Sure, Princess Penelope Pineapple loves her closet full of tiaras and dazzling dresses but she has things to do! She can’t be bothered with beauty when planting her beats. Her lab coat suits her just fine for science fairs and she likes to unwind with comfy old jeans, the patched-up kind. And princesses certainly can’t save the day with frilly frills that get in the way! Guthrie and Oppenheim’s rhyming picture book for ages 4 to 8, along with Eva Bryne’s sparkling illustrations, says that girls can be fashionable and functional.
Unfortunately this concept is pretty outdated.
There are plenty of other “girl power” picture books out there. Ada Twist Scientist and Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts are just two books that immediately come to mind. Here you can find more girl empowering picture books and with just a quick google search you’ll find even more.
Guthrie and Oppenheim’s book is NOT recommended and here is why with the good/bad list:
- Bad. Obviously a little behind the times. I shouldn’t have to say more…except maybe if it was a book about how boys can wear dresses it would be better.
- Bad. Everything in the book is layered with PINK, a popular gendered color, not to mention Penelope’s brother is in BLUE, another popular gendered color.
- Bad. The illustrations fall short due to the bad anatomy. Here are some examples…
- Bad. The main character’s alliteration name makes me cringe, probably makes Ann Whitford Paul, the author of Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication, cringe as well.
- Only a little bad… Rhyming is only so-so.
- Good. I like the styles of clothes in the book.
If your child likes sparkly glitter and fashionable clothes, then maybe Guthrie and Oppenheim’s work is for them. However I do not feel that this is an accurate “activistic” book that I think the authors are trying to go for. I didn’t buy Princesses Wears Pants personally, it was a gag gift.
And last, here is just a short list of picture books of mine and that I recommend over Princesses Wear pants:
- Ada Twist Scientist and Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts.
- Seeds of Change by Jen Johnson, illustrated by Sonia Sadler
- Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
- Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim, illustrated by Sophie Blackwell
- I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddelley
- Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by Kerascoet