book review What I'm reading

What I’m reading: The Wonderful Adventure of Nils Holgersson

The Wonderful Adventure of Nils Holgersson

I love reading so was very happy to receive a copy of The Wonderful Adventure of Nils Holgersson by Selma Lagerlof to review. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I was blown away by the book cover designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith, the award-winning designed and creator of Waterstones Book of the Year (2015), The Fox and the Star.

The Wonderful Adventure of Nils Holgersson by Selma Lagerlof was first published in 1906. The author was a teacher, feminist, suffragette and the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. It was originally intended as a school geography book but instead went on to become a sensation in Sweden, and then around the world, as it was translated into over 50 languages.

It tells the story of Nils Holgersson, a naughty boy who tortures animals and never listens to his parents – until one day he is punished by being turned into an elf. Confused and desperate to find a cure, he climbs on a gander’s back and flies away with him, joining a flock of wild geese. As he is carried around Sweden, Nils learns everything about birds, foxes, his country and being kind to all creatures great and small.

Originally intended as a school reader to teach children about the geography, history and culture of Sweden, The Wonderful Adventure of Nils Holgersson has endured as a meditation on nature, kindness and our place in the world. Selma Lagerlöf herself doubted that the text would find readers outside Sweden – and yet the book went on to become a beloved children’s classic, selling many millions of copies around the world in places like France, Germany, Eastern Europe, and Japan. Hopefully this edition from Penguin will enable the book to become a well loved classic for families in the UK too.

While Nils’s adventure fascinates children and shows them why we need to be compassionate to all, Selma Lagerlöf’s strong sense of the richness of nature is also a source of inspiration for everyone at a time when it is a matter of urgency to care for the environment and value what nature provides.

The Wonderful Adventure of Nils Holgersson is published on 2nd June 2016, priced £14.99.


  • Reply
    Danielle Jones
    June 1, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    Oh my goodness, how beautiful is that cover! I love these sorts of books. They seem to, and obviously do, transcend generations and even language barriers.

    I have a young daughter and I’m always on the look out for books that can help me instil a love of reading and positive values… not to mention look amazing on her bookshelf. I will certainly be checking out.

  • Reply
    June 1, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    i really do love the design of this. I’m quite intrigued by this!

  • Leave a Reply