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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.
December 2020 Audio Book of the Month | Like its hero, the story Peter Pan will never grow old and retains all its power to enchant, tempt and enthral readers; how wonderful that this new audiobook version should be available for Christmas, as it is magical family listening. A host of stars take turns to narrate but it’s a particular passion project for Joanna Lumley, who is directly involved in the recent transformation of author J.M. Barrie’s childhood home, Moat Brae, into a new national centre for children’s literature and storytelling. She reads the opening chapters and therefore sets the tone beautifully for the story that follows. Young listeners will be captivated by the joyful sense of freedom and rebellion, while adults will hear the strains of melancholy and loss of innocence beneath. A story to resonate with everyone, whatever their age, and especially when it is told as well as it is here. Listen to an extract, the opening chapter from Peter Pan, read by Joanna Lumley.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 9 | Tanya Landman’s storytelling skills shine bright in this potent re-telling of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Specially written to engage reluctant and dyslexic readers, this soars with passion, pinches with the pain of tragic love and brings Brontë’s commentary on social class to the fore. “It just wasn't in me to be the obedient, devoted daughter my father craved,” Cathy states near the start of her story, shortly before her father takes-in beggar boy Heathcliff, with whom she forms a soulful bond that will last a lifetime - and beyond. “The two of us together were bigger than the sky and freer than the wind”, she effuses. They’re wild, and united in their loathing of Cathy’s cruel brother who demotes Heathcliff from family member to servant (and later labourer) when their father dies. When Cathy agrees to marry a well-off suitor, hoping to use his wealth to free Heathcliff from the hellhole Wuthering Heights has become, misfortune after misfortune strikes. But theirs is a love that endures everything, and Landman’s re-telling does a remarkable job of conveying the conflicts and tragedy of the original.
It’s more than 150 years since the publication of Alice in Wonderland and it is delighting today’s readers as much as it ever has. Both a tribute to and a celebration of Lewis Carroll’s story, this collection includes new adventures by eleven favourite contemporary children’s authors, each of whom has been inspired by Alice. With such an extraordinary set of characters and scenes to take as starting points, the stories are wonderfully varied. Pamela Butchart chooses to write about the Queen of Hearts in a follow up story, while Swapna Haddow picks the Mock Turtle. There’s an environmental message in Lauren St John’s lively story ‘Plum Cakes at Dawn’, while Robin Stevens puts the real Alice into her Oxford set story. Together they make for a sparkling collection, one well worth tumbling back down the rabbit hole to enjoy.
The Complete Jane Austen Children's Collection (Easy Classics) | Part of Sweet Cherry Publishing’s Jane Austen series, Gemma Barder’s breezy adaptation of Pride and Prejudice has been thoughtfully re-written and fine-tuned for a young readership. “A single man of good fortune must want a wife! And we have five daughters!” Mrs Bennet declares with delight on discovering “that a rich man called Mr Bingley had rented the largest house in her neighbourhood”. Propelled by their mother’s dogged devotion to see them married to rich suitors, it’s not long before the Bennet sisters meet Mr Bingley and the eldest of them - Jane - is invited to dance by the man himself! While smart, straight-talking Lizzy is drawn to Mr Bingley’s wealthy, handsome friend, Mr Darcy, she’s understandably enraged when she overhears him describing her as merely “tolerable”. But first impressions and surface appearances can be deceptive… The comic complexities of the novel’s plot and themes - among them love, integrity, class, snobbery, societal constraints and conventions - are handled with lively age-appropriate lucidity, often delivered through dialogue that dances off the tongue, which makes it great for reading aloud. This adaptation is sure to keep young readers entertained, while offering plenty of scope for further discussion of the themes, and acting as a springboard to future enjoyment of the original novel.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2020 | January 2020 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 9 | Award-winning author Tanya Landman captures the high drama and deep romance of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre is this fresh retelling. While in the setting of the story and the overarching plot and twists that propel it she is faithful to the time and place of the original and to the feel of both, she has given Jane a boldness and independence that is both entirely in keeping with the original and refreshingly modern.
Milly-Molly-Mandy first burst onto the scene way back in the 1920s and Joyce Lankester Brisley’s stories, now reissued as very pretty little hardbacks and with her illustrations newly coloured, have retained all of their charm. This book contains seven individual stories, each of which details a little domestic adventure, the kinds of things that would be very familiar to children at the beginning of the last century – picnics, family parties, playing out with friends – but which for modern readers will convey a distinct and fascinating sense of youthful freedom and security. Milly-Molly-Mandy and her associates little-friend-Susan and Billy Blunt have lots of fun in a world that is wonderfully safe and reassuring, and these cosy stories are just perfect for newly independent readers.
All of Joyce Lankester Brisley’s Milly-Molly-Mandy stories start Once upon a time … and always what follows are charmingly described, detailed little domestic adventures, such as being sent on an errand, riding Grandad’s pony Twinkletoes or playing in the puddles in the lane. The stories are just the right length for newly independent readers, and will prove as enchanting to children today as they did when they were first published way back in the 1920s, though modern readers might need to consult their elders for explanations of strange things such as kippers, grocers and threepenny pieces. Milly-Molly-Mandy’s world is safe and wonderfully reassuring, Lankester Brisley’s ingenuous, warm-hearted storytelling still a treat and it’s lovely to see these attractive new editions with the author’s own illustrations carefully coloured up.
A Christmas Carol is the most famous, heart-warming and chilling festive story of them all. In these pages we meet Ebenezer Scrooge, whose name is synonymous with greed and parsimony: 'Every idiot who goes about with Merry Christmas on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart'. This attitude is soon challenged when the ghost of his old partner, Jacob Marley, returns from the grave to haunt him on Christmas Eve. Scrooge is then visited in turn by three spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future, each one revealing the error of his ways and gradually melting the frozen heart of this old miser, leading him towards his redemption. On the journey we take with Scrooge we encounter a rich array of Dickensian characters including the poor Cratchit family with the ailing Tiny Tim and the generous and jolly Fezziwig. When Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843 he fashioned an enduring gift to the world, capturing the essence of the love, kindness and generosity of the Christmas season. It is a timeless classic and the story's uplifting magic remains as potent today as when it was first published.
First published in 1873, and actually set in 1872, Jules Verne’s classic adventure still feels fresh and exciting and has lost none of its power to entertain and enthral. The story of Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout and their eastwards race around the globe and against the clock is full of incident, not to mention the romance of travel and the thrill of mankind’s efforts to conquer the world. With frequent full page colour illustrations, including a rather beautiful but useful map, this is a particularly handsome edition and the novel itself is made for serial – or bedtime – reading. ~ Andrea Reece
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
Frances Lincoln is proud to reintroduce the inaugural Greenaway award-winning Black Ships Before Troy. Rosemary Sutcliff brings Homer's epic poem The Iliad to life. A stunningly illustrated edition of Homer’s classic adventure story which has been vibrantly retold by the late Rosemary Sutcliff who adds her own story-telling magic to Homer’s original. The stories which led to the Greek’s siege of Troy, which include The Golden Apple, The Death of Achilles, The Wooden Horse and The Fall of Troy among many others, seamlessly weave the worlds of gods and men into one strand. Alan Lee’s illustrations evoke the heroism of the human Greek warriors – and their cruelty – while also bringing the shadowy gods convincingly to life. ~ Julia Eccleshare
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.