I fear the posts about books by Astrid Lindgren will always be the same. Yes, I loved this book. Yes, it made me smile and even laugh out loud. Yes, this is perfect for children. Yes, I still enjoyed it as an adult.
This collection of the two books published about the children on troublemaker street is about three children living in a yellow house on a street that is not exactly called troublemaker street, but that is renamed by the father of these three children, because they are always so loud (in Dutch, the translation reads noisy-street, but I assume that since another title by Lindgren had already been translated as Noisy Village, they could not use it again. Also, the Swedish bråk apparently means both noise and trouble, so there you go). While the book is about three children, Jonas, Maria and Lotta, and include descriptions of the family atmosphere, the character that steals the show is Lotta. Lotta is stubborn, and naughty, but also sweet and funny and hard not to love. She is the youngest and is often left out of the games of her older sister and brother, and teased by them when she cannot do the same things they can, but she always comes up with a smart remark or alternative. It is incredibly charming to read about Lotta’s adventures.
The first book contains short stories about Lotta and Jonas and Maria. The second is a rendition of Lotta’s ‘move to a different house’ (she goes to live in the attic of her neighbour’s garden house) when her mother makes her wear an itchy sweater. It is hard to say which book I liked best. I think they work perfect together, because the first book allows you to become acquainted with the whole family and understand Lotta’s role in it, which makes the second more enjoyable.
There is one thing that I feel I need to mention. One of the stories is called “Lotta looks like a negro slave” when she becomes blackened from soot in the chimney, which sounds incredibly offensive now. I know that this was not considered offensive during the time this was written in Sweden, but it is hard not to notice now. I just wanted to mention it, because I can imagine some people would like to ignore the book because of it, or perhaps be warned so they may skip over the story when they read it in the title. Personally, I think discussing the ideas behind the remark would be best. Despite my misgivings about that story, I still loved the rest of this collection.
* Dutch translation of the books Barnen på Bråkmakargatan & Lotta på Bråkmakargatan, translated in English as indicated in the title above.
I read this book as part of the Nordic Challenge hosted by Zommie. I cannot wait to read more Scandinavian lit, I am planning on reading a lot of it in the autumn and winter. It helps alleviate my melancholic wish to return one day.