October 22, 2012

31 Days of Awesome Kids' Books: Pippi Longstocking

Pippi LongstockingPippi Longstocking

At the bookstore where I used to work, Halloween was a BIG deal. There were prizes for best employee costume. And in 2006 I brought my A game as Pippi Longstocking. I had my sister braid my hair out along a straightened clothes hanger, and slather it with temporary red dye gel. Then I used makeup to draw on freckles, bought some hideous mismatched clothes at Savers*, and wore a pair of Noel's black size 13 dress shoes. 

My hair was so wide I had to turn sideways to go through doors. And while I was driving to work I had to roll down my window to let the left braid poke out. That got some stares, needless to say. By the end of my 8 hour shift I had a little raw spot on my scalp from the hanger rubbing**.

Anyway, long(stocking) story short: I loved Pippi as a kid. So I couldn't do a whole series of awesome kids' books and not include her!


I had fun rereading the first book in the series, Pippi Longstocking, over the weekend. Pippi never fails to crack me up: whether it's by cleaning her floors by dumping a bucket of water and skating around on scrub brushes, chasing policemen up on her roof, saving Tommy and Annika from a bull, or confounding the poor teacher with her lack of knowledge. I laughed out loud when the teacher asked, "What is 4 and 8?" and Pippi said, "Well if you don't know, why should I tell you?"

I think part of what resonated with me as a kid was that Pippi fulfilled many imaginary scenarios for me. What nine-year-old wouldn't like to live alone and get to stay up reading every night if they wanted to***? Or be able to rescue her friends from bullies? Or bake cookies whenever she wanted? 

One of my coworkers from Bookmans loved Pippi so much that he wears a tiny 2 inch tall Pippi doll on his name tag. And he bought Eleanor the picture book version of Pippi, which we've already read several times, and loaned to a friend.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Pippi already - but if not, remedy that situation quickly! Read them to your kids, or by yourself for a laugh. And if you have kids who are too young for the chapter books, grab the picture book - it's really well done.

Any one else ever been Pippi for Halloween?

Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommended age: 6-10

* Well, I already owned the socks. I couldn't resist them on Portobello Road a few years earlier.
** But I took third place to a pregnant nun and a scary witch. Boo.
*** What, just me?

This post is day 22 of my 31 Days of Awesome Kids' Books. I picked the winner of the giveaway from day 14! Was it you?
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