How old were you when you first started reading the classics? 15? 12? 3 months?
I was browsing in a bookshop in Montreal last summer and came across copies of Romeo and Juliet and Pride and Prejudice that I knew I’d have to make room for in my suitcase. They were part of a series called BabyLit books which takes a number of classic texts and re-imagines them as board books or primers for babies and little readers.
I love the idea (and the execution). What impresses me most about each title is that it retains a strong sense of the original work – be it in the thematic content, the illustrations or the colours used.
My two favourites so far are Sense and Sensibility and Anna Karenina, which appear as an opposites primer and a fashion primer respectively, which, really, isn’t a huge leap from the original texts, is it?
I’m completely enamoured by the idea of my baby nephew chewing away on some Austen or my little niece asking for Anna Karenina at read-along time. But I’m also hopeful that future-nephew and future-niece might one day be browsing potential reading material and think “Hey, remember Jane Eyre from when we were younger? Maybe we’ll give that a go!” All dependent of course on whether I ever hand over the BabyLit books – I’m far too tempted to keep them all for myself!