Reading/Interest Level: Preschool
Author: Rachael MacFarlane
Illustrator: Spencer Laudiero
Young Eleanor Wyatt discovers she can be whoever she wants to be. One minute she’s a princess, the next a ninja. Or a superhero. Or a pirate. Her parents encourage her to play and pretend to be whatever she wants. Eleanor and her friends imagine they’re anything from swash buckling pirates to damsels in distress to cowboys with lassos. Whatever they feel like playing is what they play! Eleanor knows that everyone is allowed to like anything they want and be anything they want, but most of all, she knows that she (like everyone) should be herself!
Eleanor Wyatt, Princess and Pirate conveys the empowering message that anyone can be anything. In bright, cartoon-style illustrations, Eleanor defies gender stereotypes as she dons capes and monster masks at some points and sparkly heels at others. The character is confident in her individuality and likes and dislikes, providing a role model especially appropriate for preschoolers learning to relate to their peers and what is “normal” for girls and boys to pretend. This book helps push against the stereotypes and mutually exclusive categorizations that first appear early in children’s understanding of their peers. This book would be very appropriate for story time, especially in school contexts, to help children recognize the diversity of interests each person can have and the value and reality of choosing to be anything they want to be.