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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars51
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 28 November 2008
As a child, this must have been one of my most favourite books. 30 years on and bored reading the Horrid Henry books to my son, I decided to find this book and read it to my son, and we had great fun in reading this book. This story maybe from a different decade; however, with such an enchanting story, that is told with sheer vividness, that my son has told all his friends about it and even bought a copy for his best friend. I highly recommend this book, as it's not only a good read; it has some good moral lessons.
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on 20 November 2009
To begin with Emil leads a double life - he is both responsible for helping his mother who works hard to make ends meet after the death of Emil's father, but he is also rather wild - getting into fights and other mischief.

Having to travel on his own to visit relations in Berlin, and being entrusted to take a large sum of money for his grandmother, Emil takes his duty very seriously. However, this does not stop him from falling asleep on the train, only to find the money missing when he awakes! Then the real adventure begins as he stalks his chief suspect.... but he is not alone - soon he is joined by a gang of local children.

From here, the story has great pace - there is humour and charm in the gusto with which the children organise themselves and track their prey. Patience and ingenuity are required if they are to succeed...

The only strange part to the story is the dream Emil has when he falls asleep on the train - it is rather surreal, but perhaps something children can take in their stride. The only other question I had was regarding the translation - the book goes to a great deal of trouble to explain the sights Emil encounters on his journey, and when everything else in the landscape, including the names, are all German, the money is in pounds!

Published in Germany between the World Wars, it is easy to see how this book has been 'lost,' which is an enormous shame as it is simply wonderful! You could say, given hindsight, these children are a little too organised, but really I found nothing offensive here. In my opinion the story has aged well, just a pity it is not better known.

Pictures are great too!
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on 26 October 2012
Read this at school as a boy and the book was taken away from us at the end of term and never had the opportunity to quite finish; revisited some decades later and read to our 2 boys who thoroughly enjoyed it. Emil's no angel and yet becomes the hero of the story - i think that's what they liked the best! Great read.
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on 27 January 2009
I had this read to me at school in the 1970s and remembered it recently. I read it to my 8 year old and we laughed and were GRIPPED. The story( a theft on board a train to Berlin adn Emils detection) all came back to me and although there were a couple of things to explain, the book retains the sparkle it had the first day it was published. Lovely drawings ( just the right amount) and nice font make it very pleasing to the eye.
This is a book that will make you look forward to your child's bedtime!
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on 1 July 2013
Beautiful edition that makes a great gift, at a good price. This was a favourite children's book of mine when growing up, now I have been giving it to a few friends' children. Good value on Amazon for the beautiful edition that it is.
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on 26 September 2007
Emil Tischbein and his mother aren't exactly well off. She works as a hairdresser and saves pennies to send to her mother in Berlin. She sends Emil off to stay with his grandma in the holidays, taking the money in his inside pocket. But on the train, someone picks his pocket. Emil jumps off at the Tiergarten to follow the thief and fortunately falls in with a gang of lads who instantly decide they'll become detectives and foil the thief's dastardly plans. Now read on! It gives a detailed picture of prewar Berlin and the children are real-life kids.
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on 8 September 2012
This book is beautifully written with economy and just the kind of details that children like. It is fun, a light hearted and well paced great adventure written with humour and warmth that many commercial childrens books (with hyped up emotions and "jeopardy")lack today. What I like about it? The children in the story range free, they argue a bit,square up, then make up easily, they are cheeky, affectionate and resourceful. Its their story and their world. The only girl character is assertive and funny, speeds around on her bike, and mocks the boys without rancour. And Eric loves his mum, and their relationship is portrayed with humour and warmth, ditto the other adults. Kastner pokes fun at officials, and understands that children can worry too much about getting into trouble for nothing much, and makes it funny. A happy ending with the appropriate delicious food.
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on 6 February 2012
I bought this as I had had it as a child, and like so many books that you knew to be excellent, they disappeared as you grew up. 'Emil & the Detectives' fascinated me then, I think, because like the Famous Five, the children's boldness and potency together knew no bounds, and the writing style is comfortable and occasionally pacey. A really good tale of daring, with some interesting insights into ordinary life in Weimar Germany (sunday suits, train carriage compartments, etc) and some very sweet and satisfying moments.
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on 23 March 2010
Since I'm German, I read this and other Erich Kaestner books as a child in German. It is still fun in English for my children (10&5), has not lost it's charm.
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on 20 February 2002
I had to review this to bump up the star rating; so long as it has its original illustrations, this is a classic suspense tale for young readers, in which the atmosphere of pre-war working class Germany is powerfully evoked. Or are today's kids too sophisticated? Suffice it to say that no film (no English language film, anyway) could do this story justice.
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