Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: the feminist bedtime story book

I have tended to avoid children’s books that proclaim themselves to be ‘for girls’ (or boys), as they usually conform to traditional stereotypes. But Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is different – and is the children’s book of our dreams. Continue reading Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: the feminist bedtime story book

Star Wars Blade Builders: Spin Action Lightsaber

Lightsabers have vastly improved from the Force Beams of my youth.

Star Wars The Force Beam advert

These were translucent plastic tubes fixed on the end of a red plastic torch with a piece of coloured plastic over the bulb. They only came in Green and Red (despite there being no green sabers until Return of the Jedi), and weren’t even licensed – yet they were so brazen that they not only mentioned Star Wars in their advertising – this ad was on the back of UK Star Wars comics.

Modern lightsaber toys are a much improved product. They have authentic hilts, retractable blades, and flashing lights with saber crackling sounds.

The simple pleasures of these toys are not enough for Hasbro (these toys are also properly licensed now), who have introduced the Blade Builders range, where saber toys can be joined together in increasingly complex and unwieldily forms.

This is the Star Wars BladeBuilders Spin-Action Lightsaber set.

Star Wars BladeBuilders Spin-Action Lightsaber

It features a full sized lightsaber toy, a ‘dagger’, two ‘elbow’ joints, and a spinning hilt.

The aim is to basically enable the owner to create their own bizarre Lightsaber configurations. Our daughter is lucky enough to have a few saber toys with the required ‘Blade Builder’ joints, so she put them together. The results were rather difficult for her to manage.

Still, she had fun putting it together and trying to use it. But to be honest, nothing really compares to the joy of staging lightsaber fights of crashing blades with the basic interactive sabers – and trying to do that with one of these contraptions is difficult at best.

As a set, it’s good to have for the extra saber toy, and the light up dagger is nice to. The spinning hilt connector (as seen on Star Wars Rebels) is tricky for a kid to use without the potential for smashed ornaments (well, in a house as compact as ours) but perhaps in a bigger space it would be ok.


Disclosure: Hasbro sent us this product for the purposes of this review

My Sunday Photo – our daughter as Astronaut Tim Peake

In a happy occurrence that supported our continued efforts to teach our daughter about gender equality, she pretended to be British Astronaut Tim Peake this week.  Continue reading My Sunday Photo – our daughter as Astronaut Tim Peake

Gender specific colours: In praise of boys who like ‘girl colours’

Among my daughter’s classmates (age 4-5) there are children who have already decided, figured out, or been taught that there is such a thing as gender specific colours – specifically ‘girl colours’ Continue reading Gender specific colours: In praise of boys who like ‘girl colours’

Say hello to my little friend (#MySundayPhoto)

As another summer season beckons, the garden is becoming a place for us to hang out in again. This year, our daughter is 5-years-old, and it’s always interesting to see how her age each year changes how she engages with this outdoor space.

This particular Sunday, I was doing various little garden and/or kitchen tasks while she was pottering about. She excitedly came over and asked “What is this?”. She had a woodlouse on her hand, crawling around, as she moved her hand to compensate for its movements so I could see it.

I was surprised that she wasn’t scared of it, this classic creepy crawly. In fact, she was so enamoured with it that she wanted it to be her pet. She called it ‘Lucy Louse’, and she wanted it to come and live with us.

I explained to her that it was a creature of the wild, and it wasn’t fair for us to trap it inside with us. It was driven to be free in the outdoors, and not kept as a pet.

She was disappointed, but accepted this. She bounded off and then enjoyed the rest of her time with Lucy, until she bade a fond farewell.

This desire for a pet is ongoing. She would love to have one. She is a very social person who likes companionship, and has many imaginary friends. She is desperate to have a sister, but knows my wife and I don’t want any more children. This desire is in part my motivation for arranging regular playdates (2-3 a week), so she has that social activity in a home environment.

Anyway, this was one of the photos I snapped that day. I like that it shows her grubby fingers that have been pottering around in the garden. I also likes that you can see the classic Yoda quote on her Star Wars top: “Judge me by my size do you?”

It applies here too, that a small and humble woodlouse could generate such joy and empathy in a little girl.