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Posts tagged ‘Classics’

The Famous Five

By: Enid Blyton

Illustration by Quentin Blake

ISBN : 9781444908657

George is used to being alone. A girl who would prefer to be a boy doesn’t want cousins she’s never met before ruining her holidays. Julian, Dick and Anne are excited to be meeting George and before long they help her realise company can be fun.

There is a shipwreck off Kirrin Island, a legend about missing treasure, a map and a mystery. If only the cousins and George’s faithful dog TImmy can keep on the right side of Uncle Quentin, maybe they will get to the bottom of it all.

Illustration by Helen Oxenbury

ISBN: 9781444908664

Back at Kirrin Cottage for the Christmas holidays, the five are sure there won’t be any time for adventure, not with three of them having to study with a tutor. Then they hear a tale of secret passages and find a mysterious map. Added to that it seems there is a thief at Kirrin Cottage. That’s not all, George doesn’t like their tutor but then she doesn’t like anyone who doesn’t like Timmy. The question is why doesn’t Timmy like the tutor?

Illustration by Emma Chichester Clark

ISBN: 9781444908671

Holidays at Kirrin are supposed to be a fun time but that is a little hard with Mrs Stick and her horrid son around. Things take a turn for the worse when George’s mum gets taken to hospital and Mr Stick turns up. With such a difficult situation to deal with the cousins think there is someone up to something on Kirrin Island. How are they going to find out what is going on? Then George has a plan and they may be on the trail of smugglers. Who was that screaming? And what do the Stick’s have to do with any of it? The five find themselves entangled in another mystery.

Illustration by Oliver Jeffers

ISBN: 9781444908688

Kirrin Cottage is badly damaged in a terrible storm, so the five are shipped off to stay at Smugglers Top with a scientist friend of Uncle Quentin’s. Fortunately his son Sooty is friends with the boys and it looks as though it will be a fun time. How could it not be when they are staying at a place filled with secret hiding places and underground tunnels. Of course a place such as this was designed for adventure and they find one. What is the mysterious signal from the tower and what is going on with Block?

Illustration by Chris Riddell

ISBN: 9781444908695

The cousins convince the adults to let them go caravanning and they decide to follow the circus that inspired the idea. They have a wonderful time picnicking and staying in fields. When they find the circus, Nobby is happy they followed but some of the other circus folk aren’t as pleased. The five don’t mind, when threatened they simply move a short way away so they can still enjoy the location and spend time with their new friends, Nobby and the ape Pongo. It starts out like any normal kind of holiday but Lou and Dan are up to something, the five know it and they simply can’t turn their backs on an adventure.

Book 13 in the series and one of my faves

This series is considered a children’s classic. My confession here is that as a young kid they were some of my favourite books, I devoured them. They still hold a special place in my heart and I want to share them with my kids, hopeful they will enjoy them too.

These stories are still loved today, they hold a timeless appeal especially for children longing for stories filled with mysteries and adventure. What’s not to love about four kids and their loyal dog, solving mysteries, finding treasure and foiling the bad guy’s plans?

The style is very innocent, ‘it’s all simply swell’, unfortunately it is also a little dated. Some children will love these, they will be the ones who can see past the ‘gollys’ and such and even treat it like a kind of escapist fantasy (seriously 11-14 year olds allowed to take off in horse drawn caravans by themselves for weeks at a time?). Probably not the books to go for if you are trying to get a reluctant reader to read but revisiting all these years later I still think they have something to offer. In a time where so much is pushed at our children it doesn’t hurt to go back to more innocent times.

The versions I have featured here are the beautiful 70th anniversary covers designed by five wonderful children’s illustrators. I am so happy to add them to my bookshelf.

(I received mine from the publisher but mostly because even 30 years later I can tell you without looking the first sentence from the third book, ‘”George dear do settle down and do something,” said George’s mother.’ And know I don’t know why that has stuck with me for so long.)

Guess How Much I Love You – On Stage

Oh I would so take my girls to something like this.

A stage version of the modern classic written by Sam McBratney. It combines books and performance how could you not love this.

The Lorax – Movie Trailer

Okay, so I just found out they were making a movie of The Lorax and I wasn’t sure how this made me feel – mostly because this is like my favourite Dr Seuss book ever. So I went hunting for the trailer a few things about it made me feel a little better. Mostly that it’s done by the guys who did Despicable me – which I really liked. However it still remains to be seen exactly how they deal with the source material.

Here is the trailer so you can make up your own mind.

Where The Wild Things Are

By: Maurice Sendak

Max is a naughty little boy and is sent to bed without any dinner. In his room things start to change, a forest grows and a boat appears to take him to the land where the Wild Things are. Max becomes king of the Wild Things and does many wild things with them. Before long though, he realises there are things from back home that he misses.

This book was the winner of the Caldecott Medal for Most Distinguished Book in 1964 and it has been acknowledged as a children’s classic, recent having been made into a film.

The story is one of wonder and imagination coloured with tones of love and loneliness. The stylised illustrations make the book and it’s characters instantly recognisable and perhaps it’s simplicity is one of the reasons for it’s longevity.

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Format: Hardback 32 pages

Categories: Fiction, Classics, Adventure, Family

ISBN 13: 9780060254926

Purchase: here, or use logo on side of page to go to Booktopia

Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion

By: Julie Campbell

Trixie is frustrated that she is stuck at home for the holidays with only her little brother to keep her company. Then a new family move into the huge manor house just up the road and it looks as though some of Trixie’s wishes will come true. First there is Honey, a girl her own age and then there are the horses, Trixie is desperate to learn to ride. Summer is now looking up. 

Honey though is very timid, scared of almost everything and Trixie is determined to explore the old Frayne Mansion. Trixie’s curiosity has her convincing Honey that they will be doing their neighbourly duty, checking on the house while old Mr Frayne in hospital. This is where they find a young Jim Frayne the 2nd, he has run away from his cruel step-father. If only they can find old Mr Frayne’s will or the hidden money, Jim’s life could be changed forever. But there are too many people around to keep a secret, what will the three new friends do?

Fun, friendship and mystery. A story of trusting, curiosity, stubbornness and filling summer days with something to do. Trixie is, perhaps a little surprisingly, still an enjoyable read even though it is a little dated now. I think it’s the lack of technology that makes it so appealing, it’s of a time when you had to keep yourself from being bored, though it is entirely possible that’s a bit of nostalgia on my part. Trixie was one of my reading phases and as such has a treasured place in my memory and bookshelves. Though if you are looking for a good mystery story for a younger reader you could do much worse than picking one of these up.

Publisher: Random House USA Inc

Published: 06 August 2004

Format: Hardback 263 pages

Categories: Crime

ISBN 13: 9780375824128 

Purchase: here

The Neverending Story

By: Michael Ende

Bastian Balthazar Bux is unpopular, has no friends and his father is distant. Then one day he does the unthinkable, he steals a book – ‘The Neverending Story’. As he settles in to read it his story slowly entwines with that of The Childlike Empress and her chosen hero, Atreyu. Fantastica is dying and needs a different kind of hero though, can Bastian help without losing all he is.

Michael Ende created a thoroughly detailed and varied world. Not only is this a fantasy adventure but it is also a journey of self-discovery. Wonderful creatures, some familiar, others not so. Some are good, some bad and some characters you will never forget: brave and loyal Atreyu, Falkor the Luckdragon, Xayide the witch and Grograman the Many Colored Death.

As a child this book swept me up into it’s wonderful pages and I read and re-read it. I cried in parts and surely laughed. I loved this book and still do, it’s been read so often it is falling apart.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 31 July 1997

Format: Paperback 444 pages

Categories: Classics Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9780140386332

Purchase: here

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