Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rasmus and the Vagabond

by Astrid Lindgren

Is there anyone in the world who hasn't heard of Pippi Longstocking? I know some people aren't familiar with the books. If all you know of her is the obnoxious movies that have been made based on those books, you can be forgiven for not loving Astrid Lindgren. Otherwise, you have no excuse. The Pippi Longstocking books are wonderful, and that's all there is to it, and Astrid Lindgren is one of the best children's authors there is.

Her other books are wonderful, too. Rasmus and the Vagabond is one I found only recently, and it is charming. The story is about a young orphan who runs away from an orphanage and finds shelter and adventures with a tramp wandering the roads.

I wonder if the term magic realism can be used for children's books. There is usually some element of the fantastic in the books of Astrid Lindgren that I have read so far. Here it is understated, but the way that Rasmus comes through so many perilous situations unscathed has a vague unreality, like a movie where the little kid is resourceful and clever and outwits all the adults. This didn't lessen the pleasure I found in this book in any way, though. The surprise ending is a happy one, a fitting end to a book that is full of joy in the world of nature and unpredictable human relationships.

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Blogger zelda said...

I hope the term cannot be applied to children's literature because magical realism is perhaps my least favorite genre. I'd rather read a stack of Harlequins...they still make those right? In fact, I know I'd rather read those because I've read hundreds of them, my mom used to read them as she was learning English.

Anyway, I've read quite a few Toni Morrison books, some of which I've actually enjoyed but I can never get past the first 30 pages of any Gabriel Garcia Marquez book.

9:07 AM  

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