One of the things I love the most about having a homeschooled 11 year old girl is that she is, truly, an 11 year old girl. No make-up. No high heels. No Britney Spears. Just an 11 year-old girl who is still content to play with her treasured Mini Whinnies, collect American Girl dolls and dress up in character as the mood strikes her.
To the outside world, my daughter probably appears a touch immature. To me, she's perfect: still a girl even as the blossom of young womanhood unfolds.
Even knowing this, though, I was skeptical that Jo would show much of an interest in the adorable cloth doll that ee publishing sent me for review. After all, the doll and her sweet picture book were clearly targeted for a younger audience (my 5 year-old niece came to mind when I saw her). The lovely illustrations and simple, charming story didn't hold much promise for a girl who routinely tackles 800-page novels.
But with just one glance, Jo was smitten.
"She's lovely," my girl told me when we pulled Nana Star from her box. Soft, poseable and dressed in frills, satin and flowers, the doll is a confection for little girls.
I let Jo read the book, and went off to make dinner. Later that evening, I found this note on the kitchen counter:
I know that Nana Star is for little girls but I would really, really like her. She's very pretty and the story is really cute. If it wouldn't be too much to ask, could I maybe have her?
How can a mom resist that? So that night, Nana Star took up residence in Jo's room, where she has remained, a prized member of the menagerie that overruns --excuse me: guards--her bed.
A couple of days afterwards, Jo presented me with another note:
I don't know if you've read the Nana Star book yet, but it is about a girl who finds a lost star and promises to return the star to its home. Anyhow, in the book there's a note that says that everyone makes mistakes, even authors. So there's a mistake in the book. I found it. If you find the mistake and write to tell them about it, you get to join a club. I'd really like to join. May I?
I ask again, how can a mom resist that? Jo wrote a quick note to ee publishing, put it in an envelope and sent it on its merry way. A short time later, she received a very official-looking, oversized envelope addressed to "Miss Jo" that contained a personalized, signed photograph, a certificate, a folder and directions to find coloring sheets and whatnot on the website.
Free, mind you.
Jo beamed all afternoon.
And that, my friends, is a simply sweet product. Simple. Gentle. And appealing to all.