You might remember around Christmas I shared one of my most favorite children’s book — Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits. It is one of those stories that touches deep into my heart and makes me feel like a little child where everything around me is magical again! And I can read over and over and over again with my boys. And now that it is summer, I wanted to share another book about the very same Tomte and little rabbits, but this time it is about Midsummer, or Summer Solstice, celebration.
Midsummer isn’t something that is celebrated in my home culture or here in America, but ever since I was a child I wished there was some special celebration during the summer when we would decorate everything with beautiful flowers, stay up late playing outside all into the night, eating special foods and listening to live music. Wouldn’t that be so beautiful?!
And then I came across this this lovely story that weaves together magical creatures, animals, traditions and seasons into a wonderful and charming story where they celebrate summer, decorate everything with flowers, sing songs and dance all night! Just like I always dreamed. 🙂
So I hope you read on and fall in love with this book as much as we did!
About Midsummer in Sweden
Midsummer Eve is a national holiday in Sweden, second only to Christmas in importance. It’s traditionally celebrated between June 19 and 25, to make the summer solstice — the longest day of the year. In Sweden, where the summers are so shot and the long winters are so very dark, it’s particularly important to celebrate the longest and lightest day of the year. Communities raise together to raise a maypole, decorate it with birch leaves and meadow flowers, and dance around it. Everyone eats traditional food such as herring, children learn special songs and girls and women wear crowns of flowers.
A little bit about the story:
Tomte the Grump
The story follows the events of Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits. It is summer now. Tomte continues living on his farmstead alone, except his friend Bee. But it is time now for Bee to leave in search of a home of its own with other bees. And so Tomte is left all along again. Tomte is too proud to admit it, but it makes him very sad.
“He stood still for a while, wiping his nose on this hat, before going inside and opening his only and very best book, In Praise of Solitude.”.
He read: “Do not become attached to anything. Not even an insect. You will only be disappointed when it leaves.”
That’s what I’ve done,” thought Grump. “I’ve become attached. I’ve started liking. And then I get sad when everyone disappears.”
… “I’ve been too friendly,” he thought. “I’ve not been grumpy enough. That’s why I’m feeling sad. It’s time to make a few changes.”
That evening he went down to the lake to put waterproof tar on his boat, which had once been a tub for washing clothes. Getting on with things can help when you are missing someone.
Afterwards he sat on a stone at the water’s edge and breathed in the smell of tar. He listened to the blackbird, which had begun singing its evening concert/ An aspen tree rustled its leaves. The sky was such a beautiful blue and pink that his eyes filled with tears. He wiped them away immediately.”
And far away in the forest under the grand Oak tree there is a home to a family or rabbits. Mother Rabbit was rubbing the hinges of the larder door with hazelnut oil. Uncle Nubin was gnawing at a jumpier branch, turning it into a beautiful soup ladle. Auntie Bunty was laying fresh birch branches inside the front door to stop the rabbit children trampling dirt into the burrow. And the Father Rabbit was putting on his beloved hat.
The rabbit children were seating around the big table and Grandfather rabbit was giving them a lesson about the forest plants. And as they picked up a piece of peculiar plant called “Old Man’s Beard” they remember Tomte and what a wonderful time they had together over Christmas and wished there was only some special summer celebration just like that! (me right there! 🙂 ) At which point Uncle Nubin remembered that he once heard about a summer celebration called Midsummer, but he didn’t know much about it.
Next day the all went to Owl’s house, which was a hole in a an old tree. They waited until the afternoon because everyone knew Owl was bad-tempered in the mornings.
…Auntie Bunty climbed onto Grandfather’s shoulders, Uncle Nubbin onto Auntie Bunty’s, Mother onto Uncle’s and then Father right at the top. Now he was exactly the same height as Owl’s front door.
“Phew,” puffed Grandfather. “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, ” wanted Uncle Nubin.
Some curious mouse children had gathered below them. They also combed onto of each other and squealed and laughed.
“They’re going to fall down soon!” the mouse children giggled.
“Quite!” yelled Father Rabbit. I’m going to know! And so he did, as hard as he could.
“Stop banging, I’m coming! saint an angry voice.
The next minute the door flew open, right into Father, and everyone fell in a big wriggling heal on the ground.
Owl, who knew everything, said Midsummer is a time for dancing, love and magic. What a wonderful celebration to look forward!
One day as Grandfather Rabbit got lost and Binny and Barty went on to look for him. They found him in a field of flowers smelling buttercups and thinking about love! 🙂
“Did you go the wrong way?” asked Barty.
“I went precisely the right way,” said Grandfather contentedly. “I went where my heart led me, to the burrow where I lived with the beautiful rabbit who would have been my wife, if it weren’t for the fox. She was the one for me.”
Grandfather shows Binny and Barty his favorite game Yellow Nose and introduces them to a nice long rabbit who was keeping him company – Rorry.
Barty and especially Binny really liked Rorry and invited them to their borrow. But turns our Rorry and Father Rabbit have already met before and Rorry mistakenly took Father’s Rabbit’s hat for a bucket to collect dandelions. And there was no worse offense than offend Father’s Rabbit hat.
The great storm
Then a terrible storm sweeps through the forest and the woodland animals must find shelter, but where could they go? Grump the Tomte and his cottage! And so they go onto a long journey to Tomte’s cottage.
What happens next I will leave for the book to tell, but I assure you it is most wonderful fairly tale story you will enjoy. 🙂 And here are just few more pictures to share with you.