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on 2 March 2017
It's the book of my childhood, I own a copy in several languages and English is the latest addition, beautifully translated, reads superb! Brilliant, like all Astrid Lindgren' s books, can't wait for my kids to be mature enough to read it to them (7&3) as it deals with terminal illness and death and afterlife. Hard topics, yet, in my opinion, shown in a positive, hope-giving way.
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on 22 December 2017
I first read this as a kid and it was a pleasure to revisit it. This story used to be one of my favourites and I enjoyed rereading it.
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on 9 January 2018
A beautiful, and important book to read for kids. Will squeeze your heartstrings though, so keep the tissues handy
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on 1 April 2017
excellent
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on 17 May 2017
One of the greatest children's books of all times.
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on 3 March 2017
I'm giving this 5 stars even though it didn't quite work out the way I planned.

We love Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking books and thought this would be a step on, so I bought it to read to my 7 year old son. However, having skimmed the first chapter, I realised it was a little too grown up for him.

There is a death of a young child right at the start, and although it is very sensitively handled I felt it would just be a bit too upsetting at that age. However, having started to read it myself I couldn't put it down. The prose has a beautiful heroic style, like the folk tales it is based on. The relationship between the brothers a beautifully depicted. I also found it really refreshing to have a book written from the point of view of the younger, less strong child, rather than the classic, brilliant-at-everything hero. It's really a book about bravery, and what it really means to be brave - why it's important and where it comes from inside us.

I think this would be a fantastic book for a mature 9 or 10 year old, but would also offer a lot for an early teen - although it's told from the point of view of a 10 year old the themes are very grown-up.
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on 26 October 2011
I just love this book since I have read it as a child till now. I am still coming back to it. While growing up one can see new dimensions of the story. Some claim the book is too difficult or scary for kids...well, have a look what they are watching now in TV, what kind of games they are playing, on which activities they participate and then tell me the book is too much for them ;-) This kind of literature can make people better. To make them think about better things in life. It shows them what is love, courage, friendship, hope, determination. Some people say the concept of death in this book is what makes it inappropriate for children. Not really. It is us who did hide death in our life, who are denying it. It is here and children need to know it to be able to cope in their life, to be able to walk with their eyes open and see things as their are. What do you think more educative? Your kid reading about somebody dying for a reason in a fictional book or your kid sitting in front of a playstation and "shooting" fictional enemies by his own hand? I want my kids to be human and appreciative of life. Thats why I will give them this book to read.
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on 7 April 2006
I have a much loved and very battered copy of this book that was given to me as a child when my little brother died. I buried myself in its fantastic adventures and was gripped by its alternative ideas about what happens when you leave this world. I have looked for copies ever since to pass on to others as it was a life-affirming story that I will always be eternally grateful to have read at a time of desperate loneliness. I now have new copies of it in Italian and Swedish but can't afford to buy copies of my old English edition with its beautiful black and white line drawings. My advice is to get hold of any copy you can and let as many people as possible read it, there's nothing else like it.
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on 9 November 2015
My six-year-old son and I are Astrid Lindgren fans, and I recently finished reading this to him. I'm not sure I would have if I'd known how it ends (and definitely I would have at least changed the ending).
Before getting to the heart of the matter, i want to say that the translation by Joan Tate is very bad. The English is often very stilted, as if the text had been translated literally, word-for-word from the Swedish. I have found other translations of Lindgren books (e.g., the Pippi Longstocking books, Karlsson on the Roof, the Noisy Village books) that are excellent, so there's really no excuse for this.
But that's not what I came here to talk about.
Buying the book, I thought it might be a good way for a child to deal with the topic of death. There are hints of darker things going on in the generally very cheerful Pippi Longstocking books (for example, the glimpse of a lonely Pippi with which the trilogy closes) that indicated to me this might be the case. But the last chapter came as a big surprise, and by the time I realized what was going on, it was too late to change the ending, which is about a euthanasia-type suicide.
So think very carefully about this when you are buying this book for a child, as this is not the sort of thing I had intended to expose a six-year-old to.
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on 19 July 2005
I read this book years and years ago for the first time, and it is one of those books you can never forget and you will always come back to. The story about the 2 brothers, entering another world after they died and have to find out, that "paradise" is at a huge thread by an evil Lord.
They have to defend their and their friends freedom and lives. It is a story about bravery, friendship etc., just brilliantly written. Once you read this, you will be wondering why paople make such a huge hype about Harry Potter.
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