Andrei Bolkonsky — The Moody Prince
Pierre Bezukhov – The Kind-Hearted Heir
Natasha Rostova – The Spirited Countess
THE COZY VERSION
After the Russian Army is crushed by the French at the Battle of Austerlitz, Prince Andrei Bolkonsky returns home, wounded and disillusioned. His friend Pierre Bezukhov, who has inherited his father’s fortune and become a Count, encourages Andrei to see the good in life, but Andrei remains unhappy.
Then one day, Andrei sees young Natasha Rostova running through a field, dressed in yellow, and is struck by her zest for life. A few years later at a New Year’s Eve ball, Pierre encourages Andrei to dance with Natasha. Enamored, Andrei proposes, but his skeptical father makes him put off the wedding for a year. During their year apart, Natasha proves inconstant, and the wedding is called off. Pierre comforts Natasha in her time of need.
In 1812, when Napoleon invades Russia, Andrei joins the fight. He serves at the Battle of Borodino, where the Russian army somehow withstands the mighty French, but Andrei is seriously wounded. Natasha takes care of him, and he forgives her. Pierre is taken prisoner by the French until the Russian winter finally destroys Napoleon’s army. When Pierre and Natasha see each other again, they realize they are in love!
Cozy Classics uses a simple one word/one image format to help babies and toddlers build vocabulary and learn everyday concepts such as body parts, emotions, animals, relationships, actions, and opposites. However, Cozy Classics organizes everyday words in a more unique way: through story. By putting words in the context of a story, our books help children find further meaning through a growing sense of narrative.
As children get older, parents can expand on the stories in ever more elaborate ways. If you need a little help, just use the brief synopsis on the back of each book or the longer synopses (the Cozy version) above. But there’s no right or wrong way to read Cozy Classics. Use the words and images as prompts to invent stories of your own and encourage your children to do the same.
Parents can enliven their storytelling with quotations from the originals. Below are some of our favorites from War and Peace that go well with “the Cozy version.” Quotations can lead to whole passages until one day children are enthralled by the richest versions of all: the classics themselves.
Quotations from War and Peace
- “Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes.”
- “Only now, during his visit to Bald Hills, did Pierre appreciate all the strength and charm of his friendship with Prince Andrei.”
- “From behind the trees on the right, he heard merry feminine cries and saw a crowd of girls running across the path of his carriage. Ahead of the others, closer, a dark-haired girl came running towards the carriage, very slender, strangely slender, dark-eyed, in a yellow cotton dress, her head tied with a white kerchief, from under which strands of loose hair escaped. The girl was shouting something, but, seeing the stranger, ran back laughing without looking at him.”
- “Prince Andrei was one of the best dancers of his time. Natasha’s dancing was excellent. Her little feet in satin ball slippers did their work quickly, lightly, and independently of herself, and her face shone with the rapture of happiness.”
- “‘It makes no difference,’ said Prince Andrei. ‘Tell Countess Rostov that she was and is completely free and that I wish her all the best.’”
- “‘If I were not I, but the handsomest, brightest, and best man in the world, and I was free, I would go on my knees this minute and ask for your hand and your love.’”
- “Mounting his horse again Prince Andrei lingered with the battery, looking at the puff from the gun that had sent the ball. His eyes ran rapidly over the wide space, but he only saw that the hitherto motionless masses of the French now swayed.”
- “In front and especially to the right, in the never-dispersing smoke, cannon boomed, and out of the mysterious zone of smoke that lay over the whole terrain ahead, without ceasing, flew cannonballs with a hissing, rapid whistle, and slowly whistling shells.”
- “At one and the same time there was the sound of an explosion, a whistling of splinters as if from a shattered window, a choking smell of powder—and Prince Andrei hurtled sideways.”
- “‘Love? What is love?’ he thought. ‘Love hinders death. Love is life. Everything, everything I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is connected only by that. Love is God, and to die—means that I, a part of love, return to the common and eternal source.’ These thoughts seemed comforting to him. But they were only thoughts. Something was lacking in them, there was something one-sidedly personal, cerebral—there was no evidence. And there was the same uneasiness and vagueness. He fell asleep.”
- “All that happened to Pierre from the time he was set free until his illness left almost no impression on him. He remembered only gray, gloomy, now rainy, now snowy weather, inner physical anguish, pain in his legs, in his side; remembered the general impression of people’s misfortunes and sufferings; remembered the disturbing curiosity of officers and generals who asked him questions, his trouble finding a carriage and horses, and, above all, remembered his inability to think and feel at that time.”
- “A joyful, unexpected madness, of which Pierre considered himself incapable, came over him. The whole meaning of life, not only for him, but for all the world, seemed to him to consist only in his love and the possibility of her love for him.”