Thomas Nelson (April 12, 2011)
the first thing that entered my mind when I saw this title may have also been a first thought of others. However knowing of Sheila Walsh, her work, Women of Faith and Thomas Nelson publishers I looked a bit further and was pleasantly rewarded when I opted to review this title. Princess and Disney and many other princess themed toys, books, movies, and the companion accessories flood the TV, radio, stores, and our society. Unfortunately we as adults with faith and values that are rarely presented in our world have become rather jaded where “princess” is concerned. In popular culture anything princess feeds the “entitlement” mentality so prevalent in our lives. My first reaction to this was a bewilderment at how this could fit into the values that most things princess would slap in the face in a sense. However after looking more closely at the content and focusing beyond the title to the description and subtitle, Royal Tips for Manners, Etiquette and True Beauty I quickly realized my mistake.
Don’t judge a book by “the cover” or in this case title (Princess). Yes there are many things about an “entitlement mentality” and things princess that we want to avoid feeding our children’s minds. As usual though Walsh and Nelson turn the tables on our culture and expectations. The book is presented in short sections on a variety of topics that bring faith and values front and center for young girls. Self esteem, Biblical values and attitudes, along with scriptures, interactive activities, and places for adding their own thoughts and ideas stack this book with everything but the “societal” princess mentality and “entitlement” attitudes. As children of the King of Kings we are all Princes or Princesses this is quite clearly scripturally based. The cultural interpretations of Prince and Princess however are nothing like reality or scripture there’s where basing an opinion simply on the title or cover goes awry. Walsh brings the language and concepts in this book down to a simplified level which young girls can relate with. Rather than encouraging or worse teaching that oh so dangerous “entitlement” attitude, Walsh turns the tables and speaks to young girls who are in the process of understanding their personality and gifts as God intended them and learning to love themselves and others in practical ways. Being a member of any royal family carries with it responsibilities and expectations from those around us. Walsh clearly presents these responsibilities in a format tweens can get into and grasp. Mistakes aren’t excused per se but as God teaches us by example forgiveness is an important element both for accepting ourselves and others. Though this book focuses rather on behavior, choices, attitudes, values, manners, and the like, the process of discovering who we are in God’s economy and how we can express that despite cultural norms to the contrary makes this a valuable and accessible tool for both parents and young girls who don’t want to be stuck with societal values they cannot embrace wholeheartedly or worse to have to unteach those values contrary to their personal morals and beliefs that young minds so quickly absorb.
I can’t begin to emphasize how highly I recommend that parents give this book a thorough examination as a possible resource for our girls that are faced with expectations and standards which tear down their personal value. Culture and society paint a picture of “perfection” that is impossible and rarely respects or fosters our unique qualities. To be popular or famous or rich or look like media icons that quickly appear to be “created duplicates” or copies of a specific profile and appearance are thrust upon children from a young age but without any tools to fill their minds with truth, goodness, true beauty (from the inside out) the societal morals and values soon infect their thinking and view of themselves and others with a highly negative impact. I applaud Walsh for a scriptural approach to faith and values that speaks to those young lives in process at a level they can grasp and assimilate despite the contrary messages all around us.
(ISBN#9781400316441, 144pp, $9.99)
Click the cover for more info and to purchase a copy. Thanks to Thomas Nelson/Booksneeze for a review copy.