Sunday, May 27, 2012

in Praise of Pippi

My family and I are trading houses with a family in southern Sweden this summer, and, in preparation, I was searching for some leads on Swedish literature (aside from the obvious Stieg Larsson).  And my kids are at the age when they're leaning away from picture books and into chapter books--things like Ramona the Brave, Homer Price, and Ivy and Bean have been big hits of late.  Which led us to Pippi Longstocking.

Now Pippi has always been somewhere in my cultural memory, but I had yet to read this book until last week.  Don't make the same mistake.

If you:

  • have kids ages 5-7, read this to them.
  • have kids ages 8-10, buy it (or get it from the library) for them.
  • ever read youth literature, treat yourself to this wonderful book.
Why?  It's jolly good fun.  

Pippi is a young girl living with no parents, just her horse and monkey.  She possesses superhuman strength, and she often mocks convention (which the kids will love, of course).  She's fiercely loyal to her next-door neighbor kids, Tommy and Annika, and she leads them on a series of adventures that are a joy to follow.

I'm not sure what this book's central place on lists of Swedish literature says about the Swedish people, but I'm looking forward not only to our visit this summer, but to the next two books in Pippi's series.

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