Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I Want To Be A Cavegirl by Tony Ross (Andersen Children's Books)

When this cropped up in our library 'pick' I inwardly sighed. For quite some time now Charlotte has shown the most incredible taste, picking out fantastic books from the stack, books I'd probably never think of bothering with - but this time she picked another "Little Princess" book and...ack, I don't like writing bad reviews but I'm finding it really difficult to be kind about this one.

You see, there's nothing wrong with it per se. The Little Princess is a great character. She's naughty, she doesn't simper around after princes all day, she knows her own mind (quite like a certain 'princess' we share a house with!) and whether in book or TV form, the stories are usually entertaining.

This one though? Perhaps it's a case that the formula has been trotted out so many times that it feels like an identikit book. It follows the time honoured tradition of the Little Princess deciding she wants to be something (Cavegirl, Pirate, Space Alien), being naughty a lot and not eating / sleeping / doing Princessy things, then deciding after a rough night out in a cave / pirate boat / camp, that perhaps the castle and her own warm bed is best after all.

I'll say a few positive things about this book - the things that happen on the periphery of the story are often far more interesting than the Princess's latest attempt to be subversive. I love the subtle love story between The Maid and The General, that is quite cute and touching. I love the political digs, the Prime Minister is an utter buffoon who does nothing all day but cycle around on a tricycle. Similarly the Navy Admiral is a loopy old fruit who never leaves the environs of his pond, or the company of his toy boats.

The King and Queen are great parents. Gently guiding The Little Princess through her various scrapes and follies, and the Gardener is one cool dude who is down to earth and full of wisdom and kindness. The Chef? He's...chef-like I guess.

Charlotte picked this book out, made a huge fuss when I tried to discourage her from borrowing it, and has read it (or rather has had it read to her) exactly...once and not gone back to it. I think I'll have to be a bit more stealthy about our library picks in future and will have to try and hide these if I spot them before she does. Mean Daddy!

Charlotte's best bit: Little Princess shredding her clothes, in the name of being cavegirl-like of course!

Daddy's favourite bit: The maid always reminds me of a PA who works here, they're virtually identical.

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