a book blog about reading all of lindgren's books in 2015

Posts tagged ‘pippi series’

Astrid Lindgren – A Critical Study

Astrid_ALACSThere’s no way to accurately sum up this 327-page book about Astrid’s writing.  It was an exhausting read, but an excellent one.  Written by Vivi Edstrom and translated by Eivor Cormack, it was published originally as Astrid Lindgren – Vildtoring och lagereld (1992).  I was curious how the English title compared to the Swedish title, so I did an online translation.  It came up with this: Astrid Lindgren – Vildtoring and Campfire.  Uh huh . . . well, so much for that.

The book gives a short overview of Astrid’s writings focusing on the following groupings:

  • “Adventure and Apple Blossoms”
    • Britt-Mari and Kerstin books which, to my knowledge, have not been translated to English
    • Kati books
    • Bill Bergson books
    • Rasmus and the Vagabond
    • Rasmus, Pontus, and Toker (not translated to English)
  • “From Bullerby Village to Salt Crow Island”
    • Noisy Village books
    • Lotta books
    • Madicken books
    • Seacrow Island
  • “Humor and Farce”
    • Pippi Longstocking books
    • Karlsson books
    • Emil books
  • “Reality and Vision”
    • Mio, My Son
    • The Brothers Lionheart
    • Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter

I could not possibly sum up everything I learned from this book, but what I can do is make a list of super-interesting things that I want to remember:

  • Oskar from Rasmus and the Vagabond is mentioned as having the nickname “God’s Own Cuckoo” in this book, as opposed to the English translation of “God’s best friend.”
  • This books lists Pippi’s name as “Pippilotta Provisonia Gaberdina Dandeliona Ephraimsdaughter Longstocking”
  • Astrid Lindgren was talking about the difference between her two flying characters, Mr. Lilydale and Karlsson: “Mr. Liljonkvast [Lilydale] returned several years later, but then the rascal had gone and changed character, without asking me, and what he had turned into!  Such an unbearable and willful character [Karlsson] that no one really wanted to see him!  He, however, saw himself as a handsome, highly intelligent, and reasonably stout man in his prime.  But he was no longer nice little Mr. Liljonkvast.”
  • On The Brother Lionheart, Astrid Lindgren said, “Never before have I had such strong and spontaneous reactions to any book.”
  • In regards to the younger brother Lionheart, whose name is Karl, it is noted that karl is a Swedish word for man.  This adds depth not only to the younger Lionheart’s journey into growing up, but also to Karlsson-on-the-Roof, who is obsessed with how manly he is!
  • On why she wrote Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, Astrid Lindgren said, “I wanted to get out into the forest.”
  • “Ronia has some free-spirited predecessors in Lindgren’s works.  She is related to Pippi Longstocking, Madicken, and, as already mentioned, the Amazon-like Eva-Lotta in the Bergson trilogy.  These girls overstep the limits of convention, and they always do it outside the family, in a world of their own, with the threat close behind them.”
  • Astrid Lindgren is explaining how she came to be a writer: “If it had not been snowing in Stockholm on a certain day in March 1944, it would probably not have ended that way.”

The most fun pages of the entire book, however, were a couple pages on names.  It lists the Swedish names of characters and the English/American names.  By now, I’ve mostly figured them out – Kalle Blomkvist/Bill Bergson, Madicken/Meg/Mardie, Jum-Jum/Pompoo, etc. – but a few of them absolutely floored me.  For instance, Ronja/Ronia was once translated into English as Kirsty.  KIRSTY.  Thank you, world, for reverting to Ronia.

I also loved the list of books by Astrid Lindgren, but was somewhat dismayed to see only 35 books listed, not even half of what she wrote.  Very few of her picture books were on the list or discussed.  I would love to read more about her picture books.  Alas.

This is a very fun read, but much more enjoyable because I have read almost all of the books discussed.

Pippi Goes to School

Astrid_PG2SPippi Goes to School is another Pippi storybook adapted from the original novels “with Astrid Lindgren’s assistance.”  It’s one of the most fun Pippi stories and works well as a stand-alone storybook.  It would be good for young readers who would see the humor in how not to act in school, or as a how-to manual for the little Emils and Pippis of the world.  For those who have read the novels, there is no new material here, although the pictures by Michael Chesworth are quite fun.

Pippi’s Extraordinary Ordinary Day

Astrid_PEODPippi’s Extraordinary Ordinary Day is an excerpt from two chapters of the book Pippi Longstocking “with Astrid Lindgren’s assistance.”  It’s another book that I think isn’t necessary to read if one is simply trying to read all of Lindgren’s work, but it’s fun and the library had it.  Unlike Do You Know Pippi Longstocking? this book is not listed on Astrid’s official site (I think).

Many of the adventures are the same that have been rehashed now three or four times: scrubbing the floor with scrubbing shoes, Pippi lifting the bull, etc.

Honestly, for the stories, I’d skip the book, because I’ve already read them.  But for the illustrations it’s worth it.  Michael Chesworth has really grown on me.  Check out this fabulous picnic scene:
Lindgren_Chesworth
“What have you got in your basket?” asked Annika.  “Is it something good?”
“I wouldn’t tell you for a thousand dollars,” said Pippi.

Clearly, it was good.  I never get invited to picnics like this.

Pippi Won’t Grow Up

Astrid_PWGUThis is another Pippi comic book.  Its original name was Pippi Vill Inte Bli Stor Och Andra Serier.  It was published in 2011 but the text is from 1957-1959.  It was translated by Tiina Nunnally with pictures by Ingrid Vang Nyman.

Of all the Pippi comic books, I think this is the absolute best, probably because the stories are the ones that don’t get told as often.  There is much time spent in the south seas, which feels like a rare treat.  And while the stories feel short and jumpy, I found myself longing less for the novel versions of the stories than I have while reading previous comic books.

Also, Pippi is adorable.

Pippi Fixes Everything

Astrid_PFEPublished in Swedish as Pippi Ordnar Allt Och Andra Serier in 2010, the text was originally from 1957-1959.  Pippi Fixes Everything was translated by Tiina Nunnally and illustrated by Ingrid Vang Nyman.

Again, this is a collection of older Pippi stories that have been told and retold in many formats at this point.  I’m grateful that I read the novels first so I could enjoy the surprise and depth of those stories.  I find the brevity of the comic format just makes me homesick for the true versions that Astrid Lindgren wrote.  Comic book fans may love it.  This is a fun book.  It’s just not my cup of tea.

“Nightshirts aren’t dangerous.  They only bite in self-defense.” – Pippi

Pippi Longstocking in the Park

Astrid_PiPPippi Langstrump i Humlegarden was published in 1949 and illustrated by Ingrid Nyman, one of my favorite illustrators in picture-book (not comic-book) format.  This short story tells of the time Pippi, Tommy, and Annika moved to the city briefly to combat crime.  They don’t just move to the big city, they tear down Villa Villekulla and bring it with them.

“Do you have permission to build that?” asks a man when the trio are reassembling Pippi’s home.
“No,” said Pippi.  “But so far we’ve managed anyway.”

In pure Pippi fashion, she rids the neighborhood of bad guys, has a fabulous time, and is kind to children.  It’s a fun book with a cameo appearance by a gorilla.  Why was there a gorilla in the story?  There seemed to be no purpose whatsoever – which was probably the purpose.

Really.  A gorilla.

Pippi Goes to the Circus

Astrid_PG2CPippi Goes to the Circus (1999) is another storybook version of a previously-told Pippi story.  This book “has been excerpted, with Astrid Lindgren’s assistance, from two chapters in Pippi Longstocking.”

It’s cool that Astrid was involved.  That’s why I bothered to read it, though it’s a story I know well.  If anyone else ever attempts a Lindgren Through-Read, I don’t think this book is a necessary component.

It’s a fun-enough version and, for those young readers unacquainted with Pippi, this should enthrall them and suck them into Pippi’s world.  The pictures are appealing and Michael Chesworth does a great job of illustrating motion and chaos.

Oh Pippi: Pippi leaned forward and took the horse’s right foot in her hand.  “Hello there,” she said, “My horse sent you his best wishes.  It’s his birthday today too, but has bows on his tail instead of on his head.”