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Barnes & Noble.com: How did you come up with the idea for Baby Einstein?
Julie Aigner-Clark: I left teaching (high school English and art) to stay home with my newborn daughter and soon became very interested in child development and young children. I loved being a mom! I had long been a "connoisseur" of the arts and wanted to expose my own child to things like classical music, poetry, art, and language, in ways that would be interesting and fun for her as a baby. The marketplace was completely void of this type of stimulation for babies, and I decided to do it myself.
B&N.com: Baby Einstein began with music as its integral element (i.e., videos). How has the focus of your line translated into books? What are you trying to achieve with your books?
JAC: The videos and music give children exposure to the sounds and motion of the world around them; books give them a way to experience things like art and poetry through reading. As an English major myself, I'm a great believer in the importance of reading; there's nothing like sitting down with your child in your lap and experiencing a book together. The quiet time and the closeness that occurs during that parent/child interaction are invaluable.
B&N.com: In general, how do you come up with the ideas for your different products?
JAC: I think about the kinds of things that I feel are important, and mostly, for babies, it's exposure to the beauty of the sights and sounds in the world around us. I try to give parents a way to show their children that beauty. This is reflected in art, animals, the natural world, and literature.
B&N.com: How have the Baby Einstein books/products affected your own children -- and their development? Are they more appreciative of fine music, art, et cetera?
JAC: Both of my daughters are products of loving, caring parents. We spend time with our children going places, doing things, and reflecting with them on all different kinds of things happening in the world around us. We focus on the positive. I'd rather my children learn, at their young ages, about how a caterpillar "magically" becomes a butterfly than about most of the negative stories coming out of the news. My older daughter writes beautiful poetry, and my younger daughter plays the violin (at age four!) They're bright and kind and happy girls, and I'm hoping they stay that way!
B&N.com: Now that your children are growing up, do you have plans to develop books/merchandise for older kids? What plans -- if any -- do you have to further expand your line?
JAC: It's interesting to see how the current titles have evolved as my own children have gotten older. The reality is, I'm learning about children all the time by having children of my own. Because I'm living with a four-year-old and a seven-year-old now, I know what interests them -- and I'm less aware of what tiny babies are into as I spend less and less time with tiny babies. I do plan on expanding the line into a "little" series that moves beyond "baby," and I plan on doing that with the help of some of the creative spirits at Disney.
B&N.com: Does the success of Baby Einstein surprise you? How has it changed your life?
JAC: Every day, it surprises me. Every day I smile about it, and what a wonderful ride it's been. Mostly I'm so proud to have created something that makes little kids smile and laugh and exposes them to timeless and incredible works of art.
It hasn't changed my life significantly; the most important thing to me is still my family. It has given us the ability to spend more time together as a family, because my husband and I have begun working less as a result of the sale of the company.
B&N.com: Can you name a few of your favorite children's books?
JAC: James and the Giant Peach, anything by Rosemary Wells, The Chronicles of Narnia, anything by Dr. Seuss, Charlotte's Web. And, of course, The Little Engine That Could (because I know he was right..."I think I can!").
Posted May 23, 2006
My son is almost 15 mths old and this is the book he always chooses to have read to him. He loves the pictures of the dog and the bird best. He never tires of looking at any of the pictures and tries to make the animal sounds associated with the picture. Highly recommended for a baby's book collection.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.