Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the “Pippi Longstocking” series.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Pippi Longstocking is a fiery 9-year-old with red braids and shoes that are much too big. Her mother died when she was a baby, and her father, a ship’s captain, is lost at sea. She used to travel with him and claims to have seen much of the world. Pippi believes her father is still alive and will return to her. In the meantime, she lives in the retirement house he purchased called Villa Villekulla. Her unnamed horse and her monkey, Mr. Nilsson, live with her. She has little concern for money and pays for anything she needs out of her suitcase full of gold coins.
Shortly after Pippi moves to Villa Villekulla, she meets neighbor kids Tommy and Annika Settergren. They are proper children who have been taught manners and social graces. They’re intrigued by Pippi’s freedom and eccentric way of viewing the world.
In one chapter, she teaches them to be “thing finders” and search for interesting items all around them. The generous Pippi even hides little gifts she’s collected so the children have something interesting to find. She holds parties for them, pays for expensive circus tickets and invites them to join her for all of her unusual activities.
Pippi has exceptional physical strength. A boy named Bengt and his pals bully a smaller boy before calling Pippi names. She lifts each one of them and hangs them on a tree or fencepost. Later, when the police come to take Pippi to a children’s home, she carries them all off of her property.
At a circus, Pippi bests the strong man but refuses the $100 prize. She foils two burglars who are after her gold by tying them up, and then making them be her dance partners. She also saves two boys from a burning house when the rest of the town can’t help them.
Pippi is well-meaning and generous, though her lack of social graces often creates problems. Pippi inadvertently causes trouble when she tries to go to school. She draws on the floor and incites other chaos in the classroom. She ultimately decides school is not for her at the moment but suggests she may come back someday. After Pippi eats all of the snacks and repeatedly interrupts the adult conversation at Mrs. Settergren’s coffee party, Tommy and Annika’s mother bans her from their house.
Pippi frequently tells anyone who will listen about her world travels with her father. She is an admitted liar, so it is often difficult to discern what she’s seen and what she’s invented. Her lies, like her inappropriate behavior, are never meant to harm anyone. She’s a happy child who loves to talk to others. She frequently offers money, gifts or cookies to people, even the thieves and adults she has annoyed.
Although adults are frequently put off by Pippi’s lack of manners, she endears herself to the town by using her strength and acrobatics to save two boys from a fire. The story ends with Pippi turning 10 and throwing a party for Tommy and Annika. Just as she’s pulling out real, loaded pistols so they can all play, Mr. Settergren arrives to take his children home for the night.
Other Belief Systems
Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.
Firearms: Pippi shoots a loaded pistol into the ceiling for fun. She starts to give pistols to Tommy and Annika so they can all play, but the children’s father comes to take them home.
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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.
Readability Age Range
8 to 12
Viking, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc. First published in 1945 in Swedish; first published in English in 1950; reviewed edition published in 1985