Saturday, January 14, 2012

Here come the girl scouts… finally (a book review)

What can I say, it’s just refreshing. I’m up to my ears with pink and princesses, and they are all white and blonde,  they all want to find their prince and get married, and as much as I enjoy watching my little monkey dress up and kiss imaginary frogs, couldn’t we mix it up a bit?

My princess monkey, as we like to call her, is strong and agile. So strong she has on occasion left older boys who wanted to play rough crying. She is strong, and lean, and coordinated. She can climb what most kids her age can’t, and she’ll do it in shiny shiny leggings with a few bangles too, thank you very much. And that is fine. That is fun, but, where are the books that talk about that?  Where are the books that  talk about her and her potential, her strengths? Where are her role models? Where are the books that incite her to climb and be outdoors? To learn how to get the skin off a sardine for her prince.

When Shana sent me a preview to her book I was doubtful. I’d heard great things about her and her work, but the idea of non-fiction books for kids seemed a bit ambitious. Ok, so I was ignorant and naïve, sue me. She had me at  “Daisy was a girl with gumption” which, just so you know, is page one.

The book is fun to read, which is already a plus for those of us who are forced to read these stories over and over again. It is educational, and I’m not talking about the monkey here, I knew nothing about the girl scouts other than –you guessed it- they sell cookies. First thing I did when I was done reading was look up the nearest girl scout group in the hope that I could get the monkey to join. But the most important for me is that it is inspirational. I want my girl to read over and over again that  “girls can do anything”. And I don't mind my son hearing it too. That you can combine your passions, that you can rebel against  convention and expectations, against what society dictates women should or should not do, should or should not want, to come up with something entirely new. And then  see that  this figment of Daisy's  imagination is still standing 100 years later.

The illustrations are joyous, colourful and modern, filled with affirmative and positive messages  waiting to be discovered together with your child (you know, the eleven hundredth time you read it). And for the more ambitious, a little bio in the back will provide further details.

Over all, can’t wait  to get it, and no, this post is not sponsored, I’m just hoping it does well so publishers get the message. Pass it on sisters.

About the author and illustrator:
Shana Corey grew up in the South and writes picture books about brave women and girls in history, like Amelia Bloomer and Juliette Gordon Low. Oh yeah, she is also al children book editor at Random House, and is apparently available for school readings (mental note: follow that up).

 She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York, 

Hadley Hooper is an editorial artist whose work appears regularly in The New York Times. Here Come the Girl Scouts is her first picture book (but will not be her last I tell ya).

She lives in Denver, Colorado. No idea who with.