Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Charles Dickens's Great Expectations by Jack & Holman Wang -- OPTIONAL

Wang, Jack & Holman Charles Dickens's Great Expectations (Cozy Classics). BOARD BOOK. Chronicle Books, 2016. $9.95. Content: G.

In this very abridged board book version of Great Expectations, felted characters illustrate turning points from the classic story. The photographs are accompanied by twelve simple words (e.g. "boy," "help," and "old").

As a fan of many classics, I find the idea of the book delightful. The felted characters must have taken a lot of work to make, and the photographs are unique and fun. 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 Charles Dickens so they like the idea of sharing his books 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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