Charles Dickens

2012 was the bicentenary of Charles Dickens’s birth, and now he’s everywhere!

Immensely popular in his day, Dickens’s stories are as relevant and entertaining as ever, his characters as real and exciting as they always were. Real Reads Dickens, true to his content and style, offer young readers a wonderful way in to these sometimes daunting classics. Now you can read the stories of Pip, David Copperfield, Esther, Tiny Tim and Little Nell in a more accessible format.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol cover

Charles Dickens

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Karen Donnelly

ISBN 978-1-906230-02-9

£4.99

‘Bah, humbug! Fools wishing me a Merry Christmas should be forced to sit on cushions stuffed with holly leaves or boiled with their own Christmas puddings.’

Miserable old miser Ebenezer Scrooge hates Christmas. Can somebody so selfish, so harsh and so horribly lonely ever change his ways?

In one terrifying night, poor Scrooge is haunted by four ghosts. Why do they show him visions of his past? Why do they show him other people enjoying Christmas? Why do they show him the deaths of a young boy and of a miserable old miser?

Weep and laugh as you read this much-loved Christmas story. Will Scrooge always think that Christmas is ‘Humbug’, or will he learn to shout ‘Merry Christmas, one and all’?

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Bleak House

Bleak House cover

Charles Dickens

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Karen Donnelly

ISBN 978-1-906230-04-3

£4.99

‘It would have been far better if you had never been born.’

Esther, at fourteen, has never known love. Determined to live well, earn some love and overcome the shadow of her birth, she takes her first steps into an unknown world.

A family curse, a manipulating lawyer, poverty and secrets threaten to destroy Esther’s world. Are the walls of Bleak House strong enough to protect her and her new friends from such powerful forces?
The reader will be caught up in an unfolding mystery, full of surprises. Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is: Who is Nemo?

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David Copperfield

David Copperfield cover

Charles Dickens

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Karen Donnelly

ISBN 978-1-906230-03-6

£4.99

When David’s mother marries the malevolent Mr Murdstone, David’s childhood happiness is destroyed for ever.

Can one lonely little boy show the strength and determination to survive the dangers that lie ahead? Travelling along the rocky road from boyhood to manhood, how can David learn who to trust and who to love? Will David’s friends bring him happiness or heartache?

In this inspiring tale of trust, betrayal, courage and love, Charles Dickens presents a world of colourful characters to amuse us, astonish us, disgust us and move us to tears. Once encountered, David Copperfield’s friends and enemies will never be forgotten.

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Great Expectations

Great Expectations cover

Charles Dickens

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Karen Donnelly

ISBN 978-1-906230-01-2

£4.99

An escaped convict threatens to eat young Pip’s heart for breakfast. The ghostly Miss Havisham invites Pip to her eerie home. A mysterious benefactor makes him suddenly wealthy. Pip’s life will never be the same again.

Pride, humility, love, loyalty and shame compete for Pip’s emotions. Will his quest to become a gentleman enable him to melt the cold heart of the beautiful Estella, or will it destroy his happiness?

Pip’s tale is full of mystery and surprises. What is the nature of Miss Havisham’s interest in him? Why does Estella want to break his heart? Why does the dangerous convict return?

Most importantly, who has given Pip his great expectations?

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Hard Times

Hard Times cover

Charles Dickens

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Karen Donnelly

ISBN 978-1-906230-05-0

£4.99

Louisa is the practical daughter of a powerful industrialist. Sissy is the imaginative daughter of a clown. What will happen when two such different lives collide?

A disappearing father, an unhappy marriage, a handsome suitor and a bank robbery all bring challenges to Louisa’s life. Will she be able to control her powerful emotions, or will they lead her to ruin?

Set amongst the noisy, dangerous factories of a northern industrial town, where the workers struggle to survive, Hard Times explores the power that people can have over others, and the suffering that is caused when human emotions are ignored.

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Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist cover

Charles Dickens

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Karen Donnelly

ISBN 978-1-906230-00-5

£4.99

With a hungry, timid request of ‘Please, sir. I want some more’, orphan Oliver Twist takes his first step on a terrifying journey.

In the dark, dangerous streets of Victorian London Oliver enters the world of people so poor and desperate that they will take any risk and know no mercy.

Relentlessly pursued by the menacing criminal world, who should Oliver trust? Are his true friends strong enough to resist the determined plotting of desperate villains?

In this gripping tale of kidnapping, shooting and murder, Charles Dickens shows the threats to a vulnerable boy’s existence and asks the eternal question: which is more powerful, good or evil?

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A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities cover

Charles Dickens

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Karen Donnelly

ISBN 978-1-906230-64-7

£4.99

‘It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done.’

Sydney Carton is a lawyer who has wasted his abilities and his life. Now he has to make a difficult choice about what is really important to him, which could be a matter of life or death.

The French Revolution is running its violent course; lives are ruined as a new France is created. How did the gentle Doctor Manette and his daughter Lucie become caught up in France’s struggles? What is the real identity of the handsome Charles Darnay, who wins Lucie’s hand in marriage? And why does the shadow of La Bastille Prison hang over them all?

The best of times and the worst of times. London and Paris. Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay. A story of contrasts and chaos. Can peace ever be restored in France? Can it ever be restored in the hearts of the people involved?

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The Old Curiosity Shop

The Old Curiosity Shop cover

Charles Dickens

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Karen Donnelly

ISBN 978-1-906230-63-0

£4.99

‘Why bless you, Little Nell! What if I had lost you?’

Little Nell Trent’s childhood is over. Her grandfather’s mind is failing, his dark secret makes him sad and distracted, and he has nobody to care for him but Nell.

The grotesque Daniel Quilp is out to cause trouble. What plans does he hatch with the dreadful Sampson and Sally Brass? What use can he hope to make of the foolish Dick Swiveller? Is Nell’s one true friend, Kit, a match for Quilp’s villainous mind?

Nell and her grandfather must disappear or be separated forever, and so they begin their lives as beggars. When a mysterious gentleman arrives in London, determined to track them down, it becomes a race against time and against the evil of Quilp.

Can Little Nell keep her grandfather safe? Who will protect Nell? Will the mysterious gentleman find them before it is too late?

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Little Dorrit

Little Dorrit cover

Charles Dickens

Retold by Gill Tavner

Illustrated by Karen Donnelly

ISBN 978-1-906230-65-4

£4.99

‘She? That’s Little Dorrit. She’s nothing. She’s just a whim.’

Poor Little Dorrit. Her future looks as bleak as her past and her present. Born and brought up in a debtors’ prison, she relies on her sewing skills to help support her father. Little does she know that her sewing will soon present an opportunity for change.

When change arrives in the form of Arthur Clennam it is accompanied by secrets and dangers. Who is he? What are his motives for wanting to help Little Dorrit?

Follow Little Dorrit’s tale as it winds its way through London and Italy. Enjoy the rich variety of characters she encounters, and share with her the twists and turns of the road she travels.

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