memories, and lots of cake.
Story behind the story: In launching this book as part of their first fiction line, Boxer Books gave it the prescient art direction they're known for: they brought in the ever-talented Jessica Ahlberg (daughter of the acclaimed author-illustrator team Janet and Allen Ahlberg of the JOLLY POSTMAN and EACH PEACH PEAR PLUM among many other children's favorites). So jewel-like...I find myself wanting miniature figurines of her characters, and their gifts, and the cakes -- on the cakes!
ADVANCE PRAISE: "...one of the strangest and most delightful children's imports I've seen in a long long time....we end up with a book that feels like an old friend the first time you turn one of its pages. Like coming home again....feels like a contemporary successor to Milne's Pooh tales....You cannot read this book and understand how anyone but Ahlberg could have illustrated it. She is the E. H. Shepard of the 21st century... a tiny treasure that some will choose to remember for years to come....Here's hoping we see far more of these books in the English language translated for our amusement. A jewel." -- Elizabeth Bird, A FUSE #8 PRODUCTION, School Library Journal blog
FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent and are in the works; please check back and click on the comments link below to read what your colleagues have to say about it.