The Emma Press, a Birmingham, UK-based publisher, has published “Oskar and the Things” by Estonian writer Andrus Kivirähk; the children’s story is about the joy of play and the power of imagination.
“’Oskar and the Things’ is a wholesome story about the joy of play and the power of imagination, that will tickle parents worried about the prevalence of mobile phones. It is a whimsical novel that will appeal to fans of other dry Nordic children’s whimsy, such as Mrs Pepperpot, Moomins and Pippi Longstocking,” The Emma Press said in a statement.
In Estonia, the book has won several awards, such as the 2016 Tartu Prize for Children’s Literature and the 2016 Eduard Vilde Literary Award.
The book tells a story about Oskar, who is sent to the countryside to live with his grandmother. Not being particularly close to his grandma, he is immediately lonely and unhappy – a state which becomes much worse when he realises that he’s left his cell phone at home.
Desperate for an escape from his phone-less existence, Oskar crafts a phone out of a block of wood and uses it to pretend to call things. Surprisingly, the things reply. From a bored iron, a rhyming trashcan or a red balloon that gets tangled in the crown of a birch tree and ultimately becomes Oskar’s best friend. Soon, everything around him comes to life.
The book was translated from Estonian by Adam Cullen and published in English with the original illustrations by Anne Pikkov.
Andrus Kivirähk is an adult and children’s prose and poetry author, a playwright, topical satirist and screenplay writer. He is the most well-known and prolific figure on Estonia’s literary scene today. He has written 12 books for children – his stories are known for their rich fantasy and unique sense of humour.
The Emma Press is an independent publishing house. Founded in 2012 by Emma Dai’an Wright, The Emma Press publishes themed anthologies, illustrated chapbooks and children’s poetry and fiction, with a growing list of translations which includes titles from Latvia, Estonia, Indonesia, Spain and the Netherlands.