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Literature / Pettson and Findus

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Cover of the first book

Pettson and Findus is a Swedish series of children’s books written and illustrated by Sven Nordqvist.

The stories feature an old farmer named Pettson and his cat Findus who live in a small village in the Swedish countryside. Pettson, Findus (who behaves more like a small child than a cat) and the chickens are all able to converse with each other, but they hide this from the other villagers who subsequently have come to view the old man who talks to his pets as something of a weirdo.

Pettson’s love for inventing strange apparatuses and the fact that even harmless activities like baking a birthday cake or gardening tend to result in absolute chaos certainly don’t help.

To date, ten stories have been published in Swedish, plus some tie-in books like a song book and a cook book.The books were very successful in Sweden and have been translated into over 40 languages. There are two different English translations. The UK version uses the original names of the characters, the US version refers to them as Festus and Mercury.


Pettson and Findus provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear: In When Findus Was Little and Disappeared, Findus gets lost in the garden and hides in a crate. Pettson gets really worried that he lost his dear kitten.
  • Canon Illustrations: The author illustrated all of the books, and the drawings are organic parts of the story.
  • Chain of Deals: Pancakes. Pettson has to buy flour for the pancakes. In order to get to the store he needs to fix his bike. In order to fix the bike, he needs to get tools from the workshop. In order to get tools from the workshop, he needs to get the key from the bottom of the well. In order to get the key from the bottom of the well, he needs to get the fishing pole from the attic. In order to get the fishing pole from the attic, he needs to get the neigbor's bull to stop using the ladder for a pillow. Hilarity Ensues.
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  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Pettson is viewed as crazy by his neighbors for treating his cat as a little child.
  • Confirmed Bachelor: In When Findus Was Little and Disappeared, it is heavily implied that Pettson has never been married and has never had any interest in the opposite sex and has lived alone for most of his life. Even when the topic of marriage comes up, he quickly shots the idea down as even if he had interest in it, he just considers himself to old for it at this point.
  • Cute Kitten: Findus is an adorable cat who acts like a small child. Taken Up to Eleven in When Findus Was Little and Disappeared, a Whole Episode Flashback to the time when Findus was a tiny kitten.
  • Funny Animal: Findus is basically a small child in a cat's body.
  • Funny Background Event: All the illustrations are full of little visual jokes and tiny creatures doing all sorts of quirky things, sometimes referencing the actual plot.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Pettson invents some strange things in the books, such as the fishing bow (a bow and arrow with a fishing line tied between them, to let you fish further from the shore), and a lot more in the animated films.
  • Grows on Trees: In A Rumpus in the Garden, Pettson is planting carrots. Findus doesn't like carrots, so he plants a meatball instead.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Findus wears pants and a hat, but no shirt or shoes.
  • The Hermit: Pettson, he lives alone with his animals on the countryside. And while other people do visit him on occasion, he is for the most part content with living alone.
  • Nice Guy: Pettson is about as friendly of an old man as they come. Even the times he loses his temper or isn't in the best of moods, it rarely lasts for any length of time.
  • Punny Name / Stealth Pun: Findus the Cats name is both of these, as well as a Shout-Out to another famous feline: Felix the Cat. Since both Findus and Felix are names of Swedish food companies. A fact that is referenced in the tv-series version of The Mechanical Santa, when the Box-shop clerk Henrik misremembers Findus' name as Felix, and when corrected says that "I knew it was something food-can related".
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
    • The Muckla, most of the time. They are tiny troll-like creatures who sometimes show up in the illustrations as Funny Background Events. They also like to steal things.
    • Findus as a little kitten in When Findus Was Little and Disappeared.
  • Straying Baby: In When Findus Was Little and Disappeared, kitten Findus wanders off to Pettson's garden and gets lost.
  • Towering Flower: There are some giant flowers, especially dandelions, in the background. They are completely ignored by the characters or the narrator, and are just there as an artistic choice by the author (who is also the illustrator).
  • Whole Episode Flashback: When Findus Was Little and Disappeared is a story about Findus as a small kitten, told by Pettson to a somewhat older Findus.


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