poop and springtime

  • author: Andrus Kivirähk
  • illustrator: Edmunds Jansons
  • translator: Guntars Godiņš

isbn: 978-9984-820-20-0

size: 14 x 20,5 cm

quantity: 104 pages

year: 2012

first edition sold out

In this collection of stories, the writer follows the adventures of a number of somewhat unusual characters, the likes of which have not been encountered yet in your run-of-the-mill children’s book: the warm-hearted chunk of dog poop; the red-haired little sausage; the ghost potty; the hatcher-socks; the pot of money and the bear skull; the crazy cardie and pirate spoon. Kivirähk admits them to families, nurseries and schools without so much as batting an eyelid. There is a lightness of style and exactness to these little stories that views the society from the vantage point of a child, an animal or an inanimate object, as well as an ability to take by surprise both with unpredictable developments in the storyline and the emotional range. The author switches effortlessly from grotesque and warm humanity, letting his characters steer clear of hypocrisy and be selfish and kind-hearted at the same time: exactly the way real children are. The touching and the ironic is incredibly united and balanced in Kivirähk’s book. ‘The writer is witty, observant and brave: he understands children extremely well and has a knack for embracing their way of thinking and making sense of the world; he is not afraid to deal with, say, the ‘potty matters’ that are so important to very young children, or speak ironically of the generally accepted customs, viewing them through a child’s eyes. But most importantly, he is never being funny for fun’s sake, never trifling with all sorts of affectations. One thing becomes clear as you read the book: he knows what he is doing and he can be trusted: children will understand it and recognise themselves in it,’ says Inese Zandere, the editor of the book. The Latvian translation was made by Guntars Godiņš.

Andrus Kivirähk (1970), the jolliest of the jolly and – it won’t be an exaggeration to say – the most famous of the famous among Estonian contemporary writers, is a prolific and very successful author of books for children and grown-ups. The winner of all existing literary awards in his native Estonia, Kivirähk also won the 2011 Jānis Baltvilks International Prize in Riga.

The Latvian edition of the book features new original illustrations by the animation director Edmunds Jansons who has also contributed to children’s book art and won recognition with his illustrations to a number of children’s poetry books by Inese Zandere and the popular Teacher Jaap collection of stories by Jacques Vriens. Jansons has recently accumulated a certain charge of ‘the Estonian spirit’ by spending a couple of years studying animation direction for an MA degree at the Tallinn Academy of Arts.