Emil and the Detectives
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Emil and the Detectives (Emil #1)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  3,411 ratings  ·  138 reviews
If Mrs Tischbein had known the amazing adventures her son Emil would have in Berlin, she'd never have let him go.

Unfortunately, when his seven pounds goes missing on the train, Emil is determined to get it back - and when he teams up with the detectives he meets in Berlin, it's just the start of a marvellous money-retrieving adventure . . .

A classic and influential story,...more
Published April 5th 2001 (first published 1929)
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The Neverending Story by Michael EndeMomo by Michael EndeThe Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jacob GrimmThe Little Ghost by Otfried PreußlerDas doppelte Lottchen by Erich Kästner
Best German Children Literature
9th out of 135 books — 119 voters
Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott
Favorite books from my childhood
354th out of 3,013 books — 5,718 voters

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Community Reviews

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This book haunts me. In a few short years their lives will be completely changed. No more individualism or self determination, but instead a rigorous recruiting into an ideology of race superiority and military might. In this children’s book, there are many clues to how this may have come about. There are also startling differences between the children detectives in Berlin and the Hitler Youth they will become. Even though the society is being primed for a radical change, Emil and the Detectives...more
This book is interesting for two historical reasons.

1) It is the progenitor of the children-as-detectives genre, which would later bring us Enid Blyton's Famous Five, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Boxcar Children, and Encyclopedia Brown.

2) It is a sort of time capsule, showing us through children's eyes the world of Berlin right before the National Socialist party came into power. Strangely, this book is the only one of Kästner's then-existing works that the Nazis did not feel they had to burn...more
Donna Radcliff
Originally published in 1929 in pre-war Germany, this classic childrens adventure follows Emil as he travels to Berlin to visit his grandmother and has all of his money stolen by a sneak thief who is part of an organized gang lead by The Baron, and the children (detectives) that help him to apprehend the bad guys. Released in 1964 as a Disney movie, it starred Brian Russell, Roger Mobley and Walter Slezak. I saw the movie (I was twelve and in love with Roger Mobley) and immediately got the movie...more
Emil and the Detectives centers on a good-natured boy who defies expectations in his honesty, familial piety and determination. Erich Kastner captures the rambunctiousness and excitement of youth as he leads the readers through the adventures of Emil as he joins with a team of organized street detectives who are mere children as they spy on the man who robbed Emil whilst he slept. Kastner's sense of humor pervades the story from the beginning as he vexes over coming up with a plot, and his sense...more
Paul Servini
This is one of the first books I can remember reading. And before that I can remember my mother reading it to me. Now, I'm a parent myself and both our children have had the pleasure of saving this and other stories by the author. Sure, there are lots of reasons not to read this book. It's dated, the plot is a highly unlikely one, it represents some values we may consider old-fashioned. But despit all that it's brilliant.

A classic children's story which tells of how someone steals some money fro...more
A nostalgic hour on ebay left me with a Cathy Dennis cd, a box of panini stickers, and a beautiful 1964 paperback of Emil and the Detectives.

On the introduction page it reads "Forward readers of eight could tackle it, while those in their early teens still enjoy it without wanting to disguise the fact" Well i first read when 9 or 10. And 20 years later it is still an exciting and charming read. In fact in those 20 years I have read books as enjoyable as this, but probably not enjoyed anything mo...more
This book was translated from German and first published in 1929. I remember reading it as a child and recently reread it. It was still just as entertaining. In the new rerelease Maurice Sendak writes the intro to the book and I quote:Emil is a little masterpiece. It shows us the heroic nature of children, how they can stick together and accomplish wonders without the help of inept grownups. Read it and you'll be happy!
Overlook Press, 2007 translation by W. Martin with an introduction by Maurice Sendak. Unfortunate translation. Has somewhat lame attempts to update the text. For example "database" was not a word in current use in the 1920's. Children are capable of 'time travel' when they read books set in other eras and it's insulting to their intelligence to dumb books down.
I think I read this many years ago, but it wasn't familiar at all. Great story for kids, but a bit weird to think that the boys Erich Kastner describes in the story may have grown up and joined Hitler Youth. Much of Kastner's writing was banned by the Nazis, but this one was too popular and was allowed to remain in print.
russell barnes
Another book I read as a kid and have picked up on the totally unreasonable assumption Milo will love it when he's older. In my mind Emil's adventures seemed to last for at least a week, but in reality it's only a day and a night, and I completely forgot his cousin is called "Pony" - surely a name for a future Barnes?
Es stimmt. Euch habt völlig rechts. Ich lese ab und zu ein kindes Buch auf Deutsch. Was hältst du davon!? Muss ja die Wortschatz breiter machen!
A Bookworm Reading
Emil and the Detectives was published in 1929 and remains one of Erich Kästner's most famous works, having been translated into over 50 languages and adapted into a film by Disney.

Erich Kästner, a pacifist during the Nazi regime faced a publication ban and the only work published prior to 1945 that survived the Nazi book burnings was Emil and the Detectives.

This children's book was the beginning of children detective stories. Set in Berlin, Emil is sent on his first solo train ride to visit his...more
Our art teacher in Germany used to read us chapters from this classic. Kastner's writing appeals to all ages.
Emil is one of the first boy sleuths (the Hardy Boys beat him to publication by a year). He is the model for everyone from Encyclopedia Brown to Neil Gaiman's Dead Boy Detectives. The charm of Emil's character - he is good, but not so saintly that he didn't paint a mustache on the statue in the town park - lies in the fact that he faces adversity with aplomb, even enthusiasm. Kastner, who was a literary force in Weimar Germany, wrote for children, was a journalist, novelist, poet and screenwrite...more
This is really a detective story. The writer knows what boys do and how they behave. When Emil needs help, Paul the new friend takes TWENTY boys with him. What made me burst into laughter the most was: they had a secret plan to catch the thief but it turned out that a large crowd of boys came to help them. Emil said "We must change our plans. We can't follow the thief secretly now; they are too many boys. When he comes out of the hotel, we'll make a circle of boys around him. That circle will fo...more
Amanda Northrup
A fun boy fights crime story. I really appreciated that this translation (2007 by W. Martin) tried to use colloquial American idioms to help today's students understand and appreciate the intentions of the author. I'm sure there are lots of purists who disapprove of this approach. I really liked how Kastner opened with 10 paragraph-long vignettes to tell us about each character and setting. I've never seen that before and I thought it was effective and very fun.

My only issue with this book is th...more
Emil and his mother never have extra money. That is why it is so important that he guard his wallet well as he travels to Berlin to visit his grandmother – the wallet contains one hundred and forty marks! My, what a sum!

But while riding in the train, Emil becomes sleepy and drifts off. When he awakens, the money – and the man in the stiff hat sitting opposite him – are both gone. Emil believes that where he finds one, he will find the other. So he sets out to track down the Man in the Stiff Hat....more
Alex Baugh
This is the second week of the German Literature Month challenge and for that we were supposed to read a crime novel. I considered a lot of different choices, but decided on Emil and the Detectives for one simple reason. That reason is that it is a book I haven’t read since forever and I really like Erich Kästner.

Emil and the Detectives is a pretty straightforward story. Young Emil is being sent off to Berlin to visit relatives for a week long holiday. He is taking the train and carrying money,...more
Rina Sakurai

-Penguin press,level 3

-95 minutes

-7 words summary: a boy/trip/problem/taxi driver/girl/fall/police

-Discussion questions:
1.If you see a moment which an accident will be happened, Do you have enough bravery to save it?
- To be honest, I can not be moving anymore if I see the scene.
2.Have you helped people who seem to be in trouble? If you answer yes, how did you help he/she?
- I always give elderly people a seats in a train. It's natural, but a tiny help is as important as great help.

-Favorite Sc...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1985547.html[return][return]Classic children's books, which I had first read many years ago long before I got to know and love Berlin, the city in which it is set. It's a very basic but charming story of the young and smart and good getting together to defeat the old and evil, and has not lost its charm - so popular that it was the only book by Kästner to escape the book-burning of May 1933. I had forgotten the scene-setting dramatis personæ at the beginning, and al...more
review of
Erich Kästner's Emil and the Detectives
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - January 10, 2012

I decided to read a representative sampling of Kästner's work once I learned that his bks had been burned by the nazis. I started w/ his novel entitled The Missing Miniature or The Adventures of A Sensitive Butcher [see my review here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13... ] & then read his poetry collection entitled Let's Face It [see my review here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13......more
Nesa Sivagnanam
The story begins in Neustadt, a provincial German town which is the home to young schoolboy Emil Tischbein. His father is dead and his mother raises him alone working as a hairdresser. She sends Emil to Berlin with 120 marks (a hairdresser's monthly salary then) to give to his grandmother and 20 marks for himself, sums that have taken some months to save from her modest earnings. On the way he is very careful not to lose the money and uses a needle to pin it to the lining of his jacket.

On the tr...more

Young Emil Tischbein's mother sends the boy to Berlin, with return train fare and spending money pinned in his shirt pocket. But there is a suspicious stranger in a bowler hat who takes a seat in Emil's otherwise empty compartment. Lulled by the train's motion to fall asleep, Emil eventually awakens to find that his money has been stolen! He has no doubt who the thief was, but how to track him down in a huge city AND make him give back the stolen bills?

Fortunately poor E...more
The first 'chapter', adequately called "Die Geschichte fängt noch gar nicht an" made me think that his wouldn't be fun at all. Kästner explains why the story he actually wanted to write couldn't be written, and it was just so silly that I just couldn't have high hopes for this book.

The rest of the story however was much nicer! Emil goes by train from Neustadt to Berlin. His mother has given him 140 Mark to bring to his grandma in Berlin, but while he's on the train he falls asleep and the money...more
Mayumi Inoko
-Penguin Readers level 3.
-Time 9/29= 104 minutes.
-7 word summary: Emil - mother - thief - friends - catch - famous - happy.
-Discussion Questions:
1.Have you ever been to your granma's house alone when you were child?
Yes, I have been to my grandmother's house alone many times. I left Nagoya for Tokyo and it took about 2hours so I often took some magazines to read while I was on the Sinkansen.
2.Have you ever been to a police station?
Yes,I have visited a police office and at that time I lost my way...more
saya tidak memerlukan waktu banyak untuk membaca buku ini namun saya menikmati bacaan ini seakan everlasting.. perhaps, it is.

buku bagus untuk anak dengan imajinasi anak yang lari kesana kemari tapi tetap mengindahkan kehalusan bahasa dan kesederhanaan imajinasi. ciri khas imajinasi anak laki-laki. bandingkan dengan kakak beradik berhati singa, sama2 penulisan imajinasi liar anak, namun dalam bentuk yang lebih rumit dengan efek cukup negatif dan gaya bahasa yang lebih kasar.

seperti penulis buku...more
Although written in 1929 this is still a great boys adventure.

Originally written in German the English translation was quickly published in 1931. It was more than a bit weird that in the translation it was decided to use pounds/shillings etc so little British kids could understand the money! Pennies replacing the Pfennig!? So wrong!

Speaking of wrong; the only girl in the story, Emil's cousin, was provided as pretty wallpaper - her role being to feed the boys, turn their heads and over the kitch...more
Tanya D
I read this in German, my first novel in German (hooray for me). I understood most of it and really liked it. I loved how independent and clever all the kids were. I loved this one passage where Emil tells another kid how he loves his mother, it was so sweet. I want to read this to my kids in English. They'd laugh too much at my accent if I read it in German. We saw a musical for this book in Swiss German. The setting was changed from Berlin to Zurich which made me laugh.
Shonaigh Mudie
A most treasured book given as a gift from my beautiful neighbours Maggie and Dr Bell. A lovely elderly couple, neighbours who lived over the fence. Remember visiting them and also chatting to them as they did their garden. Emil a young boy, is sent by his mother into the big city to take money to his grandmother. A man on the train tricks him and steels this money. It is up to Emil to discover what happened and to get the money back. Instead of involving the police, he and a friend Gustav colle...more
Read it several times as a child and have really enjoyed reading it to my seven year old. Unbelievable that this book is 85 years old. Reads beautifully and doesn't feel dated at all. Highly recommend it.
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Erich Kästner (23 February 1899 – 29 July 1974) was a German author, poet, screenwriter and satirist, known for his humorous, socially astute poetry and children's literature.
More about Erich Kästner...
Pünktchen und Anton (Dots and Anton) Das doppelte Lottchen Fabian. Die Geschichte eines Moralisten Der 35. Mai oder Konrad reitet in die Südsee Emil und die Detektive / Emil und die drei Zwillinge

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“Eine Geschichte, ein Roman, ein Märchen - diese Dinge gleichen den Lebewesen, und vielleicht sind es sogar welche. Sie haben ihren Kopf, ihre Beine, ihren Blutkreislauf und ihren Anzug wie richtige Menschen. Und wenn ihnen die Nase im Gesicht fehlt oder wenn sie zwei verschiedene Schuhe anhaben, merkt man es bei genauem Zusehen.” 3 likes
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