Baby book series review: Cozy Classics by Jack and Holman Wang

Marian reads Cozy Classic: Les MiserablesBaby Librarian Marian and her mommy Margaret review three books from the Cozy Classics series, by brothers Jack and Holman Wang.

If you love classic literature, you must stock your baby librarian’s bookshelf with the Cozy Classics series. With 12 needle felt illustrations and only one word per page, these retellings are innovative, funny, and so cute. We read these over and over again every day, yet they don’t get old like some of her other children’s books do. There are 12 books in the series, but we’ve only collected half of them so far. I don’t know how other parents read these, but I provide a sound affect to go with each word. Marian enjoys the repetition of word with sound. Below, we review our three favorites, and I provide my sound affect script. But beware, spoilers ahead!

Cozy Classics: Moby Dick

Cover of Cozy Classics Moby DickMarian’s review: This book is so thrilling! It’s my favorite Cozy Classic. I have so many favorite parts–the leg page, when the boat smashes, when the captain gets mad. When Mommy finishes it, I always hand it back to her to read again. You can never read Moby Dick too many times. I’m sure I’ll love the long version when I’m a grown-up.

Margaret’s review: Hmm…but will she? I haven’t read Moby Dick since 9th grade, and I have no interest in rereading it. You know what I will be rereading, over and over and over and over? This Cozy Classics version. And she will literally hit me in the head with the book to make me read it again when we’re finished.

Here’s how I read this book. First I say the word on the page, then I make a sound affect. The asterisks are my sound affects.

Sailor *Call me Ishamel*

boat *row row row that boat*

captain *arrggg*

leg *tap my leg on the ground (Marian does this too, even when she’s reading the book by herself)*

mad *AARRRGGG*

sail *gently down the stream*

find *ahoy*

whale *duh dat (Jaws theme)*

chase *duh da duh da duh da*

smash * SMASH*

sink *blup blup blup*

float *sing “AHHH”*

Cozy Classics: Les Misérables

Cover of Cozy Classic Les MiserablesMarian’s review: This is my second favorite Cozy Classic. I have one particular page I make Mommy read over and over: “Stroll,” which shows Jean Valjean and Cosette strolling together in the park. I like this page because Mommy whistles. I like the musical Les Misérables, though not quite so much as The Phantom of the Opera musical.

Margaret’s review: I read the original book once a long time ago, and I’ve watched the musical many times. It’s amazing how much emotion is displayed in these needle felt characters. Here’s a transcript of our reading:

poor *sing “poor, unfortunate souls”*

rich “cha ching*

sad *fake cry*

happy *yay!!!!*

run *gasp gasp gasp*

climb *grunt grunt*

stroll *whistle a strolling tune*

love *awwww*

fire *oh, hot hot*

stop *STOP*

dark *where?*

together *sing “together at last*

Cozy Classics: War & Peace

Cover of Cozy Classics War and PeaceMarian’s review: I mainly just read Les Misérables and Moby Dick right now, but it’s nice to have this one too for when I finally get bored of the other two.

Margaret’s review: This is my favorite of the three, though Marian hasn’t chosen it (yet) as one she needs to read over and over again. It’s so funny, to shave off the millions of words in the original to this 12 word board book. And some of the scenes verge on the sarcastic in their simplification! When I started reading adult books at around 10-12, my goal was to be able to read War and Peace. Then I’d know I was an adult. I never made it all the way through. Every few months or so I’d pick up my parent’s copy and make another attempt, but I never got very far. I really should give it another go now that my reading comprehension is up for the job. But then, I’m not ready to be a grownup anymore.

soldier *1, 2, 3, 4, pick it up 2, 3, 4*

friends *Hi!*

girl *weeee (it looks like she’s running in a field)*

dance *sing “shall we dance bah boom boom boom”*

goodbye *bye bye*

hug *awww*

horse *neigh*

boom! *BOOM!*

hurt *owey owey owey*

sleep *snore*

snow *brrrr*

love *awwww*

Ending thoughts on the Cozy Classics

We own a few more of these, but want to collect all 12. These make perfect presents for any lit lover parent in your life. When I first brought them home as a pregnant mommy, I didn’t know if Marian would actually enjoy them since they have so few words. I’m glad to be proved wrong.

Does anyone else read these? Do you use sound affects too?

The Complete Cozy Classics Series

What classics would you pick to become Cozy Classics? I’d like to see Their Eyes are Watching God, Middlemarch, and always more of the Brontë sisters.

 

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