Kullakallis kass (source: apollo.ee)
Thursday, 14 April 2022 19:00
Estonian Life No. 15 2022 - Vincent Teetsov
Are you looking for more fun books to help practice reading Estonian? Here are some of Estonian Life
's latest top picks of Estonian books that kids and families can enjoy together.1) Kullakallis kass (The Precious Cat, 2022):
This 32 page picture book, written by Ilmar Tomusk of the Estonian Language Board, is a funny subversion of expectations among fictional animals. It follows some mice as they encounter a cat in the house they occupy. But contrary to what usually happens between felines and rodents, a Tom and Jerry
-esque chase doesn't take place. And despite the wishes of the gentleman who takes care of the cat, the cat is too full of tasty food to bother awaking from its slumber to capture the mice.
The illustrations of Catherine Zarip—which were featured on the 2020 Christmas card of the President of the Republic of Estonia—are pleasing in their diligent presentation of proportion and movement. Colours and lines are soft and blended, making it soothing to look at. The facial expressions and postures of characters always feel real and dimensional, and quite cute, though Zarip is also able to make oddball characters come to life.
Ellen, Eik ja kilekoti mõistatus (source: apollo.ee)
2) Ellen, Eik ja kilekoti mõistatus (Ellen, Eik and the Plastic Bag Mystery, 2022):
This early reader book, illustrated by Eili Lepik-Kannelmäe, is perfect for kids with a passion for technology and knowing how things work. It's all about Ellen and Eik, two clever 10-year-olds who build a jolly robot that they call SodiBot. All seems to be well with their industrious robot when they let it loose around the house, seeing how well it can perform clean-up tasks. But somehow on the way to school to show the robot off to their classmates, they lose SodiBot and need to get to the bottom of the robot's whereabouts.
In their investigation, Ellen and Eik learn what goes into the process of recycling and disposal of other waste. Author Kätlin Vainola is a skilled simultaneous educator and entertainer in her storytelling.
The cover of Kartuli kuningriik (source: apollo.ee)
3) Kartuli kuningriik (The Potato Kingdom, 2021):
Vegetables are already the source of consternation for many a child, but imagine the drama that would ensue if the vegetables on your plate had personalities and ambition! Such is the literary world that author Helena Koch cultivates in this story about the products of one particular garden.
Naturally, the most powerful produce around are potatoes, who reign over the garden and lead the vegetables to their destiny, providing nutrients in the stomachs of their consumers. By posing vegetables as sentient beings, the story does end up creating some interesting, lingering philosophical questions. But still, it doesn't lose its mischief and comedic value.
Koch has built a reputation for her brand of humour as in the book Kõhu mäss (Belly Rebellion)
, a story about paying attention to the physical signals one's body sends. Indeed, these are the kinds of plots that adults will get a kick out of when reading along, too.
Illustrator Anne Pikkov has a radically textural and sharp approach to mixed media illustration with wild lines, swooshes of rusty colours, and a sense of absurdity that the little jokesters in one's family will love. The drawings in and of themselves are highly amusing to pore over even if your children are not yet reading.Get your pidžaamad on, bring out an Estonian to English dictionary in case you need to look up the meaning of some words, and dive into a fun new book!
Written by Vincent Teetsov