Your basic Dwarf+Giant Overview is a comprehensive survey of an author or series. It is not an in-depth analysis, nor is it a summary. Think of it as a buying or reading guide, telling you what’s out there, what’s essential, what to avoid and so forth.
LEARNING EARLY CONCEPTS THE LITERARY WAY: THE BABYLIT PRIMER SERIES BY JENNIFER ADAMS AND ALISON OLIVER
The BabyLit board books from the creative team of Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver are the first series of books I was excited about collecting for my daughter. After we had received Dracula as a gift I knew we had to have the whole collection. There is something just so magical about seeing a whole set of books, all uniform in size, but varying in color and design lined up neatly on a bookshelf. I could look at those beautiful spines for hours. I just love that.
Primers are first books that teach the basic elements of any subject. These are not storybooks, but color, number and vocabulary books using characters and objects from classic novels.
Colorful and heavy duty, their construction is extremely durable – practically nibble and rip resistant – and will fit easily into your little one’s hands.
Children as young as infants and toddlers and older will enjoy reading these books, collecting the whole series or creating a combination of their favorite classics.
Anna Karenina : A BabyLit Fashion Primer by Little Master Tolstoy. Explore the world of fashion with Russia’s greatest tragic literary heroine, Anna Karenina! Elegant illustrations depict a striking Anna with her glamorous collection of gowns, gloves, hats, boots and buttons and are paired with quotes from the novel that create a fun visual and educational introduction to clothing.
Jane Eyre: A BabyLit Counting Primer by Little Miss Bronte. ONE governess, TWO trunks… so begins Jane Eyre’s mysterious journey. Count along with Jane as she navigates the dark and haunted terrain of Thornfield Hall. This book includes a particularly engaging page of beautiful yet simply illustrated insects that are especially fun to count.
Wuthering Heights: A BabyLit Weather Primer by Little Miss Bronte. Wuthering Heights has always evoked that feeling of a desolate moor, wind whipping up and the down the hills, howling, blustery rain stinging your eyes, lonely, heartsick and chilled to the bone. A perfect story to teach children about weather! Each page of this charming adaptation depicts Wuthering Heights in a different weather condition paired with a quote from the novel, such as “The rain began to drive through the moaning branches of the trees” for rainy weather and “Wuthering Heights rose above this silvery vapour” for misty weather.
Pride and Prejudice: A BabyLit Counting Primer by Little Miss Austen. The perfect introduction for your toddler to the world of Jane Austen through counting. What happens when the FIVE Bennet sisters are met with FOUR marriage proposals in ONE English village? Will they perhaps go to a dance with EIGHT musicians wearing one of their NINE fancy ball gowns? It’s also possible there might be TWO rich gentlemen at this party, because as you know… “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (AND perhaps a stack of classic baby board books?)
Sense and Sensibility: A BabyLit Opposites Primer by Little Miss Austen. Learn about opposites with the Dashwood sisters! Norland Park is BIG, but Barton Cottage is LITTLE. Elinor might choose a HARD chair, while Marianne prefers a SOFT sofa (with a letter from Willoughby on it). Allison Oliver’s high contrast illustrations work very well to create the feeling of difference. Dark to light and day to night, your little one will love to learn about opposites with this book.
Alice in Wonderland: A BabyLit Colors Primer by Little Master Carroll. Don’t be late! Follow the white rabbit down, down, down the rabbit hole into the Wonderland, and find the colorful characters that await you there. Your toddler will love exploring the world of color with a big, blue, questioning caterpillar, a grinning, orange cat, a proper, green frog and more. You’ll also find purple bottles that say “drink me” and – my favorite – the pink whimsical flamingos that are used for a game of Wonderland croquet.
Jabberwocky: A BabyLit Nonsense Primer by Little Master Carroll. As a child, my favorite part of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There was holding the Jabberwocky poem up to the mirror and seeing the backwards print unfold forwards. I’ve never known the poem’s meaning, making it a perfect subject for a nonsense primer. Through this looking-glass you’ll find charming interpretations of the fantastical characters from the poem such as the Mimsy Borogoves, the Furious Bandersnatch, the Jubjub bird and the Tumtum Tree. This Jabberwocky looks less like a terrifying monster and more like a friendly rainbow dragon baby, so no worries about giving your little one nightmares.
Romeo and Juliet: A BabyLit Counting Primer by Little Master Shakespeare. My least favorite in this series is also the least accurate. How can the tragic story of a young love and suicide translate into a board book for toddlers? This super-simplified adaptation got the basics correct, but for example, the page with FIVE friends bothers me the most because Paris, Mercutio and Tybalt were not friends. If this were my series, I probably would have chosen Macbeth instead. That way you could count one sleepwalker and three witches, etc..
The Jungle Book: A BabyLit Animal Primer by Little Master Kipling. ROAR!!! Welcome to the Jungle. Your little one will love meeting and learning about the jungle animals from Kipling’s masterwork, including an exotic peacock, a black and purple spotted panther, a stealthy snake and a fierce tiger. Quotes from the original novel accompany each illustration, introducing the animals by name and giving Kipling’s own description of their nature.
Moby Dick: A BabyLit Ocean Primer by Little Master Melville. Drop anchor, and learn about life on the ocean with characters and objects from the sea inspired by Melville’s classic tale of Ahab’s search for the enormous and elusive white whale. This title is unique in the series as it reads as a sort of marine lexicon, introducing your little learner to basic, oceanic objects such as seagulls, fish, a ship’s captain and sailors, stars and of course a whale.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Camping Primer by Little Master Twain. Your nature-loving toddler will love exploring the Mississippi River while learning outdoorsy vocabulary such as river, raft, fishing line, birds and riverbank. Charming illustrations in tones of blue and green are paired with quotes from Twain’s original, making a perfect primer for your little adventurer.
Don Quixote: A BabyLit Spanish Language Primer by Little Master Cervantes. The latest title from BabyLit and its first bilingual book is a colorful introduction to basic Spanish words from the world of the knight also known as the Man from La Mancha (El Hombre de La Mancha). Learn the Spanish words for armor, horse, friend, castle and of course windmills. One of the best pages has the BOOKS/LOS LIBROS illustration, which depicts a brave knight’s fictitious library which boasts such titles as The Mirror of Chivalry, The Trouble with Windmills and The Knight of the Burning Sword.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A BabyLit Colors Primer by Little Master Baum. Take a journey along the yellow brick road through the kaleidoscopic land of Oz. On your way to the Emerald City, you’ll meet a Wicked Witch all in black, purple flying monkeys, a silver Tin Man, an orange lion, a good witch in bright pink socks and more. This book is as bright and beautiful as the classic film, almost bursting with a rainbow of technicolor hues.
The Secret Garden: A BabyLit Flowers Primer by Little Miss Burnett. Open the door to the secret garden, and you’ll find the prettiest and most lavishly illustrated title in the BabyLit series. Each page presents a different beautifully illustrated flower, including such beauties as Crocus, Iris, Lily and Daffodil. Descriptive quotes from the original text such as “They’ll look like a bed of blue an’ white butterflies” are paired with the illustrations.
Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of the Baskervilles: A BabyLit Sounds Primer by Little Master Conan Doyle. What do YOU hear? Discover mysterious sounds and sights with history’s greatest literary detective, Sherlock Holmes! Howling hounds, rustling leaves, chiming clocks and creaking stairs are just some of the new sounds your little one will love to learn about through this stylish retelling of one of the most popular detective stories ever written.
A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit Colors Primer by Little Master Dickens. BabyLit’s first holiday-themed title is a super simple retelling of Dickens’ classic through whimsical illustrations of Dickensian characters which are associated with a color that fits their characteristics. Meet Jacob Marley spookily shaking his silver chains, The Ghost of Christmas Past shining in gold, Grumpy old Ebenezer Scrooge with his black hat, and sweet little Tiny Tim keeping warm with his red scarf. This charming classic Christmas tale makes a great Holiday gift or stocking stuffer.
Frankenstein: A BabyLit Anatomy Primer by Little Miss Shelley. Learn about the parts it takes to build a perfect monster! Eyes, mouth, arms, legs and feet all add up to a friendly Frankenstein monster who enjoys munching on strawberries and reading poetry. A non-traditional take on Mary Shelley’s classic horror tale where the monster is purple and not scary at all, Frankenstein is my daughter’s favorite from the series.
Dracula: A BabyLit Counting Primer by Little Master Stoker. I’ve saved the best for last. My personal favorite in the series is a delightful adaptation of Stoker’s gothic masterpiece, which is not only completely toddler friendly, but also probably the least bloody version of Dracula since Bunnicula. Count along with the Count as you meet FIVE heroes who are trying to save TWO friends (Mina and Lucy) from the mysterious Dracula. You might encounter along the way THREE howling wolves (children of the night) and EIGHT fancy rats enroute to London. This is one of the more striking in the series with its dark purple cover and high contrast illustrations.