Outside in World | Browse Books
Use our Book Finder to search for books by Title (or part of the title), Author, ISBN, Age Range, Keyword, or Continent/Country. Then simply click the magnifying glass to start your search.
‘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)
Spettecake Holiday (The)
by Edith Unnerstad
Age Range: 6-8
Five-year-old Pelle Göran goes unwillingly to stay on his grandmother’s farm in Stubbagården while his mother is recuperating in hospital after a car accident. Pelle feels confused and angry and he becomes naughty and bad-tempered. The doctor at the hospital tells Pelle that if he does as he’s told his mother will get better quickly. Pelle, in turn, promises to bring the doctor his grandmother’s speciality, a Spettecake, (or Spettekaka in Swedish, a dessert from Southern Sweden – the name means 'cake on a spit' which describes its method of preparation), if he makes her well again.
While staying on the farm Pelle meets his eleven-year-old orphan cousin, Kaja and the two soon become good friends despite their age difference. They have fun playing with the animals - Lubbe the dog, Amelie the wise goose and the two kittens they are given, Tigerpaws for Pelle and Rosynose for Kaja – and exploring the natural world around them. Then there is grumpy old Ola Gäda, who chops wood nearby and who initially does not want to make their acquaintance.
The children have lots of adventures such as the encounter with the thief children and trying to solve the mystery of the stolen eggs; getting stuck inside a cave and nearly drowning in the lake! There are also several old folk tales within the story told to the children by their grandmother and Ola Gada’s tales of the ‘Snake-King's Daughter’ and ‘Horsapetter and the Konga Beast’.
This highly entertaining story by Finnish author Edith Unnerstad (1900-1982), who was born in Finland but moved to Sweden with her family when she was ten years old, is well-written and gives the reader an insight into the social customs and life in the countryside in Sweden during the 1950s. Enchanting black and white illustrations throughout by Iben Clante embellish the book and gives it a stronger appeal. The Spettecake Holiday was awarded the Nils Holgersson Prize given by Swedish librarians for the best children's book of 1957.
Unnerstad is particularly known for the series of children’s books about the Pip-Larsson family, many of which have been translated into English and are listed on the website: The Pip-Larssons Go Sailing (1963), The Urchin (1967), Saucepan Journey (1968), Little O (1976) and Little O’s Naughty Day (1974). Other Unnerstad titles translated into English include: Grandmother’s Journey (1960), A Journey to England (1961) and The Cats From Summer Island (1966).