Rating: 5 stars
Earlier this afternoon was the second official meeting of the Mother-Daughter Book Club, which Lorelei now calls "MDBC." It's her military roots wanting to make everything an acronym, I think. Happily, we had another mother and daughter join us! Her pal and birthday twin Jessica and Jessica's mom Eily joined us to discuss Lorelei's chosen book, Pippi Longstocking. Eily read the book aloud with Jessica and her older daughter. I think that was a great choice--it would be a fantastic book to read out loud, together. Lorelei and I read the book separately, mostly because Lorelei had read the book three times before. It would be a fine book to read with Ben, who turns 5 in 8 days, and we might read one of the sequels together soon.
Anyway. On to the book!
In case you've not read it, Pippi is a character in every sense of the word. Her mother dies when she's little and her father...well, we're not really sure but Pippi thinks he's now the king of the cannibals. The point is: he's not around. So Pippi parents herself quite happily, making up rules as she goes (just as we parents do, uses the gold coins she grabbed from her father's boat to buy anything she needs, stays un-lonely with her pets and friends.
After galavanting across the globe for a decade or so, she moves to a new town and befriends her neighbors, Annika and Tommy. The three of them have unbelievable Pippi-led adventures. For example, they go to the circus, where Pippi jumps atop a horse, gets kicked out, then defeats the strongest man in the world (all to the delight of the crowd). In most of the chapters, though, it's just Pippi--amusing herself, being fearless towards things that usually scare grown ups. (This book is really just an excuse to enter the word "moxie" into Lorelei's vocabulary!)
This is a very interesting girl! A page-turner of a book for sure in the eyes of almost any little reader (or listener).
Eily came up with most of the questions that we talked about today, and there was a good little discussion around the treats and drinks we bought before talking (sugar helps discussion, you know). I took these eight questions, wrote them on slips of paper, then put them in a glass mason jar, aka The Question Jar:
- What are 3 words that describe Pippi?
- Do you like Pippi? Why or why not?
- Why do you think Tommy and Annika like to play with Pippi? Would you like to play with her?
- Do you think that Pippi knows she's behaving appropriately at the circus and coffee party?
- Would you want to be Pippi for the day, or for forever? Why or why not?
- What would be the best thing about living without parents? What would be the worst thing?
- What was the most realistic thing about the book? The least realistic?
- What would Mrs S (the girls' teacher) think if Pippi showed up to class with you tomorrow?
Question 4 was definitely my favorite.
Jessica wisely brought up that there are a few boys in her class that don't "make good choices" and they behave inappropriately at times. This bugs her (as it should!). Unlike those boys, we agreed that Pippi does NOT understand the rules. She's oblivious to them, and this frees her to do more and be a little wild, though she doesn't mean to do anything wrong. I think the whole notion of unsaid rules within cultures--that remain silent but you KNOW they are there and you KNOW when you break them--is so very, very interesting. If the girls were a little older, I would have happily launched into that, questioning them about how one learns rules in a culture...
This is a great book to read with kids or to kids. Or maybe these kids can read to us big kids!