Saturday, March 9, 2013

Why didn't I think of this?

A picture of three Babylit books popped up into my Facebook News feed this morning. "Start your little one off with the classics! BabyLit books for $11.99" it read. I clicked on the link and then went to Amazon to search inside the books.

These are little board books for toddlers that introduce them to "great literature." They are not in any way like Classics Illustrated, which offer concise versions of the original stories along with lavish illustrations. These books seem to merely offer an introduction to the title of a classic and some of its basic ideas. The Moby Dick book, for instance, introduces the main characters on one page and then goes on to very basic concepts/drawings of things found in the ocean.

The Sense and Sensibility book is a book of opposites, with a drawing on one page of "Norland Park" as an example of "BIG."

I think this could be a great way to make kids comfortable with classic stories so that they might recognize them later and not find them intimidating—much the same way that the Wishbone TV show (and CD game) offered that easy and fun introduction to the classics for both of my kids. My worry, however, is that some or maybe all parents who are going to plop this much money down for a board book may view this as an investment toward higher AP and SAT test scores 15 years down the road.

It looks like most of these books were published in the last couple of months, so it's too soon to predict how well they will do or what their overall intent will be.

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