“Paul is Alone in the World” (1942) by Jens Sigsgaard is a highly beloved and also critically praised book for young children of 6-9 years. It has been translated into about 30 languages and it often is used in schools and universities. In 1949 it was even turned into a wonderful movie by the Danish film maker Astrid Henning-Jensen. Her very charming, young son, Lars, was Paul and his big, dark eyes were very eloquent in this story of a child who somehow is left quite alone. As to the novel itself then the wonderful illustrations by Arne Ungermann which have a vital part in the succes of the book were updated in 1974. In the 1974 edition there are e.g. no streetcars, because now there are busses. Paul has changed his looks as his hair is much longer than in the 1942 edition.
The story is about this very young boy Paul who is rather fed up with all those meddling grown-ups. However, one day he awakes very early in the morning and finds himself all alone. Not only is he alone in his home, but he is quite alone in the world. This may be something which many children have dreamt of now and then and at first Paul revels in this new situation. He sets out into the deserted capital of Denmark, i.e. Copenhagen, and has a lot of fun in eating loads of otherwise strictly rationed candies, also he visits a bank and has bags of coins which he cannot use as there is nobody to receive the money.There is nobody to forbid him to go by the streetcar, not even to drive it himself which he does and this experience he also finds to be great fun. Actually, all of what he does is set to break some rules and enjoy the freedom of doing it without meddling grown-ups scolding him.
He really has fun, but at the end of the day he feels his loneliness as he misses his parents and especially his mother. By now he has found out that to be quite alone gives new opportunities, but it also robs one of one’s family and friends. The Paul of the evening is very different from the Paul of the morning who loved the situation of being a free soul with nobody to scold him. Actually, this scolding children is one of the key issues of the author Jens Sigsgaard, who is also a well known teacher and lecturer. He has fought for the well being of children on many different levels in the world of the grown-ups.