Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lost in the Pages: Review of Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle

I picked up Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle at our local drug store on a whim one day. As an author, I'm a total sucker for books, especially picture books, and even more especially picture books for girls that somehow incorporate healthy living. Usually I think about them longer than 5 seconds before purchasing them, though. But this time the cover grabbed me, I totally forgot the purpose of my stop at the store, and off I went to the check-out to make it mine (under the guise that the book is for my daughter). Kudos to illustrators Mike & Carl Gordon for their whimsical artwork that truly stopped me in my tracks.

Things that make this book shine:

1. The author's daughter is credited for asking the question that created the book.

2. The book is a dialogue between a mother and daughter.

3. The girl's dog joins her on her questioning adventure ("Do princesses climb trees?" one page reads. The illustration shows the girl dangling from her knees on a branch. Her dog is doing the same with its back legs on the next branch over!).

4. The mother's answers to her daughter's questions are both playful and real.

5. This book celebrates the joy of life with healthy balance of adventure and responsibility (the girl has chores and goes to school - what more could a mom ask for?).

The only thing that I would change about the book is to make the main character a redhead. But only because my favorite little girl is a redhead (that would be my daughter), not for any REAL reason. But, since the mom is a redhead (like me), I really can't complain.

Without saying too much more (like giving away the surprise ending - which adds icing to the already wonderful cake of a book), I do have to add that I think this book has some great parallels with We Are Girls Who Love to Run and another book I reviewed just a little while ago, Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen. All three books encourage girls to embrace the many facets of girlhood, let their inner selves shine, and to follow their hearts. Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? is truly a gift from the author and illustrators to the world of little girls. I look forward to sharing this book with my daughter as I help her recognize her inner strengths and explore the beauty of our day-to-day world.
How about you? Is there a book that really grabbed YOU recently? Do tell!

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