Friday, October 31, 2014

Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren

Ben and I recently finished reading Pippi Longstocking.  He enjoyed meeting this zany character, and I enjoyed re-living my love for this strong independent troublemaker.  Like most children's book heroes, Pippi doesn't have any parents - her mother died when she was a baby and her father has been lost at sea.  But, instead of being left in the care of evil aunts and uncles or shipped of to a wizarding school, Pippi just lives with her horse and her monkey and bankrolls her adventures using using gold coins from a treasure chest given to her by her father's ship crew.

For the most part, Pippi is a somewhat normal child - or what you would assume a child would be like if left to their own devices at such a young age.  She doesn't go to school, she eats pancakes for dinner, and she doesn't have any social graces.  But, the one super power that Pippi possesses is incredible physical strength.  This ability is never explained, but it does keep her from being taken advantage of by thieves and other n'er do wells.

The original Pippi Longstocking was published in 1945 in Sweden.  I don't know what other books were like back then, but this book is very different from what is commonly written now - namely that the story doesn't really teach any morals.  The whole basis is that there is this wild child who lives next door to two ostensibly properly raised siblings, Tommy and Annika.  They take breaks from their normal lives to have fun and go crazy, and then go home for supper.  No one learns any lessons, they just have fun.

Following the original book, Lindgren published two additional full-length books about Pippi: Pippi Goes Aboard and Pippi in the South Seas.  The are numerous other Pippi picture books, chapter excerpts, and of course a number of movies and animated shows to help you get your Pippi fix.  I highly recommend her for good-old fashioned fun.

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