Book Title: Pippi Longstocking
Author: Astrid Lindgren
Genre/Audience: Super-fun kids book
Worth the read?: If you’ve still got an imagination, totally!
I remember reading Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Långstrump in the original Swedish) in elementary school and absolutely loving it. For years, if you would have asked me to list a few of my favorite books from my childhood, I no doubt would have included Pippi on the list. These fond memories were so strong that it surprised me when I read the book while at home sick (the original intent of the book, according to the internet) that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d have thought.
Have I lost all my fun, imaginative innocence? Ugh, I sure hope not.
Don’t get me wrong, I had fun following Pippi on her adventures, but what kept throwing me off was the lack of a plot. Each chapter essentially stands alone from the ones before and after, which does make sense for a children’s book. It just threw me off because my memory of the book definitely included a clear story arc with gradual movement toward a resolution.
There is an overarching plot, but more prominent is that each chapter carries its own complete story. The stories do build on one another though, ultimately resulting in Pippi’s personal growth.
I don’t remember feeling like Pippi was a bad role model as a kid, but man…she’s wild. I’m pretty sure I’d keep my kids far, far away from her out of nothing more than fear of an accidental tragedy spawning from her untamable spirit.
I have to give her this, though: I think I may have overcome my irrational childhood fear of robbers (thank you, 101 Dalmatians) because of this book. Seriously! When I was little, I pretty much never slept in my own bed because I felt safer in the living room (why? because children have no logic, that’s why). Robbers were my biggest fear as a kid, and I constantly had nightmares about them. But at some point, the dreams shifted, and dream-Nikki began to negotiate with “the bad guys.”
Sometimes, I’d ask them if they knew how their behavior made Jesus feel; other times, I’d tell them that they could have anything they wanted if they asked nicely and respected my home and family. Either way, the robber dreams slowly but surely changed in my favor and, eventually, stopped entirely. I’m not sure when I first read Pippi Longstocking, but rereading it a few weeks ago set off a light bulb in my head. She must have helped me overcome one of my biggest fears!
Cheers for Pippi! Hip, hip, hooray! (Maybe her wild side isn’t such a bad thing after all…)
I’d really like to read the other two Pippi Longstocking books, so you can bet that if I ever encounter them, I’ll be snatching them up and reading them right away! I may have even read one of them before, but I’m not really sure. Either way, Pippi is such a classic and energetic character, and her adventures really are perfect for a sick day. (Can confirm, as I was indeed sick when I read this book.)
Also, can we just discuss for a second how beautifully amazing my 1967 printing of this book is? I am obsessed!