Charles Dickens: Scenes from an Extraordinary Life

Overview

"Its verve and wit are infectious... a wonderful, enduring introduction for young readers." - The New York Times Book Review

The extraordinary life and genius of Charles Dickens is brought alive for primary-age children by the author-illustrator team behind the bestselling What Mr Darwin Saw.

Published to celebrate the bi-centenary of Dickens' birth, this beautifully and entertainingly illustrated 48 page picture book vividly dramatizes his ...

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Overview

"Its verve and wit are infectious... a wonderful, enduring introduction for young readers." - The New York Times Book Review

The extraordinary life and genius of Charles Dickens is brought alive for primary-age children by the author-illustrator team behind the bestselling What Mr Darwin Saw.

Published to celebrate the bi-centenary of Dickens' birth, this beautifully and entertainingly illustrated 48 page picture book vividly dramatizes his life, beginning with his birth in Portsmouth and early childhood near the docks in Chatham, and follows the young Charles through the hardship of working in a blacking factory at the age of 10 to his years at school and his early career as a reporter. Key incidents that inspired the later novels are described, and his marriage, family life, dramatic readings and tours of the USA are included.

What emerges is touching portrait of a writer with amazing observational skills, a social conscience and a strong sense of drama.

Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom specialise in fun, lively non-fiction picture books. They share the illustrations between them and mix up words and pictures in inventive and delightful ways.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starting at the very beginning (“I was born on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night”), Dickens narrates his own life story in this biography from the team behind What Mr. Darwin Saw. Loosely rendered pencil-and-watercolor scenes with speech-bubble interjections from characters take center stage, while small illustrated sidebars provide additional context as Dickens moves to London, gets his first taste of theater, suffers family tragedies, and embarks on his career as a writer. A bonus: tidy comic strip–style panels provide quick summaries of several Dickens novels, which may whet readers’ appetite to further explore his writing. Ages 6–9. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
"In Charles Dickens: Scenes From an Extraordinary Life, Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom take us through the whole life, and do so very wittily, with a telling use of incidents evidently culled from a wide reading of the biographical literature: all sorts of striking detail, like Dickens leaping up from his writing desk to check the expressions on his own face as he wrote, create a fresh and often funny sense of the man. The major novels are neatly summarized in strip cartoons, the visual style is vivacious, with spoken texts ballooning out of people’s mouths, and there is a strong feeling of a life lived. The story is a little uncertain chronologically, and there seems to be some confusion as to when Dickens grew his beard (1857, for the record), but these are tiny faults; anyone of any age who is interested in Dickens would gain something from this book: its verve and wit are infectious. The darker side of Dickens is not dwelt on nor, for this readership, should it be. The subtitle sums it up very well: a wonderful, enduring introduction for young readers." Simon Callow, The New York Times

Rich, scholarly with a light touch and a perfect introduction to Dickens for primary school children. Dr Margaret Mallett, Goldsmiths College, University of London

School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Manning and Granström chronologically construct this picture-book-length portrait around direct quotes from Dickens's books and letters. A quote from David Copperfield, for example, that alludes to his birth, launches the first spread, "BABY DICKENS—1812." The text is casual, not intimidating, and switches smoothly from the writer's voice to that of a third-person biographer. The book takes a fresh approach that effectively incorporates graphic-novel-style illustrative elements such as speech balloons and panels. This title breaks Dickens's biography into manageable pieces for novice readers.—Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
In celebration of the coming centennial of Dickens' birth arrives this graphic perusal of his life and work. Manning and Granström combine their talents again, as they did so capably in What Mr Darwin Saw (2009), to coax another tangible life out of the 19th century. Using a combination of multiple panels, boxes and wonderfully evocative background spreads, they roam through many of the experiences that shaped Dickens: pulled from school, his father thrown into debtors' prison, the pot-blacking work and then, yes!, success. The authors have used material from Dickens' letters, quotes and miscellaneous writings to shape the relatively ample narrative boxes, and the words flow like quicksilver: "I have often transcribed important public speeches on the palm of my hand, by the light of a dark lantern, in a post-chaise and four, galloping through wild country, through the dead of night!" This fits hand in glove with their colors, which are as deep as old dyes, and the general bustle of the urban scenes. Smaller, comic-book–like streams of panels give sensible, welcoming introductions to such works as Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, Bleak House, A Christmas Carol and David Copperfield. A joyfully informal conveyance of the atmosphere and facts that swarmed around Dickens' life. (Picture book/biography. 8-12)
Simon Callow
…anyone of any age who is interested in Dickens would gain something from this book: its verve and wit are infectious. The darker side of Dickens is not dwelt on nor, for this readership, should it be. The subtitle sums it up very well: a wonderful, enduring introduction for young readers.
—The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847801876
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 537,575
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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