One windy autumn day,  illustrator Pia-Maria Pohto was walking in the nearby forest. Suddenly, behind a mossy tree stump, there was something blue. No: white. Hey, yes it was both! After the blue-and-white beanie, two fluffy ears appeared, one of which was pointing downwards. The creature started giggling and soon after they started to chatter.

It turned out that his name was Zander, and he was an elf. A gnelf, to be precise. That is a descendant of a gnome and an elf. He had come to the age when to look for a very own home. He eagerly began to tell about the great places, magical saunas and the children he had encountered on his trip. At this point, Pia-Maria invited Zander to her home for a warm cup of honey, so that she could listen more closely. Soon she was forced to take a paper and write down all the exciting twists! Zander also gave pretty good instructions, when Pia-Maria sketched some pictures.

After sauna, more stories were told, bisquits were buttered and blueberry juice sipped. With blue-tinted lips and red cheeks, the gnelf talked and talked, drawing large patterns on the air. A lot of the adventure was written down, but much was left to remember. Already in the morning the little gnelfie was leaving. He was very determined to find his new home – and quite certain that many fun new places was yet to come his way.

The next spring, Zander kept his promise and returned to tell the rest of his story. The gnelf had found his new home from a smoke sauna and proudly presented himself as The Saunaelf of Finland.

This adventure was so special, that Pia-Maria wanted to write and illustrate a book about it – a very special book, because the adventure had happened with real kids and at real places! The illustrator contacted all the places Zander had visited. In 2017, the travel story became a book, in the spirit of the centenary of Finland’s indepandence, Together.




A Gnelf
(mother an elf and father a gnome)


Sweet and cuddly


Curious with a sense of adventure


28cm/ 11 in
(or MUCH taller, if  Akusti the Clown went a little gabbledabble with his spells…)


Approx. 1 600g/ 3lb 8oz




Pointy and a bit fluffy. Right ear perky, left ear a bit floppy.


A white, soft woolly hat with a big, blue bobble. In winter he wears a knitted coatee, but keeps warm enough without it, too. During summer  Zander he sometimes has no shirt on and  while swimming has red trunks on.  Carries a red backpack.

Favourite food:

Everything! At least everything that children give him.

Favourite things to do:

Playing, hiking and going to sauna. And eating!

Favourite place:

On someone’s lap.

Where would like to go: