Aunt Green, Aunt Brown and Aunt Lavender Hardback
by Elsa Beskow
This is the first of the classic "Peter and Lotta" series.
Filled with Elsa Beskow's characteristic humour and charm, it tells how the two children come to meet the aunts known as Aunt Green, Aunt Lavender, Aunt Brown, and their little black poodle, Dot.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 32 pages, colour illustrations
- Publisher: Floris Books
- Publication Date: 01/09/2001
- Category: Picture books
- ISBN: 9780863153488
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Review by AbigailAdams26
Originally published in 1918 as <u>Tant Grön, Tant Brun och Tant Gredelin</u>, this classic Swedish picture-book is the first of five adventures featuring Peter and Lotta, and explains how those two children came to be living with Aunt Green, Aunt Brown, and Aunt Lavender in the first place. Three maiden sisters living together, the eponymous aunts - so known because of the colour of dress they invariably choose to wear - set out to walk their beloved black poodle Dot, only to find one thing after another delaying them. Impatient at being kept waiting, Dot takes off on his own, but soon finds himself in the clutches of a villainous organ grinder (as you do). Naturally, the aunts set out to find him, but they meet with mixed results. As Aunt Green finds herself stuck in a barn with an injured kitten, and Aunt Lavender is marooned in the forest after soaking her shoes and stockings, while attempting to cross a stream, Aunt Brown meets two unhappy young orphans, Peter and Lotta. Cheering them up by replacing their lost penny, she shares the tale of the lost Dot with them, asking them to bring him to the house, should they ever find him. This (of course) they do, rescuing the dognapped Dot from the organ grinder, and restoring him to the aunts (aiding Aunt Lavender and Aunt Green along the way), thereby winning for themselves a luxurious tea, and a permanent home...Having read a few of the subsequent Peter and Lotta adventures, I am gratified to have finally tracked down this initial title. <u>Aunt Green, Aunt Brown and Aunt Lavender</u> has some of the madcap sense of adventure to be found in others of Elsa Beskow's stories, and much of the same humour as well. I was amused by the way in which Beskow takes the figure of the demure 19th-century maiden spinster - so proper! so prim! - and places her in seemingly incongruous situations. Beskow is not afraid to put adults in awkward places - stranded in a barn loft in the hay, or barefoot in the forest - that the young reader might not expect. The artwork here is just lovely, as one would expect with Beskow, for whom Sweden's premier illustrator's award is named. Each two page spread features the text on the left, and a full-page colour illustration on the right. The page with the text also features some artwork, usually in the form of black silhouettes on the white page. I found that I enjoyed both the silhouette and the full-colour illustrations. All in all, a strong beginning to an engaging series, one that highlights Beskow's talent at depicting small domestic dramas, in addition to her well-known fairy-tale/fantasies.