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Playing dress-up, doll

September 18, 2012
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New for fall 2012: playing dress-up with outfits from the Second World War. More pedagogically valuable and funtastic than Princess Party? Available at the former World’s Biggest Bookstore in Toronto

This weekend I found myself browsing for a gift for a toddler.

How about a book? a toy? a marionette? No problem; the Chapters-Indigo empire outlets offer a one-stop solution en route. I found myself at the former World’s Biggest Bookstore (now a Chapters-Indigo) in Toronto and dove right into the Kids section.

Fun sticker books for playing dress-up!? That looks like my kind of gifting. Let’s see…… among the selection of Little Mermaids and princess dresses, there was this interesting idea by Usborne Publishing: Sticker Dressing the Second World War. The book is a new release for this fall and offers this carrot:

  • Young historians will be fascinated by this detailed sticker book, following the men who took part in the First World War, from field marshals and recruitment officers, to ambulance drivers and soldiers.
  • With over 170 stickers of historically accurate uniforms to help get the men ready for action.
  • Scenes include ‘Preparing for war’, ‘In the trenches’ and ‘In a field hospital’.
  • Includes extras such as weapons and animals to complete the scenes.

Hm. I can’t decide if this sounds like a good idea for the fashion designer-to-be or a very awkward idea for a gift.

How does one teach a child about war? With fashion?.. or not?

Browsing the extensive selection of sticker books that Usborne makes, it’s apparent that stickers come in all shapes and themes: anything and everything from airports, building sites, dinosaurs, words in French or German to  monkeys, Impressionist art, castles, the Titanic, and Weddings & Bridesmaids.

I know that as a child, I would have loved all the female sticker books- Hollywood movie stars, evening gowns and yes, even the wedding book. Navigating children-directed content is a bizarre rabbit hole where history, social constructs, morality and personal values and biases get tossed around on smiley faces.

So does one slip that into the gift bag? I’m not sure about how much content management is right when it comes to fantastical knights, ruthless pirates and story book soldiers. The only thing I’m sure about is the outfits.

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