Review: Rapunzel and The Strongest Mum

Father of two, Simon Harris, reviews two new Macmillan books for kids, Rapunzel and The Strongest Mum...

Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin

Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin

Sometimes it's all about balance when you're bringing up kids, and our current balancing act is how to share our eldest daughter's glee about the Royal Wedding, whilst playing down the importance of marrying a prince.

My wife Jacqui and I are keen to bring up our girls knowing some facts of life early on, and our current mission is all about girl power: handsome princes and heroes are OK, but not necessary. Girls are perfectly capable of saving themselves, thank you.

As always, finding a great story book to back up our message is a bonus, so thank you very much, Bethan Woollvin, for your spot-on reimagining of the classic story, Rapunzel.

The author of Little Red and Hansel and Gretel has scribed another beautiful, cheeky book which offers a terrific twist on a classic children's tale. What I absolutely love about this book – along with the marvellously mischievous illustrations – are the two very clear messages about standing up to bullies and – spoiler alert – not needing a prince to come along and save the day.

When I asked my six-year-old what she likes about Rapunzel, she said that she was "brave and clever". Now that's my kind of fairy tale.

Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin is out now, £6.99 from Macmillan Children's Books.

The Strongest Mum by Nicola Kent 

The Strongest Mum by Nicola Kent
My wife is always telling our girls that ‘mummy is strong’ whilst flexing her muscles – and I’m sure she’s not the only mama to do this, so all children will think this is about their mum. In fact, every mum will see herself in this book too. The Strongest Mum is Nicola Kent’s debut book and I think she’s really onto something.

The book offers an original, clever way to help children understand kindness, empathy and strength. It inspired us to talk about what little jobs we could do to help mummy and other people. It also inspired us to talk about the importance of choice, and that it really is OK to say "No" sometimes.

The illustrations are bright and joyful, and I defy anyone not to smile when they see the drawing of Strongest Mum’s handbag... it's a treasure trove full of 'just-in-case' necessities that would make any Girl Guide proud, and every mum nod in recognition. Just that page alone makes my two-year-old and six-year-old want to read this book again and again, because it’s so much fun spotting what’s in there.

A great book for younger children, it provides an excellent stepping stone into age-appropriate conversations about empathy, coping and setting limits. We can’t wait to see what Nicola Kent comes up with next.

The Strongest Mum by Nicola Kent is out now, £6.99 from Macmillan Children’s Books.
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