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Best Dickens to start a child on.

(33 Posts)
Moominsarehippos Sat 06-Apr-13 14:31:40

I have the whole lot. Not sure which is the best to start a 9 year old on. take of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist...

It's been donkeys since I read any Dickens and not sure i can remember all the plots. Has anyone any thoughts?

Inncogneetow Sat 06-Apr-13 14:43:27

Why would you want a 9 yr old to read Dickens?

RosemaryandThyme Sat 06-Apr-13 14:46:54

Captain under-pants is probably more fun.

iseenodust Sat 06-Apr-13 14:48:00

Maybe move to children's books before the comments start ?
Most of them deal with the darker side of life too. I would probably go with Oliver Twist or David Copperfield. Or maybe the book of short ghost stories - as an easy intro to the style of writing.

BackforGood Sat 06-Apr-13 14:48:09

I'd leave it until secondary school at least. Reading should be for the love of it, not a hard slog at 9.

<Do you know you've posted this in Pre-School Education?> grin

RosemaryandThyme Sat 06-Apr-13 14:50:16

Given that it's a Pre-school post - is the child 9 years or 9 months ?

sleepyhead Sat 06-Apr-13 14:52:06

My mum was reading Dickens at that age - Oliver Twist, Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby I think.

That was because there was very little good children's fiction in the local library though, and people didn't really own that many books. She wouldn't have been reading them at that age nowadays (her own opinion) when there's such a wealth of children's literature available.

Roseformeplease Sat 06-Apr-13 14:53:05

Old Curiosity Shop or, maybe, some of the short stories. However, I am a Secondary English teacher, well used to very able pupils and think you should wait as difficult texts too early can be counter-productive. Wy not try some other classics such as "Ballet Shoes" or the E Nesbitt books so you introduce the more complex language without the labyrinthine plots?

sleepyhead Sat 06-Apr-13 14:57:30

What about trying Robert Louis Stevenson (Kidnapped or Treasure Island), or Leon Garfield (Smith or Dead Ned), or Joan Aiken (Midnight is a Place, Wolves of Willoughby Chase) if you want that Victorian/historical background - all have pretty scary bits in them though if I remember rightly so it depends on the child!

MsAkimbo Sat 06-Apr-13 15:01:01

I read a Christmas Carol at 9. Does your dc want to read Dickens?

I clicked on this thread amazed that a preschooler is reading Dickens.

Moominsarehippos Sat 06-Apr-13 15:11:08

Oops on the thread!

My late father loved Dickens and he read them to us when we were little. I'd like to see DS have a try (in a swird way, a link with his grandpa). He's read the kids version of oliver twist and enjoyed it. I don't want to put him off by suggesting something very dark. He's read Kidnapped, and will read pretty much anything going.

iseenodust Sat 06-Apr-13 15:16:08

I had read most of Dicken's books before secondary school. The local library put me on to them as I was clearing the children's section faster than they could stock it (probably as old as Sleepy's mum) and my grandmother had let me try Mills & Boon & Georgette Heyer! If I picked up an 'inappropriate' book at the library they would put it to one side to check with my dad. A childhood in a small community. grin

Inncogneetow Sat 06-Apr-13 15:50:49

I read drastically edited editins of Dickens when a child/teenager. I was astonished as an adult to encounter the endless, turgid real thing. I read widely and extensively and cannot imagine anyone wanting a 9 yr old to read Dickens.

My ds1 is 15 and is an avid reader: still reads about 5 novels every week! But he's never read any Dickens for pleasure, and I wouldn't recommend that he does.

Inncogneetow Sat 06-Apr-13 15:51:07

* editions

Tee2072 Sat 06-Apr-13 15:52:04

Dickens is crap. Read them something worthwhile and non-depressing instead.

piprabbit Sat 06-Apr-13 15:56:44

I'm 43 and have never been able to finish a Dickens novel - despite loving and devouring almost all literature.

Maybe find something else to read and try an audio book version of Dickens to start?

23balloons Sat 06-Apr-13 15:58:17

Ds started secondary in Sept & had to read A Chritmas Carol. He was struggling so I read a few pages for him& found it unbearable. It is not something I would read for pleasure but I like fast paced fiction. Each to there own I guess.

23balloons Sat 06-Apr-13 15:58:55


tiredemma Sat 06-Apr-13 16:00:25

I love Dickens. By age of 9 I had read Great Expectations and Oliver Twist I think.

Moominsarehippos Sat 06-Apr-13 16:52:50

He read part of a Christmas Carol at christmas. It was a very old version I have that had belonged to my father when he was little. Dickens means a lot in our familyn so excuse me when I ask what and not if. My earliest memories are of my parents reading to me, and dad was especially fond of Dickens. He reads a lot and reads above his age.

MsAkimbo Sat 06-Apr-13 18:08:08

I think it's great OP. But, I was a very morbid child. wink

Nicholas Nickelby might be good?

SolomanDaisy Sat 06-Apr-13 18:27:06

Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby or David Copperfield I would say. They're shorter than most and the child central character should make it more accessible. Anyone who thinks Dickens is depressing hasn't read it properly. Pickwick Papers is probably the one which has almost no darker content, very gentle. I find Dickens extremely soothing, but didn't really learn to appreciate it until I studied it.

I think the only one actually aimed at children is A Child's History of England, not sure how much fun it is though.

ATouchOfStuffing Sat 06-Apr-13 18:33:27

Would this suit to start?

CockyFox Sat 06-Apr-13 18:37:01

I love reading but I have never got past the first chapter of a Dickens book.
I read Black Beauty at about that age though.

TunipTheVegedude Sat 06-Apr-13 18:44:58

I loved Dickens by 10 and started with David Copperfield. When my parents gave me some money for passing the 11+ the first thing I bought was a set of Dickens. TBH, though, I think it had quite a bit to do with the BBC Sunday afternoon teatime adaptations, which were 1/2 hour episodes and very accessible. Dombey and Son was a good one, too.

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