Once upon a time, not very long ago, in a land not far away, there lived a little girl named Piper.
And so begin the stories that have rather captivated my eldest daughter.
One of my favourite times of the day is just before bedtime, snuggling up in the rocking chair with two freshly washed little girls to read night night stories (currently Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes and a pop up Christmas story), but I’ll freely admit that there are times when it’s nice to have someone else do the reading.
We’ve got a box set of Julia Donaldson tales that we listen to in the car as we run errands, but as I can narrate them all from memory I was thrilled to be offered a review copy of Marcia Polas’ Piper the Petite Pilates Princesss, just for the variety. But they’re so much more than simply a change from The Smartest Giant in Town.
Piper is the littlest daughter in a family that simply drips athletic prowess, but her petite stature and the after effects of some health issues as a baby put her at a sizeable disadvantage (sorry, just couldn’t resist the pun) when it comes to keeping up. She’d love to run and jump and swim like the others, but it just doesn’t come quite as easily for her. And so when the rest of her family head off to do sporty things for the summer, Piper goes to stay with her Aunt Kate and learns that being petite is really no obstacle.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, suffice to say that they are a breath of fresh air in the world of stories for little girls, and this ever so slightly larger girl has really enjoyed listening to them too. Elma, at very almost five months old isn’t exactly the target market but she gave approving smiles when we turned it on, so the narrator was clearly a hit, and Kitty’s “Ooooo! Pipey!” signalled her rapt attention for several minutes before she needed to jump up and down just to remind me that she’s only two.
Not being naturally sporty myself (bags of enthusiasm; very little talent), and without anything like Piper’s excuse, I’m keen for the girls to get a little exposure to all sorts of get up and get moving activities so that they can find something they love to do, even if they happen to have more of my atrocious spatial awareness and less of H’s talent for hockey and football and rugby and ice hockey and cricket and athletics and … the list continues. Marcia’s stories are a beautiful introduction.
While the stories involve a fair amount of Pilates, there isn’t any instructional element and if there’s one thing I’d want to add, it would be perhaps a little PDF download for parents so that you could explore some very basic positions together. I think I may have taken one pilates class once, so we channelled my pregnancy yoga and did a few cat rolls (complete with miaowing) when a tiny girl decided that she “just really need to play Pipey now Mama”. Needless to say, Kit was much better at them than me, but then only one of us has been relegated to the back row of her lower sixth aerobics class on the grounds that her epically malcoordinated attempts at a lazy daisy rendered her a liability to the rest of the class.
Although my gorgeous duo enjoyed them, they’re really stories for slightly older girls, and I suspect that they’ll really come into their own when Kitty hits about four. I’m confident we’ll still be listening to them.
Marcia’s website is here, where you can listen to extracts of the two stories.
Full and Frank Disclosure: I feel like I’m writing an affidavit for work putting this in, but just so we’re all absolutely clear, I was sent a complimentary review copy of the two Piper stories, for which I am very grateful – thank you Marcia – but the opinions are entirely mine (and Kitty and Elma’s).