By Astrid Lindgren
Illustrated by Louis S. Glanzman
Translated by Florence Lamborn
Published by: Puffin; Reissue edition (April 21, 2005)
Available in: paperback, hardcover, audible book, school & library binding
There were three books in the original Pippi Longstocking series and a number of later novels, picture books, movies, TV shows and more.
Pippi Longstocking is a mischievous, curious, especially strong girl who has become a truly classic character in children’s literature. Written by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren for her sick daughter in the 1940s, the original book has been translated into more than 60 languages and earned the author the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for her contribution to international children’s literature.
So Pippi has some heft.
Many of the older classics I’ve re-read for review hold more value in nostalgia than lasting quality. Pippi, not so much. She’s a true giant in original thinking, the channeling of childhood intellect, and the sheer joys and realities of being young.
That’s not to say there aren’t issues to be acknowledged. Consider Pippi the Lord of the Flies of the elementary set—a child set free in the world to exist as she sees fit. That obviously sets up topics and situations some modern families find problematic. There’s pure anarchy of home life, disrespect of authority, a lack of heart on the topic of dead or missing parents, and far, far too much sugar in the diet.
On the other hand, Pippi is a strong girl with sense and wit and charm. What fun to see what happens when a child is put in charge. She is as bold as she is innocent, and the sheer pleasure of reading what she will do next is worth every ounce of reticence. Pippi transports to the wonderland of childhood lived on a whim. Bad behavior and all, reading Pippi is a magical event.
For younger readers, this will prove a tough read, unfortunately. The text is heavy, and the illustrations are few and far between. It’s an intimidating book to thumb through. Perhaps the best solution is the sweetest—where parents and children read the book together. That way both the excitement and confusion Pippi inspires can be talked about, and the adult can help the child when reading becomes too dense.
What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….