Peter's Old House, Hardback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


At the end of a street, in a little village, is Peter's house.

It's an old, falling down house. But Peter helps everyone: mending things, building toy boats, and telling stories.

Will anyone help him when an official says his house must be pulled down?

This is a wonderful, charming story in the best tradition of Elsa Beskow's Swedish tales, as all the children in the village rally round to help Peter when he needs them most.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 28 pages, colour illustrations
  • Publisher: Floris Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Picture books
  • ISBN: 9780863151026



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Peter was a man of many talents, all of which he put to good use helping his neighbours. A former sailor who spoke many languages, he was always called upon to translate when any foreign visitors arrived in the village. A talented toy-boat maker, he supplied all the children in the area with playthings. A gifted healer, he was the one that the local children came to, when they'd fallen and scraped their knees, or sprained their ankles. But although he did so much, he asked for little in return, and no one ever thought to pay their friend, who was the poorest man in the village. Then one day a pompous official happened past, and threatened to tear down Peter's ramshackle old house. It feel to the children, conscious of how much they owed their friend, to organize a community event to take care of the problem...Originally published in 1949 as <u>Herr Peter</u>, this charming Swedish picture-book offers a heart-warming glimpse of the power of community, and the importance of helping one's neighbours. Although the story isn't one to keep the readers guessing - the cover art alone, gives away how matters will be resolved - it is nevertheless immensely satisfying. Unlike many of Elsa Beskow's other stories, <u>Peter's Old House</u> is narrated in the first-person, by one of the village children, now grown up. This allows for a poignant last page, on which the narrator is revealed as an older man himself, looking back on that time when Peter's old house (and Peter) needed help. This conclusion provides a cyclical feeling to the tale, hinting that Rob too became a man who helped others. The artwork, as is always the case with Beskow's books, is lovely, with a soft colour palette, and many appealing little details. Recommended to fans of the author/artist, and to anyone looking for children's stories that teach the value of community.