Iiro Küttner & Ville Tietäväinen: Puiden tarinoita: Puuseppä [Tales by trees: the carpenter]

26 February 2015 | Mini reviews, Reviews

kuttnertietavainenPuiden tarinoita: Puuseppä
[Tales by trees: The carpenter]
Kuvitus [Ill. by] Ville Tietäväinen
Helsinki: Books North, 2014. 30 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-952-67980-5-9
€28.90, hardback

The picture book surprise of the year is Puuseppä, the first book in the Tales by trees trilogy, launched with fanfare by Books North, a new small press, and extremely polished in appearance. The story pays homage to the classic tales of Zacharias Topelius and H.C. Andersen. The carpenter of the story is under the special protection of the emperor, and has the time and money to make anything he wants. His chosen project is stupendous – to isolate himself for 30 years and build an enormous tree, using various types of wood and complicated construction techniques. He forgets his family and finally wears himself out in the process. The story closes with a sly moral reflective of Finnish contemporary society, about forced labour, the pressures of working life, and the value of work. Comics artist Ville Tietäväinen’s illustrations are tactile – the picture of tree rings makes you want to touch it and feel the rough texture of the cut wood. Books North is an offshoot of Agency North Oy, which specialises in promoting Finnish drama and film abroad.

Translated by Lola Rogers

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