Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Great Pippi!!

Pippi Longstocking, created by Astrid Lingren
I simply must post not a current review but a general yelp of adoration for Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking. She is, hands down, my favorite fictional character. To quote in the classiest of ways from her Wikipedia article,  "Nine-year-old Pippi is unconventional, assertive, and has superhuman strength, being able to lift her horse one-handed without difficulty. She frequently mocks and dupes adults she encounters, an attitude likely to appeal to young readers; however, Pippi usually reserves her worst behavior for the most pompous and condescending of adults.

The first three Pippi chapter books were published from 1945 to 1948, with an additional series of six books published in 1969–1975. Two final stories were printed in 1979 and 2000. Time Magazine named the original book as one of the most influential one hundred novels. The books have been translated into more than 50 languages.

 Original Svedish Cover Art

 Different Cover Art for the young American

 More recent illustrations by Lauren Child 
(pretty but not wacky enough for me, to be honest)

Pippi lives alone in a small Swedish village, sharing the house she styles "Villa Villekulla" with her monkey, Mr. Nilsson, and her horse, Old Man. Her best friends, Tommy and Annika Settergren, live next door and often come over for adventures like playing in the big hollow tree, cleaning the Villa by skating about in soapy water with scrub-brushes on their feet, searching for spinks and having fun with the various adults who try to buy the Villa or evict the little girl from the house (a little girl living alone confuses some people). Pippi's two main possessions are a suitcase full of gold coins (which she used to buy her horse) and a large chest of drawers containing various small treasures. Pippi has an amazing talent for spinning tall tales, although she normally does not lie with malicious intent; rather, she tells truth in the form of humorously strange stories.

 Pippi smokes up Tommy and Annika

Going camping, shooting guns, punching sharks...Pippi is a BAMF

Pippi is the daughter of seafarer Ephraim Longstocking, captain of the sailing ship Hoptoad. Pippi retired to the Villa Villekulla after her father was believed lost at sea, determined in her belief that her father was still alive, had been made an island king, and would come to look for her there.As it turned out, Captain Longstocking was washed ashore upon a South Sea island known as Kurrekurredutt Isle, where he was made the "fat white chief" by its native people. The Captain returned to Sweden to bring Pippi to his new home in the South Seas, but Pippi found herself attached to the Villa and her new friends Tommy and Annika, and decided to stay where she was, though she and the children sometimes took trips with her father aboard the Hoptoad, including a trip to Kurrekurredutt where she was confirmed as the "fat white chief's" daughter, Princess Pippilotta.

There are three full-length Pippi books (Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Goes on Board, and Pippi in the South Seas), three original picture books (Pippi on the Run, Pippi's After Christmas Party, and Pippi Longstocking in the Park) and more picture books based on various chapter excerpts from the original three. The first Pippi movie was made in 1949 and starred Viveca Serlachius, who made 10 more movies between 1944 and 1954. There was also a Swedish TV series in 1969, and since Lindgren wasn't very happy with the 1949 adaptation, she wrote the scripts herself. It starred the cutest Pippi EVER, Inger Nilsson. In 1988 an American feature film, The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, was released. There were no new adventures, though. An animated film was released in 1997 and adapted into an animated TV series, and a sequel to the animated movie (Pippi's Adventures on the South Seas) came out in 2000.