by Erich Kastner
This book is one of the options given by Mater Amabilis™ for Level 1A as Classic Children's Literature, one book to be read each term just for fun. We're on our third child's second year in Level 1A and still hadn't read it. Luckily, that just gave us another chance, because it was lots of fun!
Emil travels to Berlin on the train by himself. Waking from a nightmare, he discovers his money has been stolen and leaps off the train to trail the thief. He gathers a group of new friends who organize a small army of children, to the delight of my listeners. At the end of the book, I was reading three or four of the chapters at a time as the excitement built up. (They are pretty short chapters.)
Our library has a copy of this book, but I managed to get a lovely hardcover version on PaperBackSwap.com.