This month’s book is Astrid Lingren’s Karlson on the Roof, chosen by Tony Gould.
Karlson on the Roof by the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren is a wickedly funny book for children. My son, at the age of four or five, loved it – and I loved reading it to him. Karlson is ‘a very brave, strong, beautiful and reasonably stout hero’ with a propellor on his back, so that he can fly ‘almost like a little helicopter’. He is also conceited, rude and selfish and gives his child friend Midge a dreadful time. Yet he knows exactly how far he can go without alienating Midge’s sympathy. Is he real, or is he a fantasy projection – the ‘good’ child’s alter ego? You must decide for yourself. It’s a gem of a book.
Tony Gould is Tony Gould is a non-fiction writer with a special interest in biography and history.