Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren: Summary & Characters

Instructor: Ivy Roberts

Ivy Roberts is an adjunct instructor in English, film/media studies and interdisciplinary studies.

Pippi Longstocking's red braids and eccentric fashion sense precede her character. But if you haven't read the book, you might not understand how truly irreverent, wild, and ferocious she actually is. Let's find out.

Meet Pippi

In Pippi Longstocking, (1950) Swedish author Astrid Lindgren offers a series of short episodes aranged in 11 chapters. Her novel tells the story of 9-year-old Pippi Longstocking's misadventures and shenanigans. Pippi is a wild carefree little girl. She also has a peculiar fashion sense. When sewing her own dress, she ran out of fabric and patched it together with blue and red remnants. Her shoes are exactly twice her size, and on her legs she wears mismatched stockings that hike up above the knees (hence her funny nickname).

Pippi Longstocking

Main Characters

Pippi's an orphan, but you wouldn't know it by the way she acts. Pippi is unusually independent for a tween. She's furiously optimistic and doesn't care about what others think of her. Her mantra: ''Don't worry about me. I'll always come out on top.'' Pippi also has a knack for telling tall tales: hunting in the jungles of Borneo, sailing the high seas, and the time when Mr. Nilsson ran away in Arabia and took a job as a butler. When she walks around backwards it's not strange because that's the way it's done in Egypt.

Annika and Tommy are the kids of the Settergrens who live next door. They immediately become fascinated by Pippi's adventurous spirit. In contrast, the Settergrens run a proper home. Annika and Tommy are ''obedient children.'' Tommy ''would never think of biting his nails.'' Annika wears ''well-ironed cotton dresses.'' Both play well with other kids but haven't met many others with whom the truly want to play.

Pippi's Adventures

Pippi Longstocking has 11 chapters. Each is a quick look at one of Pippi's unique adventures.

Chapter 1: Pippi Moves into Villa Villekulla

Pippi lived on a ship with her father. But following the shipwreck, she returns to their home in Sweden. She doesn't really know if her father's alive, but she believe it. Pippi moves back home to Villa Villekulla (villa means house), and takes care of a horse and a monkey, Mr. Nilsson. He wears a hat and proper clothes and excels to become a butler sometime in life.

Pippi settles in and cooks breakfast for her new neighbors.

Villa Villekulla
pippi house

Chapter 2: Pippi is a Thing-Searcher

Annika and Tommy rush back early next morning to find Pippi baking pepparkakor, a special kind of Swedish dessert. The kitchen floor is splattered with dough! While the cookies are in the oven, Pippi takes Annika and Tommy on a scavenger spree through town. They search for things that may or may not have been abandoned: ''Lumps of gold, ostrich feathers, dead rats, candy snap crackers, little tiny screws, and things like that.''

Chapter 3: Pippi Plays Tag with the Police

The police show up at Pippi's door demanding that she give herself up to a government children's home. But Pippi knows that she isn't an orphan, nor is she abandoned. She decides to play a prank on the policemen by inviting them to play a game of tag. This infuriates the policemen, but in the end they decide that Pippi is better off living at the Villa rather than in a group home.

Chapter 4: Pippi Goes to School

Annika and Thomas convince Pippi that she needs to go to school. She rides her horse in and proceeds to make fools out of the authority figures there. When the teacher asks for a volunteer to recite the 'pluttifikation' (multiplication) tables, Pippi responds, ''Well, if you don't know that yourself, you needn't think I'm going to tell you.''

Chapter 5: Pippi Sits on the Gate

Pippi, Annika and Tommy on the lawn of the Villa eating pears. A lost girl wander by looking for her father. Pippi tells a story about her experiences in China. Pippi and the siblings bicker about truth and lies.

Chapter 6: Pippi Organizes an Expedition

Pippi cleans the house. She takes Annika and Tommy on a picnic where they eat wild mushrooms and feast on pineapple pudding.

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