Whew! That’s a mouthful! No wonder she just goes by the name of Pippi!
Here I am dressed up as Pippi with my pet monkey Mr Nilsson for World Book Day. We are meant to dress as our favourite book character and she is certainly one of my favourites. I loved the book as a child and the idea of her living on her own in her mad mismatched homemade clothes with a pet monkey and a horse and cleaning the floor by skating with scrub brushes on her feet or playing tag with the police or going to school to learn her plutification tables. I loved it so much I decided to read the book to my class one year. I didn’t preview it--there was no need, right? This was Pippi--a children’s classic we are talking about. Well I got to the last chapter and they are all up in the attic playing pirate and Tommy finds a real gun and asks Pippi if he can have it--and my whole class did a collective GASP! There was a lot of gun violence in their lives and after a year of preaching that joining a gang and owning a gun was not the answer (these were 2nd graders! But many of the more street savvy ones were already being recruited) I could not in good conscience continue on to read the fact the Pippi says yes and he shoots a real gun. I swear I don’t belief in censorship----I am married to a librarian--but the words stuck in my throat and I changed the words to have Pippi say, “No Tommy. Guns aren’t safe for children to play with” and then carried on like it had never happened.
I am pleased to say that Astrid Lindgren (or at least modern publishers) has caught up with my way of thinking. In the most recent version I have--delightfully illustrated by Lauren Child--the lines are changed to have Pippi say,
“Never let children handle guns,” said Pippi picking up a pistol in each hand. “Or else an accident might easily happen,” she said firing both pistols at once. “What a loud bang that was!” she said looking up at the ceiling. They could see two bullet holes.
Today was great! It is interesting that our new student from
also came as “Pippi Langstrum” and there were 2 other Pippis as well –so we all had a photo together! Hooray and happy reading! Latvia