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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)
White Stone (The)
by Gunnel Linde
Age Range: 9-11
Fia Peters, the daughter of a piano teacher, is always being teased by the children at school who nickname her Fia-plink-plonk Peters. Fia lives with her mum in a part of a Judge’s house and the housekeeper, Mrs Malin, does not like Fia because she thinks she’s a nuisance because and breaks things.
Hampus is the orphaned nephew of a shoemaker and is a bit of a rascal always getting into trouble. Fia owns an impressive white stone and Hampus is very keen to have it so they set each other daring challenges.
One summer the two join forces and begin to set each other specific daring tasks. They assume new identities: - Fia becomes Fideli and Hampus, Prince Perilous, a circus acrobat. Hampus’ first challenge is to paint eyes and a mouth on the church clock. Having successfully managed this mission he gives the white stone back to Fia, who now has to carry out an assignment. These challenges often get the children into the most bizarre situations and endless trouble. One task has Fia not being allowed to talk for a whole day! In another, Hampus has to put a hard-boiled egg in the Judge’s bed and then retrieve it while the old man is asleep.
Swedish author Gunnel Linde has concocted a charming and original story from a very simple idea: that of playing a dare game and getting the young characters themselves to establish the rules and constructing each situation. It is a lively and inventive plot full of humour making it an enjoyable to read. Eric Palmqvist’s ink illustrations perfectly represent the characters as depicted in the humorous narrative. The White Stone by Gunnel Linde was so popular in Sweden that a television series based on this book was made in 1973.