Princess or pirate? Eleanor Wyatt demonstrates that a girl doesn’t have to limit herself to one identity.
Sometimes Eleanor dresses in a pink ball gown and pretends to live in a castle with her loyal stuffed-animal subjects. In an instant, however, she can switch into pirate attire, turning her castle into a fort and her toys into a “swashbuckling band.” She can even combine both imaginary worlds as she serves tea on the high seas. Whether she’s a rock star, aviator, ballerina, ninja, or superhero, Eleanor explains in lilting rhyme, “Let your inner light shine, and be who you are. / Let your friends do the same, and you’ll shine like a star.” This spirited girl looks as though she stepped out of an animated television series. With author MacFarlane, who’s voiced numerous characters on animated shows, and illustrator Laudiero, an animation director for popular television shows and movies, it’s no wonder. Although Eleanor is white, the picture book includes human friends with varying shades of brown skin. Most notably, the illustrations feature a knight who uses a wheelchair, males in tutus and dresses, females as firefighters and sheriffs, and children of ambiguous genders as football players, scientists, etc. And Eleanor’s parents support it all.
The text is simple, but its message may resonate with children who don’t self-identify according to societal expectations. (Picture book. 3-7)