Friday, December 28, 2012

Picturing Pippi

I just finished reading Pippi Longstocking to my 7-year-old.  I had only vague recollections of the book but I do vividly recall making a book report cover using real yarn for Pippi's hair which I actually braided - a great accomplishment for this non-crafty girl and her equally non-crafty mother.

This time around, we just happened upon the edition illustrated by Lauren Child (at right).  While the book didn't thrill the adult me - its absurdist sense of humor and child's eye view of the world just aren't my style - my daughter was enthralled.  And I was captivated by the... well, the word "illustrations" doesn't do Child's work justice.  She doesn't just illustrate the book but, as in her Charlie and Lola books, plays with fonts and text placement.  This whimsical style works perfectly here, as when the sentence describing the ringmaster cracking his whip curves just like a whip and a birthday invitation is printed on what looks like a postcard:

Out of curiosity, I also checked out the edition illustrated by Louis S. Glanzman:  

My daughter pronounced both sets of illustrations (Child's in full color and Glanzman's in black-and-white) equally good, which surprised me, as I assumed that children would prefer the color illustrations.  I liked both, but I'd have to give Child the edge.  Of course, it's ultimately a matter of personal taste.  (The translations are different too, but I didn't have the time or patience to compare those!)

Finally, my younger daughter, who occasionally would listen to our reading, spied the illustrations and exclaimed, "This is the sister book to Charlie and Lola!"  What a lovely way to put it, don't you think?

Do you or your kids like Pippi?  Do you have a favorite edition?  And have you read the sequels, which I vaguely remember as disappointing?


  1. I hadn't seen the version illustrated by Child before. Very cool. I'll have to check that out. :)

  2. We'll have to check these out! My daughter (age 6) loves the book in Hebrew, illustrated I believe with the classic black and white photos you mention above. She also loves the movie, which I remember from childhood. Family Fun magazine had good tips for easy costumes, I believe.
    Note that in other cultures, she has a different name that doesn't sound like, er, pipi ;-). In Hebrew she's Bilbi.

  3. I love both of these versions. I've been reading the Lauren Child one off and on to my 6 year old recently. I also bought her this for Christmas -

  4. Wow, I never knew there were Pippi comics! I'll have to look into that!