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. Here is an excellent example of Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy as 2 rich gentleman!
Delightful. Of course no book about P&P could possibly NOT include mention of ball gowns, so here is the beautiful illustration that would make Lydia and Kitty Bennet squee.
As we progress through the book, each of the pages also moves through the opening chapters of Pride and Prejudice, ending at 10,000 pounds a year. Jennifer Adams has selected key points and characters admirably. Parents, grandparents and anyone who is an Austen fan will recognize their favorite characters and scenes, and children will be enchanted by the illustrations and the counting theme. Of course this board book format could not be a full retelling of the entire narrative, but it gives the very young reader an introduction to characters, images, and a bit of the story that they can remember when they watch the movie adaptation and later move into the full novel.
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!
4 out of 5 Regency Stars
Pride & Prejudice: Little Miss Austen (BabyLit), by Jennifer Adams, illustrations by Alison Oliver
Gibbs Smith (2011)
Board Book (22) pages
© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
Nice review. I love it!
Start them early!
Thanks Laurel Ann! I’m going to write a post about it now! :)
I have seen another post on this and didn’t have it as clearly in my mind as I do after reading this post. I think I can get on board with this. But don’t tell Tony Grant as he has some pretty strong feelings about it! If you read this, Tony, I admire you greatly and just thought this would be a cute little tweek.
I loved the illustrations in this! I just took it to a friend’s newborn tonight. We practiced saying “Mr. Darcy,” but maybe 27 hours old is still too young to fully appreciate Austen.
Karen, I’ve been occupied for a couple of days so only just seen this. Yes, I have just read Laurel Ann’s review. Good review, well balanced, by the way, Laurel Ann. Your little dig in the ribs (tweek), Karen, is taken.
All the best,
PS Now, what other article can I pounce on????
This book looks wonderful!
Would anyone ever buy this for a child then? I thought it was a book purely for the quirky aunties and uncles.
What adorable illustrations! I’ll have to get a copy of this for my little nieces–can’t start them on Austen too early, you know!
Okay, this is cute, very cute. I suspect 99% of the sales of this book will be to people like me who collect Austenmania and will appreciate how P&P has been adapted to the board book genre, and 1% will be to Janeites who have friends with babies.
This will make a great prize at our annual JASNA Tea in December :)
I love it!! I may just buy it for me. :)
I totally have to buy this for my sister’s 1 year old. My sister refuses to read Jane Austen and probably won’t ever read P&P without vampires but this one she WILL read. Sister and baby will love it.
Looks adorable! I want to buy it for my 2 year old niece is just learning to count!
I bought this for my little 1 year old goddaughter and she LOVES it! She grabs it out of the book box and sits down on the floor to turn the pages over and over. A future Janeite :)