Alex Yarde reviews the story of Princess Nadia’s fun-filled adventure featuring a plucky little girl and authored by a loving dad.
What if you were a little princess with dreams of going on an African Safari? What if you were in search of a friend? In Will You Play With Me? The Adventures of Princess Nadia Author and CEO of Talented Books Tony Samuels valiant first effort is an interesting take on familiar themes of acceptance and friendship.
The story begins with little Princess Nadia in bed dreaming of a lush African plain full of friendly talking animals. Soon she gets her chance and things aren’t as they first appear. She first meets a Lion and asks him to be her friend, who gives her a friendly albeit a dark warning “Oh my! Oh me!” snickered Lenny the Lion. “Don’t you know I eat people alive?’ You should run when I arrive.” Her broad smile wanes as she encounters animal after animal with similar warnings becoming more disappointed until finally in frustration she declares, “No one will play with me! While sad and lonely she finally notices a small bird. Freddy finch that was following her through her adventure “If I can make you smile again, will you promise to be my friend?”
Princess Nadia’s expectations of her trip didn’t live up to reality. She expected all the animals to be friendly and make lots of friends. When this didn’t happen she was crestfallen. She did however overlook the friend by her side the entire adventure Freddy Finch. These are common themes for young children to think about. How do we deal with disappointments when your expectations aren’t met? Why do we overlook things that are right under our noses? In this case her little bird friend you can see on every page. This reminded me a bit of The Boy Who Didn’t Share when the boys little sister who he wasn’t very nice to and overlooked through the entire book made sure to share her treat with him in the end.
The accuracy of Africa being described as a “country” and not a continent and her meeting a Tiger which aren’t an indigenous species and the sudden boat trip where she met “One Eyed Charlie” the shark stood out as cons for me. But in a children’s book featuring talking animals it’s not a major issue, and only something to point out to your little one for geographic accuracy.
What I did enjoy first and foremost was the plucky Princess Nadia! She is modeled after the author’s lovely daughter Nadia Rachael who suffers from a rare chromosomal disorder 22q13, also known as Phelan-McDermid Syndrome. A portion of the profits of this book will be donated to help fight the condition known as Phelan-McDermid Syndrome (22q13 deletion), in order to help create a pathway to effective treatment and even a possible cure. As parent of two black children I’m always on the hunt for books featuring people of color. Countless psychologists attest it is an immense benefit to self-image that comes from children seeing people like themselves reflected in the stories they read. Children’s empathy towards others also benefit tremendously when home libraries are diverse and reflect different cultures. Today, there exists a shocking disparity. According to statistics gathered by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, of the estimated 5,000 Children’s books published in 2013 only 68 were authored by black authors and 93 featured a black character. Other People of color have relatively similar low numbers. http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp. I encourage all parents to seek out diverse books and authors. They need our support and our kids need different perspectives.
Will You Play With Me? The Adventures of Princess Nadia is also cheerfully illustrated and at around 40 pages the length is perfect for early readers for a bedtime story. In my opinion, Will You Play With Me? The Adventures of Princess Nadia by Tony Samuel is a solid first effort read for your early reader. It was a fun and entertaining read for my kids with a great protagonist and encouraged dialogue, which is my litmus test. I look forward to further adventures featuring Princess Nadia! It’s available on Amazon, Kindle Edition & Barnes and Noble.
To learn more about Tony and Nadia at http://www.talentedbooks.com/
All art Tony Samuels/Talented Books