man on the street


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.

Plot overview

Karlsson is a very short, very portly and confident man who lives on the roof of a very ordinary house, on a very ordinary street in Stockholm. When Karlsson pushes a button in the middle of 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 Lillebror (little brother), who lives in this house with his family.

Karlsson is quite mischievous, often getting little brother into trouble; however, in the end, everyone, including little brother's family, his cranky uncle, and his strict housekeeper grow to like Karlsson and appreciate his sense of humor, energy, and good nature.


There are altogether three Karlsson-on-the-Roof books. Among them are the following:

  • 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 was released in Sweden 1974, followed by a more recent animated film released in 2002.

The Soviet animated films, created by the award-winning animation studio Soyuzmultfilm in 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 in those versions.


His antics earned him the ire of some traditional educators and parents, who believed that Karlsson might incite young children to disobey authority and mistrust and fear babysitters. The books were accordingly banned in some libraries and schools in North America.

External links

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