A mix of titles currently on my shelves.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


read the sign in the store window.

“No,” said Pippi… “I don’t suffer from them. I love them.”

Tommy, Annika, and Pippi at the entrance to Junibacken, a museum
in Stockholm dedicated to children's books.

I grew up reading all the Pippi Longstocking stories. Maybe you did, too. At a time when girls were required to wear skirts to school (which meant you had to also wear shorts underneath if you wanted to play on the monkey bars), Pippi was a marvel. She said and did the most surprising things! She was brave and strong, creative and self-sufficient, yet kind and touchingly vulnerable at times, too.

Pippi and friends also inspired my daughters during their elementary-school years. In one memorable episode, they decided to imitate Pippi’s famous pancake-making. In the book, Pippi ends up with eggs in her hair while mixing batter; she then extols the virtues of egg yolk for healthy hair. My daughters thought that sounded intriguing. Fortunately, they undertook this project outside in their playhouse. Unfortunately, they took it one step further, adding oatmeal to the eggs. A thick, sticky paste resulted, which they rubbed vigorously into each others’ scalps. It probably was healthy for their hair but as you can imagine, took more than one washing to get rid of.

In honor of Pippi and her irrepressible spirit, I hereby present a few
Fun Pippi Facts.

• Her full name (in English) is Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim’s Daughter Longstocking. (In Swedish that’s Pippilotta Viktualia Rullgardina Krusmynta Efraimsdotter Långstrump.)

• Pippi’s mama is an angel in heaven. She died when Pippi was a baby but still watches over her through a peephole in the sky.

• Her papa is a sea captain who was blown overboard during a storm and disappeared. Pippi is convinced that he swam to safety, however, and will return.

• Pippi has a monkey named Mr. Nilsson and a large sack of gold, both taken from her papa’s ship when she left the sailing life to live on shore.

• Pippi is strong enough to lift her horse (and grown men).

• Her hair is carrot red; her long stockings are mismatched (one brown, one black); and her shoes are two times the length of her feet.

• She never cries.

• Her home is called Villa Villakulla.

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