'Little Women' on the BBC
The pleasures and pains of TV adaptations: after 'Howards End', the BBC revisits 'Little Women'. ...
When the Harry Potter books were released, although ostensibly children's books, the publishers were shrewd enough to release editions aimed at both adult and child readers because although the contents were the same, the older reader might feel a little self-conscious being seen to be reading a children's book on the daily commute.
This is by no means a new phenomena, as witnessed by 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'The Wind in the Willows', both of which we have offered in both our Adult Classic and Children's Classic series for many years.
We love the current look of our Children's Classics, particularly after their latest makeover, but we have been conscious for a while that it contains a number of titles that would be appreciated by older readers, whether to revisit an old favourite or catch up on that book you always meant to read, but that the covers could be rather off-putting. This aspect was brought closer into focus when following the intervention of Michael Gove (insert cat-call or cheer here, depending on your persuasion) when Education Secretary, the amount of English Literature being studied in schools was ramped up dramatically, leading, among other things, to Dickens' A Christmas Carol being studied for GCSE. Now we know that schools were delighted to be able to source the title for just £2.50, less our special 25% school discount, but we were aware that the average 14-year-old student might not be totally happy being seen with the book in its current form.
So, to widen their appeal, what we have done is to take twelve of the most popular titles from our Children's Classics and released additional editions in our main Classics series.
Little Women & Good Wives
The Secret Garden
The Jungle Book & The Second Jungle Book
A Christmas Carol
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz & Glinda of Oz
Anne of Green Gables & Anne of Avonlea
The Little Prince
Kidnapped & Catriona
The Swiss Family Robinson
You can see how they look here
You might find some surprises when you read them; I felt sure that I had read Treasure Island in my younger days only to find my memories were based entirely on variations on the Walt Disney film version featuring Robert Newton establishing for eternity how pirates talk and an all-American child actor with unfeasibly white teeth and an inappropriate accent playing Jim Hawkins. On reading the book it soon became apparent that it is not a simple adventure story, although it can be enjoyed as such, but has a surprising depth of characterisation and the cast are by no means as pure in their motives as their Hollywood counterparts.
So give yourself a treat and, for just £2.50, remind yourself how great literature can span the generations.
All of the titles are now available, and over the coming weeks we'll have articles on our blog from our regular contributors as they revisit some of their favourite books, starting later this month with, appropriately, David Stuart Davies looking at Treasure Island.