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Channing Tatum's 'The One and Only Sparkella' - A Review

‘When you need me, I’ll be there for you’ – Leading actor, producer and debut director of his film ‘Dog’, Channing Tatum has now become an author as well. Making every little girl’s dream come true, Tatum has published a picture book for his daughter, Everly. ‘The One and Only Sparkella’ is an adorable read based on the simple yet very powerful relationship between a father and daughter.

The protagonist, Ella, is beyond excited for her first day at school. For a young girl, glitter in every school supply is a must. So, she has a glittery pencil box, sparkling backpack and ribbons in her hair. But when do first days ever go as anticipated, right? Her classmates refuse to accept Ella with her disco-ball shoes, peanut butter and jelly sandwich with rainbow sprinkles and her unique unicorn painting. To feel included, Ella gives up the very thing that defines her as a person: her sparkle. Soon after that, with the guidance of her father, she realizes how important it is to assert your identity and not metamorphose yourself to fit other people’s needs. The most important thing was to just be ‘herself’.

I feel the didactic meaning behind this simple picture book is an integral life lesson. We, especially as adults, often forget the importance of knowing and retaining who we are. To conform to the needs and desires of society, we often change ourselves and eventually lose ourselves.

This reminds me of the song ‘Go Gentle’, by Robbie Williams, which is dedicated to his daughter, Teddy. ‘Go Gentle’ is a song for any daughter going ‘out there in the world’. With the accurate representation of the world as a zoo, Williams has got all bases covered from meeting new people to having your first drink and first kiss. The chorus with the lyrics “For all your days and nights/ I’m gonna be there/ I’m gonna be there, yes I will/ Go Gentle through your life/ If you want me I’ll be there/ When you need me I’ll be there/ For you”, resonates with Tatum’s and most father’s idea of fatherhood: to care for your children. 

In Channing Tatum’s exclusive dedication, he says that his daughter Everly is the “most brilliant, magical being” and his “greatest teacher”. He further dedicates this to all fathers, encouraging them to “wear whatever, dance however and be as magical as you can. Because I promise they will return the love”. In my opinion, these are some of the most adorable and heartfelt words I have ever heard from a father. 

I, for one, cannot wait for the 4th May, 2021 because I know this book will help little girls discover and embrace themselves instead of simply conforming to social expectations.