ORIGIN early 17th cent.: via French from Italian gazzetta, originally gazeta de la novità (because the news-sheet sold for a gazeta, a Venetian coin of small value)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pippi Longstocking

I've just finished reading, for the first time ever, Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking. Wow, am I flabbergasted! Wishing now that I would have read this earlier in life, I can only guess how much I would have enjoyed this as a girl. Irreverent, strong, eccentric, subversive - she's a girl's role model, and a woman's delight. Refusing authority to those whom we never dare disrespect, ie, teachers and policemen, Pippi delights in being her own person, her own nine-year rebellious, natural, wonderful self.

Pippi Longstocking came out in 1945 in Sweden, but it wasn't until the book's translation into English by Edna Hurup in 1954 did it become a worldwide sensation, and with it Pippi, a classic, trans-cultural archetype of children's literature.

She reminds me of characters from Roald Dahl's world, of creatures from Dr. Seuss's crazy galley. She is as good as Alice in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, turning us all on our heads, making us totally topsy-turvy.

For years, Pippi has been available to my students in my classroom, but it's just one of those books I never took the time to read. Lately, when I heard that Lisbeth Salander, aka The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, was based more on Pippi than on anyone else, I was intrigued. What an eye-opening and fun read it's been.
2007 Oxford University Edition with cover illustration by Lauren Child

I wonder… what editor would take a chance on Pippi today?


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