Sylvia Plath Wrote a Children's Book and It's Delightful

Illustration for article titled Sylvia Plath Wrote a Childrens Book and Its Delightful

Sylvia Plath, the brilliant, tragic literary giant you were Most Likely to Be Obsessed With in high school, isn't all Ariel and The Bell Jar. In 1959, she wrote The It-Doesn't-Matter Suit, a children's book about Max Nix, a boy who longs for an awesome all-purpose suit. Although all six of his older brothers find something wrong with the odd, brightly-colored suit, Max's courage and sense of self allow him to rock the unconventional look.

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The book wasn't published until 1996, and there aren't many copies floating around. Lucky for us, Brain Pickings has much of the book to peruse.

Even though The It-Doesn't-Matter Suit is very different from Plath's other work, there are similarities. Her interest in societal acceptance and the tyranny of appearance is ever present — but instead of the despair of much of her work, this sweet tale is hopeful. I wish she'd written more kid's books.

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[Brain Pickings]

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DISCUSSION

I've had this book on my shelf for ages, and my girl (now 13) has never been interested in it. I tried it on a number of occasions. It's just not a kid's book, but then, neither is it a grown-up book.

If you want to read Plath to your kid, I suggest Ariel. It starts out with a birth poem, which most kids can relate to. Lots of cool nature stuff, like sheep, tulips, the moon, poppies, and bees. And in the middle there's a nice poem about Daddies!