We all have those favorite books, the ones that we keep on our shelves long after we finish the last page. Those books that we hold dear, books that cause us to ponder something greater than ourselves. As an English major I am thrilled for the day when I can share my absolute favorites with my petites, but that will be years from now…or will it?
Recently KinderGuides by Melissa Medina and Fredrik Colting (Moppet Books, 2016) came onto the kid lit scene and has adapted cult classics into petite sized reads of some of the most popular, commonly sought out, revered books around.
It’s not about growing up quickly, but rather about sowing that seed of appreciation for classic literature at an early age” Frederik Colting
Let’s spend a moment talking about the current trend of creating books that are classics, but in a package that is suitable for petites. There are many books out there that re-envision the classics. Some of our absolute favorites are BabyLit’s board books that use the classics as a conduit to teach petites about first skills, they are quite literally perfect primers. What KinderGuides is doing is for slightly older petites, more in the age range of roughly 6-12 year olds. These books are learning guides, that take classic stories and make them suitable for petites to digest and start to talk about. Not to mention, KinderGuides is perfect for bibliophile parents – it is really fun to have an introduction into beloved classics minus the sex, drugs and violence.
The first four books that have been published and are currently in stores now are: The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway, On The Road by Jack Kerouac, 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. Other titles that are currently in the works are: The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
“The goal of all of this is to get them really psyched about these books now, so that they’ll want to read the originals later,” Ms. Medina said.
New York Times Interview, 2016
On The Road by Jack Kerouac is one of the most iconic authors of the Beat Generation his book On the Road is a cult classic for sure. In this KinderGuides book you will read a short bio about Kerouac then hope right into a summarized version of On the Road. In this summary you will get a general idea of On the Road and the adventures that Sal and Dean have together along with some of the characters that they meet along the way. During reading there were a couple of times where my petite asked questions about the ambiguity of the summary. This story reads more like a bulleted summary at places and doesn’t flow when read aloud like you might expect. However, I do believe that readers who love On the Road will love sharing this book with their petites.
The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway is one of my absolute favorite stories of all time. Let’s first discuss the illustrations, they are stunningly vibrant, engaging and seem to capture the tone of the novel. The summary for this book is spot on and gives you a real sense of what happened in the book. I actually think that this might be a perfect addition to a classroom for a language learner so that they could use this guide to gain a more complete understanding of the original text.
I love that through the reading of this book my petite was engaged and wanting to know more about what would happen to Santiago once he caught the fish and what it must have felt like to pull his boat ashore with a pretty much eaten carcass. I believe that these conversations are the root of what Ms. Medina and Mr. Colting were aiming for when they created KinderGuides.
Here is a link to the New York Times piece about KinderGuides.
Bloggers Note: I was given the books mentioned in this post for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. Thank you to KinderGuides for use of images from The Old Man and The Sea.