Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pippi Longstocking

When Evalina was younger, my cousin Agnes visited from Sweden, and brought a plethora of Pippi related items (because it was the 60th Anniversary of Pippi). Among these was a set of Pippi stories on CD (in Swedish), a bunch of Pippi clothing (so cute, and bought in various sizes so that she is still wearing them), and a Pippi storybook (in Swedish - Pippi in the South Seas). Later, we were also given the Swedish TV movies on DVD - which we have not watched yet.

Evalina listened to the cds many many times, not really understanding any of it. She listened to me read the Swedish storybook to her, which I dutifully translated, and the Pippi clothes are among her favorites.

For Christmas, she was given the first book of the series, Pippi Longstocking, in English. The novelty.

The Story: Pippi lives all alone in Villa Villekulla, with only her monkey, Mr. Nilsson, and her horse to keep her company. Her father was lost at sea (and Pippi is sure he has become the king of a tribe of cannibals), and her mother "is an angel," so there is no one to live with her. This is not to say that she is incapable of caring for herself. She happens to be the strongest girl in the world, and is resourceful and irrepressible as any girl could possibly be. She makes friends with the children next door, Tommy and Annika, and they are sure to never have another dull day. They try to get her to go to school (it doesn't work out), invite her to their mother's coffee party (which was a foolish idea), and have many other adventures with this amazing girl.

The Good: Pippi is joyful and silly, that's for sure. She isn't afraid of anything or anybody. The joy of being Pippi is enough to get her through, along with the big chest full of gold she's got... and her incredibly strong muscles and personality.

The Bad: Pippi lies. Incessantly. And it's really funny when she does, so it doesn't exactly teach that lying is wrong. Pippi also gives pistols to Tommy and Annika as toys. And shoots bullets through her ceiling. And dashes into burning buildings. All in all, we had quite a few "Isn't Pippi funny? Never do what Pippi does," conversations.

The Verdict: The kids got a kick out of the fact that Pippi is written by a Astrid, and mommy's name is Astrid. Evalina loved the book (Philip liked looking at the pages and picking out where he saw the word "Pippi" over and over again). I think, as long as you can explain that Pippi's behavior is not ok for real life children, the book is wonderful fun. I look forward to reading the others in the series, and watching the Swedish movies, and hopefully locating the books in Swedish and reading them in their native language!

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