Inge arrives at the small island town of Bornholm, Denmark via boat. She hasn’t eaten since the morning of the day before, thanks to missing her mother and the fish guts on the boat. Inge has never met her grandmother before, but now the two of them will be living together at her small farm. Inge brings with her plenty of laughter and trouble, but her grandmother does not seem amused by any of it. Over and over again, Inge gets into mischief, whether it is in a kicking contest with the donkey, learning how to walk in wooden shoes, or insisting that in 1911, girls can play on the grass at school too. Inge’s vibrant personality never stays down for long, but can this small island community survive her?
This book is pure silly and shimmering perfection. Inge is a marvelous protagonist, filled with life and the ability to get into great trouble even on a small farm on a tiny island. Inge is the real reason this book works so well, but so is her grandmother who proves the perfect foil for the rambunctious child. While I don’t want to spoil the book, it is the grandmother’s reaction to Inge that makes this book so special by the end.
The setting of the small Danish island also plays a huge role in the book. Set in 1911, the strict community rules rub Inge entirely the wrong way. Though some areas are moving in a more modern way, the small town keeps things traditional. With a strong focus on food, children will enjoy the changing menagerie of gingerbread creatures, the question of how thick a piece of cake should be, and the way that the grandmother feeds Inge with a beautiful determination held together by lots of cream.
A gem of a book, this would make a great read aloud for a classroom thanks to the large amounts of guffaw-level humor throughout as well as a winning young female protagonist. Appropriate for ages 8-11.
Reviewed from library copy.