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The Gypsy Princess

PDF While the book is fun on superficial level, it is troubling on a deeper one.Phoebe Gilman's story relies on the stereotype of the "wandering Gypsy" to tell her "grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" narrative.There are few accurate depictions of Roma people in children's literature, and this book gives a very inaccurate depiction of Roma life.For example, most Roma are actually settled, not wanderers and have been so for hundreds of years.

More troubling, the Roma have been subjected to racism for hundreds of years, from laws banning them from parts of Germany with the death sentence as punishment for violating them, to the enslavement of entire populations of Roma in Spain and Romania in the past to that Nazi's attempt to exterminate the Roma people, which they call thePorajmos (the Devouring).

Gilman spun a bright happy little tale, here.But the stereotypes depicted in it belong on the same dust heap as "the noble savage" or the "inscrutable Asian".

I am sure some people reading this review will want to counter with "It's just a kid's book".My response to this is that children are constantly constructing their knowledge of the world.They do not have the schema to identify that this story is showing an inaccurate depiction of Roma people.While they know from their own knowledge and experience that talking animals are not real for example, chances are they have never met a Roma people, and will not know the truth of things. And chances are, they will never learn the truth about them in school either.

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