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He's just a bit shy about letting other people see him. As they come in, Pelle is just asking her if she likes him, and Karlsson seizes his chance to join in the conversation.
He's an appalling egotist, shamelessly manipulates Lillebor in the most transparently obvious ways in order to get food and other treats, and immediately goes off into a sulk if his wishes are crossed.
But she's reckoned without Karlsson, who cross-examines Lillebror about the exact wording. He's just promised that Bettan won't see him for the rest of the evening, so if they both go into the living room, covered by a blanket, he's keeping to the letter of the contract, right?
If you've got a little brother or a big sister, you're going to love this book. Except, as you no doubt guessed, Karlsson actually exists. And Bettan gets very satisfyingly mad as she chases the pair back to Lillebror's room, shouting that she's going to kill that horrible little kid.
Every now and then, Grandma would have to stop, she was laughing too much. My Swedish wife said that her grandmother sometimes read this book aloud to her when she was a very small girl.
The problem is that the two audiences don't find the same things amusing. My favorite episode is the bit where Bettan has invited her new boyfriend, Pelle, back home for the evening. Somehow, it's done in such a clever, ironic way that you can't help loving him all the same, just as Lillebror does.
The family isn't surprised when Lillebror makes up an imaginary friend called Karlsson, a little man who lives in a house on the roof and can fly around with a handy propeller that he has attached to his back.
He's also a pathological liar, and doesn't even seem to understand the concept of responsibility. She's cajoled the rest of the family into going out it's completely clear that she's planning a make-out sessionbut Lillebror's too small, so all she can do is offer him a reasonable bribe to stay in his room.
Karlsson is always getting Lillebror into various imaginative kinds of trouble.