The third and final Pippi novel, Pippi in the South Seas, is a fitting end to the long Pippi tales. It was originally published in 1948 as Pippi Langstrump i Soderhaver. The version I read was translated by Florence Lamborn and illustrated by Michael Chesworth, whose illustrations of Pippi really grew on me. One thing he does really well is capture the feeling of movement in his illustrations.
In this collection of Pippi stories, Pippi explores the neighborhood looking for a spink, cheers up sad schoolchildren, and gets a letter informing her that she must go to the South Seas. Tommy and Annika, long-suffering from sickness, are again heartbroken at the thought of losing Pippi. But somehow, Pippi has convinces their parents to let her take them. On the island they have all kinds of adventures, returning to Villekulla just after Christmas, much to the dismay of her friends. But Pippi, being Pippi, arranges a Christmas feast and party for Tommy and Annika so really, they didn’t miss out. Then she offers them each a magic pill so they will never have to grow up. Readers can only assume that, if the pill worked as promised, the three are still playing in Villa Villekulla to this day.
It’s so hard to pick favorite lines from Pippi’s books because she is witty and wise and ridiculous and true all rolled into one. One of my favorite scenes is this: “Eat your good cereal she [Tommy and Annika’s mother] said.
Annika stirred hers around in the dish with her spoon a bit, but she knew that she just couldn’t get any of it down. “Why do I have to eat it, anyway?” she said complainingly.
“How can you ask anything so stupid?” said Pippi. “Of course you have to eat your good cereal. If you don’t eat your good cereal, then you won’t grow and get big and strong. And if you don’t get big and strong, then you won’t have the strength to force your children, when you have some, to eat their good cereal. No, Annika, that won’t do. Nothing but the most terrible disorder in cereal-eating would come of this if everyone talked like you.”
But I also deeply appreciated this sentence: [Pippi’s pet monkey] Mr. Nilsson, who was sitting on the table and trying to spread butter on his hat, looked up in surprise.