Dickens: His Work and His World

Overview

What the Dickens is all the fuss? Take a lively look at an author whose indelible characters live on in our language and culture ? and whose legacy shapes our literature to this day.

Join award-winning author, critic, and anthologist Michael Rosen for a spirited tour of the life and work of one of our greatest novelists. With stunning illustrations by Robert Ingpen, this accessible, child-friendly book vividly re-creates the world of Charles ...

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Overview

What the Dickens is all the fuss? Take a lively look at an author whose indelible characters live on in our language and culture — and whose legacy shapes our literature to this day.

Join award-winning author, critic, and anthologist Michael Rosen for a spirited tour of the life and work of one of our greatest novelists. With stunning illustrations by Robert Ingpen, this accessible, child-friendly book vividly re-creates the world of Charles Dickens, from the author's childhood in London to his early career, his performances, and, of course, the great social and political upheavals of the time, which inspired so much of his work. Michael Rosen's vibrant discussion covers some of the best-known novels by Dickens, describing OLIVER TWIST, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and DAVID COPPERFIELD, and providing a fascinating detailed analysis of GREAT EXPECTATIONS.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Janet Julian
Dickens's biography includes his father's profligate ways leading to debtors' prison, his own interrupted education, early work experience, lifelong poor health, and his keen observations of London and the downtrodden. Four of Dickens's works are highlighted: A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Great Expectations. The plots are briefly summarized and the main themes and characters presented, although Rosen is careful to entice readers to finish the stories for themselves. He goes into more detail in his discussion of Great Expectations, making his readers want to finish the story for themselves. Rosen's book is enhanced by evocative illustrations from Robert Ingpen, who captures perfectly the people and places in the novels. This is an excellent introduction to Dickens, written in a chatty, intimate tone. Reviewer: Janet Julian
Children's Literature
The life and times of Charles Dickens are shown brilliantly in the watercolors illustrating the interesting approach taken by the author of this book. It is much more than the biography of a great writer and young students will learn much, not just about how Dickens lived, but also how the people, rich and poor, lived during his lifetime. In this way, the text mirrors the works of Dickens by allowing readers to see the hardships and small pleasures of the lower classes and to ponder the actions of those who governed them, hired them and often scorned them. The second chapter, entitled "The Life," is a chronological detailing of the famous writer's life and even that chapter paints a clear picture of how life was lived at that time and place. Young readers will clearly recognize how the misfortunes and difficulties Dickens experienced in childhood influenced his writing. Excerpts from A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Great Expectations are included, as well as a detailed time line. 2005, Candlewick Press, Ages 9 to 12.
—Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Opening with Dickens's touring life and final London performance, Rosen then turns to the writer's humble beginnings and nomadic childhood, paying particular attention to the people he met, the sights he saw, and the situations he endured-all of which were to find their way into his writings. The author looks at 1800s London, pointing out the societal changes that were to influence Dickens's progressive thinking. He investigates the writer's best-known works: A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Great Expectations. For the first three, Rosen retells the basic plots and clarifies the major characters; he covers the fourth work in greater depth, giving a fairly detailed yet age-appropriate analysis of the characters and of the meaning behind some of Dickens's literary choices. The author excerpts relevant sections from the novels and explores the writer's legacy. Ingpen's marvelous acrylic illustrations, whether small inserts or color spreads, lend a sense of realism to the prose, particularly in the details of period dress. The full-page portraits of some of the major characters give clear insight into their physical attributes and emotional realities. Though geared to a similar audience as that of Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema's excellent Charles Dickens (HarperCollins, 1993), this title has merit for elucidating some of the literary devices for which Dickens is known. It will be a welcome addition to libraries looking for new ways to promote his classics, particularly as Christmas approaches and a new film version of Oliver Twist is released.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Following the same format as their work on Shakespeare (2001), Rosen and Ingpen seek to introduce young readers to Dickens's life and oeuvre. The author's youth and early career are sketched out, emphasis placed on the family's hard times and Dickens's fondness for reading and the theater. Following this brief biographical sketch are a description of Dickensian London, literary examinations of four works and an appreciation of Dickens's legacy. Accompanying the generously spaced text throughout are watercolor illustrations that echo the 19th-century British landscape painters and caricaturists. It's a lovely combination, but readers may be excused for asking, "To what end?" The text, acknowledging its audience's unfamiliarity with Dickens's work (with the possible exception of "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and other variants), is a weird combination of patronizing introduction and literary analysis. Asking young readers to indulge in criticism of works they haven't yet read seems of dubious value in inculcating an appreciation of same. Rewritten for teens who may be studying Dickens, this offering could be of great value, but as it is, the younger audience to whom it's aimed may be forgiven for passing it over. (Nonfiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763638887
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/12/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Rosen is an award-winning author and anthologist of books for young readers, including SHAKESPEARE: HIS WORK AND HIS WORLD, illustrated by Robert Ingpen. In 1997 he received the Eleanor Farjeon Award for service to children's literature. Michael Rosen lives in London.

Robert Ingpen has published more than one hundred acclaimed books, including SHAKESPEARE: HIS WORK AND HIS WORLD by Michael Rosen. In 1986 he was awarded the highest international accolade for his body of work in illustration, the Hans Christian Andersen Medal. Robert Ingpen lives in Victoria, Australia.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2009

    "Dickens His Work and his World" an inspiring biography involving societies and human focus to servival through our travels of life.

    The author, Michael Rosen, takes Dicken's story of his life and journeys and somehow brings the reading full circle to enclude your own travels in life. The story of Dickens drive and desire for reading, writing and surving to include his own dreams and goals gives you strength and color into your focus in life to reach for what is important. The illustrations by Robert Ingpen are spendid with moving detail. Michael Rosen and Robert Ingpen have a way of pulling the words and illustrations from the paper in a way that allows you to experience your senses and puts you in the time and place of Dickens life.

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