Oh Miss Langstrump, you’re a hot mess

November 16, 2012 at 5:17 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Title: Pippi Longstocking(or Pippi Langstrump in the original Swiss)

Author: Astrid Lindgren

Growing up, I always loved Pippi Longstocking.  As of some time around 1993, I’m sure I had read all the books and probably seen all the movie adaptations to date.  I’d even won a costume contest dressed as her with my long hair braided around a coat hanger shaped to my head to keep the braids up and out.  I was one of the few kids that didn’t have to add big black dots to my face with Mom’s eyeliner when wearing costumes, because I was completely covered in huge distinct freckles anyway.  There was even one dead center on my nose, that I often imagined could be considered ‘potato shaped.’

Re-reading Astrid Lindgren’s stories to my daughter, however, I’m surprised that my own mother liked Pippi so much.  The girl is a hot mess.  All I keep thinking is what a rotten un-educated hooligan this child is… with absolutely no impulse control!  There’s been more than a few times I’ve thought about reaching through the pages and giving the fictitious rug rat a good old-fashioned spanking.  It makes sense, though, having only an absentee, pirate-like father who is supposedly king of cannibals and a mischievous little monkey as your only family, that you’d be outlandish and absurd; but sometimes while reading, I just want Pippi to calm down for two seconds and think while I catch my breath.

Lindgren had a lot of people feel that way when the book was first released.  I didn’t know this before this last week, but a lot of people in Sweden were not very happen about Pippi Longstocking being the latest craze.  Take the mentality of the parents of Junie B. Jones readers, and you’ve got a good idea of the Pippi drama back in 1945-1948.

Of course, in the end, I still like Pippi a lot – I can’t say the same for what I’ve read of Junie B.  I adore her red hair, her freckles, her fearlessness, the fact that she can lift a horse above her head, the fact that she has a horse to lift above her head.  She has circus talents to rival the world’s best, she’s spunky, and lives in an awesome house called Villa Vellekulla.  She saves children from bullies and burning buildings, and is all around pretty good-natured, even if she does unintentionally mouth off to everyone all the time and plan to be a full-fledged pirate when she grows up.

Pippi Longstocking is the first of a series and is perfect for beginning of the school year.  The story starts at the mid to tail end of summer and ends in November just in time for Pippi’s Birthday Party; so, if you read seasonally like I do sometimes, keep it in mind next school year if you have a kiddo starting kindergarten or returning for first, second, or third grade.  Pippi starts the story as a nine-year old and kids tend to enjoy reading about kids their own age or bigger.

I was a little late in introducing my kiddo to Pippi Longstocking this year, but not in the grand scheme of life.  She’s only two and very familiar, but we had a Pippi Longstocking and Pirates themed birthday party a few weeks before the concept and the character really sunk in for her.  She was still wrapped up in Babar at the time of the party and I didn’t know how to go about dressing my kid up as an elephant and getting her friends to do so too.  But we had a grand ol’ time wearing pirate clothes and pigtails…

Sister, Niece, & Kiddo

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