Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Flying Classroom, by Erich Kastner

Staff Review by Chris Saliba

Erich Kastner's 1935 children's novel The Flying Classroom shines in this new translation by Anthea Bell.

The Flying Classroom is a 1935 children's novel by German author Erich Kastner, published by Pushkin Children's in a new translation by Anthea Bell. Other well known books by Kastner include Emil and the Detectives and The Parent Trap, which was made into the famous Disney film.

The story centres around five young school friends - Martin, Uli, Sebastian, Johnny and Matthias - and the many adventures they get up to. There are conflicts with a rival school, a kidnapping, an end of year play to put on, art projects to complete and risky tricks to perform, especially by the young Uli who is desperate to prove he can be brave. Another plot involves the boys bringing together their favourite teacher, Justus, and his long lost best friend, Dr. Robert Uthofft.

This is a wonderfully lively story full of great characters, heartwarming plot twists and all round good fun. You'll wish you were one of the boys enjoying their many youthful exploits. The story is told in Erich Kastner's characteristically effervescent style. The Flying Classroom may be 80 years old this year, but it seems like it was written yesterday. Reading it made me feel very cheerful, but a little sad that it ended so soon!

The Flying Classroom, by Erich Kastner. Published by Pushkin Children's. ISBN: 9781782690566  RRP: $16.99

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