This review of Findus Rules the Roost appeared in Juno Magazine, issue 49 (we’re looking forward to the big 50!), and was written by Saffia Farr. Many thanks to her, and everyone at Juno – we love this issue.
This is the latest in the characterful series about Findus the cat and Farmer Pettson. In this story a rooster comes to live with the chickens. Findus feels very put out that the chickens no longer want to play with him, and especially that the rooster makes a lot of noise! Findus and Pettson try various strategies to resolve this, but in the end the rooster leaves, making the chickens very sad, although they are all cheered up at the prospect of expecting chicks! The usual fun and chaos with Findus and Pettson.
Goodness, another review already! This time from the brilliant Zoe of Playing by the Book. This one also has linked activities (and we may just end up making some enormous flowers to decorate the office with). Thank you, Zoe! Please note that this is an extract – a link to the full review is posted at the foot of the article.
Have you ever ruled the roost, known the lay of the land, had everything humming along tickety-boo with a lovely bunch of great family or friends around you, only to have it all messed up by the arrival of an imposter? Perhaps you were an older child who had to deal with a newborn sibling suddenly taking all the sunshine? Or maybe someone unknown arrived in your classroom and all at once your best friend appeared to abandon you?
Findus Rules the Roost by Sven Nordqvist, translated by Nathan Large draws on these experiences, so recognisable to many, whether young or old, and lets us explore complicated feelings such as jealously, annoyance and a desire for revenge through laughter, mischief and gloriously absurd humour.
Findus, a very sweet pussycat admittedly fond of a prank or two, has lived for many years with the inventive, somewhat grumpy, and yet ultimately loveable old farmer Pettson. Theirs is an idyllic life on a small Swedish farm, where there are always ripe redcurrants to pick, bright white eggs to collect and a cosy corner to share. Despite his outward curmudgeonly appearance, Pettson’s heart couldn’t be bigger and one day he brings home a rooster, rather than see the bird end up in his neighbour’s stew.
This generous act has serious consequences.
Findus feels pushed aside, and to make things worse, the rooster really makes a racket, relishing in what roosters do best: crowing very, VERY loudly. (“‘What a fine sound,’ said Pettson. ‘I think we should call him Pavarotti after Pavarotti the opera singer.’ ‘I don’t think he should be called anything.’ said Findus sulkily.“)
Growing ever more exasperated by the rooster, Findus succumbs to fibbing in an attempt to – as he sees it – put Pavarotti back in his place. Initial relish at this stand against the new upstart doesn’t last long, and although there’s an ending filled with hope and kindness, not everything is resolved neatly with all made better as if nothing had ever gone wrong.
Friendship – its ups and downs, its ins and outs, its joys and difficulties – is at the heart of all the Findus and Pettson books (Findus Rules the Roost is the tenth book in the Findus and Pettson series to be published by Hawthorn Press. You can find my reviews of several of the earlier titles here.) These stories are packed with fierce love (without it ever being sugar-coated) and utter hilarity, both in the telling of a good yarn, but especially and most delightfully in the deliriously detailed and imaginative illustrations, with little cameo gems in almost every direction you look. Look above, and spot the butterfly or below and take on board the hen pecking at the tray. Life is crazy and sometimes makes little sense, but love is everywhere and will always find you. Time and again, this is the message I take away from visiting with my favourite farmer and feline.
The farm on which Findus and Pettson live is full of magic. Look closely and you’ll see little friendly goblin-like creatures going about their business, and everywhere there are exuberant, outsized flowers blooming with all the joy in the world.
Wanting to bring a bit of that cheerfulness into our home, we decided to turn our front garden into a homage to Pettson’s grandi-flora.
Here is another review of Findus Rules the Roost, our tenth Findus and Pettson book. This one is from the incomparable Bookwitch – many thanks to her! You can read her blog here…
It might have been better if Gustavsson had made a stew out of his old rooster, considering the noise he makes. But Pettson is a real softie, so had to rescue the rooster and bring him home to his hens. And to poor Findus. Who has been best friends with the hens until this moment.
But from now on those ladies are very taken with their new rooster, even if he is rather loud. Findus is more direct, asking ‘what’s the good of that?’ when he realises the rooster is there to stay.
Or is he?
The hens fawn over him, and Pettson finds the crowing quite attractive. To begin with.
It’s pretty much like when your mother brings home a new baby and expects you to love it, and everyone else does love it and they seem to forget you. And there is noise, all the time, everywhere. Findus hides in the attic. Pettson talks to the rooster and sets limits. Everyone begins to feel upset. You can see Gustavsson’s point.
Findus is naughty and…
Well, the rooster knew how to – ahem – say goodbye nicely.
I love these books. I am in no danger of tiring anytime soon, even if Findus is a handful. But I do sometimes wonder what Pettson actually lives off. Sawing logs, fishing and picking redcurrants will only go so far. As will savouring the peace and quiet at the end of the day with Findus in the garden.
Our first review of this title! We’re very very excited about it, because not only is this a lovely book; it’s the tenth Findus and Pettson book that we’ve published, so we feel extra happy about it :) Thanks to Luce for this review – read her gorgeous home-ed blog here.
Farmer Pettson has a surprise for his hens, a proud and very handsome Cockerel! The hens are thrilled, but Findus the cat is less than impressed by this noisy new addition to the farm. The rooster is spoiling all of his fun, the hens are no longer interested in playing, the rooster has taken to chasing him and can give a nasty peck, and the noise is simply too much to bear.
It’s time for a plan, Findus sets to work on a cunning trick to get rid of the pesky cockerel once and for all… but will his plan work?
We were excited to read this latest story, having read many of the other titles in the series we knew we were in for a treat and we were certainly not disappointed. Findus Rules the Roost is beautifully written, warm and humorous. Both Bundles thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story and pausing to explore and appreciate the stunning illustrations, in which there are many delightful details and characters to be discovered. It is already becoming a firm favourite in our spring book box.
If you haven’t met Findus and Pettson yet, what are you waiting for? And for those of you who know the characters well, this story will make a great addition to your collection.
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