In another post, I commented that my first exposure to Astrid Lindgren was through Pippi Longstocking and I wasn’t terribly impressed. Along the way, however, I was persuaded to try some of her other work. I read Children of Noisy Village and fell in love. In my review of that book, I note a Santa Claus spoiler, but other than that, I think that it is a wonderful book for children.
In a recent Bethlehem Books sale, I discovered that there was a sequel to Children of the Noisy Village. Unlike other sequels which have earned the old adage “taking advantage of the sequel,” Happy Times in Noisy Village may actually be better than the first book. Happy Times is just as charming as Children but our family found it to be even more funny.
In Noisy Village, children from three inter-related families are growing up in a nearly idyllic setting, a village called Noisy Village. They live close to the earth, have traditional and extended families that are centered on hard work and great love, and they enjoy the traditional freedoms of old-fashioned rural life. Our family deeply appreciated the traditional values of Noisy Village and the authentic childish antics of the children.
In some ways, we think that this book has more personality than the first. The chapter on the loose tooth was absolutely hysterical, and the creative techniques were duly noted by my tooth-losing seven year old. The chapter on the lamb going to school was a perfect mixture of tender, sweet, and spunky. The chapter that takes the cake, however, was “Anna and I Are Going To Be Baby-Nurses – Perhaps.” Oh how we laughed at the trouble they had!
While this book is clearly a sequel and probably should be read following Children of the Noisy Village, it absolutely could be loved just as well if read out of order. Like the first book, this one is a collection of vignettes loosely assembled. Instead of following a story arc, we follow the children through their seasonal play.
The reading level of this book is appropriate to confident new readers. The chapters are relatively short in most cases, the language is accessible, each chapter is self contained, and it would help newly independent readers build confidence. Also, it is a delightful read aloud. In fact, it would make a brilliant child-led read aloud – something that an older sibling could read to younger siblings. Bethlehem Books says that it is a reading level 4.0 for ages 8 and up. They also indicate that it is read-aloud appropriate to ages 4 and up. I would completely agree.
Republished by Bethlehem Books, the printed book is slightly larger in size than Children of the Noisy Village. It seems as though it was formatted to be consistent with Bethlehem Book’s generous printing size. Decorated with pen and ink illustration throughout, it is gift-worthy book.