Emil’s Little Sister is the hardest Emil book to find in America, but I feel so lucky because I was able to read it thanks to Saltkråkan AB who sent me a copy. I am so grateful! Thank you, Saltkråkan folks!
This was a wonderful way to end my time with Emil. I will always go back and revisit, but for now I am finished reading Emil. This has been my favorite discovery of the whole Lindgren project — finding Emil. I could read books about Emil forever.
This story features Emil’s sister Ida a little more than the other books, as would be expected with the title. Its title in Swedish is Nar lilla skulla gora hyss (1982) and it was translated by David Scott with pictures by the fabulous Bjorn Berg. Bjorn Berg has done such a consistently great job with Emil’s family.
Ida is envious of Emil’s prowess with pranks and decides that she too wants to make a visit to the woodshed where Emil serves time after he gets into trouble. Ida goes in search of trouble but has a hard time finding it like Emil. And even when something is her fault, she doesn’t get blamed!
She and her brother have this funny interaction:
Then Ida’s face lit up like the sun.
“I think I’ve done something naughty,” she said.
“Yes. You certainly have,” said Emil.
“And I didn’t know it till afterwards,” said Ida. “What you said is right. It just happens.”
I couldn’t find this book in the library system. I couldn’t find this book for sale in the United States. I finally had to order it from England. I’m so very glad I did. This is a beautiful book with delightful pictures by Bjorn Berg. Its original title was Emils hyss nr 325 (Emil’s 325th prank) in 1983’s Swedish edition. It was translated by David and Judy Scott.
Much more than the original three Emil books (Pranks, Soup Tureen, and Clever Pig) this is a picture book – with big, beautiful color pictures on each page. The original Emil books are longer (well over 100 pages, with this one having only 60 pages) but have fewer pictures — and none in color, whereas all the pictures in this book are in color.
Emil’s mother hates the flies that get inside and wants to buy fly-paper, but Emil’s dad is too cheap and threatens that the whole family will end up begging if money is spent so frivolously. Emil gets the brilliant idea: “If the begging has to be done, it would be better, perhaps, if I got a begging stick straight away and begged enough money to buy some fly-papers.”
Emil dresses up like a beggar, earns enough to buy fly-papers, and hangs them up in the kitchen all by himself as a surprise. He muses: “Here all the flies in all of Katthult could once and for all be lured to their doom.”
Alas, it is not only the flies who get stuck to Emil’s surprise fly-papers.
The whole book is a delight, but this line popped out at me: “Now Emil lay there in his bed and thought so hard that his brain creaked.”
I am so glad that I ordered this from England. It was so worth it. Emil is a great series.
Emil and Piggy Beast (also titled Emil’s Clever Pig) was translated from the Swedish by Michael Heron. The illustrations by Bjorn Berg are perfect for Emil books. It’s reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s stories and the illustrations by Quentin Blake that accompany them.
In this Emil edition, Emil attends an auction and buys a lot of junk (according to his father), but it works out okay in the end.
He also attempts to pull Lina’s bad tooth. I’ve seen another Emil book listed on some Lindgren lists titled Emil and the Bad Tooth. The pagecount on Emil and the Bad Tooth is very short (60 pages) when compared to Emil and Piggy Beast (191 pages). I’m fairly confident that the story itself is the same in either book and that Emil and the Bad Tooth is a short-story or picture book version. I cannot find any information on Emil and the Bad Tooth, so if you know more about it than I do, please let me know.
One of my favorite chapters is titled: “Tuesday, the Tenth of August, When Emil Put the Frog in the Lunch Basket and then Behaved So Badly that I Hardly Dare Write About It.” Lindgren’s voice in these books is phenomenal and a big part of their charm.
Emil also manages to lock his father in the outhouse, get his pig drunk, and save his best buddy Alfred from certain death. (“Sunday, the Eighteenth of December, When Emil Did Such a Noble Deed that the Whole of Lonneberga was Proud of him and all his Past Tricks were Forgiven and Forgotten.”)
I can’t help but agree: “Emil is a dear little boy,” she [Emil’s mom] said. “I know he set fire to the parson’s wife the other day, but he’s already sat in the tool shed for that, and there’s no need for you to carry on about it now.”
Yes, Emil is definitely a dear little boy. He deserves his place alongside Pippi Longstocking as Astrid’s legacy. I can’t remember a series I have enjoyed more than Emil.
Emil’s Pranks, originally Nya Hyss Av Emil i Lonneberga (1966), was translated by someone, we might presume, although no translator is listed in the version I read.
Again readers are treated to Bjorn Berg’s pictures, which perfectly reflect Emil’s impishness. This illustrator fits the stories very well.
Like Emil in the Soup Tureen, this is a set of three Emil stories: when Emil upset the bowl of blood pudding over his father, when Emil got a horse and scared the life out of Mrs. Petrell and all of Vimmerby, and when Emil made a clean sweep in Katthult and caught the superintendent in a wolf pit.
Favorite paragraph: Perhaps you may think that Emil gave up getting into mischief because he now had a horse, but that wasn’t the case. He rode Lukas for three whole days, but by the third day, which was 3 November, he was ready to get up to his pranks again. Guess what he did – ha ha, it makes me laugh whenever I think about it. Well, on that particular day he – no! stop! I promised his mother never to tell what he did on 3 November, because soon after that the Lonnebergans collected all that cash, you remember, and wanted to send Emil to America. Emil’s mother didn’t want to remember it and never even wrote about it in her notebook, so why should I give it away?
Emil in the Soup Tureen was my first experience with Emil – a clever, caring, boy who tries to help out but usually makes the situation worse in a hilarious way.
The translation (Lilian Seaton) and pictures (Bjorn Berg) are beautiful, the stories are grand. Emil is someone all kids (and, cough, many adults) will relate to.
The one issue I have with this book is the title. While “tureen” is a word, it is not a common one, and definitely not a word that children would know. “Soup pot,” “soul kettle,” or “soup bowl” would all have been a better pick. What kid will be drawn to the story if they don’t understand the title? Luckily Bjorn Berg’s pictures make up for it. A little.
There are three Emil stories in this book (and in all Emil books?): when Emil got his head stuck in the soup tureen, when Emil hoisted little Ida up the flagstaff, and when Emil went on the spree on Hultsfred Plain.
Ridiculous online review for this book: “Every boy will love this book, and even girls…”
Favorite quote from this book, the best opening description of any character ever (with possible exception to good old Eustace Clarence Scrubb courtesy of Mr. Lewis): Once upon a time there was a boy called Emil, who lived in Lonneberga. He was a harum-scarum, stubborn little chap, not as nice as you, of course, but he looked nice enough, that is to say when he wasn’t screaming.