What's the most stolen thing anyway

That thing or the darn theft

Alina is having a bad day today. There's always something going on that she doesn't like ...

The day begins with the spilled cocoa and all she can do is put on the pink pants, which she doesn't like at all. In kindergarten, Thomas and Kerstin don't want to build a tower with her. And then Jule comes with something that she is not allowed to touch. Alina wants that thing too. For lunch there is pea stew and Alina's mother then wants to rest and therefore has no time for her. There is nothing exciting in Alina's room and Alina gets really angry. She insults her mother and wants something like Jule has. But the mother now wants to have some peace and quiet and sends Alina away again.

Later, mother and daughter go to the department store. But in the department store, the mother refuses to buy Alina the thing. Alina is desperate and without much thought she puts it in her pocket. But Alina is not really happy with the thing. Somehow it is getting warmer and bigger in her pocket. It even scares her and she hides it in a drawer at the bottom.

The doorbell rings and the mother receives a visit from Mrs. Wolter. They drink a cup of tea together and Alina overhears the two women. Mrs. Wolter complains about her daughter and thanks Alina's mother for her advice. "If you have problems, you have to talk about them!" says the mother.

Alina would also like to speak to her mother, but doesn't know how to start. The thing is still hot and Alina wants to get rid of it. Then Alina has an idea, she dresses up in a hat, skirt and blouse and grabs her old teddy bear. Like Mrs. Wolter, she asks her mother for advice. In this role play it turns out that Teddy has done something, he has stolen something. Alina wants to punish the teddy bear, but the mother gives in and wants to know why the teddy bear stole. Alina has to think twice and can't find a real reason for the theft. She says "Accidentally!" The mother has an idea and says, "If you accidentally took something with you, you could accidentally put it back again, right?" So mother and daughter make their way to the department store with the Klauding.
Alina is very relieved and glad that her mother did not punish her.

The haunting story by Mirjam Pressler was first published by Ellermann in 1996. But the sensitive, new illustrations by Miriam Cordes and the well-chosen topic justify the new edition of this children's book in 2009.

Mirjam Pressler tells the story with a lot of understanding for Alina's position and behavior. Doing stupid things is part of being a child. This also applies to Alina. She actually only wants what everyone has. But somehow she can't be happy when she steals the thing in the department store.
The children can already understand and understand what is going on in Alina. The tension arises from the question of how Alina can get out of this situation, which is very stressful for her. She knows that she actually deserves a punishment and asks -indirectly- for one. But her mother doesn't react as she expected. The mother and her daughter develop an acceptable solution for everyone involved.

Developing a conscience is sometimes much more powerful than punishment. What is important is the strong bond between mother and daughter and that Alina finds a way to confide in her mother.

Miriam Cordes accompanies and complements the text with her varied and everyday illustrations. The emotions of those involved, the warmth between mother and daughter are clearly noticeable. The representations are accentuated by interesting photomontage elements: Alina wears a cardigan made of the mesh of a photograph over her drawn sweater. Until the end it remains a secret what this "thing" actually is. This not only increases the tension, but also shows that it simply doesn't matter how beautiful or how exciting something is - it remains a "steal thing".


This book offers the opportunity to speak openly about theft. The story is told authentically and sensitively. It remains to be hoped that all children who unintentionally get into such a situation will encounter parents who are just as understanding as the unwilling little thief. And for all the other little listeners, this book is certainly a good preventative measure.

Nicole Giering