Today’s guest blog is by Zoe Toft, a mum of two young girls who’s kindly agreed to share this great story with us, on reading the Rescue Princesses books.
“Yes, you can choose whatever you want.”
I love books.
And my two girls love books.
But we definitely don’t all love the same type of books.
And as my 6 year old has gradually moved this last year from decoder to a fluent reader, I’m trying to find ways to help her (and me) discover which book flavours are her favourites, which ones get her salivating and eager for more.
I wasn’t a huge reader as a child, though I do remember saving my pocket money to buy the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. My eldest daughter cut her teeth on Steve Cole’s Astrosaurs series. But my youngest is different again. One way I’m trying to help us all find out what she really loves is letting her loose in the library and bookshop.
As an end of holiday treat we visited our local Waterstones and we had the conversation above.
And then the giveaway that she’d found something she really wanted to read.
“Ok, it’s time to go and pay”, I say.
“Come on now, we’ve got to get home.”
“Please, come on. What have you chosen? Shall we go and pay for it?”
My 6 year old had disappeared somewhere I couldn’t immediately reach her. Whatever book she’d picked up, it had swallowed her whole and she was off somewhere exploring a world without me, but with something she clearly wanted to know much more about.
Eventually we did make it up to the cash register, which is when I saw she had chosen a book I would never have picked up; it had shiny foil lettering and princesses with floaty dresses and doe eyes.
But this wasn’t about what I’d choose for my daughter; it was about what she’d choose for herself. And she chose The Rescue Princesses: Animals in Danger by Paula Harrison, a volume containing three stories from what I later discovered is a whole series published by Nosy Crow.
Over the next 24 hours my six year old read the entire book. Twice. She had to be cajoled to eat any lunch (she’d rather keep reading). She stayed up late reading. She stayed in bed the following morning to read some more.
Here was a book my child wanted to hug, to sleep with, to wake with, to never end.
After finishing the book for the second time she came downstairs slightly spaced out to tell me, “There seems to be magic woven into the words, I just LOVE this book Mum!”
So I asked her a little more about the book, trying to work out just what it was that captured her mind and heart so dearly and why she had chosen it in the first place.
As you’ll hear, there was a visual similarity with another series she’s enjoyed – the Rainbow Magic books.
And what did she like about these stories, and how did they make her feel?
When I asked about why she likes books which are in a series I think she was trying to articulate the importance of familiarity, and having the space/time to develop an understanding of who the characters are and the world they live in
And so would my daughter recommend the Rescue Princesses?
And perhaps the final words should be what my daughter said about how she felt when she finished the book…
If a book can make my daughter feel like that about reading, then even if it doesn’t look like my type of book, it’s definitely a book I’m very glad we’ve both discovered.
Thank you so much for sharing your daughter’s experience, Zoe! If you’re curious about the Rescue Princesses books, you can read the first chapter of the first book in the series, The Secret Promise, below, or order it book online here.
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