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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Mischievous Martens (The)
by Astrid Lindgren
Age Range: 6-8
Lotta is back with her older brother Jonas and her older sister Maria. Anything can happen when these three are around! The kitchen floor can flood, Mrs. Berg finds her knitting all unravelled and a train journey turns into total hullaballoo! These are just some of the hilarious adventures awaiting young readers in Astrid Lindgren’s The Mischievous Martens.
Equally as funny and entertaining as Lotta Leaves Home and the other instalments in the Lotta series, this book focuses on Maria, the middle Marten and narrator of the story and the novel seems to be both a stand-alone book and part of the wider Lotta series. Written in the first person, this book really gives us a feel of what it is like to be a middle child and part of a big, exciting family. The children constantly cause mischief and are very relatable characters that children should recognise and fall in love with. As well as some wonderful comic moments the narrative voice in the novel is pitched perfectly. Maria speaks simply and you truly believe that a child is talking; Lindgren’s style is just right.
Even more delightful is the greater inclusion of Jonas in the book. As the eldest child, he is the natural ring leader and everything a story-book older brother should be. His presence also serves to make the book a little less girl orientated, as the other Lotta books have quite a focus on Lotta, giving her interests that some of her male readers might not share.
Overall, The Mischievous Martens is a lovely book for younger readers; it’s funny, warm and the characters really come alive off the page. As the rest of the series is written in just the same way, the books are a fantastic introduction to Astrid Lindgren, too. Readers can graduate from Lotta to reading some of her books for slightly older children, including the wonderful Pippi Longstocking.
Abby Phillips (2012)