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When Savannah Guthrie met Allison Oppenheim, they bonded over having young daughters fascinated with all things frilly and “Frozen.” In other words, their girls were really into princesses.
“When Ayla was born, we were kind of taken aback by the sheer force of her attraction to all things pink and sparkly. She really has a laser focus,” said Allison, a parent educator and wife of NBC News president Noah Oppenheim.
But it was a photo of real-life royalty, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, wearing pants to a rugby match that sparked an idea between the two moms.
“I said, ‘Princesses wear pants.’ That’s when I said, ‘That’s a book,’” Savannah said.
That book, which was released Tuesday, focuses on Penelope Pineapple, a princess who wears frilly skirts and owns a great shoe collection — but she also wears pants while getting things done.
Savannah pointed out that neither she nor her co-author oppose princesses. Instead, the book stresses on personal feats as much as frill.
“It’s really about saying, ‘Hey, young ladies. You can be a girly girl. You can dazzle, you can love makeup, you can love all that stuff. That’s fine — or not,” she said. “But be a person of substance. Be a doer. And that’s a lesson for girls and boys.”
That lesson may take a while to sink in for Savannah’s 3-year-old daughter, Vale, who earlier this week told her mom she wants to grow up to be “a Vale princess.” And that’s okay with Savannah.
“The idea is okay, be a princess, but be a good-hearted girl,” she said.
The book's message may already be resonating with Allison's daughter, Ayla.
“We’ve turned a corner. The other day, she said to me, ‘You know what Mommy, I really do like pants,’ and so now she will wear them underneath the tutus,” she said. “I’m calling that a victory.”
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Princesses Wear Pants, $10, Amazon
Although the book has just been released, the authors are already promising a sequel.
“Princess Penelope will have many more big and bold adventures!” Allison said.