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About the author
Aino Pervik (1932) is one of the most influential authors of modern Estonian children’s literature. She began her schooling at Järvakandi Factories in 1939, continued in 1946–1950 in Tallinn, and graduated from Tartu State University in 1955 with a degree in Finno-Ugric philology. Pervik has lived in Tallinn since 1955. She worked at the Estonian State Publishing House as an editor of children’s and young-adult literature, and at the Estonian Television studio as an editor of programs for the same age group. Since 1967, she has been a freelance writer and translator from Hungarian.
Pervik has written over 60 children’s books, which have been translated into 12 languages and are often adapted for theatre and film. The author has won many major prizes, including the IBBY Honour List in 2004 and Estonia’s national award for children’s literature on several occasions. Her writing sheds light on existential problems: the preservation of ecological balance, the clash of different cultures, the finding of one’s identity, and other complex themes such as war, freedom, fatality, good, and evil. The author frequently addresses acute problems that children face in today’s world.
Together with her husband Eno Raud (1928–1996), Aino Pervik (1932) can be named one of Estonia’s most important foundation-layers for the dynasty of children’s literature. Since the 1960’s, Pervik has written so many significant children’s books that already nearly three generations of readers have grown up on them. Although the “grand old lady” of Estonian children’s literature just celebrated her 80th birthday, she still continues to pen sharp and pertinent texts.
In Pervik’s own words, children’s literature should offer young persons a sense of security. Truly – the majority of her books end with arriving back in the warmth of home, and comfortably sitting down around a richly set table. Nevertheless, the writer does not keep her reader in a pink fuzz, or refrain from offering him or her blood-curdling experiences as well. Characters belonging to the dark side of the world she creates include the dreadful pirate captain Taaniel Tina, and a ghost monk with the head he chopped off himself under his arm.
Pervik describes the events taking place on a pirate ship and the lives and minds of contemporary preschoolers just as convincingly as the other. Her texts express deep life-truths, yet do so in a simple and understandable form. She never breaks into over-explicating or nannying, and is understanding and tolerant; however, an ethical dimension is always steadfastly in place in her works. She loves to use folklore motifs and mythical topics, and her texts are brimming with allusions and metaphors.
Kunksmoor (Old Mother Kunks, 1973) is a classic of Estonian children’s literature that speaks about taking care of nature, and uses a colorful old witch-woman as its main character. The witch lives on a lone island away from civilization, and is skilled in the ancient arts of healing; however, human weaknesses such as vanity and selfishness are no stranger to her.
Arabella, the Pirate’s Daughter (1982) makes an observation of good and evil, the lust for money, and the complicated relations of human warmth. Arabella, the only daughter of a pirate captain, sails along with the hardened band of thieves on the world’s seas – however, she wishes to step out of the circle of horror, greed, and fear, and become happy.
The “Paula’s Life” series, which comprises 17 books written in a realistic style for preschoolers and early grades, speaks of a seven-year-old girl finishing kindergarten and going to primary school. The brief texts are written convincingly, offering a young reader the opportunity to identify with the characters and cope with situations that might be new or scary for children. Most key topics affecting the lives of a modern-day child are dealt with in the books. For example: Paula moves with her family to live in a large city, ends up in the hospital to have her appendix removed, and encounters teasing at school.
The fairy tale Draakonid võõrsil (The Dragons in a Foreign Land, 2002) brings dragons that are refugees of a war into the world of people, thus amplifying the unique and unfamiliar subject matter. With the dragon family striving to adapt in strange human society, Pervik outlines how difficult it is to understand someone different from you, although the difference might merely be in appearance and form (the dragons’ body structure, breathing fire, writing in hieroglyphics, etc.). The book shows how easy it is to develop hatred and distrust of a strange culture, as well as how simple it is at the same time to get over it if one only wishes to do so.
In Presidendilood (Stories of a President, 2008), the author brings out the human side of an elderly head of state, talking about the president’s humorous affairs and secret weaknesses; showing the person himself that stands behind a dignified facade. For the president, it is tiring to go on official trips, to be polite and decorous all of the time, and to do what etiquette stipulates. The president would much rather be playing with his grandchildren instead.
The two-part fantasy story Maailm Sulelise ja Karvasega (The World with Feathered and Furry, 2000) and Suleline, Puhuja ja must munk (Feathered, Blower, and the Black Monk, 2008) is undoubtedly among the top achievements in newer Estonian children’s literature. The main characters of the dilogy are four fantasy creatures originating from old children’s songs. Although the plot unfolds rapidly and dynamically, the general topic is the power of song, word, and thought. Fantasies are able to form our surrounding reality much more than we believe. The fight between Good and Evil also takes place here on the level of imagination – a bad thought can give rise to actual evil.
Pervik’s second series of children’s books, “Tirilinn Tales”, is similar in some respects to the Paula stories: they are also meant for a beginning reader. The main characters in this case are five good friends. The author likewise deals here with uncomfortable topics such as superstition, witchcraft and racism, bringing them into a context to which children are accustomed.
Klabautermanni mure (Klabautermann’s Problem) contains a serious modern issue furrowed away into fairy-tale form. Ship-nixes (fairies) rescue 16 Chinese children kidnapped from their parents by a gang of criminals, who planned to smuggle them into the US and give them away for adoption in exchange for large amounts of money.
The picture book Rändav kassiemme (The Wandering Cat, 2012) brings readers the story of a stray cat that has to find a nest for bringing her kittens into the world. The text, which is meant for small children, is short and moving.
|From BonnyHead and Beyond
Somewhere, there lies a lovely little town called BonnyHead. All kinds of bizarre folk live there, big and small alike. Mister and Misses Industrious are always thrilled to undertake one project or another. Miss SharpTongue has something witty to say about everything she sees. Mister AbsentMind frequently forgets where he is and why. Mister LustForFame’s greatest ambition is to become a huge celebrity...
It’s art time at Bluephant’s preschool. Mrs. Mooton asks the animal children to paint nature, and they get right to work. Aretta the rhinoceros girl draws raspberries. Kurt the camel boy paints a spiky hedgehog. Betty the bunny girl chooses a blue fish. Bluephant is deep into thought. “May I draw you?” he asks Mrs. Mooton. “Of course,” the teacher says. “All of us are a part of nature, even you!”
|The King of the Valley of Woes
Once upon a time in a land far away called the Valley of Woes, there lived people who weren’t content with anything. Naturally, they didn’t like the ruler who sat on the throne, either. Since the King of the Valley was orphaned as a young child, the country was actually ruled by a regent. Yet when the King became an adult, the regent didn’t want to hand over power.
|Bluephant Hears a Bedtime Story
Night-time has come and it’s time for Bluephant to go to bed, but the little elephant just doesn’t want to – he’s right in the middle of building a tower. All the same, when his mother promises to read him a bedtime story, Bluephant quickly puts away his blocks, washes up, and snuggles into bed to wait. Bluephant wonders what tale his mother will tell today.
|The Icicle, the Worried Milk, and Other Things
Have you ever wondered what things do when they’re all by themselves? What they think about or feel when people use them? Aino Pervik’s collection of stories gives objects that usually just sit quietly, waiting to be used, a chance to speak. And so, we embark on a TV remote’s wild adventures, meet a fork who never wanted to be a fork, and share in the joys and troubles of a pot who likes to cook healthy foods.
|Rabbit Makes Soup
"Rabbit Makes Soup" is an allegorical tale about a rabbit who finds a pot and starts to whip up a soup. He already has cabbage on hand, Crayfish brings water from the river, Boar adds potatoes, Finch provides a few grains of rice, and Snail brings a strawberry. The soup is very tasty. The animals gulp down what they personally added to the soup.
|Bluephant Goes to Preschool
"Bluephant Goes to Preschool" is another example of the wonderful cooperation of the writer-illustrator team Aino Pervik and Catherine Zarip. Little Bluephant has to go to kindergarten and he does not like the idea very much. Luckily, there are all these other little children, for example the rhinoceros girl Aretta and the bunny girl Betty.
|The Wandering Cat
"The Wandering Cat" is a book for the littlest of readers, in which the pictures carry just an important role as the text. What happens when a wandering mommy-cat finds out she will give birth to little kittens very soon? As one can expect, she must find a little spot for the kittens – a spot where they can stay safely while the mother goes looking for food.
There, where the land and the sea meet, a town has stood for already a thousand years. On the sea side of the town is a harbor. A passenger harbor and a cargo harbor. The harbor is also at least a thousand years old already." So begins the adventure of Kotermann and Klabautermann – ship-sprites, whose task is to take care of the vessel.
|A Picnic at Ristineeme
“Tirilinn Tales” tells about the lives of children living in a small seaside town. Max, Jüri, Jaap, Roosi, and Reti are in first grade at Tirilinn School, and are inseparable. The exciting events of “A Picnic at Ristineeme” begin with a picnic basket that is given to the children as a present. They decide to have a picnic at Ristineeme – a small peninsula on the Baltic Sea...
|In an Odd Little Town
These amusing little pieces about the strange characters of a small town have been penned by a master. The names of the characters speak for themselves: Mister ColdSweat, Miss PutOn, Mister Clumsy, Mister BlockHead, and many others. Children can find joy in Misses RubberHead’s extendable nose and the amusing mishaps of the chronic optimist Mister NoHarmDone.
|Stories of a President
President Pontus is a very special president of a very special country. He certainly works as diligently as the presidents of every other country do – giving many speeches, taking part in parades and state visits, and making important decisions – but he does it all a little uniquely. President Pontus likes collecting shiny eggs beneath the palace chestnut trees in fall, going sledding with friends, and spending time with his dear grandchild.
|Feathered, Blower and the Black Monk
The main characters of "Feathered, Blower and the Black Monk" are four imaginary creatures: the forest-dwellers Feathered and Furry, poetry-loving Blower, and finally Little Horror – a resident of the trash pile. The evil forces are represented by a werewolf and a black monk, who is actually the spirit of the notorious Pied Piper of Hamelin.
|"Paula's Life" series
The set contains a series of 12 books with the following titles: "Paula Finishes Kindergarten", "Paula Moves to the City", "Paula and Joseph", "Paula’s First Day of School", Paula Learns Her Native Language", "Paula's Christmas", "Paula and Patrick", "Paula and the Neighbor Kids", "Paula Goes to the Store", "Paula is Taken to the Hospital", "Paula Goes on a Picnic", and "Paula Saves Cassiopeia".
|The Dragons in a Foreign Land
This is a story on the hot topics of today's world – war, refugee life in a foreign country, the clash of different cultures and resulting mutual distrust and animosity – in the form of a fairy tale. The main characters are a pleasant and good-natured family of dragons – a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, and two children.
|Arabella, the Pirate's Daughter
This is the story of Arabella: a little 9-year-old girl whose father is the famous pirate captain Daniel Trigger. Daniel loves his daughter more than anything, but because of his work, Arabella lives in constant fear of losing her father. Pirates are brutal and greedy – their favourite occupation, apart from carousing in the tavern, is to admire the gold and jewels they have stolen, and to share the wealth that belonged to their dead shipmates.
|Old Mother Kunks
Amid a windswept sea stands a lone, rocky islet. Apart from the birds, it is occupied by only a single soul – Old Mother Kunks, who is a bony woman with long, tousled hair and expert knowledge of medicinal herbs and witchcraft. One stormy day, Captain Trumm washes up on the frothy shore after surviving a shipwreck. Mother Kunks’ remedies soon make the man well again.
2006–2012, 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award candidate
2018 Good Children’s Book (From BonnyHead and Beyond)
2017 National Lifetime Achievement Award for Culture
2016 Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (The King of the Walley of Woes)
2015 Nominee of the Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (The Icicle, the Worried Milk, and Other Things)
2015 Jānis Baltvilks Prize (Jāņa Baltvilka balva), Latvia (Stories of a President)
2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award nominee
2014 Good Children’s Book (Bluephant Goes to Preschool)
2014 “Järje Hoidja” Award of the Tallinn Central Library (Härra Tee ja Proua Kohvi)
2012 Annual Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (The Complex World of Letters, Klabautermann’s Problem, The Wandering Cat)
2012 Good Children’s Book (Klabautermann’s Problem)
2010 “Aasta Rosin” (Raisin of the Year) Award of the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre (In an Odd Little Town)
2008 “Järje Hoidja” Award of the Tallinn Central Library (Paula Goes to See Spring)
2006 J. Oro Prize for Children’s Literature
2004 Nukits Competition, 3rd place (The “Paula” series: Paula Finishes Kindergarden, Paula Moves to the City, Paula’s First Day of School, Paula and Joseph, Paula’s Christmas)
2004 IBBY Honour List (Paula Learns Her Mother Tongue)
2001 Republic of Estonia Order of the White Star, Fifth Class
2001 Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (the “Paula” series)
2000 Winning book of “Hundred of the Century” poll (Old Mother Kunks, Old Mother Kunks and Captain Trumm)
1993 Annual Estonian Writer’s Union Prize (Dear Mr. Q and play Bog Bogey and Lizard)
1988 USSR Children’s Book Competition, 2nd place (Old Mother Kunks, Old Mother Kunks and Captain Trumm)
1976 Juhan Smuul Annual Prize of Literature (Old Mother Kunks and Captain Trumm)
Arabella, the Pirate’s Daughter
Russian in Estonia: Арабелла – дочь пирата, Vene Entsüklopeedia 2001, Tänapäev 2011
Vietnamese: A-ra-ben-la: con gai tên cuop bîen, Kim Dông, 1999
Latvian: Arabella, jūras laupītāja meita, Sprīdītis 1994
Czech: Aranella, dcera piráta, Lidove Nakldatelsstvi 1988
Finnish: Arabella, merirosvon tytär, WSOY 1987
English in Estonia: Arabella, the Pirate’s Daughter, Perioodika 1985, new translation Tänapäev 2011
German in Estonia: Arabella die Piratentochter, Perioodika 1985; German: Leiv 2012
Bog Bogey and Lizard
English in Estonia: Bog Bogey and Lizard, Perioodika 1988
Kaari is a Helper
Russian in Estonia: Каари помогает маме, Eesti Raamat 1975
Russian in Estonia: Морские приключения и заботы корабельного гнома Клабаутермана, Издательство КПД 2014
Old Mother Kunks
Azerbaijani: Гянджлик 1982
Russian in Estonia: Баба-Мора, Eesti Raamat 1977, 1982
Finnish: Konkkamuori, WSOY 1975
Old Mother Kunks and Captain Trumm
Russian in Estonia: Баба-Мора и капитан Трумм, Eesti Raamat 1983
Finnish: Konkkamuori ja kapteeni Trummi, WSOY 1978
Old Mother Kunks + Old Mother Kunks and Captain Trumm
Russian in Estonia: Баба-Мора, Tammerraamat 2014
German: Die Kunksmuhme, LeiV 2012
Russian: Чаромора, Детская литература 1988
English in Estonia: Old Mother Kunks, Perioodika 1986
German in Estonia: Die Kunksmuhme, Perioodika 1979, 1981, 1984
Paula and Patrik
Lithuanian: Paula ir Patrikas, Nieko rimto 2008
Paula and Patrik + Paula and the Neighborhood Kids + Paula Goes to the Store + Paula Goes on a Picnic + Paula is Taken to the Hospital
Russian in Estonia: Паула: продолжение, Aleksandra 2013
Paula Finishes Kindergarden
Lithuanian: Paula baigia vaikų darželį, Nieko rimto 2008
Russian in Estonia: Паула: выпускной в детскoм садy, Aleksandra 2007
Paula Moves to the City + Paula and Joosep + Paula’s First Day of School + Paula’s Christmas
Russian in Estonia: Паула, Aleksandra 2011
Stories of a President
Latvian: Prezidents, Liels un mazs 2015
Russian in Estonia: Как работать президентом, КПД 2013
Bulgarian: Приключенията на президента, Gaiana 2009
Latvian: Gaisa baloninš, Liesma 1972
Lithuanian: Balionėlis, Vagos 1972
The Wandering Cat
Italian: La gatta vagabonda, Sinnos 2014
The World with Feathered and Furry
Russian in Estonia: Мир с Пернатой и Мохнатым, Vene Entsüklopeedia 2004
NummiPealt ja mujalt (From BonnyHead and Beyond), Tänapäev 2018, illustrated by Olga Pärn and Märt Rudolf Pärn, 76 pp
Sinivant joonistab (Bluephant Draws), Tammerraamat 2017, illustrated by Catherine Zarip, 28 pp
Tähenärija raamatukogu (Starchewer’s Library), Petrone Print 2017, illustrated by Ulla Saar, 95 pp
Hädaoru kuningas (The King of the Walley of Woes), Tänapäev 2016, illustrated by Gerda Märtens, 63 pp
Sinivant kuulab unejuttu (Bluephant Hears a Bedtime Story), Tammerraamat 2016, illustrated by Catherine Zarip, 32 pp
Jääpurikas, murelik piim ja teised tüübid (The Icicle, the Worried Milk, and Other Things), Tänapäev 2015, illustrated by Ulla Saar, 78 pp
Tähenärija ja Kriksadull (Starchewer and Cricksadull), Tänapäev 2015, illustrated by Kertu Sillaste, 71 pp
Härra Tee ja proua Kohv, Tänapäev 2014, illustrated by Anu Kalm, 83 pp
Roosaliisa prillid (Roosaliisa’s New Glasses), Päike ja Pilv 2014, illustrated by Tiina Mariam Reinsalu, 24 pp
Sinivant läheb lasteaeda (Bluephant Goes to Preschool), Tammerraamat 2014, illustrated by Catherine Zarip, 24 pp
Jänes keedab suppi (Rabbit Makes Soup), Päike ja Pilv 2013, illustrated by Kertu Sillaste, 32 pp
Väike valge pilvelammas, kes läks läbi vikerkaare (The Little White Cloud-Sheep Who Passed Through a Rainbow), Päike ja Pilv 2013, illustrated by Regina Lukk-Toompere, 28 pp
Kirjatähtede keerukas elu (The Complex World of Letters), Tänapäev 2012, illustrated by Olga Pärn, 115 pp
Klabautermanni mure (Klabautermann’s Problem), Tänapäev 2012, illustrated by Regina Lukk-Toompere, 100 pp
Rändav kassiemme (The Wandering Cat), Tammerraamat 2012, illustrated by Catherine Zarip, 28 pp
Aiapidu roosiaias (Garden Party in the Rose Garden), Tammerraamat 2009, illustrated by Anu Kalm, 74 pp
Krokodill (Crocodile), Tammerraamat 2009, illustrated by Anu Kalm, 72 pp
Kui sa näed korstnapühkijat (When You See a Chimney Sweep), Tammerraamat 2009, illustrated by Anu Kalm, 82 pp
Tirilinnas algab kool (School Starts in Tirilinn), Tammerraamat 2009, illustrated by Anu Kalm, 48 pp
Piknik Ristineemel (A Picnic at Ristineeme), Tammerraamat 2010, illustrated by Anu Kalm, 80 pp
Jüri soolaleivapidu (Jüri’s Housewarming Party), Tammerraamat 2011, illustrated by Anu Kalm. 92 pp
Isegi Max ei usu enam (Even Max No Longer Believes), Tammerraamat 2012, illustrated by Anu Kalm, 76 pp
Ühes väikses veidras linnas (In an Odd Little Town), Tänapäev 2009, illustrated by Jüri Mildeberg, 83 pp
Presidendilood (Stories of a President), Tänapäev 2008, rev. ed. 2013, illustrated by Piret Raud, 76 pp
Suleline, Puhuja ja must munk (Feathered, Blower, and the Black Monk), Tänapäev 2007, illustrated by Piret Raud, 352 pp
Dixi ja Xixi (Dixi and Xixi), Ilo 2005, illustrated by Piret Raud, 143 pp
Draakonid võõrsil (The Dragons in a Foreign Land), Tiritamm 2002, illustrated by Piret Raud, 64 pp
Mammutilaps ajab tuult taga (The Little Mammoth Catches the Wind), Avita 2002, illustrated by Catherine Zarip, 16 pp
SERIES: “Paula’s Life”
Paula lõpetab lasteaia (Paula Finishes Kindergarden), Tiritamm 2001, 2007, illustrated by Piret Raud, 46 pp
Paula läheb linna elama (Paula Moves to the City), Tiritamm 2001, 2007, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula esimene koolipäev (Paula’s First Day of School), Tiritamm 2001, 2007, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula ja Joosep (Paula and Joseph), Tiritamm 2001, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula jõulud (Paula’s Christmas), Tiritamm 2001, 2007, illustrated by Piret Raud, 62 pp
Paula ja õuelapsed (Paula and the Neighborhood Kids), Tiritamm 2002, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula õpib emakeelt (Paula Learns Her Mother Tongue), Tiritamm 2003, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula ja Patrik (Paula and Patrick), Tiritamm 2002, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula käib poes (Paula Goes to the Store), Tiritamm 2003, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula läheb piknikule (Paula Goes on a Picnic), Tiritamm 2003, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula viiakse haiglasse (Paula is Taken to the Hospital), Tiritamm 2003, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula päästab Kassiopeiat (Paula Saves Cassiopeia), Tiritamm 2003, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula läheb külla (Paula Goes on a Visit), Tiritamm 2005, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula raamatukogus (Paula at the Library), Tiritamm 2005, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula lumememm (Paula’s Snowman), Tiritamm 2005, illustrated by Piret Raud, 62 pp
Paula aabits (Paula’s Book of ABCs), Tiritamm 2007, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Paula sõidab kevadet vaatama (Paula Goes to See Spring), Tiritamm 2008, illustrated by Piret Raud, 48 pp
Maailm Sulelise ja Karvasega (The World with Feathered and Furry), Varrak 2000, illustrated by Piret Raud, 352 pp
Keeruline lugu, Tiritamm 1994, illustrated by Piret Raud, 14 pp
Kallis härra Q (Dear Mr. Q), Kupar 1992, illustrated by Edgar Valter; Avita 2004, Tänapäev, 2016, illustrated by Piret Raud, 179 pp
Sookoll ja sisalik (Bog Bogey and Lizard), Eesti Raamat 1986, Tiritamm 2004, illustrated by Piret Raud
Arabella, mereröövli tütar (Arabella, the Pirate’s Daughter), Eesti Raamat 1982, Tiritamm 2000, Tänapäev 2008, 2013, 2015, illustrated by Edgar Valter, 316 pp
Kunksmoor ja kapten Trumm (Old Mother Kunks and Captain Trumm), Eesti Raamat 1975, Tammerraamat 2011, illustrated by Edgar Valter, 103 pp
Kunksmoor (Old Mother Kunks), Eesti Raamat 1973, Tammerraamat 2011, illustrated by Edgar Valter, 103 pp
Kaarist on kasu (Kaari is a Helper), Eesti Raamat 1971, 1972, TEA Kirjastus 2010, illustrated by Ülle Meister, 26 pp
Õhupall (The Balloon), Eesti Raamat 1969, 174 pp