Pirates and Princesses

written by Jill and Sadie Kargman
illustrated by Christine Davenier

Jill and Sadie Kargman's Pirates and Princesses
illustrated by Christine Davenier

Book review by Karen Nelson

Ages 3-5

Preschool gender roles threaten a friendship

Jill Kargman, with the help of her 7-year-old daughter, Sadie, wrote Pirates and Princesses after a personal incident Sadie experienced at school.

She had had her dress insulted by a little boy at school and used a not-so-nice word in return. Jill was then called out by Sadie's teachers for language they figured was most likely learned at home.

Sadie's teachers told Jill to read the tale of The King, the Mice and the Cheese, a book they felt would teach Sadie to play nicely with others.

Jill and Sadie found the book not to their liking, so they wrote their own.

Pirates and Princesses is about a little boy, Fletch, and little girl, Ivy, who have known each other since they were born. Their mothers are best friends, doing almost everything together. Ivy and Fletch were born a day apart and have done almost everything together since birth, even reaching milestones of development together. They become the best of friends.

Ivy and Fletch go off to preschool, and as other children cry when they are separated from their parents, Ivy and Fletch stay indifferent, knowing they have each other.

The two then face the first trial of their friendship when they start kindergarten. They play together on the playground like they always have done, but then they notice that all the other girls are playing with other girls and the boys are playing only with the other boys.

Ivy is recruited into a group of girls, notably the princesses team, and Fletch is recruited to join a group of boys, the pirates team. Ivy and Fletch are having so much fun with their new friends that they almost forget about each other.

Then the pirates have a raid and take Ivy as their prisoner.

Fletch comes to her rescue on the playground. Ivy and Fletch then go beyond their differences of gender and teach the other children games they can all play together.

Review: Pirates and Princesses

I love how friendship trumps the difference of gender with Fletch and Ivy and branches out into a lesson of playing nicely with all of their kindergarten playmates.

My oldest daughter is in a bit of an "Ivy and Fletch" scenario, herself. She has started preschool this fall and has reunited with a boy she has known since she was nine weeks old (they are only a week apart in age). They went to daycare together and my daughter ended daycare when she was two due to my choice of staying home after daughter #2 came along.

This little boy from daycare is still very sweet. He looks out for my daughter and another girl who attended the daycare them. It will be interesting to see how things play out over the next few years with possible "gender wars" in school.

I thought Pirates and Princesses was a great book to share with my children. "After all, there's a little pirate and princess in all of us."

Webmaster's note: Karen was provided a free copy of the book by the publisher for review.

Read more of Karen's reviews.

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