Friday 28 September 2018

ReadItDaddy's Second Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 28th September 2018: "Power to the Princess" by Vita Murrow and Julia Bereciartu (Lincoln Children's Books)

This week's second picture book of the week - An anthology of mighty princesses to show the Disney lot how it's really done? Where do we sign?
"Power to the Princess" by Vita Murrow and Julia Bereciartu is the sort of book I'd love to press into the hands of anyone I see browsing the "cutesy pie princess" book section in our local bookstores.

Gathering together 15 stories featuring characters you may well already know, but giving them a serious #MeToo makeover, it's a real breath of fresh air and a much needed (and, let's face it, a really GORGEOUS) book for girls who demand more from their heroines.

Vita and Julia have done more than a subtle makeover here, in most cases going back to the original stories that inspired the "Disney" versions of many classic fairy tales, shaking them down and producing new stories full of inspiration, bravery, intelligence and hope.

We both read this one separately, and both came away with a different opinion on how successful these were.

For C, the stories were given a real energy boost with a fantastic dose of coolness.

No need to let this one go!
Lengthier stories gave her something to really get her teeth into. Female characters with identifiable (and admirable) character traits, strengths and of course flaws and that's vitally important for a book. No one wants yet another collection of stories about 'perfect' mighty girls, we need to understand the journeys they take and the experiences they undergo before their 'happy ever afters'.

Possibly the coolest story of them all, a fantastic version of "The Little Mermaid" and not a fork-comb in sight!
The thing is, despite this winning our coveted Book of the Week award, and though I admired the book for taking a stance against the pink prissiness that's existed in a certain sector of children's publishing for a long time, in all honesty, not all the stories worked as perfectly as you'd imagine, in fact there were 3 or 4 that made me inwardly cringe as they felt like they were layering on their core messages a little too thick.

Cinderella, not just a pretty face but a kick-ass mighty girl in her own right.
It's not the first time I've seen stories that feel like they're practically falling over themselves to tick each and every diversity / inclusivity box, without actually offering a decent story at the core.

But when these work (and thankfully the majority of the stories here work perfectly) they offer a well observed parallel view of what girls (and boys) can to do achieve happiness and success - showing that it's not all about finding a handsome prince (or princess) and it's definitely not always about being rich or strong, charismatic and loud.

Check out some of the sample pages here, and you'll get a real flavour of what's on offer. For what it's worth though, for both of us this is definitely the sort of book that should find a place on your Christmas list for sure.

C's best story: The Little Mermaid.

Daddy's best story: The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

"Power to the Princess" by Vita Murrow and Julia Bereciartu is out now, published by Lincoln Children's Books (kindly supplied for review).