ALA Youth Media Awards, in which we were reminded of all the quality that children's literature has to offer the world, it didn't take long to find a reminder that children's publishing at least really can be ridiculous. Last year I had a full-blown rant about plans to publish a series of board books based on great literary classics. Clearly my gnashing of teeth (and surely I wasn't the only one!) was not enough to put a stop to the plans; Little Miss Austen and Little Master Shakespeare have been joined by Little Master Carroll and Little Miss Bronte. Okay. Maybe....maybe....MAYBE....I could accept the idea of a board book version of Alice in Wonderland. In this case we are at least talking about a classic of children's literature. But a board book version of Jane Eyre? Really?! Here is the product description taken from the Baker and Taylor catalog I am currently staring at in amazement:
"Provides an introduction to a classic work of literature in a stylishly designed story for toddlers that also promotes early counting skills."
Do those early counting skills include Mr. Rochester counting his wives? How can a book with plot elements including bigamy, institutionalized child abuse, and locking the mentally ill in an attic EVER be considered suitable for toddlers? Even as an adaptation?! Clearly, it can't be. Which means that the board book really has no bearing on the original work and is not fit to carry the name "Jane Eyre". Stop the madness!
There are no words.