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The Children of Noisy Village – Astrid Lindgren

The Children of Noisy Village

Some people, when they find out they will be having a baby, dream of Ballet classes or Baseball games with their little ones.   Me? I had visions of reading great books to mine.  I have been reading picture books and board books repeatedly for the past 5.5 years and finally… Yes, FINALLY my girl and I read a novel together.  Am I excited?!? You bet! I kind of questioned if this day would ever get here.

IMG_6431It’s so funny because these pre-parenthood visions are never very accurate and don’t quite turn out how you imagine they will.  I would have never guessed that “The Children of Noisy Village” would have been the first book my little one would let me read without many pictures in it.  I had tried Pippi Longstocking, the Little Prince, my Father’s Dragon and they were  a no-go for one reason or another.  (those are still on my list though)  It’s hilarious because this book, the one to capture my little one, is about nearly nothing.  There is no hero, there is no danger, there is no conflict at all in this book.  It’s about a little girl named Lisa who lives with her two brothers in a village in Sweden where the go to school and celebrate holidays with the neighbor kids.

I included this picture because it makes me laugh. Lisa and her friend give their best dolly to a girl who is sick. Oh good- my little one is learning some great stuff here… and then she said to me “Mama, I hope that someday I get sick and someone gives me their best dolly” wow! seriously, that’s crazy! That’s something I definitely need to work on! Work started immediately after that was said.

Maybe that’s the true brilliancy of it all. I have been laughing ever since, because I found the book to be very nearly boring compared to many I have read, but she ate it up.  But then, today I took my little girls to the bank to cash in their piggy bank savings so they could buy a toy they have both been wanting very badly for the last month.   That trip, which is an every day kind of thing for me, was so special to the girls;  From the quite bank where they repaired her ripped dollar bill and gave her near magical paper money in exchange for her baggie full of coins, on down to the toy store where she handed the money in for herself and got a new toy.  The day to her was wonderful, and amazing, and all kinds of interesting.

Maybe, Just maybe everything is an adventure to kids of this age.  Maybe, just maybe she didn’t need dragons, or girls stronger than  10 men, or alien-prince characters to hold her attention because every day is new and interesting.  Walking to school, or playing with friends IS the adventure and I somehow missed that.  Nice work Mrs. Lindgren, I think you got that a long time ago.

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The Princess Problem- is it?

So, I go back and forth between absolutely loving all the glitter and princess obsessions in my household and worrying that it may be unhealthy.  (I’ve even read books like “Cinderella ate my Daughter” by Peggy Orenstein my review of that you can read here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1175371034)  You see, My oldest absolutely LOVES all things pink and princess… to a degree that I don’t ever remember possessing.  Even my little 2 year old insists on dresses now.

You might think I am crazy, or worried about nothing, but then things like what happened this morning occur and I know I have a right to be wary.  This morning before school, my husband was pep-talking our little preschooler, encouraging her to be friendly with all the little kids, not just her best friend during circle time.  The seats at times are assigned and sometimes our little one is less than thrilled by who she is seated next to, though she is working on it.

Husband says- “You should be happy to sit next to any of the kids because everyone has something special about them.” (nice work Dad, I totally approve)  to which our girl said “Yes, even boys all have something that’s awesome about them!”  (Oh good, she’s getting it!)  Daddy then says “Yes, and the girls do to.”  To which she says “No they don’t, they have something Pretty about them!” (Oh no!)  And my husband, thinking this is sort of weird says… “Well that and awesome. Girls can be awesome as well as pretty”  and my littles just says “No” and begins chanting “Pretty, Pretty, Pretty.” like a room full of kids would chant for Ice Cream.

Now, I think that’s a bit creepy!  Seriously.  Yes, she is still at an age where she thinks all little girls are beautiful simply because they are a girl, so we aren’t in total trouble yet.  But, we are working on showing our little one that being pretty on the inside is so much more important than having a nice dress or blonde hair (she is sad her hair is brown).  Let me tell you, it feels like an uphill battle.  All the time people are telling her how cute her dress is, or how adorable she looks.   Thankfully, my little girl is also super loving and kind and has a lot going for her that we are working on encouraging. However, it was a wonderful reminder that the books we read our little kids matter. We should be careful of what message it is giving (seriously parents, if you have ready some of the Disney early reader, abbreviated versions of the princess tales, it’s dumb and all about looks and love in the not good way)  I have finally banned them from our Library piles, I dislike their messages so much. I might grab a few someday for review purposes so you can see I am not making this up.

Anyway, all of this to say that I still LOVE fairy tales and think that there are a ton that show a great message to little girls about inner beauty and love.  Fairy tales can even help in all of this.  For instance “Papa Gatto” is one of my favorites. My daughter loves it too and I will review it soon for you.  Not only that, but you can read the same tale and find ones that make more sense and follow a storyline that isn’t just about looks. So be careful, read the stories and remind yourself that beautiful pictures aren’t enough.  I will show you what I am talking about with my review of three Cinderella tales next.