THE CHILDREN OF NOISY VILLAGE by Astrid Lindgren
Sometimes you just want a book that’s pure comfort reading — a story that’s warm and gentle and set in a time before Netflix and Instagram. Anyway, that’s the kind of readaloud I like to start a new year with, and if you’re feeling like a soothing story time, too, you can’t do much better than The Children of Noisy Village.
The Children of Noisy Village is set in a little community of Swedish farms: Middle Farm, where narrator Lisa and her two brothers live is nestled between two other family farms, each of which also has children. (The children spend most of their free time playing together, which earned their little village its name, explains Lisa.) It’s not a particularly eventful story, but it’s funny and charming and oddly captivating. When Lisa and her friend go to the market without a written list, they keep forgetting things and having to walk back to get them. Lisa decides she wants to do good deeds and goes around inadvertently torturing her neighbors with her efforts. Everyone wakes up at four in the morning to go fishing for crayfish. Lisa and her friends at the next farm send notes to each other through their windows. The seasons come and go, and with them, the seasonal celebrations and food and activities. (I find myself jotting ideas on our calendar that I don’t want to forget when our days are full and busy again.)
A lot of young readers could read this on their own — it falls somewhere between those very early I Can Read chapter books and Little House in the Big Woods, I think, as far as reading levels go. But I think it’s the most fun as a readaloud because it’s funnier and sweeter when you read it together.
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