Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Ladybird Classics: The Secret Garden; The Railway Children; The Little Princess; A Tale of Two Cities

I was given six boxes of my childhood books from my parent's attic the other day. Along with most of the Chalet School series (all my hard-earned pocket money went on them!), the Sadler Wells series by Lorna Hill (I'm still a little bit in love with Sebastian!), the Little House on the Prairie series and Swallows and Amazons there was a box with all the Ladybird Classics in. I thought that Rosie might now be at an age where she would enjoy listening to the stories and I was right, we've been working our way through The Secret Garden, The Railway Children, The Little Princess and A Tale of Two Cities.
Unfortunately only a handful of them are still in print but at least some of them still are. You can find them here. Now I know that this series is slightly contentious in that some people think that these classics should never be abridged to this extent and that children should wait until they are older to read the proper versions but I see them with slightly rose-tinted glasses due to reading them all when I was a child and I wanted to share them with my daughter. I know that some of them are cut down to a basic plot but I think they still work and of course when Rosie is older she will probably read the full versions. This is just a taster!
Some of the phrasing and words used are a little too old for her still and of course some of the content is way over her head (French Revolution?!) but she is enjoying them on her own level and we've been reading a little bit of one each night before bed. I think my favourite is still The Little Princess. It's opened up some interesting discussions, we've talked about how Sara is trying to be like the ideal of a princess rather than actually being one, how people used to have tiger skin rugs with the head still attached - this is quite hard to explain! And lots of different things beside this. I guess this is our precursor to chapter books and I think it's a very good stepping stone. That's not to say we've leaving picture books behind. We're having a great Julia Donaldson run at the moment - I may blog about that next!

Unfortunately only Alice in Wonderland, Black Beauty, Gulliver's Travels, Oliver Twist and Treasure Island are still in print but you can see from the picture above all the ones we will be reading!

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