Jukka Laajarinne: Elina vieraalla maalla [Elina in a foreign country]

3 March 2009 | Mini reviews

Elina vieraalla maallaElina vieraalla maalla
[Elina in a foreign country]
Kuvitus [Ill. by]: Pekka Rahkonen
Helsinki: WSOY, 2008, 25 p.
ISBN 978-951-0-33983-1
€ 21, hardback

Elina is of preschool age when her parents receive a two-year posting, in the fictional country of Kumarkand. After Elina’s initial enthusiasm, the foreign culture frightens her. But when the time comes to go back to Finland, Elina misses Kumarkand and the close friends she has made there. This picture book deals with a timely theme that affects more families than it used to. The intersection of one’s own national identity with a foreign culture is given nuanced, humorous expression by the work of the cartoonist Pekka Rahkonen. Jukka Laajarinne (born 1970) does not lapse into the obvious, but compresses the essential. The snippets of ‘Kumarkand language’ encourage adults reading the book aloud for children to invent some miniature drama for them.

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