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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)
In the Land of Twilight
by Astrid Lindgren
Age Range: 6-8
Goran has been stuck in bed for a year because of his bad leg. He worries that he will never walk again until Mr Lilyvale appears one evening and takes him to the magical Land of Twilight. Here, nothing matters and Goran is able to run and play and do things that he has always dreamed of.
In this magical story, Astrid Lindgren takes children to an enchanted realm where anything and everything is possible. Goran gets to explore a palace, see a king and queen and even meet a talking moose! When readers are not enjoying Goran’s outlandish adventures, they will sympathise with his illness, as Lindgren seems to have written this story with the plight of sick children in mind. Goran is unable to do many things he enjoys during the day and retreats to the Land of Twilight in the evenings to be free from boredom and feeling trapped. Readers have to decide, does Goran really go with Mr Lilyvale or is he simply enjoying freedom in his dreams?
The fantasy quality of the story is enhanced by Marit Törnqvist’s beautiful illustrations. Goran and Mr Lilyvale fly against dreamy watercolour sunsets and all the illustrations have a slightly sketchy, hazy quality to them. The slightly abstract ideas in the story, longer sentences and harder vocabulary together make this a picture book for older children. The story may also seem quite long and boast quite a lot of words per page compared to books for the 0-5s.
Overall, this is a lovely, uplifting book that children will enjoy and read over and over again. Astrid Lindgren has created an unusual story with a lot of heart and children will be thrilled to see what the invalid Goran can do in the Land of Twilight.
Abby Phillips (2012)