A few weeks back, I did an interview where the object was to come up with some good kids’ books featuring strong female protagonists…and it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.

The princesses, Disney and otherwise are, of course, are legion. You can find tons of preschool-appropriate books where the heroine loves to dress up or wear pink (and, don’t get me wrong, we read plenty of Pinkalicious around here...and Fancy Nancy gets a pass because she’s one of a tiny handful of curly-haired protagonists for my curly-haired daughter to enjoy).

But strong, even heroic female leads for the five-and-under set? Once you get past the Paper Bag Princess and Laura from Little House, there just aren’t a ton of them out there.

Which is why I was so thrilled to visit my neighborhood bookshop and literally stumble across a brand-spanking-new translation of Pippi Longstocking, illustrated by Lauren Childs, who does the ever-so-winning Charlie and Lola books, too.

We’re working our way through the book, chapter by chapter, and I’d forgotten what an ass-kicker Pippi was.

I think I’d also somehow forgotten that she lives in Villa Villakulla sans parents, with only Mr. Nilssen the monkey for company, which strikes me as much more alarming now that I am a parent than it did when I was a girl. (Also, I didn’t remember every scene in Little House in the Big Woods involving slaughtering, butchering, salting or preserving meat…but that’s what life back then was all about, I guess).

In other news: the Internet! It’s not just for porn, shopping, and Googling your exes! At least, that’s what my husband says.

Jen