Emil and the Detectives

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Overview

In Erich Kastner's classic children's mystery, Emil must deliver an envelope of his mother's hard-earned money to his grandmother in Berlin. After boarding the train, he pins the envelope inside the jacket of his blue Sunday suit and takes his seat across from a man in a bowler hat. Emil quickly falls asleep--and when he awakens, the money and the man have both disappeared!

Emil and a resourceful gang of detectives track the skulking thief. Gustav, a fourth-grader, learns of ...

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Emil and the Detectives

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Overview

In Erich Kastner's classic children's mystery, Emil must deliver an envelope of his mother's hard-earned money to his grandmother in Berlin. After boarding the train, he pins the envelope inside the jacket of his blue Sunday suit and takes his seat across from a man in a bowler hat. Emil quickly falls asleep--and when he awakens, the money and the man have both disappeared!

Emil and a resourceful gang of detectives track the skulking thief. Gustav, a fourth-grader, learns of Emil's predicament and uses his automobile horn to mobilize his many friends--among them a brainy boy called the Professor; a loyal secretary, Tittle Dienstag; and Emil's saucy bicycle-riding cousin, Pony Hutchen. The joyous romp reaches a crescendo when over one hundred bustling children wait outside the Hotel Kreid at eight in the morning for the thief to appear.

Originally published in 1929, this quirky book reveals the touching bond between Emil and his widowed mother. All of Kastner's young characters are good-hearted, and their lives are full of the innocence and possibility of youth.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

“This effervescent little story is all about boy power…Enjoyable? You betcha.”—The Denver Post
 
“There is something sweet and pure about Kästner’s writing.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Kästner makes the concerns of the book child-sized but enormous…The main pleasure is in the way in which it plays to the fantasy of omnipotence in a child.”—The Guardian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760706381
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 9/15/1998
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 192

Meet the Author


Erich Kästner was a German author, poet, screenwriter and satirist, known primarily for his humorous, socially astute poetry and children's literature. For the latter contributions he received the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1960.

Carl Miller was the Artistic Director of the Young People's programme at the Royal Court Theatre from 1997 to 1999. Since 2002, he has been the Literary Manager of the Unicorn Theatre. He was textual advisor on Phyllida Lloyd's production of Webster's THE DUCHESS OF MALFI at the National Theatre in 2003.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 11, 2010

    great mystery book for children

    This book was originally published in German in 1929 and translated into English in 1930 by May Massee. I had heard of it for many years but had never read it, so I scarfed it up when I saw it lying in a box on a free table at a homeschool support group meeting or used curriculum fair. Emil Tischbein is a young (pre-teen or early teen) boy who travels by train from his home in Neustadt to visit relatives in Berlin with 140 marks in an envelope pinned to the inside of his jacket. He falls asleep on the train beside a somewhat strange man, and when he wakes up, the man and his money are gone! The rest of the book tells the story of how Emil arrives in Berlin, locates the man, and is helped by a crowd of other boy "detectives" whom he meets. Is the man really the thief or is it all some big mistake? And does Emil ever get his money back?
    This was a very pleasant and enjoyable book to read. It is especially interesting to see how the author actually puts himself in the story. Many good qualities are exhibited. Emil is an especially polite boy, and his detective friends are quite loyal and willing to do what is best to help the whole group rather than always demanding their own way. With its enduring themes of leadership, courage, and teamwork, there are many lessons to be learned by the grownups and the children, alike. The only objectionable items are a few common euphemisms and some minor references to smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol. Erich Kastner (1899-1974) was one of the best-known international children's authors of the twentieth century and was awarded the American Library Association Mildred L. Batchelder Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award, and he was also the author of The Little Man, The Flying Classroom, Emil and the Three Twins, and Lisa and Lottie, among others. Emil and the Detectives was his first book. Though written many years ago, the book is still in print and available. I should think that most children would like it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2013

    An old favorite

    My husband had read this book as a child and had enjoyed it, so I was curious about it, especially because it was translated from the original German by May Massee, with an introduction by Walter de la Mare. It is still an enjoyable detective fantasy for middle-grade readers. Emil travels by train to take some of his mother's hard-earned money to his grandmother. When he falls asleep, a suspicious-looking man in a bowler hat steals the money from Emil's pocket. Emil knows that not being able to help grandma would break his mother's heart, so he follows the man, meets up with a gang of very well organized kids and all of them help him to catch the thief and get his money back. Ms. Massee has provided a list of the German names used with their explanatory translations, some of which are the author's jokes on the characters in the story. Although today's children might not be familiar with things such as a bowler hat, or a black maria, this should not interfere with their enjoyment of the story. Especially well depicted is the love between Emil, his mother, Grandmother, and the entire extended family. 9-12 year-olds would enjoy this book.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    Great book!

    I'm currently reading this book in German and purchased this English edition to help get through some of the harder to translate sections and it's a great and fast read in English!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2008

    Good book

    I believe this is a great book. I recommend it most who want a short mystery book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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