Charles Dickens: England's Most Captivating Storyteller

Charles Dickens: England's Most Captivating Storyteller

by Catherine Wells-Cole, Various
     
 
Celebrate the bicentenary of Dickens's birth in 2012 by stepping into his world.

See the world of Charles Dickens spring to life in his fascinating notebook. Excerpts from his personal letters, guides to his major works, and enthralling facts about his life and times--including Dickens's own amazing rags-to-riches story--are accompanied by fascinating new

Overview

Celebrate the bicentenary of Dickens's birth in 2012 by stepping into his world.

See the world of Charles Dickens spring to life in his fascinating notebook. Excerpts from his personal letters, guides to his major works, and enthralling facts about his life and times--including Dickens's own amazing rags-to-riches story--are accompanied by fascinating new illustrations, drawings from the original books, and photographs from the period. This novelty-filled notebook immerses readers in Victorian life and allows them to meet not only Dickens himself, but also such enduring and iconic characters as Oliver Twist, Ebenezer Scrooge, and David Copperfield.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A highly entertaining journey through Dickens's life, reproducing original documents, covers of the books in their episodic format, plans of workhouses, and so on... Included is a letter Dickens wrote to his former girlfriend Maria Beadnell: you have to take it out of its envelope to read it. Such details make it especially charming and interesting - and the text by Catherine Wells-Cole is sharp and even racy. The book repeatedly brought a smile to my lips, which, after all, is one of the things Dickens most liked to do.
—The New York Times
VOYA - Elaine Gass Hirsch
Released in close proximity to the bicentennial of Dickens's birth on February 12, 2012, British author Wells-Cole has compiled an extraordinary literary scrapbook commemorating the life of Charles Dickens, his works, and nineteenth-century England. Beautifully designed two-page spreads focus on specific topics surrounding the author and his literary influences. A significant Dickens publication is highlighted within each thematic spread, including his childhood (David Copperfield); family (Great Expectations); social conditions during the era, including the treatment of orphans (Bleak House) and the poor (Oliver Twist); Victorian social life (A Tale of Two Cities); and the celebration of Christmas (A Christmas Carol). Drawings from Dickens's original publications, period photographs, and turn-back facsimiles of book covers and his correspondence transport the reader to another era. A scholar of Victorian literature studies, Wells-Cole does a marvelous job of encapsulating the life and times of Dickens and making him accessible to readers of any age. One area that could have been more fully presented is Dickens's work as a playwright, which is barely addressed in the focused spread on the theater; however, the author's authority, the literary and historical accuracy of the text, and the superior use of visual resources combine to reveal how industrial progress and social reform influenced one of the most important writers of the nineteenth century. Reviewer: Elaine Gass Hirsch
Children's Literature - Judy DaPolito
This elegant biography of Charles Dickens covers fourteen topics associated with the author's life, writings, and principal interests. The book begins with a two-page spread on his childhood. Though his family was well off until he was ten, by the time he turned twelve he was forced to go to work in a blacking factory. These early experiences led to his autobiographical novel, David Copperfield. The second spread discusses his marriage and ten children, focusing on the book Great Expectations. The twelve additional two-page spreads take up the issues of fame, school, prisons, workhouses, orphans, London, industry, theater, Christmas, social life, America, and his legacy, with each section introducing one or more of his works. The information in the book is excellent and well chosen, and the illustrations are striking and unusual. The illustrations, in fact, almost give the impression of collage, including reproductions of illustrations that appeared in first editions and advertisements, pictures of Victorian toys and Christmas decorations, letters written by Dickens that the reader can open out from their envelopes, reproductions of the original green covers of his novels that offer summaries when the reader turns them back, and numerous other pieces that can be opened to reveal a family tree or a facsimile of one of his manuscript pages or information about prisons, railways and many other topics. The book is both a useful source of information and a delight to explore. Reviewer: Judy DaPolito
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—In this scrapbook homage to Dickens, each page teems with images and reproductions, from letters to book excerpts to maps, all pertaining to a different area of Dickens's life and work. The topics range widely, skimming the surface of both the esteemed author's life and the subjects that interested him most, from his own melancholy childhood to the state of Victorian prisons. This title is more an experience than a traditional biography. The gorgeous, high-quality reproductions make a strong visual impact, and while the flaps, folds, and envelopes make readers work to uncover information, most will be quickly drawn into the hunt for more treasured tidbits about Dickens and his time. Clearly, the nontraditional layout will appeal to more visually oriented readers and certainly suits the nonlinear reading to which today's kids are accustomed. Of course, while the folds and flaps add another dimension (literally) to the already playful layout, they will also make it exceedingly difficult to keep this book in working order. While it lasts, though, any student in need of information about Dickens will welcome the approach and the meaty information found within.—Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763655679
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
10/11/2011
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 11.90(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Catherine Wells-Cole has been a principal lecturer and the Director of Victorian Literature Studies at Roehampton University for many years. She lives in Surrey, England.

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