I’ve not blogged about children’s books before but I feel an increasing urge to do so in order to compose some kind of love letter to the BabyLit series. If you are a lover of the classics and have a small person in your life (or have friends who do and you’d like to show off how cultured you are), you need BabyLit.
The BabyLit books are beautiful and incredibly cool board books, which makes them ideal for encouraging a grabby-handed baby to memorise the names of all the Bennett sisters, and equally perfect for a three-year-old who has recently become obsessed with the game ‘School for Cuddlies,’ in which the full troop of soft toys are educated in important topics like the flowers in The Secret Garden and the noises made in The Hound of the Baskervilles.
I have been collecting these books since my daughter was a baby; it has become something of a running joke in my house that these books are clearly for me and not, in fact, her. The afore-mentioned game has changed this, because she can easily pick up the concepts in the books; in most of them, there is very little text on each page, making it easy for a little one to begin to recognise short words, letters and numbers. Jennifer Adams does a brilliant job of breaking down classic works like Moby Dick and Don Quixote into simple concepts, while still maintaining the spirit of the traditional texts.
Aside from this, they are just obscenely beautiful books. Alison Oliver’s artwork is insanely gorgeous; I would like to wallpaper my house in her illustrations. Or have them tattooed on my face or something. I would sincerely like throw cushions, curtains, perhaps car stickers with these pictures on. People need to see the beauty.
I am that person who buys new babies books and I always like to include something from BabyLit. Usually Dracula. This one is my favourite because of how it takes a creepy adult novel and uses its key concepts without scaring small children or undermining Stoker’s novel. This one is a great example of why BabyLit books are the Toy Story of children’s publishing; fun and entertaining for tiny humans, equally fun and entertaining for the parents.
In case all this has whetted your appetite, you can already pre-order the next in the series – Les Misérables and A Midsummer Night’s Dream – and if you want to be as cool as me, you have already done so.
Just to make it clear, I have paid for every BabyLit book in my house and am writing this for no other reason than that I bloody love these books and I want the people who make them to make millions and win a Nobel Prize.