Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Lisa and Lottie

I sought out this book because it is the book upon which The Parent Trap is based. The copy I read, unearthed from the archives of a county library, was published in 1969, a translation by Cyrus Brooks from the original by Erich Kastner.

This juvenile book is short and sweet, less dramatic than the movies, and so a more realistic fantasy. Lisa is bubbly and a bit unruly, who lives with her father, a successful composer and conductor, in Vienna. Serious and domestically talented Lottie lives in Munich with her mother, an overworked editor. When they meet at summer camp, they discover their relationship and switch places per the movies, but what comes next is a little different, but still very satisfying. There is a certain European quality that I cannot quantify, but that I have perceived in certain movies such as Mostly Martha, the German movie that begat the American film No Reservations.

Caution: kids who are not accustomed to reading older novels may find Kastner's style off-putting. You have to know your child. I found it charming, and not least because of the delightful illustrations by Victoria de Larrea.


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