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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 | 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.
A recommendation from our Guest Editor, September 2020, Michael Morpurgo, MBE | This is a much-loved favourite classic. Here are the thoughts of three favourite authors: Michael Morpurgo, September 2020, Guest Editor : 'A terrifically exciting tale of a dead man’s map, mutinous pirates, skulduggery and buried treasure that will be thoroughly enjoyed by a child if read aloud to them from the age of 5 upwards. It’s such a gripping adventure that children are sure to pick it up again to read alone when they’re a little older. It’s the story of Jim Hawkins who discovers a map in an old sea chest but little does he know of the danger and excitement which lie ahead when sets sail for Treasure Island in search of treasure. 'This was the first proper book I read for myself. Jim Hawkins was the first character in a book I identified with totally. I was Jim Hawkins. I lived Treasure Island as I read it. And I loved it. Still do. I wish I'd written it.' Tim Bowler, February 2011 Guest Editor: "All right, another sea story, but it's one of the best ever. I first read it at the age of ten and I've read it countless times since. It's a book I would love to have written myself. It's got everything – pirates, treasure, a sea voyage, a desert island, danger, treachery, courage, comradeship, humour, and a cast that includes some of the most memorable characters in fiction: Jim Hawkins, Squire Trelawney, Ben Gunn and Long John Silver. Every time I read this novel, it gets better. There are very few books you can say that about." March 2010 Guest Editor Michael Foreman's special memories of this book: "One of our teachers, Oscar Outlaw, realised that most of the class had no books at home. He started bringing in his own books and reading to us on Friday afternoons if it was too wet for games. First he read The Wind in the Willows. And then, Treasure Island. What a treat! We looked forward to rain." Treasure Island in a nutshell: Black spot moment. Sea dog dies. Jim finds map. Ship sets sail. Pirates on board. Island is found. Madman in cave. Two rival camps. Battle for map. Dig up chest. Treasure is gone. Gunn has gold. Head back home. Silver runs off.Jim writes book. Just click here to view our range of Children’s Classics.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 The classic story of Paddington Bear, so called because the Brown family first meet him on Paddington Station and decide to take him home. Paddington Bear has travelled all the way from Darkest Peru with a label round his neck that reads: “Please Look After This Bear”. Paddington Bear is a most delightful companion but he is not exactly house-trained and having him living with them brings the Browns all sorts of adventures. Stephen Fry reads the accompanying CD brilliantly.
Can somebody so selfish, so harsh and so horribly lonely ever change his ways? In one terrifying night, poor Scrooge is haunted by four ghosts. Will he change his ways? Weep and laugh as you read this much-loved Christmas story. 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.
“Bah!” said Scrooge. “Humbug. ” Christmas calls for a reading of A Christmas Carol! Charles Dickens’s story of mean old Ebenezer Scrooge who hates Christmas and refuses to celebrate or even allow others to celebrate. But then, one year, he is visited by the ghost of his former partner Jacob Marley who warns Scrooge of the misery he is piling up in the future. Can Scrooge change his ways? And what will Christmas be like afterwards? Paired with the original illustrations by Arthur Rackham this is a gift edition for all ages.
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.
Christmas: everyone loves Christmas except for Ebenezer Scrooge whose name has become synonymous with a miserly outlook on life. Hating Christmas as usual and doing all he can to spoil everyone else’s fun, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts one year and between them they make him change his ways…The result is one of the most wonderful accounts of the fun and feasting that Christmas can bring. Anthony Horowitz regards A Christmas Carol as a perfect introduction to Dickens. From Michael Morpurgo: "The first few pages were so engaging, Marley's ghostly face on the knocker of Scrooge's door still gives me the shivers."
The original Christmas tale is brought to life in this colourful graphic novel adaptation. It is the second Charles Dickens title from Classical Comics and probably his best-loved story. Set in Victorian England and highlighting the social injustice of the time we see one Ebenezer Scrooge go from oppressor to benefactor when he gets a rude awakening to how his life is, and how it should be. This is the original text of the classic novel but brought to life in full colour. If you would prefer to read a modern quick text of A Christmas Carol then click here.
This is the full story in quick modern English for a fast-paced read. The original Christmas tale is brought to life in this colourful graphic novel adaptation. It is the second Charles Dickens title from Classical Comics and probably his best-loved story. Set in Victorian England and highlighting the social injustice of the time we see one Ebenezer Scrooge go from oppressor to benefactor when he gets a rude awakening to how his life is, and how it should be. If you'd prefer to read this classic novel in the original text then click here.
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
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.
All the action, bravery and romance of those living through the bloody drama of the French Revolution with the unflinching emblem of the guillotine always in the background are unfolded in Charles Dickens’s classic A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Darnay gets caught up in the great events of revolutionary Paris. Facing certain death, he has only one way out. Can Sydney Carton, who looks exactly like him, save him from the terrifying blade? Additional notes on the characters, an author profile and an Introduction by Roddy Doyle add an extra element in this classic edition. Just click here to view our range of Children’s Classics, then click on the Paperback tab to view all the Puffin Children’s Classics.
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