In a perfectly ordinary building, on a perfectly ordinary street in town lives Smidge. Up on the roof, in a small house behind the big chimney, resides a gentleman by the name of Karlsson. He is, in his own words, a handsome, thoroughly clever, perfectly plump man in his prime. Attached to his back he has a small propeller with which he can fly… He decides to come in to land at Smidge’s. And from then on nothing is the same.
Karlsson does whatever Karlsson wants – eats all the sweets by himself, always chooses the largest slice of cake and enjoys trickelytricking and tirritating people. He’s convinced that he’s best at everything and is not shy to tell everyone so. He loves getting presents and getting up to all sorts of shenanigans – and if something breaks or disappears, well then they’re just material things and are nothing to be sour about anyway. Smidge loves Karlsson but Mum, Dad and the older siblings insist he’s make-believe. “They can be make-believe themselves!”, Karlsson snorts.
In Russia Karlsson on the Roof is the most popular character of them all. With his irreverent attitude toward the establishment, he probably had a very important function to fill in the former Soviet Union. It was a place where Astrid became, more than anybody else did, “the people’s author”. Boris Pankin, the Soviet Ambassador in Stockholm for a few years at the beginning of the eighties, told her that there were two books which could be found in most Russian homes, namely the Bible and Karlsson on the Roof. “How remarkable”, said Astrid Lindgren, “I had no idea the Bible was that popular.”