I’m always a little tentative about reprints of vintage comics for kids. So often they seem designed more for nostalgic adults than any real, contemporary child. So I was on tenterhooks when I decided to take a risk and purchase Pippi Moves In! for my library before I was able to preview it. I am happy to say that this is one vintage reprint that I am confident will be flying off the shelf, delighting both children and parents.
This is the first English translation of the Pippi Longstocking comic strips originally published in Sweden in the 1950s. They retell several episodes from the classic children’s book and are illustrated by the original Pippi Longstocking artist, Ingrid Vang Nyman, in her trademark brilliant colors. Each four-page story recreates one of Pippi’s adventures, starting with her arrival at Villa Villekulla and continuing with her exploits with Tommy and Annika. They have a run-in with the police, who want to take Pippi to a children’s home; Pippi visits school for the first time; and goes to a circus, where she shows off her amazing acrobatic skills and strength. There are picnics and walks, visits to the candy store; and a trip to the doctor (after all that candy, Pippi needs some medicine – just in case!). They finish up with a shipwreck on an island. The dialogue is simple but captures all the classic elements; Pippi’s cheerful refusal to fall in step with authority, her gold coins, wild stories, and amazing strength.
Nyman’s art is brilliant, combining bold colors and simple lines to capture the essence of Pippi’s world. The children look almost like paper dolls, giving the stories the perfect fillip of fantasy that makes Pippi’s adventures so entrancing. The illustrations and dialogue complement each other, giving the right amount of information to the reader without being so subtle that a beginning reader can’t grasp the storyline.
Beginning to intermediate readers are the best audience for this collection of stories. Each chapter is short enough not to be discouraging, telling a complete story that a child can read through in one sitting without losing interest or the plot. The typescript is bold and easily readable, adding just enough dialogue to the action shown in the art. Add these to the Toon Books series to introduce beginning readers to graphic novels and stock extra copies of the original story, as they will be sure to want to read more about Pippi’s classic adventures.