Jess Howard, Higher Education Marketing Manager, talks about why the red-haired Pippi Longstocking was so beloved to her as a child, and why she still appeals to children today.
I’m not sure where my childhood copy of Pippi Longstocking came from. A second-hand bookshop or library sale is most likely. I remember being interested by the drawing on the cover, with a proud girl with crazy red hair staring out at me like she could take on the world. I wanted to know what she was all about and was excited by a story where a young girl had the freedom and independence I’d previously only associated with adults. Today it’s well-thumbed, with soft pages curling at the edges and a cracked spine, and I’ve had red hair pretty consistently since I stole some of my sister’s hair dye when I was 12.
So who is Pippi? And why does she appeal to children so much? Pippi was first named by author Astrid Lindgren’s then nine-year-old daughter, Karin, who requested a get-well story from her mother one day when she was home sick from school. And so Pippi Longstocking was born: the strongest girl in the world. She lives on the outskirts of a small Swedish town. Her mother is dead and her father was washed overboard in a storm at sea. She shares her house with a monkey and with a horse, who lives in the porch (because in the kitchen he would get in the way and he doesn’t like the living room). Just like Peter Pan, Pippi has no interest in growing up.
The first three Pippi chapter books were published in 1945–1948, with an additional series of six books published in 1969–1975. Two final stories were printed in 1979 and 2000. It wasn’t until 1954 that the book was translated into English as Pippi Longstocking – by Edna Hurup, and charmingly illustrated by Richard Kennedy. Once the stories appeared in English, they quickly became a worldwide success and Pippi one of the great archetypes of children’s fiction.The books have been translated into 64 languages and adapted into multiple films and television series.
Today Pippi lives on, still capturing children’s imaginations and inspiring them to be strong, independent and seek out adventures just like she did for me. Pippi truly hasn’t grown up.
Special offer* for Pippi fans!
To buy the entire Pippi and Friends series for only Au$52.76 with FREE delivery (purchased individually retail value of all ten books would be over Au$100; RRP of the pack is $65.95) visit www.oup.com.au/pippifriends and enter the following promo code when prompted at checkout: PippiF
Pippi and Friends boxed set contains:
Pippi in the South Seas
Pippi Goes Aboard
Karlson Flies Again
Karlson on the Roof
Lotta Says ‘No!’
Lotta Makes a Mess
Emil’s Clever Pig
Emil and the Sneaky Rat
Emil and the Great Escape
*Online offer only available to Australian customers. New Zealand customers free call 0800 442 502 or email [email protected] to receive the same discount on the NZ price and free delivery. Offer expires 1st December 2014.