Every Christmas Eve, the Master puts out rice pudding for the tomtes to say thank you for their help around the house during the year. Recently, however, the Master has forgotten, and Mama tomte knows he will forget again this year.
The elves hatch a plot to steal a bowl of Christmas porridge, without being seen, so that Papa tomte doesn’t get angry.
This charming story is based on an old Swedish Christmas tradition. It is illustrated with great humor and is filled with delightful detail, as the tomte family scurry around their Master’s house one busy Christmas Eve.
“Tomtes, the Swedish version of elves or brownies, work hard all year to make sure that things go smoothly at a farm, and all Papa Tomte wants is to be thanked on Christmas Eve with an offering of porridge. Knowing that the human family will forget and fearing the farm will suffer from her husband's slighted feelings, Mama Tomte and her children take matters into their own hands. The detailed cartoon art has a warm and cozy look with walls tinged with yellow from the candlelight. Illustrations can take up whole pages and the tomtes themselves look traditionally elfish in their caps and clogs...this offering will appeal to readers wanting the trappings of a classic Christmas folktale.”—School Library Journal
Sven Nordqvist is a leading Swedish children's illustrator and writer. Nordqvist was born in Helsingborg and grew up in Halmstad, Sweden. He originally wanted to be an illustrator but was rejected by several art schools. Instead, he studied architecture in Lund and worked as a lecturer in architecture in the university. Meanwhile, he looked for work as an illustrator of advertisements, posters, and picture books. In 1983, he won first prize in a children's book competition and since then has worked exclusively as an author and illustrator of children's books, which have won awards in Sweden and Germany. The Findus and Pettson stories draw on his own playful adventures with his two young sons. Nordqvist's unique illustrations are inspired by his delight in everyday life.