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Mio, My Son: 06/21/12

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Sometimes my book reviews require some story telling as set up. This is one of these posts. Scroll down if you don't want to wallow in my nostalgia.

When I was a child I wanted to be Pipi Longstocking's next door neighbor. I figured I wasn't cool enough or strong enough to live on my own, eat nails and carry a horse with my bare hands but I sure wanted a friend who could! I read everyone of Astrid Lindgren's Pipi books and watched all the poorly dubbed movies more times than I can count.

But somehow I never wondered if Astrid Lindgren had ever written anything else. That is until I was in graduate school and one of my classmates was Swedish. She was a huge fan of Lindgren and had grown up reading all of her books.

Now it's 15 years later and I'm finally making the effort to read her other books.

The first one I picked was Mio, My Son. It begins like so many children's fantasy novels do, with an orphan, Karl Anders Nilsson, wondering about his real parents. Karl, like, Pipi, isn't really an orphan; he's just been separated from his father by extraordinary circumstances.

Then one day he gets the chance to be reunited, being taken to Farawayland by a genie. There the boy learns his name is actually Mio and he settles into his new life.

If had one complaint about Mio, My Son, is the ease at which he adapts to a new life, a new (to him) father, new duties and a new name. But, that seems to be Lindgren's style. Pipi's adventures are always rather matter-of-fact. There's no logical reason for me to expect different rules or behavior for Mio's world than Pipi's and yet part of me does.

That said, it's a quick read with lots of heart.

Four stars

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