The Robbersons

Publisher: Otava Publishing Company

In the hilarious anarchic tone of Pippi Longstocking, a high-speed-loving bandit family who usually steal sweets kidnap a girl instead.

Vilja Vainisto's summer is going nowhere until a van flying a pirate flag bears down on her family's BMW. While the thieving Robberson clan strips Vilja's family car of any sweets they can find, their leader, Crazy Kaarlo, kidnaps Vilja. All summer the Robbersons roam the roads of Finland living off the spoils of their daring, high-speed thievery. It might be a carefree life, but the young Robbersons feel confined. Heli wishes for a gang of her own, and Kalle wants to go to school. Their mother, Hilda, would like to sleep in a real bed more often. Vilja learns to love the life of a highway robber and develops her own crime of holding up sweet shops. When the annual robber party ends in chaos, with the police in hot pursuit, something must change, and Vilja hatches her plan. From now on, the Robbersons will establish a home base and work in shifts, allowing Kalle to attend school and Heli to lead the gang at weekends. Vilja returns to her own family, can join in weekend heists and looks forward to being nabbed again next summer. The first in a six book series.

Additional translation samples by Ruth Urbom of this and other volumes in the series are available from the publisher.

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Here's what our judges had to say:

"The Robbersons are a gang of thieves – delightful, badly-behaved, hilarious thieves, with a particular weakness for sweets. (And perhaps surprisingly, no interest at all in money.) In this book, the first in a series, we encounter the gang when they snatch ten-year-old Vilja out of her family car and carry her off on wildly entertaining adventures. (If you've got to be kidnapped, this is absolutely the way to do it.) With a deliciously anarchic Dahl-ish energy to it and a lovely message to end, The Robbersons is already a hit all over the world – it's about time we got a chance to read it here." – Daniel Hahn

"An absolute riot of a book, with a host of memorable characters who (despite being robbers) you can't help but root for. Our customers would adore this." – Simon Key

"Witty, light and full of charm, this madcap adventure will delight readers of all ages. Roald Dahl-esque humour and plotting galore." – Florentyna Martin

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