Sunday, September 2, 2018

Tämä on minun lauluni - Helena Seppälä

Tämä on minun lauluni

STORY: This is a poetry book that is split into 4 themes (nature, cats and other pets, feelings and a bit more personal poems) ending with a section with questions for the reader, the poetry presenter and the poetry writer. The back of the book includes some lined pages, inviting the reader to write their own poems.

The themes of the poems in this book are accessible to all readers, though definitely geared more towards adults. Although they are written in selkokieli, they are lyrical in nature and the author's images and thoughts and feelings are expressed in full, evoking landscapes, seasons and memories in the reader's mind.

LANGUAGE: Most pages contain 2-4 shorts poems per page and the size of the book is wider than it is tall, allowing the words to spread across the page and be held easily in the hands. The vocabulary is made up of everyday words, so even though this is a poetry book, the higher Finnish level reader will already recognize most of the words while the less experienced in Finnish reader will learn useful vocabulary to apply to their own life.

I recommend this books for adults, though all of the poems are family friendly. Because of the variety and accessibility of the poems, I recommend this book to all skill levels, from A1.1 on up.

CHARACTERS: While there are no characters per se in this book, the author's words as narrator and poetess are the most important in this case. Although we do not know the author's background, the introduction explains that she writes the book to express herself, in spite of having reading and writing disabilities.

Delightfully, I found that the author has her own blog at.  where more of her poetry can be found. I hope that she is someday inspired to write more poetry books accessible to all.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK: This book is great for the reader who doesn't have the time to invest in a hundred page plus novel written in selkokieli. It's perfect to put down and pick back up, savoring each poem, although if you have the same experience I had while reading, you'll be reading ahead to discover more great poetry. It truly is accessible to all, and everyone will identify with the passing of the seasons, the company of a pet and going through good days and bad days and the people that surround us. The questions in the back also make this a great book for a classroom or discussion group. An enthusiastic 4/5.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Emman ja Eetun koirapulma - Marita Hauhia ja Anne Randen

STORY: One morning, Arttu's girlfriend Anni comes to visit. Emma is the only one awake and she is excited that Anni has brought her dog Pulma with her. Arttu, Emma and Eetu are to dogsit Pulma for the day. Anni warns Emma that Pulma can only go outside on a leash and to be careful so that Pulma does not escape. But during the day, Emma leaves the door open and Pulma does escape!

This is a sequel to Hauhia's first Emma ja Eetu book, Emman ja Eetun yllätyslöytö. It follows the same format of the first book is is similar in length. It is appropriate for young readers first learning to read.

CHARACTERS: All the characters from this story are from the first book, with the addition of Pulma (which means trouble in Finnish) the puppy. They appear to be around the same age as from the first book or at least not aged noticeably. Emma is young and playful, Eetu enjoys building snowmen and isn't afraid to adventure into the winter forest, Arttu is still expected to act as babysitter for the two younger children and Anni is back and friendly to all. Mom and Dad are present in the book but spend most of the story at work. When mom returns from work, she engages in conversation with them all.

I was slightly disappointed with the characters in this book compared to the first. Emma is still a joy, but Eetu seems more stubborn and stand-offish. While it was clear in the first book that older brother Arttu would rather be doing other things than taking care of his siblings, it was even more evident in this book and he even came across as unpleasant. He is not a role model for the two younger children and I find that unfortunate in a book intended for young children and families. Also, while the mother was present, the father was clearly lacking presence in this book, when even a few more lines would have sufficed. In this category, I prefer the first book over this one.

LANGUAGE: The language in this book is the same level as in the first book. There are a lot of present tense verbs and many uses of negation. While the first book featured summer and beach vocabulary, this book featured winter and dog vocabulary.

The text on each page is short, with lots of pictures, so the book can be read relatively quickly. Based on the language and story, I would recommend this book to anyone, from level A1 to above. It is not necessary to read the first Emma ja Eetu book before this one, though if you like one, then I definitely recommend the other.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK: Emma ja Eetu are great young children characters that have adventures in ordinary settings. This book features a story about a dog, which will delight younger readers. The children show teamwork by building a snowman together and eating healthy foods. Big brother Arttu shows the younger children how to take care of Anni's dog when  an emergency happens. When Emma and Eetu would like a pet of their own and mom says no, the children respond in a healthy way. And when Anni comes home and hears about what happened while she was away, she shows forgiveness. I recommend this book if you are looking for a book with these traits, a good easy reader book for beginning readers or for a family read. 3/5