Monday, January 6, 2014

Jane Eyre and Les Miserables for Babies? Yes! Read Them the Cozy Classics Books for Children.

Oh, man. Painting a ceiling is neck-breaking work! The bedroom redesign project is moving along steadily, but I hit a few snags: I accidentally bought nasty oil-based primer and used it anyway (HUGE MISTAKE). I ruined my best brush because I didn't have enough mineral spirits on hand to get it completely clean. And finally, I ran out of ceiling paint! Arrgh. The good news is that the wall color is luminously, incandescently gorgeous. I can't wait to share it with you! 

But in lieu of a design update, today I want to talk about how to turn your children into erudite little Austen-quoting Anglophiles the Cozy Classics books by Jack Wang and Holman Wang. Get this: The authors take novels like Oliver Twist, Pride and Prejudice, and Moby Dick and turn them into beautifully illustrated board books for babies. They're simple enough for kids, but smart and pretty enough that your favorite English major is going to want them, too. Ahem.

"Friends" from Pride and Prejudice by Cozy Classics
Here's what I can't get over: These little stories consist of just twelve words, but they absolutely do get the novels' points across. For example, Tolstoy's War and Peace, as told by Cozy Classics, is "Soldier, friends, girl, dance, goodbye, hug, horse, boom!, hurt, sleep, snow, love." It's so simple, it's ingenious.

"Dance" from War and Peace by Cozy Classics
What I like most, though, are the gorgeous photographs of carefully styled needle-felted dolls. Look at those tiny but oh-so expressive eyebrows! Those neatly knotted felt cravats! The just-so angle of Natasha's neck! The postures, proportions, and poses are perfect, and the attention to detail boggles my mind.

"Help" from Jane Eyre by Cozy Classics
Like most baby books, these are short and sweet primers full of simple words for the not-yet-literate set. Unlike other baby books, I'd actually be excited to read these to kids. And that's exactly the point. The books' creators say, "If parents present one of our word primers to their children with just that little extra bit of enthusiasm because they are sharing a story or characters they love themselves, then we will have done our tiny part in helping parents model an engaged and affectionate relationship with books." Enthusiasm is certainly contagious! Exclamation point.

If you're not sure whether young children will sit still for these, read Holly Silva's hilarious description of how these books went over at a preschool--and why War and Peace was the children's favorite book by a landslide. Since I don't have any nieces or nephews to whom I can read the Cozy Classics, I'm going to go pick up some more ceiling paint. Wish me luck!


  1. The felt dolls are so cute! They captured Mr. Darcy PERFECTLY. I went to a baby shower last year where someone gave a Romeo & Juliet counting primer board book, and I thought that was so cool. I'll have to look into these for future baby showers!

  2. I have a librarian friend having a baby soon! CAN WE SAY BEST BABY GIFT EVER!?!??! This is completely perfect. Bookmarking now.


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