The objective was a psychometric examination of a German translation of the Children’s Somatization Inventory (CSI) and its parents’ version (P-CSI) and a replication of the item selection process of Walker et al. in J Pediatr Psychol 34:430-440  for their revised version to create shorter German versions. Based on a school sample of 1,539 parents and 731 children, we explored the psychometric properties and dimensionality of the original and a shortened revised version. A clinical sample of 70 parental reports served as an additional sample. Walker et al.’s item selection could be largely replicated. Dimensionality differed between samples and versions (original vs. revised), but original DSM-III symptom clusters could mostly be identified. Symptom intensity was associated with age and mental health. Internal consistency, test-retest- and inter-rater reliability were good. Both German versions, the CSI and the P-CSI can be regarded as a useful screening instrument for somatic complaints in children.