Thursday, July 12, 2012

Baby Lit Books: Board Books for Brilliant Babies

Little Master Carroll: Alice in Wonderland, A Color Primer 
by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver

Little Miss Bronte: Jane Eyre, A Counting Primer
by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver

With the perennial popularity of classic writers like Charlotte Brontë and Lewis Carroll, Baby Lit is a fashionable way to introduce your toddler to the world of classic literature. With clever, simple text by Jennifer Adams, paired with stylish design and illustrations by Sugar's Alison Oliver, Little Miss Brontë and Little Master Carroll are a must for every savvy parent's nursery library. (description from

Okay, I have to tell you right up front...I am not a parent.  I do not have any children of my own, but I am a youth services librarian and I serve children between the ages of, well, birth and eighteen every day at work. I run weekly storytime for ages 3-5 during the school year and I do pajama storytimes.  I also have friends with itty-bitty babies.  SO... though I have no personal reading to my own little baby experience to draw from here, I can give you my experience as an "auntie" and as a librarian in reviewing these books.

When I opened the package with these two books in it, my very first thought was OMG these are so cute!! I want the whole series! Then I took the time to really pour over them critically and I came to several conclusions:

This book series is great for parents with a literary background and a sense of irony. To teach your kids numbers and colors, etc. from the Classics? What a cute idea.  They look great just sitting on your bookshelf...

Which brings me to point number two.  These books look great.  They are visually appealing and are sturdy enough for a baby to play with and "read."

In terms of actual usability for their intended purpose, though, this is where I become torn. For a one on one session with a baby, say if I was babysitting one of my adorable friend's babies, these books would be just fine.  You can turn each page with the little'un and point to what they want you to learn, for example the four towers (pictured above left).  You can count the four towers together.  In a larger storytime, though, it would be much, much harder to have all the kids follow along with some of these pictures.  Also, though the colors are bright and eye catching, to teach a child that the purple bottle is really what we call "purple" would be tough, as the pigments that these book designers chose do not technically match the colors that we teach children in early school years. 

Now, don't think that this means I didn't like these books. As I said, I actually loved these books! I even went and hunted down the Romeo and Juliet one in Barnes and Noble not too long after I received these. For my own personal collection, I kept the Alice in Wonderland one and I gave the Jane Eyre copy to my friend who just had a baby this year.  I think they are wonderful to have in a personal collection and I would even add these to our Library's collection, but we mostly likely would not choose them for a Library storytime. 

Full disclosure: Copies sent by publisher for review

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