The girls have been reading some very quirky books of late involving eccentric characters & whacky adventures. But what we hadn't realised, until Liz pointed it out over breakfast, is that they're all written by Scandinavians.
From Sweden, Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking, which is about an 8-year old girl with super-human powers. From Norway, Alf Proysen, who in the 50s & 60s published around 50 books about a Mrs Pepperpot, who shrinks to the size of a, um, pepperpot and can talk to animals. And from Finland, Tove Tansson created the Moomins who look like hippopotamuses but are apparently trolls.
All of them are huge-sellers, spawning films, TV series, plays, theme parks, even operas. And of course the Japanese have made animes out of all of them. We could of course add Roald Dahl, he of Norwegian parents, but born in Wales. Another (fairly) interesting fact is that all the above - including Dahl - were born within nine years of each other (1907-16).