#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Early Readers Genre Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes Sisterhood and Female Bonds

Games Girls Play In Picturebooks

"This Is My Dollhouse" by Giselle Potter | "Players in Pigtails" by Shana Corey and Rebecca Gibbon

Myra here.

As we explore female bonds, I thought it would be good to see how girls and girlfriends are portrayed when it comes to the games that they play.

This Is My Dollhouse

Written and Illustrated by Giselle Potter
Published by Schwartz & Wade (2016)
ISBN: 0553521535 (ISBN13: 9780553521535). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

The reader is first introduced to this young girl who is playing with her hand-crafted dollhouse. There is painstaking care in the creation of little things that her non-traditional family consisting of a Bear for a Daddy and a mousy for a Grandma would enjoy.

It is evident that she takes pride in the very act of creating these hand-painted, folded, and coloured little objects. Then, the reader is introduced to this young girl’s friend named Sophie whose dollhouse is quite different:

This dollhouse is evidently store-bought, very precious, with a perfect suburban family with a Mother and Father, Brother and Sister. No make-shift elevators, no cut-out fried eggs or popcorn made of tissue paper – everything is provided for in neat little packages:

.. which leaves the two girls virtually nothing to do. When Sophie came over to visit, our young protagonist is now undecided as to whether she would show her hand-designed dollhouse:

How the story ends, I shall leave for you to discover. This book reminded me of the dollhouse that my first cousin used to have – it was the only toy that I salivated over. I would have loved to read this book as a young child. I am sure it would have inspired me to create my own cardboard-made dollhouse, and my own strange little family and their teeny-tiny little food, and the bed that they all shared together.

Players In Pigtails

Written by Shana Corey Illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
Published by Scholastic Press (2003)
ISBN: 0439183057 (ISBN13: 9780439183055) Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Inspired by real-life events, Corey and Gibbon featured the story of a young girl who was so bad at being a “girl,” but so good at being a baseball player. Conundrum is, girls are not really encouraged, expected, or even allowed to play baseball.

The story’s setting is in the 1940s – a time when most of the young men are out fighting the war, leaving the women to do most of the work that they usually assume – including baseball! An opportunity has now presented itself:

While there was still a great deal of resistance – with so many men proclaiming this new turn of events “outrageous!” – it is evident that things are changing, indeed. What entertained me, most of all, was how baseball was initially packaged as a feminine activity to make it acceptable for women to play it, including having the proper posture, pinkies out, and having the requisite poise and grace.

Not surprisingly, the women found it difficult to actually play ball, which is what they wanted to do in the first place. How the story ends, I shall leave for you to figure out – so better find this book.

Teachers and parents would also be pleased to know that there is an extensive backmatter describing how the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was born, and the struggles the women baseball players went through in order to be recognized and perceived to be of somewhat equal worth as their male counterparts.

#WomenReadWomen2019: Shana Corey and Giselle Potter are from the United States.

Rebecca Gibbon is based in the United Kingdom.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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