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Rassel Prassel Promenad Hanna Lundström and Maija Hurme, Rassel Prassel Promenad (Rattle Rustle Walk)

Schildts & Söderströms (Finland),  2017.

Reviewed by B J Epstein in SBR 2018:1

Review Section: Poetry

What do you hear and see on a walk? How do you feel? What do you notice as the seasons change? These are some of the topics explored in Rassel Prassel Promenad (Rattle Rustle Walk), a beautiful collection of poems for young children. Written by Hanna Lundström and illustrated by Maija Hurme, these poems are sure to appeal to readers of all ages.

In ‘Höstgult’ (Autumn Gold), leaves are compared to felines: ‘Like fast leopards/birch leaves race/They gather in clusters/but don’t give chase’. ‘Samla sekunder’ (Collect Seconds) subtly reminds readers/listeners to stop to appreciate the moment, to collect moments the way you might collect sticks or berries or sand, and to savour them. ‘Snögubbe, tögubbe’ (Snowman, Thawman) describes a snowman as the weather gets warmer; exhausted, he melts, but this death is depicted as natural and not frightening. The world goes on as it always does in this collection of poems, and children learn about everything from the budding of a flower to the sorrow of a tree losing its last leaves; there are obvious implicit metaphors in every stanza.

Lundström and Hurme see the world in an imaginative way, the way children do but many adults don’t allow themselves to any more, which is why it is a meaningful book for parents and children to read together. Each poem is set in the natural world and pays attention to the small details, describing them in clear language and gentle rhymes, while the accompanying drawings are from the child’s-eye view, showing a ladybird in a pot or a single lingonberry glistening brightly in a bush or a scary, hatted creature creating lightning and thunder in a dark cloud with a ‘bam bada bam’. 

Hanna Lundström is a teacher who recognises the importance of poetry for everyone, including very young children, and Maija Hurme is an artist who has illustrated a number of books in both Swedish and Finnish. Both have a clear passion for, and understanding of, the way children read. 

Rassel Prassel Promenad is a lovely collection of poetry that is just right for young readers and they, like the tree in winter with its leaves falling, will be sad when it is over. 


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