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‘Walter Trier’s deceptively innocent drawings are as classic as Kästner’s words; I never tire of them’ Quentin Blake
Luise has ringlets. Lottie has braids. Apart from that they look exactly the same.
But they are sure that they have never set eyes on each other in their lives.
When the two girls meet at a summer camp and discover the secret behind their similarity, they decide to switch places. Everyone is fooled (apart from the dog) and, despite a few mistakes and misadventures, everything goes to plan for Luise as Lottie and Lottie as Luise – until their father meets a young, beautiful woman and things start to unravel…
Funny, moving, affectionate and improbable, The Parent Trap has twice been adapted for film – but the book remains one of the great classics of German children’s literature.
Erich Kästner, writer, poet and journalist, was born in Dresden in 1899. His first children’s book, Emil and the Detectives, was published in 1929 and has since sold millions of copies around the world and been translated into around 60 languages. After the Nazis took power in Germany, Kästner’s books were burnt and he was excluded from the writers’ guild. He won many awards, including the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1960. He died in 1974.
Walter Trier was born in Prague in 1880. In 1910 he moved to Berlin, where he would later be introduced to Kästner, and began his career drawing cartoons for the Berliner Illustrated. He also contributed to the satirical weekly Simplicissimus, where during the 1920s, despite great personal risk, he ridiculed Hitler and the Nazi Party in a series of cartoons. In 1936 he fled to London, where he was involved in producing anti-Nazi leaflets and political propaganda drawings. He would go on to have a rich career, producing around 150 covers for the humorous magazine Lilliput. He died in 1951 in Ontario, Canada.
Anthea Bell is an award-winning translator. Having studied English at Oxford University, she has had a long and successful career, translating works from French, German and Danish. She is best known for her translations of the much-loved Asterix books, Stefan Zweig and W.G. Sebald.