Teachers and parents

Mr Finney and the World Turned Upside-down

Mr Finney and the World Turned Upside-down is an exciting story to read to and with children from the age of five. Mr Finney spends most of his time sitting in his garden with his best friend, Snail. But then Pinky Pepper arrives, a bright pink flying creature who loves to 'glimp' around the world at top speed. Using her SuperBeebee, she has taken pictures of big cities, oceans, jungles, the North Pole and a mysterious flag. Pictures that make Mr Finney curious about the world outside his garden. He has lots of questions, but Pinky Pepper disappears again almost as fast as she came. Mr Finney decides to go travelling himself in search of answers. He meets all kinds of animals and discovers that the world isn't beautiful everywhere. But he also learns that it helps to ask questions and that solutions are sometimes closer than you think.

Mr Finney and the World Turned Upside-down is the first book in a series about Mr Finney.

The Beginning

Laurentien van Oranje initiated the Mr Finney series. Her specific source of inspiration was the news about the planting of the Russian flag at the North Pole in august 2007, at the bottom of the ocean. For her, this astonishing act raised questions about the moral questions behind climate change. Because morality means children - our future.

Laurentien van Oranje: "I believe that a successful transition from the old to the new world is only possible if we shed old habits and are open to new approaches. We have no choice and there are many opportunities to grab. Are we brave enough to look at ourselves in the mirror and act on what we see? We should be driven by contemplation about which world we want our children to inherit. Children help us see the challenges from a fresh perspective, and so does Mr Finney: by questioning the world he discovers, he realizes that 'solutions are often closer by than you think'."

This is how the idea to write a children’s book developed. Being a parable, it offers an opportunity for children and adults to talk about issues concerning the planet and our behavior towards it in a non-judgmental way.
Laurentien van Oranje: "For me, reading to children is always an intense and beautiful moment of interaction with children, a moment when children eagerly start talking and asking about the adventures we're reading about. They often give me a fresh perspective on things and that is something I wish all adults could experience."

Author & Illustrator

Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands has worked on sustainability and environmental issues for several years. She frequently gives speeches to policy-makers, business people as well as children about her motivations behind the book and conducts workshops with children. In 2004, Princess Laurentien established the Reading and Writing Foundation in the Netherlands (www.stichtinglezenenschrijven.nl), which focuses on the prevention and reduction of illiteracy. She is UNESCO?s Special Envoy on Literacy for Development. She participates in reading projects for children and adults and is often called “the language princess” and “the country’s reading mother”. Princess Laurentien and Prince Constantijn have 3 children: Eloise (7), Claus-Casimir (5) and Leonore (3).

Award-winning illustrator Sieb Posthuma created the Mr Finney character. He frequently holds children’s workshops in schools, libraries and bookshops. He is one of the most renowned illustrators and author of children’s books in the Netherlands whose work is published in several countries. He has won several prizes, including the "Illustrator of the Year 2009" (Golden Brush 2009 - Gouden Penseel 2009). Apart from writing and illustrating a range of (picture) books such as Rintje and Mannetje Jas and producing illustrations for dailies and weeklies, he also made animation films for Sesame Street and he developed the stage designs for the Coppelia ballet of the renowned Het Nationale Ballet of the Netherlands (2008). He was asked to produce the illustrations for the prestigious free book at the occasion of the national Children’s Book Week 2009 in the Netherlands.