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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 Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2022 | The classic story of Mole, Ratty and Mr Toad’s bucolic adventures on the river bank, on the river and, above all, in Mr Toad’s car are joyfully captured in this re-telling for younger readers. Picking out the strands of Kenneth Grahame’s great story that celebrate the warmth between the three friends, the beauty of the English countryside and the recklessness of Mr Toad which leads to him having to be rescued from prison!, Rashmi Sirdeshpande gives the flavour of the plot in simple, easy to understand language. Jojo Clinch’s striking illustrations capture the story perfectly.
What a treat it is for a Rosemary Sutcliff treasure to be newly presented to the world, and in a beautiful package that befits the story’s historic charms and thrills, with charming chapter heading illustrations by Isabel Greenberg, and an introduction by Lara Maiklem, the acclaimed author of Mudlarking. This Manderley Press edition of The Armourer’s House will make a glorious gift for fans of historic fiction who relish intrigue and atmosphere, and comes highly recommended for readers who love Eva Ibbotson’s writing, and contemporary writers like Celia Rees and Katherine Rundell. First published in 1951, The Armourer’s House is set in London during the reign of Henry VIII, and rich in the engaging period detail Sutcliff is renowned for. When her grandmother dies, Tamsyn leaves her Devonshire seaside town and ship merchant Uncle Martin to live with Uncle Gideon in his armourer’s house on the Thames. Having a wife and large family, Gideon is deemed a more suitable guardian, but Tamsyn “did not want to be brought up properly, she only wanted to be happy”. She also longs to “have adventure and sail the seas of the world” — how on earth will she manage so far from the sea? Though something of a fish out of water in London’s chaos, Tamsyn’s imagination and heart are captured by the river traffic that passes Dolphin House, with her new excitement engagingly evoked alongside details of life in Tudor London — the Royal Dockyard, Billingsgate fish market, the autumnal “pink-flushed sky” behind Westminster, King Henry VIII himself travelling in the Royal Barge with Queen Anne Boleyn. Tellingly, Tamsyn “liked the Queen best, observing how her eyes were “terribly unhappy”. Then, on magic-charged Midsummer’s Eve, a Wise Woman presages that Tamsyn will find her “heart’s desire”, enhancing the novel’s aura of enchantment, and leading to a delightful denouement. Heartily satisfying for 9+ year-olds who love historic fiction, this also comes recommended as wonderful book to read together — no one is too old for the joys of reading aloud and being read to, and this ideal for exactly that.
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.
One of the most imaginative and best-loved of all children’s books, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is as original today as it was when it was first published in 1865. The stories of the amazing things Alice finds after she falls down the rabbit hole and the incredible people she meets including the Mad Hatter and the March Hare have become touchstones for readers through the ages. Lewis Carroll’s follow-up to Alice’s Adventures through the Looking Glass includes the introduction of Tweedledum and Tweedledee those most memorable of characters who famously fought over a brand new rattle. It is here, too, that the poem Jabberwocky first appeared and the poem ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’. Each book in the Wordsworth Collector’s Editions series will make an attractive addition to any home or school library. Featuring stylish cover illustrations that are at once classic and contemporary, gleaming gold foil, and an elegant compact hardback format, they make glorious gifts for readers young and old.
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