For Pippi fans, Pippi on the Run is a must-have addition to your collection. First, there are the half- and full-size photos which decorate most of this picture book. Second, of course, there is the “new” adventure (as of 1971, when this book was published), which starts when Annika gets mad at her mom and decides to run away from home.
Yes, I said photos! Copyright by Semic International, the photos perfectly capture Pippi’s wide smile, brilliant orange pigtails which stick out to her sides, and mismatched clothes. I also like the choices picked for Tommy and Annika. The two blonde-haired kids are merry but prim, fitting with how I envisioned them. I don’t recall from the longer works what Pippi’s horse looked like, but white with black dots seems like the perfect style for a girl like Pippi.
Although running away does not seem to fit with Annika’s proper character, she shows her true colors when she insists on cleaning the ears of a beggar, a farm pig, and even her brother. As for Tommy, he laughs and soaks in the escapades. Pippi decides to join Tommy and Annika on their road trip, but true to Pippi logic doesn’t bring any money: “All children who are serious about running away never take any money with them.” Any day with Pippi is always hilarious and imaginative. In this particular offering, the three children meet a peddler musician, lower themselves down a hill by rope into a river, and sing sad songs when their clothes are eaten by a cow. Oh, and Pippi eats the skeleton of a fish. What else would you expect from Pippi?
For readers who have yet to discover the novels, Pippi on the Run makes a good starting place for getting acquainted with this highly unusual Swedish girl. With the demeanor of a storyteller, Lindgren explains who Pippi is and recaps some of the highlights of her life at Villa Villekulla. Besides being the strongest girl in the world, Pippi is also the richest and strangest. For one thing, she owns a suitcase full of gold pieces. For another thing, she takes care of herself because her papa is a captain who sails the seven seas and her mama is an angel in heaven. However, Pippi is not without companions: a monkey and a horse live with her, and Tommy and Annika are her next-door neighbors. All this we learn in the first few pages.
The rest of Pippi on the Run is about the strangers that Pippi, Tommy, and Anika meet while on the run, the dangers they face, and the eventual decision to return home. Never at any point does Lindgren encourage the idea that children should run away. Being on the run means one lacks money and candy, needs to find shelter quick during a rain storm, might wander in the woods for miles, could accidentally lay down on ant hills, and encounters mean people. Of course, because this is a Pippi Longstocking book, the children will never be in any real danger. After all, catching fish, riding a barrel over a waterfall, and tackling a bull are easy feats for Pippi.
Why didn’t Astrid Lindgren continue to write more picture books about Pippi? Apparently, she did! I just don’t own the other two. Their names are: Pippi’s After Christmas Party and Pippi Longstocking in the Park. Hmm, where’s my wish list?
My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.
How would you rate this book?