Princess Pearl and the Underwater Kingdom: Emma Thomson
(Hodder Children’s Books, 2012)
This is a beautiful book; it is a fun book with all the interactive elements; and both MG and DG really enjoy the story but I’m afraid that fundamentally, I cannot like this book. It is the antithesis of everything I believe in when it comes to bringing up strong, independent women. Being strong, independent young ladies, my daughters have their own opinions and therefore pink culture does exist in our household despite my opinion on the subject 😆
Being a princess was everything Pearl had ever dreamed of. She had little sea-maids to carry her train… and a shoal of sea horses to brush her hair.
What’s good about this book (in my opinion)? Well… the pictures are nice. They really are nice, beautifully drawn and painted. What’s great about this book is the paper engineering – there is lots of variety in pop-ups and things to pull, open, turn and twist. For that, the book gets five stars; it is beautifully put together, robust and with lots of lovely little details.
The negative… You have to bear in mind that I avoid ‘pink princess’ books and toys like the plague, so this is pretty much my first real exposure to this style of book as a parent, because I have had no interest in buying other ‘pink princess’ books. By ‘pink princess’ I don’t mean a princess who just happens to love pink. Princess Cupcake, for example, is a strong likeable character. The fact she is a princess who wears pink is entirely incidental to the story.
I don’t have a problem with pink. It’s just a colour for goodness sake. I have a problem with pinkification, pink culture and the everyday sexism that is inherent with manufacturers producing all-pink versions of things; of catalogues showing boys playing with construction toys and girls with cleaning toys; of the celeb culture of wanting to be thin and rich with no other discernible talent or usefulness being offered to society.
And it starts here, with children, with books that are ‘harmless fun’ letting ‘little girls live out their princess fantasies’. Fantasies encouraged by well-meaning friends, parents and relatives who don’t see the harm in these stories. Apologies, rant over! I’ll now hand over to the correct demographic for their opinion:
MG’s review (based on Q&A session): This is a book about mermaids. I like that she becomes queen and I want to be queen. I love the pop-up, especially the one covered with mermaids because I like mermaids especially when they’re glittery. There’s something amazing that I like about this book, that the colours go underneath [about an accordion pop-up]. I could write a book like this with the same pictures for my friends.
DG’s Q&A, whist she’s eating a lolly:
Me: Did you like the book?
DG: I like the book.
Me: What did you like about the book?
DG: I like about the book.
Me: What’s your favourite?
DG: My favourite is lolly!
Obviously not the best time to interview her 😆
This is a book that will be loved by little girls everywhere and is beautifully put together, but please don’t ask me to like it 😆
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Princess Pearl and the Underwater Kingdom by Hachette Children’s Books for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.