Reviews for Real Reads

Here are some of the reviews and wonderful comments we have received.If you would like to talk to us about Real Reads, do get in touch.

“Miniature masterpieces.”

– BBC R4 Open Book

“Not every child will get Dickens, but a chance to get to know him should be the birthright of every Briton. Break them in gently. Let schools show Lionel Bart’s incandescent Oliver! Let younger ones learn the remarkable stories of Pip and Tiny Tim through Gill Tavner’s excellent condensed Dickens Real Reads and prove that the vast human spirit under that slab in Westminster Abbey is not dead, only sleeping.”

– Allison Pearson, The Telegraph. Click here to see the full article.

“The Real Reads series is definitely held in high regard here at Scholastic – titles that are that elusive mix of teacher- and student-friendly. I only wish it existed when I was at school so that I knew what happened in the last two-thirds of Jane Eyre!”

– Lauren Nightingale, Scholastic Education

“These unassuming and undaunting books are doing brilliant work in getting the classics to children. With sensitivity to the original text, they offer an introduction to the original novels which encourages readers to go on to the real thing. Judging from our sales, teachers love them!”

– Fiona Waters, Editorial Director, Troubadour Ltd/The Travelling Book Company

“Finally an intelligent, exciting and inviting way to introduce younger readers to the classics. As a children’s bookseller I have found parents, teachers and children have been thrilled at the opportunity to read Shakespeare, Dickens and Austen as super stories that they can understand and love.”

– Octavia Karavla, Octavia’s Bookshop, Cirencester

“I have just met some teachers that have been using the Real Reads books and they are really positive; the students love them, love the drawings and the look. They said they find that the books encourage kids that are not used to reading to sit down and enjoy the stories … and they want more of them!”

– Sigríður Wöhler, Editor, Icelandic Schoolbooks

“They are quite lovely, and very appealing visually. The illustrations are so wonderful. A really outstanding achievement.”

– Laurel Ann Nattress, (Jane Austen blog)

“The perfect introduction to the pleasures of Jane Austen’s work; pleasures which may well last a lifetime.”

– Caroline Sanderson, author of “A Rambling Fancy: In the Footsteps of Jane Austen”

“These re-written versions, lucidly done, but without any dumbing down, confirm the authority of their originals while introducing them to readers in new ways. They pull off the difficult trick of being simultaneously time-honouring and contemporary. They deserve to find a large audience.”

– Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate 1999–2009

“I think these books will provide children with a wonderful introduction to Jane Austen and they are equally good for their parents who simply want a “quick fix” of Austen for themselves. The ‘taking things further’ section at the back is a great idea.”

– Donna Lodge, Jane Austen Centre

“Our nine-year-old loved reading this creative and intelligent re-writing of the classic Dickens story. Even thought the films have been seen and the songs sung, this book brought a freshness to the story that was appreciated by our son and also by us once he’d finished with it. We look forward to enjoying more Real Reads in the near future.”

– Amazon reviewer

“As the footnotes in Real Reads point out, ‘Nothing can beat the originals’; but where a novelist of Jane Austen’s calibre and formidable reputation is concerned, some introduction to the originals may be invaluable for the uninitiated. These lively, attractive little volumes are ideal. Charmingly presented and skilfully written, they capture something of the flavour and tone of Jane Austen’s peerless craft, while simplifying the narrative and dialogue. Even as a purist, I think these Real Reads are a Real Help for the younger, novice reader.”

– Josephine Ross, author of “Jane Austen: A Companion”

“The Dickens Real Reads are wonderful books, perfect for children aged eight to 11. They are beautifully illustrated in colour and their shiny, smooth appearance is sure to catch children’s eyes.

The traditional stories are rewritten in a simple style and are easy to enjoy.

These are the sort of books that I could read ten times and not get bored. They are certainly the must-buys of the year for your children.”

– 13-year-old reviewer, Stroud News and Journal, 19.12.07

“As a primary school teacher, I was delighted when I saw your books. The analysis and questioning section at the back of the book is excellent. I am about to purchase fifty books for our school.”

– Primary teacher, Bolton

“Real Reads will appeal enormously to young people who have seen the adaptations and are looking for a book that fulfils the same function. We expect to sell a lot of copies.”

– Ann Channon, Jane Austen’s House Museum, Chawton

“The Real Reads Ramayana is beautifully written, with a simplicity which yet contains all the drama of this remarkable story. Prema Jayakumar also manages to cover so many of the subplots, and weaves them in seamlessly, so the book never seems endlessly complicated as can so easily happen. Raji has illustrated the book beautifully, full of wit, drama and finesse. She combines traditional styles with a contemporary flavour, making the book reader-friendly without losing its epic quality. I am very happy to endorse this book.”

– Jamila Gavin, respected children’s author who often writes about English/Indian cross-cultural issues. Her many books include “Coram Boy” (Whitbread Book of the Year 2000) and “The Wheel of Surya” (Runner-up Guardian Children’s Fiction Award 2005)

“I found them extremely readable and they gave me a whiff of Dickens’s atmospheric writing. Gill Tavner has pulled off an extremely difficult task – boiling Dickens down into a book that children can truly enjoy – and achieved something very admirable.

The children I spoke to who had read the books really loved the easy reading style and the illustrations, …64 fabulous pages.”

– Round & About, July 2012

“In speaking directly to the reader, [the Real Reads New Testament series] fills in the gaps of the gospels, allowing a new understanding of the lives and experiences celebrated at Easter time.

Easily readable in a single sitting, yet capable of provoking thoughts long after the last page is turned…

[Andrew Motion] has backed the series, as has the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Chaplain.”

– Cotswold Life, April 2010

“Because Real Reads are so user friendly, I can easily differentiate within my plans, so the books can be enjoyed by children of all ages and abilities at a variety of levels. They are a gem!”

– Junior education PLUS+ (, April 2009

The Use of English: The English Association Journal for Teachers of English

Click here for a review by Jane Campion, exploring the use of the Jane Austen Real Reads in the classroom.