The first Pikkuli book Fly Pikkuli fly was released in 2011. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Pikkuli has been launched in many formats, from the animation series to ten children’s books, from live music shows to applications, and into a teaching package to be used in early education.
Not knowing where to land can lead you to the unexpected
Pikkuli character supports the learning of emotional and interaction skills among young children. But how did the story begin? It all happened in a family, you could say. Metsämarja Aittokoski started to invent a fairy tale about a small bird that did not learn to fly when their youngest son with Antti, her husband, was just born. The coming-up story explored the position of the most minor in the family and the other roles too. A little Pikkuli bird compares itself to big siblings and leaves home because it feels like a failed bird when it cannot fly.
Metsämarja and Antti Aittokoski set out to develop the Pikkuli animation series on the basis of the first book. Animation artists Sanni Lahtinen and Heta Jokinen got involved in creating the visual style of the series. The 26-part Pikkuli animation series was first shown on YLE in 2016, and furthermore, Pikkuli applications were developed too, at the same year along with the tv series for YLE platforms.
Barcelona, Brussels, Beijing, California…
Since the release of the animation series, Metsämarja has been presenting the series at several animation and children’s film festivals both in Europe and Asia. In addition, Metsämarja has pitched the series to financiers for instance in China. The speechless narration of Pikkuli animation was also presented as a case study at the Filemon Festival in Brussels.
The latest international collaboration is the development of the film Pikkuli and the Starlight Reindeer together with the full-time authors in the Simpsons series: Michael Polcino and John Achenbach. Polcino has worked as a screenplay and storyboard advisor and Achenbach, the current storyboard revisionist and artist in The Simpsons, has created the storyboarding style and the first part of the storyboard for the Starlight Reindeer.
Beak first to the new adventures
In the autumn of 2021, two new books will be published again by the Finnish publishing house Kustannus-Mäkelä Oy. There will also be a children’s music album based on the music of both series and the film. “Pikkuli has offered us the opportunity to do everything inspiring, to make extensive use of our know-how and creativity. The most important thing in all development is Pikkuli values: Joy, play, fun in learning, and respect for nature.”