The Magpie Anthology

How We Choose To Play: Fran Heath

I was browsing in the children’s shop a Pocket Full of Pebbles, in Cowes when I came across this delightful book by an Isle of Wight author and artist. She has taken a dolls house refurbished it and created scenes for her story. This is an excellent example of crowd funding working to produce a book with a clear message that is : Parents and other adults should not limit the activities of children or choose how they play, or those they play with.

How we Choose to Play Fran Heath

As someone who wrote children’s books in the nineteen eighties I was somewhat surprised and saddened to find this message is still needed.

How we Choose to Play Fran Heath

I am a child of the fifties and grew up with Janet and John books, where John did things with his father and Janet looked on passively. At art school in the nineteen seventies I was, and still am, a feminist. When I had my own children, boys first, I bought them dolls and buggies and wouldn’t let them have weapons of any sort. They made them out of sticks, legos or anything they could find. My daughters played with Meccano and Lego. They climbed trees, learnt to sail and one has studied disaster management and the other has a degree in architecture.

How we Choose to Play Fran Heath

Getting back to the book. It is made up of wonderful rhyming couplets such as:

“ The princess loved skateboarding and she found it rewarding

to use the rainbow as a half-pipe when she flipped it upside down

She was liking being reckless, while the ninja made a necklace

of the brightly coloured flowers as he sat upon the ground. “

It is a story about a brother and sister and the different ways they are treated. The drawings done by the children in the story, have been created by the author’s own children and are fabulous.

How we Choose to Play Fran Heath

A great book and thoroughly recommended.

Abel’s illustrations copyright Roscoe Cattle 2016. Heather’s illustrations copyright Cleo Cattle 2016. You can buy Fran Heath’s book HERE

Words: Juliet Bawden

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