Mrs Pepperpot Learns to Swim - Story Snug

Mrs Pepperpot Learns to Swim by Alf Prøysen & Hilda Owen

I loved reading the Mrs Pepperpot stories as a child and they have lost none of their magic now that I am an adult. Mrs Pepperpot has a very peculiar characteristic, she shrinks (without warning) to the size of a pepperpot (hence the name!). I was very excited when I discovered picture book versions of the chapter book stories so that I could introduce her to my daughter. Learning to swim is currently a particularly relevant topic in our house!

The Story: Mrs Pepperpot watches the village children swimming in the pool in the woods and dreams about learning to swim. One day when the pool is empty Mrs Pepperpot decides to try swimming but as she jumps into the water she shrinks!  She is saved by a frog who offers to teach her to swim. She learns how to do the breaststroke before watching the tadpoles doing their water acrobatics. She returns to the pool to swim when she has grown back to her normal size and the frog and the tadpoles follow her so she thanks the frog for his lesson.

Alf Prøysen’s stories are set in familiar situations but Mrs Pepperpot’s sudden shrinking adds elements of humour and suspense. The picture book versions are true to the original chapter book stories and although the volume of text has been reduced for younger children they still use the same vocabulary as the chapter book stories which means that my daughter has learnt new vocabulary with the added support of the pictures. I like the fact that the frog also gives subtle pieces of advice to Mrs Pepperpot that are relevant to everybody, e.g don’t jump into a pool if there is nobody with you, practise one thing before you start another (however, I do also find the frog a bit arrogant and patronising!).

I think that this story has been beautifully rewritten for younger children. The  blue / green illustrations are perfect for this story and the theme is timeless. There is a gentle humour which appeals to adults as well as children, Mr Pepperpot seems grumpier than I remembered which amuses me more as an adult!

Author: Alf Prøysen / Illustrator: Hilda Offen

My very old copy of Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood was given to me by my aunt. As well as seven Mrs Pepperpot stories there are also two other short stories.

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5 responses to “Mrs Pepperpot Learns to Swim by Alf Prøysen & Hilda Owen”

  1. Laura Huggins avatar

    Another book I am going to need to get for Cameron lol

    Thank you for linking up with the Weekend Blog Hop

    Hope to see you again this weekend

    Laura x x x

  2. Kriss avatar

    I don’t know Mrs Pepperpot but after reading your review I’m going to have check them out! Thanks

    1. Catherine avatar

      You’re welcome 🙂 The author is Norwegian but the stories have crossed cultures really well.

  3. Rachel avatar

    I loved these books as a child and it never occured to me that they were translated. Really glad to see they’re still going strong.

    1. Catherine avatar

      A good story goes on forever 🙂