Top critical review
11 people found this helpful
Killed by translation
on 9 July 2009
It probably was a bad omen to get a new translator by the name of Sarah Death for this book. This trilogy were my favourite books of the childhood. I remember coming home being upset about lots of thing and feeling like nothing would make me feel better and then opening one of the books and feeling happy and cosy again. The books are so wonderful and funny, warm and nostalgic but now shot dead through the heart by this translation and horrible illustrations. I remember as a child laughing at the name of the housekeeper - Freken Bok, imagining what it's like to live in Sweden... But would the current readers even guess that Karlson and Erik live in Sweden? Probably not... The names of all the characters are needlessly anglicised (purely for mercenary reason in (false)hope to sell more), language is charmless and the book probably would be better without any illustrations such as these.
Does Oxford University Press thinks nobody else remembers earlier and much better translations or that nobody can read translations in other languages and compare? I think they should be ashamed of themselves.
However, despite all this I would still recommend this book if you cannot read it in any other language where it's better translated. If you want a purely innocent book full of fun - this is it. If the book had original illustrations and sensitive translation it would deserve not 5 but 10 stars...
Erik lives in Stockholm with his Mum, Dad, brother and sister. A perfectly ordinary happy family. He is maybe a bit lonely because he is the youngest in the family and he really wants a dog. Erik (Smidge in this book) befriends a flying man Karlson, who is naughty and fun, who loves cream cakes best of all, and chocolate and toffies, all other sweets in the world and any other food and ...playing tricks. And Erik realises that quite often he has to forgive Karslson's shortcomings because Karslon is the best friend any child could wish for. So, if you read original translation you probably wouldn't enjoy this book but your children (from 6 to 12 years old? I kept it on my bed table until I was 14) most probably would love it.