Pippi Longstocking, Short Tales

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Grade: B

I used to own a different copy of this book. I don’t know what happened to it. I don’t remember ever reading it either, and that’s very strange. When I saw a copy at the Westerly book sale, I couldn’t resist picking it up.

Pippi Longstocking is a nine-year-old child who lives by herself. Her mother is dead and her father is missing. She has a bag of gold and plenty of determination, and so she continues to live in her old house, waiting for her father to return. In the meantime, she makes friends with the children nextdoor and introduces them to pastimes like rounding the kitchen without touching the floor, hunting through the neighborhood for discarded items, and climbing down the inside of a hollow tree.

I can see the appeal that Pippi would have for children. She ignores the rules, couldn’t care less about education, has complete independence, and always likes to play. What child wouldn’t want to live nextdoor to Pippi Longstocking?

But Pippi can barely read. She’s rude. And she does dangerous things, like playing with guns and dancing so close to an inferno that she gets burned. She’s not, in my adult opinion, a good companion for children. The book is also episodic, jumping from one short tale to the next. Some of the tales, such as “Pippi Entertains Two Burglars,” are entertaining, but most of them are lackluster.

Perhaps it was better in the original Swedish. Should I ever learn to read Swedish, I will let you know, but the English version is going to the Chopping Block.

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