July 24, 2012

Judging a book by its cover, 6-year-old style


Strollerderby's daughter on No Exit: "It's about someone who is in jail and you know there are no exits in a jail.")

Recently, Shelf Awareness pointed us to this wonderful survey of a six-year-old’s judgments on classic books by their covers. The blogger-mom at Strollerderby asked her daughter to tell her what she thought various classic titles were about by looking at their covers:

She doesn’t yet know — from experience or exposure — what the narrative of Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit is about, what happens in the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby or that George Orwell’s Animal Farm is not a book for children.

So what happens when this recent kindergarten graduate judges a book by its cover?

As it turns out, she eerily captures the essence of some of the books in an odd off-kilter way, like her evaluation of the classic Great Gatsby cover below. Or, she makes the books sound like another book you might actually prefer to read, like her One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest description.

Check out the original post for the full gamut of assessments, but be warned: Strollerderby does confess to bribing her daughter with “Calico Critters Zack and Sandy Beaver set for her participation.”

"I think it's a book about a haunted theme park and it stars a magical magic guy and he's good and evil and he's trying to get rid of the ghosts. And I think at the end, since it's haunted by a ghost, he tried to make the park go on fire and it did. "


"I think it's a book for kiddies, it's a colorful book. I think it's about a tiny bird that flew over a cuckoo bird's nest, that is why it's named that. It looks like a really sweet kiddy book."


Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.