Saara Kekäläinen & Reetta Niemensivu: Penelope and the Perilous Porridge

Full speed for porridge!

Author: Saara Kekäläinen
Illustrator: Reetta Niemensivu
Finnish original: Valpuri ja vaarallinen aamupuuro
Publisher: Tammi, 2022
Genre: children’s illustrated fiction
Number of pages: 48 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English translation

Penelope is a lovable knee-high girl full of attitude and mischief. When she one morning orders a treat of a break-fast garnished with caramel and sprinkles, her Dad puts in front of her the house special. A plate of porridge.

This is the beginning of an epic duel between Penelope and the porridge. Penelope sees in everyday events sprawling adventures that entrance the reader with their clever twists of the plot. What if the porridge isn’t porridge at all? What if the porridge is actually a black hole from outer space which is just waiting to swallow Penelope up and hurl her to the other side of the solar system? Or if the porridge is just a cub and its big, dangerous mum is somewhere nearby?

Which will win in the end, Penelope or the porridge?

“Penelope scowled at the porridge.
Dad scowled at Penelope.
The porridge scowled at both of them.

– Translated by Hildi Hawkins

“An ordinary bowl of breakfast porridge takes on increasingly astounding meanings in a picture book where the drama builds splendidly from spread to another. The dialogue between image and word easily traverses pages on which the element that seems visually and narratively impossible – porridge – changes, in the eye of the protagonist, to different forms: into an ambassador, a part of an art exhibition or an archaeological treasure. Can porridge ever have been pictured with such subtlety?”
 Finlandia Junior Prize jury

Also available:
The Princess Who Did A Runner (2022)
Penelope and the Big Baby Tooth Ballyhoo (2023)

About the author:
Saara Kekäläinen