Classics with a Twist

Classics are classics for a reason, but they can sometimes be inaccessible to younger readers. The collection of books I’m about to share with you are all innovations and reimagining of so true literary greats, but with twists, tweaks and turns which will make them more accessible to today’s readers. Perhaps then, they will be inspired (and better equipped) to tackle to original texts which provided the inspiration.

‘Another Twist in the Tale,’ by Catherine Bruton, cover by Thy Bui (Nosy Crow)

I think we all know the tale of Oliver Twist – the reluctant pickpocket who turned from orphan to heir. Well what if he had been separated from a twin sister at birth? This is the tale of Twill Twist.

Twill Twist didn’t have the best start to life – abandoned on a rubbish heap at birth, rescued and taken to live in a gambling den by baker extraordinaire, Baggage, then onto the mean streets of London as she attempts to make a new life for herself.

Readers will be thrilled that Bruton has seamlessly woven some of Oliver Twist’s most-loved (and most-hated) characters into this murky, dangerous, smog-filled adventure. She has also been careful to incorporate plenty of Dickens’ language so that this book might be a gateway into reading some of his original works. 9+

‘Comic Classics: Great Expectations,’ by Charles Dickens, adapted and doodled in by Jack Noel (Egmont)

This is the story of Pip – from his humble beginnings as a ten-year-old boy who meets and escaped convict in a spooky graveyard, to his time as a companion to a very strange and bitter old lady, and onwards to seek his fortune in the big city.

Jack Noel has cleverly kept the essence of the original story with all the key events and main characters introduced to the reader. The inclusion of some of the original Dickensian language adds challenge to the read, whilst his witty illustrations and touches of humour make the story highly-accessible to readers aged 9+.

Comic Classics versions of ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ are also coming soon.

‘Macbeth United,’ by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Tony Ross (Scholastic)

“Fair is foul and fouls are fair!”

This time Michael Rosen reimagines Shakespeare’s Macbeth as you’ve never seen it before! Retold as a darkly comic tale of ambition in the cut-throat world of youth football, some of us may find more similarities with the fiercely ambitious mother, Mrs Macbeth, than we care to admit.

We follow the rise of twelve-year-old striker Macbeth rise through the ranks of the Shotfield United football team to the lofty heights of team captain. But at what cost? Is there any dirty trick Mrs Macbeth won’t employ to bump out other key players and ensure her son gets noticed by the academy scouts?

Full of clever references to the characters and themes of Shakespeare’s original, this would be a great companion book for anyone studying ‘The Scottish Play’ or for anyone who just really loves football! 9+

Three wonderful titles to lead readers to some of our literary greats, with the bonus of there being plenty of other titles in the series for them to enjoy too!

Library Girl.

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