The White Ravens

A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

Finnish / Finland

Tuhat ja yksi otusta

(A thousand and one creatures)

Helsinki: Etana Editions, [2016]. – 57 p.
ISBN 978-952-7105-07-8

Animals  | Poetry  | Picture book

White Ravens issue: 2017

Reading age: 5+


“Tuhat ja yksi otusta” – the book title says it all: This large-format picture book celebrates wildlife. However, it does not simply introduce whales, polar bears, or camels via ordinary factual texts. The authors rather employ poems, the contents of which form a felicitous and suspenseful symbiosis with the full-page watercolour illustrations. The texts frequently point out the humorous aspects of the animals’ cohabitation, such as the poem about crocodiles and Egyptian Plovers (aka as crocodile birds), the feathered “dental helpers” who clean the reptiles’ teeth. The minimalist images, accentuated with just a few boldly coloured highlights, are impressive: spontaneously brushed onto the page, of sketch-like quality, they result in truly expressive, large animal drawings. The creator of these pictures, Laura Merz, was born in Finland and now lives in Berlin, where she creates works of fine art in addition to illustrating books.