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Emil and the Detectives

(Emil #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  8,199 ratings  ·  455 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,
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 5th 2001 (first published 1928)
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Pirate King Yup, it is good, actually you will find this book rather great..
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) No indeed! It's all fun and laughs. I first read it at seven or so and thought it was great.…moreNo indeed! It's all fun and laughs. I first read it at seven or so and thought it was great.(less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Emil Und Die Detektive = Emil And The Delectives, Erich Kästner

Emil and the Detectives is a 1929 novel, for children set mainly in Berlin, by the German writer Erich Kästner and illustrated by Walter Trier. It was Kästner's first major success, the only one of his pre-1945 works to escape Nazi censorship, and remains his best-known work, and has been translated into at least 59 languages.

The most unusual aspect of the novel, compared to existing children's literature at the time, was that it wa
I read this German children's classic while the Greek debt drama of July 2015 was unfolding; I would finish a chapter, go to the Daily Telegraph live blog, catch up on the latest news from Brussels, then return to Emil.

The people reporting on the political story were eager to cast the Germans, particularly the hardline Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, as the villains. I read many pieces about how Schäuble was imposing unreasonable and humiliating conditions on the Greeks, and when one looked
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, phew! I was really worried there for quite a few pages.

So many aspects of the book are highly realistic, Emil's personality and relationship with his mother, and their money worries, that I was afraid that in the end (view spoiler)
Please note that Emil's exploits, that the story itself, in its German original, while never a personal favourite, is and will always remain a solid three star read for me (enjoyable, but also not spectacular). The above one star rating is simply because the new 2007 translation by W. Martin absolutely and totally leaves so very much to be desired (especially for someone such as I who likes her translations as close to the original as possible and not updated or altered all that much). My review ...more
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This is a book that I saw and had to buy and read.
It represents a time in my life when I was too busy playing sport or out with mates to read books. I was also lazy and lacked confidence even to read in class but I always liked stories. This was a book that I remember from my youth like, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, Brer Rabbit and a wooden horse who collected money somehow and worked down a pit and went to war. Emil and the Detectives was a story that resonated with me, perhaps as it is about crim
First published in 1929, Erich Kästner's Emil und die Detektive (Emil and the Detectives) especially and brilliantly sparkles and glows with its sense of time and place, with its urban realism, its palpably authentic and genuine representation and description of Berlin (the capital city of the Germany of the Weimar Republic, a lively and throbbing modern metropolis, and not some vague environs set in either a magical present or a distant historical past).

Also and for me personally, reading abou
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: Manny Rayner
I’ve been wanting to read this book since Disney aired its 1964 film version on television when I was a child myself (late 1960s or early 1970s). But I put it off for literally decades until the excellent Manny Rayner reminded me of the book’s existence. How sorry I am that I didn’t read this delightful little book sooner!

Considering the book was first released in 1929, this tale of a poor boy who loses a large sum, but is aided in its recovery, has aged magnificently. Young Emil Tabletoe takes

First published in 1929, Erich Kästner's Emil und die Detektive (Emil and the Detectives in English translations) especially and brilliantly sparkles and glows with its sense of time and place, with its urban realism, its palpably authentic and genuine representation and description of Berlin (the capital city of the Germany of the Weimar Republic, a lively and throbbing modern metropolis, and not some vague environs set i
Luisa Knight
This was mentioned in two different books I've read recently. The first, Enemy Brothers (actually, it was pretty well featured), and second, I can't remember. Haha! But I think it was an Eleanor Estes book ... maybe The Alley? And if Eleanor Estes is recommending it ... well, it's got to be good!

This book was lots of fun and sure to be a favorite with children! I mean, what child doesn't dream of and anticipate the day that they'll have an adventure!

And an adventure is exactly what happens to E
Ecem Yücel
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I was a kid, I read this book in my native language dozens of times. I loved it. So, decades later, when I found its ebook in English, I was excited to read it again. The Turkish translation I used to read must have been translated directly from German because I remember all the names were German. In this edition, most of the names are anglicized and seeing Gustav named "Paul" was a bit disappointing for me. All in all, though the story was engaging as always, I couldn't enjoy the book as m ...more
As funny and delightful as ever. It was one of my favourite comfort-reads as a child and it did not disappoint the grown-up me either.
Sep 14, 2015 marked it as to-be-considered  ·  review of another edition
This is more like a review-by-proxy of Emil and the detectives.

I watched a program on youtube in which Marcel Reich-Ranicki, without doubt the most famous German literary critc of his time, is talking about German authors; this time about Erich Kästner. Of course he also had something to say about "Emil". Born in Poland in 1920 with a Polish father and German mother, the family moved to Berlin in the late 1920s. Here little Marcel learned to read German. Although he sort of liked the usual books
Dhanaraj Rajan
It has everything that a children's book is supposed to have. A simple story, a young boy as the hero who is ably assisted by other young boys, a cunning bank robber who gets nabbed by the young detectives (boys).

As the story progresses you root for the small boys and it is a satisfying denouement as the story ends in all positive manner.

In it are interwoven some wonderful themes: Love for Parents, Friendship, Honesty, Be careful with the Strangers especially when travelling alone.

Along with m
Katie Hanna
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

This is funny and sweet and unexpectedly serious. I think kids would love it. Great illustrations too.

And I very much enjoyed having a sort of "insider's view" of the choices the translator made when taking this story out of German into English *grins* *because is a nerd* :-P
Oct 07, 2011 rated it liked it
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
There are two things that strike me in particular: the ability and sense of responsibility of the children to organise themselves and the hero's sense of responsibility towards his mother and his family - not surprising given als ich ein kleiner Junge war.

It's a simple story of a boy from a small town going to visit relatives in the big city. Entertaining and engaging. The hero's fear of going to the police because he had drawn a mustache on a statue always felt realistic to me as a child.
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I discovered Erich Kästner through the book 'The End of Loneliness', in which two of the characters watch a film adaptation of an Erich Kästner book. So I did some research and discovered that 'Emil and the Detectives' is Erich Kästner's most famous book. I read it in one breath today.

Emil lives with his mother in Neustadt. During the holidays, his mother sends him by train to Berlin to spend the holidays with his grandmother and aunt and her family. Emil's mother gives him some money which she
Nola Lorraine
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
While travelling by train to visit his grandmother in Berlin, young Emil falls asleep. When he awakes, the money pinned inside his coat is gone, along with the bowler-hatted stranger who'd been sitting across from him. When Emil spots the man getting off the train at another station, he heads off in pursuit. Along the way, he meets up with a group of boys (the detectives) and together they set out to trap the thief.

I've been reading a book called '501 Must-Read Books' and when it mentioned 'Emil
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
This review is for the wonderful Scholastic edition, not the rotten 2007 edition . GR's stupid software updates have decided that they know better than me. For the review of the horrible 2007 edition, check the Scholastic cover. I tried to fix the confusion and made it worse. Sheesh.
Aaaaahhhh, that's better.

This is the translation of Emil that I grew up reading. My brother bought it from Scolastic back in the late 60s and I read it over and over again.

Fast forward 3 or 4 decades and I bought it
Ian Laird
Minor edits and an update 11 July 2020.
My neighbourhood of Erskineville and Newtown in Sydney is festooned with street libraries. I can find them perched on front fences in nearby quiet streets, attached to shop fronts and free standing in village spaces, there's even one in a tree, all ready for the keen reader passing by. They are a rich source of treasures.

I saw Erich Kastner’s Emil and the Detectives in one of these boxes and thought this was a title I had heard of - beyond that I knew littl
Sue Read
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
The introduction to this book confidently tells us how the story has been faithfully translated from German and in no way loses any of the excitement, thrill or adventure had by our main character, Emil. It's right too, because this is a cracking story, first published in English in 1931, of Emil's train ride to visit his Grandmother in Berlin and his subsequent adventure.

On the way to Berlin Emil sits next to a man wearing a bowler hat and reading a newspaper....there is something not quite rig
The Library Lady
Sep 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
Let me be clear: I am not giving one star to Erich Kastner's original, marvelous book, one of my childhood favorites. You can find that here.

I am giving it to this "updated" translation, which tries to make Emil and his friends talk like 21st century kids, and gives English versions of many of the names. Emil Tischbein becomes "Emil Tabletoe," poor Pony Hutchen becomes "Pony the Hat," and Gustav is renamed "Gus" and declares "I'm pysched!" at one point.

Not me. I'm not psyched. I am, in the word
From BBC radio 4 - Saturday Drama:
Dramatisation by Katie Hims of the comic children's detective novel by Erich Kaestner.

Country boy Emil Tischbein, up from Neustadt for the first time, enlists the aid of hundreds of Berlin street boys to help him catch a thief.
Ana Marija Šir
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
read it several times. this year again with my kid. love it.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
This review is for the rotten 2007 edition, not the wonderful Scholastic edition. GR's stupid software updates have decided that they know better than me. For the review of the Scholastic edition, check the 2007 cover. I tried to fix the confusion and made it worse. Sheesh.

Three and a half stars for the edition, not the story. The story would be a definite five, but it has been spoilt by a modernised translation. Why the editors felt they had to translate German surnames into English I will neve
Nisha Vinod
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Erich Kastner had written Emil and the Detectives originally in German. The book was very popular. But during Hitler's time, his books were branded anti-german and several copies consigned to flames. Luckily, the book outlasted those dark times and Emil survived to spy another day.

Emil is one of the first fictional child detectives. Today, we have 'The Famous Five', ' Alex Rider', 'Nancy Drew... But little Emil was the first. Philip Pullman remarked that the book is ' democracy in action' and
Aug 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
And to think that these boys grew up to serve the Führer. But I'll try to set that thought aside.

A classic that doesn't age well. Pony, the girl cousin with the bicycle, is the most energetic and brave of all, but is delighted to be the one to make coffee and serve rolls to the boys, and to serve the cause primarily as liaison to the adults. The boys have entirely too much freedom... the 'sensibleness' of the more liberal parents is explained frighteningly convincingly. And there's so much good
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: germany, childrens
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
Judith Johnson
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this when I was about 10, and it was fun reading it again, and a change from that other, grimmer Berlin detective, Bernie Gunther... I feel sad, though, when I reflect that of all the little boys (and girls, of course) that read it in 1929 in German, and then in 1931 in England when it came out here, many would have been at war with each other 10 years later when they were young men. We were all innocent children once ...
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Erich Kästner (1899 – 1974) was a German author, poet, screenwriter and satirist, known for his humorous, socially astute poetry and children's literature.

A stout pacifist and democrat, he was expelled from the national writers' guild during the Nazi era, with many of his books being burned in public. Today, he is widely regarded as one of Germany's most prolific and beloved children's book author

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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.” 6 likes
“Und die Straßenbahn fuhr. Und sie hielt. Und sie fuhr weiter. Emil las den Namen der schönen breiten Straße. Kaiserallee hieß sie. Er fuhr und wusste nicht, wohin. Im andern Wagen saß ein Dieb. Und vielleicht saßen und standen noch andere Diebe in der Bahn. Niemand kümmerte sich um ihn. Ein fremder Herr hatte ihm zwar einen Fahrschein geschenkt. Doch nun las er schon wieder Zeitung.

Die Stadt war so groß. Und Emil war so klein. Und kein Mensch wollte wissen, warum er kein Geld hatte und warum er nicht wusste, wo er austeigen sollte. Vier Millionen Menschen lebten in Berlin und keener interessierte sich für Emil Tischbein. Niemand will von den Sorgen und Freuden genug zu tun. Und wenn man sagt: 'Das tut mir aber wirklich leid', so meint man meistens gar nichts weiter als: 'Mensch, lass mich bloß in Ruhe!'

Was würde warden? Emil schlukte schwer. Und er fühlte sich sehr, sehr allein.”
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