Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Little Water Sprite - a bookwrap


The Little Water Sprite

by Otfried Preussler

Ages 2-6

Unwrapping some illustrations...

My review

This charming book was first published in 1956.  It tells the story of a little Water Sprite who was born one Spring day in a house of reeds at the bottom of a mill pond.  He is dearly loved by his mother and father.  To celebrate his birth his parents invite the entire clan to meet and admire their new son.  They are so proud of the new addition to their family. 

The little Water Sprite grows quickly, much to his mother's dismay. Soon he is out of his cradle and out of his home. He is eager to explore his world, first tagging along with his father, and then on his very own. 

He adores swimming and gallivanting around his underwater community enjoying his freedom and poking his nose everywhere. His curiosity sometimes gets the best of him and shenanigans ensue.  His best friend, a carp named Cyprian, keeps a very close eye on the little guy because the little Water Sprite seems to find mischief often or does mischief find him? 

His fearless spirit leads him into many scenarios including a game he concocts speeding along with a strong current over a mill wheel,  pushing his limits as to where he is allowed to explore, and how long he should be away from his home.  One day he was gone so long that his little feet dry out, a definite no no for a Water Sprite.

His attitude and antics will delight children of all ages.  Told with humour and relatable family situations, this book is sure to be a hit with both the young and the old. It received a special award in the German Children's Book Prize of 1957 and has been translated into many different languages.  It would be a perfect read-aloud in a classroom or for quiet, cuddly bedtime story. 

About the author...

Otfried Preussler (1923–2013) was born into a family of teachers in Reichenberg, Czechoslovakia, and as a boy loved listening to the folktales of the region. Drafted into the army during World War II, Preussler was captured in 1944 and spent the next five years as a prisoner of war in the Tatar Republic. After his release, he moved to Bavaria and became a primary--school teacher and principal, supplementing his income by working as a reporter for a local newspaper and by writing scripts for children’s radio. One of the most popular authors for children in Germany, Preussler was twice awarded the German Children’s Book Prize. His many books have been translated into fifty-five languages and havin the sold over fifty million copies. New York Review Books also publishes Preussler’s Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill and The Little Witch and will publish The Robber Hotzenplotz in 2016. 

About the translator...

Anthea Bell is a translator from the German, French, and Danish, and the winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize, and, three times over, the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation. She has translated Asterix, Hans Christian Andersen, Cornelia Funke, Kerstin Gier, W.G. Sebald, Sigmund Freud, and several novels by Otfried Preussler.  

About the illustrator...

Winnie Gebhardt-Gayler (1929–2014) was a German illustrator who was a frequent collaborator with Otfried Preussler.

Read on and read always!

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