Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter

roniaPublished: 1981 in Swedish, 1983 in English

Genre: YA fiction

Length: 176 pages

Setting: the mountains of Sweden before rifles were common

Interest: Miss Adventure chose this as her bedtime story. I was interested since it’s by the author who wrote Pippi Longstocking, which we’ve also enjoyed as a read-aloud.

Summary: Ronia is the only child of Lovis and Matt, leader of the robber band in Matt’s Wood. She leads a carefree life in the woods with only other robbers and the wild animals for friends. One day, she comes across a boy in her woods. He is Birk, son of Borka, leader of a rival band of robbers. Borka’s robbers have been driven from their cave in Borka’s Woods by the sheriff’s men and have taken up residence in the other half of Matt’s Keep. Borka and Matt hate each other, but Ronia and Birk grow to love each other like brother and sister. Once spring comes around, they spend their time together in the woods, until one day Birk is caught by Matt’s robbers. This brings about a split between the children and their fathers, as Birk and Ronia go off to live in the Bear’s Cave. Eventually, the two groups are reconciled.

Final thoughts: A delightful story that’s perfect for a younger child ready to listen to a chapter book. While there are some tense moments (between the robber and harpy attacks), at it’s heart it’s a coming of age story about a strong little girl. Ronia is a great role model, always pushing herself to test the boundaries but not in a dangerous manner. I also enjoyed watching the friendship between Ronia and Birk grow. Miss Adventure loved it, and was disappointed when I stopped for the night. It worked quite well as a read aloud, with lyrical sentences that were easy to read.

Title comes from: The main character

Reading challenges fulfilled: 36/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge

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