Today’s entry is a guest post from the website Hunting for Heroines, which is a blog looking for great female characters in children’s picture books. Anyone interested in either children’s books or heroines should take a look – and the proprietor is always looking for recommendations for good books. Here’s your chance to influence the next generation of children. (A link to the blog is also in my blogroll, to the right.)
I am proud to say that Clothes in Books recommended this particular book to Hunting for Heroines: it is by longtime blogfriend Sara O’Leary – who was one of my blog’s earliest, nicest and most helpful supporters.
I’ll leave it to the guest blogger to explain why the book is so good.
the book: This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary and Julie Morstad
Sadie is a paean to the life of the imagination. It reminds the reader of the importance of stories to enrich and inspire our children.
'Sadie's perfect day is spent with friends. Some of them live on her street, and some live in the pages of books.' Her life is never mundane because she constantly has a parallel reality existing in her head - one full of stories and adventure. Littered throughout Sadie are allusions to heroines from throughout the ages: Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Goldilocks, Alice, The Little Mermaid, Maid Marian.
Sadie is the kind of child that I'm sure a lot of readers of this blog can identify with. I always loved reading as a kid and the characters were just as real to me as my surroundings. If not more real. Whereas 'real life' is always in flux (new schools, new friends, new teachers) the characters in a book remain constant, in exactly the same position as when you left them and always there for you at a turn of a page. Sometimes I used to finish a book and immediately turn back to the beginning because I wanted to spend more time with the characters.
Everything Sadie encounters is brought to life - including clothes. When she chooses a dress to wear she whispers to it '"Don't tell the others... but you are my favourite."' I think the other dresses might suspect that this one would be the favourite because it is the perfect outfit for make-believe. The dress is medieval in style with a full green skirt and a red lace-up bodice; just right for riding a horse, diving into a swimming pool, flying over houses. Sadie reminded me how magical clothes can be to children, how a certain outfit can be enchanted with power. (I had a panda sweatshirt which I was adamant brought me good luck because I had been wearing it on the day my parents took us on a surprise trip to the cinema.)
Sadie is an active and fun book to read aloud due to the narrator constantly interacting with the reader - asking us to check to see if we have wings, questioning if we can hear Sadie. It is noteworthy that in a book which celebrates the world of the imagination the author employs metafiction - addressing the audience directly - thereby repeatedly reminding us that this is a storybook. But that doesn't make it any less real.
Heroine rating: 4/5
The big picture is from a book called Little Maid Marian, by Amy E. Blanchard, available on Project Gutenberg.