Saturday, October 17, 2015

Not Just a Princess by Mary Lee

Rating: WORTHY!

This is one of a really fluffy set of children's books written, I suspect, by a mom about her daughter. The drawings - presumably by the author herself, since no artist us credited, are completely charming. I read this book on my cell phone and it was perfectly clear and legible, but one thing I missed out on is that you cannot get the double-page spread when you read the book in electronic format. You get each half of the double page on a separate screen which ruins the effect. I've encountered this same problem with graphic novels when reading them on a tablet. I think publishers and writers really need to understand that you can't write a half-way book like this - it needs to be written either for e-format or for print. It can't straddle both unless you create two separate editions, one dedicated to each format.

That said, the book was eminently readable and charmed even me, so I imagine it will delight children. This is very much a girl's book however, so while very young children will enjoy it regardless of their gender, as your boy grows older, he may not find this as engrossing. The pictures were colorful and sharp, and the drawing was perfect for the intended age range. The text was simple without being dumbed-down, and there was a real story being told here.

Mia is a feisty and self-possessed little girl who has a very active imagination. She's not in a princess mood today however - anything but. She's a lioness at breakfast, snarfing down her cereal. Note that 'lioness' is the author's term, not mine. This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. While lioness is a technically accurate appellation for the female of the lion species, note that it's only the lion, really, that gets this distinction. Yes, there is tigress, but it's rarely used. There isn't cheetah-ess or leopard-ess, or a cat-ess (you have to go to Tom and Queen - or maybe even quean for a feisty cat) . I wonder why? For animals, it doesn't bother me so much, but when human females are subject to the same treatment, it smacks of genderism to me. I'm very much against adding 'ess' to a word and declaring that the confine of the female of the human species. Why actress? Why not just actor? Why authoress? Shephardess? Progress? Am I kidding with that last one?). It's worth a thought.

Moving along now, I recommend this story overall, because although she was typecast with lioness and cowgirl, Mia steadfastly refused to be otherwise constrained, taking on a variety of personas through her day, and even in her dreams. I didn't doubt that she would live her dreams as she grew up. This book is also available in a trio of Mia books.

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