Lisa and Lottie

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Lisa and Lottie
Das doppelte Lottchen 1949 Lottie and Lisa.jpg
One of earliest German editions, c. 1949
AuthorErich Kästner
Original titleDas doppelte Lottchen
TranslatorCyrus Brooks[1] (United States and Canada) Anthea Bell (United Kingdom and Australia since 2014)
IllustratorIllustrated by Walter Trier
GenreChildren's novel
Publication date
Published in English
c.1962 as Lottie and Lisa

Lisa and Lottie (original German title: Das doppelte Lottchen, "The Double Lottie") (published since 2014 in the United Kingdom and Australia as The Parent Trap) is a 1949 German novel by Erich Kästner, about twin girls separated in infancy who meet at summer camp. The book originally started out during World War II as an aborted movie scenario. In 1942, when for a brief time Kästner was allowed by the Nazi authorities to work as a screenwriter, he proposed it to Josef von Báky, under the title The Great Secret, but the Nazis once again forbade him to work. After the war, Kästner worked the idea into the highly successful book. Subsequently, it has been adapted into film many times, most notably Disney's 1961 film The Parent Trap starring Hayley Mills, the subsequent film series, and their various translations.

Plot summary[edit]

Two nine-year-old girls, bold Lisa Palfy (orig. Luise Palfy) from Vienna and shy Lottie Horn (orig. Lotte Körner) from Munich meet in a summer camp in Bohrlaken on Lake Bohren (orig. 'Seebühl am Bühlsee'), where they discover that they are identical twins whose parents divorced, each keeping one of the girls. The girls decide to swap places at the end of the summer so that Lottie will have a chance to get to know her father and Lisa will get to meet her mother. While many adults are surprised at the changes in each of the girls after they return from camp ("Lottie" has apparently forgotten how to cook, gets in a fight at school, and becomes a terrible student, while "Lisa" has begun to keep a close eye on the housekeeper's bookkeeping, will no longer eat her favorite food, and becomes a model student), no one suspects that the girls are not who they claim to be. When Lottie (under the name of Lisa) finds that her father is planning to remarry, she becomes very ill and stops writing to her sister in Munich. Meanwhile, Lottie's mother comes across a picture of the two girls at summer camp, and Lisa tells her the entire story. The girls' mother calls her former husband in Vienna to tell him what has happened and to find out why Lottie has stopped writing. When she hears that her daughter is ill, she and Lisa immediately travel to Vienna. At the daughters' request, the parents are reunited.

Differences between American and British translations[edit]

In 2014, the novel was translated by Anthea Bell and published in the United Kingdom and Australia by Pushkin Press as The Parent Trap, after the successful Disney films, replacing the previous translation by Cyrus Brooks which is still published in the United States and Canada. Bell's translation is more faithful to the German original in line with the publisher's aim of introducing children to stories from different languages and cultures. In Bell's translation, the twins are named as Luise Palfy and Lottie Körner, explaining the use of a different title, and are stated to be named after their mother Luiselotte. In the same translation, the location of the summer camp is named as Seebühl on Lake Bühl.



  1. ^ "Cyrus Brooks". New York Review Books. Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2019.

English editions[edit]