In which Ariel discusses the BabyLit Primers that feature famous female authors and strong female characters. Celebrate Women's History Month by bringing the classics alive with these board books! This post contains affiliate links. By using them you help keep Busy Nest News up and running. Thank you for your continued support!
BabyLit Primers written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver
I love the BabyLit series, written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver. The series brings together two of my greatest passions in life: literature and instilling a love of reading in my child through stellar children’s books. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series, Jane Adams and Alison Oliver use famous works of literature as inspiration for board books, giving our children their first taste of the great works that have endured. Each book in the series is different. Some are counting primers. Some are emotions primers. Some are weather primers, but each is unique and each is beautiful in their own way. What better way to celebrate Women’s History Month than by highlighting famous female authors in a way little ears can hear?
When it came time to sit down and write, I was struck with a conundrum; some books in the series rely heavily on the original text, while others give merely a nod. I find books in the latter category infinitely more readable to tiny humans who have no exposure to the parent book. Therefore, I did not feel comfortable comparing the two categories. One category is not necessarily better than the other; each book will appeal to different readers for different reasons, especially if you have strong opinions about the original text.
If you are looking for something easily accessible for young readers then Jane Eyre: A Counting Primer, Emma: An Emotions Primer, Sense and Sensibility: An Opposites Primer, and Pride and Prejudice: A Counting Primer may be for you. All four books give a nod to the original work, while remaining vaguely unspecific. For example, in Jane Eyre: A Counting Primer you may be counting the four towers at Thornfield Hall, but you are still just counting. Or in Emma: An Emotions Primer you may be studying the look of surprise on Mr. Weston’s face, but surprise looks similar no matter who you are looking at.
Other books in the BabyLit series include The Secret Garden: A Flowers Primer, Wuthering Heights: A Weather Primer, Little Women: A Playtime Primer, A Little Princess: A Friendship Primer, and Anne of Green Gables: A Places Primer. These books rely more heavily on the original work - often quoting directly from the text to illustrate a point – which may make them more confusing to younger readers but ultimately, makes them more memorable. You don’t often see children’s books that name individual flowers: Snowdrops, Columbines and Irises, like in The Secret Garden: A Flowers Primer. Few books discuss the different ways in which we can play by singing, sewing, or picnicking, like Little Women: A Playtime Primer. Not only does the text stand out, but the illustrations in this category are more vivid, more detailed and more colorful!
The BabyLit series might appeal to you if you are a literature dork in general or if you have a specific love of the original text in particular. For example, I reread Pride and Prejudice at least once every other year, so I was going to purchase Pride and Prejudice: A Counting Primer regardless of its quality. Thankfully the BabyLit series by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver delivers. So next time you are invited to a baby shower and asked to bring your favorite book from childhood, why not purchase the mother-to-be’s favorite classic in kiddie form? How thoughtful is that! For an avid reader, the ability to share your favorite stories with your child is priceless.
My personal favorites are Anne of Green Gables: A Places Primer, A Secret Garden: A Flower Primer and all of the books based on Jane Austen’s classics. Of all of these great works by female authors, which one is your personal favorite?
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Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
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