Monday, May 7, 2012

Jane Austen Board Book?

by Laurel Ann Nattress,

I have read all of Jane Austen works, many biographies, nonfiction, and oodles of sequels - but an Austen-inspired children's board book? Whoa! Curious? I was. Don't ya just love the creativity that our Jane inspires?

When I first heard about Pride & Prejudice: Little Miss Austen (BabyLit) by Jennifer Adams, the same author who wrote the lovely Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen, I was quite intrigued. Would this be a retelling of one of my favorite classic novels for very young readers? How would it translate into a children's counting primer? And, how the heck would I review a children's book - total virgin territory for me.

Once I had a copy of the book in hand, many of my concerns were immediately dispelled. It was indeed a board book, a small compact cardboard version of a book - easy for a child to hold, unrippable and chewable. (Yes. As a bookseller, I have seen many a toddler stick a board book in their mouth and gnaw on it like a teething ring.) At 22 pages, it was both compact and lightweight, but what will ultimately appeal to parent and child is the total Pride and Prejudice theme that author Jennifer Adams and illustrator Alison Oliver have embraced. From the bright and cheery front cover displaying an image of (one assumes) a wide eyed, and very young Miss Austen, to the 20 clever and striking illustrations inside, I was awed by the choice of characters, Regency clothing and objects used and the ease of the text. . .

Charming, whimsical and historical accurate, Pride & Prejudice: Little Miss Austen, offers the very young reader an early introduction to Jane Austen - planting seeds for her total world take-over!


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