Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ronia, the Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren

Title: Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter
Author: Astrid Lindgren

Translated by: Patrica Crompton

ISBN # 0140317201

Publisher: Puffin Books

First Published: 1981

176 pages

Format: Paperback

Rating: 10/10

Ronia is a girl growing up in a castle in the wood in a band of robbers; as the chief's only child, she is expected to become the leader of the band someday. Their castle, Matt's Fort, was split in two parts by a lightning bolt on the day of her birth; soon afterwards, a different robber clan, the 'Borkas', settled one section, resulting in perpetual armed strife. Ronia feels rather out of place in this harsh environment; nearly her only friend is the old man Noddle-Pete, and for a while she hates her father Matt. One day, Ronia sees Birk Borkason, the only son of the enemy chieftain, Borka, idling by the chasm that splits the two parts of the castle. She engages him in a game of jumping across the chasm, a game that ends with Birk almost falling to his death. After Ronia has saved him they slowly start to become friends…

This is one of those books that is absolutely timeless and never loses its appeal; not only that, but it stands up to repeat reading and always feels like visiting an old friend.

The characters are wonderful, the plot is perfect and Lindgren's storytelling style is absolutely wonderful to read - you can read it yourself or enjoy reading it to someone else (or having it read to you!) equally well.

Folklore is blended seamlessly with an enchanting tale of a growing friendship between two children from two families who have long been enemies, and how they beat the odds (and their fiery tempers) in an almost Romeo and Juliet fashion, but, seeing as how this is aimed at children, without much of the tragedy of Shakespeare’s classic play.

It’s a bold, bright, colourful story that will appeal to all readers, both young and old.


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