Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice by Jack & Holman Wang -- OPTIONAL

Wang, Jack & Holman Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice (Cozy Classics). Chronicle Books, 2016. $9.95. Content: G.

In this very abridged board book version of Pride and Prejudice, felted characters illustrate turning points from the classic story. The photographs are accompanied by twelve simple words (e.g. "sisters," "mean," and "dance").

As a huge fan of Pride & Prejudice, I find the idea of the book delightful. The felted characters must have taken a lot of work to make, the photographs are unique and fun, and it's always entertaining to relive the plot. However, it's hard to imagine the audience for this one. It's a board book with extremely simple language, which implies that it is targeted toward babies and toddlers. Unfortunately, it's not exactly a toddler-friendly story, even with a grownup filling in the gaps. Without that background knowledge, however, the book will likely come across as a bunch of random words and images. In addition, while the illustrations are lovely -- and lovingly created -- many use muted tones and shadows, which are less likely to interest babies and toddlers.

In the end, I think the audience for this one is actually literature-minded parents -- or adult friends or relatives attending a baby shower -- who either want to "get the child started early" with the classics, or who are fans of Pride & Prejudice themselves so they like the idea of sharing it with others. In the end, that makes it a bit self-indulgent, even if it is a fun indulgence (for the adults in the scenario, at least).

Pre-K -- OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Caryn

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