“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Albert Einstein, physicist, 1879-1955
Children live, at least in part, within the world of imagination, and one of the ways in which they express this imagination is through drama and play-acting, or — to put it into a more everyday context — through pretending.
While it is not necessary to have a costume or props in order to inhabit a character, sometimes it does help (ask any theatre-goer who has just attended a Shakespeare play staged with performers in modern street-clothes, and with empty sets). Children intuitively understand this — sure, a blanket can be a superhero cape, but oh boy! A real superhero cape in shiny satin with a big letter on it? Much better.
There are certain characters or types that seem to remain evergreen in children’s imaginations: the Knight, the Princess (and Prince), the Pirate, the Ballerina, and the Monster. On the other hand, the Cowboy and the Spaceman, those staples of my childhood, seem to now inhabit only the attic of memories (perhaps this nostalgic aura is why they were chosen as the lead characters in the Toy Story movies?)
Manhattan Toy, with its unerring eye for design and its over-developed sense of fun, has hit the bulls-eye with its Gulmby Monster costume (photo at left) and its bevy of beautiful princess dresses. A Velcro-like closure in the back, generous sizing, and open feet (hidden by those fearsome claws) give Gulmby lots of room to accommodate growing kids, while its soft and fuzzy fabric gives this monster a cuddly side.
The princess dresses (Princess Seraphina is shown at left) are satisfyingly full of satin, ribbon, and sparkly things. The dresses are designed to fit children aged approximately 4 through 6 years, although obviously your mileage may vary.
These are in stock now. Still to come back in are the King Glitter Cape and the Medieval Queen from Creative Education, a Canadian manufacturer of children’s dress-up clothing and accessories. I would have run barefoot over hot coals as a child to get my hands on something as beautiful as these, I think.
The Medieval Queen dress is sewn of satin, panné velvet, and gold mesh. The long sleeves are puffed at the shoulder (yeah, baby!) and the skirt is supported by a mesh crinoline so that it poofs out in a satisfyingly princess-y way. The skirt is also lined so that it isn’t scratchy and uncomfortable.
I don’t believe that the tiara shown in the photograph is included with the Medieval Queen dress but we do normally stock tiaras anyway.
Dress-up clothing and costumes are investment pieces that will more than repay the investment. And who knows? Inside your child there may be a Star, waiting to be born! Look out, Lady Gaga! Move over, Brad Pitt!