Daring deeds and lasting lessons: a fairy tale that explores consent
Princess Freya's Great Escape by Rebecca Taylor and Lenka Knoetze
When children’s books concern themselves with serious issues, the plot is often compromised in order to make a point. It can feel heavy-handed and dull, but this isn’t the case with Princess Freya’s Great Escape. This story introduces little readers to the concept of consent by using a child-friendly, fairy tale framework and an engaging, rhyming story.
Our tale begins with Princess Freya trapped by a ferocious dragon. Meanwhile, Prince Charming prepares to ‘rescue’ and marry her, without checking first if Freya actually needs or wants either of these things. Both the prince and the dragon are in for a shock!
Princess Freya is an independent, brave character who is the master of her own fate and a great role model. She leaves Prince Charming in no doubt about how princesses and people are not prizes to be won. It’s brilliant how Freya deals with the dragon so humanely. It’s wonderful to see her running free as the story concludes, especially after she expressed a wish to do so at the beginning.
The fairy tale realm is convincingly brought to life by the images and a gentle colour palette which perfectly suits the setting. I love the dreamy watercolour washes in the background and the contrast between them and how the characters are drawn. The castle is gorgeous, especially with all its atmospheric creepers. Many of the pages are framed with attractive borders of foliage that have tiny woodland creatures hiding in them.
Although this is a challenging subject to approach in a picture book, it’s handled in a sensitive and entertaining way. It’s never too early to have discussions about consent and there are lots more talking points at the back of the book which explore this in more detail. Princess Freya’s Great Escape is ideal for opening up conversations about this important topic and would make an effective classroom resource too.
Thanks so much to author Rebecca Taylor for sending us a gift of this book as well as three copies to give away to our Instagram followers! If you would like to be in with a chance of winning this book, head over to our Instagram page and find more details here.