Zeltjes Gezellig Verjaardagsfeestje



Pardon my Dutch!

No, really. You see, I wrote this book in Dutch (and English) and I have no doubt there are glaring and hilarious grammatical errors, which I hope to a true Dutch speaker will read as endearing, but I hadn’t time to find a Dutch editor and just went with the most amusingly spelled option offered in Google Translate that seemed like the most fun to say out loud.

Vergeef me alsjeblieft!

But here is the result – inspired by artist/author/illustrator (and Dutch!) Dick Bruna – my very own Zeltje book!

And the best(ish) part? I’ve often joked that my sweet son, Jack, is a bit of a donkey, i.e. Jack-ass, and what do I discover? The “[E]zeltje” is a term for donkey in Dutch. And I just sort of made it up as a Dutch-ish iteration of “Zellie,” my daughter’s name, for whom this book was written.

The whole idea was inspired, in turn, by learning about the Dutch word “gezelligheid” and wanting to incorporate it (and Dutch-themed cultural stuff) into the celebration for Zellie’s (geZELLig/ZELLie….get it?) birthday. And I have learned so much! What an awesome and amusing culture that I was unaware of beyond Hans Brinker, tulips and wooden shoes (and, sadly, I’d visited Amsterdam as a high school student….though I do remember loving the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum). But now I’ve renewed and revitalized appreciation for the culture and can’t wait to go back with adult eyes.

Happy reading! Proost!

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