When I was a young librarian, translations of Erich Kastner’s children’s books were well-known in the English speaking world. The Parent Trap, now republished by Pushkin in a new translation by Anthea Bell, was even made into a film by Walt Disney in 1961, starring British child actress Hayley Mills, and subsequently remade in 1998 with Lyndsey Lohan in the central roles of the two very different twins who discover one another first at a summer camp. The twins, realising that they each live with divorced parents who have never told them about each other, then decide to swop places: one to live in relative luxury with their high-flying conductor father; the other in more humble circumstances with their hard-working teacher mother. Lottie and Luise are chalk and cheese: Lottie quiet, studious and home loving; and Luise bouncy, self- confident and out-going. The twins life swop causes a gradual transformation of their parent’s lives, in which the adults become more aware and appreciative of their children and then of each other, eventually leading to their remarriage and the reunification of the family. Told in a confiding and engaging style by Kastner, as if by an avuncular adult with some surprises up his sleeve, it is a light-hearted and, for its time, slyly sophisticated comedy. While eventually affirming the value of the nuclear family, it is firmly on the side of the separated twins and makes some telling points about the way that parents relate to their children and about adults being more open with children about tricky matters like adult relationships and divorce. It’s a book that, while fascinating and amusing children with the possibilities of different family lives and the sometimes baffling behaviour of adults, also makes for salutary reading for all of us parents who have been at one time or another too preoccupied with our own lives to notice what our children are going through. Pushkin’s re-publication does full justice to the book, not only in Bell’s translation, but in the original illustrations by Walter Trier.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2015-01-05 15:03:402021-08-16 15:21:29The Parent Trap
Illustrator: Walter Trier