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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.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 9 | At once a frisson-fuelled love story, and a witty exploration of the unfair notion of female “reputation”, class conflict and snobbery, family bonds and friction, and the struggle to act with integrity in a dishonest society, Pride and Prejudice’s central themes certainly still resonate today, which makes this abridged re-telling by Laura Wood (author of LoveReading favourites Under a Dancing Star and A Sky Painted Gold) a brilliant way for new generations to experience the power of a classic through lively, accessible language that’ll have readers gripped, entertained and utterly in the thrall of Austen’s themes and characters. What’s more, since this version is published by Barrington Stoke, it’s been written and printed with accessibility at the fore, with the author’s characteristic verve woven through the thoroughly readable text as it conjures the thought-provoking, nuanced essence of Austen’s original novel. Some feat!
Christmas magic, delivered! A hilarious Christmas caper and the perfect festive gift, from bestselling author, Ben Miller. All Tog wants to do is work in Santa's workshop and one wonderful day, the letter from Santa arrives: Tog has been selected as an apprentice elf! Making toys is a lot more technical and a lot less fun than Tog had imagined, and even though his new friend Holly tries to help him, he's quickly relegated to cleaning out the reindeer stables. But someone has been stealing the presents from the workshop and a case of mistaken identity finds Tog accused of being the culprit! Can Tog use his special Christmas magic to discover the real thief and save all the presents before Christmas Eve is over? A funny and heartwarming story about the true meaning of gift giving, from the King of Christmas, Ben Miller - the perfect stocking filler for all the family!
With short chapters, stylish illustrations, and lots of lively dialogue, this splendid re-working of The Great Gatsby deftly presents the novel’s adult themes (thwarted love, loveless marriage, the disintegration of the American dream, the gratuitous pursuit of pleasure and money, the sociology of wealth, and elitism) in a manner young readers will understand and respond to. The result is a highly-readable, thought-provoking book that demonstrates the timeless universality of the themes that underpin this classic of American literature, while making them accessible to a younger 21st-century audience. The free audio book is a great bonus, as are the information boxes that contextualise the novel’s 1920s setting, should any readers wonder what on earth an investment bond or coupe is.
October 2021 Book of the Month | When ship’s surgeon Gulliver sets off across the seas in search of adventure he has little idea what he will find. His two greatest discoveries are the countries of Lilliput and Brobdingnag. In Lilliput he finds a population of tiny people to whom he appears as a giant while in Brobdingnag the roles are reversed: Gulliver is tiny and Brobdingnags are giants. Swift uses Gulliver’s descriptions of his experiences in these contrasting countries to write a satirical commentary on his own society. His use of Gulliver’s altered relative size gives great scope for studying everyday events in a new way and makes a fine vantage point for telling the contrasting stories. Gulliver is an iconic figure in literature. Read aloud, this abridged edition with its impressionistic yet detailed illustrations by Robert Ingpen will make an excellent way to introduce the story about him to young readers.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2021 | October 2021 Book of the Month | Michael Morpugo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom is just one of the very many stories for adults and children alike that have been inspired by Daniel Defoe’s classic shipwreck story. Written over 300 years ago, the story of Robinson Crusoe, an impulsive young man who runs away to sea against the best efforts of his parents to stop him, is packed full of gripping action as Crusoe survives the worst the elements throw at him before he is shipwrecked on an apparently uninhabited island. The story of Crusoe’s life on an island is a lyrical study of a place as well as an inspiring story of one man’s resourcefulness. In this adapted edition award-winning illustrator Robert Ingpen’s illustrations bring Daniel Defoe’s classic story to life in timeless images.
From an original story by Hans Christian Andersen | Deep in the forest, a beautiful little fir tree is unhappy with his lot. He wants to be big and tall like the other trees, and then to become a sturdy cabin or a ship sailing across the sea. So busy is he wishing his life away that he doesn’t notice all he has – the precious moments in the beautiful forest with his friends, the birds, flowers and butterflies. When at last he is tall and beautiful, he is cut down and taken to be a Christmas tree in a family home. It doesn’t end there however, and there are more twists in the story, more sorrow for the little tree which prompts him to reconsider what’s really important. Christopher Corr allows the little tree a happy ending and there’s much in his version of the classic story for children to think about. The illustrations are bright and bold, full of vibrant colours, their folk-art style perfect for this story which is both simple and reflective.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2021 | Sumptuously produced and overflowing with wonderful illustrations, this book focuses on the amazing landscapes that have shaped some of the best-loved traditional tales. Lucille Clerc’s illustrations are incredibly detailed. She captures the watery depths of an underground kingdom, the dangers of a tropical island, the tempting sweets on the witch’s gingerbread house and much more. Each of these richly imagined environments enhances the best loved stories and their characters that are included in this collection including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz and many more.
Fantastical adventures abound in this spirited, richly-layered epic. If you were to judge this book by its beautiful cover, you may well expect an exciting, character-driven adventure with a classic flavour, and you’d be exactly right. Henry Chancellor’s epic (both in scope and size) Jack Joliffe Goes Forth tells the exhilarating tale of a 12-year-old girl (“Why am I called Jack? I don’t know. That is one of the many mysteries in my life”) who’s unexpectedly summoned to be a Royal Keeper at St James’s Palace. The novel is narrated in Jack’s jaunty, whimsical voice as she discovers the strange, secret world that exists beneath the palace. A world of fantastical creatures (dragons, fairies and jabberwocks), and a young prince who insists he doesn’t want to become king. A world in which Jack finds herself embroiled in palace intrigue and ancient magic. Though smartly paced and packed with action, at almost 600 pages, this is most likely to be enjoyed by more committed readers, with the glorious hardback format and characterful illustrations making it an ideal gift for 9+-year-olds who like to be well and truly absorbed by fantastical adventures set in richly-detailed worlds. Joanne Owen, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
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.
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.
Part of Wordsworth’s Exclusive Collection (a series of 15 classics for all ages), this new gift edition of Robin Hood is resplendent with embossed gold foiling and an attractive bespoke cover illustration. If you’ve yet to read it, now’s your chance to enjoy a stunning edition at an attractive price. What’s more, Robin’s action-packed escapades are perfect for sharing aloud with the young adventurers in your life. Henry Gilbert’s story of legendary English outlaw Robin Hood has entertained and enthralled since it was first published back in 1819. In all likelihood, though, most people have encountered this champion of the poor through films or TV, so now’s your chance to enjoy the story in written form. As for that story, Robin is the arguably the world’s best-loved outlaw whose adventures with the Merry Men of Sherwood, Maid Marian, good King Richard (and encounters with enemies Guy of Gisborne and the Sheriff of Nottingham) have inspired writers for centuries. It’s an archetypal tale of goodies versus baddies here delivered in a spirit of derring-do.
Part of Wordsworth’s Exclusive Collection (a series of 15 classics for all ages), this gorgeous gift edition bind-up of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea boasts embossed gold foiling and an attractive bespoke cover illustration. Anne is truly an adorable, endearing, inspiring character, and her life at Green Gables after being taken in by the Cuthberts is evoked with lively detail, atmosphere and emotion. While prone to creating chaos, impossibly romantic, and headstrong (often self-destructively so), Anne has the hugest of hearts and reading this book - the first two novels in the series - is guaranteed to have readers hooked on her exploits as she moves from girlhood to womanhood. If you’ve yet to read these enchanting, amusing, heart-stealing classics, now’s your chance to enjoy a stunning edition at an attractive price.
With its gold foil embossing and warm-hued cover illustration, this edition of E Nesbit’s The Railway Children (part of Wordsworth’s Exclusive Collection) makes a great gift. If you’ve seen and loved the film, but not read the book, you’re in for a treat. This is your chance to experience the story’s timeless charms afresh. Though suffused in enchanting nostalgic charm (it was first published as a series of stories in 1905, and as a novel in 1906), The Railway Children remains appealing to contemporary readers as it tells the moving, gripping story of three children whose comfortable lives are swept from under their feet when their daddy is compelled to leave their London home. Life couldn’t be more different in the country - their mother works as a writer to keep food on the table, and the children take comfort from the railway they live near to. They befriend the station’s Porter and Master, and even save a train from calamity, but the mystery and ache of their father’s disappearance looms large, until the Old Gentleman lends a hand. Packed with drama and adventure, this wonderful story delicately explores the emotional strains of coping with an absent parent, and shows how people can adapt in order to survive - and thrive - in challenging, changed situations.
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