a stereotype-smashing story + Ivy & Angus in their Book Week costumes

We recently went through all our books trying to find the perfect costume for our playgroup's Book Week parade. There were many contenders, but in the end Ivy chose A Proper Little Lady.

She saw it and proclaimed "This will be the perfect book, I’m so excited!". I was pretty excited too and not just because it was a costume that required no sewing! This was one of my favourite books when I was Ivy's age and I feel a special kind of closeness in sharing and enjoying books from my childhood.  A Proper Little Lady is a timeless classic.

Annabella Jones is looking in the mirror one morning when she decides that today she’s going to be a proper little lady (every little girl has been there!).

So she puts on her blue dress with the bow and her petticoat, frilly socks, gloves, shiny shoes, hat and necklace—everything that any proper little lady would wear.

She turned this way and that.
Swish, swish, swish went the pale blue dress.
Tap, tap, tap went the shiny black shoes.
Chink, chink, chink went the long gold chain.
'There now', said Annabella.
My, smiled Mrs Jones as she pushed a toppling daisy back into place. ‘Don’t you look a proper little lady.’
Thank you,’ said Annabella in her most polite voice.
I certainly do.’
And Annabella did.

But it’s not easy being a proper little lady when there's playing to be done! 

Annabella has a wonderful day rescuing cats, riding a billy-cart and playing football with her friends and by the time she gets home she doesn’t look so proper.

I love her mother's reaction, which is simply to laugh and suggest “It might be easier to be a proper little lady if you wear your jeans and your T-shirt and your sneakers next time.” I’m sure she didn’t expect it to end any other way and I love her acceptance and support.

This is a great book for exploring appearances and stereotypes. Annabella is no less a proper little lady for having fun and getting dirty, no matter what she's wearing. It’s her confidence and self-impression that matters, not what is expected.

Ivy had great fun at the Book Week parade and I was so glad that the message of the book seemed to make an impact with her choosing her own clothes—despite the stockman’s hat and not-so-shiny black sneakers, she felt every bit the proper little lady.

Angus also dressed up for the occasion—as Avocado Baby. The choice was partly, I confess, because all it took was giving him an avocado to carry around, but also because he really loves that book.

Names in this book – Annabella, Christopher

Amazon  -  Book Depository

Book Depository has free postage anywhere in the world and great pricing, but Amazon might be cheaper for North American readers.

by Nette Hilton, illustrated by Cathy Wilcox – Harper Collins, 1990
ages 2 to 7 years / picture books + heartwarmers, imagination