Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
If you have never met her before in your life, let me introduce you to a nine year old thing-searcher called Pippilotta Comestibles Windowshade Curlymint Ephraimsdaughter Longstocking, more commonly known as Pippi. The locals think she lives alone but she doesn’t: she lives with Mr Nilsson (who’s a monkey) and a horse in a house in Sweden.
|Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren|
Underneath the rollicking good fun of the stories, Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi stories also raise more complex issues like whether children (like Pippi) should live on their own in a house or whether they should go into a children’s home; should they be educated in a school or can life provide them with another sort of education; and of course, what is hygiene and the best way of walking? And is the best thing about school the holidays?
Each chapter is a semi-adventure with Pippi and as such, it’s not really a very linear narrative with a strong storyline. It is an easy and fun chapter book for young independent readers and it would also make for wonderful bedtime or family reading. I’d also be tempted to go all out and read it in conjunction with a copy of something like Keri Smith’s How To Be An Explorer of the World (which is a non-fiction activity journal good for kids of all grown-up or grown-down ages).
I don’t think I ever read Pippi Longstocking as a child but I watched and loved the television series (a dubbed version). She was one of my all-time favourite characters because she thought and did some very unexpected and wildly cool things.
I was properly introduced to Astrid Lindgren's writing and the Pippi books by the funny and interesting Alaric Hall, a lecturer in Medieval English Literature at Leeds University (note: Pippi is not an example of medieval literature). He has a personal interest in Scandinavian children’s literature (think Pippi, Moomins and Hans Christian Andersen).
If you haven’t read any Pippi, I urge you to do so. Likewise, if you ever get the chance to meet Alaric Hall, I urge you to do so. In his own special way, he is as vibrant and enigmatic as Pippi.
|Alaric Hall, image courtesy of Leeds University|
Publication details:Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012 edition, paperback
This copy: received for review from the publisher
OUP has republished two more of the Pippi books in a paperback edition: Pippi in the South Seas and Pippi Goes Abroad. In these books, the adventures of Pippi, Annika and Tommy continue. There is also a beautiful hardback edition with illustrations by Lauren Child.