This gorgeous rhyming story about being kind both to others and to yourself is a brilliant little story encouraging young children to be assertive but not aggressive in their peer interactions.
Littlefae loves the way that Princess Alice gets her Blankie back AND solves the problem by eventually finding the Teddy to share with Dragon.
I really like this message because it honours the child’s emotional needs and power to consent as well as the social message of sharing and caring.
Princess Alice wakes up and sees her Blankie has disappeared. Her brother had it but a giant took it; the giant had it but the witch took it; the witch had it but thinks it disappeared that way.
Turns out Dragon has it and it’s the only thing that can help him sleep in his cold uncomfortable cave. Alice walks back to the castle with Dragon asking everyone along the way whether they have something to help him but nothing quite works until she gives him a teddy of hers and they make friends.
I remember a viral parenting hoo-hah about a mother who gives her son the choice, she doesn’t force her son to share his special toys with others (especially random/strangers) it’s his choice.
The mother said her reasoning was adults don’t just surrender their sandwich, laptop or phone to strangers just because; so what messages was she sending her son about his worth if she compelled him to consent to other children whom he didn’t want touching his toys, simply because of ‘social niceties’.
This goes against a lot of books, messages and conventional parenting expectations because often society expects children to just share everything on demand without whining or refusing, especially for girls.
I get this, so many adults suffer because they don’t learn how to set boundaries or ring-fence their needs. I don’t want my girls to be walked over by children who use their size, words or grown up’s attitude to overpower and take from them in the name of ‘be nice/good’.
This book follows this positive message of standing your ground without losing your principles. Princess Alice isn’t a brat. She doesn’t have a Verucca Salt style tantrum that her Blankie was taken from her and used as a curtain, hankies and more. She gets cross but she doesn’t give up or give in. She listens to what happened and focuses on what she can do, not what can’t be changed.
But she wants her Blankie back and isn’t prepared to compromise on that. Instead she is happy to find Dragon his own special cuddly thing as a replacement and chooses to be kind and empathise with the creature who just wants love and comfort and in the end giving up something she didn’t need to help Dragon.
The gorgeous richly pigmented illustrations by Paula Metcalf are both calming and immersive drawing both the eye and the attention into the story and are deeply expressive, I also love the slightly powdery tint to this colour palette.
Equally the vocabulary in this book is awesome. Lucy Rowland has written some beautiful children’s books but her word choice is always a strength and a selling point for me; you can see her love and respect for language in her writing. There’s lots of clever rhyme, a solid rhythm to the narrative and great vocabulary choices such as slumber, flowing, beaming were among our favourites.
This book says you deserve to have your precious things, don’t compromise your happiness but don’t compromise your kindness either. No tantrums, no spiralling or chandeliering, just firm in kindness to both others AND yourself then you can move forward because you both know where you stand.
It doesn’t say don’t share, Princess Alice shares her big teddy with Dragon, that’s absolutely brilliant, but she is confident to know she can ringfence what is precious AND THAT is a lesson that is very important to children.
Thank you Lucy Rowland and Paula Metcalf for gently empowering children and encouraging kindness at the same time.
Have you seen my Blankie by Lucy Rowland and Paula Metcalf (Nosy Crow) is published on 4th April 2019.