I know many of my friends with little girls have long been lamenting the stereotypical nature of the Disney Princess byproducts. Books about pretty gems, activities about missing your long hair, long dresses that are unsuitable for play and a fire hazard. My own daughter has even coped flack at preschool for not wearing enough branded Princess paraphernalia from two other little girls.
I have to admit my daughter loves her Disney Princesses and I love watching the movies with her. They’re fun, they’re bright, they’re colourful and they’ve got catchy tunes. What’s not to like? Well some of the messages for our little ones are questionable, particularly in the spin off products. They focus on vanity and materialism in a far greater way than the movies do. So what is a parent to do that doesn’t want their kids inundated with that kind of message at such an impressionable age?
In steps Australian writing superhero Pamela Freeman with her Princess Betony books. These books are gorgeous. They’re the perfect size for tiny hands, have beautiful covers and even have a satin ribbon sewn in for a bookmark. They have all the elements any Disney Princess fan could possibly want but they’re so much more. These books takes the princess mythos and subvert it. Yes, there is a princess, yes there are beautiful dresses, yes there is a castle BUT then when the day needs to be saved Princess Betony puts on her adventure clothes and gets down to business. She’s tough, she’s smart and she knows that there is more to life than finery and materialism. My daughter is four and loves Princess Betony. Her five year old cousin similarly loves her as does her twelve year old cousin.
So for those of you having a Disney induced meltdown and contemplating a wholesale Princess ban, I’d like suggest trying the Princess Betony books by Pamela Freeman first. It’ll give some balance to those movies that we all love.