On the whole we try to avoid overtly girly books for our little two, especially the sit still be good and beautiful sort (which is probably why we love the Worst Princess so much). Their shelves are full of adventures, of pirates and kites, of worlds of make believe, under the sea adventures and a whole hoard of rhinos, penguins, giraffes and the rest to accompany us along the way.
But I’m trying to be careful not to go too far; to devalue everything pink in a quest to avoid gender stereotyping. It’s mainly because I rather suspect that if I said no to every princess book, to everything glittery, twinkly and shiny it would only make them all the more enticing to a little girl whose favourite colours are indisputably pink and purple. There’s nothing as attractive as the forbidden, as I discover to my cost every time I think that it might be a good idea if chocolate wasn’t one of my major food groups, and so a little glitter is a nice balance, to keep everything in moderation.
But more than that, it would show a lack of trust in what we’ve modelled to Kitty. If everything I talk to her about, every passion that we encourage, and the way we try to live our lives shows her that she can be whatever she wants to be and do what she dreams to do if she puts her mind to it and works hard enough, is that really going to be undermined by the occasional story about a princess being rescued by the prince?
And so I’ve reached a compromise of sorts with myself; she may choose whatever she likes from the library, but H or I get to vet it if we’re going to be buying it.
But I don’t think we’ve needed to say no yet; by luck or chance her choices have been pretty good, and her latest find is just wonderfully fun and very her: The Fairytale Hairdresser.
The subtitle might be “or how Rapunzel got her Prince”, but it’s really the story of Kittie Lacey, the best hairdresser in the whole of fairyland. She can cut and style anyone’s hair and make it beautiful, from a very demanding Goldilocks, all the way to a certain elderly gentleman in for a beard and sideburns trim while he reads up on the latest in the reindeer world!
And with talent like that, it’s no wonder that she was summoned to sort out a very big problem.
Miss Rapunzel, with a very bad, tower-filled-to-the-brim-with-hair kind of bad hair day. Kittie wades in (literally) and soon has her client surrounded in a cloud of golden waves, before making a hasty exit from the evil intentions of the witch, rapelling down the tower with the assistance of a rather nice neat plait.
Rapunzel might be rescued by her handsome prince in the end; she’s a little more maiden in distress and a little less Tangled, but Kittie is the true heroine; she’s courageous, self-reliant, and she’s doing what she loves.
It’s sweetly illustrated too, with a nice sprinkling of in-jokes; Goldilocks runs a locksmith and the Three Little Pigs have a construction company to name but a few.
And Kitty loves it, and more than anything that’s what matters right now. I could read her the Encyclopaedia Britannica every night (well an extract at least), and it probably would be educational, but unless she’s somehow become fascinated with aardvarks, it’s not going to hold a vast amount of appeal to a three year old. Right now it’s time to fill her up with a love of stories, of all sorts and shapes and sizes, from fairytale hairdressers to the Shark in the Dark and back again.
And if you have a favourite why not share it here; each linky will stay open for a week so there’s plenty of time to join in. And so, without further ado, it’s over to you. I’ve told you what we are reading, now tell me what we should be reading!