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The Classics never go out of fashion. Find new editions of old favourites, plus some abridged and re-told tales in this section.
A completely original version of the Arabian Nights Stories by award-winning author Geraldine McCaughrean. In order to delay her inevitable execution, Queen Shaharazad tells her murdering husband, King Shahryar, an exciting story every night. She tells her wonderful stories until the King realizes that he won't be able to live without them...
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2021 | A spoilt, lonely and unhappy child, Mary Lennox’s life in India is brought to an abrupt end when her parents die. Uprooted from everything she knows she is sent to live with an unknown relative in a cold and mysteriously sad house in Yorkshire. Mary cannot unlock the mystery but, with the help of Martha, the cheerful servant who looks after her, she begins to explore outdoors and in particular to discover a secret garden. The power of nature to unlock Mary’s unhappiness, especially when harnessed to the natural goodness of Martha’s brother Dickon is as delightful here as in the original. Equally moving is Mary’s influence on her invalid cousin Colin who she transforms into a happy and healthy son whom his father can love.
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.
Geoffrey Trease is the master of historical fiction for children, and for many this is his best book. Set in Elizabethan England at the end of the 15th century it tells the story of fourteen year old Peter Brownrigg who, running from his home to escape his wicked lord, winds up working with a theatre company and apprenticed to William Shakespeare himself. There is treason afoot, and treachery and the story is full of drama, and a little romance too. It’s great to see this handsome new edition of this modern classic. ~ Andrea Reece
Book Band: Dark Red (Ideal for ages 10+) | Having read The Tempest as a pupil and taught it to KS2 pupils, I wish we had had this as an introduction. It is beautifully retold, with just the right amount of traditional language to make the young reader feel they are truly tackling Shakespeare. From the very beginning, the writing is atmospheric and descriptive. Ariel immediately gets the reader drawn in, filling them in on the plot so far and making them part of the evolving story. The characters are richly described, and the complex plots carefully explained. There are so many elements to this story, the love story between Miranda and Ferdinand and the murderous plots of their parents. It is also a story of revenge, trickery, and magic. By including the reader in the story, by such questions as ‘do you know what is? Do you remember, and have you ever wondered’ the writer manages to pull the reader in as a conspirator. This is cleverly and successfully done. Ariel’s mischievous character makes the story fun and lively. The tricks played on Trinculo and Stephano and the way the invisibility cloak is used are all themes that appeal to children. Despite it being a fun and exciting piece of writing the author also manages to write about the feelings of the characters in addition to writing so descriptively. There is so much to discuss and to develop into further reading and writing tasks. There is a lot more here than just a good story.
Chosen by Jacqueline Wilson. Step into the shoes of Sara, a girl with a lively imagination who although well-mannered is absolutely no angel, as fate determines her fortune. Transformed from princess to pauper join Sara in her battle to assuage her fears and conquer her hardships? It’s a story where triumph finally over adversity and is proof that if a character such as Sara can triumph then anything is possible for the reader. For Adeline Yen Mah, The Little Princess was a book that changed her life and had a profound effect upon her, both through stimulating her imagination but also on a personal level for she encountered similar hardships as she grew up, but in a very different world. In this terrific pocket size Puffin Classics edition there’s lots of additional material at the end of the book including an author profile, a guide to who’s who in The Little Princess plus many related activities to do beyond the book.
This is a book that fires the imagination with its bewitching and magical qualities and one that every young girl will absolutely love. There’s an Introduction by Sophie Dahl who at the age of nine (the same age as Mary, the heroine in the story) relished secret places just as Mary did. Sophie’s secret places were the airing cupboard and behind the compost heap in the garden. In this terrific pocket size Puffin edition there’s lots of additional material at the end of the book including an author profile, a guide to who’s who in The Secret Garden plus many related activities to do beyond the book. From Michael Morpurgo: "I love this story of a girl's life being changed by nature."
Sally Nicholls, March 2012 Guest Editor: "I first came across The Secret Garden on story tape as a little girl. I think it's a near-perfect children's book – full of mystery and excitement, but grounded in a child's journey of self-discovery. Hodgson Burnett makes the most ordinary things extraordinary – a robin, a key, a skipping-rope. Brilliant." Michael Morpurgo says of this favourite: "I love this story of a girl's life being changed by nature." The Lovereading comment: An exquisite new edition of the heart-warming tale of Mary, whose life is transformed as she restores an abandoned garden to its former beauty. The book is illustrated throughout with some stunning artwork from the pen of Robert Ingpen. Coupled with various other classics that Robert has illustrated including Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, A Christmas Carol and Treasure Island to name just four this is a terrific collection of collectible hardbacks for the nursery bookshelf. Click here to view all the classics that Robert has illustrated.
The riches to rags story of young Sara Crewe is one of the most poignant of the classics. Little Sara Crewe is only seven when her father leaves her at Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies. She is serious, thoughtful and very much loved child. And she is very, very rich. Miss Minchin has little time for Sara herself but a lot of time for her great wealth. But then the money disappears and Sara’s life is turned upside down. Sara’s genuine good nature helps her to survive the misfortune of the changing circumstances around her. And to embrace another surprise when it happens! ~ Julia Eccleshare
How I loved The Secret Garden as a child - the slow-building, spellbinding sense of magic, the enchantment of nature, the gradual, glowing, transformative friendship between (initially moody, miserable) Mary and Dickon. While the period The Secret Garden evokes is very different from our own, the magical elements at its heart radiate through the particulars of its age. And what better way to introduce today’s young readers to the magic than with this Wordsworth Collector’s Edition? With a stylishly illustrated cover - replete with gold foil - and lovely hardback format, this will add plenty of panache to home and school libraries. The Wordsworth Collector's Editions make wonderful presents for children; you can find more in the series here.
'Gadzooks!' said Dot ...'The things that boy can do!' Dot loves play-acting, dressing up her pet dachshund Piefke and making up words like 'splentastic'. Her best friend is Anton, who lives in a little apartment and looks after his mother. They share a secret - every night, when their parents think they are asleep, they sell matches and shoelaces on the streets of Berlin with Dot's grumpy governess. But why? The answers involve a villain called 'Robert the Devil', a club-wielding maid, a wobbly tooth, a pair of silver shoes and a policeman dancing the tango.