It's rare that in the body conscious society we seem to be in, something comes along that provides a glimmer of hope that we are not all lost to vanity; and "I'm a Little Teapot" delivers.
What sets it apart from other rhymes is its unapologetic commitment to the character, a self-confessed short, stout teapot. And it needs to be committed to describe the character such bold ways. Right from the start we are told what makes the protagonist different - there are no delusions in this story. It OWNS its body, never shying away from it even though it may not match societies ideals.
Yet it's not just what is said but how; as a reader you can hear the pride, the joy, the honesty in the words of the teapot as it describes, in detail, what it is. You cannot help but be swept up in its self-respect, even to the point of wishing you were a teapot similarly endowed. Silly, we know, but such is the power of the character. Short? Stout? Little? It doesn't matter as much as we like to think.
What's more, what is not said speaks volumes; missing is the angst of a teapot trying to change itself to match up to other’s expectations; silent is the struggle of self-worth; gone is any fantastical back story of personal development because of some trauma. There is no longing for anything else. Instead, all that we read is a story of someone who holds no opinion of itself that is not based in reality, a reality it meets and reaffirms with each word.
By doing so, by removing the focus on what cannot be done due to physical flaws, we are invited into a world of possibilities, not dreams. We are taught by this simple holder of flavoured hot water that by focusing on what you are, you can do so much more than trying to compromise on what you can't. It is a teapot, and it shouts with joy in knowing what it is capable of, even as a reader you are aware of what it can't; it's not a kettle, it cannot heat the water, or brew coffee.
But you don't care about that in the end. All you're left with is an overwhelming desire to help this little teapot by pouring it out; not from pity or a sense of social obligation, but because it is the only thing that makes sense to do. Knowing this, we can also see additional benefits that such an outlook provides. Yes, it is only a teapot, and yes it cannot pour itself, but it is at peace with that. Why worry about what it cannot do when it is filled with joy over what it can?
For every nursery rhyme there's a message, and for this little tale it is this: Maybe we can find happiness too if we joined in the self-celebration and find joy in what we can do, not what we can't.