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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)
Here Comes Jan
by Leonard Roggeveen
Age Range: 6-8
Jan is a little Dutch boy with blue eyes, fat pink cheeks and blond hair. He lives with his mum, dad, granny, a canary named Peter and a white dog called Scamp in a house near the big woods. Dad and Jan make a cart out of a wooden orange box and fit it with four wheels from an old pram.
While Jan is playing in the woods with his new cart he sees the black hen belonging to Farmer Kerk and the artist Mr Hyacinth who has set up his canvas and is trying to find inspiration for his painting. The artist gets a bit of a fright when he finds the black hen sitting on his hat and jumps off his stool knocking the canvas over.
Later Jan comes across the hat with an egg inside and knowing that it belongs to the black hen he tries to return it. On his way to the farm, he encounters some other colourful characters: Mr Albert, the assistant in the chemist, who unsuccessfully tries to play the clarinet that doesn't seem to work, and Old Gerard, the knife grinder, who is in such pain with toothache he extracts his tooth by attaching a piece of string to a tree. But what connection is there between these three characters and Jan's egg?
A delightful story about Jan’s hilarious adventures in the wood where he unknowingly carries out good turns for the people he meets, written in 1937 by Dutch playwright, children’s author and illustrator Leonard Roggeveen (1898-1959). Jenny Dalenoor's adorable artwork perfectly depicts and capture the spirit of the text.
Roggeveen started as a teacher and wrote two series – Bram Vingerling’s Incredible Adventures and The Secret of the Old Watch which were serialised in 1925/6 before being published in book form in 1927. These two books got him well known but he is probably best known for his Daantje series started in 1931 which were a huge success followed by books about a leprechaun called Okkie Pepernoot and the Jan Jaap series.
The other title featured on the website is Jan's Birthday (1938).