Friday, June 11, 2010

Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Novel #95

I distinctly remember decorating a pumpkin to look like Pippi Longstocking when I was little.  It was a pretty rockin' pumpkin - complete with orange braids sticking out on the sides thanks to a little copper wire.  However, I don't really remember ever reading the book...but I can't imagine Big Mama Mimi letting me get away with anything so scandalous as claiming to have read a book I had actually never read before.  (She ran a tight ship.) 

Either way, I enjoyed novel #95 (from the list of Top 100 Children's Novels)- Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.  Talk about a classic, right?

Pippi Longstocking (Puffin Modern Classics)

The version I read even had large print text, so pretty easy on the eyes when reading to the old class (especially after having a lunch that was a little too ambitious and has made you sleepy post-recess), right? 

Without a larger arc across the entire book, each chapter made a nice little story in and of itself and therefore, would be a nice starting place for a chapter book read aloud...I'm thinking perhaps at the start of the year with third graders (although older children would enjoy this too).  However, it would also make a nice transition into longer chapter book read alouds for second grade friends at the end of the year.  Plenty of places to have convos regarding Pippi's behavior...especially when girlfriend tries to go to school.  Also, Pippi would make for a pretty rad class character study - lots of work to be done trying to uncover why this chick does what she does. 

Now, most of you already know about my love for strong female characters, and I think Pippi really takes the cake.   Raising herself (her father, a sea captain, died as did her mother...although she has a much more positive spin on things than my Cynical Self), Pippi definitely marches to her own drummer - and with super human strength!  She takes on robbers, makes a splash at the circus and turns ordinary afternoons into great adventures for her neighbors and BFFs Tommy and Annika.  And because she has spent so many traveling with the world with her father and in her own little bubble, Pippi reminds me a little bit of an Amelia Bedelia in terms of totally misunderstanding typical social cues and normal, everyday activities. The only part that kind of bugged was when she went to school, but maybe that's because I have a huge chip on my shoulder when it comes to representations of teachers in various sources of media I'm sensitive.  Pippi shows up and granted, is insanely disruptive, but the teacher then attempts to evaluate her academic knowledge by grilling her in front of the whole class.  We're talking, "Pippi, can you tell me what five plus twelve equals?"  Not a hard question, no, but can you imagine the pressure?  Then the teacher just kind of agrees that maybe school isn't the place for Pippi...maybe the laws are different in Sweden, but I didn't know we could do that.

Coming in at a level O (according to this leveled book list that uses Fountas and Pinnell's method of leveling books), this book could also be totally perf for friends in fourth grade....or super smarties in third grade even.  You know your kiddos better than I do after all. 

For those of you who are joining me in all the reading fun, next up is #94 which is Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.

Swallows and Amazons (Godine Storyteller)

Another new title for Mrs. Mimi...look boys and girls, I'm learning!

2 comments:

ChrisinNY said...

Re Swallows and Amazons- just keep on repeating, "Wait until they get to the island, it'll be worth it." Although I have to credit this book with one of my abiding parental mantras (to overcome my overly protective, limiting tendencies): "Better drownded than duffers." My daughter knows this one by heart.

futureflstar said...

I actually never read the Pippi book! I saw the movie a handful of times though and loved it. I also have to add that I purchased your book today FINALLY! I am so excited to start reading it now that we are on vacation! I also picked up The Teachable Moment which I recall you mentioned you contributed to. I'm so excited. My summer vacation is already full of so many school related things I must be insane! BTW How is mini Mimi doing?!

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