Maiju Tokola
Riikka Toivanen
Christel Rönns
Publication date
Format info
36 pages, Age: 5+

Pontus the Penguin Goes Visiting – how we made our families

Meidän pihan perhesoppa

-   Maiju Tokola
-   Riikka Toivanen

How did we become a family? Join Pontus the penguin from nursery as he goes home with children from different kinds of families

Every child wants to know how life begins and where they came from. Where did I come from? Who am I? How did I start? This cheerful and clear book makes it easy to start talking about different ways of becoming a family. The entertaining story covers the issues surrounding fertilisation without over-emphasising the point.

A fresh and modern children’s book about the different ways of having a child

Pontus the Penguin Goes Visiting is a reference book skilfully disguised as a picture book, designed for all families. The story naturally takes the reader from one family to the next as Pontus, the nursery’s soft toy penguin, goes home for the evening with one child in turn. First he visits Kirsikka, then Ilona, Kauri and Malviina. The story amusingly and simply explains how all of them were made in a way that small listeners can easily understand. Along the way we learn about in vitro fertilisation, egg and sperm donation, a two-mum family and adoption.

At the end of the book there is an information section aimed at the grown-ups with expert advice on how to go about telling children about where they came from.

The team behind the book comprises two psychologists and psychotherapists, Maiju Tokola and Riikka Toivanen, author Riina Katajavuori and illustrator Christel Rönns.


Praise for the book

”The subject is an important one and a sensitive and personal issue for many people. The book is best suited for families to use at home as a tool for parents as it provides a good basis for discussion with children about their own origins.” – Perheterapia magazine

”Every child is interested in the miracle of how life starts. To make it easier to talk about these topics, I can warmly recommend the book ”Pontus the Penguin Goes Visiting ” (Tammi 2015) by Riina Katajavuori and co published last autumn. Although it is a story designed for children about how life starts and different types of families, it’s also recommended reading for all adults as well!” – Family Federation of Finland blog

”The strength of the book is that it doesn’t ‘overdo the message’. The book works excellently as an ordinary picture book as it depicts the daily life of families with small children in a fun way.” – Lastenkirjahylly literary blog

”Written by Riina Katajavuori, Riikka Toivanen and Maiju Tokola and cheerfully illustrated by Christel Rönns, this book describes different family backgrounds but doesn’t tire out even picture book aged readers with too much information. […] The story emphasises cheerful curiosity and busy everyday lives. The families’ backgrounds emerge in a fun way, alongside all the other aspects of their lives.” – Lapsen Maailma

”The book takes the form of a story as Pontus the penguin travels to spend the night with different families. One by one we learn about donor eggs and sperm,  intercourse, adoption and a two-mum family, all as part of the bustling everyday lives and discussions in the story. The heart of the message lies in the way it is handled – the important thing is to make this an everyday topic of conversation which  can be marvelled at over and over again, in different ways and on different terms to suit different ages. […] The book is easily approachable with its cheerful illustrations. Matters to do with sexuality, birth and how life begins are so natural to children once a parent has the ability to talk about them themselves.”  – Maaret Kallio, Psychotherapist

”These topics, different ways of forming a family, now affect a large group of children. It is important to talk about things in a way that children themselves can understand and without the child getting the idea that they are special or different in the wrong way.” – Päivi Heikkilä-Halttunen, Aamulehti