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Juhani Püttsepp (1964) was born to a family of doctors in Tartu. He graduated from a special physics- and mathematics focus class at Tartu Middle School Nr. 1, acquired a degree in biology from the University of Tartu, and worked as a plant expert at the Institute of Zoology and Botany as well as at the University of Tartu. Püttsepp has directed the Tartu Children’s Theatre and edited newspapers Maaülikool and Roheline Värav and magazines Eesti Loodus and Loodusesõber. He has also been a journalist for Estonian newspapers Postimees and Eesti Ekspress. Additionally, he has made documentary films and composed summary books (such as Tartu Ülikool 375). Püttsepp has been Director of the Estonian University of Life Sciences’ School of Natural Sciences since 2004. He has five children.
Püttsepp has written works of popular-science and storybooks for children of many ages, although a number of his works can be classified as “books for the whole family” in the very best sense (Madonna the Board, Rooms Full of Dolls’ Stories, 49 Years Old, The Man Who Touched a Moose, etc.). His most treasured topics include nature, human attitudes towards the environment, the endurance of (local) culture, and the progression of generations. The author’s unique style weaves reality with fairy tale, and he always treats his characters with empathy.
|I Am My Own
What are you to do when someone hugs you against your will? How should you behave when a stranger on the street invites you to come check out some puppies? What should you do when someone touches you and asks you to keep it a secret? Püttsepp tells these true stories and broaches other difficult subjects heard from psychiatrists.
|The Grandma Who Turned into a Puppy
Little Marie loves her grandma very much. Marie’s grandma is old and sick, so she can’t move very far from her bedside. Marie is glad to offer her grandma company. They watch TV, read books, and simply chat together. Grandma’s old dog Saku also loves being close to the cheerful woman, because no one else has so much time to scratch his nape. One winter day, Grandma dies and goes to heaven. The same happens to Saku the next spring.
|The Society of Gibraltar Ship Dogs
Standing in a little town of wooden buildings is a somewhat slanted three-storey house. Its colourful tenants include Sirje and her grandson Anton, who has been sent there for school. One day, a perky, clever fox-coloured dog appears at their doorstep. When Sirje and Anton are unable to find the dog’s owner, they decide to keep him as their pet. They name him Saku, buy him a bowl and a collar, and pay a trip to the vet.
All five stories in the book are based on real events and are tied to animals slipping and sliding in one way or another. Elephants slide on a muddy hillside at the zoo while mice do it between the layers of insulation under a new roof, a crow does somersaults on the hood of a snowy car, bear cubs have fun the same way that shepherd boys did long ago – sliding down a hill on a young birch branch, and wolf pups on a frozen puddle act like leaves blowing in the wind.
|Stories of a Small Wolf
Little wolf tells her cub about her life and the differences between wolves and people. Baby wolves do not go to the kindergarten or wear nappies, nor do they need to change their clothes, but they play and dance like all children. Little wolves also have their very own home as children do, but a very different home. Baby wolves miss their parents just like humans – this is why they howl.
|Anni on Her Travels
Anni is the first puppet in the world to make a round-the-world trip and to note down her impressions for children. World travellers, termed Rolling Estonians were invited to travel to the five continents, avoiding the big cities and getting to know the local population and their way of life. They visit Saame people above the Polar Circle and camel-drivers in the deserts of Africa. They also visit the indigenous peoples in both North America and Australia...
2017 Clear Message Award (I Am My Own)
2016 IBBY Honour List (The Society of Gibraltar Ship Dogs)
2016 Nominee of the Tartu Prize for Children’s Literature (Childhood Prize) (The Society of Gibraltar Ship Dogs)
2015 Nominee of the Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (The Society of Gibraltar Ship Dogs)
2015 Good Children’s Book (The Society of Gibraltar Ship Dogs)
2015 Nominee of the Tartu Prize for Children’s Literature (Childhood Prize) (Sliding Stories)
2014 Children’s Story Competition “My First Book”, 1st place (The Society of Gibraltar Ship Dogs)
2008 The Knee-High Book Competition, 1st-2nd place (Stories of a Small Wolf)
I Am My Own
Georgian: საკუთარ თავს ვეკუთვნი, Books in Batumi, 2018
Russian in Estonia: Я принадлежу себе, Tallinn: Lastekaitse Liit 2017
The Man Who Touched the Elk
English in Estonia: Mees, kes puutus põtra = The Man Who Touched the Elk, Elva: Mariekuld 2014
The Story of a Little Oak Tree, Anger, and a Crow
Russian in Estonia: Рассказ о дубке, злости и вороне, Tartu: Tähtvere Avatud Naistekeskus 2015
Kodu täis nukkude jutte (Rooms Full of Doll Stories), designed by Aila Utsu-Püttsepp, J. Püttsepp 2017, 126 pp
Mina olen enda oma (I Am My Own), Lastekaitse Liit 2017, illustrated by Kristi Kangilaski, 44 pp
Doktor Haldja lood (Doctor Fairy’s Stories), Postimees Grupp 2016, illustrated by Maria Kooskora, 135 pp
Mustad linnud (The Black Birds), Juhani Püttsepp 2016, illustrated by Kadri Ilves, 48 pp
Vanaema, kes muutus kutsikaks (The Grandma Who Turned into a Puppy), Dolce Press 2016, illustrated by Katrin Ehrlich, 33 pp
Gibraltari laevakoerte ühing (The Society of Gibraltar Ship Dogs), Tänapäev 2015, illustrated by Marja-Liisa Plats, 232 pp
Lugu väikesest tammepuust, vihast ja varesest (The Story of a Little Oak Tree, Anger, and a Crow), Tähtvere avatud naistekeskus 2015, illustrated by Jarõna Ilo, 48 pp
Liulood (Sliding Stories), Dolce Press 2014, illustrated by Katrin Ehrlich, 33 pp
Mees, kes puutus põtra = The Man Who Touched the Elk, Mariekuld 2014, illustrated by Epp Margna, 72 pp
Tsss…Kuula! (Shh… Listen!), Päike ja Pilv 2013, illustrated by Kadri Ilves, 29 pp
Väikese hundi lood (Stories of a Small Wolf), Päike ja Pilv 2009, illustrated by Liisa Murdvee, 32 pp
Anni rännuteel (Anni on Her Travels), Saara Kirjastus 2005, illustrated by Jane Kaas, 48 pp
Veskitont Niglas (Niglas the Windmill Ghost), Ilmamaa 2001, illustrated by Mare Hunt, 64 pp