My Auntie recently had a baby boy called Bailey. He’s the most damn cute thing, and that’s coming from someone who isn’t much into children and mothering. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been thinking of a way to introduce the little boy to Pride and Prejudice as soon as possible. Now I have the perfect thing.
I’ve been meaning to post this blog for ages, but because of internet troubles (and work) I haven’t gotten around to it. These two books have sat on my desk as a reminder for a while now.
Alex Field, who wrote ‘Mr Darcy’ (the children’s book illustrated by Peter Carnavas), has released the second ‘Mr Darcy the Dancing Duck’ this month and posted me a copy of both the first and the second. The first has been re-released as a paperback, the copy I have, and they are both emblazoned with a ‘Celebrating 200 years of Pride and Prejudice’ logo. They are absolutely gorgeous. Read the Q&A I had with Alex to get an idea about her thoughts behind the books and the animal characters that fill them.
For the purists – be warned. The Pride and Prejudice storyline doesn’t exist, but the essence of the main characters are kept. While there aren’t any “nasty” characters per se (even Caroline appears to be very helpful as a horse), Mr Darcy is still quite above his company and refuses to dance, but in the mildest manner.
The new book can be purchased in hardback for AU$24.95, while the paperback original can be bought for AU$14.95 (ISBN: 9781921928178 and 9781921928406 respectively). From New Frontier publishing, they’re a gorgeous little collection that I hope gets continued into other books. I absolutely love the little storylines and the adorable illustrations, and I can’t wait for Bailey to be within the recommended age range, 3 to 6, to see what he thinks. It’s great that they’re a bit more gender neutral than many children’s books are. Lizzy, for instance, is a great problem solver. There’s some good teamwork happening too – so I think they goes down a treat as children’s books.
For those of you wanting to know the plots, the blurb of each reads:
Mr Darcy: Mr Darcy is a rather reserved and gentle duck. He lives in the best park and feels very important – too important to accept an invitation to tea. Sadly, this makes him lonely. Fortunately, he soon discovers that he loves and needs his friends.
Mr Darcy the Dancing Duck: Mr Darcy dreads the first sign of spring. Flowers in bloom mean only one thing – dancing season. And Mr Darcy simply cannot dance. Can Lizzy convince Mr Darcy to take a turn around the maypole?
Let me just tell you that this second one brought me back to my primary school days maypole dancing in England, and it also really reminds me of a scene in the latest Tess of the D’Urbervilles mini series. It’s cute!
So, this is how I’ve found the perfect way to infiltrate Pride and Prejudice into children’s lives in an enjoyable way. I’m really glad
that Ms Field and Mr Carnavas have brought this to the table as I think we’ll gain a whole new generation of Austen lovers as a result. Plus, I showed them off at work and everyone thought they were adorable as well.
A little treat for those of us who love to draw – Peter Carnavas has this great video on his blog showing us how to draw Mr. Darcy in 60 seconds. Try it out and send in your results!