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Review: Pippi Won’t Grow Up

Pippi Won’t Grow Up
Written by Astrid Lindgren
Drawn by Ingrid Vang Nyman
Translated by Tiina Nunnally
Drawn & Quarterly, $14.95

Writer Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking returns to comics in another new volume from publisher Draw & Quarterly, containing Tiina Nunnally’s translation of Lindgren and artist Ingrid Vang Nymann’s original 1950s comics starring the world’s strongest girl.

This new, third volume in the growing Pippi comics library features short stories of our pint-sized heroine’s adventures with her friends Tommy and Annika, in which she generally comes to their rescue and occasionally shocks or embarrasses them with her lack of manners.

In “Pippi Plays The Guessing Game,” she joins them at school to help the kids and their classmates defeat a particularly scary teacher, Miss Rosenblom, who asks the children very difficult questions and feeds them slimy soup if they don’t weigh enough. Pippi outsmarts her with her own smart mouth, then passes out gold coins and ice cream to all the kids at school—no wonder Pippi’s so popular with children!

Whether you’ve read the previous volumes or are starting with this one, it’s little wonder Pippi’s comics were so popular and are being republished today. They’re fantastic comics, starring a compellingly strange character who invites normal children from the real world into fantastic situations like a sort of Peter Pan figure and often crashes into the mundane world, upsetting its rules in amusing ways and defending the goodness and innocence of it by throwing around malicious adults with her super-strength.

The Peter Pan comparison seems most apt in the title story, in which Tommy and Annika visit Pippi’s house to find a surprise Christmas celebration hosted by their fiery, fire-haired friend. Pippi’s final gifts to her friends are “Krumalura Pills,” which Tommy notices look suspiciously like ordinary peas. These will keep one from growing up—and having to think of “bunions and county taxes and boring stuff like that”—and playing until “you’re a hundred.”

All you have to do is say “Dear little Krumalura, I don’t want to grow up, never ever” and take the pill.

Does it work? Well, Pippi first appeared in Lindgren’s prose book Pippi Longstocking in 1945, which would make her 69 this year. With those books still in print, not to mention picture books, films, TV series, and, of course, these charming comics, she ought to make 100 easy.

J. Caleb Mozzocco About J. Caleb Mozzocco

J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.

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