Sunday, September 21, 2014

And the even saunatonttu

The last page of Sheryl Peterson's book “The Best Part of a Sauna”  included great info about the sauna—the proper pronunciation, how Finnish immigrants used the sauna, different kinds, words like l√∂yly, the cloud of steam produced by tossing water on the rocks, and vihta, the soft branches for swishing one's back, and directions on how-to. 
She even mentioned the saunatonttu, a little elf, who warns people when a fire was getting too hot. 
All in about 600 words. Neat skill. 
Sheryl is the author of 22 children's books—an impressive accomplishment! Check them out at


Sunday, September 14, 2014

“The Best Part of a Sauna”

Sheryl Peterson knows what the best part is. She's written a delightful children's book, “The Best Part of a Sauna,” which won the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. 

Her story kept me guessing (though I was sure I knew the best part for me). But — what would kids like best — building the fire? Making water sizzle on the rocks? Jumping in the lake?

And what would their grandparents like best (because in this book a child goes to sauna at their cabin) How did they introduce sauna to this young visitor? What were their customs?

It's so smoothly told it makes me want to write like that.

The book“The Best Part of a Sauna” was illustrated by Kelly Dupre, who asked Sheryl to photograph the sunset very often so she could see how to incorporate the waning hours. Other nifty touches — pay attention to how the boy's hat changes and how many of her paintings have ravens.

“The Best Part of a Sauna” (hardcover is $17.95, softcover is $9.95, plus taxes and postage) was published by Raven Words in Ely, Minnesota. To order one, click the link or call 218-365-3375.