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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Big Classics for Small Readers

Picture books (illustrated books for young children) have always been things of beauty. The most prestigious award in the world of children’s literature, the Caldecott Medal, is awarded each year to the illustrator of the “most distinguished American picture book for children.” We have long valued this art form. But something has been happening recently in the world of picture books – they have become a hub of not just beautiful illustration but of fabulous graphic design. Design trends are flowing concurrently to and from the world of children’s lit. I wholeheartedly approve of these actions, but when an eye for design meets a love of classic literature my heart swoons. There are two new series of board books dedicated to exposing your youngest children to the mastery of classic literature through the simplicity of great design.

The Cozy Classics series is made up of simple retellings of classic works using only twelve words that will be familiar to children. It is amazing how the authors, Jack and Holman Wang, are able to convey so much of the story through their felted illustrations and these simple words.

The BabyLit series is touted as “a fashionable way to introduce your toddler to classic literature.” Charming is really the only way I see fit to describe these books. Each is a primer featuring familiar items from classical greats such as the Alice in Wonderland Colors Primer or the Little Miss Austen Pride and Prejudice Counting Primer.

These books are art and whimsy at their finest.

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