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Judging a Book by Its Cover: A 6-year-old Guesses What Classic Novels Are All About

By Sunny Chanel |

What is No Exit About?

“Momma, what’s this book about?” That is a question that I hear every time we go to our local bookstore as my very curious six-year-old daughter picks up eye-catching books from various sections from fiction to biographies to psychology. My family spends a fair amount time in bookstores, so this is a query I’ve become accustomed to hearing and one I try my darndest to answer (but really, how does one explain James Joyce’s Ulysses to a six-year-old?).

Recently, I’ve been curious to see what she thought the books were about. 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.

What happens when this recent kindergarten graduate judges a book by its cover? Here are the results:

(above No Exit: “It’s about someone who is in jail and you know there are no exits in a jail.”)


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My 6-year-old Judges Books by the Covers, from No Exit to 50 Shades of Grey

The Great Gatsby

"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. "


Full Disclosure: I bribed my 6-year-old with a Calico Critters Zack and Sandy Beaver set for her participation. Yes, I’m that mom.

Photo: By Sunny Chanel

Check out more of this 6-Year-Old’s Thoughts on This, That & Other Right HERE

More from The Mini Critic:
15 Grammy-nominated songs critiqued by a first-grader
The Mini Film Critic: A first-grader judges Oscar-nominated movies by their poster
Judging a Movie by Its Poster: 21 classic films judged by a 6-year-old

Read more Sunny Chanel on Famecrawler right here.
Read more Sunny Chanel on Strollerderby right here.


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About Sunny Chanel


Sunny Chanel

Since 2007 Sunny Chanel has written thousands of pieces for Babble. She currently writes for Babble's celebrity, moms, and Disney voices sections and has her own blog aptly named Sunny Chanel. You can find Sunny on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon. Read bio and latest posts → Read Sunny's latest posts →

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33 thoughts on “Judging a Book by Its Cover: A 6-year-old Guesses What Classic Novels Are All About

  1. Cindy says:

    Your girl is very creative. I love that there are lots of robots and “fancy” ladies. Why do kids love to call some ladies “fancy”. My girls do that too. It’s funny. And the fact that she is into mythology is my favorite part. I was totally like that as a kid and my oldest (8) loves it as well. They are great stories for bedtime.

  2. Melvin Rosenberg says:

    Oh, to be six again and be unaware that Catcher in the Rye is one of the most famous books ever published in America, so that no illustration is necessary and ithe author became so rich he could retire into seclusion permanently and forgo all danger, every child’s dream.

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    My favorite: “This book has to be about the color purple. I think it’s a baby book. It looks like it would be very short. I think there must be a blob of purple that lives in that house. And the purple blob just stays in its home and is lazy. I think it looks like a very boring book.”

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