On the Road, by Jack Kerouac: A KinderGuides Illustrated Learning Guide
KinderGuides books seek to introduce young readers to literary classics, setting the stage for a lifetime of appreciation for literature. It’s an ambitious idea, to be sure, and even more ambitious to use a book like Kerouac’s On the Road as a launchpad.
Boiling the book down to its elements and distilling them to be understood by young minds, you’re left with a curious travelogue about friendship, wanderlust, and possibility, and I wonder if it all will truly mean anything to a young reader. Sure, you get a brief write-up on Kerouac, a rundown of the characters and key ideas in the book, and even questions to answer at the end, but all the nuance that makes On the Road the beloved counterculture touchstone celebrated by many is lost. I can’t help but wonder if A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court or something with a meatier story might benefit more from this sort of translation.
That being said, the art that accompanies the book’s synopsis feels apropos — relying on simpler imagery, a sketch-based style that feels like a child’s hand was involved in the translation process. The art is fun, a touch whimsical, but never too much.
KinderGuides • Rose Forshall, Illustrator