ronjaThe Swedish author Astrid Lindgren is one of my absolute favourite children’s book writers; I think of and marvel at her skill on a regular basis, and of her books one of my ultimate loves is Ronja Rövardotter (1981, I read it in fantastic Dutch translation: Ronja de Roversdochter, translated as Ronia the Robber’s Daughter in English).

Ronja is the only child in a settlement of robbers, and you follow her adventures as she explores her forest setting, masters all kinds of fears, contends with strange, dangerous shadow-folk, and follows her own sense of right and wrong amidst the beloved company and shifting drama of the robbers’ castle. It’s all beautifully done, full of feeling, humour, masterful characterisation and tension, and with incredible illustrations by Ilon Wikland which could never be topped, only sighed dreamily at for their perfection (here’re some examples).

I thought of one of Ronja’s favourite waterfall pools to experiment with painting something bigger and backgrounded in gouache. It’s not really what I was aiming for, and there’s a whole lot I’d like to do differently, but it was fun to try, maybe I’ll have another go at some point! In the meantime, go and read Ronja, hide from enemies with her under dense pine branches, smile quietly at the stars, and cheer at her courage!

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6 Responses to Ronja

  1. oolung says:

    I love her Children of Bullerbyn, it used to be one of my favourite books and my mum read it to me 🙂

  2. Hélène says:

    I love Ronya very much. Mine was illustrated by Mette Ivers, and I liked very much her creations. I just read it again a month ago, before giving it to my daughter. I read that Ghibli Studio is making a film of this story, but I have no more information.

    • Ronja’s the greatest, and thank you for introducing Mette Ivers’ work to me, I just looked up her drawings, they’re really good! I heard about Studio Ghibli too – I love their films, but I have such vivid images for this story and its characters, and such strong associations with Ilon Wikland’s drawings, it’s hard to imagine it in their style!

      • Hélène says:

        I share your opinion about Ghibli’s interpretation, I’m not sure I will like it. But I’m glad if it makes Ronja’s story more known, it deserves it.

        I can’t find pictures about Mette Ivers work on Ronja (Ronya in french), it was more like Ilon Wikland’s drawing, at the time. Her style has changed and what you can find on her website is not the same. So I just created a Pinterest board so that you can see some pictures from the book (images are not very good, I had to took them with my phone) :

        And thanks for Ilon Wikland’s name, I didn’t knew her and like her work too !

  3. Margaret Richardson says:

    It’s amazing Bea. Very evocative and mysterious. And twinkling stars above. Makes us want to be there by the waters edge. I’ m going to get reading the books too!

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