The small figure Dim is overwhelmed by the buzzing insects and chattering birds of the forest. He rushes away, chased and rushed, in search of a moment of peace and quiet. Can the forest star save him?

Dim and his friend Lummer first appeared in 2017 in "Who sees Dim?". The pear-shaped filur is painted in watercolor with bright colors and long, soft brushstrokes – a distinctive style that has become Maria Nilsson Thore's signature.

There is a kinship in her characters, and just like in her previous books, it is the large, detailed images that account for much in the story.

"Drawing is a language for me, talking without words. The book came out of a longing in me for a quiet and weightless place," she says.

Dislike pointers

For a stressed parent of young children, that longing is easy to relate to. But for many children, the need for peace can be more difficult to both understand and articulate.

Maria Nilsson Thore's stories often delve into the kind of emotions and dilemmas that young children face. Colorful fables about self-absorbed hamsters, philosophical birds and anxious cheetahs. Moral senses are sometimes present, but the aesthetic and playful are at the center.

"As a human being, I don't like pointing fingers at all. I think it's sad that there is so much of it in both children's literature and life, says Maria Nilsson Thore.

Drawn to the soft

If pedagogy set against imagination is a classic conflict in children's literature, the happy ending is another. Here, Thore chooses clearly in the light, both illustrations and stories are characterized by a strong warmth – something she herself is a little ambivalent about.

- I wish I took in a little more, made clearer resistance to it. It may well chafe along the way, but I have a strong desire for it to soften at the end.

Why is that?

– I probably find it difficult to release the images before they are filled out and safe. I haven't analysed it, but I can't get anything out of me.

"I think children's books come from the author, and apparently this is me.

Javascript is disabled

Javascript must be turned on to play video

Learn more about browser support

Maria Nilsson Thore has written 34 children's books over 20 years. Watch her show off her three favorites. Photo: Andreas Idén