Picturebook Review: Pirates & Princesses

Pirates and Princesses is a picture book written by Jill and Sadie Kargman and illustrated by Christine Davenier. The colorful and playful illustrations paired with smart text tell the story of a pair of friends. Ivy and Fletch have been friends since they were babies. Even in preschool they remained the bet of friends. However, when they get to kindergarten they discover new friends, which seem to never cross the gender line. The girls play princess, while the boys play pirate. Can the two friends reconnect at school, or will they stay divided along the gender lines?

Some might peg Pirates and Princesses as unrealistic, but I think this is a fantastic tale. As a young girl I was much like Ivy, and enjoyed the games typically considered 'boy's' games. I still am more likely to be seen swinging a hammer or digging in the garden than painting my finger nails. I am trying to instill in my own two kids the understanding that it is more than okay for my daughter to play pirates and my son to don a tutu if that is what they like, if that is what they want to do. So far they have no gender fear, but I know that once they enter elementary school scenarios like the one in this story might take place. There is nothing wrong with the girls plating ballerina or princess. There is nothing wrong with the boys playing pirate, or cowboy, or astronaut. But when the walls between the genders fall and anyone can join in any game, there is so much more fun to be had! I hope that this type of thing can happen in schools, playgrounds, and groups everywhere. Teaching our kids that any kids can be a pirate or a princess, to be good friends, and to stand up for what you believe we can all have kids as cool as Fletch and Ivy.
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