Hello, friends! Our book today is Eleanor Wyatt, Princess And Pirate, written by Rachael MacFarlane and illustrated by Spencer Laudiero, a celebration of playing dress-up.
Eleanor Wyatt loves to pretend, often while dressing up from her seemingly limitless costume closet. And her play is never limited by traditional “gendered” costumes: as often as she chooses to be a princess or cheerleader, she easily switches to a pirate, astronaut, or superhero as the mood strikes her. Sometimes she will combine the characters, serving tea on her pirate ship or as a mustachioed cowboy riding a trusty unicorn steed (played ably by her enormous dog). Eleanor’s parents encourage her: there’s no “wrong” way to play. And in turn, Eleanor encourages her friends to join her in expressing themselves in whatever way feels right. After all, imagination is all about exploring new ways to be the person you were all along; to let your “inner light shine”.
Lovely! I am always delighted to see stories that encourage non-gendered playtime and dress-up, and this one was a delight. The story does a wonderful job of showing the benefits unrestricted play: Eleanor’s costumes help her build confidence and courage, such as dressing as a ninja to watch scary movies, and allow her to dream big as a rock star or pilot. And seeing her parade of friends – featuring a range of skin tones, genders, physical ability, and of course, costumes – shows that allowing freedom of expression creates a happier and more diverse world. The bouncy rhyming text is fun and easy to read, the illustrations are energetic and colorful, and the length is fine for younger bookworms. A charming tale with an important message, and we both loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)