From where and how after a great storm had Snupsi once appeared on Juniper Island remains a mystery. The only object lying beside him on the beach was an old worn compass with a hovering hand under the hazy dome, pointing its finger towards the horizon. What secrets and possible adventures does the other side of the horizon hide?
“Snupsi” is a humorous and thrilling children’s and middle grade book, packed with over 200 pages of reading, 30+ pictures and enjoyed by adults alike. What makes this book unique, is that the author has also sculpted all the book’s characters from colourful plasticine and were actually the basis for the illustrations. The pictures of these plasticine sculptings are also included inside the book as a bonus for the kids to enjoy! It is not the shortest of readings, but has comfortable subchapter length, especially for bedtime reading.
So, who is Snupsi? He is a curious and adventurous fellow, who lives on a tiny northern Juniper island. He is quite happy there, but from time to time, sorrow creeps in. At times he finds himself sitting on the pier with that peculiar compass, staring at the sea and wondering where the hovering hand could be pointing to.
When the island’s brightest scientist Helden finishes his flying machine Escapist, Snupsi has finally the chance to explore the world beyond the island borders in hope of finding the answers to the questions that had been bothering him for so long.
An unforgettable journey begins with his friends Patter, Tinken, Hiku, Nuff and Helden when the Escapist finally takes off. As it appears, at first randomly looking adventures seem to have mysterious connection. Caring, understanding, bravery and wit help to overcome challenges, find new friends and reconcile conflicts.
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Hanno Parksepp was born in Tallinn, Estonia in 1978, about the time when Earth, Wind & Fire enjoyed the peak success of their hit song “September”. Although that song probably didn’t hit the Soviet era radio stations, there were enough ways to bypass the iron curtain and make life more enjoyable and colourful during that dull grey era.And one of that was TV. To be more precise, Finnish TV which was only accessible to people living on northern the coast of Estonia, mainly Tallinn, meaning closer to Finnish broadcasting towers that were set up on the other side of the Gulf of Finland.
That distant world of cartoons and animations had such an effect on him that at some point he started drawing and sculpting his own similar world, greatly inspired by the Muppets, the Peanuts, Garfield, the Smurfs and the Moomins, just to name a few. How did he end up sculpting? Hanno found a box of plasticine cows, made by my grandpa Johannes once. They were so true to life, with their detailed muscles flawless postures. To give strength to the structure his grandpa had used tiny nails that he had inside the plasticine. He was baffled and couldn’t help but to try out that fascinating material too.
Hanno’s childhood summers were spent in Polli, officially called “Polli experimental station”. It might sound a bit as if it were a place from some apocalyptic suspense novel, but in reality it was quite the opposite. Polli experimental station was a tiny village with huge strawberry, currant, apple and plum tree gardens and his grandpa worked there as a plant breeding scientist, introducing new varieties of berries. So, the summers were spent between the huge strawberry fields with the juiciest and tastiest strawberries, and the best part – most of them were created by his grandpa. His life’s work “Marjasordid Eestis” (Berry cultivars in Estonia) was a must have on the shelves for any enthusiastic gardener and to this date he is remembered as one of the greatest figures of Estonian plant breeding.
When the summer was over, a lot of hours after the school was spent in the Estonian Radio building, where Hanno’s mother Anne used to work as an editor for children’s programmes, including the iconic bed time stories and the historical “Siililegi selge” (“Comprehensible even to a hedgehog”) where children could listen to fascinating stories about the world, nature and animals. And as there was not much to watch from local tv, radio dramas were a popular alternative to amuse oneself in that dullish world. Hanno was lucky to have sort of a “city granny” , the legendary grand old lady of Estonian theatre Salme Reek, with whom he often hung around the radio building. She used to instruct Hanno how to act in radio dramas and read bedtime stories.
When the teenage era bursted in, Hanno stopped modeling from plasticine. Nevertheless, the world that had distanced from him within the scale of time, had still quietly and patiently been staying within him all these years, as it later appeared.
In 2008, his work in the Foreign Ministry (he has MA in law and BA in diplomacy) brought him to Belgium. The captivating world of comics and again – the birthplace of the Smurfs – took him back to memory lane. Hanno finally bought himself again some boxes of plasticine and made his first baby-steps in re-creating Snupsi, a character he had created in the 80s.
And after about less than half a year later he had also created a plush Snupsi, actually 2500 of them. Only then it hit him – Snupsi needs to have a story. What is the point of Snupsi, making all the way to a kid’s home and he/she wonders – who is he, where does he come from, who are his friends?
And that was the moment he decided to start writing the book “Snupsi”.
Although Snupsi became immediately a Christmas bestseller and was nominated as one of the best children’s books of the year, Hanno does not consider himself foremost as writer. He feels more comfortable in the world of modeling than typing and believes his creations speak to children even more than the stories themselves. Besides, kids always create their own stories and adventures for their favourite characters.
Most of “Snupsi’s” characted have been created pre-hand in plasticine and are the basis for the book’ illustrations.