Poor Poor Rasmus. If only he had curly hair and better yet- was a little girl instead of a boy with straight hair. Surely if he was, the nice families would come and adopt him from the orphanage, Right? While the older boys try to tell Rasmus to stop hoping for a family, he simply can’t give up the dream and settle into the orphanage life, which is all he has ever known. Rasmus is a pretty good boy, but he just cannot take the orphanage anymore and he runs away wishing for freedom and hopefully a family. It turns out, freedom is scary when you are a little kid in a dark, cold and foodless world. Oh, he forgot about hunger! And Man, is he cold! Thankfully our little friend bumps into the friendly Oscar not too long into his newfound independence. A disheveled, friendly man who declares himself to be God’s best friend.
Together Rasmus and Oscar travel the countryside in search of food. They sing for their supper (Oscar is a wonderful accordion player how can earn decent money when he tries) and do various chores to get by. The country setting makes me want to get out of the city immediately and go for a stroll down some dirt road and just enjoy the world for a bit. In fact, I was jealous of it all if I am honest and can see why Oscar chose to be a wandering bum. The world isn’t all rosy for our friends. The police suspect them of stealing all the time, and they bump into two very bad men. I do not want to wreck the surprise or storyline, but this isn’t just a cute story about a friendship between a lonely boy and a nice man. There’s action in it to keep the kids entertained. Action with guns, and rolling fist fights, Jail-time and secret hideouts.
For a book written in 1956, Rasmus and the Vagabond sure is a timeless and wonderful read. Astrid Lindgren does a fantastic job writing books that kids and adults both love. There was emotion that made me want to hug poor little Rasmus and his fantasy of a mom to hug him when he is sick, and action enough that kept me reading late into the night to see what was going to happen. When I closed the book… I literally sighed a happy sigh and went to sleep with a big silly smile on my face. I thought I knew how it would end, but I didn’t guess correctly! I have read a number of Lindgren books, and this one is my favorite so far. I am so glad that Plough Publishing re-released this story (using the same illustration as the older hardback versions) the book world is a better place because of it. New York Book Review is releasing two other Lindgren books in May that I am eagerly awaiting so I can read them too. Mio My Son, and Seacrow Island so be on the lookout for those too. It has gotten to the point where I don’t have to know what the book is about, if Astrid Lindgren wrote it, I’m going to read it. I know it’s early in the year still, but for now Rasmus and the Vagabond is my favorite read of 2015. I received a copy of this book for review and its going on my favorites shelf to read to my girls when they can handle chapter books.
- Author: Astrid Lindgren
- Illustrator: Eric Palmquist
- ISBN: 978-0874865974
- Publisher: Plough Publishing House
- Copyright: 2015 first published 1956
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.