Boing Boing reviews Pippi Won't Grow Up

“Pippi Won’t Grow Up – Whimsical, charming and wonderfully absurd” / Boing Boing / Carla Sinclair / December 16, 2014

Just released today is Pippi Won’t Grow Up, Drawn and Quarterly’s third volume of Pippi Longstocking comics. Last spring I reviewed the hilarious second volume, Pippi Fixes Everything, and this one is just as whimsical, humorous and utterly charming.

As in the last book, Pippi’s sense of humor is wonderfully absurd. For example, at a tea party she tells her two best friends, “Just like my grandma. If she’s out on the street and a roof tile falls on her head, she starts jumping and screaming. You’d think she’d been in an accident.” And when her friend says, “You don’t have a grandma, Pippi,” Pippi replies, “That’s right. I don’t. So you’d think she could relax a bit.”

The stories themselves are also absurd. For instance, her father is king of the fictitious South Seas’ Kurrakurradoot Island and invites her and her best friends to visit him. On the boat ride to the island, Pippi’s pipe-smoking oaf of a father falls overboard, only to have his tiny daughter, who has “a certificate in life-saving, weight-lifting, and finger-pulling,” dive in and rescue him. In more than one story Pippi also saves the day by humiliating menacing men and then hurling them into the air with her superhero strength.

Although I can’t wait to read this to my 11-year-old daughter, I do have to warn that some of the island scenes might be considered culturally insensitive, as attitudes were different when these were first created. For instance, Pippi’s white redhead dad rules an island of South Pacific natives, some who carry spears. Although to be fair, Pappa Longstocking carries a spear as well. The island kids – and adults – all run around topless, but this includes Pippi, her friends, and her father. I find it was all done good-naturedly, but some might find it a tad offensive.

Originally published in a Swedish magazine in the 1950s, this is the first time these particular Pippi comics have been published in English. Thank you for making them available, Drawn and Quarterly!

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