|Original title||Karlsson på taket|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback)|
Karlsson-on-the-Roof (Swedish: Karlsson på taket) is a fictional character in a series of children's books created by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. The cartoon adaptation became popular in the USSR with its release in the 1970s. To this day, the adaptations are still celebrated as an integral part of the Russian cartoon industry, with Karlsson being recognised as a national icon, together with Cheburashka and other such characters.
Karlsson is a very short, very portly and overconfident man who lives in a small house hidden behind a chimney on the roof of a very ordinary apartment building, on a very ordinary street in Stockholm. When Karlsson pushes a button on his stomach, it starts a clever little motor with a propeller on his back allowing him to fly. Karlsson is the best at everything, at least according to himself. But there is, in fact, one thing at which he excels: being a playmate to a young boy named Svante, but nicknamed Lillebror (little brother), who lives in the apartment building with his family.
Karlsson is quite mischievous, often getting Lillebror in trouble, but everyone in the end - even Lillebror's family, his cranky uncle, and their dour housekeeper - grow to like Karlsson and appreciate his sense of humour, energy, and good nature.
There are three Karlsson-on-the-Roof books:
- 1955: Karlsson-on-the-Roof (ISBN 0670411779)
- 1962: Karlsson Flies Again
- 1968: Karlsson-on-the-Roof is Sneaking Around Again
There have been several film versions of this series. A live-action version, Världens bästa Karlsson, was released in Sweden 1974, followed by a more recent animated film released in 2002.
The two Soviet animated films, directed by Boris Stepantsev at Soyuzmultfilm studio in 1968 and 1970, are two of the most celebrated and loved cartoons in Russia and other countries of the former USSR. Karlsson was voiced by Vasily Livanov and Fröken Hildur Bock was voiced by Faina Ranevskaya in both animated films. In 1971, the character was also adapted on the Soviet stage at Moscow's famed Satire Theatre, where Karlsson was portrayed by People's Artist of USSR Spartak Mishulin.
Karlsson's antics earned him the ire of some traditional educators and parents, who believed Karlsson would incite young children to disobey authority, and mistrust and fear babysitters.