A Review: The Baby Lit Classic Series (Children’s Feature)

A Review:

The  Baby Lit Classic Series

(Children’s Feature)

05.15.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

Modes of fantasy in literature have always fascinated the imagination of its readers, especially its younger audience of children as found in the classic tale of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll published in 1865.

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Now, parents don’t have to wait that long to introduce classic literature to their young ones with the publication of the Alice in Wonderland: A Baby Lit Colours Primer by Jennifer Adams with illustrations by Alison Oliver.

little master carroll: Alice in Wonderland

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Category: Children’s/Baby

Author: Jennifer Adams

Illustrator: Alison Oliver

Format: 6  7/8″ x 6  7/8″ Board Book, 11 pages

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

ISBN: 978-1-4236-2477-6

Pub Date: March, 2012

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And almost every student in high school has been exposed to the romance of the literary classic, Romeo and Juliet by the creative genius of William Shakespeare. The fictional couple is iconic in their “star-crossed” love, recognized both by the tragedy of their romance and by the play’s poetic verse.

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And now, the simplicity and bright design of Romeo and Juliet: A Counting Primer by Adams, illustrated by Oliver, is in its central appeal to wee ones, a wonderful book board version that both parents and their tots can enjoy.

little master shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

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Category: Children’s/Baby

Author: Jennifer Adams

Illustrator: Alison Oliver

Format: 6  7/8″ x 6  7/8″ Board Book, 11 pages

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

ISBN: 978-1-4236-2205-5

Pub Date: August 2011

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The fate of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett has been one of the most captivating romantic archetypes of classic literature especially for those who love the backdrop of the English country. Now, babies can also enjoy the “romance” of counting in Little Miss Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Baby Lit Counting Primer board book.

Little Miss Austen: Pride and Prejudice

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Category: Children’s/Baby

Author: Jennifer Adams

Illustrator: Alison Oliver

Format: 6  7/8″ x 6  7/8″ Board Book, 11 pages

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

ISBN: 978-1-4236-2202-4

Pub Date: August 2011

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And who can forget the heroism of Jane Eyre’s quest for freedom and the romantic mystery between her and her bitter employer Rochester amidst the secrets of Thornfield Hall?

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Babies can now “count” the different ways leading with “1 governess” to “10 books” in Little Miss Bronte’s Jane Eyre: A Baby Lit Counting Primer published by Gibbs Smith.

Little Miss Bronte: Jane Eyre

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Category: Children’s/Baby

Author: Jennifer Adams

Illustrator: Alison Oliver

Format: 6  7/8″ x 6  7/8″ Board Book, 11 pages

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

ISBN: 978-1-4236-2474-5

Pub Date: March 2012

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My Review:

This Baby Lit series is ingenious as it tugs at the sentimental “heart-strings” of literary parents who have enjoyed such timeless and famous classics as Alice in Wonderland, Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre. But, it’s also a wonderfully designed set of books authored and illustrated by the same people for each volume, Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver, consecutively, which makes for a streamlined look both in its board book formats and creative illustrations and book design. For children, each page opens up to a large font either in number, colour, and corresponding word of choice, all related to its original classical story. Tots may not know the name of the Chesire cat in Alice in Wonderland, but will be encouraged to recognize that it is certainly a bright orange colour! Our youngest readers may not know the ramifications of “forbidden love” yet, but they will be introduced to “2 hearts” and “8 love letters.” And though they may not have the pleasure of experiencing the complexities of the classic stories of Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice like they inevitably might in high school or college, they will be introduced to “4 towers” in Thornfield Hall and the “2 rich gentleman” found in Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. The modern and creative design of the illustrations are bright, fun, yet remain aesthetically modern and artistic, something that will spark and retain a child’s interest, yet entertain and please its adult readers, too. The Baby Lit series can be purchased and read as stand-alone books or collected as a whole for your baby’s first and growing library and makes a perfect literary and “trendy” gift. But if not for your baby, the collection is still a spectacular find and would be a wonderful addition to any literary lover’s personal library for its sheer connection to the classic originals. Better, yet, it’s a wonderful companion to its original classic counterparts where the adult can enjoy the adult version of the book alongside the literary child(ren) in his or her life. My two-year-old daughter continually pulls these beauties off the shelf and reads them on her own, counting her numbers, identifying colours, and re-creating her own dialogue to match the pictures. She especially loves the book Romeo and Juliet and also loves choosing her favourite of the “nine fancy ball gowns” found in Little Miss Austen’s Pride and Prejudice counting primer book.

M. admiring the “9 fancy ball gowns” in Little Miss Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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She has even made her first own form of literary criticism of the work when she told me in her own words,

“Mama, this is a nice book!”

M. happy with the Baby Lit series published by Gibbs-Smith. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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That’s good enough for me! And quite encouraging to see that my daughter’s literary interest continues to grow as does our personal library. I highly suspect that this set of books will remain a nostalgic and highly valued series in both her personal library as well as mine. If you have a young one at home or know a tot you wish to enlighten with a thoughtful and “fashionable” gift, the books of the Baby Lit series are a great choice.

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Zara’s Rating

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A special thank you to the publisher Gibbs Smith for providing me with media copies in exchange for an honest review.

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11 thoughts on “A Review: The Baby Lit Classic Series (Children’s Feature)”

  1. Oh goodie, I’ve been waiting for someone to tell me whether these are any good! Thanks for the tip – I might have to sneakily arrange the purchase of Pride and Prejudice for my niece… :)

  2. When I was reading through your description of these books (before your review), I must admit that I was a bit unsure what to think about this. Jane Eyre is my single favorite book of all time (you can call me out if I claim it’s another book somewhere else! lol). It is such a rich, intricate, heartwrenching story and I can’t imagine it being simplified for such young children. On some level, it upsets me that someone (publisher? author?) is capitalizing on the title and popularity of these classics by tugging on the emotions adults sometimes have invested in these books.

    That was my initial reaction (“oh no, not Jane Eyre!”) but after having read your review and hearing your daughter’s adorable testimonial, I can have an open mind about it and see the value in it for children and their parents alike. I really shouldn’t pass judgment before seeing them for myself.

    Thanks for linking into the Kid Lit Blog Hop. I’m so glad we connected and I really loved your post. I’m now following you via email and other ways too. Have a wonderful weekend. Cheers!

    1. Thanks Renee for your passion and your response! You’re absolutely right and it’s hard to believe that books like these can be translated into children’s literature (for toddlers). In one respect, publishers do capitalize on their sentimentality and natural popularity, but at the same time, if we can introduce our children to classics in a way that makes it enjoyable and fun for them, why not? I trust Mercedes will be an avid reader as she grows and will certainly enjoy the original classics as they’ve been written. For now, she likes the Baby Lit pictures and numbers! Thanks so much for your follow and can’t wait to discuss more books with you! :D

  3. I might upset Renee, but Jane Eyre is one book that I resented having to read in high school. All the others in the Baby Lit series, though, I loved! Max might just have to enjoy the rest of them enough to make up for Mommy skirting around that Jane lady ;) Thanks so much for linking into the Kid Lit Blog Hop!! I’m following you now on Twitter.

    1. Ah, Jaymie! It’s tough when we’re in school and the books we read are dictated to us rather than ones we can choose on our own! I’m the same way! Jane isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. So glad to have you here. Thanks for the follow on Twitter! :D

    2. LOL Jaymie!! It’s funny how circumstances dictate how we end up feeling about a certain book. I recently read A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan with very high expectations. I had heard good things about it and my friend (who likes the same books as me in general) LOVED it. I just didn’t like it. I think it had to do with the order I was reading books. I had just finished reading a couple of really heavy books and I think I needed something lighter at the time. I couldn’t keep the story straight. Have you read that one Jaymie or Zara? Sorry for hijacking this post! lol

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