Posts tagged ‘princess’

August 23, 2012

admit it: you liked princesses, too

In my past few years as a mom (geez, have I really only been a mom for 4 years? it feels like it’s all I’ve ever been!), I’ve met many a small child. And many a small girl. And I’m not sure I’ve met one yet that doesn’t like princesses in some form or another. And yet, I’m not sure I’ve met a mom who has not apologized, in some form or another, for their daughter’s princess obsession. And the apology always includes the condition “I was never into any of this stuff.”

Well, after meeting hundreds of princess-loving girls with their hundreds of princess-hating moms, I have to say that maybe we are misremembering slightly. And I would probably be guilty of the same thing. After all, I would definitely say I wasn’t into princesses as a child. But when I watch Cinderella with my son, who likes his own fair share of Disney princesses, I can quote most of the movie. So, um, I must have been at least a little bit into them? And my husband probably wouldn’t say he was into princesses either, but he knows all the lyrics to Aladdin and thinks Walt Disney wrote The Little Mermaid. So . . . maybe we are kidding ourselves somewhat?

And if kids are going to be into princesses, we can make the most of it with good princess role models. This princess, who lives, as you might guess, on 8th Street, is one of those.

Title: Princess of 8th Street
Author/Illustrator: Linas Alsenas
Genre: Picture book/Realistic Fiction
Age: 2 – 7

When the Princess of 8th street, who is not maybe the best at making friends because she seems rather shy, is forced by circumstances of her mother’s errands to interact with other kids at the park, she is timid at first. But then she meets . . . the Princess of 10th street! And that, which I think is a brilliant punch line for a story, is about all there is (and all there needs to be) in this simple book. Kids who read the story will learn that there IS room in a princess’s life to make a few friends. And there’s room within a two block radius for two princesses.

Parents of shy kids or kids that have had a hard time joining in playground activities, can use the book to show how it might be scary to meet new friends, but that something good may come of it. And even though a kid may feel different and isolated, hiding in dress-up costumes, there may be someone else out there with the same fantasies! (In fact, if they are princess fantasies, that’s almost guaranteed.)

Or, if you have a very outgoing kid, the book might be used as a way to suggest some more quiet, creative play times. Maybe you could have a tea party like the princess in the book and bring out the inner imagination in an otherwise rough-and-tumble child. (The tea party could be outside in a tree house and could involve a less dainty snack than tea, if that’s what it takes.) It’s all about finding your child’s comfort zone and stretching it just a little.

I love to use use books to stretch my kids’ idea of the world, to let them see new ideas, and then to convince them to try to experience them for themselves. It’s not over when you close the cover!

What do you think? Were YOU a princess person growing up? BE HONEST!

January 20, 2011

Too many princesses?

I haven’t read this book yet, but someone else has, and they wrote a great blog entry about it!  Here’s writer and TV commentator Margot Magowan on the book Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Cindy Orenstein.  This is from her blog, ReelGirl.

Title: Cinderella Ate My Daughter
Author: Peggy Orenstein
Genre: Parenting, Girls

November 24, 2010

Celebrity princesses and other no-no’s of picture book writers

So, when they give out advice at the SCBWI conference, here are a few things they tell picture book writers.  Don’t write in rhyme, don’t write an ABC book, don’t write a princess book, and don’t read any of the tidal wave of picture books coming from celebrities these days for inspiration on how to do it well.  And it’s true, if you are a celebrity, it seems that you can get a picture book published no matter what you write.  Let me tell you, I know dozens of picture book writers who are not celebrities, and the same thing does NOT hold true for them.  They write and rewrite, workshop and critique, write and rewrite some more, and then send in queries and submissions for years on end sometimes.  And having read many celebrity picture books, it would seem that maybe they didn’t go through all of that…in fact, they might not even have gotten to the “rewrite” part.  But, like the Jeff Foxworthy book I’ve mentioned earlier, this one from everyone’s favorite Julie Andrews is a gem.  And it’s even about princesses.  But if you have a princess aversion, read on…I think you’ll still like it!

Title: The Very Fairy Princess
Author: Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton (her daughter)
Illustrator: Christine Davenier
Genre: Picture Book
Age: 0 – 8

Summary and Review: Geraldine, the sparky and wonderful main character in the book knows that she is a fairy princess because she can “FEEL it inside—a sparkly feeling of just KNOWING in my heart.”  If that doesn’t capture your love and imagination, I don’t know what will.  But maybe this.  Geraldine does everything that fairy princesses do, such as: putting on her crown to come downstairs (which she does by sliding down the rail, of course), eating pancakes with extra fairy dust, putting on royal attire which includes sneakers and scabby knees.  (In Geraldine’s words “I say sneakers help me practice my flying skills, ESPECIALLY when we’re late for the school bus, and scabs are the price you pay.”)  When others don’t believe her, she happily responds that you can be whatever you want to be—“you just have to let your SPARKLE out!”

If I was going to be a stickler, and why would I write a blog if I wasn’t, I’d say that I would PREFER if the fairy princess occasionally something other than sugar, and maybe if TV wasn’t used as the homework distraction, but something a little more active instead.  However, the character is certainly active overall and you can’t expect every kid role model to do things differently than most kids do anyway…they wouldn’t be kid role models if they did.

Possible conversations to have with your kids:

Well, talk about their sparkle of course!  When do they sparkle best?  When they are playing the trombone, like the Fairy Princess’s friend?  Or dancing in a recital?  Or climbing a tree?  Or reading a book?  Helping cook in the kitchen?  What do they believe about themselves?  You might want to share some of your own secret sparkles, too.  Children are often surprised by their parents talents, some of which are often tucked away as we spend more and more of our time on the job or reading Fairy Princess books.