The Children of Noisy Village
Region: Scandinavia, Sweden
Author: Astrid Lindgren
Original Language: Swedish
Translator: Florence Lamborn
Illustrator: Ilon Wikland
Series: Noisy Village
Characters: Lisa, Karl, Bill, Olaf, Britta, Anna
Genre: Holiday Stories
Descriptors: celebrations; children; Christmas; customs; Easter; family; farms; holidays; New Year; Sweden; traditions
Age: 8-12 years old
Astrid Lindgren’s The Children of Noisy Village is told from the perspective of nine-year-old Lisa as she grows up in “Noisy Village,” a small group of three farms in the Swedish countryside that got its nickname because of all of the noisy children who live there. Lisa lives in Middle Farm with her two older brothers Karl and Bill. Their best friends Britta, Anna, and Olaf live next door on the neighboring farms, so they are always having fun together. This cozy and amusing story details the lives of these six children throughout the course of a year as they go to school, play games, celebrate the holidays, and go crayfishing in the summer together. The simple black and white sketches by Ilon Wikland help bring this rustic setting and fun cast of characters to life. The Children of Noisy Village is full of exciting Nordic holiday traditions for Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Easter. While many Western audiences are familiar with these holidays, they are celebrated a little differently in Sweden. For example, all of the festivities in Sweden take place on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day and involves several different customs related to food, music, present giving, and fortune-telling. The story provides explanations for many of these holiday traditions, so that readers from other cultures could appreciate the differences. Translated from Swedish to English by Florence Lamborn, the narrative flows well and captures the voice of a nine-year-old child. This story is perfect for young readers who are 8-12 years old.
More About This Book
Reviewed: print book by Puffin Books (1988). ISBN: 9780140326093, 014032609X. 124 p.
Notes: There is content in chapter six, “A Grandfather is Fun, Too,” that could be potentially scary to younger readers. For example, the children read the obituaries in the newspaper to Grandfather and mention someone “gored to death by a bull.” There is also mention of artwork in Grandfather’s room of a snake squeezing someone to death. Furthermore, in the following chapter, “We Think We’ll Run Away,” there is a paragraph about Grandfather being orphaned as a young boy, leading him to live with abusive caregivers and run away from home.
Astrid Lindgren Company: https://www.astridlindgren.com/en/characters/the-children-of-noisy-village
Reviewed by: Leah Byrnes