Pettson and Findus
Pettson and Findus (in Swedish: Pettson och Findus) is a series of children’s books written and illustrated by Swedish author Sven Nordqvist. The books feature an old farmer (Pettson) and his cat (Findus) who live in a small ramshackle farmhouse in the countryside. The first of the Pettson och Findus book to be published was Pannkakstårtan in 1984 (first published in English in 1985 as Pancake Pie).
To date, nine story books have been published in Swedish, plus a puzzle book, song book and cook book. The books have worldwide book sales of over 6 million and have been translated into 44 languages. There are two alternative English translations of the characters' names: in the books published in the UK by Hawthorn Press, as well as those published in English by Swedish publisher Opal, they have the original names, Pettson and Findus, while in the books published in the USA by Carolrhoda Books they are called Festus and Mercury.
In addition to the books, there are also three Pettson and Findus 75-minute long animated films, an animated TV series of 26 25-minute parts, computer games and board games. In December 1993, the Swedish TV company SVT broadcast one of the Pettson and Findus stories, Tomtemaskinen (The mechanical santa), as its annual Julkalendern (Christmas calendar), with one 15-minute part shown each day up until Christmas Eve. In 2000 the world of Pettson and Findus was recreated full scale at the Junibacken Children’s Museum in Stockholm.
The setting for the stories
Pettson is an old farmer who lives in a ramshackle red-ochre-painted wooden farmhouse in the Swedish countryside. He is presumably a widower, as in Pettson Goes Camping he tells of a planned camping trip with his wife in his youth, but no children are mentioned. His neighbours regard him as a bit odd. However, he does have the company of a cat, Findus. Findus is dressed in a green-striped costume and wears a cap. Pettson and Findus can converse with each other, and the cat can stand up on his two hind legs like a human - Findus thus appears and behaves as if he were a small child. However, Findus, unlike Pettson, is aware of other "small creatures" living in the house, who play havoc with Pettson's belongings. Each of the books takes off from simple events, such as gardening, going fishing, preparing for Christmas, and so on. It emerges only in the most recent of the books, When Findus was little and disappeared, that the cat had been given to Pettson as a kitten, and that he had arrived in a cardboard box with the text "Findus peas" on the side - hence the inspiration for the choice of a name.
The Pettson and Findus books
- Pancakes for Findus / aka: Pancake Pie (2007) (Original: Pannkakstårtan, 1985)
- Findus and the Fox / aka: The Fox Hunt (2009) (Original: Rävjakten, 1986)
- Findus at Christmas / aka: Merry Christmas Festus and Mercury (2011) (Original: Pettson får julbesök, 1989)
- A Rumpus in the Garden / aka: Festus and Mercury (2005): Ruckus in the Garden (Original: Kackel i grönsakslandet, 1990)
- Festus and Mercury: Wishing to go Fishing (1991) (Original: Stackars Pettson, 1991)
- Findus Goes Camping / aka: Pettson Goes Camping / aka: Festus and Mercury Go Camping (2010) (Original: Pettson tältar, 1992)
- The Mechanical Santa (Tomtemaskinen, 1994)
- The Rooster’s Minute (Tuppens minut, 1996)
- When Findus was Little and Disappeared (2008) (Original: När Findus var liten och försvann, 2001)
- Puzzle with Findus (Pyssla med Findus)
- Pettson and Findus Song book (Pettson och Findus sångbok)
- Pettson and Findus cookbook (Pettson och Findus kokbok)
The Pettson and Findus films
- Pettson & Findus - 1999
- Pettson & Findus II - Pettson & Findus II - The Cat-o-naut (Kattonauten), 2000.
- Pettson & Findus III – Pettson’s Promise (Tomtemaskinen), 2005
- Pettson & Findus IV - Forget-Abilities (Glömligheter), 2009.
- Laura A. Wideberg, "Pettson and Findus charm children and adults alike", World Literature Today, September 2005.
- An analysis of the differences between the US and UK translations of the Pettson & Findus books was made in an academic article, titled "From Pettson and Findus to Festus and Mercury...and Back Again: A Comparison of Four Translations of Sven Nordqvist's Picture Books" by Beth Anne Yoxsimer Paulsrud at the Dalarna College Department of English. See: