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A family curse, a manipulating lawyer, poverty and secrets threaten to destroy Esther’s world. Are the walls of Bleak House strong enough to protect her and her new friends from such powerful forces? Caught up in an unfolding mystery that's full of surprises but perhaps the biggest mystery of all for the reader is: Who is Nemo? This and the other retellings by Real Reads are a fantastic way to introduce young children to some of the best-known and best-loved classics; beautifully presented and skilfully retold (and condensed – 64 pages in total) and illustrated, they are true to the original plot, capture something of the flavour and tone of the original work, while simplifying the narrative and dialogue. They’re primarily aimed for younger readers – 8-13 year olds but are also a great ‘quick fix’ for teenagers and adults.
The Lovereading comment:
What the Dickens does Dickens mean to you? Oliver’s empty bowl? Christmas ghosts? Exciting television dramas? Big books full of long words?
Charles Dickens’ stories aren’t just classics because they’re old – they’re classics because they are fascinating, exciting and humorous, and because they show a great understanding of something that time can never change – human nature.
Charles Dickens was a brilliant story-teller who had experienced every aspect of life in Victorian England. As a child he saw the misery of debtors’ prisons and, like Oliver Twist and David Copperfield, survived London’s dangerous streets. As an adult, he moved in high circles, amongst top politicians debating in parliament. Largely self-educated, he possessed the genius and the imagination to become the greatest writer of his age.
A hundred and fifty years ago, anyone who could read read Dickens. Even Queen Victoria read Dickens. His work, often serialised in newspapers, was easily available. The exciting plots and lifelike characters appealed, as they do today, to young and old, rich and poor. Today, reading Dickens’ original novels is more of a challenge, as many of the things he described and the words he used to describe them are no longer part of our everyday experience.
However, the things he wrote about – poverty, justice, cruelty, responsibility and love – are just as important today as they were all those years ago.
A message from Gill Tavner:
How many times have you heard somebody speak fondly about a Dickens, Austen or Hardy novel that they read in school or studied for an exam, yet they have not read another since? As an English Teacher and Head of English, I have witnessed the enjoyment experienced by children of all ages and abilities when guided sensitively through a daunting text. However, only the most confident readers will broaden their reading of classics independently of a teacher, either as children or in their adult life. Most people therefore deprive themselves of the delights offered by some of the most influential writers and thinkers. What a loss for them. What a loss for our society.
Surely there is a way to make an abridged version an enjoyable and enriching rather than simply informative reading experience? Surely this is an important distinction if we aim to nurture keen, confident readers? In Real Reads we believe we have found an answer to these problems. For many readers, Real Reads will develop a confidence and enthusiasm to address the original, something we try to nurture in the ‘Taking Things Further’ section of every Real Read. For others, who might never have tackled the originals, Real Reads make accessible great stories, great characters and important moral debates which they might otherwise never have encountered.
To take a look at the other classic novels published by Real Reads click here.
Esther, at fourteen, has never known love. Determined to live well, earn some love and overcome the shadow of her birth, she takes her first steps into an unknown world. A family curse, a manipulating lawyer, poverty and secrets threaten to destroy Esther’s world. Are the walls of Bleak House strong enough to protect her and her new friends from such powerful forces? The reader will be caught up in an unfolding mystery, full of surprises. Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is: Who is Nemo?
|Publication date:||16th November 2007|
|Author:||Charles Dickens - retold by Gill Tavner|
|Suitable for:||11+ readers, 9+ readers|
Charles Dickens was born in the southern English town of Portsmouth on 7 February 1812, the second of eight children. He started school at the age of nine, but didnâ€™t stay long as his father, who by now was a clerk for the Royal Navyâ€™s wages department in Chatham, wasnâ€™t actually very good at sums, and was put in prison for being in debt. At the age of twelve Charles was sent to work in Warrenâ€™s shoe-blacking factory in London, where wages were meagre and conditions appalling. He was very lonely. After three years he went back ...More About Charles Dickens - retold by Gill Tavner