The Pippi Longstocking stories are celebrating their 70th birthday this year, May 21st 1945 was the day that Astrid Lindgren first showed the manuscript to her daughter Karin. Originally written in Swedish the stories have been translated into many different languages as well as being made into films and television series’. Pippi Longstocking (Pippilotta Comestibles Windowshade Curlymint Ephraimsdaughter Longstocking to give her her full name!) is a unique, resourceful and amazingly strong nine year old who has plaits in her bright red hair and wears shoes twice as big as her feet so that she has plenty of room for them to grow!
Pippi’s mother died when she was a baby and her father is a sea captain so Pippi moves alone into Villa Villekulla with a big suitcase of gold coins and Mr Nilsson, a monkey. She buys the horse that she’s always wanted, it lives on the porch and Pippi is strong enough to lift it down into the garden. Pippi has complete freedom and is joined in her adventures by her next door neighbours, Tommy and Annika, whose life becomes a lot less boring when they meet her!
The stories are about familiar childhood experiences, being ‘thing searchers’ (finding treasures), having coffee with the neighbours, going to school, celebrating a birthday and going to the circus but Pippi experiences them in her own inimitable style. She doesn’t realise that her behaviour can be rude or quirky – she finds it logical that when you reach your destination you walk home backwards so you don’t have to turn round and she can’t understand why a teacher would ask a class of children questions that she already knows the answer to!
There is hilarity and humour on every page of the book and in the eleven chapters Pippi manages to make the most mundane experiences exciting and amusing. Pippi isn’t afraid of anything and is so strong that she lifts bullies up into trees and defeats Strong Adolf at the circus. She also plays an amusing game of tag with the policemen who try to take her to a children’s home and her behaviour in school completely exasperates the teacher who agrees that maybe Pippi should come back when she is older.
My favourite story is the one where Pippi Dances with Burglars who think that their luck is in when they find a young girl and her monkey alone in the house, little do they know how strong she is! My daughter likes the story where Pippi celebrates her birthday and pretends to be a ghost. Lauren Child’s quirky illustrations in our version perfectly match the humour of the stories and will appeal to fans of Charlie and Lola.
Age Range: 5+
Author: Astrid Lindgren / Illustrator: Lauren Child
We’ve also enjoyed the German translations of the Pippi stories. In Germany she is a very popular children’s book character and many children dress up as Pippi at carnival time.
Pippi Longstocking is the fifth book that we have read for the 2015 Classics Challenge