You must not make the classic mistake of dismissing the obvious.
Seize gold when you see it!
Everybody knows that Pippi Longstocking is a good book.
You know. Everybody knows it.
Heck, even I knew it.
This book always lingers somewhere in the back of our minds ("I think I enjoyed the movie or maybe the book when I was little....")
This applied to me too. As far as I remembered Pippi was a fun book.
But no. No. no. no.
I was deeply mistaken.
Pippi Longstocking's adventures - and here I mean all three books (Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Goes on Board, and Pippi in the South Seas) - are purified, concentrated side-ripping laughter.
This is a book that will keep a smile lingering on the faces of your small listeners EVEN during the very very rare parts that are not funny.
And during the funny parts? Your little listeners will jump up and down and roar with laughter!!
Yes, that rarely happens in my household. A book so funny that my kids cannot control their bodies.
But it happened with this book. I don't know why I didn't share it before with you.
Sixty-eight years have passed since Astrid Lindgren published the first edition of her hysterically funny Pippi Longstocking about a little tomboy-ish girl with red hair in braids in 1945.
Pippi Longstocking is everything that kids want to be and I think that this is even more true today than in the 1950s.
Pippi is almost an orphan, because she lives alone and her father is away travelling as a ship captain on the Seven Seas.
She lives in a (fabulously named) house called Villa Villekulla with her pet monkey named Mr. Nilsson and a pet horse that lives on the front porch and does not have a name.
Nothing is ordinary in the life of this little girl that has carrot-colored hair, a nose shaped like a small potato and freckles all over her face. Even her long stockings are different - one is brown and the other is black.
Oh yes, she also has an entire suitcase filled with gold coins.
Even little Mr Nilsson was a strange sight himself. A little monkey dressed in blue pants, a yellow jacket and a white straw hat!
Lindgren's genius was to include the characters of Tommy and Annika, Pippi's next-door neighbors, who witness all of Pippi's adventures and they serve (with their down-to-earth normality) as the perfect contrast to Pippi's "madness".
Pippi Longstocking is a constant source of wonder, amazement and excitement for Tommy and Annika.
This is a book about freedom of the mind and freedom of will.
Today's young kids often cannot walk alone in the streets, Pippi lives alone in her own house.
Schooling today starts at a very young age, Pippi doesn't even go to school.
Pippi Longstocking teaches us that every day can be an adventure.
Pippi Longstocking is heaven for the child's mind - it is a testament to a child's innate spirit of freedom and creativity.
But this did not happen by chance.
Astrid Lindgren was a famous advocate for children's rights to freedom, not only physical - but also freedom of the mind.
In 1958 she wrote an article named "That’s why children need books", in a Swedish magazine called "The School Library", where she stressed that fantasy and imagination is important for all of us, and that “a child’s imagination needs books in order to live and breathe”.
Her very strong standpoint, which was even controversial at the time when she came out with it, was that children’s books should be produced to the same quality standards as grown-ups’ books and under the same financial conditions.
This hardcover version of the book that I purchased is a treasury that includes all three of the major Pippi books, and they will all make your listeners "pleased as Punch"!
This newly illustrated collection contains irreverent illustrations by Michael Chesworth, which add the necessary cheekiness to the story and are fully in tone with the text.
We have read and re-read this bumper edition of The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (it includes Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Goes on Board, and Pippi in the South Seas) and my kids NEVER get bored.
Books Are For Enticing, Not Just Reading
"A childhood without books – that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out
from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy."
Not surprisingly, Astrid Lindgren was awarded the famed Hans Christian Andersen Medal for her contribution to international children's literature back in 1958.
Keep in mind that all of Astrid Lindgren's children books are a real treasure trove.
Until now we have read her hilarious Emil books, her Children of Noisy Village series and the Karlson on the Roof series. All of them have been fabulous hits with my kids and we have come back to re-read them all!
I remember I read The Borthers Lionheart as a child, and it moved me so deeply that I can feel the reverberations from this dramatic book.
This fairy tale about death and about two young brothers is a book that tackles - in a sensitive and fantastic way - the deep questions of what happens if and when a child dies, a topic that can make a parent choke just by thinking about it.
The Brothers Lionheart will probably make YOU cry - though not your child! I remember being so comforted with this book as a boy - when I learned about the fantastic after-life and adventures that awaited me one day.
Another Lindren boook that graces our shelves is the famed Ronia, the Robber's Daughter - about a girl born among a clan of robbers. This is also deemed to be one of Lindgren's masterpieces - full of danger and adventure. We can't wait to read it!
Don't wait - start your Lindgren adventures today!
PS After I published this post about Pippi and Lingren's masterpieces, fellow twitterati ChristinaStind (and blogger from The Literary Bunny) pointed out that Lindgren's collection of fabulous books also includes My Son Mio and Seacrow Island.
Thank you Christina! Let me quote your own words: "I am yet to read a bad Astrid Lindgren book!"
Amen to that!
The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking treasury is available from bookstores in the US, Canada, UK and Germany:
- Author: Astrid Lindgren
- Illustrator: Michael Chesworth
- Pages: 296 pages
- Publisher: Viking Juvenile
- ISBN-13: 9780670876129
- Source: Purchased by Read Aloud Dad
VERDICT: SNAP IT UP!
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