Board Book Look at Cozy Classics: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Jack & Holman Wang

Cozy Classics: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Jack & Holman Wang
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: May 9, 2017 by Chronicle Books
Book Description:

Cuddle up with a classic! In twelve needle-felted scenes and twelve child-friendly words, each book in this ingenious series captures the essence of a literary masterpiece. Simple words, sturdy pages, and a beloved story make these books the perfect vehicle for early learning with an erudite twist. Budding bookworms will delight in this clever retelling of the classics made just for them!

In L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a storm transports Dorothy to the magical Land of Oz. Can she defeat the Wicked Witch and find her way home ? It’s a first words primer for your literary little one!

It is perhaps no secret that I quite adore the needle-felted Cozy Classics and Star Wars: Epic Yarns from Canadian authors Jack and Holman Wang! I have featured the brothers’ adorable, thoughtful and awe-inspiring work here a few times; now I have another wonderful new one to talk about!

In their take on L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Jack and Holman use twelve words- everything from ‘storm’ to ‘home’- to tell a version of this classic tale . As with other Cozy Classics titles, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz features, per page spread, one highlighted word with an incredibly detailed needle-felted scene on the facing page. As you can see from a few of the photos I took, the Wang brothers are nothing if not painstaking in their care and attention to detail- in both selection of the ten words and in how they bring specific (and some famous!) characters and scenes to life. As someone who has had the great honour to meet Holman in person and see some needle-felt characters up close, I can speak to their utter artistry.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz seems another very tricky title to pull off as a Cozy Classic, as we might often think not only the classic novel but also of the iconic Judy Garland film as a comparison! How can Cozy Classics faithfully represent Dorothy, Toto…the Emerald City? What about the Wicked Witch of the West? As a child who both strangely adored and was terrified of The Wizard of Oz film, I wondered how Jack and Holman would adapt this story- without making it too scary for wee ones! I give full kudos to Jack and Holman for including some of the scarier aspects of the story (we do see felts and scenes with the Wicked Witch of the West and a winged monkey!); but those images are tempered by brighter felts of Dorothy, Toto, the yellow brick road, and other major characters like Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion.

Overall, another fantastical creation from Jack and Holman Wang- I think any fans of Cozy Classics and L. Frank Baum’s work might want to get their hands on this one! I’ve had the utter joy of sharing my home library collection of Cozy Classics (and Epic Yarns!) with my daughter, and they are ones that she has slowly grown into. Initially, the experience was all about the simple child-friendly words and looking at the pictures, but now the meaning of the words and stories have grown as she herself has grown! She actually discovered The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on my shelf before I had even perused it, so we sat down to explore the book together. Now, she sits down with it and chatters away, telling her own short version of the story as she turns the pages- and it is one of the best things I have ever seen.

I received a copy of this title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.

A Christmas Board Book Look: The Nutcracker by Jack & Holman Wang

 

nutcrackerCozy Classics: The Nutcracker by Jack & Holman Wang (original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann)
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: September 6, 2016 by Chronicle Books
Book Description:

Cuddle up with a classic! In twelve needle-felted scenes and twelve child-friendly words, each book in this ingenious series captures the essence of a literary masterpiece. Simple words, sturdy pages, and a beloved story make these books the perfect vehicle for early learning with an erudite twist. Budding bookworms will delight in this clever retelling of the classics made just for them!

In E. T. A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker , marvel at Maria’s favorite gift , cheer as she defeats the Mouse King, and journey to the magical Land of Sweets. It’s a festive first words primer for your literary little one!

Just in time for Christmas!

Growing up, one thing I liked to do every year around Christmas was to watch the TV movie The Nutcracker, starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland. I absolutely adored ballet (was an aspiring ballet dancer as well!) and, like a lot of folks, thought Baryshnikov was pure magic. So, I’d hunker down in front our fireplace with some hot chocolate and watch…And while I don’t participate in that tradition anymore, my love of that memory and how much I still enjoy The Nutcracker stands. Needless to say, when I first heard that Jack and Holman Wang would be adapting The Nutcracker as a Cozy Classics title, I was delighted!

The Cozy Classics version of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker is, as I was hoping it would be, utterly charming, inviting and capturing that magical, otherworldly feel of the story. As with the previous Cozy Classic titles, there is one word per page with a facing page involving adapted scenes from The Nutcracker. Using simple but significant words to represent iconic moments from the story- such as ‘gift’, ‘sweets’, ‘mouse’, ‘dance’- the Wangs do a solid job telling the story as clearly as possible for little ones. As for the characters and scenes? From the Mouse King to Maria, to the dancing and land of sweets, the details here in the felt characters and scenery are something quite special. I had the very lucky chance to view, in-person, some of The Nutcracker character felts last year and they were incredibly beautiful- detailed and intricate. It is very cool to get to see them here in the pages of the completed book!

Any readers who have previously adored Cozy Classic titles or the awesome Star Wars Epic Yarns from Jack and Holman Wang might especially adore and appreciate this version of The Nutcracker. There is something dreamy, fun, and comforting about this title and the rest of the Cozy Classics board books; they really can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

P.S. Happy Holidays!!

I received a copy of this title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.

Giveaway: Signed ‘Star Wars Epic Yarns’ from Raincoast Books!

I am thrilled to present a very cool and very generous giveaway courtesy of Raincoast Books!

SWEY
Win a set of signed Star Wars Epic Yarns from Raincoast Books! The board books feature needle-felted characters acting out scenes from the original Star Wars movies. Twelve words and twelve finely crafted images are in each book. This set makes the perfect gift for the young Star Wars fan in your life!

Jack and Holman Wang are the writers and creators behind the popular and much loved Cozy Classics series and the recently released Star Wars Epic Yarns trilogy. These titles are in board book format with one word per page, alongside a needle-felted image. As both a mom and a children’s librarian, I can indeed confirm that the Wangs’ board books are creative, fun, unique and enjoyed by kids- and teens and adults! (My one year old is currently loving A New Hope!). The attention to detail in the needle-felting and crafting of scenery of the Epic Yarns is incredible and something that needs to be seen (and ogled over).

This giveaway is open to: Canadian residents, age 18 and up.

The giveaway opens:   December 8, 2015

The giveaway closes:   December 15, 2015

The winning entry will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter. All entries will be verified. Winner has by December 17, 2015 to respond to me via email (fabbookreviews@gmail.com) with their mailing address. Raincoast would love to get the set out and to the winner by Christmas!

Enter by clicking on the following link to Rafflecopter and follow the instructions to enter!

Click here to enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter

CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! Thanks to everyone to entered!

The *new* winning entry drawn via Rafflecopter is:

Jackie S. (updated December 18th, 2015)

 

Image, blurb and winning prize is courtesy of Raincoast Books. Opinions and comments are my own