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The Tomte

In Astrid Lindgren's picture book production, there are a couple of popular titles about a farm gnome, a 'tomte', published in the 1960s. Especially in Germany and in the Anglo-Saxon world, these books have been appreciated as they provide a portrayal of Scandinavian folklore and Christmas traditions.

The origin of the books was that Astrid Lindgren's Swedish publisher Rabén & Sjögren had published illustrated versions of Swedish writer and poet Viktor Rydberg's 'Tomten' and Karl Erik Forsslund's 'Räven och tomten' ('The Tomte and the Fox'). Astrid Lindgren's German publisher didn't want to translate the Swedish original poems and instead asked her to write adapted versions of the texts. These were then published under the titles 'Tomte Tummetott' and 'Tomte und der Fuchs' in Germany, and 'The Tomten' and 'The Tomten and the Fox' in the UK and USA.

The books were originally illustrated by Harald Wiberg. In 2012, Astrid Lindgren's version of 'Tomten' was released in Swedish for the first time, under the title 'Tomten är vaken', with illustrations by ALMA laureate Kitty Crowther. In 2017, Astrid Lindgren's interpretation of 'Räven och tomten' was also released in Swedish, with illustrations by Eva Eriksson.

In 2019, a short film based on the book was aired on Christmas Eve on SVT. The short film was then included in 'Jul med Astrid Lindgren' ('Christmas with Astrid Lindgren'), an hour of new animations that premiered on Christmas Eve 2023.

Books about Tomten

Räven och tomten


Two short films have been based on the 'Tomten' books. One is 'Tomte Tummetott' (Ogglies Film), released in Germany in 2007. The other is the Norwegian/Swedish production 'Räven och tomten' (Qvisten Animation/Astrid Lindgren Film), which premiered on Swedish television on Christmas Eve 2019.

Räven och Tomten kollage

There are many beautiful products featuring Eva Eriksson's atmospheric illustrations from 'The Tomten and the Fox'.

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