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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Pippi in the South Seas
by Astrid Lindgren
Age Range: 9-11
After Tommy and Annika become ill with the ‘flu, they need a long recovery time and a change of climate. So Pippi Longstocking arranges a holiday for them that they’ll never forget! Pippi, Tommy and Annika set off for Canny Canny Island, where Pippi’s father reigns as king, to meet the cannibals that live there. With Pippi’s horse and her monkey Mr Nelson (who meets some new primate relations), the scene is set for a real South-Seas Adventure.
Pippi is back again here, in the last instalment of the Pippi stories, and a fabulous time is had by all. This time, however, she’s headed for the South Seas, so Lindgren’s created some wonderful stories that are very different to the tales of town life Pippi readers will be familiar with.
Lindgren’s narrative style is very clear, simple prose that moves at a good pace, and although she gives us lovely details to make the Pippi stories more vivid, she really lets the readers imagine what Pippi’s world is like for themselves. Pippi really jumps off the page too, a larger than life but very human girl, bringing the stories alive around her.
The Pippi Longstocking books are also idyllic in their way. Now modern classics, they show children who grew up in a different time to children today, yet the books are still very popular. This might be down to the fact that Pippi has no adults telling her what to do (which always goes down well with children), but to have endured is the real test of a good book. These ones are so much fun and tell stories of things that are within a child’s reach but with a magic twist. As long as children are prepared to imagine a world full of fun (and no grown-ups) and want to make friends with perhaps one of the most likeable and enviable book characters ever, Pippi Longstocking and friends will go from strength to strength.
Abby Phillips (2010)