It is summer in the Big Woods. The air is full of birdsong, scents and expectations. The Tomte takes a cup of birch-leaf tea and airs out the cabin after winter.
As usual, it is busy in the rabbit hole under the huge oak tree. Grandpa is teaching bunny school to the young bunnies. The first summer flowers are put in front of the class to smell and taste. The grown-ups talk about something called Midsummer, some kind of party, like Christmas, but in the summer. Do you have a Christmas tree? Do you give speeches? Do you dance? Are you supposed to wear a hat? Owl, who knows everything, says Midsummer is full of magic, love and strange things. Some bunnies dance, kiss and play and others get married. They’d better watch out!
A huge, terrible storm sweeps through the woods. The trees sway, rain pelts down and the animals flee for their lives. They take refuge at The Tomte’s old farm where there’s room for everybody. When the storm is over Aki, a bunny injured and almost killed by a fallen branch, is back on his legs again. Midsummer brings sun and the nicest wedding anybody has ever seen, with a big party in the yard. Nina marries Aki, and The Tomte officiates. The married couple promises to have as much fun as they can during their life together and to make each other feel better when they’re sad. They rub each other’s noses with buttercups and say: Yellow nose! Yellow nose! The evening is filled with dancing and games. Some guests sit and watch the sun hanging over the tree tops. The Tomte lies down in the meadow and looks at the sky. He breathes in the smell of grass and flowers and listens to the earth’s heart thundering deep underground. Then, suddenly, she is there, the one. He knows that she’s only a dream.
“– Well yes, usually, she says, but not on midsummer night, and she twists her hair into a golden ring and treads it onto his finger. She makes a silver ring from his beard and puts it on her own finger and they dance as if they have never done anything else.
– I’ll see you next year, she says, and when the morning breeze arrives she is gone.”
The follow-up to Christmas in the Big Woods is an totally magical story in 22 parts. Ulf Stark combines classic comedy, fairytale and drama, creating a story that goes right into your heart. Eva Eriksson has made almost one hundred lovely, world-class illustrations in color. This is yet another example of Ulf Stark’s and Eva Eriksson’s joyful and gripping masterpieces.