Mio, My Son (New York Review Children's Collection) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-08-14 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 36 user ratings

"Astrid Lindgren is a beloved children's author to european readers, and several of her stories have been made into television series or movies. I've also loved her picture books for children, so I had high hopes for Mio, My Son. Instead, I found it too simple, quaint, and idyllic for my taste. Yes, the writing is pretty and poetic, but excessively so. You just want to retch at the paradisiacal scenes and depictions of childhood purity.

Like The Red Bird the premise is an orphan – taken in but mistreated – who is rescued from his lot to find himself in a blissful magical world. Oh, and then this innocent cherub carries out his predestined role to battle the personification of pure evil and wickedness, a mwa-ha-ha-ha kind of guy. I challenge you to find imagery of more black-and-white contrast anywhere. You won't.

Stick with Lindgren's better books, including the ever-popular Pippi Longstocking.
" said.

"I read this for my brother as a bedtime story. It took quite long but it was an interesting journey. This was the first time I was reading the book, and it's one of those I've always wanted to read. That's done now.
We both liked the book. There was enough adventure for a little boy and something pretty and the love between most people that I liked. It had some darker themes too, but in Lindgren's way written in a story so that it comes naturally also for children.
This reminded me of, first of all, The Brothers Lionheart, which is by the same author. But in addition, it constantly brought small things from Lord of the Rings to my mind. There was Mio who had to complete his mission in the same way as Frodo his. They had companions; Sam and Jum-Jum. There was the main evil character and also a place associated with him. The spies (if that's what they are called in English) were like Sauron's orcs. The cloak that Mio (and Jum-Jum) had is similar to the ones the hobbits got from the elves, and they were supposed to hide them from the enemy, too. The nature was described in every situation, trees were a part of the story, and for example the leaf that Mio got in the end was kind of like the leaf-shaped little thing used to keep the hobbit's cloak in its place, which at least one of them, was lost and then found again. These experiences are from the original books too.
All in all, a great read for any age and time.
" said.

"As a fan of Astrid Lindgren, this book is so so so much disappointing. Like cmon,

Mio was separated from his father, and his father is A KING? How's that possible? His father says he always missed him, in every single night! AND THEN WHY DON'T YOU FIND YOUR SON? HE IS MISERABLE OUT THERE!!

The plot is much like this:
oh hi I'm bo, I'm an orphan but a couple adopted me, and sadly they didn't like me and hoping a step daughter instead of me. But, a friend of mine has an awesome dad! oh, I was i had a dad like his. And then one day my mean step mother(?) told me to buy some fruits and bread (?). I'm so sad, so I walk to the park instead of buy the things she asked. And then I found a gene, I asked him to take me to my dad! When I arrived in his kingdom, I LOVE HIM SO MUCH AND HE LOVES ME TOO. I don't need explanation how and why he left me with my fake mom and fake dad that always told me what to do and not to do & mocking my unknown father; and my dad lives in a beautiful castle with a very beautiful garden and happy also pleasant people! Can you imagine how kind he is?

I get a horse and a friend named Jum Jum! but it's weird that most of jum jum's friends' siblings being kidnapped by Kato. As the prophecy said that I will fight Kato, so I'm gonna ice Kato's rock-heart. And that's it! I killed him. Everyone get their happily ever after and so do I! Hmm I wonder if my fake mom and fake dad missed me

THAT'S IT, there is nothing to say
" said.

"This book held my 6-year-old daughter enthralled over several bedtimes, and towards the conclusions other times upon request too.

Mio's Kingdom is a story of good versus evil. Prince Mio is the good, and Sir Kato is the bad. But at the beginning Mio isn't Mio because he was Karl Anders Nilsson living in North Street, Stockholm in Sweden, adopted by an unloving couple, and he had no friends except for Ben. Then one day he disappeared and ended up in Farawayland where he met his father the king.

There he lives in an idyllic place with beautiful nature all around, friends like Pompoo and his own horse, Miramis with the golden mane. But "there is a lot you don't know, Mio" for it has been foretold that Mio will one day fight Sir Kato.

There is a long build up at the beginning with Sir Kato being built up into a most evil entity, which worked for my daughter. She loved the passage "When he said that name (Sir Kato) the air all around us turned as cold as ice. A tall sunflower in the garden withered and died, and the butterflies lost their wings so that they could never fly again."

Other things in the book she enjoyed was some of the repetition, such as Mio always being "Mio, my son" to his father the king, and bread always being called "the bread that satisfies hunger." However for me some of the repetition sometimes meant I felt I was reading the same sentence again. I guess this was done for emphasis.

But for her it was a definite 5 out of 5.
" said.

"Mio, My Son is a children's book by Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren. It was first published in 1954 in Sweden, with the Swedish title Mio, min Mio. The writing is stylised and the story strongly reminiscent of traditional fairy tales and folklore. Wikipedia
Published: 1954
Adaptations: Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987)

Nine-year-old Karl Anders Nilsson is an orphaned boy who is fostered by a mean couple who really wanted a girl but settled for him. His mother died at birth and nobody even bothered to trace where his father may be so he was placed in an orphanage. Poor Karl is treated very poorly by the couple and he feels ever so lonely and unloved. He yearns to find his real father and have a relationship with him like his best friend Ben has with his father....someone that will care and cherish him dearly.

Then, on October 15th, he simply disappears, without a trace, right off the face of the earth...literally. How could that possibly happen? Feeling very sad and downtrodden that day, while sitting on a park bench beside himself with sadness, he encounters a genie in a bottle, and once released Karl is granted one wish. He wishes to locate his dad and instantly he finds himself speeding to a land far, far away called, FarawayLand. He meets his dad who is the beloved King there and a very happy reunion ensues. Karl find out he is really Mio and a dangerous challenge faces him, one that can only be successful and carried out by someone in the royal bloodline. Prophesies have declared his coming for thousands of years and the mission he is to carry out is very dangerous indeed.

He acquires a new friend, Pompoo, and a magical flying horse with a golden mane named, Miramis, to help him conquer evil Sir Kato, the cruel abductor of children of in Farawayland. Can a small, untrained little boy face such a force of evil and destroy him restoring happiness and tranquility back to his father's kingdom? Will Mio be brave enough to even try? This story will have you reading intently right up to the very last page. I highly, highly recommend this book. Fairytales do come true ...

" said.

"Here's how Mio, My Son begins: "Did you listen to the radio on October 15th last year? Did you hear the news about a boy who disappeared? This is what it said: 'Police in Stockholm are searching for a nine-year-old boy missing from his home, at 13 North Street, since 6.P.M. two days ago. Karl Anders Nilsson has light hair and blue eyes. At the time of his disappearance he was wearing brown shorts, a gray sweater, and a small red cap. Anyone with more information on his whereabouts should contact the police.'"

I don't even know why, but, something about that opening paragraph grabbed me. I wanted to read more. I knew nothing about the book, but I knew I wanted to make time to read it. (When was the last time you got hooked into a book?! I'd love to hear about it!)

So, you might think based on the opening paragraph that Mio, My Son was realistic fiction. That it was perhaps a bit on the dark side, and, that it would perhaps involve a kidnapping. Unless you've read reviews of it, you might not be expecting to find a FAIRY-TALE like fantasy novel set not in the 'real world' but in Farawayland. I know I was surprised--quite pleasantly--to find that Mio, My Son IS a fantasy novel.

The hero of this one is a boy sometimes called 'Andy' but usually called MIO. He is the 'missing boy.' He is narrating his own story, and doing it in his own way. The narrative voice is quite strong, in my opinion.

Now, I will warn readers that sometimes Mio repeats himself. For example, "I must go there to fight Sir Kato, though I was so scared, so scared." Some readers might find this an unforgivable sin. I don't. Not in this case at least. I didn't find it as annoying as a written stutter, for example. Perhaps because it mainly occurs when Mio is thinking about or talking about Sir Kato. It doesn't occur on every page.

So essentially, the book is Mio's adventures in Farawayland. The first half of the book is mostly light and joyous. Nothing heavy or dark. The second half of the book, however, is much more dramatic and dark. THINK Lord of the Rings only for a much younger audience. Mio has a mission to accomplish, something that only HE, as a royal son, can do. And it is seemingly impossible and very daunting. Mio must make up his mind to be brave and determined and risk everything for his mission.

Mio is not alone. He has a best friend, Pompoo, and a horse, Miramis. And, there is, of course, his father THE KING, who I personally LOVED.

So did I like this one? Did I love it? Did I love, love, LOVE it? I think I definitely loved it. I loved it for the narrative, for the descriptive language, for the imagery. I really loved the imagery of the Bread That Satisfies Hunger and the Well That Quenches Thirst. Also I really liked the Well That Whispers at Night. The first two images reminded me of Scripture. (John 4:13-14; John 6:35) The sacrificial nature of the mission also reminded me of Scripture. I'm not convinced it can only, always be read as an "allegory" (think The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe). But as a Christian reader, I saw how it could be interpreted that way.

I think anyone can appreciate the imagery of the Well That Whispers At Night:

A whisper began deep, deep down in the well. It was such a strange voice, unlike any other voice. It whispered fairy tales. They weren't like any other fairy tales, and they were the most beautiful stories in the whole world. There was almost nothing that I loved more than listening to fairy tales, so I lay down flat on my stomach, leaning over the edge of the well to hear more and more of the voice that whispered. Sometimes it sang too, the strangest and most beautiful songs.
"What strange kind of well is this?" I said to Totty.
"A well full of fairy tales and songs. That's all I know," said Totty. "A well full of old stories and songs that have existed in the world for a long time, but that people forgot a long time ago. It is only the Well That Whispers at Night that remembers them all."

Here's another favorite passage:
I understood then for the first time that I never needed to be afraid of my father the King, that whatever I did he would always look at me kindly, like he was doing now as he stood there with his hand on the Master Rose Gardener's shoulder and with all the white birds flying around him. And when I understood him, I was happier than I'd ever been before in my life. I was so glad that I laughed quite hard.
" said.

" Oh I've been wanting to read this for so long. "Mio, min Mio", was one of my favourites as a child a long with "Bröderna Lejonhjärta" and "Ronja Rövardotter". This is an amazing and beautiful novel. It is a bit lacking in the vocabulary compared to, let's say, "Bröderna Lejonhjärta" but that is what gives it charm as well. One of the best children's novels with doubt. It is a great adult novel as well, I love it. " said.

"It has to say something about a book that a person would remember it decades after having it read to them. That was the case with this book, and I was afraid that it wouldn’t be the book I remember, as that’s been my experience with so many previously read books recently.

Yes, I had to remember that the book is written for children, but I was still able to find the magic that had enthralled me as a child. The story reads like a fairy tale, with kings and princes, flying horses, dark and dangerous castles, and a fantastic undertaking for our hero. There’s some sadness, but much happiness. Some fear, but much bravery. It’s a timeless story, as most fairy tales are, and one that I think any child would find enjoyable. A lot of adults, too.

" said.

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