Context: Got this for my niece for Christmas… when, unusually, I got a stocking from the mother-in-law.
This is one of the few books on the list which a 7 year old could read. In fact, it may be the only one. I didn’t think I’d ever read a copy of it. I don’t have kids and, although I do buy books for my sister’s children, I’d never seen a copy of this anywhere. The other day though, I was online and saw a copy of this trilogy. I was able to read it before giving it to my niece.
The edition I had comprised of three books in one actually: Pippi Longstocking, Pippi in the South Seas and Pippi Goes Abroad. Not sure whether the 1001 list is referring to all the stories or the first book only so I read them all anyway.
Pippi’s a little girl who lives by herself with her father away somewhere among the cannibals in the South Pacific. The cannibals are, through all three books, painted as overfriendly primitives who seem entirely happy to submit to the first white person to show up on their island. Guess Pippi is as much a product of her time as most children’s writing.
Pippi’s take on the world must have been pretty radical in the late 40s when the stories first appeared. She’s subject to absolutely no adult authority and is even blatantly rude to some characters committing those heinous crimes of being sarcastic and facetious (grandparents would hate it). She tries school but it doesn’t suit her, she tries social occasions but refuses to abide by any social conventions and she constantly sees the world through different lenses. Sometimes these insights are ingenious, but mostly they’re just silly which kids would like.
I think the book would appeal to younger children now than it did when it was written and that some of her ‘adventures’ would seem to be a bit tame now. It will be interesting to find out what my niece makes of it.
At the end of a little Swedish town lay an old, overgrown orchard.
Finally it disappeared altogether.
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