Annie M. G. Schmidt

Annie M. G. Schmidt


I was reminded of Annie M. G. Schmidt and her works when I recently came across the drama series about her life. For those who are wondering who she is, she is one of the most famous children's authors in Netherlands. Actually, her works have now become famous in many parts of the world. And, once the modern adaptations of her works are released, I'm sure her works will be in demand all over again.

Annie Schmidt's most well-known works were Jip and Janneke. These are cute stories features two mischievous kids, a boy and a girl. These tales follows their little adventures as they explore the world around them. The appeal of these works lie in the author's ability to recreate a child's sense of wonder. You know how kids can be filled with awe at seemingly mundane occurrences? Schmidt taps into this feeling and expresses it well in her books. Told with a delightful sense of humor, both kids and adults usually identify with these tales.

Otje is another noteworthy one. This funny tale follows the escapades of Otje, the little kid, and her dad, Otos as the latter juggles his work and gets himself into various fixes. Once again, Schmidt throws in the concept of finding magic in everyday doings and therein lies her charm. Of course, the kid is brilliant with animals and you could argue that there is a bit of fantasy to be found here.

For a cuteness overdose, try Pluk van de Petteflet. Schmidt likes to point out that she always felt like she was eight years old. This would help explain her overactive imagination which gives rise to books like this one. It is the story of a boy who has befriended a number of animals. He potters around on his crane trolley, hoping to find the right home for him. It is a strange little adventure but one with its own dose of magic. In a weird way, Schmidt can make the adults feel like a kid again, as she tells her fantastic stories.

Then there is Minoes, a quirky tale of a shape-shifting cat. This nifty gift enables the cat to morph into a woman who is an information gatherer of sorts for a newspaper. It's crazy, it's funny, it's a little bit out there. On a side note, I should add that Schmidt worked in a library and was quite close to the publishing aspects as her works became printed. For this reason, it is funny to see her take on the publishing world as it is portrayed in Minoes.

Keeping aside her written works, I should add that her biography might also be of interest. I have not read any of it yet but since the Dutch drama series about her life proved to be fascinating, I am eager to read more about her. Think about it; life in the times of WWII, an unexpected pregnancy as a result of a passionate affair, fighting off a German soldier in the library …. the list goes on. It was the way she dealt with her life, be it the decades long romance with her partner or her stand regarding a woman's place in changing times, that made her stand out even more. I can see why she managed to capture the hearts of so many Dutch folks over the years.