At my house, we read Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. As in, we read it yesterday, and the day before that, and we will probably read it tonight. And tomorrow too. We borrowed this particular edition from a friend of Mariam's in the late winter, and we have been reading it pretty much ever since. Twice straight through, and now just random chapters at whim and very much out of order. The chapter where Pippi outwits the robbers by making them dance the polka and eat roast beef is a particular favorite. We obviously now have our own copy of the book.
The thing that amazes me about Pippi Longstocking is not that it is a good book. I figured that it would be (I don't think I ever read it as a child...), otherwise it wouldn't have kept its stellar reputation in tact for the last sixty odd years. What amazes me is just how very good it is. An excellent translation is helpful, to be sure, but I am continually impressed by how funny, how clever and how exceptionally well-written Pippi Longstocking is. The finer points are what make this story, not just the individual plot elements. It isn't necessarily what Pippi (and her friends Annika and Tommy) do each day that makes the book so delightful. It is the way that they do it; the way that Lindgren uses wit and an agile cleverness to add descriptions and details that are both unexpected and perfectly suited. The result is enchanting.
The illustrations in this edition are by Lauren Child, of Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean fame, and they are brilliant. Bright, colorful and with an intelligent sense of humor, the illustrations represent the spirit of the story perfectly. I particularly like the way that the pictures interact with the story, sometimes taking the place of words, phrases or sentences. I don't doubt that Pippi would be a wonderful book no matter the edition, but I really think that Child's illustrations paired with Lindgren's genius make the experience of reading this edition especially great.
I also think that Pippi Longstocking would make a great hammock lounging read-aloud choice for the summer. I suspect that you'll agree, even if, like us, you've read it once or twice before.