While we did more than enough baking and eating over the holidays, we've done very little reading about food here lately. However, we started Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking as our nightly read aloud about a week ago. Not surprisingly, everyone thinks it's great. I can tell from all of the giggles, belly laughs, and predictions the kids let out while I read. I last read it 30 years ago, and it's even better than I remembered. Don't you love when that happens?
In case you aren't familiar with Pippi, she's the spunky nine year old heroine of this eponymous book first published in Swedish in 1950. Her mother died when she was quite young and her father, a sea captain, was lost at sea, although Pippi is convinced he has become a cannibal king somewhere. She moves into an old house, Villa Villekulla, with her horse and her monkey, Mr. Nilsson, and makes life much more interesting for her next door neighbors, Tommy and Annika.
My kids all laughed at the description of Pippi making pancakes for Tommy and Annika, getting cracked egg on her head, and declaring that she always heard egg yolk was good for the hair. Oh, those carrot red pigtails! Even funnier to my audience is when Pippi bakes pepparkakor, a type of Swedish cookie, by rolling out an enormous amount of dough on the kitchen floor. "Because," said Pippi to her little monkey, "what earthly use is a baking board when one plans to make at least five hundred cookies?"
We've decided to find a good recipe for pepparkakor, or, let's be honest, an easy looking one, and try it. Unlike Pippi, I plan to roll out the dough on the kitchen table. I'll let you know how it turns out.
In order to stick to my 2009 book blogging resolutions, I should say this is a good book for eight to eleven year olds to read independently and can be understood and enjoyed by children as young as five. We are reading a copy nicely illustrated by Louis S. Glanzman, but there are several other versions out there.