“Plûme in the Enchanted Garden” by Tone Aanderaa is a delightful book for children and adults that will take our minds off the current troubles.
These strange lockdown times are challenging for us all. It’s totally understandable if children and adults feel both physically and emotionally hemmed in and even suffocated by the impact of isolation. Belgium-based Norwegian artist/author Tone Aanderaa is offering a special free gift that might help us get through these challenging times. She is aiming to encourage our imaginations to soar! And surely that can only lift our spirits?
Tone has written and beautifully illustrated a story book called “Plûme in the Enchanted Garden.” And she’s offering it free to read. I do believe many children (and adults) will love it. It would make an ideal bedtime book to read with a child or grandchild. What could be better than to drift off to sleep dreaming of a secret world with magical creatures?
Introducing Plûme in the Enchanted Garden
“In a tiny country, not far from the capital, there is a large, old garden. It is so big that it includes a forest, several ponds and waterways, a field of flowers, a labyrinth, two bridges, an island, and even more. Running through the garden is an avenue of a hundred cherry trees. But what is most special about this garden is that it is enchanted. And in this enchanted garden lives Plûme. But not even Plûme knows all the secrets of the garden.”Plûme in the Enchanted Garden by Tone Aanderaa
I took the opportunity to ask Tone a few questions about herself and the book.
Can you introduce yourself briefly?
“I was born and raised in Norway. I received my Master of Fine Arts degree at Pratt Institute, New York. My ‘teenage-heroes’ included Magritte and da Vinci, so painting has always been my lifelong passion. In particular, my paintings, stories and poetry are inspired by myths and fairy tales, symbolism, and the natural world. Since 2011 I am curator and organizer, along with my husband Ignace, of Belgium’s Enchanted Garden. This is an annual international art exhibition in a large and naturally beautiful garden on the linguistic border between Flanders and Wallonia in Belgium.”
What inspired you to create the character of Plûme?
“Plûme is the culmination of a lot of thoughts and ideas through the years! I have always had a special relationship with birds, caring for many, among others a beautiful crow. Magritte’s paintings definitely had an impact on me as a teenager. Then when I moved to Belgium and started learning French, some of Jacques Prévert’s poems really resonated with me. He wrote a beautiful poem about catching a bird. I made a video about it. I thought it was rather poor quality, but it’s ended up being used by Dutch people learning French! And of course living and working in our enchanted garden – with all the creatures that make it their home – is a daily source of inspiration. I shouldn’t forget my two young nieces either. When they came to visit, the way we talked and interacted together also had an effect on how the story grew and developed. So Plûme is a combination of many sources.”
Did you write it in Norwegian first?
“The language of Plûme is a story all in itself! It started back in 2014 in Norwegian. But all the names of the characters have been influenced by this wonderfully bilingual place called Belgium, and its mixture of French and Flemish. When I was learning French I had a lovely tutor, a retired professor. He connected with my poetry and art and suggested I write the story of Plûme as a French language project. That was good for my French, although I struggled to find the right “voice” for Plûme in French. So then I put it all into English which helped me develop the story further. I then met Barbara, a musician and composer who was taking part in our annual Enchanted Garden exhibition. It turned out she is also a professional editor. I asked her to have a look at my manuscript and she agreed. We clicked really well together. She gently and lovingly made some important suggestions to improve the language of the book. It was wonderful to work together with her on the book.”
And then you painted the pictures?
“It all started with one painting actually. And then the story and paintings evolved in parallel. And as the story evolved, so did the paintings.
The story and pictures go very much hand-in-hand. I also work digitally, so was able to combine the words and pictures in a digital format.”
What are the plans for Belgium’s Enchanted Garden art exhibition in 2020?
“They are very much up in the air! We’ve been planning it for almost a year. Around forty artists are ready and willing to come and exhibit their work. But obviously for the moment we can’t announce any dates. We will just have to see how things proceed. But I am sure that Discovering Belgium will be one of the first to announce the next Enchanted Garden, whenever that might be!”
Definitely! I covered the 2019 exhibition and wish you success with thi year’s plans for Belgium’s Enchanted Garden art exhibition. And on behalf of everyone who reads it, thank you for Plûme in the Enchanted Garden!
Read Plûme in the Enchanted Garden for free here! (After navigating to the site, remember to ENLARGE!)
Want to print Plûme in the Enchanted Garden?
If you are interestest to purchase the book in print or pdf, contact Tone at: [email protected]
It looks absolutely beautiful from the illustrations in your post, Denzil. Many thanks for sharing. I shall certainly take a look. 🙂 🙂
The illustrations are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing this lovely creation with us.
Aye, she’s a cleverun!
What a gorgeous book. I agree with Carol, the illustrations are beautiful . ????
What a lovely book Denzil. Great for adults and children.
Sure is Brigid. Best of health to you over in the Emerald Isle.
Thank you, and to you and yours Denzil.
Looks really charming, and a very interesting story about its creation.
I visited the Nat’l Gallery in Oslo, a few years ago, and saw a wonderful exhibit of fairytale illustrations, I’m sure if I can return in a few years, I’ll see you represented.
Yes, you’d love her enchanted garden if you could see it Rob.
Love this book and your interviews. It seems like something out of the late 19th century with the gorgeous illustrations.
Thank you for your wonderful words!
My pleasure. I’ve read the first chapter and it’s very intriguing.
I love the story of how this story came to be. Such an enchanting idea born of a language class. Tone, you are very creative and talented.
Talking about books, and you being a literary person Sharon, I’m loving a book by an American author I’ve just discovered. Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. Have you read her books. I’m 60% through but love it. Alongside Ann Tyler and Anita Shreve as my favorite US authors. Would be interested in your view.