The Quick 10: Pippi Longstocking

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I have a special place in my heart for Pippi Longstocking "“ when I was in about first grade, my mom brought a ball of white fluff home that been abandoned at her workplace and told me I could name our new cat, I promptly called her Pippi. So, for the last book in our children's lit Quick 10 series, I had to go with Astrid Lindgren's freckle-faced redhaired girl (I'm quoting the theme song in hopes that all of you join me in having it stuck in your head).

1. According to Pippi herself, her full name is Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking (in Swedish, it's Pippilotta Viktualia Rullgardina Krusmynta Efraimsdotter LÃ¥ngstrump).
2. Like Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, the character of Pippi was originally just a bedtime story. Astrid Lindgren made up the precocious redhead to entertain her daughter, Karin, who was very ill with pneumonia and was totally bedridden. In fact, it was Karin who named the character Pippi.
3. It was when Astrid was laid up a few years later, though, that Pippi was actually recorded on paper. Astrid fell on some ice and hurt her ankle, which left her relatively immobile. This time, it was herself she needed to entertain. She remembered the stories she made up for Karin and decided to write them down and see if they would go anywhere. They certainly did "“ later that year, she submitted the story in a writing contest where it took second place. She sent it in to another contest the following year, where it won the first place prize of a publishing contract. It was an immediate hit with kids and has been in print ever since.

4. When you were a kid, did you desperately want to visit Pippi's house, Villa Villekulla? You can fulfill that dream"¦ if you're still harboring it, that is. The house that was used for the 1969 T.V. series still stands in the town of Vibble, Gotland Municipality, Sweden. Or you can visit The World of Astrid Lindgren, an amusement park in Vimmerby, Sweden, Lindgren's hometown. You can meet all of the characters she created there, including Miss Longstocking and her crazy house with the tree that grows sockerdricka (lemonade, in the U.S. version).

5. Astrid Lindgren didn't just write for children "“ she truly believed in children's rights and campaigned for them. In 1994, she was honored for her "lifelong dedication to the rights of children."

6. Lindgren wrote all of her first drafts in stenographer's shorthand.

7. Even after she became wealthy from her books "“ one estimate puts her sales in the vicinity of 145 million copies "“ Lindgren continued to live in the apartment in Stockholm where she first told Pippi stories to her daughter.

8. We love Lego creations here on the _floss, of course, so I couldn't pass up a Lego representation of Pippi and her house. It's insanely detailed.
9. No other Swedish author has had their stories translated into as many languages as Lindgren. As of 2010, her works have been translated into 95 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu.

10. Herr Nilsson, Pippi's pet monkey and accomplice, seems to have a fan base all of his own. There's even a Norwegian pop group named after him. They actually just released a new album called "Long Live Herr Nilsson."

This children's lit book series has been really fun! I hope you've all enjoyed it. We'll definitely have to do it again "“ I know there are a lot of suggestions floating around out there that I didn't get to.

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April 30, 2010 - 1:51pm
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