This series is originally from Sweden, where the heroine is known as Pippi Langstrump. Pippi is an instantly recognizable character with red hair in braids that stick out from her head and incredible strength. Even though she’s still a little girl, she can lift a full-grown horse with ease. Her mother is dead (Pippi has no memories of her), and her father is a ship’s captain. She appears to get her strength from her father.
In the first book, she comes to live by herself in a house (which she calls Villa Villekulla) in a small town in Sweden when her father is washed overboard at sea. Although others fear that he is dead, Pippi thinks it more likely that he was washed up on an island of cannibals, where he will soon be making himself king. Of course, she turns out to be right, and Pippi also becomes their princess, although she still maintains her residence at Villa Villekulla so that she can stay close to her friends. Adults try to control Pippi, whose high spirits and unrestrained behavior are worrisome, but kids can giggle at how she always thwarts them and ends up “on top,” as she says. Pippi is fine with her relatively adult-free life because she is unusually strong and able to take care of herself.
Pippi has a pet monkey and a horse (the one that she can lift on and off the porch whenever she wishes) and is best friends with Tommy and Annika Settergren, the children who live next door.
The first three books are all novels, and the others are picture books. There are other picture books not listed here which are based on incidents in the other books.
The books in the series have been adapted into movies and tv shows many times. The one I was most familiar with from my youth was the 1988 version, but there others in different languages. The earliest Pippi movie was the Swedish version made in 1949.
Books in the Series:
Pippi Longstocking (1945)
Pippi takes up residence in the Villa Villekulla and makes friends with Tommy and Annika.
Pippi Goes on Board (1946)
Pippi’s adventures with Tommy and Annika continue, and her father returns.
Pippi in the South Seas (1948)
Pippi and her father take Tommy and Annika with them to visit the cannibal island where Pippi becomes their princess.
Pippi Longstocking in the Park (1949)
Pippi builds another version of her house in the big city.
Pippi’s After Christmas Party (1950)
Pippi continues the festivities even after Christmas is officially over.
Pippi on the Run (1971)
Tommy and Annika run away from home, and Pippi comes with them.