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Karlsson vom Dach

(Karlsson på taket #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  11,233 ratings  ·  141 reviews
Imagine Smidge's delight when, one day, a little man with a propeller on his back appears hovering at the window! It's Karlson and he lives in a house on the roof. Soon Smidge and Karlson are sharing all sorts of adventures, from tackling thieves and playing tricks to looping the loop and running across the rooftops. Fun and chaos burst from these charming, classic ...more
Hardcover, 396 pages
Published by Friedrich Oetinger (first published 1955)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Scroll down and read a few of the readers' reviews. Having said that "good" is objective, as you can see from any GR review; one person may give a…moreScroll down and read a few of the readers' reviews. Having said that "good" is objective, as you can see from any GR review; one person may give a book five stars and a rave review, while another gives it one and says it's awful.(less)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  11,233 ratings  ·  141 reviews

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The Great Karlsson Experiment

Having read the Swedish original and the English and German translations, I had to get the French one too. (I wish I could read it in Russian, but my command of the language is insufficient). Out of the four I can appreciate, it seems to me the relative quality is pretty clear. In Swedish, it's a masterpiece. In German, it's nearly as good. In French, it's okay but not really anything special. And in English, it's disappointing.

Not, who's read it in English, pours
Our Russian friend K, like me a hardcore Karlsson fan, came round for dinner tonight. As it inevitably does these days, the conversation turned to the dismal subject of Lyin' Crooked Donald Trump. It appeared that we were going to rehearse the same tired old arguments yet again, but K suddenly had a blinding flash of insight: TRUMP IS KARLSSON!!!

Of course... as soon as you see it, nothing could be more obvious! The incessant boasting! The naked greed and manipulativeness! The shameless, almost
The early Astrid Lindgren books are hysterically funny, and work equally well for both child and adult readers. The problem is that the two audiences don't find the same things amusing. My Swedish wife said that her grandmother sometimes read this book aloud to her when she was a very small girl. Every now and then, Grandma would have to stop, she was laughing too much. Elisabeth tells me she'd glare at her and say "Shut up and READ!"

In this book, Lillebror (literally, "little brother"), is
In 1942, Crockett Johnson created the cartoon Barnaby, in which we see Mr O'Malley through the eyes of a boy who wishes for a fairy Godmother, but instead is presented with a short, fat, flying, conceited and not altogether competent fairy Godfather.


The cartoon was a big hit within the Left intelligentia in the US. Dorothy Parker adored it, Duke Ellington was chuffed to be part of one of the strips. He even wrote a letter to the editor of PM to say so. The Roosevelts were avid followers. It
Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My co-worker bought it recently for her 6 years old daughter and we started to reread it out loud in the middle of the office, laughing and cheering like kids. Our boss portrayed Karllson and our office manager managed to be Freken Bok. Just 20 pages of this book and bunch of so called adults returned to their childhood.
Brilliant, kind and humorous book.
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, childrens
This has been my favorite growing up, and I will definitely read it to my children. It's a shame that it's virtually unknown to American audience.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first time I read this book in English and I certainly did think that the translation changed it. It didn't make Karlson's personality as charming and cute as I knew him to be. It seemed clumsy and sometimes awkward.

I used to like Karlson more than Pippi, but now, once I have read it I feel like in the English versions I like Pippi more.

This book made me think about stuff though. A lot of the story shows the value adults (and children sometimes) give to things, while they are
My favorite childhood book
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I read this a number of years ago and hated it. What bothered me--appalled me, really--was that this young boy is being encouraged to disobey his parents and sneak out with a strange man who is his neighbor. Granted, this book was written in a more innocent era, and what is allowed in European children's books seems to be rather different from what is allowed in children's books here in the U.S. I notice that in the new illustrations Karlson is depicted as younger, rather than as a little old ...more
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it might be bad taste to bring up a cartoon when reviewing a book - но кто ещё из бывших Советских сразу слышит голос Ливанова при одном взгляде на обложку?

I feel sorry for anyone who hasn't read this (why is it so rare in English!?!?) This book is just .. soo.. AWESOME!! Forget a lame imaginary friend - this kid has a chubby lil troublemaker glutton who has a lil propeller on his back and start-button on his tummy! ♥♥ inner 8-year-old is filling up with glee from only looking at that line
May 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Stupid in English. Reading reviews of those who have read it in other languages, I can tell that the original has more word-play, more heart, more humor... and probably more episodes.

Just one example. In Swedish the boy is (iiuc) Lillebor/ Little Brother. Elsewhere he's apparently Smidge, which also means little. In English he's just plain Eric.
Hilarious and adorable.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult-kids
My mother-in-law got me this book for my birthday recently in both it's Russian and English versions. My understanding is that the original Swedish version and the Russian version make Karlson out to be kind of charming and funny and the story itself is whimsical, however that doesn't stand true for the English version. To me, he came off as extremely creepy and inappropriate. He would sneak into the main character's room (Smidge, a 7 year old boy), hide from his parents, and then lie, gaslight ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Lately I've run across new translations of several non-English children's classics so I am giving this one two stars. As another reviewer has said, a lot of how good a text is depends on the language used. There are things you simply can't do in the target language, sometimes. As a former translator, I know this.

That's why KOTR is getting two stars instead of just one. Because, as that revewier said, the English version is disappointing. Lillebror (literally "little brother") has become Eric, so
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My mother used to read this to me (Russian translation) before bed when I was a kid. The amount of times I laughed hysterically with her. This is such a great children's book, as much as I love Disney and fairy tales, if you ever wanna read something to your kids before bed I seriously recommend this story. Not only will your kids laugh, but your stomach will be sore as well. And everyone will go to bed in a good mood. Astrid will always be one of my favorite childhood authors.
The Twins
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny what you remember from your own childhood...I wanted to read this book to my boys as I remembered reading and hearing it as a child. Somehow I remembered it differently with Karlson being kinder and less self-obsessed but once I started reading it to them it all came back especially his little sayings! The boys really enjoyed the story!!
Really really enjoyed the copy I read in Grade 6, translated into Chinese with absolutely wonderful illustrations. Now, after finally finding a copy in English, and so many years later, I started reading it and didn't share the same feeling.
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Always been one of my least favorite story by Astrid Lindgren and it probably still is. I just can't stand Karlsson most of the time.
Nov 18, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: quirky young adults
I despised Karlson when I grew up hearing his story... an obnoxious, flying, pudgy man who wrecks this kid's room, steam engine, takes his candy. He's so greedy and petulant.

As an adult, my husband read the book and thought it was fantastic to have a quasi-adult figure who breaks all stereotypes of who should be well behaved. Plus, he points out that Eric is so happy to see Karlson, no matter what kind of mess awaits.
It's a little like "The Cat in the Hat." That book also made me uncomfortable
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a children's classic for Soviet offspring of a certain age, yet oddly completely unknown to most American fans of Lindgren's other works, such as the "Pippi" series. Involves a short, fat, meatball-loving male fairy-esque character that lives on the roof of an apartment building in Stockholm and wreaks havoc with Mme. Freckenbock, the nanny. What's not to love?
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again one of those gems in my grandmother's shelf. I kind of disliked Karlsson when I was a child but at the same time he was a hilarious character and I always looked forward to him appearing through the window. The book made me look up on our roof just in case if we had a chubby little man living in there.
If you really love this book, you should also check out its animated short film adaptation called Malysh i Karlson, directed by Boris Stepantsev.
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, childrens
This series needs to be better known among English speakers. The poor souls are being deprived of a proper childhood!
Magda Cpt
Its cute enough but not as charming as other books by Lindgren. ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
I love this classic, and so did a 5 year old boy.
Daniela Gonzalez
Reading log:
Due date: Friday February 3rd
Pages: 35
This book is about an ordinary family with a normal house. On top of this house a man lives he is named Karlson. This familiy doesn't knows Karlson lives there. Smidge is the little kid from the family. One day Smidge found Karlson, he first get scary but then he calms. Karlson shows him many of his tricks like how to fly. Smidge and Karlson become great friends. Smidge becomes a great fan of Karlson and he talks to his family about him the whole
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j-ya, classics
A fun romp written in 1955 by Astrid Lindgren, author of the beloved Pippi Longstocking books. Eric, (as he is called in my version of the book) the seven year old protaganist, wants a dog more than anything else in the world. Instead he gets Karlsson-on-the-Roof, a cantankerous little old Man in his Prime, who causes chaos everywhere he goes and, unfortunately, alienates many readers.

The further I read, the more Karlsson reminded me of a trickster. Instead of being horrified by his selfish
Carrie Jolly
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We really enjoyed this book. The copy we read from the library had the same cover as this edition, it's actually illustrated by Jan Pyk and translated by Marianne Turner, and the boy is named Eric, not "Smidge". Karlsson is a trickster and a bit of a fibber, with quite the inflated ego. My 4 1/2 year old didn't quite appreciate the humor of the book, and it might be fun to revisit it when he's the same age as Eric in the book, which is 7 going on 8. I would recommend this for a read aloud book ...more
Dec 12, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adults
Lonely children can act pretty stupid, especially if they feel unloved by tehir parents and/or other siblings.

I myself was pretty much annoyed with this Karlsson character and how naive little Lillebror can be. And then I remembered a distant relative who somehow reminded me of Lillebror. I suddely feel a bit pity toward this kid.

What confused me a lot was that I also reminded of Little Man Tate, even though these two characters have nothing in common.
Mickie Halpern
Honestly, this one was not my favourite. I really disliked Karlson as a character, which was disappointing since I loved Lindgren's 'Pippi Longstocking' when I was little.

But I read this because it was my mother's favourite childhood book, so at least now I'll understand what this book was that she was looking for an English copy of for all those years.
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Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren, née Ericsson, (1907 - 2002) was a Swedish children's book author and screenwriter, whose many titles were translated into 85 languages and published in more than 100 countries. She has sold roughly 165 million copies worldwide. Today, she is most remembered for writing the Pippi Longstocking books, as well as the Karlsson-on-the-Roof book series.

Hans Christian

Other books in the series

Karlsson på taket (3 books)
  • Karlson Flies Again
  • Karlsson på taket smyger igen

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“Älskade Lillebror, vad är det som har hänt", sa hon och slog armarna om honom.
"Krister har kastat sten på mej", sa Lillebror argt.
"Nej, vet nån vad", sa mamma, "en sån elak pojke! Varför kom du inte in och sa till mej?"
Lillebror ryckte på axlarna.
"Vad skulle det vara bra för? Du kan ju inte kasta sten. Du skulle inte kunna pricka rätt på en lagårdsvägg ens en gång."
"Å, din lilla dumbom", sa mamma. "Inte tror du väl att jag tänkte kasta sten på Krister heller!"
"Vad skulle du annars kasta", undrade Lillebror. "Det finns inget annat, åtminstone inget som är lika bra.”
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