A mix of titles currently on my shelves.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What Does Pippi Look Like?

We all have our own imagined visions of how fictional characters look, which is one reason I generally like to read a book before I see its film equivalent. I prefer to form my own picture before I see Hollywood's version.

Someone like Pippi inspires a strong impression in the reader, with or without pictures. I've been living with my ideas about Pippi for a long time -- since the original editions (in English) from the 1950s, illustrated by Ingrid Vang Nyman . I suspect that my own idea of what Pippi really looks like is more connected than I like to admit to the illustrations I pored over as a child. Compared to the overwhelming power of screen images to shape our perceptions, it's easy to forget that book illustrations can strongly influence our perceptions, too.

I'm reminded of this as I look at newer cover art for Pippi, updated for modern children. I find myself reacting strongly to the new images because -- guess what? -- they don't look like my Pippi!

Of course, I will cope. The important thing is that Pippi lives on. But I'm curious what other Pippi-lovers might think.

Below are links to four illustrators' images for the cover of Pippi Longstocking. Which do you prefer?

Statue of Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pippi Longstocking
and many other books for children, at Junibacken in Stockholm.


  1. I would vote for #1. But I may not be eligible to vote since I am sorry to say I never read these books. After reading about them, I think I need to make a trip to the library and check them out!

  2. Oh, yes -- read Pippi! Even now she is a unique character. Let me know what you think.