“though she be but little, she is fierce!” – shakespeare, a midsummer night’s dream
kid #2 has a thing for cinderella. the disney one who looks just as hot in a tattered apron as she does in a ball gown. the one with perfect blond hair who strives for nothing more than to wear a pretty dress to a party. the one who seems content to live in an attic bedroom singing to mice and birds. and what is with “a dream is a wish your heart makes”? i don’t even know what that means.
the closest i ever got to being a princess fanatic as a little girl were the dozens of times i watched ‘beauty and the beast’. i identified with belle the bookworm. i could have cared less whether belle and the beast hooked up. i was just rooting for her to get that library. with the sliding ladder. that i have wanted forever.
as a kid i was painfully shy. shy to the point where i was terrified to pick up the phone. where i could not force myself to ask a stranger a question, let alone make eye contact.
books were my thing. and so was the anti-princess. i was attracted to precocious, free-spirited, mischievous little girls. like madeline.
madeline taunts tigers at the zoo. she performs dangerous feats. she roots for the underdog. she stands up for what’s right. and i’m a little bit obsessed with her. which is why kids #1 and #2 can recite the book from memory. i may have pushed the book on them a tiny bit but they’ll thank me for it later. or at least when they have their own children.
and then there is pippi longstocking who is quirky, completely unconventional, horribly behaved, and has the strength to throw pirates across the room and take on five bullies at a time. she. is. awesome. and i was desperate to live with her and her monkey, mr.nilsson, at villa villekula. forever. and on the 100th anniversary of astrid lindgren‘s birth, oxford university press put out a commemorative edition illustrated by lauren child. i adore lauren child! more on her later.
i cannot wait to introduce my kids to this book!
some people, that are not me, are so freakin’ talented. it always blows my mind.
so. i became a teenager. and that was terrible. and then i grew up to be a nice, normal person and had kids of my own. in particular i gave birth to this child. kid #2.
here she is in all her cinderella glory.
and while i couldn’t wait to introduce her to my favourite picture books and characters, we also discovered some seriously awesome ferocious little girls along the way. because if madeline and pippi were to have a tea party, they’d definitely invite olivia and lola.
she is headstrong, non-conformist, and in her newest book, ‘olivia and the fairy princesses’, she considers a career in exposing corporate malfeasance, and dances like martha graham. olivia is like no other.
as a side note, anyone who knows me knows that i LOVE david sedaris. as in, i want us to be best friends.
him and ian falconer joined forced for sedaris’ ‘squirrel seeks chipmunk’. another win win!
which brings me back to the world of lauren child and lola sonner. and this is how the story goes.
one day lauren child was riding a train in denmark when she spotted a blonde elfish-looking child chatting and chatting and chatting non-stop to her parents. lauren child found her mesmerizing and decided to base a storybook character around her. and lola and her retro-styled, collaged universe was born.
this is lola.
and lola and her big brother charlie are somewhat of a double act. just like kid #1 and kid #2. they go together well, like charlie and lola!
charlie goes to great lengths to teach lola about the world around her in the most imaginative way possible. he is also, for some reason, responsible for convincing lola to eat her dinner as well as getting to bed. charlie is somewhat parentified. i suppose it’s the same thing when i disagree with kid #1 and #2 that it is not in fact “good morning time” and send #1 off to make snacks and put a tv show on for #2 so i can be left in peace.
i’m a good mom. really.
anyway, lola makes my super-awesome-character list because of her cheekiness and her unique world-view and curiosity about the things and people around her. she has a huge imagination, is utterly non self-conscious, and completely knows who she is. also she wears weirdly put-together outfits. like kid #2.
but recently i have one more little girl to add to the list and her name is lily.
lately lily is a collaboration between author/illustrator micah player and apparel designer erin nichols. the premise of lily’s story is that she is daughter to a photographer and a writer for the ‘international exposition definitive journal of global curiosity’. lily travels on assignment with them exploring cities and terrains both urban and rural, writing and drawing in her sketchbook about what she’s been up to and what she’s learned from the people and places she’s visited.
the drawings from lily’s “sketchbook” inspire t-shirt designs each season.
currently lily is in paris, exploring the arrondissements by metro and visiting the famous sites of the city such as the tuileries on the grounds of the louvre.
her parisienne explorations culminated in lately lily‘s newest season of apparel for babies and kids.
in past seasons lily has fished peruvian waters while learning about the area’s people, culture, and history.
she has also had a stopover in iceland,
and of course, the USA.
lily encourages girls to explore the world, think for themselves, and be an original.
she believes that women can do ANYTHING!
and teaches girls to support each other. lily is the anti-frenemy.
she was there last year when sarah attar became the first woman in saudi arabia to compete in the olympics.
and to celebrate the life of astronaut sally ride, the first american woman to be launched into space.
i encourage you and your daughters (and sons) to pack your very own suitcase, and follow the traveling girl.
oh, and ps, lily’s now got her very own iPad app available for download on iTunes.
that’s it for today folks!