Get to Know Swedish Children’s Book Icons*

Pettson and Findus (Pettson och Findus)

Pettson and Findus are the characters in a series of children’s books written and illustrated by Swedish author Sven Nordqvist. Pettson is an old farmer who lives with his cat, Findus, in a red-painted wooden farmhouse in the Swedish countryside. Pettson can talk to Findus so his neighbors regard him as a bit odd. In the story, Findus is more like a small child as the character dresses in a green-striped costume, wears a cap, and can stand up like a human.

Alfie Atkins (Alfons Åberg)

Alfie is a fictional character created by the author Gunilla Bergström in 1972. He’s an ordinary kid who lives with his father and experiences many everyday problems all kids can relate to. Just like other kids, Alfie imagines things and is longing to grow up like a big boy. For that reason, Alfie often competes with his father (who is a nice and positive man) who can solve everyday problems in the best way.

Bamse

Bamse is a character of a brown bear created by Rune Andréasson. Thanks to special honey called dunderhonung (literally means thunder honey) from his grandmother, Bamse becomes the world’s strongest and kindest bear that often helps those in need.

Bablarna

Have you ever seen odd-shaped characters in bright colors in a toyshop in Sweden?

Those are Babblarna, a colorful group of characters from Hatten Education. Designed to help children from 0-5 years old in learning language, each Babblarna character speaks its own language which sounds more like a babble. For example, Babba talks Babbish and Diddi talks Diddish. However, it doesn’t stop them from understanding each other.

The Little Ghost Godfrey (Lilla spöket Laban)

Laban is a Swedish children’s book character created by Inger and Lasse Sandberg, initially to make their son not afraid of ghosts. Just like Casper, Laban is a friendly ghost who does not want to haunt or scare people. He lives in the basement of the castle “Gomorronsol” where he makes friends with the youngest prince.

The Moomin

The Moomin is actually not Swedish, but it is very popular in Sweden.

They are a family of white, round, hippopotamus-like characters in a series written by Swedish-speaking Finnish illustrator Tove Jansson. The central family consists of Moominpappa, Moominmamma and Moomintroll who live in their house in Moominvalley. In the story, they embark on many adventures along with their various friends

*originally published for The Newbie Guide to Sweden on April 1, 2020.

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