Various publishers have done board books that have a classic theme. They tell you the bare minimal of the story with each one having limited text; yet some have more than others. This series, Penguin Bedtime Classics, seems to be my favorite so far. Or at least the two I have read which are illustrated by Carly Gledhill.
The Nutcracker (based on E.T.A Hoffmann’s story) is a simplistic version of the
Nutcracker, with details that make it lighthearted and fun. The characters are not from your mothers’ Nutcracker but have a more contemporary look to the characters (Clara has darker hair and a slightly darker skin tone then I am used to). And with the adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice is a young, black girl. But Alice’s adventures are what we know: one cat, couple of characters drinking tea, one crazy croquet game.
Gledhill’s illustrations are not cartoonish but are quirky and have a “fun-ness” to them. They are soft, but bright in their colors as well. They capture the reader/listener/viewer. You get the basics (one funky Sugar Plum fairy; one groovy dream) but there are not the “extras” or “negatives” (no Rat King/Queen (depending on your version) and there is a cate
rpillar minus his habit). They are perfectly acceptable for the board book/toddler crowd.
These two come out in October of this year and A Little Princess and The Wizard of Oz come out in February of next year. The non-traditional look of the characters continues with a far-out Sara and Dorothy rocking some kicker dreadlocks.