Mari Kujanpää: Minä ja Muro [Muro and me]

28 January 2010 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Minä ja Muro
[Muro and me]
Kuvitus [Ill. by]: Aino-Maija Metsola
Helsinki: Otava, 2009. 207 p.
ISBN 978-951-1-23418-0
15.10 €, hardback

The heavy themes of this children’s novel, winner of the 2009 Finlandia Junior Prize, have provoked discussion of who its target audience should be. Lauha is a 9-year-old girl who is considered an oddball at school; her classmates claim that she smells bad. Within her own family she’s an outsider. Her little brother’s serious illness has troubled the family for a long time, and even when he gets better her parents don’t know how to listen to Lauha, and their negligence verges on physical violence. But playing with Muro, her teddy bear, eases Lauha’s troubles, and luckily she finds a soul sister in Heta, the new school intern. Mari Kujanpää (born 1976) uses language suitable for a child’s state of mind in a very creative way. Muro ja minä is difficult for a child to read on his/her own, and would work best read aloud and discussed in a group of children or as a book for adult caregivers. The black and white illustrations are by Aino-Maija Metsola (born 1983), whose previous work includes designing fabrics for Marimekko.

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