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North of the North Wind – Nils-Johan Jørgensen

10 Oct

Cold WindIn a village somewhere far in the far north live Lily, Bear and Pani. Their lives are full of curiosity and wonder, as they go out to explore the undiscovered world revealed in a dream, try to unravel the mystery behind the enigmatic prophecies in a story told to them by their mother, go off sailing alone at night in an orange boat to show their independence, or investigate the disappearance of a beloved friend.

North of the North Wind is an illustrated collection of four children’s stories which draw on myths and family history and are written with a folk-tale feel, so that the surprising and the unforeseen are the norm. The stories have different settings and contain dreams and prophecies, family history, mystery, puzzles and riddles, animals, danger and adventure at sea, all woven together with imagination and a sense of wonder.

Nils-Johan Jorgensen creates a sort of dream landscape, full of colourful pictures and quirky corners, with all the originality and unexpectedness of the best folk tales. North of the North Wind is a delightful treat for imaginative children everywhere, especially those aged seven to ten.

A jaunt into Scandinavia is always a welcome thing and sadly this one was over all too quickly, despite slowing my reading so as to thoroughly enjoy the stories therein, alas it had to come to an end.  Balancing the short duration of the book though is that I now get to introduce the book to you, which is handy for a site about books.

The first line is my favourite and coincidentally is the perfect introduction to Jørgensen’s world:

In a small village school north of the north wind a new magic world was opening.  The children were learning to write.

It’s such a great opening and exudes the feeling of so many different adventures just waiting to be created and read.  It’s that lightness,  the feeling one gets at the start of a journey to explore the unknown that keeps us enchanted and is the perfect way to kick-start these gentle adventures.

The four stories are varied and distinctive,  each of which retains the thread of innocent curiosity about the world that can only come from the experiences of three children learning and attempting to understand life. At its heart the book is more than just four stories for children, it’s a treat that adults will love as well, combining many elements to form a well-rounded reading experience for all the family.

With plenty of vivid imagination, each page underlines how simple ideas – especially in nature – can be captured and turned into wonderful things – most notably through the eyes of children – and free us from the everyday grind. Some books retain that enjoyment of the first read over the course of years and this is one such book, together with the other volumes West of the West Wind and East of the East Wind (a review coming later in the year) it makes a fine series so far.

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52 Comments

Posted by on 10/10/2015 in Children's Literature

 

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52 responses to “North of the North Wind – Nils-Johan Jørgensen

  1. clarepooley33

    10/10/2015 at 22:43

    This sounds like something I’d be interested in. I re-read your review of West of the West Wind too. I collect children’s books and am always interested in something new.

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    • Ste J

      10/10/2015 at 22:46

      I love these stories and I think you will too, they are ones that you can go back to again and again as well. I feel like reading East of the East Wind right now but I must pace myself…

      Liked by 1 person

       
  2. gargoylebruce

    10/10/2015 at 22:56

    I wouldn’t mind getting my claws on East of the East wind.

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    • Ste J

      11/10/2015 at 09:29

      That one is set in Japan and I am really struggling to not just pick it up next, I must temper my excitement…or at least distract myself with shiny things.

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  3. Jill Weatherholt

    10/10/2015 at 23:54

    What a great cover! This sounds like a great book, and with four distinct stories, you can’t go wrong. Thanks for the review, Ste J.

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    • Ste J

      11/10/2015 at 09:20

      Yes it’s a lovely book, well worth a read with different ideas in each story. It’s always a pleasure to introduce you to wonderful books.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  4. Resa

    11/10/2015 at 01:44

    I love the opening sentence, too!
    It sounds like a fab book, and I wish I had kids to read it with.
    It s so neat that you, an adult, takes care & time ti read children’s fare.

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    • Ste J

      11/10/2015 at 09:29

      You don’t need kids as an excuse to read such good books, just embrace your inner child! I like to embrace all genres although sometimes I am a little biased towards certain ones but it just makes the lesser read genres more exciting in the long run.

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  5. Cody McCullough

    11/10/2015 at 04:10

    Now that’s an opening line! Sounds like a good read. Having two young daughters, I find myself reading children’s stories quite often. Sometimes their books turn out better than the ones I pick to read myself. This collection sounds like a worthwhile read for me and them.

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    • Ste J

      11/10/2015 at 09:33

      Adult books do seem to overthink too much, the occasional bit of wonder wouldn’t go amiss. I think this is one of those books that would stay in a family and be passed on and read throughout the years by all. I know I wouldn’t let go of my copy for anything.

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  6. Love, Life and Whatever

    11/10/2015 at 05:48

    Lores and fables have something about it as it transports you to that ethereal parallel world where everything is possibility. Especially these days when reading habit is at stake. Books which will bring forth the wonders and adventure may help to inculcate reading in some atleast.

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  7. Love, Life and Whatever

    11/10/2015 at 05:51

    And yes what I like about your reviews is in terse it justifies gist of the whole.

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    • Ste J

      11/10/2015 at 09:32

      Reading about such wonders and revelling in the imagination of an author is so much more special than seeing it on a screen because it feels more personal, held in your hands, a tactile experience. I do love the mix of folk lore and modern life in this book, its a great blend done in a really clever way.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  8. Lyn

    11/10/2015 at 07:27

    Love the sound of these books! Partly because I love children’s books and partly because my paternal grandfather (Anshelm Gustaf Lauren) came from Turku in Finland) Sadly, I never met him–he died three years before I arrived in this world.

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    • Ste J

      11/10/2015 at 09:18

      That’s a wonderful reason for picking these books up, together with Bo Carpelan’s Bow Island which is set in Finland if I remember correctly. I think Scandinavia seems to have been under appreciated in literary terms since the time of the sagas.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  9. Alastair Savage

    11/10/2015 at 08:17

    Sounds wonderful. Do you know who the cover artist is? I love that image.

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    • Ste J

      11/10/2015 at 09:16

      I can’t find any mention of the cover artist, I shall contact the company and let you know.

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      • Alastair Savage

        11/10/2015 at 09:47

        Maybe it’s by the author? It would be great to know though.

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        • Ste J

          12/10/2015 at 11:33

          A Stemail has been dispatched with the question and hopefully a hint of when the next book will be out so I shall let you know when I know.

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        • Ste J

          12/10/2015 at 12:33

          The artist is Michael Avery, I have just found out.

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          • Alastair Savage

            12/10/2015 at 13:04

            Cool – I have just googled him but he seems rather elusive. Maybe his career is just beginning. Great images though.

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            • Ste J

              12/10/2015 at 15:15

              Definitely one to watch out for.

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  10. shadowoperator

    11/10/2015 at 11:21

    Now you’ve got my curiosity up about this series: is there also going to be a “South of the South Wind”? Why not, if not, or do you know? I mean, is the South Wind bad luck or something? Sounds like a fascinating series, at any rate.

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    • Ste J

      12/10/2015 at 10:39

      I think it’s just a matter of time until it is written, I would hope so anyway as it won’t feel like a complete set without Notos.

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      • shadowoperator

        12/10/2015 at 12:46

        Sorry for my ignorance, but I haven’t read any of it yet: what is (or who is) “Notos”?

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        • Ste J

          12/10/2015 at 15:14

          Sorry, I was referencing the Greek name for the South wind, I was just mixing it up instead of copy and pasting the title every time.

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          • shadowoperator

            12/10/2015 at 16:04

            My fault–but my Greek language days are far in the past, and I don’t ever remember reading about Notos. I’ll look on my library sites and see if this series is featured there.

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            • Ste J

              13/10/2015 at 16:18

              I used to learn such things as the Greek alphabet and winds, the shipping forecast zones as well as Roman emperors for the quiz machine at the pub because they didn’t bank on people researching them, which explains why you won loads until they took them out of the pub! I hope they are on the library sites, they are a treat for all.

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    • Ste J

      12/10/2015 at 12:32

      In the author’s words I hope there will be a South of the South Wind early in the new year.

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  11. Liz Dexter

    11/10/2015 at 14:40

    Lovely! And so Scandinavian looking, too – I saw some Icelandic books with a similar aesthetic recently.

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    • Ste J

      12/10/2015 at 11:39

      Icelandic books, eh! I need to read some Icelandic texts, I do have an old book on the island and its inhabitants. Thanks for reminding me about that.

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      • Liz Dexter

        14/10/2015 at 11:42

        In Iceland, unfortunately, and I could only bring one of them back with me, but it has similar style illustrations. I’ll blog about it when I’ve read it – could be a while!!

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        • Ste J

          14/10/2015 at 15:28

          Patience is one of my strong points, that and telling the time hehe.

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  12. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder

    11/10/2015 at 22:41

    Viewing the world through the eyes of children is not an easy feat, it requires a playful and imaginative mind. Reading such stories rejuvenate the reader to some extent…making the adults roam in the wonderland of childhood bliss. Loved the review and the loved the names, Lily, Bear and Pani, in Hindi, Pani means water… 😀

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    • Ste J

      12/10/2015 at 11:54

      Water would be apt in these stories but Pani is in this case is shortened from the Frangipani flowering plant. You’re right it does take skill to not only see through the eyes of a child and enchant them but also to allow adults to do the same thing, it’s a fine line but done superbly here, in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  13. macjam47

    12/10/2015 at 01:04

    Oh my dear friend, you really piqued my interest with this one. I hopped right over to Amazon and ordered it. You review is wonderful. Have a fantastic week, Ste J.

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    • Ste J

      12/10/2015 at 11:37

      excellent news, I Stemailed the author earlier on and mentioned you had ordered a copy. I look forward to your thoughts on it.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  14. vsvevg

    04/11/2015 at 14:58

    WANT! must wait until I go to the states though, its on my wish list 🙂

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    • Ste J

      08/11/2015 at 19:38

      I shall make sure I review East of the East Wind soon, I think that all of these will make good presents for a certain festive season that it is too early to mention yet.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  15. anna amundsen

    13/11/2015 at 16:54

    I am still jealous of your Jørgensen package, just so you know.
    Waiting for the South of the South Wind to get published, to buy them all at the same time.

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    • Ste J

      16/11/2015 at 18:20

      I asked the author when it may be available and he said early next year so you won’t have too long to wait, I will ty and get East wind done in time for Christmas I think, which would make a great gift.

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  16. writersideup

    03/12/2015 at 05:17

    I was totally attracted to this cover and title, then lo and behold—it’s children’s stories! No WONder I like it! lol

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    • Ste J

      03/12/2015 at 15:44

      It is a fine book, gentle stories full of wonder and life lessons, I know these are books you would treasure.

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      • writersideup

        03/12/2015 at 17:22

        You are probably right. It’s not available through my library system. I wanted to try to check it out. I really wish I read faster. Today I’ll have more time to read ’cause I’m going to a NJSCBWI holiday party tonight, but want to drive down early, in daylight (I prefer it when I can) and before traffic hits, so I’ll have a good 1 or so hours I can just sit and read before people start showing up 🙂

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        • Ste J

          05/12/2015 at 19:05

          For some reason this comment was in my spam, luckily I keep an eye on these things. I had to search NJSCBWI it sounds like a fun party to be going to and I don’t blame you for getting there early, I have been known to head out nine hours early just so I can have a whole day reading and pottering around with my thoughts, it is a fine way to spend time.

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          • writersideup

            05/12/2015 at 20:49

            oh, yes—spam! As it turned out, even leaving early (though 30 min. later than I intended, which would’ve made ALL the difference), due to the ridiculous amount of traffic and accidents scattered about on different highways, I hit traffic anyway. My typical 1:20 ride turned into 2 hours and when I got there, there were 3 people also early birds, so I ended up hanging out and then helping with decor and setting up, which is my “thing” anyway 🙂

            Like

             

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