Timid and shy I am not, but I am no Pippi Longstocking! Surrounded by her companions, Mr. Nilsson, the monkey, and the horse on the porch, Pippi casts a spell on her neighbors, Tommy and Annika. Tommy and Annika first meet Pippi when they notice that the once abandoned house, Villa Villekulla, has an occupant. They have no idea what adventures await them the day they first knock on Pippi's door.
Pippi is one of the first characters I "identified" with as a kid. As you can see from the photo, I had red hair and freckles. On the playground the kids sometimes called me Pippi, my preferred taunt. (The other regular choice was Heat Miser from the Christmas special.) Even though I knew some kids were teasing, it didn't really matter because I knew her. She was an terrific friend. I would have loved to spend just one day with her.
When looking for a book for an early reader, finding a character they can identify with can help get the ball rolling. The character doesn't have to be a carbon copy of your reader. He many have similar talents. She may have similar dreams. He may even have qualities and/or attributes your reader longs for, making the new friend irresistible.
Pippi Longstocking, written by Astrid Lingren and published in the United States in 1950, is a wonderful chapter book for any middle reader (3rd-6th). If your young readers is interested, but doesn't fit into this range, just have them read a few pages aloud to you. If they only misread a word or two a page they are ready for this book!