Letters to Anyone and Everyone / Toon Tellegen
Boxer Books, 2010, c1996.
And now for a break from all the mystery reading...I picked up this little book on a recommendation from Stefanie at So Many Books, who thought it was charming. I must agree! This was a delightful, funny, lovely book. I read it via Interlibrary Loan, but know that I'm going to have to buy myself a copy soon, so I can reread all these tiny epistolary stories over and over.
It's a collection of children's stories by Dutch author Toon Tellegen (who is new to me). They feature Ant, Squirrel, Elephant, Bear, Sparrow, and occasionally Snail or Carp or Crow, among others. These animals are always sending letters back and forth, letters who wear hats and scarves and trudge between homes, or fly through the air. The stories are odd and quirky in the way of childhood games, or dreams, with everything being sentient, and strange happenings taken for granted.
Between Elephant swinging on lampshades or falling out of trees, or Squirrel writing a letter to the letter, or Cricket making things real by writing them down, there are numerous moments of laughter and charm. Some of the stories made me laugh a lot, some were rather melancholy. Each of them was worth rereading more than once. I regretted that I had to return this one; it's one to keep and dip into regularly.
The small "pocket" size of the book and the accompanying tiny illustrations by Jessica Ahlberg make this a perfect package. All these elements work together to create a wonderful reading experience, one I highly recommend. It's perfect for those who like charming children's stories, or epistolary fiction, or just discovering things that are slightly different.
This book, and a second, are examples of the few Tellegen books translated into English. Do search them out; they are a delight. You might also want to pop on over to Boxer Books and watch the brief interview with Tellegen and Ahlberg, and enjoy him reading excerpts from his book!