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Pickle Me This

August 30, 2012

Olivia and the Fairy Princess

Oh, I had my concerns once I’d realized that the new Olivia book was called Olivia and the Fairy Princesses, but I should have had more faith in the brilliance of Ian Falconer. The new Olivia is pure princess-fighting propaganda under the guise of as a very good book. Olivia, the book tells us, is having an identity crisis. She doesn’t understand why all the girls (and even some of the boys!) are so desparate to be princesses. They want to be princess ballerinas at dance class, all the while Olivia is going for something stark and modern. They all dressed up as princesses for Halloween, while Olivia dressed up as a warthog. (“It was very effective.”) Why do all the girls want to be the same thing, Olivia wonders? If everybody is a princess, then how can princessing be special?

The very best thing about this book is that its packaged up in princess pink, and so will no doubt find its way into the very grubby (rhinestone-studded) mitts it’s intended for, as well as into the baseball mitts of the daughters of those of us who’ve been reading Peggy Orenstein, provoking some discussions and inspiring some critical thinking too. The book will also have its detractors who resist a story with such obvious politics whose Eloise-ish narrative is a wink-wink at the grown-ups, and it definitely is possible that I love this book way more than Harriet does.

Than Harriet does so far though. I’ll work on this. So glad to have another weapon (and such a smart one too!) in my princess-fighting arsenal.

2 thoughts on “Olivia and the Fairy Princess”

  1. Clelia says:

    My daughter and I love Olivia, yet somehow I didn’t know about the new book. Great review — the new Olivia sounds perfect for my daughter who is gradually shifting her favourite colour from bright red to pink with sparkles.

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