Nederland Leest (2013): Erik or the small insect book
In November 2013, Nederland Leest will focus all its attention on everything that creeps and crawls around us. That is the world of insects! Which book is more suitable for this than Erik or the small insect book. The book was written a long time ago by Godfried Bomans. You can pick it up for free from the public library if you are a member, secondary school children will also receive it. You can buy a luxury edition of this fairy tale for a small fee at a bookstore.
- Details of the book
- Godfried Bomans, writer
- The cover of the book and the title statement
- The story
- The writing style
- A fragment
- My opinion
- Activities Netherlands Reads 2013
- Step into the painting Wollewei
Details of the book
- Title: Erik or the small insect book
- Text: Godfried Bomans
- Publisher: Meulenhoff Boekerij bv, Amsterdam
- Year: 2013 (first edition 1940)
- Pages: 143
- ISBN: 978 9059 652200
- Genre: fairytale
- Price: received free at the library on the occasion of the Nederland Leest campaign (2013)
Godfried Bomans, writer
Godfried Bomans (1913) wrote an article for the school newspaper of the Overveens Trinity Lyceum when he was sixteen. When he was eighteen he wrote a play (Blood and Love) in which he made fun of his teachers. It was a success because it was performed many times during Bomans’s life. Godfried Bomans wrote the book Erik in the autumn of 1939, when he was twenty-six. Three things had a big impact on him: the Catholic Church, the rivalry with his father and, above all, his love for the fairytale. Bomans felt fear for his father, but was also able to convert that into a profit. He thought that if you grew up in fear and tension, it would be rewarded later. Many writers come from austere houses with a lot of tension.
The cover of the book and the title statement
- The book Erik or the small insect book has already had many different covers. For this special edition a white background was chosen for both the front and back of the book. The name Erik is depicted very large, the rest of the title slightly smaller. Above the title the name of the writer. On the cover you will of course find some insects, including a beautiful butterfly. On the back a small photo of Godfried Bomans, walking in green with a tobacco pipe in hand.
- The title Erik or the small insect book refers to Erik who is preparing for an exam. The small insect book refers to the booklet Solms’s Brief Natural History. He uses this booklet to learn the material for the test that he has to do the next day at school.
Erik Pinksterblom, a boy of nine years old, is lying in his bed and has the feeling that something is going to happen that evening. The next day for a test at school he has to know all the insects from the book Solms ?? Concise Natural History. There is a painting in Erik’s room, he named it Wollewei because it shows white sheep, grazing in a green meadow. Erik thinks the most beautiful thing about the painting is the insects that the painter painted. Caterpillars, beetles, spiders, bumblebees and a huge snail shell. A worm, ants and a gravedigger are also included. Erik seems wonderful to be able to live there.
His wish is fulfilled and Erik ends up in the painting. He comes across many animals such as the Van Vliesvleugel family, snails in a snail hotel, a caterpillar that changes into a butterfly, a worm that gets tangled up and with many ants. The insects are confused by the knowledge that Erik has. They are suddenly unsure of how to do things, even though Erik tells them to follow their instincts.
Erik returns to his own world and takes his test. Because of his stay in Wollewei he knows more than he has learned from Solms ?? Concise Natural History.
The writing style
Godfried Bomans has a simple writing style, it does not take much effort to read the text. He does, however, regularly use solemn words that are also somewhat outdated and that sometimes require you to think about what they mean exactly. Erik is only nine years old, so some sentences are explained how Erik came to those wise words. He has read or heard them in books through his older brother.
We have only one wish, “said the first gravedigger, who seemed to take pity,” and that is you are dying. At least then we can get back to work. ?? But I’m not going to die! Erik called. Ho, ho! said the gravedigger with a smile, “don’t say that too quickly. The case can still take a very favorable turn. How often have we seen someone waking up, yes, even walking around a bit, and then lying down forever? it could end well. I always say, as long as there is life, there is hope. You turn things around, ?? Erik answered, “I know that saying well, it is on Henkje Sjollema’s milk cup, and it means that someone can always get well, no matter how bad things are with him. A curious view, ?? said the gravedigger, shaking his head, ?? but I believe you are mistaken. The real meaning is precisely that as long as a person is alive, he can always die, and so one need never despair. Now, the time is up: we are giving you up ??.
I have enjoyed reading this book. Clearly a fairytale, but many elements are not so far removed from the real world. The motto is: We are all exiles, living within the frames of a strange painting. Who knows this, lives big. The rest are insects. This is a good motto: the world of the insects is our world and that’s right, the insects in the story behave like people. I think the book is a very good choice for Nederland Leest 2013
Activities Netherlands Reads 2013
- Erik reads: on Wednesday 13 November there will be a reading marathon around the book in the Central Library Rotterdam. The book is read in its entirety, only by readers named Erik or Erica. Both known and unknown. It is organized by the Sector Institute for Public Libraries.
- Netherlands Reads Live!: on Wednesday November 29th the Nederland Leest Live! Secondary school students discuss the book with each other. Live from the Amsterdam Public Library and online via social media. It is all processed in a TV broadcast over the internet. The presentation is in the hands of Arjen Lubach.
- Naturalis: On Saturday, November 30, it will be time for the closing of Nederland Leest 2013 in Naturalis in Leiden. The museum is open that day for free to members of the public library. Children are also welcome. There are special tours, there are giant insects walking around. Philip Freriks talks with, among others, Midas Dekkers. Insect snacks are served at lunch.
Step into the painting Wollewei
With the help of a kind of magnifying glass that you can find in the booklet of the library, you can step into the painting and learn even more about all the flying and crawling inhabitants of Wollewei. While studying you may come across a code. You can enter this code at nederlandleest.nl/wollewei and you will be sucked in, just like Erik Wollewei. You will pass issues and interesting facts.