Puffin Books will soon be bringing books to the breakfast table, at least for children in the U.K. The Telegraph reports that this month Puffin will be releasing a set of cereal boxes with quotes on them from well-loved British author Roald Dahl. The extracts, from books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG, will be short, exciting, and hopefully encourage kids to read. My favorite quote was from Francesca Dow, managing director of children’s books at Penguin (which owns Puffin Books):
The great thing about a cereal box, is that it potentially is reaching millions of households that just don’t read any literature outside of school. There could be an enormous number of children discovering Roald Dahl for the first time, bleary eyed over the breakfast table.
Ms. Dow made me laugh. I was trying to picture bleary-eyed victims viewing anything besides the milk jug as a thrilling discovery. Clearly, Ms. Dow has not had the pleasure of breakfasting with my family.
Nevertheless, there might be some definite advantages to a sort of “book-teaser” on the back of a cereal box. I find this appealing precisely because it’s not ad space for the latest in publishing (to which I would cry–Is no space sacred? Shall even my breakfasting be defiled by shameless promotional clamoring?? IS THERE NOTHING GOOD LEFT IN THE WORLD?!?) But I digress.
It seems to be a genuine effort to introduce a classic children’s author to new kids. Which is cool. I hope that it goes beyond mere “quotables” and actually encourages reading. If anyone can do that, Roald Dahl probably can.