Ten Years of Findus and Pettson

Pancakes for Findus/ pannkakstartan

Back in 2007, Hawthorn Press published Pancakes for Findus, our first foray into the Findus and Pettson series by Sven Nordqvist. Translated from Swedish by Julia Marshall and Penelope Todd, and edited by Nathan Large, we were excited to bring this fantastic book to an English- speaking audience. The series was (and is) massively popular across Europe, but had yet to be translated into English. Ten years on, and we have published another nine Findus and Pettson books, all translated by Nathan Large. So, in celebration, here are some bits and pieces about the characters and the author.

Who is Pettson?

Old Man Pettson

When Pettson was little he lived with his mother and father and five siblings on a farm. They had cows and pigs and goats and hens and two horses. When he was younger he had a fiancée for a few years. But she met a popular Danish singer with a moustache and moved with him to Australia. Since then Pettson has lived on his small farm with his hens.

Farmer Pettson

He doesn’t like chatting very much. He likes being on his own. Although sometimes it could get quite lonely. But that was before Findus came along. After that, things took off!

Since then, Pettson has never felt alone. Pettson doesn’t have much to do other than making sure that the cat and hens are taken care of. But he likes to spend time in the shed, coming up with and building tricky appliances. The trickiest thing he has built is a mechanical, talking Yule Tomte. He still doesn’t know how he managed that! (we are currently translating the book in which Pettson does this).

Sometimes Pettson and Findus go swimming or fishing in the lake. In the forest they gather wood to light the stove with and Christmas trees for Christmas. In the evenings Pettson usually sits in the kitchen and listens to the radio, drinking coffee and solving crossword puzzles while Findus lies comfortably on the kitchen sofa.

Findus and Pettson's parents
Pettson’s parents (left), Findus’ parents (right)

Farmer Pettson and baby FindusWho is Findus?

Pettson has said that Findus was given to him a long time ago. He came in a cardboard box when he was a kitten. Findus can’t remember living anywhere but in Pettson’s house.

A row of hens, looking curious

Pettson is Findus’ best friend. They are together every day. When Pettson wants to be alone, Findus usually plays with the hens. They are not very good at playing, because they forget the rules all the time. But they can chase each other and play hide and seek.

Pettson is the only human who understands what Findus says. But Findus understand what the humans say. He can also talk to the muckles who are all around. Pettson can’t do that. He doesn’t seem to see them at all.

Findus the cat

Findus likes going fishing with Pettson. He is quite afraid of big pikes, but he’d rather not admit that. One time he got so afraid that he wanted to go home. But then again, he saw the biggest pike in the world that time.

He also likes to jump on the bed, hang around in the attic and in the shed, playing with everything there, playing with the muckles, walking in the woods with Pettson and picking mushrooms and lying on the kitchen sofa at night, listening to the radio with Pettson.

Baby Findus with a hammer

Findus does not know how old he is, but he doesn’t seem to grow older, either. But he still likes his birthday, so he celebrates it three times a year. Then they have pancake cake.

Sven Nordqvist

Aside from big pikes, Findus isn’t afraid of anything – except foxes. He thinks that foxes eat cats. But Pettson has said that they probably don’t. PROBABLY?! That’s not enough; it’s best to stay away from them or scare them away.

Who is Sven?

Sven Nordqvist’s history as a writer of children’s books began in 1983 when he won the picture book competition arranged by the publishing house Opal with Agaton Öman och alfabetet. He first became known to the public the year after when Pannkakstårtan, the first book about old man Pettson and his cat Findus, was published. It immediately became a success and is to this day, over 30 years later, still read and adored by children of all ages around the world.

Sven Nordqvist’s pictures are distinguished by immense colour and detail which are difficult to find anywhere else. Each picture is like its own world, full of small figures and things that in their own way comment on the rest of the story, and you can look at them for a long time and still find new details you hadn’t noticed before. Perhaps this is why his pictures are so popular and appreciated by so many people, from small children to adults who left their picture book days behind a long time ago.

Sven Nordqvist’s artistic creations are not limited to written and illustrated stories. His interest in carpentry and technical constructions has resulted in several artistic decorations in schools and hospitals.

So here’s to Findus and Pettson, and at least ten more years of their wonderful adventures!

Findus and Pettson with a pancake stack