Charles Dickens was born in 1812 near Portsmouth, where his father worked as a clerk. Living in London in 1824, Dickens was sent by his family to work in a blacking-warehouse, and his father was arrested and imprisoned for debt. Fortunes improved and Dickens returned to school, eventually becoming a parliamentary reporter. His first piece of fiction was published by a magazine in December 1832, and by 1836 he had begun his first novel, The Pickwick Papers. He focused his career on writing, completing fourteen highly successful novels, as well as penning journalism, shorter fiction and travel books. He died in 1870.
Gr 8 Up-Great Expectations is the better told of these two classics, but breaking down a 500-page work of literary fiction into 48 pages of graphic text is a much simpler task than retelling the nearly 1000 pages of David Copperfield in the same amount of space, and Morley relies heavily on captions, rather than dialogue, to summarize Copperfield's complicated life story. She does, however, do an able job of summarizing the major plot points, and this could make a big difference for struggling readers. In both books, Gelev's artwork fits the time period, with detailed costumes, houses, and other background scenery. The neutral tones suit Dickens's dank world, and Miss Havisham's ramshackle home and crumbling wedding feast are drawn as readers might picture them. It is doubtful, though, that they would return to these books as particular favorites. They are more useful as classroom resources for readers struggling with Dickens's prose than for a general graphic-novel readership.-Sarah Knutson, American Canyon Middle School, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This beloved classic from Dickens follows the life and adventures of a six-year-old orphan named Pip as he makes his way and comes of age in 19th-century England. Simon Prebble turns in a solid performance in this audio edition, offering up a lush and resolutely dramatic reading and creating a panoply of unique voices and accents for the book's many characters. But while Prebble's performance is lavish, it fails to distinguish itself from the scores of previous audio productions of Dickens's novels. Still, his reading remains a pleasure and a well-orchestrated introduction to the world of Dickens-one that could serve as a wonderful opportunity for both fans and those new to the author's work. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
With a major new film adaptation of Great Expectations coming soon to the big screen, now is a good moment for an updated audio edition of this classic story of an orphan boy's rise from poverty to gentility, thanks to the help of an unknown patron. One of Dickens's finest works, it is, all at once, the heartrending tale of unrequited love, a deep mystery with a shocking resolution, and an often exciting action story. VERDICT Simon Prebble's powerful narration brings Dickens's colorful dialog alive and will make the book's 18-plus hours seem so many minutes. During this bicentennial year of Dickens's birth, this audiobook should be a slam-dunk acquisition for most libraries. [See "Charles Dickens: Our Mutual Friend," LJ 2/15/12, for more Dickens titles in audio.]-R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.