About The Quick Brown Fox

Friday Afternoon Literature Break: What the Heck is a Tomten?!

Before the clock strikes 5 and your brain starts swimming in beer, I thought I’d fill it with something useful.

A book recommendation!

Allow me to introduce you to a little ditty I like to call A Visit of the Tomten. Actually I didn’t call it that originally. Barry Johnson did. You see, he’s the author and that’s kinda sorta what authors do.

A tomten, also known a a tomte, is mythological creature from Scandinavian folklore associated with the winter solstice and the Christmas season. But that doesn’t make him an elf, so don’t make that gross assumption!


We like to think a tomten is more like a gnome. Naturally.

In Barry’s book, the tomten brings the animals some Christmas gifts. But when they’re pissed off at what they get, the tomten explains the reasons behind the gifts, The wise old bugga emphasizes the importance of thinking of others and avoiding selfishness. The animals feel crappy about themselves vows to be less prick-like.

Right on!

If you can’t get enough tomtens like us, also check out Astrid Lindgren’s book cleverly titled, The Tomten. Street cred spoiler alert: she wrote Pippi Longstocking and won the Hans Christian Anderson Award! Editorial reviews refer to this tomten as an invisible troll and a small elf-like person. 


“A tomten is a gnome like creature that stands watch while the rest of the world is sleeping. This old tale should be recommended reading for everyone. The tomten is disappearing with our grandparents and great-grandparents. This is a wonderful tale!” – Book Review by Naterby via Amazon

Tomtens are so mysterious, aren’t they?!

Apparently these tomten books are based on a poem called “The Tomte” by Viktor Rydberg. Curious how it goes?

The Tomte

Deep in the grip of the midwinter cold
Stars send a sparkling light.
All are asleep on this lonely farm,
Deep in the winter night.
The pale white moon is wanderer,
And snow lies white on pine and fir.
Snow glows on rooftop shake.
The tomte alone is awake.Gray, he stands by the low barn door,
Gray by the drifted snow,
Gazing, as many winters he’s gazed,
Up at the moon’s chill glow,
Then at the forest where fir and pine
Circle the farm in a dusky line,
Mulling relentlessly
A riddle that has no key.

Rubs his hand through his beard and hair,
Shakes his head and his cap.
“No, that question is much too deep,
I cannot fathom that.”
Then making his mind up in a hurry,
He shrugs away the annoying worry;
Turns at his own command,
Turns to the task at hand.

Goes to the storehouse and toolshop doors,
Checking the locks of all,
While the cows dream on in the cold moon’s light,
Summer dreams in each stall.
And free of harness and whip and rein,
Even Old Palle dreams again.
The manger he’s drowsing over
Brims with fragrant clover.

The tomte glances at sheep and lambs
Cuddled in quiet rest.
The chickens are next, where the rooster roosts
High above straw filled nests.
Burrowed in straw, hearty and hale,
Karo wakens and wags his tail
As if to say, “Old friend, “Partners we are to the end.”

At last the tomte tiptoes in
To see how the housefolk fare.
He knows full well the strong esteem
They feel for his faithful care.
He tiptoes into the children’s beds,
Silently peers at their tousled heads.
There is no mistaking his pleasure:
These are his greatest treasure.

tomten3Long generations has he watched
Father to son to son
Sleeping as babes. But where, he asks,
From where, from where have they come?
Families came, families went,
Blossomed and aged, a lifetime spent,
Then-Where? That riddle again
Unanswered in his brain!Slowly he turns to the barnyard loft,
His fortress, his home and rest,
High in the mow, in the fragrant hay
Near to the swallow’s nest.
The nest is empty, but in the spring
When birds mid leaves and blossoms sing,
And come with her tiny mate.

Then will she talke of the journey tell.
Twittering to all who hear it,
But nary a hint for the question old
That stirs in the tomte’s spirit.
Now through cracks in the haymow wall
The moon lights tomte and hay and all,
Lights his beard through the chinks,
The tomte ponders and thinks.

Still is the forest and all the land,
Locked in this wintry year.
Only the distant waterfall
Whispers and sighs in his ear.
The tomte listens and, half in dream,
Thinks that he hears Time’s endless stream,
And wonders, where is it bound?
Where is its source to be found?

Deep in the grip of the midwinter cold,
Stars send a sparkling light.
All are asleep on this lonely farm,
Late in this winter night.
The pale white moon is a wanderer,
Snow lies white on pine and fir;
Snow glows on rooftop shake.
The tomte alone is awake.

Well I’ll let you ponder that for the rest of the evening while you get your drink on.

The Quick Brown Fox the Gnome

Jo Jo Gnome and the Sound Machine: A Book Review

It’s an odd thing that most books about gnomes are geared towards children. But as The Gnome Abode’s literary expert, I seem to be noticing this trend more and more frequently.

Mad props to the authors who are grooming the next generation of gnome enthusiasts!

So I recently read a book called Jo Jo Gnome and the Sound Machine. And apparently, it’s aimed at 2-5 year olds. As you can expect, I had a few questions right off the bat.

A sound machine like one of those weird Conair devices that simulates the sound of crashing ocean waves?

And what kind of gnome has such a long green nose and wears a droopy green hat?

According to the author:

“In this illustrated story book JoJo Gnome has invented a sound collecting machine. The funny little gnome sets off to record a sound adventure to bring back for his Grandpa. The reader is encouraged to join in and guess guess what sounds JoJo finds along the way. This story will inspire younger children to listen out for their own sounds and create their own stories. Funny little JoJo Gnome will engage both young children and adults too.”

As I virtually flipped the pages on my Kindle, I never did figure out why these gnomes’ skin was green. Or why their hats drooped so much. Or why their ears were so pointy.

At one point, Jo Jo’s grandpa was reading a book called “Gnome Stuff,” which I thought was most excellent.

I never could grasp what Jo Jo’s sound recording invention really WAS. I was also a little unclear as to what was causing to cause the noises picked up by the sound machine.

Then BAM!

The big reveal!

And that’s all I’m gonna say. No plot spoiler alerts here!

All in all, Jo Jo Gnome and the Sound Machine was a quick read (only a couple minutes if you’ve exceed the 2-5 year old range). Jo Jo and his gnomes certainly didn’t look like or behave like any gnomes we know, but that’s okay. We only pass judgement on humans…not other gnomes.

And as a final word, I’ll say that if you enjoy “Curious George” books, you very well may find yourself smiling through Jo Jo’s gnomish misadventures too.

Signing off, my literate ones…
The Quick Brown Fox the Gnome

Cobargo Gnomes Get Their Own Field Guide!

We literate gnomes just came across “A Field Guide to Cobargo Gnomes.” Wow this town has enough of us to warrant  a FIELD GUIDE?!

Shared from Australia’s Bega District News – –

COBARGO“CHILDREN’S illustrator Naomi Lewis’s new book with its little subjects is proving a big hit.

A Field Guide to Cobargo Gnomes (and other local wee critters) was launched recently and already Ms Lewis said she is considering a second print run.

“I’m running out of copies already – I’m really pleased everyone likes it,” she said.

Gnomes have become a popular curiousity in Cobargo, ever since they joined the world-wide Occupy movement in 2011.

The collection of protestors remain on “Gnome-man’s Land” – the vacant block of land in the town’s main street.

“They come and go – people add to them all the time,” Ms Lewis said.

Meanwhile, Ms Lewis said “maturity and common sense seem to have failed me despite advancing years” and from her bush block at Yowrie she continues to seek out, research and document the wee folk and mythical creatures of the local area.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” she said.

“I’ve always been interested in myths and folklore.

“Some years ago I had an exhibition of my illustrations of mythical creatures and I created stories to go with each one.”

Those quirky creations and their individual stories have been collected in A Field Guide to Cobargo Gnomes.

The book is proving popular, but if you’re lucky you may spot a copy at Well Thumbed Books and the Lazy Lizard Gallery in Cobargo, and Candelo Books in Bega.

An exhibition of Ms Lewis’s Cobargo Gnomes illustrations is on display at Lazy Lizard Gallery until the end of January.”

If you happen to be wandering around New South Wales in the next couple weeks, check out her Facebook page for directions to the exhibit. Sigh….wish I could make it!

The Quick Brown Fox the gnome

A New Gnome Childrens’ Book – Just in Time for Christmas!

Over here at TheDrunkGnome, we love learning about new gnome-themed books from gnome-loving authors.

Cue Jo Hall, author of a new gnome-themed childrens’ book, “JoJo Gnome and the Smell of Christmas.” Apparently, JoJo lives in a rainy Scottish garden.


Here’s a lil’ blurb about the book:

It’s Christmas time but Grandpa Gnome has a cold. JoJo Gnome tries to help Grandpa enjoy all the wonderful holiday smells. Will Grandpa be able to enjoy the smell of Christmas?
JoJo Gnome and the Smell of Christmas is the second book in the series of books about this cheeky fun little character. JoJo and his friends will appeal to the early years audience. The bright and colourful illustrations will attract younger children, parents and teachers alike. Follow this funny creature through his exiting adventures in a Scottish garden and beyond. The perfect seasonal bedtime story to snuggle up with together and enjoy. Especially suited for younger children age 2-6 years old.

The book’s author and illustrator first introduced the world to this little gnome with an introductory ebook, Meet JoJo Gnome and a follow up JoJo Gnome and the Sound Machine.

The book is targeted at kids between the ages of 3 and 6. But we’re not ashamed. We’ll read anything with the word “gnome” in the title. Expect a book review coming your way in the near future.

Santa Claus may be a gnome impostor, but at least gnomes are making a hearty appearance in Christmas stories this holiday season.

Yours truly,
The Quick Brown Fox the gnome

New Gnome Book Released!


Author, Gene Olson, has published a new book called Gnomes in the Barn. According to the hot-off-the-press press release, “he crafts a dulcet story out from this Scandinavian folklore characters often blamed for any mischief that took place to engage the imagination of children, leaving them clamoring for their parents to go over the story once again.”

Barn bookApparently, the gnomes in this here book are about 6 inches tall. Seems about the average height around this house too. Heh.

I guess this Gene guy’s day job is being a systems analyst. That sounds rather dull, if you ask us. Good call on letting your mind wander to the wonderful world of gnomes, buddy 🙂

Gnome barn

You can pick up your very own copy by clicking on this handy-dandy Xliberis publishing site. The e-book is right within our gnomely-budgeted price range.

Happy literacy!
TheQuickBrownFox The Gnome