Over the past couple of weeks, I've read aloud Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking books to Lucia. We'd finished Ronia, the Robber's Daughter previously, and Lucia really enjoyed that book, so I brought out Pippi to see how the humor would work with her. (Lucia herself is reading beginning readers series.) Often, things that are funny have to be explained to her why they are funny, but Lucia has been laughing outright over Pippi's utterances and actions.
I realized recently that Pippi is a child's superhero. She has amazing strength, and she uses it for good to defy those who would squelch children, i.e. bullies, robbers, domineering grownups. Her table manners are deplorable, but she is generous and sensitive to those in need. She is "rich as a troll" with her suitcase of gold coins, but she herself wears rags and lives in a ramshackle house called Villa Villekulla, and uses her wealth to buy presents for others.
Lucia admires Pippi greatly, and wants to be like her. We've had to talk about some caveats besides the obvious (don't eat mushrooms in the forest, drink coffee before you've stopped growing, or tell tall tales about how people live in other countries). We've also had age-appropriate talks about post-colonialism and perceptions of people outside one's own culture as "other."
In the meantime, Lucia has made paper dolls and dioramas inspired by the Pippi books. Here are her latest creations:
Villa Villekulla with Pippi (Mr. Nilsson the monkey is on her shoulder), Tommy, Annika, and the horse
Tommy, Annika, Pippi
Last night, we learned of the the existence of Astrid Lindgren's World. Who's up for a trip to Vimmerby, Sweden?