Ronia, the Robber's Daughter (Puffin Books)

by Astrid Lindgren

Paperback, 1985



Local notes





Puffin (1985), Paperback, 176 pages


Ronia, who lives with her father and his band of robbers in a castle in the woods, causes trouble when she befriends the son of a rival robber chieftain.



Original publication date


Physical description

176 p.; 5.11 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member ncgraham
Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren is famous mostly as the creator of Pippi Longstocking; her fans, however, know that she wrote many other great children’s books. I read The Brothers Lionheart years ago, but while I appreciated the world-building, I was disturbed by her almost cavalier attitude
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towards the child mortality. I might never have picked up this book if a friend and fellow LT-er had not assigned it as part of a mutual YA challenge—and now I must say, I am thrilled that she did!

Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter is a deceptively simple tale, about the daughter of robber chieftain Matt. She was born on the stormiest night that anyone can remember, when a lightning bolt rent Matt’s Fort in two. She becomes the pride and boast of the entire robber clan, but remains in the dark as to what robbers really do. Her passion is for the forest itself, and throughout spring, summer, and fall she whiles her time away happily there. Then one day she discovers that a rival robber band, driven out of their former hideaway, has moved into the part of Matt's Fort that now lies on the other side of Hell’s Gap. At this discovery, the enmity between Matt's men and Borka’s escalates; meanwhile, Ronia forges a shaky and unlikely friendship with Borka’s son, Birk. Can the fondness between these two children overcome their parents’ hate?

I’ve often read that a children’s book is the hardest thing to write, and reading Ronia, I began to have an inkling as to why: a great children’s author has to master the art of saying a lot with a very little. Take the character of Ronia’s mother, Lovis. There are not many of words spent describing her, and she speaks little, but she is central to the story and to the life of the robber band. And there is a simple beauty to Lindgren’s descriptions, as translated by Patricia Crampton. One in particular stuck out to me, of the change that the smell of chicken soup wrought on the robbers, after they had eaten salted meat all winter. Scenes like seem all the warmer and more jovial when one considers how dark and dangerous the world Lindgren creates really is.

Moreover, this book invests its child characters with dignity and innocent wisdom, without trying to broadcast a message that adults are all evil or stupid. That is unusual for YA fiction, and very much welcome.

Astrid Lindgren crafted a lovely little book in Ronia. This is one I can see myself returning to, and reading to my own children someday. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
This one was given to me by the person with the best taste in children’s literature of anyone I’ve met. Obviously I had to read it! I actually enjoyed it even more than Pippi Longstocking. Where Pippi is all about an unusual girl dropped into the midst of regular society, Ronia is all about a
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girl living in the wild.

She is the only daughter of the leader of a band of robbers. They live in the forest and her boisterous father and strong-willed mother give Ronia plenty of freedom to explore her surroundings as she grows up. When she makes friends with a young boy in the forest she has no idea that it’s the son of her father’s nemesis.

BOTTOM LINE: Another adventurous female protagonist from Lindgren. I can’t wait to share her books with my daughter. Ronia is a wonderful example of being brave, kind, and generous of spirit.
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LibraryThing member surreality
Plot: A beautiful collection of smaller and larger adventures, connected loosely by a general plotline. The build-up from scene to scene is wonderfully done, and the final resolution is both a very open end and a closure at the same time.

Characters: Lovingly drawn central characters, who come
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alive from their first appearance on. It's easy to identify with them and to care about what happens, and they feel amazingly real. Side characters are done well and are deftly sketched, and even the ones with only brief mentions remain memorable.

Style: The story weaves legends, myth and magic with reality, in a way that still doesn't feel otherworldly. Descriptions are short but poignant, dialogues are very well done.

Plus: It's a beautiful tale to read, with a number of touching moments. This edition also has illustrations.

Minus: Nothing, really. This is as close to perfect as it could have been.

Summary: A beautiful children's tale which isn't just for children, and which doesn't lose anything in a re-read after a decade or two.
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LibraryThing member DBPeeples
This book talks about Ronia, who is born to a family of robbers. She is truly loved by her family and encounters it daily. Little does she that everyone in the world does not like and she will face many challenges. Ronia and Birk share a screct relationship that last until the end.
LibraryThing member athene
This is my favorite book of all time.
LibraryThing member DebbieMcCauley
First published in 1981. Ronia is born into a clan of robbers, who live in a woodland castle called Mattis's Fort, in Scandinavia. She is the only child of the chief, Mattis. On the night of her birth, their castle was split in two parts by a lightning bolt. One day a rival clan of robbers, the
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'Borkas', set up house in one half of the castle, and the strife between the two clans intensifies. Ronia's has made friends with Birk Borkason, the only son of the enemy chieftain, Borka, and the only other child she has ever met. After saving each other's lives a time or two, the two become close friends. After her father disown's her due to their friendship, Birk and Ronia run away into a cave in the woods where they survive well enough until the winter comes...

Being a great fan of Pippi Longstock, I probably expected more of this book than was fair. Ronia just does not compare to Pippi at all. However, it is a good tale of friendship, as well as choosing another path from your parents.
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LibraryThing member Kplatypus
Ronia, the Robber's Daughter is a charming little tale about the titular Ronia and her escapades with Birk, the son of her father's archnemesis. The two live in a forest setting that is reminiscent of Robin Hood and classic Medieval stories. The book is filled with lovely little descriptions, such
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as this one: "You could see for miles across the green woods, but now there was much yellow and red among the green, and soon the whole riverside was flaming gold and red." The language is simple but well-chosen, and the characters are as developed as one can expect in a book designed for young readers. Ronia's father, in particular, is well-drawn.

This is a very easy and quick read and would make an excellent bedtime/read-aloud book for elementary school-aged children.
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LibraryThing member shojo_a
Yet another book I read as a kid that really stuck with me.
LibraryThing member Kiwiria
I grew up with Astrid Lindgren's books, and "Ronja" is still one of my favourites. Ronja's fearlessness in exploring the forest, and her growing friendship with Birk never fail to charm me. This read-through was no exception, and went to prove that "Ronja" passes the test of time better than most.
LibraryThing member SylviaSmile
I loved this tale of adventure by Astrid Lindgren (author of the Pippi Longstocking series). Although dwarves, harpies, and other magical creatures inhabit the wood explored by the main character, Ronia, her real growth is shown in a new friendship she forms with a similarly adventurous boy. At
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turns heartbreaking and heartwarming, this story is surely a classic. I recommend it for ages 8 and up.
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LibraryThing member wester
I didn't read this book as a child, probably because I was just a bit too old for it when it came out. But reading it to my own children I was impressed with the beauty and subtlety of the story.

To me, it really is a story about growing up and finding out not everything your parents told you may be
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true. A story about love and friendship, as well. But most importantly, with just a few strokes she paints a real world of believable characters.
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LibraryThing member debnance
Matt makes his living by stealing from travelers and he makes an old castle his headquarters. On the night his daughter, Ronia, is born, a lightning bolt splits his castle in two. Soon, his archrival and his band come to live in the other half of the castle and, with them, comes Birk, Matt’s
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rival’s son. Soon Birk and Ronia meet and become best friends, but this does not lead to family happiness. A great story.
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LibraryThing member cissa
Written by the author of the Pippi Longstocking books, this more obscure novel is a lot of fun.

Ronia grows up in an enclave of professional robbers, but her interest is more in the woods around their encampment. Complications ensue when she meets the son of a rival robber clan, and they bond-
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making life more complex all the way around.

It's not quite as anarchic as Pippi, but has lots of action and growth arcs for most of the characters, including the adults.

Very recommended! As an adult reading it for the first time I found it very entertaining, and the independently-minded kids are smart, adventurous, and resourceful.
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
I'm glad that the issue of robbery is discussed, but the acts of it aren't. Some of the developments are a bit facile, but probably a child wouldn't notice or care. The themes of loyalty, friendship, and family, as well as of courage and growth, are so satisfying that I think this book would be on
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many children's favorite shelf.

I liked how it wasn't quite a fantasy/ fairy tale, but actually felt like it was something that could have happened not too long ago, not too far away. I also liked the beautiful use of language. I don't know much about the translation process, but I think Crampion must have some real talent to make this book sing so well in English.
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LibraryThing member linsleo
Ronia, the robber's daughter and heroine of this story, lives in a castle in the woods. When her father Matt, a fierce robber chieftain, decides that it's time for his daughter to venture out into the forest to familiarize her with their surroundings, and to learn of it's dangers, little does he
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know how impactful his decision will be on all of their lives. Ronia soon discovers that there is an entire world that lies beyond the castle walls, the only world she ever knew. The forest offers her a freedom she never knew existed. She will meet their archenemy's son Birk, in the forest, and their lives will become forever interwoven. They are both adventuresome and love nature. In addition to experiencing the fury of the seasons, as well as it's beauty, they will both learn many life lessons. Their unwavering friendship will break down barriers and their parents and robber friends will also start to see things in a different light, as the importance of family and friends will come into play.
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LibraryThing member juniperSun
I read this to my grandkids over several visits. From one month to the next they remembered what was going on in the story and where we left off. We all enjoyed it greatly: Ronia's temper, so much like her father's, scary times with dwarves and harpies (not too many), taming wild horses, living in
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a cave and swimming in the river, her mother's bedtime song and homemade bread. They are robbers, however, and the ethics of this aren't really addressed; but this setting does allow for a feeling of freedom/independence and a lifestyle that is outside the cultural norms in which strong characters are fostered. This book shows Ronia's character developing, albeit reluctantly, and learning to accept a friendship with someone her family considers an enemy. Also shows her father's parallel reluctant change, something not often seen in a children's book.
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(533 ratings; 4.4)
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