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Oliver Twist
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About the Author

Charles Dickens was born in a little house in Landport, Portsea, England, on February 7, 1812. The second of eight children, he grew up in a family frequently beset by financial insecurity. At age eleven, Dickens was taken out of school and sent to work in London backing warehouse, where his job was to paste labels on bottles for six shillings a week. His father John Dickens, was a warmhearted but improvident man. When he was condemned the Marshela Prison for unpaid debts, he unwisely agreed that Charles should stay in lodgings and continue working while the rest of the family joined him in jail. This three-month separation caused Charles much pain; his experiences as a child alone in a huge city-cold, isolated with barely enough to eat-haunted him for the rest of his life.

When the family fortunes improved, Charles went back to school, after which he became an office boy, a freelance reporter and finally an author. With Pickwick Papers (1836-7) he achieved immediate fame; in a few years he was easily the post popular and respected writer of his time. It has been estimated that one out of every ten persons in Victorian England was a Dickens reader. Oliver Twist (1837), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-9) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41) were huge successes. Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-4) was less so, but Dickens followed it with his unforgettable, A Christmas Carol (1843), Bleak House (1852-3), Hard Times (1854) and Little Dorrit (1855-7) reveal his deepening concern for the injustices of British Society. A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1) and Our Mutual Friend (1864-5) complete his major works.

Dickens's marriage to Catherine Hoggarth produced ten children but ended in separation in 1858. In that year he began a series of exhausting public readings; his health gradually declined. After putting in a full day's work at his home at Gads Hill, Kent on June 8, 1870, Dickens suffered a stroke, and he died the following day.

Reviews

Gr 6 Up-This adaptation is well done. The pictures and panels match the tone of the story of one orphan boy's struggle to survive, and the text maintains enough of the classic for readers to understand Oliver's plight. Readers will especially like the character portraits on the inside and back covers. The art clearly defines the difference between good and evil in the story. This version opens the readership to a younger or reluctant reader audience as Dickens is long and challenging for many students.-Jessica Lorentz Smith, BendSenior High School, OR (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The inimitable Martin Jarvis brings his talents to bear on Charles Dickens's classic in an audiobook that will delight listeners with its superb recreations of gritty 19th-century London. To escape Mr. Bumble and life in the workhouse, Oliver flees to London where he meets the Artful Dodger and becomes embroiled with Fagin's ragtag band of thieves. Jarvis simply dazzles: his performance captures both the humor and sorrow of the text, his narration is crisp, and his characterizations-his rendition of the terrifying district magistrate, Mr. Fang, is particularly memorable-are as varied as they are energetic, befitting, and enjoyable. (June) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

This latest adaptation of Oliver Twist by two established French comic creators is a compilation edition of five previously published graphic novels that chronicles the orphan boy's trials through the streets of London and his eventual discovery of his parentage. Dauvillier's text choices are easy to read and flow well, and while the adaptors retained Dickens's original chapter summaries for the table of contents, the back matter, unfortunately, offers only a single-page biography and short time line of Dickens's life. Compared with other graphic novel adaptations, this version is more fully developed; it provides readers both familiar and unfamiliar with the story a clearer integration of the many narrative threads. Oliver Deloye's illustrations are done in an exaggerated, caricature style and are an interesting juxtaposition with the serious plot and realism from the original serialized novel. Verdict While there is some violence, such as Nancy's murder at Bill Sykes's hands, teenage readers and up wanting a Twist adaptation would find this edition an involving read that doesn't oversimplify the plot and retains some of Dickens's passion for the plight of the poor.-Joanna Schmidt, Forth Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"The power of [Dickens] is so amazing, that the reader at once becomes his captive, and must follow him whithersoever he leads."
--William Makepeace Thackeray

"From the Trade Paperback edition.

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