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Karlsson on the Roof

Karlsson on the Roof

Published: 4 Mar 2021

Paperback / softback, 176 pages

Recommended for age 7+

By Astrid Lindgren

Illustrated by Mini Grey

Published by Oxford University Press

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Fun-filled stories starring an ordinary boy called Smidge and the extraordinary Karlsson, the flying man who lives on the roof!

Tagged Sweden

Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard (World of Astrid Lindgren)
Pippi Longstocking (World of Astrid Lindgren)
Karlsson on the Roof

Reviewed by Erin Hamilton

Karlsson on the Roof is part of the long lasting legacy of brilliant characters and exciting adventures from Astrid Lindgren. Pippi Longstocking is perhaps the most famous character from Lindgren’s repertoire but Karlsson is certainly one not to be forgotten.

Astrid Lindgren’s characters are being given a new lease of life from Oxford University Press. The stories remain the same but the illustrations are by the renowned Mini Grey and will inspire a new generation of readers to meet the world famous Pippi, Karlsson, Emil and Lotta.

Karlsson is a small, plump but handsome man (in his own words) and he has a propeller on his back that allows him to fly around and meet new people. He happens to live in a small house on the roof of Smidge’s house and that is how they come to meet. After a particularly bad day, Smidge is hiding in his room when Karlsson flies past. Karlsson is a determined character, doing what he wants regardless of others opinions and this will inevitably lead to trouble and include Smidge!

Karlsson on the Roof would be a fantastic story to read aloud to a Year 2 or 3 class and I feel it would be enjoyed as there are funny adventures, trouble and exceptional characters.

From reading online reviews and thoughts, it seems to be a general consensus that Karlsson is a much loved character in Russia and that the German and Russian translations portray Karlsson as a funny and charming character. Many have dubbed the English translations as awkward. Perhaps due to the time period in which it was written, it is hard to imagine a time when we would allow our children to play with a flying neighbour, or indeed spend time on the roof. With a Roald Dahl-esc set of unbelievable adventures, I think new readers will enjoy the adventures with Karlsson and Smidge.

Laughs and fun with the “world’s greatest flying man”!

You can read another review from The World of Astrid Lindgren series: Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard

"I am a Reading Advocate for a trust of schools based in Suffolk. I went from being a full-time primary teacher to a librarian when my love of children's literature really took hold. It is now a full-time job reading and sharing high quality children's books with my schools, colleagues and students. When I am not reading, I am spending time with my family and friends."