Posted by: Lizzie Ross | July 11, 2010

Elsa Beskow

The Sun Egg (Solägget) (1932), Floris, 24 pp.

Pelle’s New Suit or Peter in Blueberry Land may be better known, but I prefer The Sun Egg for its wonderful illustrations.

The story is simple: an elf finds a large object in her woods and invites all her friends to come look at it. They eventually discover that it has delicious juice, which they sip through grass straws until a crow steals it. The elf later flies south with a thrush, where she joyfully spends the winter in an orange grove, but eventually returns to her northern woods.

The plot is minimal, and the characters may be too cute for modern tastes, but Beskow’s illustrations glow with the deep greens and browns of an evergreen forest, with bright accents glowing in the elf’s hair, bird feathers, or flower petals.

For cheerful stories and rich illustrations, you can’t do better than this writer’s books.

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