Saturday, May 22, 2010

Karlson on the Roof

One of our good friends brought over her childhood copy of Astrid Lindgren's Karlson on the Roof, and spent many months reading a chapter every time she came over, until finally it was done.  What a delightful story!  Of course, it would have been better if we had been able to read it all at once, but as it was, it was a special time with Evalina and our friend.

The Story:  Midge (it seems like in later versions, his name is translated to Smidge... or maybe our friend's copy was just the British version... I will use Midge, because that was his name in our book) is alone in his bedroom, when he is astounded and delighted to see a little man hovering outside of the window!  This is his introduction to Karlson on the Roof, the world's best trickster, the world's best babysitter, the world's best dog owner, the world's best crook chaser, and the world's most interesting friend.  Karlson has a propeller and can fly, and he lives (you guessed it) on the roof.  He leads Midge on some wonderful adventures, some downright naughty, and they have a wonderful time.  The trouble is, no one else in Midge's family believes that Karlson exists, because he always flies away at the moment before they are going to meet him.  But Karlson isn't just an imaginary friend, he's real.  By the end of the story, he makes sure that everyone knows he's there.

The Good:  It's Astrid Lindgren, and she is always a winner.  Her writing is clever and witty and funny.  Karlson left us all giggling at his antics many times.  Midge is a sweet kid, and all he wants is a dog of his own, and of course, to have fun with Karlson.  The minor characters are funny, too.  Evalina remembered a lot of details from early in the book that I was sure she might have forgotten, since it took so long for our friend to read it with her.  I always like that.

The Bad:  Karlson is really really naughty and he eggs Midge on to do naughty things, as well.  I think it is written in such a way that it is obvious to children that Karlson is not someone to be emulated. 

The Verdict:  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and Evalina did, too.  It is 176 pages long, so it isn't a behemoth.  That's nice.  I would say that it's not as clever or fun as Pippi, but it was enjoyable.  A great read for any Astrid Lindgren fan.

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