Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Saucepan Journey by Edith Unnerstad, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin

I have searched for many years for the Peep-Larssons Go Sailing by Edith Unnerstad. Recommended by Noel Perrin as one of those rare, but exquisite books, I've never quite managed to get my hands on a copy. But.

I finally decided to read another in the series, The Saucepan Journey. It turns out to be the first in the series! The Larssons are poor. They have so many children there's scarcely room to turn around in their tiny apartment, let alone sleep. When their father's rich half-brother dies and leaves them only two draft horses and drays, Mrs. Larsson comes up with a novel idea - Mr. Larsson, who is an inventor when he's not a traveling salesman, will turn the wagons into caravans and they will spend the summer touring the countryside. Where does the Peep come in? Well, Mr. Larsson has designed a marvelous saucepan, and they will finance their journey by selling it along the way.

It's a wonderful summer. They meet a down-on-his-luck hot dog man, an eccentric old woman, a man who might be a murderer. They discover thieves, wonderful lakes, and fascinating Swedish towns.

Even if you're not fascinated by Scandinavian children's literature, as am I, this is a wonderfully nostalgic summer read. It well deserves to sit on the shelf with books such as Taylor's All of a Kind Family, Sidney's Five little Peppers, and Streatfeild's Magic Summer.

I still can't wait to read The Peep-Larssons go sailing....

Verdict: Lucky you if you can find a copy! It's out of print, so if you're interested look for a library that doesn't weed often or a decent used copy - they are out there.

ISBN: N/A; Reprinted in 1967 by Macmillan (out of print, but available used at a reasonable price); Borrowed from the library; Added to my personal wishlist


Lori said...

I've been looking for The Saucepan Journey for years, remembering it very fondly from my childhood. But it is out-of-print and no library seems to carry it. There was also a book called "Little O," about the youngest sister (her real name was Ophelia, as all the sisters were named after Shakespearean characters), and I think there was one about the wild little brother. But I didn't know about "The Peep-Larssons Go Sailing"! Gee I wish someone would re-print this delightful series. Wherever did you find "The Saucepan Journey"?

Jennifer said...

Hi Lori, I wish I could help you...but I've never been able to find a copy myself! I borrowed Saucepan Journey from the library - I'm not sure since it was so long ago, but I think it was in the University of Illinois' children's collection. If you just want to read them, why not try asking your local library to search for them via inter-library loan?