Edgar Valter

Children’s stories

About Edgar Valter


Edgar Valter (21 IX 1929 – 4 III 2006) was a writer, cartoonist and artist, one of the best-known illustrators of Estonian children’s books.

Valter was born and attended school in Tallinn and held various jobs in his youth. From 1950, Valter was a freelance artist. He was a member of the Estonian Artists’ Union and the Estonian Association of Journalists. In the second half of his life, he lived on Pöörismäe farm in Võru County. Valter died in Tartu and is buried in the Forest Cemetery in Tallinn. He has been broadly recognised as both an artist and a writer; for example, he earned the title of Merited Cultural Figure of Estonian SSR (1986), received the Meie Mats humour prize (1991), was an honorary member of the Estonian Artists’ Union (2005), received the Order of the White Star, class III (2001) and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Estonian National Culture Foundation (2001).

Valter as an artist is mainly known as the illustrator of many books. The main part of them are children’s books, including such classics of Estonian children’s literature as Sipsik (‘Raggie’) and Naksitrallid (‘Three Jolly Fellows’) by Eno Raud, Krõll by Ellen Niit, Kunksmoor (‘Old Mother Kunks’) by Aino Pervik and Nublu by Jaan Rannap. Valter also practised painting and graphic arts. An essential place in his creation belongs to cartoons, which appeared in the press from 1944 and also as separate books.

The first children’s book written and illustrated by Valter himself – Pokuraamat (‘The Poku Book’) – appeared in 1994. It speaks about the pokus – small creatures akin to forest fairies whose appearance resembles clumps of sedges. The book has been published in many editions and translations, as colouring books, an ABC-book, etc. Valter received numerous prizes for it, for example the children’s literature annual award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (1995), special prize of theA. H. Tammsaare Literary Award (1996), several prizes of the Nukits Competition organised by the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, the Estonian National Culture Award (1996) and the Eerik Kumari Nature Conservation Award (2002). For Pokuraamat and his whole life’s work, Valter was entered into the Honour List of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in 1995.  In Võru County in South Estonia, there is also the Pokumaa (Pokuland) theme park. In this and his other books for children, Valter is remarkable for his environmentally friendly attitude, harmony and warm humour. A book helpful for exploring nature is also, for example, Kuidas õppida vaatama? (‘How to Learn to Look?’, 2000), which won the second place in the category of artists in Nukits Competition in 2002. Historical themes are dealt with in Valter’s books for children Ahaa, kummitab! (‘Woo Hoo, It’s Haunting’, 1995) and Ikka veel kummitab (‘It’s Still Haunting’, 2005).

For the children’s book Pintselsabad (‘Brushtails’, 1998), Valter received the A. H. Tammsaare Literary Award (1999) and the main prize for the artist and the second prize for the writer in Nukits Competition (2000). Based on the book, Estonian Television produced a series directed by Hendrik Toompere in 1998. In 1996, Valter’s book Kassike ja kakuke (‘Kitty and Bun’, 1995) won the second place in Nukits Competition in the category of artists.

A. K. (Translated by I. A.)


Books in Estonian

Books for children
Ahaa, kummitab! Tartu: Elmatar, 1995, 69 lk [2. tr 2016]
Kassike ja kakuke. Tallinn: Ulvi Postkaart, 1995, 47 lk [järgmised trükid: 2006, 2021]
Lugu lahkest lohe Justusest ja printsess Miniminnist. Tallinn: Sinisukk, 1995, 57 lk [2. tr 2013]
Pokuraamat. Tallinn: Ulvi Postkaart, 1994, 143 lk [järgmised trükid: 1995, 2001, 2009, 2019]
Pintselsabad: luuletus. Tartu: Elmatar, 1995, 10 lk
Kullast vilepill. Tallinn: Ulvi Postkaart, 1996, 19 lk
Isand Tuutu ettevõtmised. Tartu: Elmatar, 1997, 103 lk [järgmised trükid: 2014, 2021]
Iika: nii noor, aga juba nõid! Tallinn: Sinisukk, 1998, 87 lk
Pintselsabad. Tartu: Elmatar, 1998, 95 lk [järgmised trükid: 2006, 2021]
Metsa pühapäev. Tartu: Elmatar, 1999, 60 lk
Kuidas õppida vaatama?. Tallinn: Elmatar, 2000, 59 lk [2. tr 2010]
Pokuaabits. Tartu: Elmatar, 2002, 158 lk [järgmised trükid: 2019, 2022]
Pokulood. Tartu: Elmatar, 2004, 176 lk [järgmised trükid: 2009, 2019]
Ikka veel kummitab! Tartu: Elmatar, 2005, 189 lk
Noodaspea luiskelood. Tartu: Elmatar, 2011, 64 lk

Kaugel naljast. Tallinn: Eesti NSV Ajakirjanike Liit, 1964, 48 lk
Pildiraamat koolijärikutele. Tallinn: EKP Keskkomitee, 1970, 48 lk
Jahikoera memuaarid. Tallinn: Perioodika, 1974, 128 lk [järgmised trükid: 2004, 2020]
84 lk.
Ho-Ho-Hoo! Tartu: Elmatar, 2002, 100 lk
Natuke naljakad pildid. Tartu: Elmatar, 2003, 88 lk