Lindgren and Larsson and Anderson

Warning:  Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is for the grownups.  It is emphatically not a book for kids (it's not even a book for me).  I mention it here because today is Swedish children's writer Astrid Lindgren's birthday, and Lindgren really informs Larsson's book.  His two main characters, financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and punk hacker Lisbeth Salander, have fictional counterparts in Lindgren's boy detective Kalle Blomkvist (Bill Bergson in the English translation, sadly OOP), and none other than her redheaded heroine Pippi Longstocking, all grown up.

While I hate to imagine Pippi growing up to be Lisbeth, I wonder what other characters from children's books might be like as adults.  Ramona Quimby, for example, or Harriet the Spy.  Have you ever thought about them this way?  I would love to know whom you would like to know (or not know!) as an adult.

[N.b.  Astrid Lindgren would have been 102 today, which means that it's bookstogether's blog birthday, too (two).  Thank you for reading!]

Santa Lucia, Hugo and Josephine

Happy Santa Lucia Day!  This image of Lucia and her attendants comes from my childhood copy of Hugo and Josephine by Maria Gripe, with drawings by Harald Gripe (1962); translated from the Swedish by Paul Britten Austin (Dell, 1969).  Sorry about the poor image quality:  what kind of paper were Dell Yearlings printed on in the 1970s?  Anyway, there is Josephine as a maid of honor (May-Lise, the prettiest girl in the class, is Lucia) and Hugo at far left as a star-boy.

I read and loved the Hugo and Josephine trilogy as a child (Hugo has since gone missing); my other favorite Gripe book was the more mysterious Glassblower's Children.  Gripe's books must have been widely available in translation then:  Maria Gripe, "one of Sweden's most distinguished writers for children," had won the Hans Christian Anderson Award in 1974.  Now my library system doesn't hold a single copy of any of her books.  Not one.  Which is a shame:  Hugo and Josephine, the one I've most recently reread, is a delight: perceptive, often very funny, told in a distinctive present-tense and set in a place (Sweden) and time similar to but interestingly different than our own.  When I start my own press dedicated to printing neglected or OOP children's fiction, the Hugo and Josephine trilogy will be on my list.  Does anyone else remember it?

Happy birthday to Astrid...and me

Today is Astrid Lindgren's birthday; it would have been her 101st.  It's also this blog's birthday: its first!  I'm celebrating by making plans for bookstogether's future.  All of which include...more posts, for starters.  Thank you for reading and commenting thus far!

And check out this gorgeous edition of Pippi Longstocking (Viking, 2007).  Tiina Nunnally's translation is described as sparkling; I like it, but I definitely prefer "thing-finder" to Nunnally's "thing-searcher" (does anyone know what that is in Swedish?).  I love Lauren Child's illustrations, though; her Pippi is sweeter somehow than Glanzman's (the one I grew up with), but still sassy.  And I really love the book's design, which occasionally merges text and illustration (full-color throughout) in all kinds of interesting ways.  Our new favorite Pippi.  And we do love our Pippi.

[N.b., it's not actually my birthday; that's October 5, and I share it with Toot of Holly Hobbie's Toot and Puddle (see A Present for Toot).  Although I'm probably more of a Puddle than a Toot, except when it comes to European travel.  And definitely more of an Annika than a Pippi, for that matter.]

Not reporting from Miami

We were on vacation in Miami Beach for the last two weeks.  The first week the weather was gorgeous.  After a day of playing in the white sand and clear blue water, the kids and I would clean up and go out to the wide tiled terrace overlooking the ocean, to sort through the day's collection of seashells and sit on deck chairs reading Pippi in the South Seas (this image is of my childhood copy, illustrated by Louis S. Glanzman; Puffin, 1977).  I think this is my favorite Pippi book, and the chapters that take place on board the Hoptoad (Pippi's father's ship) and on Kurrekurredutt Island made perfect on-location reading.

Pippi and Tommy and Annika set off for home before the start of the rainy season.  We mistimed our departure, and it rained for most of the second week of our vacation [see Tropical Storm Fay].  Now reporting from Arlington, VA:  we're home.