Emil i Lönneberga

Last updated
Emil of Lönneberga
First book, first edition

Author Astrid Lindgren
Illustrator Björn Berg
Country Sweden
Language Swedish
Genre children
Publisher Rabén & Sjögren

Emil of Lönneberga (from Swedish: Emil i Lönneberga) is a series of children's novels by Astrid Lindgren. The twelve books were written between 1963 and 1997. Emil, the title character, is a prankster who lives on a farm in the Lönneberga village of Småland, Sweden.


The books have appeared in 44 languages (2014), [1] in most cases with the original Swedish illustrations by Björn Berg. There are five movie adaptations, with the three most famous ones being released between 1971-73.

Emil the character

Emil Svensson lives with his family on a farm called Katthult, set in the village of Lönneberga a few miles from the town of Vimmerby. His age ranges in the books from about five to eight. His fair hair and blue eyes make him look like an angel, but he is not. He has a prodigious knack for getting into trouble. Emil is not malicious, as many around him think; he simply fails to see the consequences of his actions. He even states at one point, "You don't make up pranks, they just happen." [2] They consist of kindly actions gone wrong, childish games, curiosity, bad luck and plain thoughtlessness. For example, he gives away food meant for visiting relatives to the poor, who need it more. He manages to lock his father into the outhouse accidentally, while locking other doors. He hoists his willing little sister up a flagpole to see how far she could see from there. While playing "pretend" he makes everyone believe they have contracted typhus.

With most pranks, Emil escapes his father's wrath by running away and locking himself into a tool shed. Since the door can also be locked from the outside, his father locks him in there for a while as punishment. Emil is usually embarrassed by what he has done, but this is not a severe punishment for Emil, who likes sitting in the shed and takes to carving a wooden figure during each of his stays. He eventually accumulates 369 of them, except for the one that his mother buries because she claims it looks too much like the rural dean. Emil is clever and creative and tends to think in unconventional ways that adults are liable to misunderstand.

Emil is very resourceful. He is handy with any type of farm animal, especially horses. He is also brave, and saves the farmhand Alfred's life when he has blood poisoning. As Alfred is near death and the road to the doctor's covered with snow, Emil defies the bad weather and makes the trip by horse and sleigh to the doctor, so saving Alfred's life, a man he has always looked up to.

In the end, Emil is said to grow up into a responsible and resourceful man, eventually becoming Chairman of the Village Council.

Other characters

Anton Svensson, Emil's father, is often angry with his son, though it is often made clear that he likes him a lot between pranks. He is portrayed as a stereotypical inhabitant of Småland – for example, extremely tight with his money. On one occasion, he tells his wife that if she keeps wearing her shoes so often, they will have to be changed all the time – every other ten years! Alcohol and swearing are strictly forbidden in the Svenssons' house.

Alma Svensson, Emil's mother, adores her boy and tends to say that "Emil is a nice little boy, and we love him just the way he is." She also writes down every bad thing Emil does in a blue book, although it soon expands to several books.

Ida Svensson, Emil's little sister, is a well-behaved child, unlike him. She tries to pull pranks like her brother, as she wants to go to the shed, which she thinks will be cozy, but she fails.

Alfred the farmhand, and Lina the farm maid also live on the farm. Alfred, who is very fond of children, is Emil's best friend, but Lina dislikes him. She is in love with Alfred and pesters him to marry her, a subject that Alfred tends to avoid. Krösa-Maja, an elderly woman living in a cabin nearby, often visits the farm to help with the domestic work or watching the children, telling them ghost-stories and other claimed-to-be-true legends.

Historical setting

While there are no specific dates mentioned, the adventures of Emil take place in Sweden vaguely around the years of 1899-1911. Several references are made to swedish cultural, social and military phenomenons that ended in the early 1900s. A comet is mentioned, most likely Halley's Comet which passed Earth in 1910. There is also a mention of a great earthquake in America, an obvious reference to the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

In other languages

In Germany, Emil is known as Michel aus Lönneberga, for marketing reasons, as there was also another Emil established on the children's book market in West Germany in the 1960s: the boy Emil Tischbein in Erich Kästner's Emil und die Detektive from the 1920s.

In Iceland, the books are known as Emil í Kattholti and have gained considerable success.

In Italy, Emil is known as Emil, and his Swedish movies were showed on RAI TV in 1974.

In Poland, the books are known as Emil ze Smalandii.

In France, Emil was rechristened Zozo la Tornade ("Zozo Tornado").

In Finland, Emil is known as Vaahteramäen Eemeli, "Eemeli of Vaahteramäki".

In The Netherlands, Emil is known as Michiel van de Hazelhoeve. [3] [ circular reference ]

Film adaptations


  1. "Astrid Lindgren och världen | Astrid Lindgren". Astridlindgren.se. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  2. Swedish Hyss hittar man inte på, de bara blir
  3. nl:Michiel van de Hazelhoeve

Related Research Articles

Astrid Lindgren Swedish writer of fiction and screenplays

Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren was a Swedish writer of fiction and screenplays. She is best known for several children's book series, featuring Pippi Longstocking, Emil i Lönneberga, Karlsson-on-the-Roof, and the Six Bullerby Children, and for the children's fantasy novels Mio, My Son, Ronia the Robber's Daughter, and The Brothers Lionheart. Lindgren worked on the Children's Literature Editorial Board at the Rabén & Sjögren publishing house in Stockholm and wrote more than 30 books for children. In January 2017, she was calculated to be the world's 18th most translated author, and the fourth most translated children's writer after Enid Blyton, Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm. Lindgren has so far sold roughly 165 million books worldwide. In 1994, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for "her unique authorship dedicated to the rights of children and respect for their individuality."

Vimmerby Place in Småland, Sweden

Vimmerby is a city and the seat of Vimmerby Municipality, Kalmar County, Sweden with 10,934 inhabitants in 2010.

Georg Riedel (jazz musician)

Georg Riedel is a Czech-Swedish double bass player and composer. Riedel migrated to Sweden at the age of four and attended school in Stockholm, including the Adolf Fredrik's Music School.

Firat Cewerî

Firat Cewerî is a Kurdish writer, translator and journalist. He was born in the town of Derik near Mardin in south-eastern Turkey. In the 1980s, he emigrated to Sweden, where he lives now.

Swedish childrens literature

The Swedish children's literature tradition was initiated by the Swedish-speaking Finn Zachris Topelius in the 19th century. It flourished at the dawn of the 20th century with Elsa Beskow (1874–1953), who wrote and illustrated some 40 children's stories between 1897–1952. Her books were beloved and have continued to be reprinted in Sweden and many other languages.


Madicken is a fictional character created by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Madicken appeared in six books, two films — Du är inte klok Madicken (1979) and Madicken på Junibacken (1980) — and a TV series (1979).

Nils Olof "Olle" Hellbom was a Swedish film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is most famous for directing films based on novels by Astrid Lindgren. His 1960 film Alla vi barn i Bullerbyn was entered into the 2nd Moscow International Film Festival. In 1978 at the 14th Guldbagge Awards he won the award for Best Director for his film The Brothers Lionheart.

Astrid Lindgrens World

Astrid Lindgren's World is a theme park located in Astrid Lindgren's native city Vimmerby, Sweden.

Mariannelund Place in Småland, Sweden

Mariannelund is a locality situated in Hässleby parish in Eksjö Municipality, Jönköping County, in the region of Småland, Sweden with 1,468 inhabitants in 2010.

Maud Hansson Swedish actress

Maud Hansson was a Swedish film actress. She appeared in 20 films between 1956 and 1991. Her filmography includes supporting roles in the Ingmar Bergman films The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries as well as her portrayal of the slightly naive maid Lina in the Emil of Lönneberga films (1971–1973) based on Astrid Lindgren's books.

<i>Emil i Lönneberga</i> (film) 1971 film

Emil i Lönneberga is a 1971 Swedish film, the first of three films based on the Emil i Lönneberga books written by Astrid Lindgren.

<i>New Mischief by Emil</i> 1972 film

Nya hyss av Emil i Lönneberga is a 1972 Swedish film, the second of three films about the Emil i Lönneberga by Astrid Lindgren.

<i>Emil and the Piglet</i>

Emil and the Piglet is a 1973 Swedish film, the third of three films based on the Emil i Lönneberga books written by Astrid Lindgren. At the 10th Guldbagge Awards in 1974, Allan Edwall won the award for Best Actor.

Lille katt

"Lille katt" is a Swedish children's song. The lyrics were written by the author Astrid Lindgren. The music was composed by Georg Riedel.

Michel aus Lönneberga is a German-Swedish television adaptation of Astrid Lindgren's Emil i Lönneberga books.

Lönneberga Place in Småland, Sweden

Lönneberga is a village and parish in Hultsfred Municipality in the Swedish county of Kalmar County in the region of Småland. In 2000 the parish had 1323 inhabitants on 94 square kilometers, of which 190 lived in the village.

<i>That Boy Emil</i>

That Boy Emil is a Swedish animated film based on the Astrid Lindgren books of Emil i Lönneberga. It was released to cinemas in Sweden on 25 December 2013.

Matti Lives in Finland is a book by Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, with the photos by Anna Riwkin-Brick. In 1968 the book was published at Rabén & Sjögren.

The Ghost of Skinny Jack is a children's book written by Astrid Lindgren.