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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)
Dusty and Smudge and the Cake
by Annie M. G. Schmidt
Age Range: Under_5
Dusty and her dog Smudge are walking through the field on their way to visit auntie. They pick some flowers to take as present and Dusty also makes a lovely multicolour collar of flowers for Smudge. “We mustn’t get dirty” Dusty tells Smudge because auntie doesn’t like dirty little girls or dogs either.
Along comes the baker’s boy with a cake for auntie; he’s riding his bicycle at top speed and swerves to avoid Dusty and Smudge and splash! He ends up in the river. “We must save him!” says Dusty and they both dive in and pull the boy safely on to the bank. What will auntie say when she sees the state they are both in, dripping with mud, not to mention the baker’s boy and the cake?
Dutch author Annie M. G. Schmidt (1911-1995) is considered the mother of children’s literature in the Netherlands. This short story is a wonderful introduction to her picture books for the very young.
The original and distinctive illustrations by Fiep Westendorp (1916-2004) are delightful. She collaborated with Schmidt throughout most of her career and their partnership was unique that it’s difficult to imagine the work of one of these without the collaboration of the other.
Lance Salway is a well-known translator and critic of children’s literature and he has meticulously captured the spirit of the original Dutch text.