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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: A Show of Hands. Who Can Still Sing the Pippi Longstocking Theme from That Terrible Movie?

I’ve always said that Pippi Longstocking was children’s literature’s first superheroine.  And apparently she’s huge in parts of Israel.  Just listen to this fascinating interpretation of the character from Dr. Hanna Livnat, head of the Yemima Center for Children’s Literature at Beit Berl Academic College:

"[Pippi] is very much of a feminist for her time. She is assertive, insists on what is coming to her and has adventures that in children’s literature are usually the exclusive domain of boys. If girls did go on adventures, it was at someone’s behest, like Little Red Riding Hood being sent by her mother, or because they had to escape, like Snow White. Bilbi, though, goes on adventures based on a goal she sets for herself. In literature, and in culture generally, the female character is also traditionally required to be part of the family framework and not an autonomous being. Bilbi, in contrast, is a girl who is independent of a family, which is a major innovation. Orphanhood is a convenient literary stratagem, because in the absence of parents there is no authority. But in contrast to orphans who are placed in the families of aunts and uncles, etc., and who finally marry or fall in love, like Pollyana or Anne of Green Gables, Bilbi remains completely herself, with no external constraints."

What she said.  The article A girl in full discusses varying takes on the character, as well as how she has been interpreted by various artists.  There’s also a fascinating glimpse of how translators have taken liberties with the text.  Now if anyone can find a YouTube video of Pippi Longstocking taking down the separation wall, please to pass it on to me.  Thanks to Jenny Schwartzberg for the link.

  • As my Top 100 Picture Books continue to eek their way out, I was delighted to see that Books for Kids   did this awesome little spinny cover widget thing of some of the titles I’ve already released.  Very cool looking.

  • Speaking of The Bird 100 (as Kaethe called it, and which I kinda love) author Laurel Snyder has taken it upon herself to do something mighty difficult.  She has become Bizarro-Betsy.  Technically I think Bizzaro-Betsy is supposed to say the opposite of everything I say and speak in a kind of Cookie Monster/Tarzan/Frankenstein’s Monster mode of speech, but her cause is worthy so we’ll let our nerdy Superman requirements slide.  Says she, "For the next week, I ask that you email me– laurelsnyder (at)– and tell me the name of a picture  book you HATE!  And please, if you can, a few words about why you detest it. Here’s the catch: It has to be a book other people love. A classic. A bestseller.  A ‘gem’ of some kind."  I already sent her one of my picks.  Want to know what it was?  Here’s a hint.  It rhymes with "The Groanly Moll".  Which, come to think of it, might be another description of the book.

  • The Battle of the (Kids’) Books (or B.O.B.) begins next week and I’m gearing up.  Gearing up for my peanut gallery, that is.  Oh, the shells I shall throw.  The yuks and nyuks I’ll pass out.  But I don’t have to be alone!  As the post on  The Peanut Gallery says, "At the end of each week there will be a Peanut Gallery post filled, we hope, with your responses to the matches for that round.  So if you write a post on your blog be sure to let us know in the comments. We will be sure to put a link to it in that week’s Peanut Gallery post as well as links to any other commentary we come across. And rest assured that we will regularly update the post as more links come in."  They’ve already made a list of posts on the topic, including Jill Wolfson’s concerns.  Lots o’ debate to come, I am sure.

  • Let’s talk about race, baby.  Let’s talk about you and me.  Mitali Perkins is anyway.  If you haven’t read her piece Straight Talk on Race: Challenging the Stereotypes in Kids’ Books, do that thing.  She offers great advice.  I was particularly fond of when she suggests that when reading children’s literature, "If labels aren’t used, but you know a character is nonwhite, ask yourself and your students how the author communicated that fact. Check for tired food-related clichés about ‘coffee-colored’ skin or ‘almond-shaped’ eyes versus fresh, bold attempts to delineate race and culture in a story."  Food clichés.  That’s so right.  And her points on cover art are worth the price of admission alone.  She brings up the MAJOR problem I had with that lamentable cover they gave to Kadohata’s Weedflower.

  • Um . . . .

Oooooookay.  I can’t decide what I think about this.  It’s a design concept for the £193m Library of Birmingham.  Does it, as Bookninja suggests, "constitute the rebirth of monumental architecture of the bespectacled set?"  Or is it instead Britain’s way of single-handedly solving the disappearing bee problem by convincing the wayward insects that this is the cutting edge in honeycombs?  You be the judge.

  • According to rumor the Children’s Book Council is holding their annual Children’s Choice Book Awards election for Children’s Book Week.  Dunno how long it lasts.  Dunno how often you can vote (quite often if their form is any indication).  In any case, if you’ve a preference (or, better yet, you have a child with a preference) vote vote vote.  Thanks to Mo Willems for the link.

  • Peter at Collecting Children’s Books would like every living Newbery winner to comment on his blog at some point.  So far he’s up to three (Neil Gaiman, Linda Sue Park, and Avi).  You beat me with Avi, Peter, but I’ve had Laura Amy Schlitz, Susan Patron (on my old blog, so that counts, right?) as well as Linda Sue Park and Mr. Gaiman.  I’ve never gotten the elusive Avi comment, however.  That’s a keeper.  While he was at it Peter also listed the locations of all the Newbery winners, going so far as to specify the American books by state.  Go, Michigan (Bud, Not Buddy) gogogo!

  • Good news for the Scholastic Book Fair folks.  According to Galleycat (who got it, in turn, from CBS News Reports): "According to a recent report from the Scholastic Corporation, revenues from fairs for the nine months ending Feb. 28 was $261.2 million, virtually unchanged from the same ninth-month period a year earlier."  I know that there have been recent mutterings about how few of the things they sell are actually literature, but I’m still pleased.  Probably because I liked those fairs so much in my youth. 

  • Usborne is publishing an interesting series called Historical House, which shows a single domicile and the different girls that live in it at different points in history.  Authors of the series will include Adele Geras, Linda Newbury, and Ann Turnbull.  It’s not a bad idea for a historical fiction series, actually.  And the house remains on the cover of each book, which is a nice touch.  Usborne has an interview up with these three authors, talking about their process, the books, and tips for kids.

  • The Galaxy British Book Award for the WHSmith 2009 Children’s Book of the Year was just announced.  It went to . . .   Breaking Dawn .  Oh, Brits.  You are aware that even the American fans weren’t head over heels regarding that one, right?  Thanks to Bookninja for the link.

  • Damn damn damn damn damn damn damn.  Pardon me.  This is a children’s literary blog.  Such language is unseemly and unbecoming in the modern children’s librarian.  *ahem*  To put it another way… shoot, durn, consarn it!  Alison Morris is handing the reins of the ShelfTalker blog off to two other capable, I am sure, booksellers.  She cites losing sanity as a cause.  I sympathize.  But it’s sad to see one of the best regular bloggers fade to black.  Ah well.  At least I can look forward to that book she’s working on.  And, of course, I welcome the words of wisdom of the new bloggers Elizabeth Bluemle and Josie Leavitt of the The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont.

  • Now this is a truly splendid idea.  Top notch.  Stellar.  Library design is interesting to me (particularly as I have no say over it in my particular part of the world).  Over at Ms. Yingling Reads she has announced a Library Design Challenge.  As she says, "I  have become obsessed with optimizing my library and am curious about where others work. I’d like to take a virtual tour of some other school or public libraries and get some ideas for my own!"  A fine notion.  I already did a tour of my own, but I’d love to see where other people dwell.  The more ideas floating around the internet, the better off we all will be.

  • Daily Image:

The more you read this blog the more you will slowly come to realize that I’ve a weird interest in Archie comics.  I mean . . . those things are just odd, yes?  I read them as a kid, but boy were they in their own little world.  Case in point, this beauty from what we can only pray is from the 70s.

Regarding Archie’s shirt . . . when did that kid go through a meth period?  Because if that’s not the clothing of a dealer, I don’t know what is.  Thanks to Living Between Wednesdays for the link.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. I can still sing it!

  2. I can sing it, but I only remember two lines – is it possible there only were two lines?

  3. As a PTA volunteer I’ve organized quite a few Scholastic Book Fairs. I was pleased when we sold quite a bit at our last fair (in December), even though we feared the worst with the economy. Now the economy is worse and the co-chair and I are organizing another one in May. I truly hope that parents and kids are still willing to buy books (and some junk). Diary of a Wimpy Kid was our biggest seller last time

  4. (Why do my comments always get cut short??)

    … I wonder what will be the bestseller this time?

  5. Fuse #8 says:

    Apparently the comment section has acquired a dislike of quotations marks. Very frustrating.

  6. Sergio R. says:

    I remember some the Italian version:

    Ecco sono qui,
    Pippi Calzelunghe cosi’ mi chiamo.
    Credo proprio che
    una come me non c’e’ stata mai.

    Pippi Pippi Pippi,
    che nome, fa un po’ ridere,
    ma voi riderete
    per quello che faro’.

    Tutto il giorno sto
    con una scimmietta e un cavallo bianco
    ed un topo che
    tutto il mio formaggio si vuol mangiar.

  7. I assume those are Rex Harrison damns.


    Which theme? The original movies? I can sing it in Swedish! The animated version? I kinda like it. The absolutely horrible New Adventures? Ick.

  9. Jen Robinson says:

    Thanks a LOT, Betsy. Now I have that Pippi song stuck in my head. “…Pippi, Pippi Longstocking, how I love my funny name.”

  10. Fuse #8 says:

    Ah. I need to be more specific. I mean the terrible 1980s film where the song was (and I haven’t Googled this, so I might be wrong): Pippi Longstocking, Longstocking’s in your town / The freckled face hmmhmm girl you oughta know / who’s hmmhmm hmm world of surprises . . .

  11. Jenny Schwartzberg says:

    Thanks for the credit, Betsy. I was wondering if anyone has looked at the new (2007) edition of Pippi Longstocking, translated by Tiina Nunnally, with illustrations by Lauren Child. I liked the translation but wondered how people felt about it. I’m really ambivalent about the illustrations.

    Also, it’s cool that some of the commenters above can remember Pippi movie songs in Italian and Swedish!

  12. Karen Gray Ruelle says:

    Ooh! Pippi Longstocking! I made my daughter a Pippi costume one year for Halloween. We stuck a a wire hanger through the braids to make them stick out. It was pretty awesome.
    Never saw the movie, though. Thank goodness.

  13. Sergio R. says:

    Just to clarify: the song in Italian is from the ’60s-’70s tv series.

    No comment about any Pippi illustration besides the original wonderful pen&ink drawings!

  14. Amy Planchak Graves says:

    I can sadly sing the New Adventures theme. Boo for catchy 80s pop causing lasting damage to my a 3rd grade mind. Yay for Pippi-related reading material. She is my favorite kidlit character. I think I read a hyperfeminist paper about her once, that said that she wasn’t a feminist character because she wasn’t sufficiently female. Don’t remember the author. To Jenny, I mostly liked the Nunnally translation. I wasn’t thrilled that her name got changed, and I found the use of a definite article in calling her father king of the natives was confusing. THE natives? Which ones? Otherwise it was good. And as a Lauren Child fan I happened to love the illustrations.

  15. lisachellman says:

    Oh god, that song…

  16. I was actually trying to find the old film whose song I have remembered since…well, a lot of years. Looks like Jen remembers the same version I do (from the ’70s). The ’80s one is incredibly annoying!