[review] Hannele Lampela
: Princess Teeny Weeny’s Winter

Hannele Lampela
Prinsessa Pikkiriikin talvi
Princess Teeny Weeny’s Winter
Illustrated Ninka Reittu
Otava 2017
ISBN 9789511311188

Princess Teeny Weeny’s Winter is a sequel to Princess Teeny Weeny (Prinsessa Pikkiriikki (2016), introducing the loveliest, naughtiest and kindest girl in the world. In this story, princess Teeny Weeny decides to sell her little brother on a flea market, drives to adventures in a snow car with her friend princess Pöjöläinen and ends up working for Santa.

prinsessa pikkiriikin talvi

Princess Teeny Weeny was nominated for the Arvid Lydecken Prize in 2016. The jury found the main character delightful, an anarchic princess – a true spokesperson for children’s agency and activity, who is able to ignore adults’ commands. Princess Teeny Weeny reminds the reader of Pippi Longstocking, Babette Cole’s untamed Princess Smartypants, and the independent princess in The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch (1980). A Finnish equivalent can be found in Heinähattu and Vilttitossu (Hayflower and Quiltshoe), sisters created by Sinikka and Tiina Nopola. They claim their space just like princesses Teeny Weeny and Pöjöläinen and do not ask for permission for their games. Instead they follow their imagination and set it free.

Princesses Teeny Weeny and Pöjöläinen have been friends since playground times. Magic dog called Sausage is Teeny Weeny’s loyal helper who can squirt a magical poop and magically transfer the parents to a remote place where the doesn’t shine. Parents, neighbour Mrs Jenssen, the angry uncle who hates snowballs and Räkä-Eetu (’Snot Ed’), who is considered to be a bully, belong to the inner circle of Princess Teeny Weeny’s life.
Book takes a fairytale-like approach on issues such as resentment towards a younger sibling, what it is like to be bullied or the fun in being reckless. Princess Teeny Weeny comes up with the idea to sell her little brother when he messes up the princesses’ play. Then the two princesses decide to make a snow car whilst playing Cinderella-Batman. They end up helping Father Christmas after having made the realization that even naughty children should have presents. Girls don’t want to upset anyone, so they make sure even rascals get a gift. Parents handle their lively and adventurous daughter with much patience.

Ninka Reitu’s illustrations are filled with colours and humour that make them candy-like and delightful. She is especially skilled in depicting peoples’ body positions. Her illustration of a mother yawning on the sofa or mother crouching on the floor with a baby are dense and full of emotion. All in all, Princess Teeny Weeny’s Winter is a beautiful book and a joy to read.

Princess Teeny Weeny’s Winter is especially well suited for children who tend to be a bit too good. The lesson the book wants to teach is that it is alright to be a bit a naughty sometimes, as long as you do not actually hurt anyone. Even the attempt to sell your little brother can end up well, although the sauna elf might deliver the advertisement straight to the parents instead of the newspaper.

Paula Niemi


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