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The Emma Press


Oskar and the Things

Oskar and the Things


Oskar and the Things is a children’s novel by Andrus Kivirähk, translated from Estonian by Adam Cullen and illustrated by Anne Pikkov.

‘Oskar was wrestling with a similar uneasy feeling right now – that his dad’s car would have barely made it off the drive before those kids from the village would come crawling out of the woodwork to carry him off to their fort, no matter how hard he struggled. After that, they’d drag him into the woods, and then somewhere else to go fishing, and then to who-knows-what other horrible places. And Grandma wouldn’t protect him at all – she’d just stand on the porch, holding a bucket and nodding in satisfaction: Ah yes, the countryside is the perfect place for children in summer!’

Page count: 272

Publication date: 29 Sept 2022

Paperback ISBN: 9781912915781

Suitable for children aged 10+

GTIN: 9781912915781 SKU: 9781912915781-1 Categories: , , Tag:

Andrus Kivirahk

Andrus Kivirähk (1970) is an adult and children’s prose and poetry author, a playwright, topical satirist, and screenplay writer. He is the most well-known and prolific figure on Estonia’s literary scene today. He has written 12 books for children, all of which are kept in print and widely read. Kivirähk’s children’s stories are known for their rich fantasy and unique sense of humour. His writing is simple, the plots fast-paced, and the gallery of characters colourful and full of surprises.


One summer, when both his parents are away for work, Oskar is sent to the countryside to live with his grandma. A dreary prospect turns into disaster when Oskar realises he left his mobile phone back at home. What will he do all summer now?

Lonely and bored, Oskar crafts a phone out of a block of wood he finds in the shed and uses it to pretend to call things. To his surprise, the things reply! He speaks to a tough-talking iron, a poetising bin, a bloodthirsty wardrobe, a red balloon that gets tangled in the crown of a birch tree, and many more. Oskar finds himself in high demand, helping the things solve their problems and achieve their dreams.

Oskar and the Things is a charming book about the power of the imagination and friendship, by Estonia’s leading children’s writer, Andrus Kivirähk. With a lively translation by Adam Cullen, and the original illustrations by Anne Pikkov, it will appeal to fans of other dry Nordic children’s literature (such as Mrs Pepperpot, The Moomins, and Pippiis) and is the perfect gift for an introverted child with a rich inner life.

Winner of the 2016 Tartu Prize for Children’s Literature, the 2016 Eduard Vilde Literary Award, and recipient of the Certificate of Merit on the 2015 list of Five Best-Designed Estonian Children’s Books

Praise for Oskar and the Things

This is such an imaginative idea for a story, and it is beautifully executed. The sporadic red, black, and blue illustrations are perfect for an audience that is moving away from picture books, but still enjoys some visual elements to break things up.Kids Read the World

This is a great read for our older readers, recommend for ages 10+ at a full 266 pages. The chapters are broken up with some really cool illustrations – I love the use of just a few colours.Posie’s Book Club

‘The characters are very funny. My favourite is the iron (one of the first characters in the book). It’s a good book for Mum to read out loud with silly voices for the different objects.’ – 9 year old E, a Young Review for World Kid Lit

Adam Cullen (1986) is a poet and translator of Estonian prose, poetry, drama, and children’s literature into English. His latest translations include Martin Algus’s The Lion (Best European Drama, BBC Audio Drama Awards 2022), Jüri Arrak’s Panga-Rehe Stories (50 Watts Books 2022), Peeter Sauter’s Don’t Leave Me Be (Tanooki Press 2022), Kertu Sillaste’s I Am an Artist (Graffeg 2021), Tõnu Õnnepalu’s Exercises (Dalkey Archive Press 2020, nominated for the Cultural Endowment of Estonia’s Award for Literature), and Piret Raud’s Ellie’s Voice, or Trööömmmpffff (Restless Books 2020). A member of the Estonian Writers’ Union, Cullen has resided in Estonia since 2007.

Anne Pikkov (1974) is an illustrator, graphic designer, and book designer. She graduated in graphic design from the Estonian Academy of Arts. She has worked at an advertising agency, and as a visiting professor and the Vice Rector of Academic Affairs at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Pikkov has illustrated 14 children’s books and contributed to the Estonian magazines Täheke, Pere ja Kodu and Jamie. She has received many awards at annual Estonian book design and illustration competitions. Her art is ornamental, laconic, spiced with humour, and evocatively expressive.

Additional information

Dimensions 23.5 × 15 × 0.2 cm

Paperback, eBook

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