The very talented Natasha Blasevic and Ali Tärk Fisher recently wrote and illustrated an amazing children’s book Nikolas the Klaus and the Tomtes, available for purchase early November (just in time for Christmas). It is the first story of «The Chronicles of Klausland». Natasha is the creator/illustrator and Ali reworked the story to bring out its best. Ali states that «It’s a story about a couple seeking a new life in a foreign land. They homestead in fictional nordic Klausland where they live in the woods, apart from settled villagers. Through acts of compassion and empathy, they befriend the Tomtes, forest-dwellers with a curious and mischievous streak. The two cultures meld and help each other through the brutal cold and darkness of northern winters and share the knowledge of how to create warmth, light and joy. Their years-long friendship and collaboration inspires them to share their bounty with the weary, defeated villagers in a celebration of light from which the Yule-based legend of Santa Claus and his elves is conceived.»
Natasha and Ali are both from European immigrant families with strong cultural traditions of the Yule holiday, Solstice and its Norse pagan celebrations. Natasha, from St.André d’Argenteuil, actually worked on this story whilst breastfeeding her young twins.The stars are the Tomtes. Ali says «the book is innocent, but never cartoonish. It is fun to see the Tomtes learning as young children do, looking, touching and pondering, curious and shy, wildly creative and generous when offered the opportunity and chance. They make me miss seeing things as I used to when I was a kid.» Ali resides in Verdun.
The co-authors believe that many holiday stories are about saving Christmas from misery, from financial and personal «failure»’; A Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life…Natasha decided to reimagine the Christmas holiday for her twins, toddlers growing like weeds, to offer them a less commercial take on a very commercial holiday. The story blends the celebration of the Solstice with the pop-culture image of Santa Claus to offer familiar imagery for younger readers and parents. Ali says «Some kids really just want to see Santa Claus! If that makes it easier for them to engage in a solid read with a bit of mythos and origin story, then all the better!»
Available on Barnes and Noble product page or sold by the creators or at Fromagerie Copette et Cie on the Wellington strip in Verdun. Price: $30 – hardcover.