Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner

Young Emil travels to Berlin in a train for holidays. His mother saved up money for his grandmother and some for his stay. She gives him Seven Pounds, five for grandmother and two for his stay. If you wonder, what Seven Pounds could buy, this is in 1929 and seven pounds is a lot of money. Despite being asked to keep the money safe, Emil manages to get his money stolen. Imagine Emil in a big city with no money. Not to worry, Emil is intent on getting back his money from the person who stole it. So what is Emil going to do?

This is a fun little classic adventure book. Emil meets a group of boys in Berlin who decide to help him. They come up with a plan to get the money back. It is interesting that instead of bickering and fighting, the boys become organised and designate roles for everybody. While they are adventurous and optimistic they are also practical. They think about their immediate needs about food, money for travel, and need to be informed and create a point of contact. It is also clever how Emil proves that money is his finally. I loved the illustrations too. 

Translated from German by Eileen Hall and illustrated by Walter Trier

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