Pippi Longstocking is a character that, despite never having read any of Astrid Lindgren’s books before, I feel like I know rather well. The carrot-orange plaits that stick up into the air, the freckles, her companion monkey. But even though I felt like we were acquaintances, I still felt that I wanted to get to know her better – that is, I still wanted to read the books about her adventures. Especially when I stumbled across the lovely edition for sale in Hill of Content in Melbourne.
Pippi, while still being delightfully surprising, was everything I expected her to be. The stories were pretty much what I thought they would be. In fact, they felt almost familiar. And I was okay with that. Sometimes it’s nice to read something that feels familiar and safe. Pippi Longstocking only took me an hour or so to read, but it was a delightful, restful hour, in which I had no expectations, no challenges, nothing unexpected. Pippi Longstocking is, quite simply, a lovely book to read.
Obviously, I am an adult (technically), so I didn’t stumble over any words, or struggle to understand what something meant, or have bits of humour wash over me because I was too young to correctly understand what Pippi and her friends were saying. So for a child, Pippi may indeed be challenging and unexpected. But even so, I feel like the characters are so warm, so comforting, so delightfully friendly that a child could have the same feeling of familiarity that I had with Pippi, Anika and Tommy (and Mr Nilsson the monkey) that they can’t help but get enamoured with the story. I felt like I almost remembered reading about Pippi making pancakes before, or the trio of friends going on a picnic, or Pippi’s birthday party. I hope that other children feel that way too, so they turn to reading Pippi when they need something comforting, familiar and friendly. With a dash of mischief and quirkiness, too.