Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tatu and Patu--Test Result: The Finns are Tough Cookies

A friend told me that she thought Sophia might like the Tatu Patu book This is Finland by Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen. She was right. Sophia loves the book. It is that rare kind of children's book that adults also love to read. The Tatu Patu book on Finland teaches everything from the geology of Finland to history and culture. The illustrations are crammed with humorous details of Finnish life: cellphones, reflectors, Alvar Aalto vases. It really should be required reading for anyone planning a trip to Finland. Put down the Lonely Planet and pick up Tatu and Patu.

We went in search of the Tatu Patu exhibit at Turku Castle today. Our trip through the castle was dreamlike. You go up and down so many staircases that you start to feel that you are in an Escher print. You peer out of tiny windows onto the same snow filled courtyard but always from a different angle. Around every corner was a fresh surprise. One particularly beautiful surprise was climbing a narrow stairway that opened into a beautiful hall where a string quartet were practicing Dvorak's String Quartet in F Major. We sat there riveted. The musicians were wonderful.

We found the Tatu Patu exhibit, a room filled with fun Finnish knick knacks including some sequined costumes that I at first thought must belong to Elvis. They actually belonged to Michael Monroe. He might be the Finnish Gary Glitter, but I could be wrong.

After our cultural foray we rode the bus back to the kauppatori. For today's Finnish food experience we bought Baltic Herring that we ate with mashed potatoes. Hyvaa!

If you want to learn more about Tatu and Patu you can read this interview with their creators on the Books from Finland web site.

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