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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
When Dad Showed Me the Universe
by Ulf Stark
Age Range: Under_5
One day Dad said he thought I was old enough for him to show me the universe, “Where is it?” I asked. “Not too far”, he said. As the narrator and his dad set out on their journey to see the universe, they can’t possibly go unprepared, so they wrap up warm – it’s minus 263 degrees outside – and gather provisions. It’s a long walk past the supermarket, park, hardware shop, fishmongers, across a stream and finally up a small hill where eventually they stop. Now Dad can show his son the universe – a sky full of magical wonder.
Along the way, it is the journey that is more important than the destination. The narrator notices everything around him not just the universe above his head.
When Dad Showed Me the Universe by Swedish author Ulf Stark is simply told and infused with his trade-mark humour. By the time Dad has stepped into something distinctly unpleasant, which will have young readers giggling, he appears less than enthusiastic about the outing he embarked upon while his son found it beautiful and funny.
Stark is one of Sweden’s most popular children’s writers and has won many awards. Accompanied by illustrations from Eva Eriksson, who is one of Sweden’s best-loved illustrators, it makes for a winning combination. Eriksson perfectly captures both the comedy and awe of the narrator in her expressive artwork as he discovers the world around him.