Where the Girls Are: Picture Book Edition

We have been watching a lot of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in the Cumings house lately.  And while I love that Zoe’s latest obsession is a movie that I also enjoy, I have noticed (thanks to many, many repeat viewings) that there is not a lot for the ladies to do in these movies.

Bo Peep is Woody’s love interest and the victim in most of Andy’s games.

Mrs. Potato Head is a nagging wife.

Even Jessie stays pretty true to the sidekick / cowgirl in distress TV puppet her toy is based on.

I don’t want to get all college sociology paper on you here, but I do want to make sure that Zoe gets a solid helping of Girl Heroes along with Buzz and Woody and the gang.

So, for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday Freebie, I present to you: Top Ten Picture Book Girl Heroes.  Read my list, then click on over to The Broke and the Bookish to see what all the other kids did this week.

Most of these are not aggressively, in-your-face Girl Power girls.  They’re just great characters who happen to be female.  Read on and see what you think:

1. Laura Ingalls, A Little Prairie HouseA great way to introduce young children to one of my favorite girl heroes ever, feisty brown-haired pioneer Laura.  We have another book in the series, Dance at Grandpa’s, which Zoe loves.  I will definitely be putting a bunch more on her wish list / library list.

2. Aunt Martha and her niece, Just Us Women“No boys and no men, just us women.”  My favorite part of this book is Zoe saying that  line along with me.  It also has wonderful illustrations of the girl and her cool Aunt Martha, who take their time driving Aunt Martha’s new car to North Carolina.  It’s a simple story that captivates Zoe (and me, t00).

3. Ladybug Girl, Ladybug Girl at the BeachWe have three Ladybug Girl books, but this one is my favorite.  Lulu is afraid of the ocean, but when she becomes Ladybug Girl, she’s brave enough to rescue her bucket from the waves (and spend the rest of the day playing in the water).  Ladybug Girl can do anything (and rock her wings, red tutu, and rain boots while doing it).

4. Olivia, Olivia“This is Olivia.  She is good at lots of things.”  Including making me laugh, making Zoe ask questions, and making us both happy to read one more (or two or three more) bedtime stories.

Girl inspectors at the Long Beach, Calif., plant of Douglas Aircraft Company make a careful check of center wings for C-47 transport planes (LOC)

5. Frances, Bread and Jam for FrancesMy very favorite badger, Frances makes up her own songs, has a vivid imagination, and learns that there’s more to life than eating bread and jam.  (We actually read Bedtime for Frances more often, but maybe I should pull this one out and see if Zoe might broaden her eating horizons, too.)

6. Stellaluna, Stellaluna: This baby fruit bat survives an owl attack, learns to live with a bird family, is reunited with her mother, and still manages to be friends with the birds.  This girl is a survivor.  And pretty cute for a bat, too.

7. Miss Nelson / Viola Swamp, Miss Nelson Is Missing!A clever teacher who knows that sometimes kids need sweet Miss Nelson, and sometimes they need tough Viola Swamp.

8. Princess Elizabeth, The Paper Bag PrincessJust because you’re the princess doesn’t mean you can’t be brave, clever, and independent.  And work that paper bag like it’s a suit of armor, right?

9. Maisy, Hop, Skip, and Jump, Maisy!Maisy is not the most exciting character for adults, but Zoe loves reading about her everyday adventures, and, in this case, making Maisy hop, skip, and jump.  And, she is a mouse with cute outfits and a diverse group of animal friends who also appears to own her own home.  That’s not a bad role model, is it?

10. Who would you add to the list?

A young girl reading


Filed under Book Report

8 responses to “Where the Girls Are: Picture Book Edition

  1. Mary Alice and Joey go to visit their Grandma Dowdel in A Long Way from Chigago by Richard Peck. They actually go to live with her in A Year Down Yonder. Grandma Dowdel may not be your typical girl character but I Love Love Love her! These are two books that I was introduced to because of my girls and I still have them on my bookshelf, so I can take them out and revisit the great Grandma Dowdel any time I want. You have to read them because I know you will love her too! Zoe is probably not quite ready for these books but she will be in a few years.


  2. Tory

    “Do Princesses Really Wear Hiking Books?” and others in that series are pretty cute if Zoe’s in princess mode.


  3. What you say is true of most kid movies. However, I highly highly highly recommend The Secret World of Arrietty. The central character is a very courageous girl – who has two parent whom she loves and treats with respect – who befriends a sickly boy. The pace of the film is noticeably slower than other children’s movies and TV, which is one of the things I really like about it, and the music is beautiful. I’ve watched it with my kids twice already and will watch it again. (My husband, on the other hand, when I made him watch it for family movie night thought it was much too slow!)


    • That sounds perfect–the slow pace, the brave girl, and the parents. I often wonder, in kids’ movies and books, where the heck the parents are. Like, even with Maisy the mouse. All these “first experiences” books have her going on sleepovers and vacations and trains, but never with a family, which is obviously how young children will have those first experiences.

      I have a lot of feelings in this area. Clearly.


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