Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tell Me I Won't Have to Start Reading Princess Books Now...

In case I haven't said, our impending arrival is a girl.  We have long joked that if we have a girl, she had better like cars and trucks.  While I don't like gender stereotyping kids (our son just seemed to take so naturally to cars and trucks!), I do look forward to the opportunity to share positive views of girls/women with my little girl.  I added one wonderful new book like this to our collection this week.

My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream?
My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream?

Don't you already love the book, just from the subtitle?  The first page has a spot to write in the owner's name: This book belongs to _____________ / the sweetest, kindest, smartest, bravest, fastest, toughest, greatest girl that ever was."  It's that kind of a book!  Isabella is a girl with big dreams and a giant imagination.  Through a playful exchange with her mother, Isabella tries on various famous female personas throughout the book.
Good morning, Isabella," the mother said.  'It's time to get up and out of bed.'  'My name is not Isabella!' said the little girl.  'Then who has been sleeping in my daughter's bed?' asked the mother. / 'I am SALLY, the greatest, toughest astronaut who ever was!' 'Well, Sally, blast out of bed, put on your space suit and come downstairs for breakfast.'
And so the format continues throughout the book, as we see Isabella pretend to be an astronaut (Sally Ride), a sharpshooter (Annie Oakley), an activist (Rosa Parks), a scientist (Marie Curie), a doctor (Elizabeth Blackwell), and ... a mother (Mommy).  Her mother responds to each of Isabella's exclamations with patience and encouragement.  And who does Isabella end the day as?  You'll have to read the book to find out, but that book owner's page gives a hint.

The last two pages have paragraph-length descriptions of all of the women mentioned during the book, including a kiddified definition of the appropriate profession ("An astronaut is a person who does their work in space.  There are different jobs on the spacecraft.  Some people are pilots.  Some people fix the spacecraft.  Some people do science research.")
The Bibliophile's Opinion (at 2 years, 9 months):

Mama: Did you like this book?
Bibliophile: Yes!
Mama: What Did You Like About It? 
Bibliophile: You [I] like that it [Isabella] doesn't say what name it [she] really is! 

He then proceeded to open the book again and read it aloud (stopping to ask me what "vittles" and "cowgirl" meant).  Then, during our bedtime routine, he kept joking around:

Mama: "Ok, Bibliophile, time to brush your teeth!"
Bibliophile: "I'm not Bibliophile; I'm...Mama!"   

Queue raucous laughter.
Enjoyed by the (boy) Bibliophile, enjoyed my Mama, and sure to be enjoyed by our little girl someday too.  Also, fun inspiration for meaningful baby girl name ideas.

Other books you might like
The Paper Bag Princess (we reviewed this book, with a companion craft, here)
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes (review here)
Blueberry Girl (we still haven't read this!  But I've heard good things)
Series featuring female characters like Olivia and Madeline.

When I asked for suggestions of positive depictions of female characters in an earlier post, some people also suggested the Harry Potter and Judy Moody series.

Questions: What "girly" books are your favs?  I guess I'll have to read Pinkalicious one of these days, will I?  Also, what should we refer to our next arrival as in blogland?  (We may have to wait for her personality to surface to answer that one).

Disclosure: We were provided with a publisher copy of My Name is Not Isabella in order to write this review.  Also, if you click on any of the links in this post and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with


Christy said...

Congratulations! I have to tell you that I love girly books. Princesses, fairies, etc. I love them all.

That book sounds great. Nice review!

Infant Bibliophile said...

@Christy Well, maybe I will too! I don't think I've read one in 25 years. I will keep an open mind... as long as she loves reading. :)

Cristina said...

I think she will love reading like the rest of her wonderful family. :) How about calling her "Bookworm"? Kinda gross but cute at the same time. Along the lines of bibliophile too. :)

Tara @ Feels like home said...

I think an open mind is vital. I wanted my daughter to like cars and trucks and trains. Somehow, I still ended up with a 3-year-old daughter who plays with dolls above all else, dresses up Polly Pockets, and begged us to paint her bedroom hot pink.

I don't think we have as much influence in shaping their interests as we'd like to think we do. The key, IMO, is to give them lots of options, expose them to as many different interests as possible (through a variety of books and toys) and then let them make up their own minds.

Infant Bibliophile said...

@Tara that's true - she will be her own little person! And don't get me wrong, I love the pink frilly girly things too. Our house could probably use some dolls to balance out all the trucks around here at the moment. thanks for the reminder that she will have some say in all this. :)

Infant Bibliophile said...

@Cristina I was thinking Bookworm too! Maybe I'll need to change my header... something like Reviews from a Toddling Bibliophile and his Baby Bookworm Sister. As if I will have any time to blog this fall. :)

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

I'm sitting here wondering if I have congratulated you yet on the big news ... I don't think that I have. In any event, many congratulations!

I tried to resist the princess books and whatnot when I realized we were having boy/girl twins. Somehow, the princess books discovered me anyway. Looks like you found a winner with this book!

Beth said...

Well, there's always the "Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?" series and "Priscilla and the Pink Planet". They're my favorite "anti-pink princess" books. I have a 5yo boy and a 2yo girl, and I've found that she loves his trucks as much as her dolls! Best wishes on your fall arrival!

Ticia said...

Kids seem to go how they want to for all I try my daughter has practically no interest in girly things. Not that I'm all that girly

Brimful Curiosities said...

Little girls are so much fun. My daughter loves wearing dresses, playing dress up, playing with dolls and all the things little girls often do. However, she also loves playing with her brother and likes trains, cars, and trucks, too. As far as books go, her tastes vary daily and she goes through phases. While she likes pink and frilly, she's not always requesting princess books. Often she's happy with anything new she can get her hands on. She requested Fancy Nancy for awhile and we have a series of Disney princess books, but really, especially when she was younger she tended to like books about animals the best. As far as princess books, The Princess Knight by Funke is very good and my daughter really likes reading it.

Sherry said...

Peg and the Yeti. Brilliant illustrations from a Candian artist. Love the story too.

MaryAnne said...

Hooray for a baby girl! I love having both a son and two daughters - they are all so much fun!

As for books, I haven't read them since I was small but I remember loving the Ramona series. I should probably try them with Emma sometime soon...

There are some fantastic fairy tale retellings for older girls, too. This book you reviewed sounds like a good one, I'll have to see if our library has it!

Raising a Happy Child said...

It's awesome that you are going to have a baby girl. I am obviously partial to girls :) This book sounds very interesting, and I personally really liked Ladybug Girl series even though Anna was not a big fan. She also likes Emily series by Rosemary Wells. Of course, Emily is a bunny, but she stands for a real girl :)

Debbie said...

As I read your post, I thought about all the books and things that Selena likes. She will read anything that is of interesting value to her. This can be about cars, trains, firemen, policemen, and yes princess books. Your little girl will find interests in many areas. I do have to say that one of the best hits in this house was "Every Girl Needs a Horse."

You will find yourself reading so many different type of books with your little girl, that it will probably just amaze you that her interests are so vast. They truly are not all about princesses!

Joyful Learner said...

Great recommendations! I know it's a bit late but congratulations! I can't wait to *meet* your little girl!

Britt said...

Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots is really cute!

The Pinkalicious books aren't too bad. Boo likes them. Fancy Nancy is kinda cute.

Just wait until you have to read fairy books... sigh.