Pippi Longstocking and Other Children's Stories by Astrid Lindgren
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Kati - The Globetrotter

The Globetrotter

Perhaps one of the most unconventional of all Astrid Lindgren's characters was Kati. While almost all of her characters were based in Sweden and all their stories showed a great big slice of Swedish rural life, Kati's stories were quite different. Astrid Lindgren projected Kati as a world traveler, as a globetrotter, who had adventures in various parts of the world. It is interesting to read these books because they give a good glimpse of Astrid Lindgren's take on various foreign countries. When reading about Kati's exploits in these countries, the reader tends to get lost in the way the author has perceived these lands, which were foreign to her.

From 1950 to 1971, Astrid Lindgren wrote four books with Kati as the central character. The names of these books were Kati i Amerika (Kati in America) in 1950, Kati på Kaptensgatan (literally, Kati on Captaincy Street) in 1952, Kati i Paris (Kati in Paris) in 1954 and a final version of Kati's adventures which was a rehash of her own Kati på Kaptensgatan titled as Kati i Italien (Kati in Italy) in 1971.

Each of the Kati books has a unique tale to tell which is interspersed with several references to the country's culture that they are set in. This is Astrid Lindgren's interesting talent, in which she makes the foreign countries appear to be her own even as she describes Kati's experiences there.

The Kati books are not among the most popular of Astrid Lindgren's books. In fact, it is quite difficult to get hold of these books today. The books were targeted at an older readership than most of her other books were. However, these works of young fiction were largely overshadowed by similar works from other young fiction writers in her contemporary times. At the same time, Astrid Lindgren's usual readership of very young readers did not much approve of Kati's tales. For that reason, Kati did not achieve as much popularity as some of her other characters did. But, there is a kind of retro appeal to these books which has helped them retain their flavor and appeal even today.

Astrid Lindgren wrote these books on Kati and then followed them up by her Lotta Marten character. While Kati could not get the popularity that Astrid Lindgren had hoped for, Lotta became quite popular. The interesting fact is that Kati and Lotta are quite different in character and even physicality. While Kati is a beautiful young woman with a mind and resourcefulness of her own, Lotta is a three-year old kid who is very inquisitive and even lands herself in tricky situations most of the time. Astrid Lindgren fans at that time felt that the author had returned to what she did best when she came up with the Lotta character - that is, writing stories that appealed to very young readers.

But today when you look back at the Kati stories, you will find that they are extremely well-written and they are definitely making a comeback of sorts. This is mainly because young fiction is becoming quite popular as a genre and there very few contemporary writers that are consistently good.