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The definition of a classic book is a long and hotly debated topic. All exemplary, all noteworthy, but dependant on who you ask, you’ll receive a wide range of answers. However, there are some tenets that the classics all have in common.
In classic literature, a work is usually considered to be a representation of the period in which it was written and it merits lasting recognition, one that deserves re-reading five times, and picking up again five years even 100 years after its publication. In other words, a recently-published book is not a classic. While the term "modern classic" may apply to books written after World War II, they need longevity to achieve the designation of a simple "classic."
Here at LoveReading4Kids we have decided to create a list of classic books, all published in the 19th and 20th centuries before all children in the UK were born. So, all of these 50 books were first published before January 1st 2000.
Starting with the adventures of Alice in 1865, it’s incredible how many wonderful books were written more than 150 years ago! We’ve selected seven books from the 1800s including Little Women, the much-loved and totally topical read, still thoroughly applicable for modern readers and Treasure Island, the classic swashbuckling story of pirates, buried treasure and shipwreck.
The start of the 20th century brings with it the treasured classic fantasy The Wizard of Oz, shortly followed by the introduction of the mischievous little rabbit Peter, whose legacy is still delighting children and adults alike today.
In 1908 Kenneth Grahame introduces us to life on the riverbank and adventures messing about in boats with close friends Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger. And we must remember the feisty and much-loved Anne of Green Gables: this list just wouldn’t be complete without her.
One of the best-loved stories in children’s literature, the ever-magical Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden graces us with her presence in 1911.
The 1920s was a decade of brilliance introducing us to our darling Pooh, the rare gift that is Tarka the Otter and of course The Velveteen Rabbit, the lyrically told story of the importance of make-believe for children.
Another prolific decade, the ‘30s delivers the ever-readable classic story Swallows and Amazons, the masterpiece that is Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes and we are first introduced to Middle-Earth and the treasured adventures of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.
The 1940s first transports us to the Enchanted Wood and we meet Moonface, Silky and the Saucepan Man and we fall in love with Enid Blyton's Magic Faraway Tree. It also gifts us Animal Farm, the allegorical novella and brilliant satire on the corrupting influence of power which is widely thought of as one of the greatest books of the 20th century. And we can’t forget the freckled, super-strong and mischievous Pippi brought to us by Astrid Lindgren and still loved by millions of children today.
Narnia is born to us in the ‘50s and we are captivated by the story of the four Pevensie children and their adventures in the mystical world. This was joined by the charming and wonderful world of Pod, Homily and Arrietty and their “human beans” in Mary Norton’s The Borrowers.
The 1960s was an incredible decade of brilliance with many seminal children’s books published for the first time. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. With huge thanks to Roald Dahl we first meet Charlie Bucket and are fascinated by his fantastical adventures in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. And of course we are brought The Iron Man, one of the most dramatic and exciting stories of all time. The classic modern fairy story takes on the huge theme of how the world can be saved.
From the 1970s, Richard Adam’s Watership Down is a book that resonates as vividly today as it did nearly half a century ago. Nina Bawden’s Carrie’s War is a very touching utterly convincing book about three wartime evacuees billeted to Wales. And we cannot forget the 1982 Michael Morpurgo tender story of Joey, a farm horse caught up in the horrors of war which is a classic story of animal courage and bravery.
In the ‘90s, we are introduced to the courageous Lyra and her animal daemon Pan in the first book in Philip Pullman’s magnificent trilogy, the Northern Lights. JK Rowling also bursts onto the scene with her suitcase full of stories about Harry Potter. Louis Sachar gives us his wholly original and brilliantly plotted, Holes which is a funny and poignant story about surviving. And we end with the best-selling Series of Unfortunate Events from Lemony Snicket.
Wow, phew, enjoy…and do let us know in the comments if you think we’ve missed any corkers. There were others we would have liked to include..but 50 was our limit! Rules are rules ;-)
This beautiful board is the perfect first introduction to Alice. Babies and toddlers will love the playful and quirky characters Alison Jay brings to life with her own unique perspective whilst encapsulating the zany other-worldness of Carroll's novel.
The four sisters, each with a striking and strong character, between them represent any girls growing up at any time. Meg, the eldest, is sixteen and very pretty; fifteen year old Jo is a tomboy who loves reading; delicate, thirteen year old Beth plays the piano beautifully while twelve year old Amy, is pretty but a little bit selfish and indulged. How their sisters fill their time with creative activities and good work and how they all fall in love in their different ways with the boy next door is full of period charm as well as being totally topical and applicable for modern readers. ~ Julia Eccleshare This is a lovely gift edition of this much-loved classic, perfect to mark a special occasion. With illustrations throughout, the text is complete and unabridged and includes a biography of the author with links to find out more online.
How spirited Katy Carr adapts her character when she has a terrible accident that leaves her unable to walk is a classic story with a strong moral message. Until she falls from the swing, twelve-year-old Katy has enjoyed a tomboy existence despite being in constant trouble especially from her Aunt Izzie who is in charge of Katy and her younger siblings. After the fall, Katy is bedridden. Never previously one to sit still, Katy is sure she will not be able to bear the inactivity. But the accident changes her. Helped by all her family and friends she first just survives but later, propelled by her fearsome determination, she manages to get back on her feet. Katy’s story is genuinely touching. Jacqueline Wilson has written a modern re-imagining of a 21 century Katy inspired by the classic novel What Katy Did.
One of the most famous characters in literature, Tom Sawyer has an uncanny knack of getting into mischief. Wherever Tom is there is drama, whether playing tricks on his friends to do his job of painting the fence, being witness to a murder, finding a box of gold or attending his own funeral. Tom always seems to come out on top but will he be able to outwit Injun Joe? ~ Julia Eccleshare
The Story of Heidi is a most tender and touching one. When Heidi is orphaned, she is sent to live with her uncle in his simple home high up in the mountains. Heidi loves the life and her grandfather; she loves the outdoors and the fresh air and he is determined that she should be free to enjoy it all without the burden of convention or study. But Heidi’s life is turned upside down again when she is sent off to live in the city by her strict aunt. Here Heidi finds a different kind of happiness. How can she bring together the two parts of her life.
‘Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!’ The classic swashbuckling story of pirates, buried treasure, shipwreck and much more is vividly brought to life in the glorious illustrations in this volume. Young Jim Hawkins tells the tale from his first meeting with the mysterious old seaman in the Admiral Benbow pub to his adventures on the high seas in search of buried treasure and the pirate, Long John Silver. The text is unabridged.
Kipling’s Jungle Book stories and poems remain some of the best-loved children’s literature, his stories of Mowgli, Bagheera, Baloo and Shere-Khan, and of Rikki-tikki and Toomai, retaining all their power to fascinate and intrigue young readers. Complete and unabridged, this version features lively colour illustrations throughout, certain to appeal to its audience. It also includes a short biography of Rudyard Kipling himself, just enough to introduce the man to modern children. ~ Andrea Reece
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been casting its magic spell on readers for over 100 years. Join Dorothy and her dog Toto with their friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion on their amazing adventure in the magical world of Oz. Lorena Alvarez Gomez’s illustrations bring all the magic to life in this beautiful, un-abridged edition.
Cats Brothers, the award winning knitwear/street-wear label give Peter Rabbit a decidedly cool, but very fitting new look on the cover of this edition of the favourite story, one of the Beatrix Potter British Fashion Designer Collection, created to mark the 150th anniversary of the author’s birth. Deciding that if Peter were around today he’d be the bad brother of the burrow, they replace his iconic blue jacket with a hip denim one, customized with ‘vegetable’ patches! Potter’s illustrations are reflected on the end papers too which feature gorgeous embroidered radishes and peas! It’s an idiosyncratic approach, but it really works and this will definitely draw fashion-conscious youngsters into Potter’s world. ~ Andrea Reece In celebration of Beatrix Potter’s 150th anniversary, Penguin Random House have commissioned five of Britain and Ireland’s most exciting fashion designers to reimagine the cover designs of Potter’s best-loved tales. Visually stunning and completely unexpected, we hope you enjoy seeing Potter’s characters through this new lens – Jo Hanks, Publisher Beatrix Potter had an eye for fashion as well as the natural world, clothing her characters in à la mode jackets, hats, shawls and dresses with Peter Rabbit being inseparable from his iconic blue jacket. It has been a privilege working with modern British and Irish fashion designers, each creating surprising and wonderful designs inspired by Beatrix Potter’s classic tales adding their own distinctive style into the mix– Adam Wardle, Designer
The magical idea of never growing up lies at the heart of the story of Peter Pan. When Peter Pan flies in at the bedroom window of the three Darling children one starry night he leads them off flying over rooftops and, to the cry “Second to the right and straight on till morning”, off to Neverland. Here they meet the Lost Boys, the mermaids, the cheeky Tinkerball and, above all, the deadly captain Hook and his pirates. Adventure follows adventure before the three darling children are returned safely home and back to bed. But they never forget Peter Pan and nor will readers who will also love the magic he leads them to. This edition is part of the Vintage Children's Classics series which is aimed at and shaped by 8-12 year olds, and the adults in their lives. It is a broad, affordable selection of books that will inspire a life-long love of reading; these stories that have secured a place in the hearts of thousands. They are all unabridged. To view all the Vintage Children's Classics titles click here. They are books to be given as gifts, and passed down the generations. In addition, story hungry children often don't want the adventure to end, so why not take a look at the fully interactive website - World of Stories - which contains lots of extra material - the backstory: with quizzes, activities and fascinating facts about the books and their authors.
This is one of the best-loved family stories of all the classics. When Roberta, Peter and Phyillis’s father is arrested their life is turned upside down. The children move to the country and the railway that runs nearby becomes their greatest source of adventure. One day, they come up with a brilliant plan to make use of the friends they’ve made through the train to prove their father’s innocence and bring him back safely. Will it work? A book to treasure and return to again and again and features the complete and unabridged text. If you love a good story, then look no further. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Friendship, hospitality and having fun propel the adventures of these four animals as they go about their lives against the watery landscape in this classic tale. Life on the riverbank with close-friends Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger is mostly peaceful. There is lots of entertaining as well as a great deal of just messing about on the river. Just occasionally the peace is shattered, as when Toad gets behind the wheel of his car and speeds around the countryside letting rip with the horn or, more seriously, by brief attempts to defeat the weasels and stoats in the Wild Wood.
How feisty Anne, an orphan who is sent by mistake to Green Gables, enchants Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert and so begins a new life for herself, makes a winning story. Anne has two overwhelming characteristics: she has a tremendous imagination and an ability to chatter on ceaselessly – although she can be completely silent when requested. Through Anne’s chattering readers get to enjoy her insights into life in Avonlea both as it really is and how Anne imagines it to be. In an Introduction to this classic, Lauren Child tells how Anne and her lively view of life captivated her. Books in The Anne of Green Gables Series: 1. Anne of Green Gables 2. Anne of Avonlea 3. Anne of the Island 4. Anne of Windy Poplars 5. Anne's House of Dreams 6. Anne of Ingleside
The classic story of how an unhappy little girl is transformed by the wonders of nature is a deeply touching one which provides hope and optimisim to readers. When misrerable Mary Lennox is taken out into the garden, she is sure she will hate it. But then she meets Dickon, the garden boy who reveals to her the wonders of nature held within the secret garden with simple and absolute delight. Dickon also describes his family revealing to Mary as he does so some important truths about the bonds of kinship and loyalty. The magical spell that the garden weaves over Mary and the way that it changes her her physically and spiritually. readers will have their eyes opened too. This edition is part of the Vintage Children's Classics series which is aimed at and shaped by 8-12 year olds, and the adults in their lives. It is a broad, affordable selection of books that will inspire a life-long love of reading; these stories that have secured a place in the hearts of thousands. They are all unabridged. To view all the Vintage Children's Classics titles click here. They are books to be given as gifts, and passed down the generations. In addition, story hungry children often don't want the adventure to end, so why not take a look at the fully interactive website - World of Stories - which contains lots of extra material - the backstory: with quizzes, activities and fascinating facts about the books and their authors.
'Many years ago - when our grandfathers were little children - there was a doctor and his name was Dolittle' Dr Dolittle lives in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh with his friends Dab-Dab the duck, Jip the dog, Gub-Gub the baby pig, Too-Too the owl, the parrot Polynesia, as well as rabbits in the pantry, white mice in the piano and a crocodile in the fish pond. Why do the animals love Dolittle so? Its because he can speak their language, and because he's the best animal doctor for miles around. When the monkeys in Africa call on his aid, Doctor Dolittle sets off on an marvellous voyage, encountering bad-tempered kings, fearsome pirates and the mysterious pushmi-pullyu along the way. Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can learn about the different ways that animals talk to each other! Vintage Children's Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
One of the best-loved stories about what makes a child’s toy ‘real’ and how becoming real is the dearest wish of all toys in the nursery. When the handsome Velveteen Rabbit, with his spotted brown and white coat and ears lined with pink sateen, arrives in the Boy’s stocking on Christmas morning he looks charming. But the Velveteen Rabbit soon discovers that looking good isn’t what really matters. What matters is to be Real. How the Velveteen Rabbit learns what real is and how he becomes real himself is a lyrically told story of the importance of make believe for children. ~ Julia Eccleshare
A. A. Milne's first stories about Winnie-the-Pooh, the most famous bear in the world, were published over eighty years ago. The popularity of Pooh and his Forest friends continues to endure with each new generation of children and their parents. Discover what happens when Pooh goes visiting and Piglet meets a Heffalump, not forgetting when Eeyore loses his tail and Pooh finds one! E. H. Shepard's witty and loving illustrations are reproduced in colour. Our Guest Editor for December 2010, Sally Grindley: "I am not talking about the Disney films – Pooh’s voice in those bears (sorry!) no relation to the voice I have in my mind when I read A. A. Milne’s wonderful stories. In fact, my mum used to read these to me and I could never get enough of them, especially the ones where Pooh and Piglet nearly catch a Woozle, Eeyore loses a tail, and Pooh gets into a tight place. Oh, and when Piglet meets a Heffalump. And then there’s the one about Tigger being unbounced. Who’s my favourite? I think it has to be Eeyore, but I do love Tigger too. The books should be part of every childhood, not the films."
This is the classic story of an otter living in the Devonshire countryside which captures the feel of life in the wild as seen through the otter's own eyes. It is full of joy and wonder, as well as death, sadness and brutality and yet it is an inspirational portrait of a vanished time, seen from Tarka's viewpoint. Often harrowing, the story details Tarka's constant battle with the otter hounds, and in particular their fearsome leader Deadlock. Most of us will have never seen an otter in the wild or be likely to see one and yet once you've read the story of Tarka the Otter you will not only know exactly what they look like, you will also know their mannerisms and crucially having read the novel, you will also realise how man's impact almost drove them to extinction. A message from Michael Morpurgo about Henry Williamson and his writing: 'It is a rare gift indeed for a storyteller to be a poet as much as a storymaker, to tell a tale so deeply engaging that the reader wants to know what will happen and never wants it to end, and yet at the same tells it in such a way as to leave a reader wide-eyed with amazement at the sheer intensity of feeling that can be induced by the word-magic of a poet. Henry Williamson is just such a story-maker poet.'_____________ Puffin Fact! The iconic character Annie first appeared as the eleven-year-old heroine of a comic strip called ‘Little Orphan Annie’. Download more Puffin Facts here! _____________ Dear readers, dreamers and adventurers, Ever wanted a friend who could take you to magical realms, talk to animals or help you survive a shipwreck? Well, you'll find them all in the PUFFIN BOOK collection. A PUFFIN BOOK will stay with you forever. Maybe you'll read it again and again, or perhaps years from now you'll suddenly remember the moment it made you laugh or cry or simply see things differently. Adventurers big and small, rebels out to change their world, even a mouse with a dream and a spider who can spell - these are the characters who make stories that last a lifetime. Whether you love animal tales, war stories or want to know what it was like growing up in a different time and place, the A PUFFIN BOOK collection has a story for you - you just need to decide where you want to go next... We want to know which is your favourite. Tell us or tweet a photo of your old beloved copy - and we might just send you a new A PUFFIN BOOK so you can pass the story on. Love - PUFFIN @puffinbooks #shareapuffinbook
A classic detective story told at a cracking pace, this features one of the first fictional child detectives. When Emil is robbed of his mother’s hard earned savings from right out of his pocket as he is asleep on a train, he takes swift action. Emil has no confidence in the police and so recruits his own assistant, Gustav. The two boys round up a group of friends and catch the thief. Emil is handsomely rewarded and all ends happily. Emil is charming and clever, the ideal hero of this terrific adventure.
Children, boats and adventure, the classic story of Swallows and Amazons laid down a model for this type of fiction. Having set sail for the island in the middle of the lake in their boat Swallow, the four Walker children set up camp and enjoy their freedom and independence. Then the two Blackett sisters arrive in their boat Amazon. How the two families co-exist and become firm friends as they enjoy shared adventures in the outdoors is a perfect introduction to a very different way of life.
Chosen by Sally Nicholls, March 2012 Guest Editor: "All of my novels are about families, and Ballet Shoes is at its heart a family story. I loved this book as a child, and it was the family I loved most; the Fossil sisters, growing up in a tall house in Cromwell Road filled with an odd collection of people who love them." Also chosen by February 2012 Guest Editor, Jacqueline Wilson: "This was one of my childhood favourites - and although it's dated in many ways I think many girls will still love this story of three orphans brought up together and sent to stage school so they can earn their own livings. I could never make up my mind which sister I liked the best - pretty blonde Pauline who's a brilliant actress, dark tomboy Petrova who hates performing on the stage and wants to fly aeroplanes, or red-haired Posy who's a wonderful ballet dancer. Noel Streatfeild sucks you into the story and makes you care passionately about all three sisters." The Lovereading comment: A timeless and magical read that celebrates the 75th anniversary of its first publication. It's also one of Jacqueline Wilson's all time favourite reads. Definitely a masterpiece in our opinion so make sure this 75th anniversary edition of one of the classics of all time is introduced to a new generation of readers and dance lovers.
An absolute classic of children’s literature, the great adventure of Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarfs. It’s important to remember how long ago this book was written, the style is not that of a modern children’s book, but the magic of the tale shines through the old-fashioned language. It is, and always has been, a little treasure of a book ~ Sarah BroadhurstThe first new illustrated edition of The Hobbit for more than 15 years contains 150 brand new colour illustrations. Artist Jemima Catlin's charming and lively interpretation brings Tolkien's beloved characters to life in a way that will entice and entertain a new generation of readers.
Chosen by Jacqueline Wilson. Carnegie winner in 1937. When I re-read this down-to-earth, charming adventure that’s full of humour I felt more than a little sad for although the 1930s was a decade of hardship for most people in England, this family of 7 children had immense freedom and a fun-filled action-packed time despite being very poor; in fact, almost certainly a much more fun and enjoyable time than children of today. It was a time of innocence and trust but nowadays we deny our children freedom and protect our children because sadly that trust in other people and innocence has gone. This is a wonderful evocation of a now vanished world that all children should read and will thoroughly enjoy, not just because of the great adventures but also the heart-warming characters. It has been beautifully published by Puffin with original illustrations. A timeless classic that may be from a different era but it’s a book to cherish. (7-9) To find out more about this book CLICK HERE to visit the Carnegie Greenaway site
The extraordinary story of a boy called Wart – ignored by everyone except his tutor, Merlyn – who goes on to become King Arthur. Collins Modern Classics are re-launched with gorgeous new covers bringing these timeless story to a new generation. Lovereading Review to follow..
A world wide best-seller, The Little Prince was originally published over seventy years ago but it remains as original, imaginative and entertaining as ever. The Little Prince’s plane crashes as he travels from an asteroid far, far away. On his own planet is his true love; before him is the whole world waiting to be explored. As he travels to six other planets questioning all he sees, the Little Prince leads readers on a magical journey of discovery. A remarkable celebration of the value of questions and the power of wonder, The Little Prince, is a story to treasure.
When Joe, Beth and Frannie move to a new home, an Enchanted Wood is on their doorstep. And when they discover the Faraway Tree, that is the beginning of many magical adventures! Join them and their friends Moonface, Saucepan Man and Silky the fairy as they discover which new land is at the top of the Faraway Tree. Will it be the Land of Spells, the Land of Treats, or the Land of Do-As-You-Please? There'll be adventures waiting for them, whatever happens; funny, magical adventures that will delight children again and again. This title is also available as a Nintendo DS™ FLIPS title - click here
Anthony McGowan, Guest Editor June 2015 chose Animal Farm as one of his favourite short novels...."Orwell’s story of a farmyard revolution is one of the very few parables that works on both levels: his animal characters are so wonderfully drawn we come to love (or hate) them, share in their dreams, aspirations, and feel for their ultimate betrayal. Add to that the wider truths it tells us about power and injustice, and we have one of the greatest books of the twentieth century. All in 144 pages …" Animal Farm - the history of a revolution, under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Wellington leads to the animals taking over the farm but it all went wrong - is George Orwell's brilliant satire on the corrupting influence of power. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
A recommendation from our Guest Editor, Lauren Child MBE | Not to be missed, this is a newly translated edition of this classic story about a wonderful little girl. Pippi Longstocking is nine years old; she lives alone with a horse and a monkey and spends her days having wonderfully imaginative adventures with her friends. Once hooked on Pippi, readers will find she’s a character that will never be forgotten. Perfect for children just setting out on the wonderful experience of reading alone. Be sure to check out the lovely hardback gift edition of this title from Oxford University Press. Books in The Pippi Longstocking Series: 1. Pippi Longstocking 2. Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard 3. Pippi Longstocking in the South Seas
Chosen by Michael Rosen. First published over 60 years ago, Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl has reached millions of young people throughout the world. However, the recent major new BBC TV dramatisation has brought her extraordinary writing to life in a way that will engage and inspire a whole new generation. So whether you've watched the TV or not, this is the full unabridged edition of Anne's diaries and is essential reading. Only Anne's spelling and linguistic errors have been corrected. Otherwise, the text has basically been left as she wrote it (translated by Susan Massotty), since any attempts at editing and clarification would be inappropriate in a historical document.
In a nutshell: Iconic | Outspoken | Big Issues | Difficult Truths A story about writing, this is also a wonderfully romantic story told by a young narrator trying to capture the unusual behaviour of her family and the life they lead in an unusual ruined castle as well as describing her own emotional turmoil. Cassandra is determined not to be pretentious as she tells the stories of her family and the story of her own desperate entanglement with the man who loves her sister. The result is a book that is delightfully entertaining and humorous. ~ Julia Eccleshare It is one of The Originals from Penguin - iconic, outspoken, first. The Originals are the pioneers of fiction for young adults. From political awakening, war and unrequited love to addiction, teenage pregnancy and nuclear holocaust, The Originals confront big issues and articulate difficult truths. The collection includes: The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton, I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith, Postcards from No Man's Land - Aidan Chambers, After the First Death - Robert Cormier, Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty, The Endless Steppe - Esther Hautzig, Buddy - Nigel Hinton, Across the Barricades - Joan Lingard, The Twelfth Day of July - Joan Lingard, No Turning Back - Beverley Naidoo, Z for Zachariah - Richard C. O'Brien, The Wave - Morton Rhue, The Red Pony - John Steinbeck, The Pearl - John Steinbeck, Stone Cold - Robert Swindells.
One of our 'Must Reads'. C.S Lewis’s classic fantasy book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tells the story of the four Pevensie children, Lucy, Peter, Edmund, and Susan, and their adventures in the mystical world of Narnia. Sent to the British countryside for their own safety during the blitz of World War II, they discover an entryway into a mystical world through an old wardrobe. Mythical creatures suffering under the rule of the cruel White Witch inhabit Narnia and the arrival of the children gives them hope for liberation. All are dragged into the inevitable conflict between evil and good. Fantastic stuff filled with beautiful symbolism that still captures young hearts today.
A recommendation from our Guest Editor, September 2020, Michael Morpurgo, MBE | A extraordinary story, exquisitely written, with unforgettable passages of dialogue and description, that confronts the dilemma of our relationship with farm animals. Witty, and in places, desperately sad this is a book where animals talk yet remain who they are, themselves. A book to make you cry. - Michael Morpurgo Magical, this timeless farmyard story tells of the power of friendship. When the runty little piglet is saved from an early death, he grows into a fine and handsome pig. And the farmer wants to kill him. Can Charlotte, the spider who has grown to love him, save his life?
An enchanting classic that will fire up a child’s imagination as the storyline unfolds of little creatures living under the floorboards and borrowing everything they need from the humans above the boards. The author describes quite brilliantly what it would be like to be as small as a borrower and to go off on frightening and exciting adventures to borrow what they need. I’m ashamed to say I never read it as a child but have now and it’s equally perfect for parent and child to read together as it is for a child to gain a great deal of enjoyment alone.(7-9) Carnegie Winner in 1952. Books in The Borrowers Series: 1. The Borrowers 2. The Borrowers Afield 3. The Borrowers Afloat 4. The Borrowers Aloft 5. The Borrowers Avenged
William Golding’s iconic and enduring novel is interesting in many ways. Firstly it was a debut book and secondly it was rejected by numerous publishers and editors before it was picked up off the ‘slush-pile’ by a young editor at Faber and Faber. More than 50 years later the schoolboys to savages story is still relevant, disturbing and shocking.
Carnegie winner in 1958. This is one of the most touching and magical children’s books I’ve ever read and it’s one that’s stayed as fresh in my mind as if I’d just read it yesterday. Tom’s imaginary garden is beautifully portrayed and the characters and situations within are richly satisfying and the poignancy of the moments are cherished. Children will love the story and it is as relevant now as it was some 20 years ago when it was first published. (9-12)To find out more about this book CLICK HERE to visit the Carnegie Greenaway site
Chosen by April 2011 Guest Editor Sharon Dogar: "A master class in how to write fictionalised memoir. Place, time and character are all brilliantly put together to make a story that grips, entertains and gently informs. I was completely at one with Scout in not seeing the point of going to school. I could already read, so what else would I ever need? I first read it when I was about twelve. As I grow and re-read it, so my love and understanding of each character changes. It has my favourite piece of dialogue ever. When Jem offers old Mrs Maud a piece of gum, she gently refuses, with the words : ‘I won’t thank you very much Jem Finch, I find it cleaves to my palette and renders me speechless.’ Wonderful."
Caroline Lawrence, July 2012 Guest Editor: "When I was in fourth grade, (Year 4), our teacher Mrs. Eckhardt would give us each a eucalyptus drop (hard candy) and read us this existential sci-fi classic out loud for the last fifteen minutes of the day. This is a story where the fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of a few geeky kids. I remember being enthralled, terrified, amazed and transported. What a teacher! What a book!" Also chosen by November 2011 Guest Editor Steve Cole: "A year before 'Doctor Who' first aired on our screens this lively and satisfying fantasy gave us Mrs Who, the original mysterious alien to travel the universe with a clutch of humans. She's one of three immortal entities (together with Mrs Which and Mrs Whatsit) embroiled in a long struggle against the evil Black Thing, a cosmic cloud of darkness. Three human children are recruited to join the battle, traversing the universe via wrinkles in space-time. Compelling and profound, the aliens and strange worlds they encounter still evoke awe and wonder in this reader." Books in The Wrinkle in Time Series: 1. A Wrinkle in Time 2. A Wind in the Door 3. A Swiftly Tilting Planet 4. Many Waters 5. An Acceptable Time
Published in the early 1960s and yet as relevant today as it was then, this is a book that will captivate the imagination of a 7 or 8 year old – in fact even the most reluctant reader will be hooked. When Barney falls into a disused quarry he’s confronted by Stig, a caveman but none of Barney’s friends believe the story of Stig. So Barney has the time of his life and the two of them get up to a whole heap of adventures. Just read it – we guarantee you’ll enjoy it.
Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in glorious full colour! A book that requires no introduction as it is probably Dahl’s best-known and most read creation and deservedly so. The secretive and magical world of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory is revealed to five ‘lucky’ children, each of who has won a golden ticket. However each child gets their comeuppance in some way, except Charlie of course. Brilliant. Books in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Series: 1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 2. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator 3. The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Mr Willy Wonka
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2020 | Ted Hughes’s strange, compelling, fairy-tale adventure feels more relevant today than it ever has. This new edition is illustrated by Chris Mould and his Iron Man is spectacular – huge, awe-inspiring, but also vulnerable and expressive. Mould captures all the humour of Hughes’s story as well as the mystery, and he is equal to the big themes the story presents, creating unforgettable images for this unforgettable fable. This is a book that will appeal to readers of all ages, and every child should know this story.
Time is running out for Mrs Frisby, who must move her family of mice before the farmer destroys their home. But her son is so ill she is convinced he won't survive the move. Help comes in the unexpected form of super-intelligent rats, and little by little Mrs Frisby learns the rats' secret.
Winner of the 1972 CILIP Carnegie Medal A book that resonates as vividly today as it did nearly half a century ago, this keepsake Oneworld Classic edition showcases more than twenty sumptuous, evocative paintings from Aldo Galli, an illustrator chosen by Richard Adams himself. It is the first full-colour illustrated edition of a celebrated modern classic and international bestseller. Stunning and compulsive are two words that best describe the story of Fiver, of Hazel and the rabbit warren full of family and friends. Rejected by most publishers before eventually being snapped up by Rex Collings in 1972, it was an instant hit and has since sold millions of copies the world over. Beautifully written with some of the best characterisation you'll come across in children’s literature, it tells the story of a group of rabbits and their will to survive despite human attempts to do otherwise. Full of adventure, humour, excitement and sadness it will enthral as much now as it did when it was first published.
Chosen by Jacqueline Wilson, February 2012 Guest Editor: "This is a very touching utterly convincing book about three wartime evacuees billeted to Wales. It's very much a children's story, with a mystery to be solved, but Nina Bawden is very subtle with her characterisation - even hateful Mr Evans with his cruel bullying is seen as sadly pathetic too. Carrie and her little brother Nick are a delight, but my favourite character is their friend Albert Sandwich. He might sport steel spectacles and have a few spots on his chin, but he's one of the most charming boys in all children's fiction." ............................................................................ I loved Carrie’s War from the moment I read it and have enjoyed it more and more with each rereading. At first, I appreciated Nina Bawden’s descriptions of the place and the people: the way she created the stifling atmosphere of the shop and how it contrasted with the freedom of everything that happened at Druid’s Bottom. I read it as the story of a girl being brave when she was away from home. Later, I came to realise that I and all other readers learned tolerance and understanding just like Carrie does. When Carrie is evacuated to Wales with her brother, Nick, she is removed from everything she knows. In a new home and without her parents to advise her Carrie has to work out for herself how she feels about the places around her and how to respond to the unusual circumstances in which she finds herself. While Nick’s emotions are always open, both as he grieves for his missing parents and in how he throws himself without restraint into the new way of life, both embracing Auntie Lou and challenging the bullying councillor Evans, Carrie is more reserved. Carrie waits and watches: she accepts the new situations and considers them coolly. She takes time to adjust to living apart from her parents and to find that she can make decisions for herself. But it’s only when she and Nick are sent to Druid’s Bottom, the strange spooky house set down in the bottom of the valley, that she can really let herself go, having at last found people she can trust. Carrie’s personal journey of discovery is a rich and marvellous one. It’s at Druid’s Bottom that Carrie meets Mrs Gotobed and discovers that growing old is not as terrible as it seems. Here to she meets Mr Johnny with his strange gobbling speech and learns that differences need not be frightening, while from her fellow evacuee Albert sandwich she learns to value her own intelligence. Above all it’s at Druids bottom that she meets the kindly and wise Hepzibah Green whose all-enveloping love and common sense keep Carrie going in difficult times. Despite these themes of separation and the very real dangers posed by the background of the war, Carrie’s War is an upbeat lyrical story containing moments of emotional truth. It is also universal story about growing up, making choices and learning who you can trust. Above all, it’s a story of enormous warmth and understanding, capturing that all-important transition from childhood to adolescence as Carrie grows in her understanding and finds out what really matters to her. One of the most heart-warming and unforgettable stories of the war tells the story of the evacuation of two children to Wales and about growing up amongst strangers and without family. It’s a wonderful evocation of times past and beautifully written. ~ Julia Eccleshare Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
A heart breaking and heart warming story of a special friendship that grows between Willie Beech, evacuated to the country to avoid the Blitz on London, and Tom Oakley, the reserved old man who takes him in. Willie has been lonely and neglected all his life as his mother lacks the ability to care for him. Under Mister Tom’s patient and kind guidance Willie grows emotionally and physically to become the boy he should have been. But then his mother wants him back home in London. Must Willie loose everything that has made him happy? Be sure to check out other books by this author. Just Henry, A Spoonful of Jam, A little Love Song, Cuckoo In The Nest. Puffin Fact! The beech tree’s slim trunk gave Michelle Magorian the idea for her skinny evacuee’s name – William Beech. Download more Puffin Facts here! _____________ Dear readers, dreamers and adventurers, Ever wanted a friend who could take you to magical realms, talk to animals or help you survive a shipwreck? Well, you'll find them all in the PUFFIN BOOK collection. A PUFFIN BOOK will stay with you forever. Maybe you'll read it again and again, or perhaps years from now you'll suddenly remember the moment it made you laugh or cry or simply see things differently. Adventurers big and small, rebels out to change their world, even a mouse with a dream and a spider who can spell - these are the characters who make stories that last a lifetime. Whether you love animal tales, war stories or want to know what it was like growing up in a different time and place, the A PUFFIN BOOK collection has a story for you - you just need to decide where you want to go next... We want to know which is your favourite. Tell us or tweet a photo of your old beloved copy - and we might just send you a new A PUFFIN BOOK so you can pass the story on. Love - PUFFIN @puffinbooks #shareapuffinbook
This special edition of War Horse commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, and features a brand new introduction by Michael Morpurgo and cover artwork by Rae Smith, designer of the National Theatre's production of War Horse. Michael Morpurgo’s tender story of Joey, a brave hearted farm horse who finds himself caught up in the horrors of war, cleverly conveys both the violence and the occasional compassion, which occurs during conflict. A classic story of animal courage and bravery. ~ Julia Eccleshare *** There is a stunning new hardback edition of War Horse, beautifully illustrated by Rae Smith, the stage designer of the epic theatre production. Click here to find out more.
This beautiful, atmospheric book captures the special magic of Christmas for readers of all ages. A young boy, just beginning to wonder whether Father Christmas is real, lies in bed hoping to hear sleigh bells. But instead of a sleigh, a huge train pulls up outside and takes him, together with other pyjama-clad children, off to the North Pole. There the boy meets Father Christmas and choses his present – a sleigh bell. It rings for him that Christmas and every one until he’s an old man, the sound always equalling the first gift of Christmas. This is a book that really does conjure up all that is magic about Christmas and Liam Neeson’s reading on the accompanying CD does it full justice, his rich voice full of doubt, breathless anticipation and joy. Start a Christmas tradition and enjoy this with the whole family on Christmas Eve.
Winner of the 1995 CILIP Carnegie Medal Part one of Philip Pullman’s magnificent trilogy. His ‘Dark Materials’, is the story of Lyra, a young girl with an exceptional destiny. Brought up in Jordan College, Oxford Lyra uncovers a secret about her mysterious guardian which leads to some dangerous questioning. It also marks the beginning of Lyra’s search for her friend Roger, a search that takes her to the ice kingdoms of the North where armoured bears rule. Lyra’s courage and stubborn determination lead her on this mission of incredible danger in this brilliant and imaginative story. The author’s vivid imagination and vision is so spectacular and moving that it will leave you almost speechless with admiration and the amazingly diverse characters will be universally admired by all those who read about them. It’s completely original and totally spellbinding; a true classic that will stand the test of time much in the way Tolkien’s famous work has done. If we at Lovereading were to pick out our ‘winner of winners’ then it would be Northern Lights, the first in Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy. (12+) Winner of the Carnegie of Carnegies in 2007 and Carnegie winner in 1995. Books in His Dark Materials Series: 1. Northern Lights 2. The Subtle Knife 3. The Amber Spyglass
This new edition of the classic and internationally bestselling, multi-award-winning series feature instantly pick-up-able new jackets by Jonny Duddle, with huge child appeal, to bring Harry Potter to the next generation of readers. A world of magical adventure awaits! Visit Bloomsbury's Harry Potter website for magical downloads, games, videos, and more Harry Potter fun!
October 2011 Guest Editor Roddy Doyle: "Boys in jail – a great idea. The jail has no roof and they have to dig huge holes in the baking sun all day – it’s getting even better. I read Holes in hospital a few years ago. I wasn’t ill, and was only there for the day. I actually forgot I was in hospital, the book was so good. I had about ten pages left when a nurse told me I could go home. I was half-hoping she’d tell me I’d have to stay longer, so I could finish the book." Wholly original and brilliantly plotted, Holes is a funny and poignant story about surviving. When Stanley Yelnats is falsely accused of stealing a pair of trainers, he is sent off to Camp Green Lake which is not a camp, not green and not near a lake but a boys’ detention centre in the middle of the desert. Every day every boy has to dig a hole five foot deep and five foot across because, the Warden says, it’s good for them. How Stanley survives and proves that the Warden has a different and far more sinister motive for wanting so many holes to be dug unravels in unexpected and wholly satisfying ways. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
This bestselling series (in fact in the top five of bestsellers of the last decade), now at long last available in paperback, launches with the suitably named title that charts the unlucky reason why the whole woeful story of the three Baudelaire siblings was ever told. This is the wretched book that started all the trouble. Violet, Sunny and Klaus are three intelligent, charming and resourceful children but they suffer some very bad luck indeed when their parents die in a fire that destroys their home and they are packed off to live with their nasty relative, Count Olaf. Here they encounter a greedy villain, disgusting food, strange behaviour by those around them and much more - all of which is revealed in the hugely entertaining, totally deadpan humour that has made this series so original and so captivating. Books in The Series of Unfortunate Events: 1. The Bad Beginning 2. The Reptile Room 3. The Wide Window 4. The Miserable Mill 5. The Austere Academy 6. The Ersatz Elevator 7. The Vile Village 8. The Hostile Hospital 9. The Carnivorous Carnival 10. The Slippery Slope 11. The Grim Grotto 12. The Penultimate Peril 13. The End