I had to read and reread PW’s piece about KinderGuides, because I thought it had to be a joke. But evidently it isn’t. So then I figured I’d put my fingers in my ears and say “lalala” so as to pretend they didn’t exist. Until today when Allison Flood’s sharp piece, “Children Don’t Really Need a Picture-Book Version of On the Road,” in the Guardian forced my irritated fingers out of my ears and on to my keyboard.
According to their website, this is a series that will
introduce some of the most iconic works of classic literature to young readers. Through visually-stunning illustrations and simplified, educational content we explore these timeless stories and the cultures that spawned them.
Without a smidgen of irony they plan to make these classics fit for children by creating for each a
condensed, simplified version of the plot, as well as a section devoted to exploring the life and cultural background of the original author. In addition, parents and teachers will also appreciate the key word definitions, a breakdown of the book’s main characters, a fun quiz, and a kid-friendly analysis of the important takeaways from each story.
Really? Really. I’m speechless…..
Okay, I’m back. There are those retro-cool illustrations, you see. Perfect, I’m guessing for the coolest of the cool hipster parents. Probably will be prominent in home decor stores as much as in those with kid stuff.
Each KinderGuide also features a different artist whose illustration style has been uniquely paired with that story, giving each book a distinctive artistic spirit, while also elegantly working together as a cohesive series.
As for the titles, they are really, really adult ones. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and On the Road adult ones. With Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in the pipeline.
What exactly do these offer that are so special, so unique that are not available in books actually written for kids? And what exactly are they going to say about “the cultures that spawned” the Capote and Kerouac? The culture of women being used by men in 1960s NYC? The culture of beatnik sex and drugs in the 1950s? Serious, serious depression? As for the bios, what are they putting in them — Capote’s Black and White Ball or the mass killings of In Cold Blood? Kerouac’s drug habit? Seems completely nuts to me.
If you want NYC or road stories or guys spending time in holes — there are plenty of wonderful ones written FOR KIDS already out there. Some classics or about-to-become-classics. Instead of Breakfast at Tiffany’s for kids how about Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight’s Eloise? Instead of On the Road how about Dan Santat’s Are We There Yet? Instead of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle how about Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s Sam and Dave Dig a Hole?
Whatever. Hipster parents will go gaga over these no doubt.