Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Read Aloud: Pippi Longstocking

This summer I'm reading to Mina the lovely novel, Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren. And although I started with an old paperback copy with the original translation, I've switched over to this lovely illustrated copy from the library with a new translation and illustrations by the creator of the Charlie and Lola books and cartoon. You can take a peek at the book here on Amazon.

Mina has taken to the novel so much more after seeing these punchy illustrations and fun typesetting. This is the first chapter book I have read to her, so the pictures sprinkled throughout the book help create the sense of fun that I wanted for this first experience with a novel. I want her to love books, both classic and modern. I want her to love children's literature and not give it up too early (as I did). I also want her to explore her Swedish heritage. I have high hopes that Pippi Longstocking will be a good starting place for these goals.

Pippi is zany, independent, and strong. Her adventures are wild and original. Living without any grown-ups to care for her, it is truly Pippi's world. She molds the world around her into what she wants, not letting the outside world change her or her mind. What a lovely character for Mina, and other children, to meet.

There are also many opportunities in the book for tie-in activities, from baking to exploring outdoors. Here are a few ideas I've gotten from the book so far:
  • Bake heart-shaped gingersnaps. Pippi rolls hers out on the kitchen floor!
  • Go "thing-searching" in your neighborhood for little lost items. Pippi finds an empty thread spool and a tin can. Mina found a feather and a rock that looked like a bird egg.
  • Pack a "Pippi Picnic." She makes meatball and ham sandwiches, stacked pancakes with sugar, sausages, and pineapple puddings in Chapter 6.
  • Have a Coffee Party like Pippi in Chapter 9: Pippi has Coffee with the Ladies. Serve a "big cream cake" with a piece of red candy perched on top of the fluffy cream icing. Cupcakes would be perfect as Pippi ends up with her face covered in icing!
  • Braid your little girl's hair like Pippi, or make a red yarn wig like this one:
  • Draw a picture of Pippi's horse on a large piece of cardboard, color, and cut out. Place it on your porch just like Pippi!
I hope this inspires those of you who haven't read Pippi Longstocking to pick up a copy at the library for this summer and try out some of the activities with your little ones. Reading to your children is so important, and classic books like this one have so much to offer!


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